Monthly Archives: July 2013

Setting Healthy Goals to Lose Weight

Setting Healthy Goals to Lose WeightHow do you measure weight loss success? Is it a number? A pant size? A feeling? Success is dependent on your own expectations. The goals that you set for yourself at the onset of your weight loss program will have a direct effect on how you’ll interpret your own success. You want your goals to be challenging, but not so out of reach that they aren’t worth pursuing.

A great goal can become a guiding force as you lose weight. It becomes something for you to work towards and focus on as you encounter challenges and fight fatigue. A goal like this can be among your greatest assets following weight loss surgery, and you are the only one who can create it for yourself.

Crafting Great Goals

The first step to creating a great weight loss goal is determining what you want. Think long and hard about what it is you want to accomplish through weight loss surgery. Are you ready to improve your health? Do you want to feel able to move easier? Lose weight you’ve gained in recent years?

The best goals are personal ones. There are things in your life that will drive you to succeed, and this makes your goals different from anyone else’s. Once you know what you want, you can turn this desire and drive into a well-crafted weight loss goal.

The best goals are SMART. That means they are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Result-focused
  • Time-bound

When creating a weight loss goal, try your best not to let it be too vague. Simply saying you want to lose weight is a great start, but it isn’t enough. Talk to your weight loss surgeon and decide on a number. Then, set a date you hope to reach that number by. Make sure this number is attainable—setting it too high is only going to lead to discouragement as you set yourself up for failure. But setting it too low won’t motivate you to keep going, either.

Things like wanting to feel better, having more energy, moving around easier—these are all great goals to have, but they are difficult to measure and that can make it hard to know where you stand in the weight loss process. By creating a SMART goal you are giving yourself something to measure up against and an opportunity to track your progress as you take steps to improve your health.

Find Accountability to Lose Weight

Find Accountability to Lose WeightWeight loss isn’t a short term affair. To lose weight and to keep it off you will have to make long-term, sustainable changes in your exercise habits and diet. A strong source of accountability can make this process a bit easier.

Even after weight loss surgery, accountability plays a big role in the weight loss process. Your weight loss procedure helps you gain control of hunger and cut your portion sizes, but at the end of the day the food choices, the exercise habits and other lifestyle changes are yours to make or break.

There are several avenues through which you may find weight loss accountability. Family, friends, co-workers and your weight loss center may all function as strong external sources of accountability, while personal goals and expectations may drive you to stay on track as internal sources of accountability. There are also tools freely available to help you track your progress, offering an additional form of accountability to your weight loss goals.

Weight loss accountability comes in all sorts of formats. Here are a few suggestions of accountability resources you may want to check out:

  • Talk to a friend: Find a friend who wants to become your new weight loss buddy and make a commitment to each other. You can work out together, hold each other accountable for diet choices and encourage each other through difficult times.
  • Weight loss journal: This is a form of self-accountability, but it works on the same principal of external motivators. Write your progress in your journal every day. Jot down details like how long you exercised, what you ate and other healthy habits you practiced. You can use this as a resource to track your progress and to hold yourself accountable.
  • Internet tools and apps: Consider signing up for an online program or using a smartphone app to hold yourself accountable even more. Earndit is a website that gives you points every time you log a workout or check in at the gym. The popular phone application Lose It encourages you to log everything you eat and every bit of activity you engage in, kind of like a cyber-weight loss journal. There are many other similar programs out there that use other incentives to help you stick with your goals, as well.

How you choose to keep yourself accountable will have a large impact on your weight loss program. There are resources all around you that you can turn to as you lose weight. Take advantage of the different forms of weight loss accountability available to you in Ft. Myers and use them as resources to push your weight loss efforts to the next level.

Eat Local and Lose Weight

Eat Local and Lose WeightHow many miles did your last meal travel before reaching your plate? There is a good chance the number might top 1,500 miles. The average meal has ingredients that come from at least five different countries. Highly processed foods, fresh produce and even meat is packed onto trucks and transported for days before reaching your neighborhood grocery store. A lot of people don’t realize how far every bite of food they take has traveled before reaching their lips, and for some this is pretty disconcerting.

Weight loss surgery will likely encourage you to make healthy changes in your diet. What you choose to eat, how often you are eating and how much you eat at once will all undergo changes as you gain greater control over hunger and eating habits. Connecting with the source of the food you eat is a great way to increase awareness within your own diet as you undergo these changes.

