Bariatric surgery is like a “new beginning” or a “fresh start” and it is a super exciting but also a super stressful experience for those going through it. Patients spend a lot of time prepping for surgery and they have maybe even spent years researching their procedure. Bariatric surgery is a life-changing journey and can have some amazing long term effects on a person’s life.
I totally understand how patients can feel once they hit their first weight loss plateau. That’s the place where the scale stops moving. That’s the place where no matter what they do, and no matter how perfect they are following the bariatric rules, the scale will not budge.
Why does this happen? The patients are not doing anything wrong so why does the scale plateau approximately 3 weeks after surgery?
Prior to surgery our patients need to follow a pre.op diet. This is to shrink the liver and make the surgery safer for them. The pre.op diet varies from surgeon to surgeon but in general they all follow some sort of rules such as: only liquids or low in carbs or high in protein or low in calories.
It is perfect to have a tiny shrunken liver prior to surgery but in general, the body does not want to maintain this small liver. It wants the liver to go back to the regular size. Our livers are so important, and have so many functions so the body wants to get the liver back to its regular size post surgery. How long does this take ?? You are right – it takes approximately 3 weeks.
Sometimes this plateau occurs a little bit before or a little bit after the 3 week mark and sometimes it lasts a few days or a few weeks. What’s important during this plateau is to continue following all of your post op guidelines.
It takes time to lose all the weight after any bariatric procedure. Try to stay focused on a slow and steady weight loss. In the beginning it comes off quickly and then it tends to slow down. When this happens, try to do the following:
Don’t step on the scale 3 times a day. Check your weight about two times a week. When the scale is not in use, hide it in your closet to be sure you are not constantly stepping on it.
Put your focus on super clean eating and learning about food and what is good for you to consume post surgery and why that food is good for you. These new eating habits are what will ensure success, short and long term. Be kind to your new tummy and enjoy your new healthy lifestyle.
When you look at your weight loss, it will look more like a set of stairs… drop, plateau, drop, plateau. You are going to lose weight on some days and on other days you will plateau. This is a normal part of the weight loss journey post bariatric surgery.
When you do hit that 3 week plateau, don’t fret. Take this like a regular part of your bariatric journey. Don’t be hard on yourself. Be proud of yourself. Enjoy your journey to health and wellness.
If you have specific questions, please reach out directly to me. I salute you on your journey to health and wellness. email@example.com
Congratulations – for taking your own health into your own hands.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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