Needing to lose weight

After being on prednisone for most of last year, my tiny frame (4 ft, 11 inches) has some extra lbs. It’s time to get back to eating healthy and introducing exercise (4.5?months post takedown).

My main area of concern is my belly but I’m nervous of working that specific area bc of my scar and just that being where everything is healing. Also, I still have a lot of joint pain in my knees and hips. I’m working with a rheumatologist to determine treatment- other than pred, even though that’s what seems to work.

Any suggestions as to how to introduce more exercise, and what type given my joint pain? Also, I’d like to introduce my vegetables but I’m a little nervous about overdoing it and having it negatively affect my pouch- e.g.: increase my bathroom trips, butt burn, liquid stool, possibly onstruction with lettuce etc. 

I thought about a trip to see a nutritionist but I’m just tired of seeing doctors after everything I’ve been through. But I am ready for a life change. 

Original Post

First thing, is to reduce your food intake, not necessarily counting calories or to only eat greens but reduce how much is being ate through-out the day, mainly reducing portion size.

One of the best activites to reduce belly fat and tone your core is skipping (jump rope) but due to your joint issues, skipping may not be ideal; alternatively walking, just normal everyday walking but at a continual and confortable pace through-out;, not power walking, although power walking, if fit enough may achieve the desired results quicker, although, in my opinion not necassary.

Jogging, rowing, cycling, swimming, are all good activites to improve fitness and reduce belly fat but again due to your joint pain, such activities may not be suitable.

The key to all the activities I've mentioned, is to maintain the same pace through-out, thus finishing on the same pace as when started; once the pace slows due to exhaustion, the desired results wont be achieved within a reasonable time 

If you're unfamiliar with pace, think of how US Soldiers chant a song to the pace/beat of their marching footsteps; this maintain a continual pace through-out, from start to finish. 

75% of weight loss is diet, 25% exercise and this is from my friend who is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer.  

I'm not sure what your current diet is but removing all processed foods will do wonders.  Eating in versus eating out (depending on your circumstances) will help. Fast foods need to go away.

Try and have everything that goes into your mouth have nutritional value.  This will help a lot.  

Hi Bubba, 

I do a lot of exercise that requires almost 0 effort (my personal opinion) and little if not no strain on your joints.

I have a pilates ball and yoga mat that live next to my sofa.  We are great friends. I use them daily along with a couple of elastic bands (large widths and different lengths) and a few light hand weights. 

I started by just getting comfortable on the ball, sitting with it placed against my sofa for extra security to prevent it from rolling away. (if you have carpeting or a carpet you don't need the mat) I face my sofa, straddle the ball more or less (legs sort of in front of me and slightly open to either side for balance) and then just bounce a little while sitting up straight and tucking my tummy in as tight as I can. (I hold my arms out to my sides or in front of me, sometimes holding weights but that is later on)I breathe deeply, bounce and get my centre of balance...never taking my feet off of the floor. Then I try to roll a bit side to side or back to front...sometimes I do small circles. Always with my tummy tucked, back straight. 

The more comfortable I got, the wider the circles, the higher the bounces. Eventually, I scooted down, with my lower back resting on the ball, my feet against the side of the sofa (or your feet up on the sofa for more stability) and push off a bit with a sort of forward/backward motion. As the ball sort of scoots back you get it settled in the middle of your back, your feet against the sofa and your butt sort of in the raise and lower your butt in the empty space. 

I can now read in this position, just rocking back and forth. 

This is the most amazing ab exercise routine that I have ever abs tightened naturally, without too much effort, and as time goes by my stomach gets flatter and flatter without any strain on my back or hernias. 

I now have a 1/2hr routine that I do, on, beside and draped over the ball.

I use the mat with my legs over the ball to do planks & leg lifts too but that is much later once you get used to the work. I am training my chiro in this as well as some of my other student. They cannot belive that a woman my age can spend an hour without any difficulty doing this...My abs are as hard as steel.

There are dozens, literally, of videos on the internet but my only real advice is to enjoy yourself and have fun on the ball, play until you find your center of balance and then work on is great for pain relief, posture and abs...

As for diet? I hate the word. 

I reduce intake, increase output and give myself a couple of rules when I need to drop a couple of winter pounds. 

1. No fried foods. 

2. No peanut butter or other nut butters (I have 0 self-control...Better to not start)

3. No ice cream (try Italian ices instead or sherbert...less fat)

4. No bread, cake or potatoes.  Whole grain pasta and rice are fine every now and then 

5. Lots of homemade soups and stews (more liquids fewer solids) I use a pressure cooker, throw every veggie I've got hanging out in the bottom fridge drawer (zucchini, squash, celery, spinach, pumpkin, tomatoes...), add fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, garlic, onion...) and cook for 10mins. Then I blend with an immersion blender. Add spices. It is always different, thick and yummy and very satisfying...Add some grated cheese on top and it becomes rich and filling.

