Weight Regain after Bariatric Surgery

weight regain after surgery

By Sally-Anne Livock
Bariatric Dietitian

What is the expected weight loss for a patient in the first year of surgery?

The total percentage of weight loss will vary for each patient, and there is no set number which we work on for how much you should lose in the first year. Our statistics show that our patients who had the Gastric Sleeve lost anywhere between 42% –  78% of their pre-surgery excess body weight. On average, patients lose up to 60% of their excess weight following surgery.

To give you an idea of your first year milestones, see below:

Expect a quick surge in weight loss the first 3 months

During this phase of your weight loss journey, you will gradually transition from consuming only liquids to eating solid food again. As a result, you could lose between 15 – 20kgs in the first 3 months.

Your weight loss should start to level out at 6 months

At this stage, you will have likely lost between 30 – 40% of your excess body weight. In addition, you should be averaging a weekly loss of 0.5 – 1 kg.

You should be close to your goal weight one year post surgery

Some people reach their weight loss goal within a year or are close to reaching it, but not everyone will. As each weight loss journey is individual, goals and results will vary.

At what point in your journey will your weight plateau?

We often see our patients getting to a plateau at 10-12 weeks and then again around 6 months (although this can vary from patient to patient). There are many factors which contribute to whether you reach your plateau earlier or later in your first year post surgery. Exercise and ensuring you are eating the required amount of foods are the two main influencers of this potential plateau.

Is it normal to regain weight post-surgery and what can cause this?

Absolutely. At around 2 years post surgery you will most likely notice some weight regain, especially if you have exceeded your goal weight in this time. This is just your body settling to a new healthy level.

Another reason you may have weight regain post surgery is if you are not embracing the tool you have been given and not listening to your body. If you go back to old habits and behaviours, you will likely find that over time you will start to gain weight.

How to get off a plateau?

It is important to assess where you are at in your journey when you plateau. If you have reached your goal weight or even exceeded your goal weight, then getting off a plateau may not be necessary as your body is comfortable and healthy at this weight.

If you have not however reached your goal and you still have excess weight, then we suggest:

  • Exercise regularly. A bit of cardio and weights is best for weight loss
  • Eat enough – Ensure you are having regular meals throughout the day
  • Ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs. If you are not getting enough protein and good vitamins, then your body will not be as effective and efficient at losing the excess weight
  • DON’T depend on scales completely! It is very easy to become obsessed with a number, and forget that you may be losing cm’s. How you feel and the cm’s that are coming off are much more important than a number on the scales anyway. Don’t forget if you are exercising, muscle weights more!

Are you ready to find out more?

Call us today for a complimentary 30-minute consultation with our Bariatric Nurse Educator or one of our Bariatric coordinators.