Why Aren’t I Losing Weight After My Gastric Sleeve?!
You know those breakup scenes in movies where someone says, “It isn’t you; it’s me”? This time, it’s probably you (sorry!). The truth is that gastric sleeve procedures are extremely successful—when you stick to some simple guidelines.
As time goes by, it’s very common for patients to slip back into unhealthy habits and then wonder why they aren’t losing weight any more. If you’re stuck at a plateau, see if these situations sound familiar:
- Your food journal is gathering dust. Writing down everything you put into your mouth may not be your idea of a good time, but it is crucial. If you don’t record your food and drink intake, you’re not getting a true picture of how many calories you’re taking in. Hint: It’s more than you think.
- Every day is a cheat day. Because the volume of food you’re consuming now is probably far less than it was before your gastric sleeve, it’s tempting to justify calorie-heavy foods. “I don’t eat that much anyway…so this candy bar is fine.” Those indulgences add up fast, though (see above), so remember that treats are something you have once in a while—not every day.
- Caffeine is your BFF. It’s something we see all the time: Patients lean on coffee or other caffeinated drinks to keep them full. But when the caffeine wears off, withdrawal sets in and stimulates your appetite. Plus, caffeine leads to dehydration, which mimics hunger. It’s a vicious cycle. So stick to water (we recommend at least 64 ounces a day), and you’ll stay off the coffee/soda merry-go-round.
- You’re flying by the seat of your pants.Like food journaling, meal planning isn’t terribly exciting. But like the old saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Annoying but true. If you’re winging it when it comes to meals, you’re probably not getting enough of the food stuff—we’re looking at you, protein!—and relying on too many refined carbs. We usually recommend that 70-75 percent of a patient’s calories come from protein, but we’re happy to help you determine your individual range.
- Your mouth has gotten lazy. Solid proteins can be scary after gastric sleeve. But assuming you’ve been cleared to reintroduce them, you should make an effort to do so. Patients often tell us that they can’t tolerate things like chicken, and while it might be accurate early on, their minds keep telling their stomachs that it’s true long after it actually is. The result is a food aversion. So instead of getting enough healthy proteins, patients slip into a pattern of eating potatoes, ice cream, yogurt, and other “easy,” calorie-rich foods. Even with gastric sleeve, there’s no way to lose weight while eating too much ice cream.
It can be frustrating when the scale refuses to budge, but going back to basics can get it moving again. Be honest with yourself about what’s been going on in your kitchen—and what hasn’t been going on. Remember, too, that everyone’s journey is different, so never compare yourself to others. And, as always, we’re always here with advice and support every step of the way!
If you would like to learn more about the gastric sleeve surgery and how it can benefit your health, I would encourage you to read as much as you can, especially the articles on the Endobariatric blog, and watch all the episodes of The #AskDrA Show. The show answers hundreds of patient submitted questions that cover a wide range of topics.
I would also suggest visiting our website and discovering what others are saying about us, viewing the hundreds of before and after pictures and reading about the Endobariatric difference.
If you are on social media you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. If you snap, you can follow me (Dr. A) on Snapchat by entering my username: gmoalvarez