• Janis Schole

Stalls, Plateaus and Brick Walls

Jan. 26, 2019

I'm here to tell you that if you're trying to lose weight, you have to be more stubborn than the stall or plateau you might be battling. It takes as long as it takes - simple as that. You can't let your frustration cause you to give up and revert back to old, bad habits, because then you'll not only NOT lose weight, youTT'll gain back what you've already lost, and that's just tragic, after all your hard work! Don't punish yourself like that - you don't deserve it. Repeat after me: "I'M NOT A QUITTER!"

After a year and 7 months of slow and steady weight loss through portion control and healthier eating habits, I had my bariatric surgery (gastric sleeve) on Oct 3. Although my team at the Edmonton Bariatric Specialty (Weight Wise) Clinic told me that I had already lost 38% of my starting weight, and that I should not expect to lose any more after surgery, I didn't believe them. You only need to lose 10% of your starting weight to qualify for the surgery, and most people lose more weight after the surgery than before (which makes sense, since that's the main point of the surgery, afterall). However, on average, ande overall, people only lose half of their EXCESS weight and keep that off. That means that, although they are much healthier than they were, people who've had weight loss surgery can realistically expect to still have some excess weight. That's certainly better than staying at their highest weight or continuing to gain, as most of us were. The surgery is only a tool to help us feel full faster and we still have to make good choices about the foods and drinks that we consume, and how often we eat.

After my surgery, I was told to focus on maintaining my weight. Being stubborn, I wanted to keep losing. My body, however, decided that it was now time to have my first stall/plateau since I started my weight loss journey. For almost 3 months, I fought the same 5 pounds, up and down, which was frustrating.

I'm now happy to report that, for the last several weeks, the stall seems to have broken, and I'm back to losing consistently again. I have now lost a total of 165 lbs since my highest weight and hope to keep that number moving upward. I know it's not impossible, just against the "law of averages" lol. I appreciate that the clinic is trying to help me be realistic and guard against developing an eating disorder (becoming underweight), but I'm still a long way from being at an ideal body weight.

If I never lose another pound, I'm proud of how many healthy habits I've adopted, and how improved my mental health has become. I've cut so many junky things out of my diet cold turkey (replacing them with healthy alternatives) and changed my thinking patterns dramatically. I'm working at not being an all-or-nothing person, following the 80-20 rule. This is a flexible approach to weight loss and all about balance and moderation. It's a concept that never exists in a fad/crash diet because 20% of the time, you can choose less healthy food and indulge yourself, so you don't eventually rebel against deprivation.

Bariatric surgery doesn't let you stop making good choices for your success - that's still ultimately up to you. I'm glad I had the surgery, as I need every tool there is to overcome the lure of over-indulging in foods that will do me harm. The restriction that has been brought about by my gastric sleeve surgery (giving me an 80% smaller stomach pouch), certainly makes me feel full with less food. Although it helps me with portion control, I still have to limit how often I eat, and chose low-calorie, healthy foods. And I still have to remain determined and patient so I can ultimately conquer each plateau as it comes.

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