Do You Even Lift, Bro?

Heading to the Gym After Bariatric Surgery

So, you’ve been through the surgery. You’ve plugged into a support system, you’ve made your dietary changes and you’ve been walking every day. It is time to take that next big step.

Now, you need to head to the gym.

Into The Sweat-Soaked Air

I’ll be honest – I am not always crazy about the gym. The grunting, the shouting “Yeah!!!!”, the clatter of 50-pound dumbells being slammed into the floor…you get the picture. Even when I was weightlifting recreationally 15+ years ago, the whole concept of staring fixedly at one’s reflection and flexing made me feel a little weird.

So, I just didn’t do it. I strapped on my headphones, went through my routine, and went home. Sure, if someone asked for help with a spot I would give them a hand, but mainly I did my best to ignore the yelling and crashing of plates surrounding me. I suspected that everyone was watching me, but I never made eye contact, so no problem there.

Nowadays, things are a little different. I no longer suspect that everyone else in the gym is watching me. Now I am convinced that everyone is watching me. Mainly wondering “What the heck is that flabby little dude doing here?”

I freely admit, it is very frustrating and kind of embarrassing to be lifting with fractions of the weight I used to be able to handle. 80-pound seated bench presses and 25-pound dumbell curls are not going to win me any medals. But, I have to keep something in mind: I am not here to win medals. I am here to regain control over my body.

I have also discovered a secret weapon: Planet Fitness

Among The Un-Buffed Masses

Spend any time at all on a weightlifting forum, and you will inevitably find a post or two bashing Planet Fitness. It is not a “real gym”, some will claim. “Too many machines”, another purist will say. “Only pansies and wannabes” is another claim I saw recently.

Sound familiar at all? Kind of reminds me of high school. If you aren’t one of the Cool Kids, you might as well stay home.

Elitism exists in every human activity. Weightlifting is no different. What we need to understand is that, as bariatric patients, resistance exercise is a requirement. One of the best places to pursue resistance exercise is a gym. And I personally avoid the elitists by hanging around at Planet Fitness.

Just yesterday I ran into a 70-year-old grandmother working out next to a high school cheerleader. An older gentleman working out on a treadmill while wearing his oxygen supply. Another man weighing over 300 pounds being coached through lat pull-downs by a 20-something who resembled Adonis.

It is the Island of Misfit Toys, for those of us who are attempting to get healthy without the posing and posturing. An environment without judgment, with everyone working toward a common goal: getting healthier.

A Few Missing Pieces

Planet Fitness bills itself as a “judgement-free zone”, and while I appreciate that aspect, there are a few things I wish ours had. A pool would be nice. Aerobics classes would be cool. And, yes, they do give away pizza once a month, in a completely baffling appeal to their clients. I can sort of understand free food once a month. But pizza?

However, this is all eclipsed, for me, by what they do have: a safe environment for those of us who are trying to get back on the exercise horse. A wide variety of cardio equipment is available. Machine-assisted weightlifting is present for every major muscle group. Those who are a little more experienced can even find cable-driven “Universal” rigs and even a collection of medicine balls and yoga mats. Heck, there is even a hardcore section populated with dumbells and mirrors. (I tend to face away from the mirrors when my routines take me into this section.)

In short, there are options here, for just about anything someone who is building back up from bariatric surgery might choose to add to their exercise routine. Lor and I spent half an hour yesterday tossing 8-pound medicine balls at each other, in lieu of our usual back and shoulder routine. (And, man, do I feel it today.)

In my neighborhood, this is all available for $10 a month. A little tough to argue with that price for what you are getting.

Time To Get Out of The House (And Into The Gym)

If you’ve arrived at the point in your fitness journey where you need to add some resistance training, I would recommend you take a look at your local Planet Fitness. Make an appointment with their on-site Personal Trainer, and get going. Lor and I are now hitting PF 6 days a week, and I have yet to experience any of the questionable elements that might keep us out of a “mainstream” gym. It seems to be a perfect refuge for those of us who are relearning how to take ownership of our bodies.

And, again – this isn’t a paid post. I will get nothing from Planet Fitness for talking about them. In fact, I get to pay for the privilege of attending every month. In short, when I head to PF, I feel safe. I can work out safely, I can safely join a community of like-minded people, and I am safe from judgment by those around me.

In a judgement-free zone.

