Medical bariatric program – Week 3

This week I started the Optifast, on Tuesday. It means I’ve only had 2 full days of shakes, but I’m excited when the nurse tells me I’ve lost 4.2 pounds — I’m now at 261.6lbs.

It’s been not too bad making the transition, even though it’s only been a couple of days. I quickly realize that I have a lot of “mindless” or “automatic” eating habits that have likely been contributing to my weight gain over the years. Things like snacking while packing the kids’ lunches, snacking while making lunch/dinner. Eating the kids’ leftovers because I don’t want to waste any food. (Side effect of growing up hungry, I suppose!) I was pretty tired the past couple days, but the team says that should get better after a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed!

This week’s session is led by the kinesiologist, and focuses on SMART exercise. Setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals will be part of motivating us to continue exercising, and to keep pushing ourselves.

We’re told not to begin exercising until we’ve completed at least a week on the Optifast, so that our body has a bit of time to adjust. She also mentions how important it is to maintain a strength training program during a period of fat loss, especially when we’re on such limited calories. This is because it takes a lot of energy for the body to prioritize muscle, which means it’s one of the first things to go when on a calorie-reduced diet. By stimulating the muscles with exercise, we’re signalling the body to hold only that muscle, and to find its energy source elsewhere (out stored fat!)

I’m not sure that I have any specific exercise goals because improving my endurance and strength. It would be nice to get back into running again — I love the 5-10K distance as the training isn’t too intense. But… it would also be cool to be able to say I’ve completed a full marathon, so who knows! Half was intense, so a full might be a longer-term goal for when the kids are a little older and more independent. At one point I dreamed of doing an Ironman triathlon, so maybe that’ll become a goal one day too. My sprint tri was challenging, but also a lot of fun. For now, I’ll settle for being able to chase and play with the kids for 30 minutes without getting winded as success. And to have a routine of 3-4 days of exercising weekly.

She shares some routines with us, that can be done at the gym, at home with bands or weights, or just with bodyweight. I’m drawn to the “Fab 4” circuit, which involves the plank, wall sit, squats, and pushups. Something that is fast and easy, targets all the major muscle groups, and that I can do in the living room while my kids watch TV or join in. I decide this’ll be my routine for the next little bit.

Looking ahead to the coming weeks, I’m feeling hopeful and excited. Until next week…!

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