Weight loss stalls after bariatric surgery

Weight loss stalls after bariatric surgery

One thing that really took me by surprise when I was losing weight after my gastric bypass surgery were weight loss stalls. This is when your weight is not going down for a week or more and it tends to happen to almost everyone at certain intervals after surgery. Most of us FREAK OUT at the thought that that’s it and you aren’t going to lose a gram more. Speaking from experience it’s totally normal and usually doesn’t mean your weight loss has stopped completely.

I think the stall that takes most people by surprise is the two week stall. I hear so often on message boards and in surgery groups that someone has got to week three and their weight loss has slowed down or has even stopped. At this point you are eating so little it seems physically impossible for you to have stopped losing weight already and I know I got really worried when it happened to me. This stall only lasted a week or two but I know for some people it can carry for a few weeks or so.

There are a few other points when people tend to have stalls but it’s such a personal journey and while to a certain extent we have a similar experience it will be different for us all in terms of timing and how long they last for. Just keep in mind that it’s a totally normal and expected part of your journey. There’s one positive that comes out of it though which is that it certainly gets you making sure you are doing everything by the book and double checking your eating to ensure you aren’t causing your weight loss to slow from what you are eating.

Stalls are incredibly frustrating though. When you’re doing everything right and have been reliably losing weight every week for ages it’s really disheartening when it seems to come to a complete standstill. I used to have such big mental battles with myself and hated the feeling that I wasn’t in control of what was happening with my body. The illusion I had of there being a direct relationship between my behaviour with food and how my body should behave in relation to that has been well and truly shattered.

One thing you need to keep in mind when you hit the first stall is that your body has been through a huge trauma with the surgery. You would have lost a decent amount when you were on the Optifast diet and your body is freaking out a bit. There comes points when your body just needs to hold its horses, figure out what’s going on and get back in its groove of losing again. Try not to have any preconceived ideas of what your weekly weight loss is going to look like. Take it as it comes, with no expectations, and the ups and downs in your journey will be easier to take.

I found it really frustrating that I couldn’t predict from week to week how much weight I was going to lose. The weight loss phase really taught me that your body is going to do what it’s going to do and while you need to do your bit and do the right things you need to it’s not going to give you complete control over what happens. Any weight loss journey but especially after bariatric surgery, is very complex and involves many different processes and things than I think we could possibly imagine. You just need to trust the process and not let the stall get you down, it happens to all of us.

When I got stuck in a stall I would stop weighing myself daily and would only weigh weekly. Seeing it hadn’t changed day in and day out did not do my mood any favours so I had to manage that in the best way I could. The point in which you finally break through the stall is fantastic and provided you’re doing what you should and your body still has some to lose, your weight will start moving downwards again.

Did you have any stalls in your weight loss journey? Were you good at justifying them or did you let it torment you to a degree like I did? Comment below and let me know I’d love to see how you’re going.

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There are 10 comments for this article
  1. Lee at 9:43 am

    I am eight months post gastric bypass and have not experienced any real stalls. My weight has continued to drop fairly consistently although there is a little variation from week to week and it has definitely slowed down in the last couple of months. I have dropped from 108 kilos to 68 kilos and while I am so pleased with this result I am already past the goal I had set myself and starting to worry about how much more I willl lose! People’s comments saying “you should stop now” certainly don’t help! The rational part of me knows that I need to trust my body and keep doing the right things but the other part is a little anxious anyway. How do other people manage this? PS I loved your post on shrinking boobs. Laughed out loud as it was so familiar 🙂

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 12:42 pm

      That’s great that you haven’t had a stall! I know exactly how you feel, I really worried at one point that my weightless was never going to stop but it did and now I’m sitting happily a few kilos above my initial goal weight. Just keep doing the right things and your body will find it’s happy point eventually. If you get seriously worried do go and talk to your team. I’m glad you enjoyed that post! It was one I’d had on my mind for a while but it took a bit of guts to write! Thank you for reading my blog and commenting, you have no idea how much I appreciate it!

      • Lee at 2:38 pm

        Love your blog, it really helps. Thanks so much for the time and effort you put in to it. I have another appointment with the dietician in a few weeks so will have a chat about it. I had surgery at Southern Cross in Wellington and the team are just fantastic.

  2. Bev at 11:20 am

    Hi from alberta canada, came across your blog because I am in a stall that shows no signs of giving up. I am almost 7 weeks post op, and I stalled out at week 3…lost 15lbs in that first 3 weeks, and since then it’s been up 1 down 1 pattern. I am not getting enough protein, according to the dietician and I need to up my calories…but at the end of the day my totals are still at 6-700 cal, and protein around 45grams…they want to see 1000 cal and 80-100 grams. I am not hungry all that often, but stick to 3 meals and 2 snacks, mainly protein. I have very sensitive taste buds now, and can’t tolerate whey/soy protein products or artificial sweetners. I am hoping my body gives up and lets me start losing again., it is very frustrating to go thru all this and see no results. I have more to lose…but for now I shall go do some more reading in your site.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 11:53 am

      Hi Bev, The first thing I need to say is that this stall will end, I know it feels like its never-ending but it will break eventually. It sounds like you have a really supportive and switched on dietician and I’m pleased you have their support. Upping your protein will help and think of how much your body is going through. I found my body sometimes needed to stand still a bit and then I would all of a sudden, not doing anything differently, would start losing weight again. If you aren’t already start taking your measurements. I used to find even when my weight was stable and not going down my measurements would drop and I could even drop a clothes size when the scales weren’t moving. What you will tolerate will change over time, you’re still very early days and I found it settled for me after 9-12 months. Keep on doing what you should be doing and you will have awesome results! I hope you find other helpful things on my blog.

  3. Carolyn at 9:33 am

    Hi Melissa, reading your blogs this past year have been so helpful….starting last year March …before I had decided to say yes to surgery….till now….18days post operation.
    Because of your blog….I started only having water half hour each side of food….it became a habit…So not an issue after surgery.
    Reading about stalls…..I hope that I am more prepared when it happens so I don’t freak out 🙂
    That is what your blog has done for me….prepared me for the good, bad and ugly!
    I had just re-read the blog which mentions ‘foamies’ …’i think that is what you called it….and guess what….I vomited and got the foamies…yuck. thank you for the heads up! It wasn’t so scary because you had mentioned it.
    Thank you so much for your blog and for your honesty.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 3:44 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment Carolyn. Congratulations on joining us on the losers bench, I hope everything went well! You don’t know how pleased I am to hear how helpful my blog has been for you after surgery. I believe knowledge is power and if I can help make others journeys through WLS better through sharing my experience then I’m happy! Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to hear how you progress.

  4. Julia at 9:56 am

    Thanks for this entry. I am in one of those week 2-3 stalls and even though I know it’s normal, it’s really frustrating. I keep telling myself to make sure I’m doing everything right and it’ll (weight loss) kick in again. I was thinking it’s the vomiting, I’m eating too fast, I’m not drinking enough, I have to walk more. I’ll hang in there just like you say and I’m hiding the scales.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 9:12 pm

      Funnily enough not eating enough can make our weight loss slow down. Sometimes to break a stall I would increase my food intake slightly and it appeared to help break the stall. I say appeared to because it could have been a huge coincidence. You’re doing all the right things, keep it up and you’ll soon be out of this stall.

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