“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” –John De Paola
When was the last time you excused yourself from something important because you were “too busy?” If you are like most people, you can think of an occasion within the past week when this happened. Busyness is more than a packed schedule; it can be a debilitating mindset. If we aren’t busy, we may feel like we aren’t doing enough. Saying you are too busy for something reasserts your priorities, making it clear that you have way too much going on in your life to fit in whatever was just asked of you.
The problem is that all too often the things getting pushed off in the name of busyness are the very tasks that we should be prioritizing.
After weight loss surgery, do your best not to let healthy habits fall by the wayside as a result of busyness. Once you have sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band surgery, you have to maintain your commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
This means finding time for a number of things like:
- Planning healthy meals for you and your family
- Exercising every day
- Getting eight hours of sleep every night
- Managing stress levels to keep a good attitude for weight loss
Fitting these healthy habits into your lifestyle takes work. Instead of throwing these new commitments on top of your existing schedule, try taking a step back and evaluating what takes up the most time in your life right now. Ultimately, the things you commit the most time to every day should be the biggest priorities in your life.
Here are a few time management tips to help you add healthy habits to your lifestyle without succumbing to busyness:
- Create time slots. Don’t just write a list—allocate specific periods of time to get tasks done. This will help you stay on track of your responsibilities and ensure that you use every moment efficiently.
- Schedule in “you” time. Time to relax, work out and unwind should be penciled in on your calendar. Because these habits will help prevent fatigue and mental burnout, they should remain priorities.
- Delegate tasks. As you look at all that needs to be done, ask yourself what needs to be done by you. Consider asking for help where you need it.
- Learn how to say “no.” Don’t take on any extra tasks that you don’t need. Doing favors is a kind gesture, but if you really don’t have time to do one without it affecting your weight loss habits, then say no.
There are all sorts of convenient tools available to you to help you manage your time. Download a calendar or to-do list app on your smartphone or tablet and let it keep track of what you have to do. Keep a notebook on your desk at workout or in your car to jot down reminders as they cross your mind. Strategies like these can help you stay organized as you continue on your weight loss journey.
Water is essential to survival. Your body depends on it to keep organs functioning properly, including your heart and brain. Every cell, tissue and muscle in your body is supported by water. It lubricates your joints, pushes waste through your body and maintains internal temperature. Without enough water your body will struggle to remain healthy.
After sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band surgery, you’ll have to make a concerted effort to drink enough water every day. This will involve taking small sips regularly throughout the day, as your smaller stomach pouch will make it impossible to take large gulps without filling up quickly.
You should aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. While it is true you can meet this quota by drinking other fluids, none will hydrate you as effectively as water. This is why at least half of your daily water intake should be good old H2O.
If you don’t drink enough water, you will become dehydrated, which can cause all sorts of problems.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Decreased or darker urine
- Dry mouth
- Chapped lips
- Extreme thirst
- Lack of tears
After weight loss surgery your stomach capacity will be greatly reduced. You won’t be able to take large gulps of water to reach your fluid intake goals. Instead, you’ll have to drink water regularly throughout the day.
Carry a water bottle with you and practice taking very small sips. To learn the right size of a sip, practice drinking two ounces at a time using medicine caps, like the type that come with cough syrup bottles.
Try finding a water bottle with ounces marked on the side—this way, you can track your progress and know how much water you consume throughout the day. If you are missing some flavor in your beverage, try adding a drop of lemon or lime juice, or adding a sprig of mint to your water for some extra zest.
After sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band surgery, do what you can to reduce the stress in your life.
We sometimes think of stress as a mental problem. Stress can keep you up at night, leave you frazzled and cause you to break down in tears at the drop of a hat. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the way stress impacts us. Stress can affect your physical health, causing a world of symptoms that might be hard to recognize at first.
Getting sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band surgery will improve your health, but underlying issues like overwhelming stress can undermine your progress. To overcome stress, it is best to learn to recognize the symptoms as well as how to manage it successfully.
Physical symptoms of stress can include:
- Weight gain
- Muscle pain or tension
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive problems and upset stomach
- Sleep disturbances
- Acne and skin rash
Managing Stress as you Lose Weight
Managing stress is an essential component of any healthy lifestyle. Too much stress can make losing weight difficult by leaving you feeling too fatigued to exercise, or driving you to overeat as you cope with your emotions.
To manage the stress in your life, try adopting healthier methods of coping like:
- Exercise: Relaxation exercises like yoga and tai chi involve methodical movements that encourage stress relief. Intense cardio activities like running, biking and swimming can also help you clear your mind and blow off some steam.
- Meditation: Taking a moment to yourself and closing your eyes and ears to the world around you is a great way to regain control of a situation and alleviate stress.
- Deep breathing: Taking deep breaths can help you through a stressful situation. Inhale until you fill your lungs, exhale completely and repeat.
- Journaling: Keeping a journal can help you cope with stressors in your life. Sometimes just writing down what is bothering you can help you find perspective and let go of worries.
Try being more aware of the ways stress might be impacting your life. Mood swings, emotional eating, restlessness—these are all ways that stress impacts us mentally, but stress can also wear down your physical health if you aren’t careful. After weight loss surgery, help your body and mind by doing your best to keep stress levels low.
If preparing a home-cooked meal seems like a monumental task, it may be time to take another look at the way you cook your food. To follow the diet your bariatric surgeon has recommended, it will be important to make your own meals at home, but this doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time and energy in the kitchen. By finding a few ways to make cooking more efficient, you can give your body healthy meals and still have time left over for the other important things in life.
Start with a Plan
If you arrive home each evening without any idea of what you’ll cook for dinner, you may spend 30 minutes looking for the right recipe. Then, more time may be lost doing the dishes from last night, hitting the supermarket for the ingredients you need and finding all the tools and utensils you’ll use to make the meal. Before you know it, two hours have passed, and you haven’t even turned on the stove.
It’s much easier to go into every meal with a plan and a clean, organized space to work in. Make a habit of sitting down one night each week to plan out your meals for the days ahead, then going to the grocery store for every ingredient you’ll need. Do the dishes before they start piling up and always keep your kitchen tidy—it will take a few minutes now, but can save you hours in the long run.
Finish with a Bang
Now that all your ducks are in a row, it’s time to put your plan into action. Healthy meals will be much easier to accomplish with strategies like:
- Saving big batches. Though you’ll be eating smaller portions after bariatric surgery, this doesn’t mean you have to make small meals. Cook more than you need and freeze the rest for an easy meal on a day when you have less time.
- Trying new technology. Many appliances can make cooking significantly simpler. To thaw and boil in a jiffy, try using your microwave. To slow-cook a meal for hours without any input, get a crock pot. To make perfect rice at the push of a button, pick up a rice cooker.
- Using convenient ingredients. We sometimes spend more time cutting up ingredients than we do cooking them. If you have extra time in the morning, you can prep your ingredients ahead of time—this way, they’ll be ready to go straight in the pan when you get home. Frozen and canned vegetables can also make things easier, but you’ll need to make sure that these don’t have any added ingredients that make them bad choices for your diet.
Sticking to your bariatric surgeon’s dietary recommendations doesn’t have to be a hassle. Use tips like these to expedite the cooking process and eat healthy meals every night without spending all night in front of the stove.