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Avoiding High Risk Behaviors after Weight-Loss Surgery

This was going to be a Facebook post – but really, I felt it was more appropriate to share with a larger reader base.  The topic of taking pain medication after weight loss surgery is the buzz today thanks to a great article [ Weight-Loss Surgery May Add to Painkiller Dependence, Study Says ]

99c6dea8283811e3942f22000a9f140e_8Prior to my RNY in October of 2010 I was diagnosed with chronic back pain and muscle spasms as well as chronic stress and anxiety and I was on a mixture of pain killers, muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety medications. ( Vicodin, Soma and Ativan )

Let me interject a moment and say that I believe that often times the pitfalls we have the most experience with and are armed with the most education about, are often the ones we can avoid because we suspect that they might be coming.

I was very lucky to have had some exposure to the Online WLS Community before my surgery and I knew that I was very likely going to be the type of person that ended up with cross over addictions since I am indeed an addict. My addiction was food, but in my teens, it was other unhealthy substances, emotions and actions; because as an addict I can pretty much get addicted to anything that gives me a good feeling.  Thankfully I was able to prepare myself for fighting the temptation to allow myself things I felt could lead to dangerous places if I allowed my doing them to get out of hand.

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That doesn’t mean I am not addicted to anything, I am. I’m addicted to the adrenalin rush I get when I exercise, to the emotional rush I get out of helping others. I’m addicted to video games and have to only allow myself to play them in moderation or I can suck entire weeks out of my life devoted to playing them.  These are just a couple of the more healthy behaviors I allow myself in order to make certain I stay on a path of wellness.

I come from a family with a long line of addicts.  I’ve been around heroin, meth, prescription drugs and sex addicts since I was four years old. I promised never to be THAT person and I have no doubt that keeping that promise to myself has been a fundamental part of my continuing to be able to find healthy addiction alternatives.

I can honestly say that I am probably an exception to the rule here – I tend to be a little … different? But education and preparation and communication have gone a long way in this journey for me. I have not had a script for painkillers or muscle relaxers since my RNY other than after Body Contouring and Reconstructive Plastics Surgery [ WLS Plastics from the Patient Perspective ] which was hundreds of times more painful than my Gastric Bypass was.The article brings out a very prevalent point of truth though;

“Narcotics may not be absorbed the same way after a gastric bypass as they are before a gastric bypass,” said Sabowitz, who practices in San Antonio, Texas, and serves as an adjunct assistant professor of medicine for the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. “Maybe one reason narcotic use increased is because people were getting less narcotics [in their system].”

I am not a doctor, but based on personal experience I would agree completely with this statement.  Medication tolerance issues and not getting enough delivered to your system can be a prevalent problem.  I’ve had two different plastic surgeons and in both cases their staff had “Concerns” about the type and amount of narcotics I seemed to need to be comfortable and I could see signs that they suspected drug seeking behavior. My actual doctors never displayed those reservations however,  because we had discussed it openly ahead of time and obviously here I am not quite three months out of surgery taking no pain medication… I was off pain medication by week 6-8 post op.

There are so many things we are not warned about going into weight loss surgery, especially when it comes to the emotional aspects of the journey, and let’s be honest, often times it is the emotional aspect that leads us to addictions.

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I invite you to take a little personal inventory Slender Seekers, are you exhibiting addictive behaviors? If so perhaps it’s time to reach out and get help before these unhealthy behaviors become problematic for you.  If you’re not great! But if you are the type of person that has past addictions and you know a transfer addiction could be a risk, maybe it’s time to do a little “Me-Work” ( That is what I call homework I do for self-improvement ) and create a preventative list of things you realize you MIGHT be easily drawn too.

If we prepare for the obstacles ahead of us on our journey buy recognizing when there could be a problem, we are more likely to make emotionally and physically healthy decisions when those obstacles arise. An obstacle like understanding that we may be predisposed to an addiction to prescription medication is what I would consider a High Risk Situation, and overcoming a high risk situation can be a big challenge if you are not prepared and you don’t have a plan of action and a good support system in place just in case it happens.

I think when it comes the Wellness part of our weight loss journey, we have to understand that investing a little time in early preparation helps us live up to that old adage, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”  There is a page in my WLS Wellness Journal titled “Risks I won’t take”, it is an exercise I do when I feel like I might be facing some very big upcoming obstacles and I want to develop a strategy for how I might handle it physically and emotionally.  I’ll share it here just in case you want to develop your own “In Case of Emergency Plan.”

[ DSS – In Case of Emergency Worksheet ]

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

 

Returning to Running – 10 weeks off 3 weeks on and happy

DssButton125So Monday started Week 03 of the #20Week2Tink Training Program we are doing leading up to our partition in the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend in Anaheim, CA. – Thanks to our Team Sponsors Dawn Brell, the winner of the [How do YOU Celebrate Success Contest] and I are participating in one of the neatest WLS Fitness oriented events we possibly could.

