How to have fun, get fit and lose weight with a stoma

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These days it seems every new year brings with it the latest, whacky new diets, detoxes and exercise programs.

There’s everything from high fat to low carb and even one called the Starvation Diet! Healthy eating? It certainly doesn’t sound like it to us. 

Thankfully the whole ‘New Year = New You’ clamour soon comes to an end, way before most people have even finished their Pilates DVD or first month’s gym membership.

Stick to fact, not fad

It’s a sad statistic, but by now millions of people will have already given up their new year health kick. Despite having the best intentions, many will have been let down by not having the best plan.

That’s the problem with fads. Their attraction soon fades. Many advocate the extreme cutting of whole food groups and have zero tolerance towards guilty pleasures, making sticking to the advice extremely challenging.

Have fun, get fit and lose fat with me+ nutrition and fitness advice

We’ve deliberately left it until now, mid-January, to replace the fads with facts. In this blog you’ll find genuine nutrition and exercise advice that’s tailored to the specific needs of Ostomates just like you.

Many people who have a stoma find maintaining a healthy weight difficult. You may have a restrictive diet and find it challenging to add mass or you could be one of the many people who find it hard to get into exercise and would like to lose weight.

The good news is we can help – regardless of whether you’ve just had surgery or have had your stoma for a long time.

The right balance of nutrition and exercise.

Today, diet and exercise are big business. A multi-billion-pound industry. So, it’s no surprise really that the companies behind these celebrity-endorsed diets and fitness programmes make it all sound like rocket science. When in reality it’s simply common-sense.

We work to a simple rule: get the balance right and you won’t go wrong. You certainly don’t need to join an expensive gym, splash out on running shoes or throw away all your favourite treats. Many of our stoma-friendly exercises can be done from the comfort of your home and require no specialist equipment. While healthy nutrition simply means enjoying what you like, in moderation.

“I believe everyone with a stoma should be free to live a full and active life, while enjoying a full and varied diet. I’m talking about realistic and achievable goals that fit in with your lifestyle, rather than take over it” explains Clinical Exercise Specialist Sarah Russell.

“It could be as simple as taking a brisk walk in the park with the family dog, enjoying a bit of me-time out on your bike, an invigorating swim in the local leisure centre pool, playing outside with the kids or taking up a new hobby, while making new friends”.

Of course, at me+ you’ll also find a wealth of exercise and healthy eating tips to help you along the way. Our award-winning me+ Recovery programme is recommended by many healthcare professionals to help strengthen your core muscles and increase your confidence, while you can also access lots of information about the importance of good nutrition and staying hydrated.

How to keep fit.

“Regular physical exercise is hugely important’ explains Sarah. ‘Whether you’re recovering from surgery or have lived with your stoma for a long time.”

“Our industry-leading me+ Recovery programme is based on a series of gentle movements, carried out in your home, which are proven to increase mobility, strengthen your core muscles and guide you through your recovery and beyond.”

“Once you’ve got your confidence and are ready for more energetic pursuits, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from enjoying a full and active life. Climb mountains, run marathons, swim the Channel – you set your own goals."

Fit and raring to go? Just go to https://meplus.convatec.co.uk/topics/recovery/

How to eat healthy.

General, everyday nutrition advice is pretty standard: eat more fruit and veg, and less saturated fats and red meat. But of course, when you’ve got a stoma, there are some foods, that although good for you, are not so good for your output!

Go to the me+ nutrition pages on our website and you’ll find invaluable tips, advice and recipes that are shaped around your needs. You’ll discover how healthy doesn’t have to be boring and how moderation can be your new best friend. Hungry to get started? Just go to www.webaddress

A better fit.

Adapting your stoma care routine as your body changes.

One of the best things about losing weight and staying trim is how everything just fits better. And we’re not just talking about your clothes. Most people find their bag fits their stoma much more snugly, staying tighter to the body and reducing the risks of leaking.

As your body changes shape, it’s important to tailor your stoma products to suit. Here are some basic tips:

  • Keep an eye on your stoma and regularly measure it
  • Tailor your bag to size by cutting around the baseplate template
  • Use barrier paste and creams if needed to reduce irritation
  • Speak to your stoma nurse to try different products if needed

Take a weight off your body and mind.

One of the best side-effects that comes from eating and exercising sensibly is not just feeling great physically, but mentally too.

This is backed up by loads of scientific evidence around things like endorphins – chemicals that make us feel amazing - that are released into the body when we exercise. But really, it’s much more straightforward:

  • You get more confidence
  • You have more energy
  • You feel full of life

"Being physically active really is the most important thing you can do for you health’ says Sarah ‘It’s a miracle drug that has so many benefits for your mental and physical wellbeing. Don’t let your ostomy be a barrier. It’s not always easy to get started and you might be nervous or worried, but try to find things you enjoy, make it fun and pleasurable and find people to do it with. Start with the me+ recovery programme to rebuild your confidence, and then there really shouldn’t be any limitations. Live your life to the full!"

Exercise is the best medicine I’ve ever taken.

Glen Neilson, me+ advocate.

I’ve taken a lot of drugs (prescribed ones!) while battling thyroid cancer and colitis. And while they all helped me hugely at the time, there’s one medicine I’ve taken continuously every day, that I’d recommend above all others  – exercise.

I mean, I’m no doctor, but getting active really is the best medicine around. You feel great, you lose weight, you meet new people and, unless you count getting up at the crack of dawn, there are no unpleasant side-effects!!

My jeans have gone from a 46 inch waist to a much more comfortable 38 inch, my t-shirts no longer bulge in the wrong places and best of all, my stoma products now fit much better, mainly because they can stay tighter to my stoma.

These days, I like nothing better than hiking up mountains. In 2019 I actually completed a sponsored walk up Kilimanjaro which was amazing and has inspired me to train as a mountaineer.

As for food, I pretty much eat what I want. There’s no big secret, it’s just about moderation and learning what your body likes – and what it doesn’t. The biggest thing for me is staying hydrated (use Dioralytes because water just doesn’t contain essential salts and electrolytes) and being active.

Keep informed to stay motivated.

We regularly update the me+ website to include lots of interesting blogs, films and advice from stoma specialists and me+ members just like you. So make sure you bookmark the page and sign up to receive regular content.

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2020!   

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