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Life after WLS

The Recovery Phase – What To Do After You Wear Your Body Out

It’s been a while since you have heard from this WLS fitness enthusiast, I know. Let’s talk a little bit about what has been on my agenda and what I’ve put my body through in the last 4 weeks.

As you may recall, I left Portland OR on January 12th with three main goals ahead of me.

  1. Get to Anaheim, CA and run a half marathon.
  2. Get to Dallas to have some touch up work done on my arm.
  3. Complete a cross-country move to NC in time to start my new job on Feb. 3, 2013

I am happy to report that all three of these things were a success. Keeping up on blog writing and sharing the journey along the way; not so much. There were however several updates on my social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter (A good reason to follow me there).

1549549_10151838494477447_627482255_nWhile I will be writing more soon about the Run Disney, Tinker Bell half marathon experience, today I want to talk a bit about recovery. Understanding that when we put our bodies through something that is physically exerting or takes extra energy to do, something like say, running 13.1 miles or having surgery that requires our body work extra hard to heal, or even something as simple as a long extended car ride, it’s important to understand that we also need to give our body time to recover.

So you just ran 13.1 miles, you’re tired, you’re winded and your legs are exhausted. What do you do now? For some the answer might just be “Lie down on the ground and die.” But guess what, that is exactly the wrong thing to do. How you treat your body after pushing it, is just as important as how you treat it before you push it. Now is the time to walk around slowly, hydrate well, stretch out and grab a little something to eat. You’ll see lots of people doing just these things around you in the finishers corral if you are participating in an event. And of course, make sure you are eating and drinking the right things. Water, water, water, you can always use water additives like Mio, Crystal Light or other non-calorie products to spice things up if you’re not a water lover.

dreamstimefree_204955What you are putting in your face is just as important. Remember to choose foods that have a high pay off, bananas will help replenish potassium with 400 mg which is lost through sweating. But don’t forget they are high in sugar, have only 1 gram of protein and no fat whatsoever, so don’t overdo it. My go-to recovery foods are a half a banana and a protein bar. Replenishing protein after exercise is a must do for me, I need those muscles to recover fast and protein is essential to muscle recovery since it aids in the repair of exercise induced damage to muscle fibers.

So you just had surgery? Your body is recovering and what you eat can make a pretty big impact on how quickly your wounds heal, not to mention they can play a large role in preventing complications like constipation from pain medicine consumption. The best suggestion I can make for you when eating post-surgery, and I’ve done this a few times now, eat whole foods. Remember that whole food, which really means unprocessed foods, are higher in vitamins and nutrients. This should really be an everyday sort of thing but is especially important when your body is trying to heal. To prevent constipation, focus on food that is high in fiber like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. If constipation is an issue you want to avoid things that are dried or dehydrated, dairy products, things that are high in sugar and red meats.

QuestCPBKeep your protein intake up (Especially important for you WLS folks) with lean meats such as chicken, turkey, pork and seafood, or if you want a vegetarian approach, nuts, tofu and beans. If you are having problems getting that protein in remember you can always add a whey isolate based protein shake.

So you just put your body through something like a three-week long extended road trip. You’re stiff and sore and your body isn’t moving quite the way you want it too. What do you do? Staying in bed, staying still and letting your body rest might seem like a good idea, and you definitely want to get that sleep in; it’s essential to weight loss and weight management for sure. But you’d be amazed what a little recovery run will do for you. I’m not saying that you should run 5-6 miles on day-after-half-marathon legs, or even I’ve-been-sitting-in-the-car-for-8-10-hours legs, but movement is a good thing to loosen up muscles and speed up healing.  Until I hit Dallas where I had minor surgery on my arm and got put on “no-exercise” restrictions. I was doing 1 mile recovery runs whenever I hit a new state on my trip. Ever notice that when you are sore the moment you stop moving for too long it hurts more when you move again? Just think of it as your body asking you to keep the blood flowing and you’ll be fine!

Today I am three weeks post my half marathon, two weeks post my little surgery, and one week into being in North Carolina and starting my new job as a weight management leader, wellness coach and membership sales manager and today is the first day that I’m allowed back on cardio equipment. Can you guess where Coach Pandora will be after work today? Utilizing her new work environment gym facility! Now I just need to find a couple of Wilmington, NC Ladies that want to have fun getting fit with me.


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.

Introducing Coach Pandora! Heres to a new us Slender Seekers

30e6a8b80c6a11e2ab4c22000a1d0350_7About two years ago around this time, I had decided that I wanted to become a personal trainer. I knew I wasn’t anywhere near ready yet, I had a lot to do in my own journey still, but my goal was to get my ISSA Certification and be ready as soon as my body was.

