Post-Op Fitness

Sup? Me? Oh nothin, just sitting, resting as I’m supposed to be. Doctor’s orders. And, lemme just say, resting is hard work. Yesterday I almost lifted something too heavy and Honeybee gave me a stern talking-to. Well deserved. I didn’t even think. It’s just my instinct to be helpful versus asking for help. I’m working on it. It’s a work in progress.

For those new to Wrays of Sunshine (hey, boo!), I had a laparoscopic hernia repair surgery at the end of June. The recovery time is supposed to be anywhere from 2 weeks – 3 months. Basically I shan’t lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk or walk quickly for three months. Three months! The entire pleasant season here in the Pacific Northwest. No hiking or jogging or jumping.

Of course that’s the normal recovery time. I’m not entirely sure what it is for the chick who tears her incisions and develops a rash. We’ll just have to see about that.

In the meantime I’m also growing concerned about becoming too sedentary. My body responds really well to exercise. It also, like immediately, gains weight.

My fitness history isn’t the strongest, really. I went from really active youngster to really overweight very quickly. It was as though my metabolism changed overnight and I was drinking cheddar bay biscuits shakes–figuratively. And I’m short–five feet and one quarter of an inch, so I tend to look heavier in general. Needless to say, going up to a size 18 was not right for me. Please don’t mistake that sentiment for a lacking of self-love. I would say I was raised with a strong sense of self-love, but if you asked Mama Sunshine she would say I was born with it. Apparently little Sunshine liked to run around the house saying she was, da bomb from a very young age. I even remember being really little and kissing my own feet because they took me everywhere I needed to go and that was everywhere I needed to be. Seriously. That’s why they call me Sunshine.

It was around 2008 that I started the journey to good health, but it wasn’t until I moved to Seattle that I found purpose in it. It helped that I had very few friends, or money and no car back then. I walked everywhere and there’s a hill every five feet in Seattle. I was literally moved to try jogging by the sheer number of joggers here. They move in flocks, almost. So my neighborhood was definitely a good influence and then I took a yoga class at Shoreline Community College. This was a big turn-around because rather than chucking out $10-30 per session, I was given a really dynamic all summer long look at how to build yoga routines for myself.

Diet-wise, I’m not into anything restrictive. My mom and aunt are able to get great results from the Atkins diet, but if you tell me no bread I want bread. And one point I liked the sound of being pesca-tarian–I love fish and veggies. It just made sense. Then I challenged myself to come up with vegan versions of my favorite recipes for a week and it stuck for a while, several months, actually. Pretty much until Thanksgiving of that year. But, really, any diet that says no to anything makes me want that thing. It’s weird, but I don’t flourish in restrictive environments. I was able to lose all the excess weight and came down to a size 8–a tight 6, but a comfy 8 before I started paying more attention to school and less attention to my body. Still I never feel like I finished my fitness journey.

So far the only exercise I can do post-op is tight and wide arm circles and even these I cannot do very quickly or for very long. Still, they make me feel like I’m working on my Michelle Obamas.

Going forward, I want to refocus on some of those classic generalities that make healthy living logical for me.

1. drink more water

2. eat all the veggies

3. pack lunches for work the day before work

4. don’t forget your vitamins

Then I want to build a new, gentle yoga routine. Of course I’ll be doing this while wearing an abdominal binder to support my core as it heals and under the supervision of a physical therapist, as prescribed.  My first appointment is tomorrow!

What’s that? Yeah, of course I’ll share witchu. You know you’re my boo. As with my natural hair journey I’ll keep an updated page of all the lessons we learn together and I’ll update the header bar, so all fitness posts are easy to find. You know how I do.

Brianna Wray

Credits: text by Sunshine, image

Author: Brianna Wray

I'm an artist in Seattle just living the dream.


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