The folks over at Zen Habits recently posted a pretty good article on The Simple Fitness Rules, and I thought I would make some observations on them from a WLS dude perspective.
They start out with two simple rules…
- Get your body moving on a regular basis; and
- Eat a moderate amount of real, whole foods (with occasional indulgences).
Number 1 is something as a WLS patient we’ve been hammered about since that first informational session. Just moving (something beyond our normal routine) is important. And the moderate amount of food thing, well… we’ve got a tool to help us out in that department. So it’s the expanded version of this I want to look at more.
- Get Moving
- Enjoy Yourself
- Slowly Add Intensity
- Minimal Equipment
- Just a Few Exercises
- Eat Real Foods
- Eat Less
- Give it Time
Get Moving – like #1 on the short list, just get and move. In the beginning right after surgery… doing dishes by hand instead of stuffing them in the dishwasher could be enough. How about vacuuming the house an extra time or two this week? Walk to the corner store to get a bottle of water once in awhile. the point is to just start doing it.
Enjoy Yourself – Ok, vacuuming may not fall in to this category. How about some gardening? Invite the neighbors over for some badminton? Find something you enjoy doing. Exercise does not have to be a pain. And while some of these things won’t get you your daily exercise, by mixing it up throughout the week it can help you from getting bored.
Slowly Add Intensity – The first time I walked around my block after surgery, about a 3/4 mile trip, it took me over half an hour, and I had to stop and rest once. Now I could do that same block in less than 15 minutes. What ever exercise you find that you enjoy, build on it. If you walk the same route or distance each day, time it and try to do just a bit better today than you did yesterday.
Minimal Equipment – The Zen Habits author said it right… keep it simple. I have a gym membership, but I’ve only been once post-op. It’s too nice out to be in a stuffy, smelly gym. I’ll keep the membership so I have a place to go walk come winter (I am in Minnesota after all), but for now I get by with walking, my bike, and a resistance band for some upper body strength training. The home fitness market is big, and you can get things like resistance bands, balance balls, and more at very reasonable prices. Another way to keep it simple, if you have kids… take them to the local playground and play with them. And while they’re playing on the swings, try a few chin-ups on the monkey-bars, or if the slides not being used, try climbing it a few times. These little things can add up quick.
Just a Few Exercises – The Zen Habits author talks about just doing a few different types of exercises… and I agree to an extent. Muscles have great memory, and if you do the same couple of exercises over an extended period of time they will remember the motions and you’ll get less results from them. So yea, maybe do just a few for a few weeks, then mix in some new new ones for a few weeks then go back to the original ones for awhile, etc. Keep those muscles guessing!
Eat Real Foods and Eat Less – Ok, for the most part as a WLS patient, we have these covered. RNY, we have this thing called a pouch that dictates how much we can eat at any given time, and if we eat too much sugars or fried stuff, most of us are going to dump. Banded folks, they have more flexibility on the what…. BUT, it doesn’t mean we can just go on automatic pilot. Sure, early on it can be a struggle to even just remember to eat at times, but as we progress we probably have to pay more attention to what we eat then most “normal” people. There are ways to eat around the pouch and bands… something we need to keep in mind at all times.
Give it Time – This is huge. yea, with WLS (especially RNY), we see some results pretty fast in the weight loss side. But because of the protein thing, you will lose some muscle. period. And it will take time to get it back (and no small amount of effort either). My nurse told me that dudes can see quite a bit of muscle loss early on, but around the six-month mark is when they start gaining it back again.