In a current discussion over in the OH mini-challenge group, we're discussing stalls and what causes them and what you can do about them. I dug up this older post of mine from our YahooGroup and thought I'd share it here since it wasn't already here!
This is one of the truths of WLS journeys... You have the surgery and leave the hospital expecting to just melt away the pounds. Well, sometimes exactly that happens. But, not usually. Most of us experience several stalls along the way. Some lose slower just because they started out lighter and had less to lose. Others lose slowly despite starting at 300+ pounds. There is just no way to predict how you'll lose. It is, for this very reason, SO important that you measure your body! I just wish I'd measured before surgery so I knew where I truly started out. I had already lost 40 pounds by the time I measured! Who knows how many inches 40 pounds on a 410 pound body could have been!
You lose weight sort of like descending a stairway in a skyscraper...
You go down a couple of flights and then you hit a landing where you turn and prepare to go down some more. At some landings, there are doors to leave the stairway and stray from your path. The trick is knowing that you don't have to go through that door and that by just staying on the path, things will continue as they are supposed to. Many people hit a stall (or landing!) and just because they are not losing weight, they let their eating habits stray a bit and maybe eat things that they shouldn't and thereby stall even longer. Those that stick to their plan and don't stray eventually pick up and take off on the losing again. Too often though, someone who is at a stall takes the time to start logging their food/water/protein info and finds that part of the stall is their own fault! They are not eating enough or are eating too much of things they shouldn't. They are often not getting in enough liquids and protein each day. Then, when they adjust for those things, the losing takes off again!
For me, I lost 24 pounds preop on a 1000 calorie/100 carb diet to shrink my liver. I was not required to lose even one pound, but I wasn't allowed to gain even one pound either or they cancel your surgery and put you on a diet! How's THAT for incentive to do your best? So, 24 pounds down by surgery day put me at 386. I left the hospital at 391 thanks to IV fluids. Even starting out that heavy, at 2 mos postop, I was only down 40 more pounds and I stalled for two weeks. I did what SO many do--I freaked out! What if that was it? What if I never lost another pound? OMG!! Then, all of a sudden, I lost 5 pounds and it started again. By 4 mos out, I was down 100 pounds. Then I stalled for THREE weeks! And this continued. I would lose for a couple of weeks and then stall for a couple. By 7 mos out, I was losing only 4 to 8 pounds in an average month and some months lost only the week after my period. BUT, I lost 100 pounds in 2006 and 105 in 2007. I hope to lose at least 20 in 2008 and STAY at 185ish with no true hope of plastics to take care of this excess skin. If at some point in the future I can manage some plastics, I may eventually see a weight closer to the "normal" range for me (122 to 159 is the normal BMI for me). But, I'll be happy--truly happy--at any weight that starts with a ONE!
FOLLOW-UP, Jan 2009:
The above post was written in January 2008. I hoped to lose 20 pounds in 2008. I did not. I am still, all these many months later, maintaining between 202 and 207. Am I okay with it? Yes and no... Yes, if I can stay at this weight range for the rest of my life (without plastics), and not do so via vigorous diet methods, then I am happy. I look and feel TONS better! But, if I am unable to maintain and stay here for the long haul, then I am not sure what I'll do. I wonder at times if my stoma isn't stretched as I know I can eat more than I expected to be able to... But, I"ve not pursued that in any way at all either. I eat sensibly. I get my protein and liquids in. I'm not doing a huge amount of exercise. Some days, I must admit that I didn't exercise at all other than taking the stairs and parking farther out, etc. But, even when I do pursue a period of regular exercise, it seems to make no real difference and I seem to stay in this same old weight range. I go as high as 212 to 214 once in a while the week before my period, so I know that it is probably water weight and munchies that I can try and blame on good ole' aunt flow. But, I also know that the munchies thing is in my control too. It seems that the weight just suddenly disappears a couple days after my period ends though, so I've not really stressed over it either. What can I do? Not much other than sticking to the rules for the most part. What should I do? Kick my own ass in gear and start exercising regularly and being religious about my daily food plan. Will I? Probably not.... And, I blame part of this complacency on the fact that I can maintain by just doing what I am doing... Ugh! I hope it lasts!