Muscle is the major component to how our bodies move and function in a healthy manner. In order to continue this healthy function, we need to maintain as much muscle as possible through our lives. This is most true for patients who have undergone a bariatric surgery. During rapid weight loss, you may lose muscle along with fat, so there many reasons why maintaining muscle is important. A few of the top reasons are quality of life, metabolism and maintaining weight loss. All three are very important to helping you live a long healthy life and keep your body functioning at peak performance.
Quality of life can be defined as many different things but in this setting it means to be able to do activities of daily living (i.e. carry groceries, mow the lawn, house cleaning) easily and without help. The best way to do this is to maintain the muscle that you have. Without proper amounts of muscle, these seemingly simple tasks can be difficult and sometimes impossible. The loss of muscle that comes with the weight loss after surgery can make these tasks seem harder than before surgery and this can be frustrating. This is why maintaining muscle is so important.
Metabolism is another reason why muscle maintenance is important. Muscle is directly linked to your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the number of calories you burn at rest. The more muscle you have the higher your BMR is, which will require more protein and calories to maintain. This means that if you do not take the proper steps to maintain as much muscle as possible your BMR and/or metabolism will go down. Your body will convert muscle into usable energy if you are not getting adequate amounts of protein and calories. Unfortunately, it is hard to increase muscle mass and BMR once weight has been lost. This is why we try to slow down muscle loss by reaching your daily protein goal, EVERYDAY, and incorporating some form of resistance training.
Lastly, maintaining muscle can help you maintain the weight loss after surgery. As you get closer to your goal weight it becomes very important to keep as much muscle as you can. This is because the more muscle you maintain the harder it is re-gain the weight back and it helps to prevent excess weight loss. Preventing your weight from dipping below your ideal weight is important because this can lead to health problems that otherwise wouldn’t be an issue. Maintaining muscle is the best way to keep this from happening.
So as stated muscle maintenance is very important in the overall health and well-being of patients who undergo bariatric surgery. The more muscle you keep, the easier it will be for continuing normal life activities, maintaining your metabolism and a healthy weight. This can all be done in simple ways such as going to the gym and doing weight machines or free weights. It can also be as simple as doing body weight exercises such as push-up and squats. However, you want to do it is fine as long as you find something that you enjoy and do it consistently. It is a lot easier to maintain the muscle that you have then to lose it and try and regain it back after the fact. Start early and simple finding what best suits you and run with it. Good things come to those who work hard!