Find Your Readiness: Then push your readiness just a little bit further than you thought you could go.
Let's talk about stress. Exercise reduces stress (D'oh, you knew that!) Walking for a minimum of 30-40 minutes a day improves your ability to cope with stressful situations in life, these are facts all facts. As you build you endurance to exercise, you will find you can walk longer, faster, and have more energy throughout your workouts. That's why you don’t need a supplement to “energize you” in order to get motivated for your workouts. Some products are being pushed on the bariatric community like a drugs or candy. Just as drugs are bad, many supplements are bad, m'kay? Be mindful of where you invest your money, all the nutrients you need can be gotten through food AND a good bariatric multi-vitamin. I won't plug any vitamins, I believe that several bariatric supplement companies make very good products, find what you like.
One of the reasons we should all hire a good personal trainer for at least 6 months is to learn how to push to your bodies' limit. The experience of having someone assess where your athletic ability is then push it further should help propel you to learn this skill too. If you can't, keep with a trainer until you learn to do it on your own. You want to push your body to its limit without overdoing it on a daily basis. You should feel sore the next day, but it should continually be a mild to moderate soreness or muscle ache. That’s the muscle breaking itself down and building back up again. This is why protein is such an important element in our diets. Think of it like this, in order for your muscle to melt your fat, you must give it protein for fuel, (not sugar or non-complex carbohydrates.) With that muscle burning like an engine, you’ll sleep better at night because your body (engine) must go to work on your day's fuel supply.
I frequently use Walk and Talk therapy with my clients. We will walk while we are in session because the distraction of walking often opens up the psyche to discussing what’s going on with them they might not otherwise talk about on the couch. We talk about their goals, beliefs, and action plans. Is there someone bullying them in school (or at work, home) and how do they handle that stress without getting angry but addressing it confidently? Are they self conscious about their body? Is there a voice inside saying, "What will people think when this 'fat girl' is working out?" Who cares, don't allow others to hurt you with words about the good you are doing for yourself. See how it will only holding back when we to invest other people's energy into our own potential? Then can we move forward as necessary into doing for ourselves in day to day life. If there is an internal dialogue of lies and negativity to one’s self, there will always be lies to others. Stop caring what other people think in order to care for yourself.
What’s negative in your mind? How are you internally holding yourself back? Are you pushing yourself to keep up with others because they tell you you should be a certain way? There are many in this community that want to fit you into an unrealistic mold that isn’t you. Their expression of what a post-op should be is their own, and they don’t really take into account where an individual is ready to commit. Individuality and self assessment is key, journaling is therapy. Blogging is therapy. Take a moment each day to envision yourself as successful. What does that visual look like? If it is merely a picture in your mind of a thinner you, you must go deeper. What does your like look like as a healthier you?
How do you define your successes up until this point? Where have you found the most joy in being successful in life to this point? When do you feel the most pride in your accomplishments?
Now, the most important step… FIND YOUR FAILURES. SPEAK THEM. BE HONEST WITH SOMEONE YOU TRUST ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE OR ARE NOT DOING. THEN, Realize that there are elements working for you and against you, hidden and known, that you must understand will always be there, whether you know about them or not. The plan for you is what you make of it today, tomorrow and beyond. There will be setbacks, there will be joys, there should be pain (physical, mental, emotional) in the growth experienced from losing weight.
Do not be anxious to lose more than your body wants to lose at one time by stressing over weight loss. Deal with implementing your health plan into your life with a positive attitude and a can do spirit! Try to not pass much judgment on others, they are dealing with their own story. Ultimately, do not lie to yourself about where you are in your journey. The reflection we see of ourselves is the most important.
As I lost the weight with my Lapband, my body became a deflated balloon. Before surgery, I had few body image issues, I really accepted my weight while trying to change it and embraced healthy living. I never had a hard time meeting people or having friends around me that loved and supported me. I worked a lot and I bore emotional burdens on my sleeve. I was often in stressful jobs, working very hard for little money as a mental health counselor in economically disparaged post-Katrina New Orleans. Driving stresses me out, I was on the road in my car for 12 hours a day or more every weekday and worked at least 4-6 hours on the weekends, crisis dependent. I was on call 24/7 and often had a patient that was overwhelmingly needy at 1am on a Saturday morning, or 4am on a Sunday. Frequent trips downtown to University Hospital where psyche beds had been cut in half (twice while I was there.) Taking time for myself to do what I needed was exhaustive, but much of it was due to a lack of daily/weekly planning ahead on my part.
While my work life was very chaotic, my rock was my boyfriend, fiancé and now husband. He has continually been the encourager for my healthy eating habits, he also doesn't enable sweets. This was a big problem for me before surgery. Today, it is rare for sugar to be in our house. I keep raw cane sugar available for when he might want a brown-sugary oatmeal cereal but use it for nothing else. He does, on occasion, want cupcakes and I will bake those for him, the request happens only once every other month and I don’t keep that stuff around.
Set up your living eco-system with positive reinforcements and know your nutritive necessities. This means scheduling and keeping to a commitment to self care. But this journey… it is all about you. Who you are, is not who someone else is. Where you are and you are ready to commit varies from one person to the next... but find your change today. Save the ones you're not ready to spend and work with those that you feel comfortable and are ready for.