Yesterday I rode my bike on the Larkin State Park Trail in western Connecticut with friends and a local cycling club. It was a beautiful rural bike trail that cut through a heavily wooded area of the state passing through rocky ledges along the way. The day could not have been more perfect weather-wise; sunny and mid 70s with a nice breeze.
The ride proved to be quite challenging at times. I had checked out the trail web site. It said that it was suitable for hybrid bikes, which I had brought on my vacation, but was primarily a bridle trail (horseback riding) that was also used by mountain bikers. In reality, this trail is a mountain bike trail. The real challenge was not necessarily the sometimes uneven terrain but rather the standing water, mud and wet sand on the trail.
This ride reminded me of challenges I face as a post-op weight loss surgery patient. It was one of those times when I was sailing along without a care making good progress and enjoying the scenery and warm breezes. Then a puddle appeared in the road that slowed me down. The thing about these puddles was that they were unpredictable. You don’t know how deep they were, what lied beneath the water, and how long they went on.
I may have been on a bike, but I realized that these puddles were the reality of the situation. If I wanted to enjoy the rewards of the bike tour, I had to plow through the water to reap the rewards. Isn’t this true of the everyday challenges that are thrown up to us in our lives? This holiday weekend starts a cycle of picnics, vacations, and wedding and graduation celebrations. I am more active this time of year but these events put my willpower to eat healthy to a test.
I have found during my three year post-op life that overcoming challenges thrown at me are definitely worth taking on and overcoming. Bariatric patients measure their success by the progress they make. At three years, my progress is more about making my life better and fuller rather than counting the pounds on the scale. I watch that scale, but I find that if I concentrate on making my life better that the scale responds positively. A cheerful mental state definitely drives a healthy weight management program.
Enjoy the summer! Don’t hide from picnics and celebrations. Take them on and enjoy life. Go ride a bike, take a hike, spend a day at the beach, spend a weekend camping and take every opportunity to put yourself out there. The rewards are there for the taking. It’s a pretty simple formula: an active happy life = a healthy bariatric patient.