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The plateau effect

The Plateau Effect

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Our partners at The Gastric Guru have written a really interesting piece on the plateau effect.

Shake up your routine to kick start a stall in your weight loss

I was weeks out of recovery and my target weight was in plain sight. I was enjoying regular exercise, discovering healthy foods and feeling amazing after eating much smaller portions. I had slipped comfortably into my new routine and my new tool seemed to be working beautifully. I felt as if I could go on like this forever, achieving better and better results. When just before reaching my first weight loss goal my progress came to a sudden halt. Needless to say I was completely thrown and had no idea what had gone wrong.

During my first weight loss stall I became obsessed with weighing myself on the scales; I pushed myself harder at the gym, walked further and scrutinised everything I ate but still couldn’t shed the pounds. Then I started feeling despondent and felt my surgery had nothing more to offer in the way of success. The last thing I considered was to change my diet and exercise routine which had served my weight loss so well up to this point. But if you need to overcome weight loss stall, change is exactly the right answer.

Top tips to overcome the plateau effect

The best single word of advice is change.

Change something, change anything, just mix up your routine! Don’t waste your time doing the same things over and over again and expecting the same results. The difficulty, however, is in knowing what changes to make and what you keep the same.

Here are a few suggestions to get you feeling motivated and back in control:

Be flexible with your diet: alter your macronutrient intake

Macronutrients are the proteins, carbs and fats which you require in large amounts on a daily basis. There is no need to get super technical about post-op dieting. But if your current diet is higher in carbs then reduce the amount of starchy foods you’re eating and replace with different sources of protein. If you’re snacking on fruit in the afternoon then switch to nuts or yoghurt.

Reassess your protein sources

If you’ve been taking protein shakes and bars regularly then switch to different sources like beef jerky, chicken skewers or seafood. Your body needs to work harder to break down and digest whole food sources than it does with shakes and bars, which means burning more calories in the process. Don’t be afraid to eat healthy fats like avocado and olive oil – omega-3 and monounsaturated fats are not the enemy!

Before making any changes it is important that you seek advice from your bariatric clinical team.

Strength training and muscle fitness

Soon after recovery patients will be getting their fitness mainly from taking brisk walks which can become a fairly routine exercise. Walking more is a great start to getting fitter, but perhaps it is time to add some muscle resistance into the mix.

If you have not been including strength training in your weekly fitness routine then you should get started. Working your muscles will help to strengthen bone tissue, increase lean body mass, and ultimately boost your metabolic rate.

Have you tried High Intensity Training? It is a great way to boost your body strength and muscle capacity.

Here are some strength training ideas:

  • If you haven’t already then join your local gym and ask your trainer to make you a strength training program.
  • Follow a bodyweight training program
  • Get some some dumbbells at home

We all have different capacities to adapt to new routines and activities. While some patients will lose weight more quickly for others it can take more effort to overcome stalls and reach target weights. Wherever you sit on the spectrum don’t become disillusioned with your weight loss tool. It does work! We just need to learn what works for us as individuals and know when to adapt our routines and activities. You will succeed!

Now I’ve learnt, my way of dealing with a stall in my weight loss is to chill out and back off from the scales. I’ve come to recognise a plateau as the need to give my mind a body a break. First, I start to increase my fluids and gradually increase my cardio fitness levels. I find yoga and meditation really helpful in these periods. When it comes to what and when I eat I prefer to rely on my intuition rather than rigorous planning. We are all different and respond differently to stimuli. This is why it’s important for each of us to get into our own rhythms and routines.

Head over to thegastricguru.com to see what other great topics they are discussing.

Some very useful tips in this article. It is important to follow the information given to you by your clinical team and remember that our team is here to help you on your journey.

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