Nutrition and Fitness
Surgery is only one step in the journey to better health and long-term weight loss. An understanding of proper nutrition and fitness is the key to your success. However, you don't have to wait until the surgery to begin a healthier lifestyle. Changing your diet, fitness routine and other behaviors now will make your post-operative change even easier. Make a decision to start your new life today!
Fundamentals of Nutrition
Eating is an essential part of life and plays a role in our social, physical and mental well-being. Yet many people pay little attention to nutrition and don't understand the basic building blocks of food. All food is comprised of calories from protein, carbohydrates, fats, or a combination of these elements. Water doesn't supply the energy in the form of calories, but it is absolutely vital to the human body. Food also supplies essential vitamins and minerals in varying amounts.
To understand how what you eat affects your body, you need to become familiar with the basic fundamentals of nutrition:
A calorie is a unit of energy present in all food, including fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Fats contain nine calories per gram, while carbohydrates and proteins contain four calories per gram.
Proteins are the essential building block of life - every cell in the body contains protein! These cells make up your skin, bones, muscle, organ, tissue, blood, and hormones. Protein is essential to prevent malnutrition, and the consumption of protein results in very little insulin release. (Insulin regulates the blood sugar and excess insulin has been known to lead to diabetes).
Adequate protein intake following your surgery is key to preventing malnutrition. Lean sources of protein include low-fat cheeses, low-fat yogurts, eggs, poultry, fish, tofu, and beans/lentils.
Fats are also essential for optimal nutrition. Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent sources of "good fat". Sources of Omega-3's include fish, walnuts, canola oil, and flaxseed. Monounsaturated fats are also "good fats", and sources include olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. Polyunsaturated fats are not as beneficial, and come from most vegetable oils. "Bad" saturated fats come from butter, lards, meat fats, dairy products, and coconut oil.
Carbohydrates are actually a group of sugars attached together as a chain. Carbohydrates supply energy to the body but when consumed in excess, they are stored as fat. Carbohydrates also cause sharp rise in insulin production. This can lead to insulin resistance, which has been shown to contribute to diabetes.
Complex carbohydrates lead to less insulin production and contain fiber, an essential part of a healthy diet. They are also harder for the body to break down, causing a longer-lasting feeling of fullness. Examples of complex carbohydrates include high-fiber grain products, legumes and vegetables.
Simple carbohydrates include milk, fruit, and processed food. They are easily digested, causing food to empty from the stomach quickly and an earlier feeling of hunger.
Water is the key to all of your body's functions. Your body weight is 55-75% water- including 70% of your brain, 82% of your blood and 90% of your lungs. However, you lose water daily from perspiration, exhalation, urine, and feces. That's why it's essential to consume a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily to prevent dehydration. You need even more than this amount during hot summer months and during physical activity.
Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and create a plan to help meet your daily water goal. Slow, consistent sips of water are best, equaling about eight ounces per hour. You should also follow the 30-20-30 rule:
Stop drinking 30 minutes before a meal
Give yourself 20 minutes to finish your meal
Do not start drinking again for 30 minutes after a meal
Your body cannot survive more than five days without water, but dehydration sets in much more quickly. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soda, and tea as well as alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration rapidly and should be avoided. Symptoms of dehydration include weakness, lethargy, difficulty focusing, dizziness, and headache. Follow the water guidelines daily, since it's very difficult to make up for water deficit once dehydration has set in.
Vitamins are present in many different types of food but should be supplemented during any period of weight loss, since food intake is reduced. Essential vitamins include:
Multi-vitamins with minerals (taken every day)
Calcium (1500mg daily of calcium citrate)
Vitamin B-12 (1000mcg under the tongue once per week)
Fundamentals of Fitness
Physical fitness is an important part of any long term goal to improve your health and encourage weight loss. Physical activity is defined as bodily movement that is produced by the contraction of skeletal muscle, which increases energy expenditure. Expending excess energy encourages your body to use stored energy - in the form of fat - as fuel. Regular exercise will encourage:
Improved cardio-respiratory function
Better control of blood fats
Better control of body fats
Improved psychological and emotional well-being
Improved oxygen delivery/metabolic processes
Exercise will also help you:
Build strength and endurance
Improve movement in joints and muscles
Gain more energy
Cope with stress
Improve your ability to fall asleep quickly
Tone your muscles
Achieve your ideal body weight
Increase your capacity for physical work
Increase muscle strength
Lower your blood pressure
Reduce your risk for diabetes
Increase your HDL level (good cholesterol)
The three components of an effective exercise program include:
Includes stretching and flexibility exercises and cardio respiratory activities, which can prevent injuries and increase blood flow.
This phase will challenge your body's oxygen delivery system and strengthens your heart and respiratory system. This phase includes 20 to 60 minutes of continuous or intermittent aerobic exercise. This phase may be complimented by resistance (weight training) activities, recreational games or both.
The cool down phase helps you return your heart rate and blood pressure to their normal values. This in turn reduces dizziness, high blood pressure and body heat.