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Do I Need to Exercise? – Bariatric Edition

Exercise and Weight Loss – Bariatric Edition
Did you think that by having surgery, you could escape from the dreaded exercise routine? Think again. It may not be for the reasons that you currently believe though.
Most of us believe that when we exercise, we burn calories and we lose weight faster. We’ve had it drilled into us for most of our lives. We need to exercise to lose weight. We need to continually exercise. Exercise and then exercise some more.
Exercising accounts only for a small amount of daily calorie burn.
Turns out that all that exercising doesn’t help us lose weight. That one-hour calorie-burn session on the treadmill can be undone in 5 minutes of eating. It also turns out that we have been seriously over-calculating the number of calories that we burn while in a Zumba class or on the elliptical machine. We now know that those machines can over-calculate by up to 50%!! So you can’t have that extra cookie Karen! 
Our bodies are super smart. They figure out how we are trying to torch calories and they want to hang onto them so the internal battle begins and once our bodies are used to a particular form of exercise, they don’t burn as many calories while doing that exercise. 
I know people who run marathons and are not particularly thin. How can you run for exercise every single day and still be overweight? The evidence is clear. Exercise is great for so many things but weight loss is just not one of them.
I tend to be heavier when I am working out the most. Why is that? Well, in my specific case, I am hungrier! Sure,I exercise but I also eat more when I work out. “I deserve it” right? That’s what I tell myself anyway. 
Some people exercise and they tend to do less throughout the day because they’ve exercised. Some people are tired after their sweat-session and lie down for a few hours. Other’s fidget less and burn fewer calories post-exercise.
I teach my clients to separate exercise and diet. We cannot exercise our way out of a bad diet AND besides that, weight loss occurs in the KITCHEN, and not in the GYM. We cannot eat chocolate cake and then hit the treadmill for an hour to burn it off. Well, we can but if we try to play that game, we will start to HATE the gym and we can become prone to injuries also.
My time for exercise needs to be fun and for me. It needs to lift my spirits. I don’t want to “punish” myself during my workout. I want to “ elevate” myself and enjoy the things that my body can do. That’s the only way that exercise is going to become a permanent fixture in my life.
If I try to exercise off the chocolate cake, then I am angry at myself for eating the cake. We need to stop it with this thinking. I’ve stopped weighing myself before my workouts because I want to detach from the mentality of “if I gain a pound”, I have to kill myself to burn it off. 
We need to EAT for weight loss and WORKOUT for self-care. 
So, if we are going to exercise NOT to lose weight, then why bother with it at all?
Exercise does so much more. We need to reframe the way that we think about exercise. It’s not about weight loss. It’s about lowering our cholesterol levels. It’s about lowering our blood pressure. It helps to lower blood sugar. It strengthens our cardiovascular system. It prevents muscle loss. It strengthens our muscles, tendons, ligaments. It helps with depression. It reduces stress levels and my TOP reason to exercise …. It releases ENDORPHINS!!  Yay for those endorphins. I am a total endorphin JUNKIE. Gimme all the endorphins. 
Now, if the above reasons are not enough of a reason to convince you to exercise, there are a hundred other reasons that I have not mentioned yet. You need to find your reason to exercise.  When I exercise, I am a happier person. I know that now as I go into my 50th year on this planet. If I am in a crappy mood, a workout can turn it all around for me. I use my workout as a time to celebrate me. It is my time for self-care. If my phone rings, I won’t answer it and if my email notifications come on, I ignore them. This is my time to get my head on straight and I won’t jeopardize that for anything.
Please find your reason to love yourself enough to move in a way that increases your heart rate and makes you sweat. I really, really, really want this for you. I want you to release endorphins and feel happy. If I could do it for you, I would. I can’t so you need to do it for you.
Healthy Hugs,
Your RHN – Bariatric Nutritionist and Surgery Coordinator 

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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