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5 Nutrition Principles To Follow Post-Surgery Nutrition

5 Nutrition Principles To Follow Post-Surgery Nutrition
Any surgery, whether major or minor, is essentially causing some pretty serious trauma to the body.
After the doctors have used their skilled hands to repair whatever damage has occurred the real healing process can start and neglecting your diet during this time will not  be doing you any favors.

My Story

A complete fluke is what sent me for emergency surgery as a rare birth defect had built up scar tissue in my small intestine. If not treated this could lead to organ failure which can have a domino effect to the other organs. Not something I would have on my wish list. The pain hit me completely out of the blue at work one day and thinking it was a stomach flu tried to let it pass.

When it was clear this was something serious, I went to the hospital for maybe the third time in my life where I had to take a whole lot of tests. An MRI revealed what was happening inside me and it was a damn good thing I had got to the hospital when I did. I had to be rushed into surgery and before I knew it I was waking up in an operating room unable to walk or do much else for myself. The healing process would not be easy, but having my background in fitness and nutrition I wanted to tackle this head on.

Focusing On Post-Surgery Nutrition

The first few days after surgery are not exactly pie in the sky. I woke up from surgery feeling pretty great but I chalk that up to the amount of pain killers I was hooked up to. I had a laparotomy so my abdomen had been cut right through and sitting up, let alone walking, was almost impossible. I was hooked up to Iv’s, catheters and oxygen for the first few days and my only source of nourishment was the 5-star culinary experience that is hospital food…(enter sarcasm here..)

I knew when I got home I would have more control over my diet and could set up a real game plan to recover as best I could. Here are 5 things I focused on to heal.

1. Bone Broth

You will probably not have much of an appetite the first few days after a surgery but this is when nourishing yourself is paramount. Enter in bone broth. Bone broth can be used in easy to eat meals like soups and stews as it has some amazing healing properties.  Bone broth is full of minerals such as:

  • Calcium

  • Magnesium

  • Phosphorus

  • Silicon

  • Sulfur

  • Trace minerals

Since it is full of minerals and gelatin extraction from the simmering bones broth can help with:

  • Healing the lining of the gut

  • Inhibit infection

  • Reduce joint pain and inflammation

  • Promote strong healthy bones

These are some pretty good things when you’re looking to heal.

2. Make Sure You Are Taking In Enough Protein

Protein does a lot of things including helping to make hormones and enzymes along with immune function but we’re all aware how it is important in tissue recovery. Muscle repair and recovery is most people’s main use of protein but rebuilding and repairing all tissue is of key importance for those looking to heal from surgery.

Your goal after surgery for protein requirements should be to intake around 1.5 grams per kg for a minor surgery and up to 2 grams per kg for more invasive and major surgery.

3. If Taking Antibiotics Focus On Taking In Probiotics

You’re probably very conscious about the damage antibiotics can do to the gut but at some point during medical issues infections can happen and antibiotics are administered. This was my case and I made sure to introduce a lot of gut healing probiotic foods to help rebuild my “good gut bugs” as best as possible. Besides using a probiotic supplement your best food choices will be:

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kombucha
  • Kefir

  • Kimchee

  • Miso soup

  • Pickles

4. Eliminate Inflammatory Foods

This one is more about something you don’t want as opposed to the things I’m listing that you do want. At this point it would make a lot of sense to avoid those foods that cause more inflammation in the body. That would include:

  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Added sugar
  • Vegetable oils
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Trans fats
  • white pasta, bread and rice

Your body is trying to heal and consuming inflammatory foods is just going to make things worse and make it tougher for your body to heal itself. You are missing out on nothing by not consuming these foods and will be better off in the long run.

5. Make Sure You’re Drinking Enough Water

Water helps regulate body temperature, aids in digestion and absorption and helps with circulation among many other things. In the case of healing, it is also involved in flushing toxins out of the body. When you’ve had surgery you’ve had a lot of pretty foreign stuff floating around in your body that you’re probably wanting to get out. Water helps to flush out and cleanse, keeps you hydrated and allows the body to run smoothly.

Find the purest form of water you can and look to drink half your body weight in ounces of it each day.

Keep Moving Forward With Your Nutrition

These are tips that can not only assist in helping someone get on the road to recovery but also are great tips for those at any stage in their health looking to make positive changes. The foods that heal your body after a surgery are the same things you would want to include on a daily basis to keep yourself functioning optimally. When you combine this with the elimination of detrimental foods you’ve got a good combination that can result in better health.

Featured photo credit: Frann Leach via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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