Why I'm choosing bariatric surgery: 3 strategies for making exercise a priority
MultiCare's director of general surgery, Jennifer Yahne, is choosing to undergo bariatric surgery. You can read other posts in this series here.
Exercise has always been a challenge for me. I was chubby and slow as a child, and I never found a sport or physical activity that I enjoyed. As an adult, I found the gym intimidating because it was full of thin people and equipment I didn’t know how to use.
Once I had kids, lack of time became a bigger constraint. Between working, commuting and taking care of my family, I had neither the time nor the energy to fit exercise into my life. Plus, I didn’t enjoy exercise, so it inevitably fell last on my list of priorities.
But to have long-term success following weight loss surgery, it was necessary that I adopt a physically active lifestyle — in addition to changing my eating habits. As I approached the fall, I contemplated how I was going to make fitness a priority in my busy life.
In doing this, I have found three key strategies to help me be successful in my personal goal of working out five days a week:
- I joined a gym close to home and began working out weekly with a trainer. I am more likely to uphold commitments to others, so having external accountability was key. In addition, I knew I’d get bored if all I did was use the elliptical trainer. The trainer showed me how to use all of the equipment and develop a strength program. And since we meet weekly, I am constantly introduced to new things I can put into my workouts.
- I cannot limit myself to the gym. My days can be unpredictable, and given my hectic schedule I may not be able to make it there. Instead of letting that become an excuse not to exercise, I am getting creative. On days where I have morning and evening meetings, I can carve out time in the middle of the day and use the employee gym at work. When my daughter has soccer practice, I can run around the school track.
- I have to accept that it is OK to prioritize my health. I can’t let the guilt in when I’m not watching my daughter’s soccer practice or when I take time away from my family in the evening or on weekends to hit the gym. I have to accept that it is OK to take a midday break to get my workout in. Ultimately, exercise helps alleviate stress and sharpen my mind, so by prioritizing my health, I am also becoming a better parent, wife and employee.
Now that I have lost nearly 70 pounds, the best part is that I do not feel so out of place when I go to the gym. I feel like I fit in, I know what I’m doing and I can see it paying off.
A few years ago, I tried to do a Couch to 5K program. Unfortunately, my weight caused me to develop shin splints after a couple weeks, and I spent the next few weeks hardly able to walk from pain. Now, I am able to do the same program but free from pain.
I have reached the point where I can feel my strength building and my energy increasing. When my muscles are sore, I feel a sense of pride. Recently, I realized how light I feel on my feet. There is a bounce in my step that did not exist before.
As my weight continues to decrease, exercise is changing from a chore to an opportunity to reenergize and revitalize myself.
About The Author
Jennifer Yahne and her husband of 17 years, Jeramy, are lifelong residents of South King County. They have two daughters, Jillian and Hayden. Jennifer has worked in health care administration for the past decade, most recently as the director for the general surgery careline at MultiCare Health System. In her limited free time, she enjoys knitting, sewing, reading and baking.More stories by this author