Sticking to Your Gastric Sleeve Lifestyle During Difficult Times

When life gets tricky, you might be tempted to cast aside your VSG lifestyle. Whether it’s a natural disaster or something like the coronavirus pandemic, stress can tempt you to indulge in carbs while staying glued to your couch. But even when life throws a huge curveball, you can keep making progress on your vertical sleeve gastrectomy journey. Here’s how.

Shop differently
Gastric sleeve diet staples like meat, eggs, and fresh veggies can be difficult to find when supply chains are impacted by national crises, and desperate shoppers may have picked over the existing stock by the time you arrive. Try thinking a bit differently at the grocery store:

  • Frozen veggies and berries may be more readily available than fresh and will last a lot longer than their fresh counterparts.
  • When the broccoli and apples are gone, items like spaghetti squash may still be in stock. Winter squash lasts a lot longer than its summer cousins, so stocking up means you can have “spaghetti” throughout the crisis.
  • Pantry essentials like white pasta and sugary pasta sauces are among the first to disappear off shelves. But low-carb noodles tend to be more expensive and, hence, less desirable by the general public even during panics. If you can afford it, grab some boxes, along with canned tomatoes that you can turn into sugar-free sauces later.
  • When the dairy aisle is bare, check the store for shelf-stable milk alternatives (soy, almond, etc.) to use for smoothies, “cream” soups, and more.

Exercise smart
If you’re a gym rat—and the gym is closed—you might feel a little panicky. Routines are tough to create, but when you’ve found a good one, it can seem scary to step outside of it. Rather than give up altogether, find new routines you love:

  • Put on your walking or running shoes and get outside if the weather allows. You can create your own bootcamp by mixing speed bursts and lower-effort walking/running and using benches along your route for pushups, triceps dips, step-ups, and dozens of other exercises.
  • There are so many free workouts available online these days. Whether you’re into HIIT, kickboxing, yoga, or virtually any other kind of workout, you’ll find free, full-scale programs you can do from your home. No weights? No problem. There are plenty of bodyweight-only options for strength training.
  • If your family has a gaming system like a Wii or PlayStation, you might already have everything you need for a dance party that burns serious calories.

Separate but don’t isolate
Mental health can take a toll during periods when you aren’t able to be socialize much (or at all). Again, technology can save the day:

  • Stay active on support groups like our private Endobariatric Facebook page. It can be invaluable to “talk” to people who know exactly what you’re going through and can give you targeted advice to make the best of the situation.
  • Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come. Sad about missing a vacation or anxious about whether you’ll be able to make ends meet? Give yourself permission to feel down, scared, worried…all of those things are normal. It’s when you try to stuff them down that you might start stuffing down cookies.
  • If in-person meet-ups are out of the question for a while, you can still stay connected to friends and family members through Facetime, Skype, or a good ol’ phone call. Social connections during stressful times are crucial to maintaining good mental health, which, in turn helps you remain committed to your VSG goals.
  • Keep your news intake to a minimum. Digesting the headlines a couple of times a day—rather than on a 24-hour feed—keeps you informed without tempting you to wallow in a state of heightened stress or adopt a “what’s the use” mindset that can sabotage your progress.

Your gastric sleeve diet and exercise regimen might have to undergo some changes during extraordinary times, but with a little flexibility and a positive attitude, you can come out the other side of any crisis still on track.

I invite you to follow us on all our social networks, we are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, we also have our YouTube channel where I’m the host of the #AskDrA Show, where I (Dr. Alvarez) answer frequently asked questions that are sent to me with the Hashtag #AskDrA, subscribe to it! we talk about very interesting subjects.

If you want a more personalized experience and you have Instagram, follow me (Dr. Alvarez) to see my day both in my daily routine and in the operating room, add me! We will have a great time! My username is: gmoalvarez. 

“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.