How Fitness Has Fueled My Long Term Success After Lap Band Surgery

by sandi on April 26, 2017

Fitness Success After Lap Band SurgeryIt will be 13 years in another month.  On 5/28/04 I had weight loss surgery, lap band surgery to be exact.  After that my life changed in so many wonderful ways.  Making exercise an integral part of my life has been one of them.

Getting started was HARD!  My doc wanted us to move 30 minutes a day.  Before surgery my movement was getting to and from work, and then planting on my rear in between.  That’s how I grew to be 424 pounds – that and eating my emotions, happy or sad, feeling good or bad, angry or mad – it was all an excuse to eat.  That way I didn’t have to feel.

When I went into surgery I committed myself to doing what was necessary to get off some of this 424 pounds and also be able to get off the new blood pressure meds that had recently been prescribed for me.  I don’t like taking pills.  I committed to do whatever was necessary to make this happen.  Well I got my water up to 64 oz per day, I got my protein up to between 60-80 ounces per day, I got the portions on my plate reduced to the point where my caloric intake for 3 meals was 1000 – 1200 calories; but I still wasn’t doing too much in the exercise arena.

Why no exercise?  What a great question and here are some of my excuses:

  • I didn’t have the time because I was running my own business, and helping my single daughter with the 4 kids, and on, and on;
  • My knee hurt too badly;
  • I was out of breath too easily
  • I got headaches if I moved too much
  • I was losing weight without exercising so why bother

Fitness Success After Lap Band SurgeryNotice that I said EXCUSES rather than reasons… that was intentional.  Yes I had lots of my time committed to other things, yes my knee hurt when I walked, yes I got short of breath and my heart started pounding quickly, yes that created headaches, and yes the weight was coming off rapidly because I was following all of the other rules 99.9% of the time.

For the first year, as I dropped a little over 100 pounds – I considered walking at the market, the big box store and the mall my exercise, irregular though it all was.  I was moving more, right?  This certainly had to count.  It did, I continued to lose weight, but then I had lots to lose.  I knew that I needed to follow ALL of the rules, not just some of them because I had already exceeded my doc’s expectations for weight loss and I liked that it kept coming off.  I was going to see how far I could go.  We never set a real goal weight for me because neither of us knew how far I could/would go with my lap band.

At about 100 pounds lighter it was time to start some exercise program.  I thought about what I liked to do most exercise wise and started that- it was swimming.  This soon became 1 day, then 2 days, then 3 days, then 5 days, and then 7 days per week.  I even took a few lessons to get my breathing in sync with my body.  It was worth it.

My swimming took me to the point of being fit enough at almost 60 years old to have a lower body lift (11 hours under anesthesia), and then I was back at it once the doc released me (about 10 weeks for me) swimming again.  Boy was it hard to stretch my body with my ab muscles having been pulled tight.  I reclaimed my fitness level and started adding some treadmill along with swimming to change it up.  This didn’t last long since in order to raise my heart rate I had to put so much incline into the ‘mill’ that it hurt my knee.  I graduated to the elliptical and then added strength training.  I wouldn’t do any of the strength training without a trainer because I have scoliosis and didn’t want to injure myself.  All of this was being done with a knee that still hasn’t been replaced and lets me know it is there frequently, however I was building core and leg muscles to better support those parts of my body that ached.

I still swim 3 times a week, I lift weights and do other strength and balance exercises for an hour twice a week and I “run” on the elliptical for 45 minutes twice a week.

Fitness Success After Lap Band SurgeryYou know the phrase “Set A Goal That Makes You Want To Jump Out Of Bed In The Morning”?  Well staying fit and healthy is my goal because


Truth be told, had I not incorporated fitness as part of my daily lifestyle habits, I would not be enjoying the life I have created for myself quite so much.  I know my energy and my emotional state would be different.  An hour at the gym, or riding my bike, or hiking or just strolling on the beach can make everything shift to a brighter, lighter, happier day for me.

How about you?


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