Weight plateaus after surgery are very common. And while there are many reasons for why you may be plateauing, one of the most common things I see with patients in my clinic is that they’re not eating enough.
My patients will tell me; “I’m walking a few miles a day, 4-5 days a week, but no matter WHAT I do, the scale won’t budge!”
When I investigate further, I find out that they’re eating no more than 800 calories a day.
This is too low!
After surgery – especially by around 2 to 3 months post-operatively- you should be eating closer to 1200 calories.
I know… I know…
Diet culture has trained our brains to think; “eat less, exercise more.” Unfortunately, this is incorrect. It does not take into consideration our metabolic needs and all of the hormones in our body that control our metabolic set point, appetite, hunger signals, and overall stress levels.
Our bodies are more complicated than an “eat less, exercise more” doctrine.
Now, I know that eating 1,000+ calories right after surgery may feel like a lot, but it will do your body good and will help you break through pesky weight stalls. Especially when they pop up a month or two right after surgery.
A patient of mine the other day went from eating 800 calories eventually up to 1200 calories by eating whole food sources of protein, healthy plant-based fats, and some non-starchy vegetables (which is GREAT. Avoiding processed foods is ideal when adding in calories to your diet)! She was stuck around 220 lbs for a few weeks and then “just like that,” she says, her weight dropped down to 214 lbs.
I know this can seem scary. BUT, under-eating will stall your metabolism and prevent you from losing additional weight. When you don’t eat enough calories to fuel your metabolism and to give your body the fuel it needs, many things start to happen:
- Your body will break down lean muscle mass for calories (we don’t want this to happen!)
- Your metabolism will slow down and burn less calories since you’re under-feeding it (which will continue to stall your weight loss)
- You’ll put your body in stress mode (which we don’t need and probably have enough of in our daily lives… am I right??)
Give your body the confidence it needs to lose weight by giving it enough fuel.
If you’re eating less than 1000 calories a day (on purpose- to lose weight), and you’re now at least a few months out from surgery (on a regular diet), you need to eat more. When you decide to add in more calories, follow these suggestions:
- Always pick protein first
- Choose whole food (and minimally processed) sources. Ie: chicken, tuna, eggs, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, deli meat, chicken sausage, tofu, cod, tilapia, salmon, shrimp, lobster… etc.
- Don’t force yourself to eat to a point of discomfort. Ensure you are eating every 3-4 hours and grab a protein source first
- Add in a closed fist full of plain nuts. Limit to 1 serving / day
- Cut back on starchy carbohydrates (ie: rice, pasta, bread, grits, oatmeal, sweet potato, mashed potatoes, corn, peas, etc.) and instead replace these with non-starchy vegetables (ie: cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, lettuce, etc.)
- Track your food diary in a free app like My Fitness Pal and Baritastic. Aim for 60g+ of protein and try to do this consistently for an entire week.
Once you tackle the nutritional side of things, make your next goals drinking > 64oz of water, ensuring quality (uninterrupted) sleep, and stress reduction.
Together, all of these things will calm your body and reassure it that you’re providing the support, nutrition, hydration, and stress-relief it needs, and THEN you’ll begin to seeing some action on the scale.
Need to get back on track but lack the knowledge, support, and accountability to do so??
You’re in luck! Inside of our exclusive membership support group – Banana Bariatrics – we offer an ENTIRE Nutritional Masterclass that will have you feeling re-motivated, inspired, and breaking through weight plateaus (and regain!) in no time. It’s time to start living the healthier and happy life you’ve always imagined!