Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Plateau

Weight loss after gastric bypass or Lap Band surgery is reaching a plateau. How to deal with that?

First things first. Do not get frustrated. Frustration is a negative emotion that will take you to nowhere. It's never too late to get back to basics.

Here are some tips that may help you every time (yes, plateaus are not a once in a life-time event):

1. Sit back and reassess the situation. Have you reached a healthy weight goal. You do not expect to keep losing weight endlessly. The aim is not to reach the weight that you simply desire. The goal is to achieve the weight that brings to you the best health benefits. If you underwent weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery), your clinic had probably made a calculation as to the average target weight for you. Have you reached that goal? if so, any additional weight loss is just a bonus, as long as you stay healthy.

2. Remember that on average, individuals do regain some weight after reaching the lowest weight. This is OK and healthy, and may represent a normal variation or re-setting of your stable weight, rather than a new trend with increasing weight. Also it may indicate adding up muscle mass if you are exercising. So, if you are doing everything right, and you regain a little bit then plateau again, you have probably reached where you need to be.

3. Regardless whether you reached the weight you ought to be or not, re-evaluate your performance. Eating habits (portion control, watching the quality of the food) and physical activity, get back to basics. Refresh your memory about what you have learned before as part of your weight loss program.

4. If you are lagging behind in some of the basics, maybe you need to sit down and write a diary of your eating and physical activity habits. Writing a log is a very powerful tool, since it makes you accountable to yourself. You may be amazed when you see the reality in your own handwriting somewhat different from what you thought you were doing.

5. Increasing physical activity is particularly useful for getting you out of a plateau. Take every opportunity in your everyday life to spend some extra calories. They add up by the end of the day. Increasing physical activity has tremendous benefits to your state of mind, emotional well-being, physical efficiency, muscle mass preservation, and loss of fat tissue.

6. If you suspect that your motivation is cooling off, remind yourself of the the reasons why a healthy weight is important for you, and make that list handy.

7. Get involved with support group meetings. They are proven to help with long-term outcomes.

8. If after all, you find certain things are presenting an obstacle to achieving the realistic goals that you set, have an honest critique yourself. Write down the reasons that you think are contributing to your situation. Keep the list handy and sleep on it. Review it another day, and see if you can do something about it, or if you need professional help.

Stay Healthy!