Week 4 Of My C25K Starts Today (At Planet Fitness),

Jeremy

 

 

Operation: BFF

Finding Your Support Partner After Bariatric Surgery

Every day, I take a look at various Facebook pages, forums and chat rooms centered on obesity and surgery. And every day I see at least one person making the same request for help. “I’ve fallen back into bad habits. I just need someone to encourage me/kick me in the butt.”

Don’t Go It Alone

We talk a lot about the keys to success for weight loss here. Whether with the assistance of bariatric surgery or the “old-fashioned” way, certain things are required. You need to have made a positive decision to change your life. Exercising regularly needs to enter your life – diet changes alone won’t do the job. You need to make major changes to your diet: exercise alone will not overcome your Extra-Value Meal habit.

And you need some accountability.

The value of having someone to go through this with you can’t be overstated. There are many factors that go into the life changes surrounding reducing obesity. But the #1 tool in promoting adherence to a new, healthier lifestyle is support. You are going to need someone to hold your hand (and kick your butt) when the going gets tough. Humans are social creatures: we need support from the rest of the tribe when attempting major undertakings.

Who Is In Your Corner?

I got lucky – I not only had the support of my friends and family, but I also had a secret weapon: my wife. We have been going through all the phases of bariatric surgery and lifestyle changes together. Our surgeries were even only 6 weeks apart! We got to go to one another’s doctor visits, nutritionist meetings, and support groups. What one of us missed or forgot, the other was able to pick up and remember. As a result, 6 months post surgeries, we have each dropped 100 pounds. We have completely overhauled our diets. We hit the gym every single day. Our lifestyles bear very little resemblance to who we were a year ago.

“But Jeremy,” I can already hear you complaining, “my spouse/partner/roommate doesn’t need surgery.”

Let me tell you a little secret: at the front end of this process, we didn’t know if either of us would qualify. Lor’s BMI was not high enough to automatically qualify for bariatric surgery. I have epilepsy: we had to get clearance from my surgeon and my neurologist before I could be approved. There was every chance that one of us would be going through this alone.

So we decided to not let that happen. We made a commitment to each other that we would both go through the process together, even if one of us was not approved for surgery. Every dietary change, every lifestyle modification, every meeting and doctor’s appointment would be shared. Even if one of us retained the greater curvature of the stomach, we would operate as if both of us had it removed.

The Key Is Lifestyle Changes

Remember: bariatric surgery is only one element in a host of lifestyle changes that lead to conquering obesity.  Most of us decide on the surgery because we have been unable to stick with the changes required without help. But if your primary loved one is willing to go through the changes with you some very profound things can happen.

There will no longer be the temptation of what is on the plate across the dinner table from you. You will automatically have a workout buddy to accompany you as you (re)introduce exercise into your life. You will have accountability when you are tempted to fall off the wagon.  Ask any person who attends AA/NA or other support groups – the social interaction is the most important tool they have in overcoming their addictions.

News flash: most of us going through bariatric surgery are food addicts. Get yourself some support.

Walking On The Sadder Side

Now, I am not blind to the truth. There are those of us who are single. Some have no family support. There are even those whose spouses/partners will try to actively sabotage their weight loss journey. This is a harsh world we live in, and these can be harsh truths to accept.

My solution? Make new friends.

Do not waste your time and emotional energy trying to convert the loved ones who do not support you. Instead, turn to the community of current and former patients who are going through the same changes you are. Find an online group – there a literally hundreds of them on Facebook. Locate a local support group meeting. If you can’t find one, create one and advertise it online. Someone out there is going through exactly what you are.

Your job is to find that person.

No one can really go through this alone without major setbacks. The validation and encouragement you need can really only come from an outside source. Take ownership of your need for social interaction, just like you took ownership of curing your obesity.

Somewhere out there is your BFF: the person who can help you stay the course after bariatric surgery.

They are probably closer than you think.

It Takes A Village To Lose The Weight Of A Child,

Jeremy

Welcome to the Contest!

The release of the Ash Falls storyverse of Fiction Vortex is right around the corner. To celebrate, we are hosting a drawing!

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To celebrate the release of the Ash Falls Storyverse on February 28, we are giving away a $10 credit to spend at Fiction Vortex! This credit can be used to pick up the first episodes of Fallen, Felix North, Inheritance, Reborn, or The Perpetuals - or any other stories that catch your eye. Just register your email address, and if you are the lucky winner we will contact you after the drawing on February 27 to let you know. Additional mentions on social media will give you extra chances to win!!
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Yup, you read that right – $10 worth of Fiction Vortex credit, just waiting for one lucky winner. Explore multiple worlds and fabulous authors. And, while you are there, feel free to pick up the first episodes of RebornFallen, Felix North, Inheritance, or The Perpetuals!

