Exercise is medicine – 2 year, 10 month update

I openly admit I’m a yo-yo gym attender. Looking back on old blog posts, I’ve mentioned always starting certain exercise activities and then not mentioning ending them. Well the secret is out, I only usually attend the gym in the fall to winter months. After that I end up falling off the bandwagon because the weather is too nice to work out indoors. I switch to playing women’s fastball in the spring-summer. Currently, I only indoor rock climb and participate in my yoga with Adriene intermittently.

I’ve done this for the past 5+ years and over the past three I’ve noticed a trend. When I exercise, I gain weight.

What?! Wait? When you exercise you gain weight? The pre-gastrectomy old me would have said…”shut up and get out of here”. For the past two gym seasons I’ve managed to put on about 4 to 5 extra pounds. As soon as I stop, I lose it and drop back down to my usual 111 to 112lbs. I’ve also noticed that I have more energy and require less sleep.

Many of the benefits I’m reporting are well researched in the literature but it’s a whole new world when you actually experience it.

I only attend the gym 1-2x a week (step class, zumba class, or aerobics) and go for about a 45 minute walk 1x a week. That combined with my active job is enough for me to maintain all those positive benefits.

Another quick thing I wanted to mention is that I started taking a probiotics (by fluke and a bit of another story) and have noticed my energy level increase significantly. For two weeks, I operated like I did before surgery and it was unbelievable. I didn’t realize it was possible. After that I had a pretty hard crash for a day or two but those two weeks were fantastic. I’m now afraid to stop taking them. I really believe they help with digesting food post gastrectomy which improves nutrient absorption. I tried to perform a literature review to see if anyone had done studies on probiotics post total gastrectomy but didn’t come up with much. If anyone has any scientific evidence about this, I’d love to read about it in the comments below.

So there it is: Exercise IS medicine

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All ready for the gym

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Livin’ lean – 16 month update

Tomorrow is October 1st and I almost missed my 16 month update.  I’ve been telling myself, “oh, I will blog this weekend” and then that time comes and goes.  There is one major reason why I’ve had a hard time blogging this month – I’ve been busy living life!

It’s true that my life has a ‘new’ normal.  But when can you drop the ‘new’ and just say it’s life?  When is ‘new’ old?  It’s now been one year and four months. Is it still a ‘new’ normal or is it just normal?  I’m almost ready to drop the new and say it’s just life.

Yea, I eat frequently throughout the day.  Yes, it’s true, you can always count on me for giving you a snack if you get hungry because you know I keep food on me at all times.   My friends know that if they ride in my car they will always need to move that bucket of nuts before they sit down.  I still eat more than I should at a meal and then pay for it later.  Food coma has a whole new meaning.

I mentioned returning to the gym last late last year. That lasted until March before my gym membership expired.  Over the summer I played some baseball but didn’t do much formal exercise. I am happy to report that I have returned to the gym 2-3x a week.   I also signed up for six personal training sessions for extra motivation.

On the first day, I received a mini assessment where my initial measurements were taken as well as weight and body fat percentage. My training goals were also discussed.  Shockingly, I have 16% body fat, which is similar to an athlete – Score! However, I also have the forced expiratory volume of a 51-year-old (this is how fast you can expel your air after taking a deep breath).  This taught me two things:

1) I am a great advertisement for my personal trainer when I work out with her
2) I need to work on some serious breathing exercises

I’m optimistic that with returning to the gym, I will be able to regain the strength that I have lost over the past year.  It was different for my trainer to hear that the purpose of my personal training was not to lose weight, but to gain weight.  Often, my trainer will point out to me that I’m smiling through my work outs no matter how brutal the exercise.  I don’t realize this is happening but I believe it’s because I’m happy to be back at the gym again AND because if you frown and tell yourself the exercise is brutal, it will be 10x worse. I guarantee it!