Since October I have been trying to lose some weight on the off chance it would help me cope with the high frequency of leaks, I am currently experiencing. Anyone that has experienced a leak will understand that it is one of the most degrading things you can experience; when you have had bowel illness before a stoma you think once your surgery rolls around that defecating yourself is a thing of the past.
Sadly, leaks can and will happen but there is always a reason behind it. Be it because of a bad fit, something you ate or in my case your stoma likes to retract into the abdominal wall because it is so flush with the skin. One of my stoma nurses said something about rounder stomachs and not getting the best seal; at first my stupid dysmorphic brain thought she was saying I was fat – which she certainly wasn’t and wouldn’t both of my nurses are fab thankfully.
My stomach sorts of looks like a tent if I am upright and looking down on it (which if you know is a stupid view of your body as it plays tricks on you) from my first surgery which was open surgery. My muscles didn’t knit together properly; in fact, the side which doesn’t have my stoma on sticks out and is always tender due to the large build up of scar tissue there.
So back to my idea of losing weight! I was on *in my head* the higher end of being a good weight for my height and visually to others at least I look fine. I decided that I could do with losing a bit of weight but I would also need to tone up as well, so I thought well if I work on my core muscles when I do go in for more surgery, I could benefit from having a head start on recovery.
Last time I just went for walks with my Mam and Ra-Ra around local beauty and historical sites and within 4 weeks I was attempting to run again. This time I want to be able to just start couch to 5K and start running as soon as possible so I don’t lose too much of my fitness – nobody said running has to be fast! I also have to be optimistic of I will start to panic about everything.
I have been trying to keep myself accountable with meal plans and workout plans but it isn’t working out entirely to plan but I guess if nothing else the fact I don’t let a bad choice become a bad day is a good thing. This is a long-term goal not a quick fix and that is the key difference I think between a lifestyle and a faddy diet.
With food I am trying to be more mindful of what I eat and since bringing meat back into my diet I have noticed how little vegetables I eat as I track my food on an app that allows you to see your 5 a day. Another thing I’ve noticed is I definitely don’t drink enough and that has been affecting my fibromyalgia and brain fog massively. So, I need to actively work on that! Like all ostomates we need to drink enough as without having a large bowel your body doesn’t absorb the liquid back before it makes its final exit!
I have joined up with an active wear clothing line called Just Strong and you can use my code STEPHIE10 to get items if you wish – I have particularly been liking their high waist leggings as they sit comfortably over my stoma and hide it. None of the high street shops have been any good with that aspect. Another thing with that clothing line is I have joined up with some like-minded women and we are pushing each other on towards our goals and that always helps having some support.
I obviously have been running as that is my passion and recently, I completed my first non-stop 5K since March (I sustained a huge injury that I needed to heal my mind as much as my body) and it was also my fastest 5K ever which was a huge boost to my confidence. I was joining in with the “Wake up with Joe” series of three 15-minute workouts from Joe Wicks during whatever kind of lockdown November was supposed to be. The women I chat to share their workouts and we are as a group are doing a 30-day abs challenge and some of us are doing a 4 week “glow up” challenge. Physiotherapy told me I should do some Pilates and although I bought a DVD it hasn’t been on once (shame on me) I have a set of kettlebells and mini dumbbell’s that I keep meaning to get out from under the stairs but I am incredibly good at procrastinating!
I try really hard not to compare myself to others with not much luck in all honesty and I try to fill my weight loss Instagram feed with positive role models and remember that I am only truly in competition with myself. The first set of collage photos are from the end of May which was apparently the last time I took photos of my body as is without posing and the second set was earlier this month. I can only see a slight difference in these photos yet over the summer I was very active with running the Great Run Solo in place of the Great North Run that was cancelled due to COVID. So in all honesty I am slightly disheartened to not be able to see a change that I can feel proud of.
I won’t let that stop me though; I have had to adapt exercises not just because of my stoma but due to my hypermobile EDS making my joints too loose and at the risk of popping out. Sadly having fibromyalgia often means my looser joints get quite stiff in the winter months so in my head I walk around like Jafar as the old man in Aladdin!
Have you been on a weight loss or toning up journey since having an ostomy? I would love to hear how it has gone from you.