Lose weight! Get your life back – PLAY!

Dr Terry Simpson weight loss surgeon

My son is snoring, my wife is sleeping – both of them spent most of yesterday playing and today they are exhausted. The good news is I get to drink some coffee and share some thoughts from this week with you. The bad news is I made the coffee a bit weak- so will have to make some more.

When weight loss surgery patients come to me most are physically debilitated – little energy, and their lives are closing in on them. The story is almost universal – they remember when they had their first job they couldn’t wait to get home because that is when life would begin: go play with friends, have a date, go play some game.  Years and pounds later they come home to recharge for the next day, and then look forward to the weekend to play. If they became more debilitated then weekends were for recharge.

Weight loss is all about getting life back, and what amazes me is when sometimes they fall into their old physical habits  – which is watching television. In fact the only time some stand is to stand in front of the refrigerator wondering if some magic will happen to keep them from eating the food they bought for “their kids, ” (or grandkids). Here they have lost weight, but somehow the television or the internet has developed an appeal that replaced play. They forgot about playtime.

I get a kick out of my patients who go to the gym and tell me that they burned 600 calories doing an hour workout. First, because that is impossible to do, the most extra calories most of my patients can burn in an hour is 100 – and yes, that means a lot of the machines are fooling you. But I get a kick because they are trying. I really get a kick when it isn’t a chore- but they love going to the gym – it is their play.

Did you know there is a better way to get physical than going to a gym? That is play – just like my son did. Find something physical you love to do and start doing it. For my 85 year old mom that is playing in the garden until she is exhausted. For my 89 year old dad it is playing at  repairing things around the house and playing with mom in the yard.

You don’t need a membership to a gym to get thin, unless that is play.You don’t need to buy special clothes. So, for those of you who are dog lovers – those creatures love being taken for a walk- start there – for the dog it is play – and for you it can be too.

Play gives you time to think, to escape stress, to work through some thoughts. Play is a better drug for stress than food (because unlike food play works). Physical activity (play) in every study worksbetter to relieve fibromyalgia than any drug.

Doing more activity constantly will increase the calories you use more than an hour a day at the gym. Play – because when you play you smile, when you play your life is coming back. Taking a walk with a friend- that is play. Walking the golf course (ok, this is my favorite form of play), or running after the kids and challenging them to a game of basketball.

Here is what isn’t play: watching television, posting a cat photo on Facebook.

Oddly enough, I am about to go lose weight on a treadmill – because for me that is a bit of play, because when I make my goal for my Nike Fuel monitor I am happy- I like competing against myself.

So what is your play? What are you going to start doing to open up your life?

— Plan some play!