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When Motivation Fades – Bariatric Edition

When motivation fades …. Then what?


It goes something like this….

It’s Monday morning.  You jump out of bed raring to go.  Your time is here.  You set your exercise date, and your shoes and workout apparel are waiting for you.  Your protein shake is in the fridge and your car keys are on the table in the entranceway.


Off you go to the gym.  It feels so good to be back after having a lapse of 8 months.  Gosh, time flies!  There are a lot of new faces in the gym.  You only recognize a few of the hard-hitters that are always there, rain or shine.


You hit the treadmill, then the weights, a light stretch, and off you go to attack the rest of your day.


You feel amazing!  The endorphins are flowing.  You are a rockstar, a champion, the cream of the crop.  You post your sweaty pic and apple watch workout profile on FB with the caption “Back to the grind, oh how I missed my gym”.


Day 2, it’s Tuesday and you have that same routine planned.  You wake up 1.5 hours earlier, grab your gym shoes, workout gear, protein shake, car keys, and off you go.  Zoom Zoom.  Today is a bit harder because everything HURTS.  You convince yourself that feeling sore is good and you work through it.  No pain, no gain right?  You post to FB and head back home to get ready for work.


Day 3, ouch ouch ouch – everything is sore. Hello Aspirin. Visiting the bathroom reminds you of how much you dislike doing squats.  You head to the gym, but today you walk the treadmill only.  You post to IG today.  FB responses to your workout routine are not as peppy as they were on Monday.


Day 4, it’s Thursday.  You didn’t sleep very well last night.  You were over-tired. Your muscles were sore.  Your brain was over-active.  Today you roll over, hit the alarm, and go back to sleep.  You are certain that working through muscle pain is not a good thing.  You are going to wait until the pain is better and then do a bit less during your workout.  It’s not worth feeling beat up all week.


Day 5, FRIYAY!!  You worked hard all week.  You cannot wait to step on the scale.  WTH???  You gained 3 pounds.  How can that be?   You worked so hard and you ate so well?  If going to the gym means that you are going to gain weight, you decide not to do it until you lose those 3 pounds again.


Does any of this resonate with you?  I’m writing this because I get it.  I understand. I also want to share some things that work for me with the hope that they may also work for you.


I want you to exercise.  I want you to be active.  I want you to separate weight loss from exercise.  Exercise is for your mental and physical health.  We lose weight in the kitchen.  If you can separate “I’m going to the gym to lose weight”, from “I’m going to the gym because my head and heart need to exercise”, you will be much better off.  You love yourself, that is why you want to work out.


Remember, you GET to work out.  You don’t HAVE to work out.  Reframe it.


“But Sheri, what about those 3 pounds I gained”??

I’m here to tell you that it is NOT muscle gains.  3 pounds of true muscle gains take a LONG TIME.  I wish it was that fast.


I’m here to tell you that those 3 pounds are not “fat gain” either.


That weight gain is water weight.  Your body is sore, it is holding onto water because you have inflammation.  It takes time for all of it to balance out. This is the response your body has to be sore post-workout.  It sends extra fluids to the areas that are sore and need to heal.  The older you are, the longer your new workout routine will take to get used to.


I know that when you hit the gym, you may feel hungrier. Address that issue by adding more fiber to your meals.  Eat more salad and veggies with your meals to combat the additional hunger.  Don’t forget to eat protein at each meal.  Protein and Veg for the Win.


If this is the gym phenomenon, then what are we to do?  How do we get ourselves there 4 times a week?


Maybe you love the gym, but maybe you are like me and you don’t have the time or patience to drive to the gym.  You can always set up your workout at home.


Maybe you like to play outdoor sports.  Running after a soccer ball floats your boat.  So then, join a team.


Maybe you like group exercise classes.  You prefer to Zumba your way to health.


There are so many different ways to get active.  It doesn’t need to be in the gym.


I think that the best way to get active and stay active is to “build it into your lifestyle”.  Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.


Your son plays baseball three times a week at 4 pm.  He’s going to be there for two hours. Instead of rushing around in your car, or sitting in the stands, why not convince another Mom or Dad to go for a power walk with you?  You can even add in some squats, and lunges, along the way.


Here is another example.  You have an hour for lunch.  You eat and sit on your social media or read.  Why not do something active during that time?  Maybe you have a yoga class close by?  Maybe you can change into your workout clothes and do an interval walk/ run with a stretch 3 times a week?


Your office is a 10-minute drive.  Why not hop on your bike instead of driving?  That would be the perfect way to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle.


Maybe you take a lot of phone calls at your work-from-home office.  Why not walk on a treadmill during those calls? Or you can walk outdoors if the weather permits.


I work out in the mornings.  It needs to happen before noon, or it isn’t going to happen.   I’ve worked my exercise into my work day.  I consider it my lunch hour as I work from home.  This works for me.  I want you to find what works for you.


If you are not currently exercising or you don’t have your activity worked into your lifestyle, take a few moments.  Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper (there is probably an app for this lol), and see where you could fit in some activity.


You don’t need to carve out an hour a day.  Make it 20 minutes to start with.  We don’t need to jump in head first and attack it.  We can work it in gradually.  Why do we need to overdo it in the beginning?  If you can start by carving out 20 minutes, and it’s working for you, maybe you can bump that up to 30 minutes.  We are trying to work it into our lives, not discourage ourselves with how hard it is.


Baby steps right?

But, take those baby steps, and don’t just talk about it.  I want this for you.  I want you to save your bone mass and muscle mass as you are on your weight loss journey.  To do that, we need to get active.


Healthy Hugs,


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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