Exercise – YES YOU CAN! Part II

Welcome to part two; last month I focused on your homecoming from surgery and the start of this new incredible life journey.  We now continue…

Disclaimer: Before starting any exercise program, please consult with your healthcare provider.


Months Four – Six: First thing to do is figure out where you are now!

Chart your progress you move into this second phase.  And be sure to celebrate your success!  Everyone recovers differently and I am sure that if your surgeon provides you access to a monthly support group you are seeing all kinds of results.  Remember the only results that matter (to you) are yours!  If you are new to this blog, check out last month’s to see about getting started!

  • Continue on in your progress journal (I call mine a “Juicy Life Journal,”) and note the following in it:
    • Height, current weight and measurements. You can measure wherever you like, the key to self-measurement is consistency (use the same landmarks we discussed last month)
    • Take a walk in your neighborhood; note how far you go in 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Use a pedometer or landmark to track your progress and note the difference in your results.
    • If you are able to do floor work, see how many crunches you can do until you are tired; time yourself for one minute. If not – don’t worry, you will get there soon! If you were not comfortable on the floor before – you may well be now (depending upon where you started) and this is a great simple assessment for abdominal fitness.
  • Continue to REFRAME – Workout = play date! What we tell ourselves MATTERS, and you are now feeling well enough to be moving more, playing more, back at work, back in your life!  What becomes important now is to see what circumstances, foods or emotions trigger negative behavior; and to make good choices about what to do.  In terms of fitness, this may mean continuing on with the basic program, ramping up a bit, or making any changes that suit both your recovery and your physical and emotional goals around fitness!  As several people shared last moth – movement is key in both recovery and long term success!
  • TOOLS – If you are ready to ramp up your fitness program, then this months’ video will provide a few more challenges.  If not then after your assess what progress you have made, continue to find forms of movement (play) that appeal to you and that you are regularly willing to do.  As the weather turn colder often we switch up our fitness routines (outdoors to indoors, we may start to bike more because the temperatures are cooler, the same for hiking).  If most comfortable indoors, remember that your fitness fun start with you (and your attitude)!  Also, truly USE your environment – as noted last month counter tops make great stabilizer bars for doing squats, leg lifts and modified pushups! Use detergent bottles (2 of the same weight) to create free weights for working upper arms and shoulders.  If you are happily seeing results and your budget allows for it – have some fun finding free weights, exercise bands, etc and find ways to challenge yourself.  Check out local stores and what’s on sale; you can also find gently used equipment on Craigslist or resale sporting goods shops). This can be done in-person or online – or take a friend and make it a fun excursion!
  • Set some realistic goals for the next three months that continue to STRETCH you slightly beyond your comfort zone.  There is a sweet-spot in our fitness comfort zone; one where we know we are improving and challenging ourselves and we are successful (we are not expecting so much that we set ourselves up for failure.  SMART goals are the best (small, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive). Some sample goals can be (these are bumped up from last month):
    • Goal (e.g. I will schedule a work out/play date 3 – 4 times per week for 1 hour – or whatever you feel is a stretch from Part One)
    • Goal (e.g. I will attend my surgeon/MD support groups as scheduled.)
    • Goal (e.g. I will continue to follow nutrition guidelines of my chosen program and make my food choices healthfully.)
    • Goal (e.g I will make success happen by preparing for exercise, having the equipment available that I use and ensuring that I am uninterrupted during that time.)
    • Goal (e.g. I will continue to hold a family meeting once a week to discuss my progress and how I am feeling).  If your family/friends have been supportive – this is a great time to say THANKS!
  • If you got yourself an exercise buddy – keep at it.  Make the walks, hikes, routines more challenging and full of fun.  If you found it difficult to work out around others, give it another try.  As you lose weight and become more comfortable with yourself and your body – you may find that working out with a friend or in small groups can increase the fun; not create discomfort.  If you are NOT ready for that step then no worries.  That day will come as long as you maintain a positive attitude and keep going forward!  As mentioned, always be sensitive to your own emotional needs around this. Some of us don’t care what others think/say; some of us care deeply. There is no right/wrong – there is just the reality of how you feel. Be kind to yourself!
  • Make time in your calendar (for your fitness, support groups, etc). Make yourself a priority.
  • Be sure to adjust your clothing sizes as you lose weight.  Clothes that hang on you can create skin problems; try to find a local clothing exchange, consignment shop or Good Will where you can obtain inexpensive clothes in the correct size!  I always advise NOT to purchase high quality or expensive clothing during this period.  Although it may fit you now, you are going to continue to lose weight at a rapid rate and it is better to save your money for high quality purchases when your weight has stabilized.  The only exception I made to that rule for myself was shoes (I lost a shoe size and width) – because you are walking and moving a lot shoes that fit are important!
  • In your juicy life journal – take some time each day for writing about how you are doing.  You will have begun to notice differences in your body and this may spur some emotions – be aware of how you are doing.  Keep your gratitude journal – and find your three things daily that you are grateful for.  Life is much more abundant when lived in gratitude!
  • Keep challenging the status quo – continue to really look at your life and become more aware of your daily activity choices (are you parking farther away to encourage walking); are you sitting too long and not moving; are you making the most of your house cleaning chores in terms of movement (try it with upbeat music)!  As movement becomes easier, give in to those impulses to explore a neighborhood, go to a park, and walk the dog a bit farther…it is all good!

