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When people talk about stalls what exactly does that mean? Are stalls weeks, months, or what exactly.

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it's when you go through a period (usually about 1-3 weeks) when you don't lose any weight - or maybe gain and lose the same pound for a 1-3 week stretch - even though you're sticking to your program.

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Stalls are demons that play with your mind. So very annoying too. You will eventually get very used to them. You will say to yourself ' I have not lost for two weeks and am only eating 600 cals a day, I must be over eating'

In the last year I think I had 4. Which were 2 x 2 weeks and 1 x 3 weeks and 1 x 9 weeks. Its just your body having a rest and reset.

The first one usually comes in at 2-4 weeks after surgery. Someone said there are 17 thousand posts about this stall on this site alone.

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Reposting something I posted elsewhere:

First, the most common reason for any stall, including the dreaded 3-week stall is simply that you are retaining more Water. There are a few reasons this happens, but around the 3-week mark it comes down to the fact that your body is adjusting to a low carb intake after converting from glycogen to ketones for energy. More Water is needed to burn glycogen, so you were retaining more water pre-surgery than you are now that you're using primarily ketones for energy. At about the 3-week mark, your body eventually recognizes that the water loss is long term, so other mechanisms have started kicking in to start holding on to more water. This water loss due to the change between glycogen and ketones is the primary reason for "keto flu", and something that increases your risk of dehydration early after surgery.

The other "reasons" for plateaus really don't apply as much at the 3 week mark, but will become more important later in the process. Let's cover those too though so you're prepared:

  1. As you lose more weight, your overall metabolic rate will slow down. People sometimes think fat is not metabolically active, but that's not true. Less fat means your metabolism slows down, even if you retain the same amount of muscle.
  2. As you lose weight, it takes less effort to move, so the amount of calories you burn from activity also drops quite a bit.
  3. As you progress, you'll be able to eat more and especially if you're not tracking intake closely by weighing and measuring your food, you can easily be eating a lot more than you think.
  4. This one may be TMI for some, but you may simply be retaining more stool.

This is going to be hard for some people to hear, but I can tell you one thing it's not, and that's hormones. Yes, various hormonal processes negatively impact weight loss in a myriad of ways, but they don't overcome basic physics: if you eat less than you are burning, you'll lose weight. What these hormones can do if they're out of whack, is not good things like slowing your metabolism, increasing your hunger, screwing with water weight, or even fooling you into thinking you're eating less than you are.

So, with all that sciency stuff out of the way, what do we actually do if we're in a stall? Well, I think it depends on when it happens and how long it lasts:

  • If it's early (a.k.a. the 3-week stall), just keep doing what you're doing and you should be fine. I know people don't like that advice, but as I said, it's just water, so don't worry about it.
  • Later on, especially if the stall is lasting longer than 2-3 weeks. that's when I think it's important that you look closely at what you are actually burning, as well as really tracking what you are eating. If you don't know your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), you should. The closer you are to goal, the harder it is to get the balance right between intake and output to make sure you're not eating too much, so fixing this starts with knowing your BMR and accurate food logging.
  • There's a lot of anecdotal advice thrown around about "ways to break a stall", but there seems to be little scientific evidence for any of it. Most of it certainly won't hurt to try, e.g. breaking up your routine in terms of diet or exercise, but just understand that this change may or may not have had any impact. If it makes you feel better to be proactive, go for it.
  • Longer term, there is one piece of solid advice that's backed up by lots of research: Even if you don't really like working out, do it anyway. Those WLS patients that make a regular habit of exercising for 45 minutes to an hour most days a week are significantly more likely to reach their goal and maintain the weight loss. (One caveat here: significantly changing your exercise routine can make you retain water and possibly even add muscle, so don't freak out if you see a stall or even a gain.)
  • I'll take that exercise advice one step further and say you really should be doing some form of strength training. This is also backed up by lots of studies, but the great thing about strength training is that it makes your burn more calories even at rest (in other words, it increases your metabolic rate). There are lots of other benefits, but the metabolic benefit is the most germaine to the stall question. Those that do strength training are less likely to stall during weight loss.

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Weight loss stalls are not exclusive to WLS. As with any diet, the initial weight loss is only about 50% fat, the rest being Water weight. The more dehydrated you became with the initial weight loss, the longer the stall will last. As you maintain your initial weight loss during the stall, you are actually losing fat pounds as you regain the depleted hydration levels needed for the body to function properly.

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