Speaking of Felix North and The Perpetuals…how about some cover art?

Felix North Cover Art

The Perpetuals Cover Art

Ash Falls – it’s coming! Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your neighbors! Heck, you might even tell your enemies. After reading one of these stories they will be so excited that they may become your friend!

(Enemy to Friendship conversion not properly evaluated. Please use at your own risk.)

We’ll keep you posted as the publication dates draw closer. Thanks for signing up, and, as always, thank you for being a part of Misdirected!

Glad I Am Going To The Gym Later To Burn Off This Excess Energy,

Jeremy

(Fiction Friday:) Welcome To Ash Falls!

Welcome to Ash Falls - the next Fiction Vortex Storyverse

After months of innuendos, suggestions, and teasers, we finally have a date! On February 28, 2017, Fiction Vortex will be releasing the Ash Falls Storyverse: the home of myself and several other authors of dark fiction!

Though the publication order is not set in stone just yet, here’s generally what you can expect from the weeks of February 28 through March 21:

Inheritance (by Jeremy C. Schofield):

A serialized novel (penned by yours truly) depicting the dark and mysterious city of Ash Falls, filled with mysterious, eldritch creatures and danger lurking around every corner.  Our tale will follow a Private Eye investigating an assassination. The catch? Our private detective is working for the forces of darkness, not attempting to defeat them…

Felix North (by D.C. Golightly):

A powerful acromancer (think a wizard with style) is dispatched from New York to investigate mysterious happenings in the Pacific Northwest. The style of Park Avenue meets the teeth and claws of the streets of Ash Falls.

The Perpetuals (by K. Edwin Fritz):

We all know the story – 3 bites from a vampire, and you become one yourself. But, what happens to those who are not bitten all three times? An outsider to Ash Falls will discover the truth, the hard way.

Fallen (by Steve Cotterill):

By far, the most intricate of our titles. Demonic possession, ghostly entities, and ancient, powerful spirits. And that’s only the first 5 pages.

Once the initial releases are complete, we will be releasing one “episode” a week from each author until the completion of our first “Season” 10 months later. (More or less.)

Even more exciting, we have already added a 5th author to our Ash Falls clan! Ms. Charel C. Kunz won our recent “Search For New Authors” contest, and will be adding her tales to the mix just as quickly as she can get them written!

Oh, right, one last thing…

The Contest!

Starting next week we will begin running a contest for $10 worth of Fiction Vortex credit, with the drawing taking place on February 27! $10 will buy you the first 4 episodes within the Ash Falls storyverse, with credit to spare that can be used to explore many of the other great authors and storyverses located within the Fiction Vortex lineup.

The contest app goes live here on Misdirected on Monday. All you have to do to qualify is enter your email address. Of course, if you would like more chances to win, you could also mention us on Facebook, Twitter, etc…We are not above “encouragement.” Stay tuned here for more details!

Catch You All On Monday,

Jeremy

The Journey Continues: 6 More Important Posts From Misdirected

Several hundred views later, it is apparent that I should have created an “index” post long before this. I am glad that the 6 Starting Posts article was helpful for so many of you in providing easier access to some important content pertaining to the months before bariatric surgery.

But…what about surgery itself, or the first few months after surgery? Not to fear, I have you covered there as well. Here are some great starting points for articles pertaining to the time around and immediately after surgery:

The Psychology of Obesity

The days immediately preceding surgery are filled with mental activity. Mainly, we ask ourselves “Why the heck am I doing this?” This article breaks down my own personal thoughts on obesity, and surgery as the cure.

There’s Got To Be A Morning After

What surgery day looks like, as an observer.

The Lights Are On, But No One Is Home

The mental effects of switching to the all-liquid diet that bookends surgery. Also known as “brain fog”.

The Little Things

The days at home immediately following bariatric surgery.

A Game Of Inches

The second-most popular article on Misdirected, this post talks about one of the great, hidden side effects of bariatric surgery for male patients. Warning: those uncomfortable with human sexuality should probably just skip this one.

A Day In My Post-Surgery Diet

By far the most popular article on Misdirected, this post gathered over 500 views the first day it was posted. Seems there is quite a bit of interest in what a day’s diet looks like after Gastric Sleeve surgery.

Hopefully, you now have a great starting point of posts to introduce you to Misdirected, and to bariatric surgery. Welcome to Misdirected! We look forward to adding you to the family.

Sincerely,

Jeremy