October 13th, 2020
Weight regain is known as one of the most impacting long-term complications post bariatric surgery, though there is currently no clear definition to what exactly weight regain means. A recent poll from the International Bariatric Club, a group of experts in the field of bariatrics, determined that the two most favorable definitions of weight regain are regaining weight to achieve a BMI above 35", and/or "an increase in weight of above 10 kg (22 lbs.) from the patients lowest post-operative weight", respectively. No matter your definition, if you are a post bariatric surgery patient who is experiencing weight regain there is no denying it is frustrating, and can sometimes lead to feelings of defeat, anger, or even depression.
It is nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly what causes weight regain. Mechanisms behind weight regain stem from lifestyle, mental health, hormonal changes, surgical factors, or combinations of any of the previous mentioned.2 Behavioral drift, the slow movement away from a behavior or skill, is also common among patients experiencing post-surgical weight regain.3
If this is happening to you, your first thought might be "I failed". Rest assured, this is far from the truth. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, "As many as 50 percent of patients may regain a small amount of weight (approximately 5 percent) two years or more following their surgery."4 While some weight regain may be tolerable, if you are feeling that your weight regain is getting out of control, here are 5 recommendations to help get back on track.
Before making any changes, it is important to consult with your doctor and bariatric team to ensure they are appropriate for you.