Defining what it means to be ‘active’


What is being active exactly?

So many times we go through this journey after weight loss surgery and everybody’s advice is “Be Active.” “Be more active.” “Keep your body moving.”

But what does that really mean?

Prior to surgery, so many of us can’t do much activity at all, Trapped in an unhealthy state of paralysis.

What does being active mean after surgery?

For me, as a mom, being active means being actively involved in my children’s lives. Being able to get up and go to their school for meetings, go on field trips,( fitting in the bus seat on those trips is a plus by the way), sitting on a bench to watch a sports game or a field day without being in pain because of the size of my body. Being active means being able to go for walks at the zoo or museums, walk around a park, lifting my children up and carrying them for miles when they were small. Now I chase after them as teenagers.

Being active didn’t mean buying a gym membership, although I did that as well. For me it was about participating in my life. No longer watching it from the sidelines or listening to the stories of others who were actively enjoying my memories.

It also meant possibilities. Hope. I had hope for the future and anything I wanted to do with this body was possible. Swim, walk, run. All possible.

This month, I watched as my daughter join Bristol’s all boys lacrosse team. She could have played with the girls but she was adamant about playing like her brother. This month being able to watch them from the side lines and actively cheer for their accomplishments, carry lacrosse equipment, help them strap on layers of padding and know that I was there, I was involved in my life— their lives— that was my accomplishment.

Seven years post operative, you sometimes will forget how important the little things are that you can do now. You never forget how trapped you were before surgery but those NSVs (non scale victories) are too easily over looked.

Active means, keep going. I work 15 hour work days and my feet no longer hurt. I carry equipment in and out of reception halls with out worrying that my knees will give out. I actively enjoy my life.

That’s the most important thing you can do.

If you go to a gym, great. But don’t do it if you don’t love it. A gym is not the only activity that will keep you healthy. Take a class, dance, roller skate, hike , jog outside, walk a beach, walk a dog , pick up a new job just to do something you enjoy.

BE ACTIVE IN YOUR LIFE. The way you want to be.

That’s what “being active” should be. Living free from the handicap of our weight.

Patricia Miller is a weight loss surgery patient, advocate, and life coach, WLSFA Supporter, and volunteer health columnist and blogger (