As I started 2012 I had a goal of having several bouts of reconstructive plastic surgery after having lost 260 lb, during my own weight loss journey and I had one of my best friends in the entire world moving in with me to help see me through it. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that three rounds of plastic surgery would take so much out of me.

My plans changed along the way a little. I became more focused on getting through the plastic surgeries and the weeks and weeks of healing that came after each one, and I became passionate about blogging about my weight loss journey and the experience of reconstructive plastic surgery because I didn’t really feel like there were enough people out there doing it.

a868851aa37c11e2934e22000aa800af_7Last year I started 2013 with the same goal, to become a personal trainer and an additional goal to start my own business. In March I started that journey by taking the Personal Trainer Education course at the Cooper Institute. – As much as I thought I would take that class, take the test, ace it, and move on with my dreams, things changed a little when a fourth and final round of reconstructive plastics took precedent in July and the year really became a time of personal growth for me when it came to the mind and wellness part of my journey. In June of I returned to Cooper Institute to take some additional courses in Coaching Healthy Behaviors and Weight Management Strategies because I wanted more education and training under my belt to start my career with.

The truth was, I was intimidated by the Personal Trainers course. I love cardio, but strength and toning and resistance training had been a big missing piece of my fitness profile because I love to run so much and I love cardio so much that when I get out there and I want to exercise, that’s what I want to do. I felt inept when it came to this aspect of fitness and I didn’t know how to get around it. It started holding me back; a lot.

I also realized quickly that perhaps the best thing I could do, was to get a job in the fitness world that would allow me to get some experience under my belt in a gym environment while I worked on these very things myself but still allowed me to do what I am most passionate about doing, helping others achieve their weight loss goals. I started applying at gyms and looking for a place I would fit in.

In October of last year, a visit to my family & friends took me out to North Carolina and suddenly, just like that, things started falling into place for me. I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Brian Autry, Personal Trainer and Co-Owner of the Wilmington Ladies Fitness Gym located on Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington. Together he and his wife Krista Autry, have been working at getting women the results they are looking for through fitness and exercise for over 10 years.

slide-1.1I feel in love with their club right away. One of my biggest reasons for wanting to help other people with their weight loss journey was that I felt there was a gap in the industry were the comfort of people of size was concerned. When it comes to those of us that have suffered with morbid obesity and have the daunting task of losing over 100 lb., being in a gym can be a very intimidating place. I wanted to create a situation and a program where I could get people exercising in environments that they are comfortable in, be that a back yard, a space in their house, or a private gym. That was the ultimate goal.  Suddenly there I was, talking to Brian about what I wanted to do and how passionate I was about doing it and as I looked around the women’s only gym, I thought to myself “This would be the perfect environment to work in, most of the women I know would be so much more comfortable in a women’s only facility, and it’s very obvious that the club is a positive and welcoming place for women of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels.”

1f3948b8694411e3b28012d40f8b39a1_8Within the next two months, after a few conversations with Brian, I’m excited to announce that this is where the next chapter of my journey is taking me. As of February, I’ll be taking a dual position and joining the Wilmington Ladies Fitness team as a Membership Service Manager and a Weight Management Program Lead where I will be developing a weight management program for women that have 50, 100 pounds or more to lose and working as a Wellness & Weight Management Coach consulting with members on nutrition, exercise programming and lifestyle changes for effective weight loss.

And while I am at it I will be continuing to work on my own fitness goals of making resistance and strength training a big priority in my life and continuing to work on obtaining my personal trainers certification, at which point, I’ll also start working as a personal trainer at Wilmington Ladies Fitness.

I am so excited about taking this job, so thrilled about being a part of their team, and just bursting with enthusiasm at the thought of how many people’s lives I am about to be able to touch through this opportunity.

bariatric-foodie150I started 2013 with so many goals and so many aspirations and I made a lot of them happen, not all, but a lot. I think my dear friend Nikki Massie (Bariatric Foodie) said it best in a Facebook post she made on New Year’s Eve; 2013 was “a healing year that also brought some unexpected new beginnings.” I love the way this woman thinks, if you don’t follow her blog you should, she’s an icon of the Bariatric Community when it comes to all things food oriented.

And now, it’s time for this Wellness & Weight Management Coach to get to packing, I have a two more weeks of half-marathon training for the Tinker Bell half-marathon weekend, a cross-country road trip, a new fitness focus and a new job to get kicked into gear and only a month or so to do it. It’s the second day of 2014 and I’ve got the beginning of a lot of new chapters started. Now it’s time to write the story Slender Seekers, now, it’s time to rise.


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.
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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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