New Year, New You – Tips for the New Year
The arrival of the New Year always heralds a flurry of people who want to exercise more, eat healthily, lose weight and generally make lifestyle changes. This can seem overwhelming or impossible when you also have an ostomy to think about but we’re here to tell you that you can try anything you want to!
The biggest issue that most people have with diet changes and healthy eating is motivation, it’s hard to give up foods that you like, even when you know they’re bad for you, and eventually that can cause even the most dedicated of people to fall off the wagon.
If you want to go further than healthy eating and start dieting, then a top tip is to only do it for a set amount of time – it’s easier to be persistent if you’re working towards a set and achievable goal, whether that’s a specific weight or a certain date such as a holiday later in the year. However, remember that you should only lose weight if it’s something you want to do or your doctor advises you to do – rather than because you think society expects you to! Ostomates should also be aware that quick weight gain or weight loss can affect the adhesion of your bag so ensure weight changes are slow and steady.
If you’re reading this and thinking “but I can’t eat healthy food because of my stoma” then we’re here to totally bust that myth! There are no banned foods for ostomates once you’ve recovered from the surgery and your bowel has settled down, it’s a case of trial and error and slowly re-introducing foods. Remember if you’re worried about the effect of a food on your output then gelling sachets such as Trio Pearls help solidify loose output.
Trio have a variety of healthy recipes on our YouTube channel that are completely stoma friendly if you want to give them a try. One of our recent factsheets also contains some great information and tips on eating well with any ostomy – read it here.
The latest fad for 2020 has been “Veganuary” which has been all over the internet since the New Year – studies have shown that it’s good for us to eat less meat, particularly red meat, so if you fancy giving up meat for a while there’s plenty of help on social media and the web.
It’s also important to note that healthy eating need not be a “fad” or something you only do for a few weeks, but it can be a lifestyle choice for both your overall health and for the health of your gut.
Exercise goes hand in hand with dieting for those wanting to lose weight, but we can all benefit from being a little more active particularly when the short days can make us feel a little down. Exercise is great for making you feel good as when your blood starts to flow faster and your body gets moving you release serotonin into your brain which helps you deal with stress. It’s also a great outlet for pent up emotion or energy if you’re going through difficulties at work or home.
Many ostomates worry they can’t exercise after surgery but actually staying relatively active can help you to recover faster for example just getting out into the garden or walking to the end of your street will help you both mentally and physically. Do talk to your stoma nurse or surgeon before taking on any exercise that is too strenuous and remember to protect your core to avoid the risk of hernias – companies such as Vanilla Blush sell great support wear that you might even be able to get on prescription.
Swimming is a particularly good way of exercising your whole body but without so much impact on your body. We get many questions about whether swimming will cause stoma bags to come loose or leak but this won’t happen as the adhesive on stoma bags is strong enough to withstand a few hours in the pool. You may find that the edges become a bit slimy but with some good flange extenders (such as our waterproof Trio Silex) to secure the edges of your bag, you should have nothing to worry about besides what swimsuit to wear (check out some of Vanilla Blush’s high waisted swimwear)!
In recent years, “Dry January” has become a popular choice of New Year’s Resolution to counteract the extra alcohol consumed over the festive period. Giving up alcohol for a month or longer is great way to detox your system and it’s also good for your waistline as many drinks contain a lot of calories! Most people only maintain it for January as only doing 4 weeks can make it seem much more achievable, however if you extend it to about 8 weeks your liver will regenerate and repair itself which is great for your overall health. And, if you really miss having a pint, then there are many alcohol-free drinks available in the supermarket and down your local!
If you have the opposite problem and generally don’t drink because you worry about the effect on your output both during the evening and overnight while you’re sleeping, then try our Trio Pearls Gelling Sachets which thicken output by absorbing the fluid in loose stool.
Got a burning ostomy question to ask us or want some advice on a specific topic? Email us on email@example.com with your questions and we will answer them in next month’s blog article!