Phase 2 (3-4 times per week)

FOCUS: Set up your routine (e.g. schedule your workout time). Remember that YOU are a priority and keep these appointments with yourself. This will be an exciting time – reconnecting with your muscles, recovering from surgery, starting to build new healthy habits that you can keep a lifetime! You will be seeing your health care providers regularly and you will garner support patient groups, family and friends.

You all ready have the basics, so lets’ change it up a bit!  Keep the stretching as a short warm up (you can also stretch while you walk); I find the best time to stretch is while I am getting up in the morning.  Greet the new day, stretch out the kinks from a good nights’ sleep and enjoy your day!


To use the video, review part one VIDEO and this part, and then plan an exercise routine. I have included an excel sheet that you can customize for your own use to chart your progress. You can find it HERE.  Just scroll down the page to the link to the tracking guide!


  • Stretching– Start with a stretch (there are some great books out on what these exercises look like). I am partial to the books by Hollis Lance Leibman as they have great pictures! You can choose to work standing, sitting or on the floor- that depends on your present fitness level. Good Stretches include:
    • Neck stretch and head roll
    • Arm Stretches (triceps, shoulder, bicep)
    • Ab and Side Stretches
    • Standing Quad Stretch (If you can’t reach your ankle with your hand, use a belt to loop around your ankle and pull up – great trick until you are more flexible.)
    • Standing Hamstring Stretch
    • Calf Stretch , Ankle Roll
  • Free Weights (Use routine from last month; increase reps to 12 and sets to 3)
      • Bicep & Triceps Curls
      • Overhead Press (shoulder press)
      • NEW:  Pushups with Bosu
      • Lateral Raises
      • Squats
      • Squats with Arm Curls
      • NEW:  Squats with Medicine Ball (video)
  • Muscle Toning
    • Knee Raises (standing or seated)
    • Leg Raises (with support)
    • Side Lunges (side stepping)
    • NEW:  BOSU Lunges (video)
  • Abs & Floor Work
    • NEW:  Elbow Braced Leg raises
    • NEW:  Elbow Braced Legs/Bicycle
    • NEW:  Crunch with Bicycle
  • Cardio
    • Walking
    • Stair climb
    • If you have home equipment, treadmill with incline

How to Progress:

    • Increase weight of the free-weights
    • Increase the number of sets or reps you are doing
    • For Walking/Treadmill: increase speed, add some hills (or incline), go longer distance!

This is PLAY TIME so keep it fun! If walking outside is not possible, remember that many local malls open early and have a mall-walker program – get a buddy and window shop!

Please be sure to let me know what exercises you like and how you are doing with implementing your exercise program! As you start these you will find that you develop some favorites; which ones are yours?


I will cover months seven – nine; thinking long term, redefine your expectations, don’t stop!


If you want something – let me know by commenting on the blog. Remember that this is for you!

Part III

To view part III of this series, click here.

About the Author:
Jill C. Williams, MS, CPT, is a duodenal switch success story; going from 330 pounds in 1998 to 130 lbs today. She is a certified personal trainer, personal and professional development coach and runs a post-op obesity surgery program that combines 1:1 coaching, personal training and group support. Her goal is to see that everyone who undergoes weight loss surgery achieves their goals! To learn more about Jill, please visit www.jcwilliamsgroup.com or email her at jillw@jcwilliamsgroup.com.

4 Comments for this Post
  • Pingback: Obesity Action Coalition » Exercise – Yes You Can! Part III

  • Gwen Coble
    September 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Thank you for your article. I found this site through a friend, Nataisha Ramirez (Size Healthy).
    Your information combined with her motivational skills will help me to win the battle of obesity.

    I can exercise and I will!

    • Jill Williams
      September 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Use all the resources at your disposal to help create success in your life! Congratulations on your great attitude; I have found that in my life attitude = 80% of my success and fortitude/persistence = 20%!

      Start with SMART goals (outlined in Part 1) to ensure that you set yourself up to be successful! I have been blessed with 15+ years of a new life; and I am filled with both gratitude and attitude :>

      Please feel free to email me privately or through this blog is you have any questions, or just need some motivation to continue on your journey towards a body you love and amazing health!


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