Monthly Archives: May 2013

Relax Your Muscles and Your Mind after Bariatric Surgery

Relax Your Muscles and Your Mind after Bariatric SurgeryStress is a stumbling block for many people after bariatric surgery. Though it’s a consistent part of our lives, its influence can ruin your resolve to maintain the habits your bariatric surgeon has recommended. After a long and stressful day, you may find yourself unwittingly stuck in a spiral of emotional eating, or postponing your workout for a time when you feel less agitated.

The best way to reduce stress long-term is to fight it at the source, but this usually isn’t something we can accomplish in an afternoon. When you’re feeling stressed out, you may just need a way to unwind and carry on with your day, and there are many techniques that can help you do this. One of the most effective is called progressive muscle relaxation.

What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation?

As the name suggests, this technique works by helping you relax each of your muscles in succession, creating a calming effect as you focus on letting the tension out of your body. The technique takes a little more time to master than deep breathing, but can help you unlock the stress-busting capabilities of your own body.

To get started, find a quiet place and sit or lie down in a comfortable position. You’ll be moving through the muscles of your body gradually, tensing each one for about 20 seconds before slowly letting it relax. Every time you let that tension go, focus intently on the sensation of your muscles relaxing.

From head to toe, work through your muscles in this order:

  1. Raise your eyebrows to keep your forehead wrinkled. Relax.
  2. Flare your nostrils to keep your nose wrinkled. Relax.
  3. Push up on the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Relax.
  4. Grit your teeth and flex your jaw. Relax.
  5. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears. Relax.
  6. Arch your spine. Relax.
  7. Hold in a deep breath. Relax.
  8. Flex your biceps. Relax.
  9. Ball your hands into fists and flex your forearms. Relax.
  10. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Relax.
  11. Flex your buttocks and your thighs. Relax.
  12. Press your heels into the ground and flex your calves. Relax.
  13. Point your toes up towards your head. Relax.

If you have trouble remembering this order, make a recording of yourself saying each step so you don’t have to open your eyes and read what comes next. Just remember to go slowly—altogether, the process should take at least 10 minutes, and you can take longer if you like.

Once you get the hang of it, progressive muscle relaxation can be a simple and effective way to relieve stress. To keep your stressors from standing between you and the goals you set with your bariatric surgeon, try practicing progressive muscle relaxation two times every day.

Friends with Weight Loss Benefits

Friends with Weight Loss BenefitsGetting gastric band surgery can give your social life a major overhaul. The way you spend your free time will have to change if you want to lose weight. Spending hours on the couch with your family after work, getting together with friends for lunch on the weekends, grabbing a treat on Friday afternoons with your kids—these are all small actions that add up over time.

After weight loss surgery, habits like these have to modified, and you’ll need to incorporate more healthy habits into your daily schedule. This usually means cutting down on sedentary activity, but it doesn’t have to mean cutting down on time spent with loved ones. While adding more “you” time to your day can help with stress management, turning your workout into a social outing can provide a world of its own benefits.

Safety in Numbers: How Friends Can Boost Your Workouts

Picture this scenario: You’ve had a long day at work and your gym bag is sitting in your car. You get on the road and immediately get stuck in traffic. As you inch along the highway any remaining ambition you had to actually go to the gym dwindles. Instead, you head straight home and skip your workout.

Now change it up. You aren’t just going to the gym to work out on your own. Three of your closest friends are meeting you at the park. You are planning on walking several miles while catching up on your week. After an hour you get back in the car, feeling rejuvenated and ready to head home and spend quality time with your family.

This is the difference that working out with friends can make. There is no accountability to go to the gym by yourself, no draw to working out on a treadmill all alone for an hour. But when you add friends to the occasion staying home becomes tougher. Instead of just rationalizing your decision in your head, cancelling involves picking up the phone and providing an explanation.

Exercise is going to be a fundamental aspect of your life after getting your gastric band, so you might as well try to enjoy it. Don’t push yourself to suffer through workouts you can’t stand. Get your friends involved and find ways to get fit that are fun to you.

Walking, jogging, bike riding and swimming are all great aerobic activities that can be done outside with a few buddies. If you are up for something more organized, try joining a non-competitive sports team. Playing basketball, soccer or kickball a few hours a week is another way to add more fitness to your lifestyle without making it feel like so much of a workout.