Not only our we working together towards our goal of accomplishing this half marathon, but we have an entire team of people working on training for the same goal with us virtually, all supporting each other in the [ I Tink I can Virtual Event ]

So let me see if I have met the requirements for my first two weeks of the training program. Keep in mind that this is also my third week off the bench since my last round of reconstructive plastic surgery which took place on July 10th and August 7th

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photo2Week 01: We had a scheduled mileage of 13.0 for the week and I came in 4.84 miles ahead with a total mileage of 19.84 for the week.  I met the pace requirement for the Tinker Bell on two of my four cardio workouts this week.  My Total mileage in the #iTINKiCan Event is 19.84

Week 02: We had a schedule mileage of 13.0 for the week and I came in at 1.6 miles over with a total mileage of 14.60 for the week.  I met the pace requirement for the Tinker Bell on two of my four cardio workouts this week. My Total mileage in the #iTINKiCan Event is 34.43

+ I additionally added in resistance training on two separate occasions this week.

Let’s talk a little about how I have worked myself back into my cardio routine and what is planned as I start three.

First of all, I have recognized that my schedule needs to be adjusted in order for it to work for me. I’ve always enjoyed two consecutive rest days and I’ve always had a hectic schedule on weekends which means that if I can reserve Saturday and Sunday fitness for leisurely activities I will do better.

This week is the last week that I am doing a 4 day schedule. I have been limited myself to 4 days of exercise a week for the first 4 weeks of adding exercise back into my day coming off the bench for 10 weeks.  In order to accommodate for my weekend, I am moving my rest days back to Saturday, Sunday, and for this week, will include Monday as well.

This week I will be doing 4 cardio sessions and the minimum 2 resistance training sessions.

My first week off the bench I did really nothing but at but walk, just a very simple, slow and steady walk. My walks started out really slow, 18-20 minute plus walks. That was fine; I just needed by body to get used to moving again.  That first week I put 14 miles on my new shoes [Pace Setter Athletic] put on my feet.

My second week off the bench I started jogging on soft ground. That was Week 01 of our #20Week2Tink Training Program and I started adding a half mile jog in the middle of my workout, nothing too crazy, and nothing that caused my body to hurt as I attempted it.

My third week off the bench, I doubled the distance I was running in the middle on my outdoor jogs from a half a mile to about a mile and I changed my Treadmill workout from the 60 second runs at the top of every 5 minutes that I did the last week to a 2.5 minute walked at an increasing tempo and then the remainder of time running as much as I can until I get to 1 mile. I had to take a couple small walk breaks in there, my first mile came out at 13:09 and my second mile came in at 12:37.

This week I will be shooting to accomplish 3 – 3 min off – 10 min on run sets on the treadmill with a walk pace of 3.8, 3.9, and 4.0 and  a run pace of 5.0, 5.1 and 5.3 – I also intend to add some level ground jogging back into my outdoor run.

photoMy resistance training workouts this week are going to be coming in the form of my dear friend, mentor and all around amazing guy (I’m not sure if he is single ladies but I can ask him for you) Bobby Whisnand’s Brand new video program [It’s All Heart] – I’ve had access to the program for a few weeks now and got to look it over a bit. But I just got my official it’s All Heart DVD Package with all the Gear you need to get started in the mail last week and this week, oh it’s on, it’s on, it’s on. I’m so excited to start this program!

Week 03: is underway and because I am moving my rest days around today is actually what will be my long run day, so I have a 5 miler to do today. Being Monday today is also “Me Day.” Monday is my one guaranteed day off real life work each week, my day to sit around and do whatever I want. Luckily for me “What I want” usually includes fitness and lately, I’ve been sharing my exercise time with different friends as I try to stay in touch, so those long Monday runs, are my dedicated “Me Day Runs” – Run’s where nobody gets to talk to me and I just get to spend some time with my feet hitting the ground, enjoying the peaceful silence that I so rarely achieve in my mind and talking to my Father about whatever is going on in my life.

Also on this week’s agenda is some study time, a massage and anything else I want to squeeze in before on my “Reward Day” before I eat live and breathe work and studying and exercise for four days solid and prepare for my first ever mud run / obstacle course the Kiss Me Dirty on Saturday.

Yes I did just say I needed to re-organize my schedule so that I had the weekends off from long cardio workouts because I work so much. But I’m also allowing myself one if not two Saturdays or Sundays each month to participate in fitness events. That is until I start hosting them…

Oh snap! Did I say that outloud? Oh coming soon, coming soon.

Let me take a moment to thank the Team Slender Seeker Sponsors without whom none of this would be possible. Stay tuned next week for an update from Dawn regarding how she is doing in our little journey together.

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Slender Seekers Gold Team Sponsors:

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Kay’s Naturals
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Celebrate Vitamins
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Pace Setter Athletic
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Slender Seekers Silver Team Sponsors:

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Team Slender and The #20Week2Tink Training Program was made possible by:

The “How Do YOU Celebrate Success” contest sponsors:

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Please support our sponsors!

 

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
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