It seems that at least 50% of the posts on BariatriPal are bemoaning a stall. Daily, and sometimes hourly, I am reading about how someone ONLY lost x number of pounds and now the scale hasn't moved in ___ [fill in the blank] days/months, etc. Oh no, they write, I am a failure/unique/my surgery didn't work/life is not fair, ... Why am I in a stall?
I know I am exaggerating but I think you get the idea.
Guess what? STALLS are a NORMAL part of the PROCESS of losing weight. If you want to lose weight, you will stall. Not just once, but over and over. And, guess what? A stall is where your body actually does the hard work of becoming smaller. It takes a lot of work and energy to dismantle a structure that has been holding up, in some cases, hundreds of pounds.
For those who think they have to DO something to somehow "break a stall" (in my opinion, you do not break a stall, you just ride them out), here is my response:
What can you do to "break" a stall?
1) STAY OFF THE SCALE
Relax and stay off the scale if it bothers you so much. Weigh no more than once a week, or even less often. Weighing only at your doctor's appointments early in the process is a good strategy if your mood and self-worth are dictated by the numbers on the scale.
2) PICK UP A TAPE MEASURE
In addition to using the numbers on the scale to measure your progress, take your measurements. Inches lost are also a great way to see physical progress when the scale isn't moving. Most people see the biggest physical changes in their body when the scale seems stuck.
3) TRACK YOUR Protein AND Water AND MEET OR EXCEED YOUR PROTEIN AND WATER GOAL EVERY DAY
As long as you are getting in all your protein and water and following your NUT and surgeon's instructions, you are doing what you are supposed to do.
If you aren't getting in all your protein and water, then increasing your protein and water is something you can do (and should be doing anyway whether or not you are in a stall).
If you aren't exercising, then you can exercise (and should be whether or not you are in a stall). You can start slowly by walking or even moving more around the house. Exercising will help you feel better, tone your skin and build fat-burning muscle.
5) MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR NUT
If you are unsure or unclear about what you are supposed to be, or should not be eating, then make an appointment with your NUT (which you should be doing whether or not you are in a stall).
6) REASSESS AND REEVALUATE
About the only good result I see that comes from complaining about a stall is when you take an honest look at what you are doing and realign with the program recommended by your NUT and surgeon. Have you started eating more outside of your plan? Are you restricting calories? Are you eating enough carbs and protein for your exercise? Are you taking your Vitamins? Are you eating often enough? Are you eating slowly with protein first? Sometimes, all you need to DO is go back to basics.
One of the biggest things I have noticed from the various posts is how anxious and out-of-control some people feel when they notice a stall. Journaling can help you gain some perspective and deal with some of the emotional turmoil.
-- Write about how you are feeling about the stall and your weight loss, and surgery in general.
-- Write about why you had the surgery in the first place.
-- Write about what life was like before surgery.
-- Write about what you hope and dream about accomplishing in the future.
-- Write about your fears.
-- Write about your NSVs.
-- Make a gratitude list.
-- Make a bucket list.
-- Write a letter to your old self; write a letter to your new self.
8) SEEK HELP
Stalls are when too many people seem to revert to old, counterproductive dieting behaviors (restricting calories, over exercising, bingeing, etc.). If this is you, then another thing you can DO is to talk to a counselor or therapist or consider joining a bariatric support group or a twelve-step group like Overeater's Anonymous.
The discomfort of being in a stall can also drive people to develop new, unhealthy coping habits or even transfer addictions. This is where you want to marshall all the resources you have available to you and use them.
The last, and most important thing you can DO is:
9) EMBRACE THE STALL
Stalls are a normal and natural part of the process.
Our bodies are complex systems and not simple machines.
Stalls go hand-in-hand with weight loss.
If you had Weight Loss Surgery, then you probably want to lose a significant amount of weight. So, get ready to embrace the many stalls you will experience as your body is transformed. It will be worth it.