Shopping at the farmers market can do more than just increase healthy aspects of your diet. By encouraging your family to go to the market with you and incorporating fresh, healthy ingredients into your weekly meal plan you can increase the health of your family’s diet altogether.

Here are a few tips to consider when heading to the farmer’s market:

  • Bring your own bag: Some of the farmer’s may have plastic bags, but most will expect to just hand you the produce. You can either bring a standard re-usable grocery bag or an insulated cooler bag to keep your produce cold.
  • Ask about storage techniques: As you buy produce, ask the farmers how they would suggest storing the items you are buying, and how long you can expect the produce to last. Most produce is okay for about a week, so try not to buy more than your family will eat in that amount of time.
  • Bring cash: Some farmers are now starting to accept credit cards thanks to the advancement of smartphone applications, but most keep to cash-only. At most farmers markets you can buy a substantial amount of fresh produce for just $10 to $20.
  • Ask for a taste: Farmers are there to sell their harvest, so don’t treat yourself to the display for a taste. Many farmers will keep a few items to the side to offer tastes of, especially for in-season produce. If you are unsure about something, ask if you can sample before buying.

If you’ve never been before, try out a farmer’s market near your home. The River District Farmers Market is located under the Caloosahatchee Bridge in Ft. Myers. This market features produce, baked goods, local honey and more. It is open on Thursdays from 7am to 1pm.

Adjusting to Exercise after Weight Loss Surgery

Adjusting to Exercise after Weight Loss Surgery in Ft. MyersTo create your ideal workout plan, you have to first figure out where you need the most improvement. Once your body is ready for exercise after sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band surgery, you can put yourself through a short personal fitness assessment to figure out your ideal starting place.

Take out a notebook and log your results for the following challenges:

  • How far can you walk in 10 minutes?
  • How many times can you do a simple bicep-curl with a five-pound weight?
  • Stand in front of a sturdy chair. How many times can you stand up and sit down before becoming short of breath?
  • Bending at your waist while sitting, how far can you reach your fingers? Your knees, toes, thighs or somewhere in between? Try this activity from a chair if you do not yet feel comfortable on the ground.
  • What is your pulse before working out, and what is your pulse after 10 minutes of activity?

Answers to these tasks will give you a strong starting point to work from and will help you create realistic fitness goals. Keep the answers to these questions and track your progress periodically to see how far you’ve come.

Finding Exercises for You

Once you know where you need improvement, you can find activities that will target that area of physical fitness.

Strength Training

If bicep curls were difficult with five-pound weights, you need to focus on building upper-body strength. Your local gym is equipped with many weight training machines that reduce risk of injury by guiding motions and making it possible to work out without a reliable spotter.

In lieu of free weights, you can start building strength by using resistance bands, or try lifting full water bottles.

Cardiovascular Activity

If you had trouble walking for 30 minutes, it’s time to focus on cardio. This form of exercise increases your heart rate and promotes blood circulation.

Examples of cardio activities include:

  • Walking: Don’t push yourself too far at first. Start out by walking in 10 minute increments, and push yourself farther and longer as you feel able. Treadmills are a great resource for increasing your distance.
  • Water aerobics: Exercising in the water removes a lot of resistance and can help you improve strength and flexibility as you improve your endurance.
  • Biking: Riding a bike may be difficult at first, but in time this may prove to be a valuable form of fitness for you. Try using stationary bikes to engage your legs without worrying about balance. Incumbent stationary bikes may be more comfortable when you are starting out.

Flexibility

Flexibility influences every aspect of physical fitness. It improves strength and range of motion, making every exercise a bit easier. You can do simple stretches at home, or you can go to a class for some guidance on basic stretches.

Some classes combine strength, cardio and flexibility training, helping you improve all three at once. Examples include:

  • Yoga: This is great for beginners and advanced athletes. Tell your instructor it is your first course and he or she will be happy to offer extra guidance.
  • Pilates: This exercise uses aspects of yoga but adds resistance and some other devices to encourage strength building.

Basic yoga and Pilates poses call for mild knee bends and arm extensions. You can also use a sturdy chair to modify poses as you get started.

Once you find an activity that is both challenging and enjoyable, set up a schedule and stick to it. Aim to work out every day you can, and try to incorporate a variety of activities to keep yourself interested.