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Those who exercise regularly following weight-loss surgery not only lose more weight and keep it off longer — but are also happier and healthier. Learn how to develop an exercise plan that meets your needs and helps you achieve your weight-loss goals after bariatric surgery. 

Exercise: the metabolic miracle

If we’re going to talk about how exercise impacts metabolism, we need to start with a clear explanation of what exactly “metabolism” means.  The official definition of metabolism is the total of all chemical processes that convert food into the fundamental chemicals used by the body for energy.  Everything we eat (and drink) that has calories in it goes through a series of complicated biochemical processes that break down the food (using that to mean anything ingested) into usable energy.  This energy is then used for keeping our bodies alive; that’s our “basal metabolic rate” (BMR), the baseline, minimal amount of calories (food) we’d need if we were in a coma or spent all day every day lying in bed. BMR, also called Basal Energy Expenditure (BEE) includes breathing, maintaining body temperature and all the other internal body regulating things we don’t think about.

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Exercise compatibility

When it comes to exercise, to set yourself up for the best success for long term compliance, that means consistently moving as part of your lifestyle, the most important thing is that you find stuff you want to do.  Want may not be the word you would currently use in describing exercise, so tolerate may be more appropriate.  Ultimately enjoyment is what we’re going for; we want to find things you can do that are physically active and enjoyable.  If you can figure out the specifics of what, when and how you will be active and then do what you like, you are most likely to keep moving, and that’s what it’s all about!

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Keeping the motivation to exercise

You did it. All the planning, approvals from doctors and insurance, telling family and friends your plans. It's done. Your surgery is over, the weight loss journey is underway. You are a post-op bariatric surgery patient. Now it's all about eating. Planning meals, taking your time, learning new eating behaviors and alternatives to eating. You get to sit back and watch the pounds melt away, right? Well, not really.

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Why working out can halt weight loss

The increase in appetite that follows exercise can make it hard for many people to lose weight. Women, who typically have slower metabolisms than men, may find it especially difficult to shed pounds. And indulging in unhealthy food choices as a reward after a workout may simply replace the calories lost during exercise.

Dr. Ken Fujikoa, Director of the Scripps Clinic Center for Weight Loss, says it's important to choose the right foods after workouts. Healthier foods will make you feel full quicker.

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Weight losers combat fear of exercise, schoolyard torment

For those who want to lose weight but fear exercise, CNN iReporters share their stories of how they took control of their fitness and made exercise fun.

Charles D'Angelo, who was tormented for his weight as an adolescent, was so terrified of being tested or compared to other students in gym class that he obtained a doctor's note excusing him from physical education. At the age of 17, weighing 360 pounds, he decided to get in shape. D'Angelo looked for ways to make exercise fun, such as listening to music or watching TV while working out and engaging in group activities.  Now a fitness coach, he encourages others to change their perceptions of exercise by engaging in any activity that gets the body moving, such as Wii Fit.

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