The Weight Loss Plateau: This Too Shall Pass



By Ayotunde Adeyeri, M.D., FASMBS, Medical Director

Hitting a plateau or weight loss “stall” is common for just about everyone. While it’s certainly frustrating, it’s essential to understand this is a temporary situation and weight loss will resume. Generally speaking, a weight loss stall happens two to three times during the first 18 months after bariatric surgery. But why?

During your post-op weight loss, the body will eventually need a ‘time out” to stabilize itself and adjust to your lower nutrition intake, smaller size and increased calorie burn due to increased physical activity. Generally, stalls can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, even though you’re staying on track. Expect from one to three plateaus in the first year following bariatric surgery.


A weight-loss plateau usually occurs when your metabolism slows down to meet the needs of your lower body weight; you weigh less now, so your calorie burn rate is lower.

Nine tips to overcome plateaus and boost metabolism


How do you overcome this temporary metabolic stall? Practice these strategies below to re-ignite your calorie-burning engine:

  1. Change-up your exercise routine to recalibrate your metabolic calorie burn. Switch from walking to lifting light weights or joining a group exercise class.
  2. Weigh yourself less often.
  3. Stay committed to food journaling to document any questionable nutrition issues creeping in.
  4. Eat all that protein to help retain muscle, even in shake form.
  5. Drink 64 ounces every day.
  6. Sleep eight hours nightly and keep a set schedule, even on weekends.
  7. Don’t miss your Bariatric Support Group meetings –talk about your plateau, get advice & support!
  8. Continue to take all of your prescribed bariatric vitamins.

What not to do during a bariatric weight loss stall


Your frustration is understandable—you’re doing everything right, yet the scale won’t budge. Don’t dwell on this weight loss pit stop and don’t turn the scale in the wrong direction by falling prey to these caveats:

  • First and foremost, don’t turn to food, alcohol or sugar-laden drinks in frustration.
  • Don’t reduce your calorie intake, water consumption or protein requirements which may confuse your body and hinder your progress.
  • Take your mind off the plateau and remove your feet from the scale for a few weeks. Focus on fitness, looking great and feeling healthy.
  • Honor your success – try on favorite clothing you wore before surgery.

Lastly, remember the good news is that a plateau usually happens after you have lost a significant amount of weight—so congratulations!

To meet with Dr. Adeyeri to talk about your health goals and possible surgical weight loss, call our friendly team of bariatric professionals at 732-217-3897 to confirm a private consultation within the next two weeks.