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Common Myths

Myth: Exercise is not necessary after surgery to support healthy weight loss.

This is a very commonly held belief among the patients that receive surgery or progress through our medical weight management track. The idea that you can maintain continuous weight loss and good health without some form of exercise is not true for a few reasons. Here I would like to cover those reasons and talk about how impactful exercise is to your weight loss and health journey.

Firstly, what is exercise? Exercise is defined by a few things; activity that is separated from activities of daily living (laundry, cooking, getting the mail etc.), involves some level of energy expenditure, and exercise includes cardiovascular fitness, musculoskeletal fitness, flexibility, balance, and speed. The general recommendation is to slowly progress to about 150 minutes of activity each week for the ongoing benefits of exercise.

So, on to the myth. As your Bariatric and weight management coach I’m here to tell you, exercise is VERY important to achieving healthy weight loss and maintain a healthy weight long term. I want to especially emphasize strength and resistance training for our surgical patients. This is because bariatric surgery is typically accompanied with rapid initial weight loss and lower caloric intake so muscle mass often diminishes and it’s that muscle that is going to help you lose weight. Muscle is very metabolically active and requires a lot of energy to maintain and will start to use adipose (fat) cells for fuel.  Aside from strength training, working on improving your cardiovascular health through walking or biking, or flexibility and balance through yoga are great ways to maintain both your health and mobility as you age.

As an aside I’d like to address a related myth; that women will “bulk up” if they put on muscle. This is also not true, average female body doesn’t put on lean mass like men do and the image of a female body builder or physique model is not a realistic expectation for regular strength training (about  2-3 bouts of 30 minutes or full body exercise weekly).

So what should you do/ How do you start? I would recommend starting out by figuring out what activity is going to work for you with your schedule as, the only exercise regimen that is right for you is the one you will stick with. This means it has to fit your schedule and you have to find some level of enjoyment when doing the activity. For many of our patients walking is a go-to, which is great place to start, figure out a time and place to start this habit, go for 10 minutes a few times each week and steadily build from there.

-Kody Reiser, RDN, & Bariatric Wellness Coach

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