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What causes slow weight loss after weight loss surgery?

After surgery, there is an optimal window of weight loss, in which the body will lose weight quite rapidly. If weight loss isn’t occurring at the expected rate, there may be a few factors to consider that could be impacting you progress:


  • Portion sizes

Portion sizes will reduce after surgery however we often find that our clients are surprised at just how small the recommended portion sizes actually are. Between 1-3 months after surgery a meal should be roughly ¼ -½ cup in size, ½ cup at around 6 months and approximately 1 cup after twelve months*


  • Avoid snacking “just because”


It is common, and very easy, to go back to old habits pre-surgery. After surgery, snacks are not usually required as the stomach is much smaller. Just like with any weight loss journey, excessive calories can halt, and reverse, weight loss. Snacking out of habit, or non-hungry eating, can be common, but is something that can be minimised when practicing mindful eating. We have written a post about non-hungry eating and tips to avoid it here:


  • Stress, unresolved stress

Sometimes, even the healthiest meal plans and exercise regime is not enough when stress comes into play. High stress in life can disturb weight loss post-surgery. If there is something going on in your life that is causing you significant stress, it is important to discuss this with someone you feel safe to do so. If not a family member or a friend, possibly a counsellor or psychologist


  • Higher calorie beverages

Liquid calories can impact our weight loss just as much as the food we chew on does! Higher calorie drinks such as alcohol, soft drinks, juices, and some smoothies or milkshakes can increase the amount of calories in the stomach in liquid form. It is very important to fill up on a healthy meal, as these liquid calories can prevent weight loss quite drastically. Opt for lower calorie drinks such as mineral waters, or tea and coffee.


  • Long-term lifestyle changes

While weight loss surgery can kick start weight loss, weight regain can be common if healthy lifestyle habits are not in place. Consuming poor quality foods, snacking and a lack of physical activity can all prevent weight loss, even in the optimal weight loss window after surgery. New lifestyle habits can be very difficult to learn, but they are extremely important for optimal weight loss after surgery.


These are only a small list of common issues that are faced after weight loss surgery.

If you are concerned about your rate of weight loss or eating habits, feel free to book an appointment with one of our dietitians to discuss treatment options, including a possible ‘re-set diet’.


* Please note this is general guidance