Spring Fitness: Warm up your bariatric mental and physical well-being

By Ayotunde Adeyeri, MD FASMBS

Welcome spring! We’ve already had the windows open for a few days, reminding us that warmer days are approaching. Of course, we all want to look and feel our best once we peel off all those heavy layers of winter clothing. Right now is an ideal time to boost your healthy habits; as you’ve learned, it all comes down to what you eat, first and foremost. But there’s a close second priority to helping to achieve and maintain your goals–

You need to move your body.

When you do, you’ll be rewarded by burning more calories and increasing your metabolism, which helps you burn more even calories around the clock.

READ: “Five Ways Your Life Will Change After Weight Loss Surgery”

The role of fitness during and after your weight loss surgery

During the first year after your weight loss surgery, the weight comes off fairly steadily. But after you significantly lower your BMI or reach goal weight, weight loss slows. Perhaps you’ve even gained some weight back years after surgery. If you are two+ years post-op, a consistent and active lifestyle is your ‘secret sauce’ to ward off regain.

The opportunities for exercising outside have expanded exponentially because of the pandemic. It’s easy to find an outdoor group cardio sculpt or Zumba class—they are everywhere! Perhaps you’ll start biking again for the first time in years or rekindle your enjoyment of tennis or golf. If you have lost significant weight, enjoying these activities will be easier on your joints, and you’ll be surprised to experience how you can move more freely.

It takes two

Remember, while many of our monthly Support Group members choose walking as their primary form of consistent exercise, add at least one additional fitness type to keep metabolism firing on as many cylinders as possible.

What kind of activity will you pursue and how—specifically—will you fit it into your daily schedule? How long should your workouts be and how strenuous? For the first four-six weeks after surgery, focus on flexibility exercises, deep breathing and resuming normal daily activities. Gradually build in regularly-scheduled, low-intensity aerobic exercise (walking, biking, Zumba or swimming). Expect to feel fatigued up to eight weeks after surgery. Your body is in the process of adjusting to your significantly lower caloric intake. Therefore, do not perform high-intensity workouts.

Track Your Fitness Efforts

Using whatever digital or written method works for you, write down your daily fitness efforts each day. It will inspire you and offer valuable insight for your bariatric team to review during office visits. I also encourage patients to write down how they feel after working out. Many report that physical fitness releases positive endorphins (a hormone that produces a feeling of positivity), decreases appetite and significantly boosts daily energy.

During your bariatric journey, your weight loss will speed up and slow down. Stay true to your activity schedule regardless and keep challenging your limits. Make friends with fitness. It will always serve as the backbone of your long-term weight loss maintenance.

Start your road to weight loss with Dr. Adeyeri, Sterling Surgicare and Hackensack Meridian Health

Board-certified bariatric surgeon Dr. Adeyeri has successfully performed thousands of bariatric weight loss surgery operations here in New Jersey. For a private consultation, call 732-217-3897 to see the doctor within 10 days of your call. We all look forward to partnering with you on your road to health, weight loss and longevity.