Exercise and diet are the two biggest components for weight loss success after bariatric surgery. However, working out can feel daunting if you’re just getting started. Many people don’t know where to begin or worry that they’ll injure themselves. The following are several tips to help you incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
- Begin with mini workouts. The idea of an hour-long workout may leave you overwhelmed or dismayed. However, it’s not realistic to jump into a grueling routine that doesn’t match your fitness level. Instead, aim for five-minute mini workouts. Taking this approach works in two ways. First, everyone can find five minutes to commit to exercise. Second, you’re training your mind to prioritize your health while acclimating your body to physical activity. You can build upon mini workouts five minutes at a time over several weeks. Over time, you’ll be able to work out the recommended 30-60 minutes five days a week without feeling overwhelmed.
- Set realistic goals. Undergoing bariatric surgery holds much exciting potential, and you’re likely to set several weight loss goals. However, setting the bar too high too soon can have the opposite effect. Not meeting your goals is demoralizing and can hinder your progress. Instead, set SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Of those five parameters, attainable is the most essential for establishing manageable goals.
- Move your body before meals. Exercising before meals can help establish working out as a daily habit as it conditions your brain to associate exercise as a precursor to food. You don’t need to do this for every meal or commit your entire lunch break to exercise. Mini workouts are a great choice for this. Examples include climbing flights of stairs for five minutes before starting your workday or going on a walk before you eat your lunch.
- Inject cardio into a sedentary activity. Many people spend their evenings after work watching TV, playing video games, or partaking in some other largely sedentary activity. Typical office jobs also leave employees deskbound. Consider performing simple cardio-based exercises during these periods of inactivity, such as squatting or jogging in place during commercial breaks or setting reminders to walk around for a few minutes during every hour at work.
- Make it social. Getting a friend involved in your fitness routine can help hold you accountable. It can also help curb any boredom you may associate with exercising alone. Go walking with a family member, sign up for a class with a friend, or take advantage of workplace exercise activities.
- Avoid an all-or-nothing mindset. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of skipping workouts. You may not have enough time for your intended routine, so you skip the gym altogether. An all-or-nothing mindset can make you question the point of working out and lead to long-term self-sabotage. Instead, consider what time you do have available. Even if you can’t complete a 30- to 60-minute workout, you can almost always find time for a mini workout or two.
- Loop in your bariatric surgeon. Your bariatric surgeon will send you home with several nutrition and exercise recommendations after your surgery. In the beginning, you’ll likely need to stick to walking until you recover fully from your procedure. However, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surgeon with your exercise questions. It’s also a good idea to consult with your surgeon before starting new exercise routines to avoid accidental injuries.
Weight loss after bariatric surgery requires a commitment to the bariatric diet and physical fitness. Contact us to learn more about incorporating exercise after weight loss surgery or about bariatric surgery itself.