Exercise – YES YOU CAN! Part III

Welcome to part three; last month I focused on months four – six and ramping up your movement and play time!  We now continue…

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

Months Seven – Nine (and beyond) - First thing to do is figure out where you are now!

Chart your progress you move into this third 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 Part 1 and Part 2 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). As your weight-loss slows (and timing of that will depend on how much you had to lose), you may want to start weighing monthly and taking measurements every two to three months.
  • Take a walk in your neighborhood; note how far you go in 30 minutes. Use a pedometer or landmark to track your progress and note the difference in your results. If this is your first walk for 30 minutes, this is your benchmark to measure against next time.
  • 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.  The crunch test is generally done till exhaustion (can’t do any more) so if this is your first time doing it, just time how long you last. This will be your benchmark for the future!

Continue to REFRAME – Workout = play date! What we tell ourselves MATTERS, and you are now 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, keep challenging yourself, and making changes that work toward your physical and emotional goals around fitness!  Exercise, nutrition and attitude will continue to be your guideposts for the rest of your life; know who you are, what you want, and be honest with yourself and others. That is the simplest way to stay on track!

TOOLS – At this point, you may want to join a gym or form a play-group of your own that walks together, hikes, bikes, takes on the challenging hills, and in general, enjoys the gift of weight-loss and more physical ease (and strength)! As the weather turns colder, often we switch up our fitness routines. Depending upon where you live, there are new opportunities to play outdoors, raking leaves, closing down the summer garden and preparing the soil for winter. As the months progress, there is ice skating, sledding (a great place to walk up the hill and sail on down). There is building snow-people with your family and friends – lots of options!  If you are most comfortable indoors, remember that your fitness fun starts with you (and your attitude)! Also, truly USE your environment – create reasons to take the stairs, unload the car yourself (instead of asking for help); clean your house yourself. You would be amazed how much energy can go into a good kitchen floor mopping and using machines does not count!

  • Creating a home gym – It is always a great idea to have some equipment at home whether you have a gym membership or not! What I recommend for a great standard home gym is the following:
    • Free weights (MEN: 5, 10, 15 pounds)  (WOMEN: 3, 5, 8 pounds) You can start with these and always increase the weight. Great for upper body work, adding additional challenge to static movements and using in conjunction with balance exercise (BOSU, and other). A great resource to get started with purchasing free weights and access to lots of YouTube video classes, go to exercise.about.com/cs/exerciseworkouts/a/weight101.htm.
    • BOSU, balance board, wobble board, etc. – There are many pieces of equipment out there that challenge your balance and allow your whole body to participate in every exercise!  As noted in Part 2, you can use the BOSU to assist with lunges, pushups and sit-ups, so I recommend this equipment.  They also have stability (Swiss) balls which are another excellent home gym addition!  exercise.about.com/cs/exercisegear/a/bosu_2.htm.
  • Set some realistic goals for the next three months that continue to STRETCH you slightly beyond your comfort zone. Some sample goals can be (these are bumped up from last month):
    • Goal (e.g. I will schedule a work out/play date four to five times per week for one hour – or whatever you feel is a stretch from Part 2.)
    • Goal (e.g. I will continue to follow nutrition guidelines of my chosen program and make my food choices healthfully.) You may choose to eliminate sugar or flour products if you find those are trigger foods – that is entirely up to you!
    • 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.)  Be protective of your play time!  Schedule it and don’t let it be interrupted.
    • 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 and not create discomfort. If you are NOT ready for that step, then this is an area to work on with yourself and your journal, with a friend, coach, etc.  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 and keep yourself a priority. The farther out we get from our surgery and the more success we have can lead us to feeling complacent about our continued progress and success. I urge you to NEVER forget that the surgery is a TOOL, not a cure. Be mindful of this as you make your lifestyle choices.
  • As discussed in Part 2, wear clothes that fit and continue to shop for low-cost serviceable clothes until you have completed your weight-loss. If you are planning to have plastic surgery, it is advisable to be at a weight you have maintained for six or more months prior to surgery, and be sure to be as fit as possible prior to surgery.  Good muscle tone and nutrition will speed your healing process.
  • 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! This is a lifelong habit for me; and one that reminds me daily how blessed I am!
  • Keep challenging the status quo – as you lose your weight and approach your goal, there will be new challenges that you will deal with and are beyond the scope of this blog.  Keep honest and open communication between you and your family, your friends and your health care providers.  Ask questions, get support, keep creating this chapter in your life. Enjoy the journey!

Phase 3 (4-5 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 healthcare providers regularly and you will garner support patient groups, family and friends.

There are many resources available for exercising at home via video, using the information that has been provided in these three blogs or setting up an appointment with a trainer.  I myself see a trainer every three to six months (even though I am one) because I want another pair of eyes to evaluate where I am and to give me that nudge to challenge myself further.

Take advantage of local resources (community and recreation centers often have low-cost classes of six weeks duration) so that you can “try” different forms of movement/play without making a long term commitment. Fun classes that provide a great workout are Zumba, Body Pump, and any class that YOU enjoy!


If you want something – let me know by commenting on the blog. Remember that this is for you!  I am happy to make suggestions and will respond to your emails promptly.

This is a life-long journey; this is not a “diet” or “exercise program” for a period of
time.  The surgery requires a shift in how we think of ourselves and how we take care
of ourselves.  The results are well worth the effort; YOU are worth the effort!
Never doubt that – and know that I wish you every success! 

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.

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