Weight loss is expected to be swift and substantial after gastric bypass surgery, especially if an individual strictly adheres to the post-surgery diet plan. A patient can expect to lose up to 35% of excess weight at the end of the 3rd month after the operation. They may even lose up to 80% of his or her excess weight a year and a half after surgery.
A loss of 20 pounds one month after surgery. Amazing, right? These figures are not just dramatic, but they are a much sought-after result, especially for individuals who have previously struggled with not only losing weight but also keeping it off.
Now, if you’re one of those who have lost this much weight after a month, give yourself a pat on the back. But before you pop the champagne and celebrate, you have to keep something in mind:
The reality is that it’s not that easy to lose weight and keep it off even with bariatric surgery. While losing this much weight is ideal, it is not always the case. Slow or below-average weight loss after gastric bypass can actually occur.
So what can you do if your weight loss is slow or below average?
Don’t fret – there are solutions to this problem. You won’t have wasted your money on gastric bypass surgery, we promise you that.
Why does sub-optimal weight loss occur?
Available data shows that there is such a thing as suboptimal weight loss (SWL) for gastric bypass patients. This occurs when a year after surgery, an individual has not lost 40% of their excess weight. The expected weight loss after a year is 65% – 75%.
Research on SWL reveals that 11% of patients who had undergone gastric bypass surgery experienced slow weight loss. The other study participants lost an average of 60% of their excess weight.
Now, why does this happen?
Well, keep in mind that each person who has gone through gastric bypass has their own unique set of factors that will affect their own individual weight loss. This includes metabolic rate, comorbidities such as diabetes, strict following recommended diet and lifestyle changes, and psychological preparedness. Heck, it could even be because they started out with a bigger stomach than others.
Tips to avoid slow weight and maximize the benefits of gastric bypass
SWL MAY occur after gastric bypass surgery, but thankfully, is not inevitable nor is it unsolvable. There are things that you can do post-surgery to ensure that you are successful in your weight loss journey. Follow these tips to avoid a weight loss plateau and to get you closer to your weight loss goal optimal outcome!
1. Document your food consumption.
Ensuring that you lose weight after gastric bypass surgery entails a high level of commitment and dedication. This is especially true when it comes to your relationship with food and eating habits. Before and post-surgery, a strict diet plan will be put in place to ensure that you reach your optimal weight loss goal.
It is therefore important for gastric bypass patient to document their food consumption. Every morsel of food or liquid intake needs to strictly adhere to the diet plan. Any deviation may result in slow or below-average weight loss.
2. Get dietary supervision from a nutritionist.
Your post-surgery diet needs to be adjusted once you begin losing weight. This is because the weight loss may not just be fat but also includes muscle loss. When this happens, the rate at which our bodies burn energy is affected.
The original diet plan may have helped gastric bypass patients lose the initial weight. To avoid slow weight loss, food intake needs to be adjusted accordingly to account for the changes in energy burn rate. We recommend getting the services of a nutritionist so that you can be sure you have the correct diet.
3. Modify your exercise routine.
Ideal weight loss after gastric bypass surgery cannot be achieved without physical activity. Don’t worry though: it doesn’t have to be a full-on gym routine. Exercises or physical activities that can be done at home or that can be part of daily routine helps.
Spend more time walking or add a flight of stairs to your usual route. Have a friend come over for regular frisbee or ping-pong sessions. Exercise can be fun, and it doesn’t always have to be arduous.
Keep in mind that while sticking to an exercise routine or physical activity is commendable, in the long run, it is not enough. Your body will eventually get used to it, requiring a change of routine. Changing it up from time to time helps to ensure that you burn more energy as your body adjusts to losing weight.
And of course, it is best to get the services and supervision of an actual trainer for an exercise routine or for any modifications. That way, you know you’re doing things correctly.
4. Get enough sleep
More sleep seems counter-intuitive to weight loss, but it’s not. Getting enough shuteye during the day and snooze time throughout the night actually helps our bodies burn more calories and counter food cravings.
You see, lack of sleep contributes to a slower energy burn rate. Plus, you’re also more likely to have food cravings when you are sleep deprived.
5. Surround yourself with a strong and caring support system
As mentioned above, weight loss is tough, even with gastric bypass surgery. There is always a danger of backsliding no matter how firm the commitment is to losing weight. It may start out innocently enough with a bar of candy here and there, messing up your diet plan. It could even be spending more time on the couch watching TV than going out for a walk.
To ensure that you keep on your path, surround yourself with a circle of family and friends who care and are on board your weight loss journey. They can serve as a sounding board when things get tough and rough. They can be your diet or exercise buddy too, providing that much-needed boost on really hard days.
Be proactive in getting past gastric bypass challenges.
Gastric bypass surgery is neither a weight loss magic bullet nor a miracle worker. Be realistic and expect weight loss plateau or even slow weight loss to be part of your post-surgery journey. By becoming aware and doing the hard work pre and post-surgery, avoiding the weight loss pitfalls such as SWL or weight plateau can be achieved.
See SWL as a mere roadblock in your weight loss journey. Acknowledge that it happens but can be avoided.
If you need more information about getting past SWL, feel free to contact Dr. David Davtyan. Not only is he an expert at gastric bypass surgery, but he also has a deeply personal understanding of his patients’ weight loss challenges. He will be sure to empathize with you and any challenges you might face as your journey towards your true you.
Send him a message today, whether it’s about gastric bypass procedures or about slow weight loss. You can be sure he’ll welcome your message and will help you in any way that he can.