Weight Regain after Bariatric Surgery
If, after all your hard work and weight loss efforts, you notice that suddenly, the scale is going up instead of down, don’t panic. Virtually every bariatric surgery patient will contend with some weight regain, lack of weight loss and fluctuation throughout their post-operative journey. First, assess the situation and see if you can see an immediate and obvious cause. For example:
- Are your eating habits the same as before? If not, how have they changed?
- Have you been in one exercise routine for a long time?
- Has your exercise routine slowed down?
- Have you had an excess of salty foods recently?
- Has your stress level changed recently?
A change in eating habits, increasing or even decreasing calorie intake, can affect your weight loss or maintenance. Too much food can cause weight gain, but not enough food can trigger our bodies’ starvation mode and cause us to hold on to extra weight and water. A quick chat with your nutritionist can figure out any issues.
Slowing down your exercise routine or even simply staying at one difficulty level can also cause us to hit plateaus or put on weight. It may be time to change it up or even step up the intensity level just a bit. Talk to your exercise physiologist or your personal trainer for advice on how to take your workout to the next level.
Avoid salty foods and be sure to drink plenty of water. You’ve probably heard that a hundred times, but it’s true. Just a little excess salt can cause some powerful water retention and not consuming enough H20 can cause “head hunger,” water retention and low energy.
Stress and hormone levels can often affect our weight and ability to lose weight. Assess your current lifestyle. Have there been recent stress level changes or is high stress the norm in your life? If you said yes to either, stress relief exercises may help lower your levels, which will help bring those weight gaining stress hormones back in check.
If you’ve assessed the situation and still can’t find the answer to the mystery weight gain make an appointment with your surgeon. If lifestyle issues are ruled out, the reasons for weight regain after bariatric surgery can vary and include:
- Natural plateaus during the weight loss process
- The stomach may begin to stretch in response to increased food intake over time. This is perfectly normal if the weight regain is only moderate
- Gastric bypass patients may experience a widening or stretching of the stoma – this is the valve that was surgically created between the stomach and the small intestine
- The surgical procedure is not working ideally
If no overt lifestyle reason can be determined, we may perform certain tests to verify the continued effectiveness of the primary bariatric procedure.
For those that may have a physical or procedural reasons for their weight regain, there are several minimally invasive (and even no-incision) options for restoring the procedure to its former effectiveness. This is called revisional bariatric surgery and represents an uncommon, but sometimes necessary solution to weight regain.
We encourage you to discuss your weight regain concerns with our team or consider bringing it up in support group to learn more about any possible underlying problems and to get more information on effective solutions.