Life doesn’t usually stop just because you’ve decided to get VSG. You still have the same commitments: work, family, friends, church, community. And on top of those things, you now have to work with your gastric sleeve diet and fitness needs. Or worse, maybe your already-hectic schedule suddenly becomes even more hectic—going back to work after having a baby, perhaps, or caring for an aging parent. If you don’t think you have the time to eat well and exercise right now, this two-part blog is for you.
Tip #1: Get brutally honest with yourself.
We all have visions of what we’d like our VSG weight loss journey to look like: crack-of-dawn runs that leave us energized for the day ahead, made-from-scratch meals perfectly portioned for the week, etc. But is that you? Really? If you hit the snooze button five times before you get out of bed, you won’t magically transform into someone who jumps up at 4:30 a.m. to hit the gym. If you’ve hated cooking your entire life, it’s not reasonable to expect that you’ll keep up with a meal plan that depends on you being in the kitchen four hours a day. The idea is to create a sustainable, long-term lifestyle. So if regular exercise is easier for you when the clock reads “pm,” find a way to make it work. Sign up for a 24-hour gym so you can go on your schedule, or join an online workout site that lets you exercise from home at your convenience. No time or desire to batch cook? Buy pre-cooked proteins, sign up for meal delivery…do whatever it takes to work with your personality, rather than trying to change it.
Tip #2: Use a planner.
You’ve probably gotten the food journaling advice a million times (and I’m still all for it, by the way). But this tip is about using a planner, either online or offline, to lay out your week visually. When things are rolling around in our heads, they can seem bigger or more daunting than they actually are. Thinking about your week ahead, you may decide that you can’t fit in a single workout. Oh my gosh—so much to do! But when you use your planner to plug in everything from the kids’ games to your mom’s eye doctor appointment, you can see where the holes are. And then, most importantly, you can use those gaps to schedule things like meal prep or exercise. Maybe your planner shows that you can only squeeze in three workouts this week. That’s better than none. And “none” is what you might end up with if you don’t have a visual reminder that, yes, you do have time to make your health goals happen.
Tip #3: Make your life excuse-proof.
If going to the gym is the only way you’ll exercise, don’t get a membership across town because you’re wowed by their brand-new equipment. Join the slightly grungier gym that’s right next to your office so you have no excuse to skip a morning workout (“The cross-town traffic is too bad today—I don’t want to be late for work”). Shiny new treadmills don’t matter if you aren’t there to use them. And when it comes to food, one solid trick is to keep stashes on hand in multiple places. Stockpile breakfasts at work to eliminate yet another reason to skip your morning sweat session (“I don’t have time to make/pack breakfast”), and put snacks in your car so end-of-day hunger doesn’t steer you away from post-work exercise.
Hopefully, these will kick-start your determination to beat the busy-ness. In next week’s post, I’ll discuss additional tips that can keep your vertical sleeve gastrectomy weight loss on track, even when it seems like life is determined to get you off track.
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