6. Artichokes, zucchini, eggplants and avocados are your friend. Eat them without limits. I can make a meal out of a grilled eggplant, some parmesan cheese and tomato sauce.

7. Do not neglect meats, fish, chicken and eggs...they are all good quality proteins and help you to maintain muscle mass.

8. Avoid all commercial sauces. Barbeque sauce, ketchup, salad dressings are all full of sugars, salts, chemicals and stimulate the appetite. Use olive oil, mustard, vinegar or balsamic as sauces or dressings. You control the contents and salt that way. 

9. Avoid most industrial foods. Stick to things with short lists of ingredients. If you cannot understand the label of need a translator then do not buy it.

10. Dark chocolate is your friend. It is flavorful, satisfying, and does not have a lot of calories, it contains magnesium which is a feel-good mineral. It also helps you with your sleep cycles.

11. Ditto for cocoa powder. Put it on or in plain yoghurt and you have a great treat.

That is pretty much it. 

I do not need a specific diet, rules and regulations, made up by some expensive stranger, scales, points or books...just common sense; I eat and enjoy my food, binge occasionally when stressed out, nibble on black liquorice and dark chocolate, eat lots of fish and do not sweat it too much. 

My body is smarter than me, it knows what is good for it, automatically regulates itself, craves foods that I need (spinach? Lemons...) and finds its balance if I allow it to.

That's it...I hope that some of this helps.








There's too much of an emphasis on diets; what to eat what not to eat, yeah there are lots of sugary or high fat foods that are not ideal, which only adds to our fat stores when over indulged. 

The key to maintaining an ideal or desired weight is to match food intake with a level of activity, thus preventing the weight gain in the first place, therefore don't over indulge or drive everywhere and normal everyday activites will be enough to maintain a correct height to weigh ratio, without the need to participate in additional exercise or attending a gym. 

If not due to an underlying medical condition; any weight gain, well the acquiring of excess body fat or belly flab,, is due to eating more than the body can burn off.

 Nearly 30 years ago, I got into fitness and exercise, not because I was overweight. but because. I wanted to look musclar and defined.

At 16 years old, I was 6.1ft tall and I weighed around 11 or 12st (168lbs)

Other than my height, I was of the same build and physique of boys my age; probably due to my Mother providing the correct number of meals and portion sizes for a boy my age and, I wasnt allowed to raid the biscuit tin (cookie jar) whenever I wished.

At 13 and 14 years old, I wasn't exceptionally tall, only slightly taller than my friends and I guess my Mother never considered my height when providing food. Also, I was only allowed one can of Coke on a weekend and maybe two packets of crisps (potato chips) all week, Tv game consoles hadn't been invented (likes of Xbox, PS4) and walking, runing and cycling was my modes of transport 

Since my early 20s,  I've never followed a specific diet, I eat absolutely anything and everything, burgers, chips (fries), pizza, lamb kebabs, beef steaks, lamb medallions, roast chicken, all normally smothered with Mayonnaise & ketchup.

I also love ice cream with fresh cream, strawberries, grated chocolate and syrup, as well as profiteroles with chocolate sauce or apple pie with custard & fresh cream; in fact, I eat everything diet books and nutritionist advise against but I don't over indulge, I only eat the correct amount for my size and current level of activity, 

 I currently weigh 16.10st (234lbs), probably a stone more than I'm comfortable with, although I'm 6.3ft tall.

 In regard to diet books, latest fad diets, celebrity nutritionist & their endorsements to sell DVDs & books, as well personal trainers, qualified or not, it's not always wise to believe the hype.

Hi Sharon, just read your post about ab exercises with a pilates ball. I have had an end ileo for a year since my J pouch decided it'd had enough after 23 years, actually to be fair it wasn't actually the pouch but the intestine wouldn't rejoin after a laparotomy 

I have two hernias, a large groin hernia and now a stomal hernia,  the surgeon put me off the repair op, it sounded awful and so does the mesh, but more than that i'm worried about adhesions as I have had 5 laparotomy ops and don't want anymore.I'm now on  watch and wait but If I could i'd have the Koch pouch but its not done in Oz anymore, UK have started it again due to patient demand, I feel its almost worth going back to London to have it done, but its a long haul, been here 30 years

I read with interest that you also have hernias and using the ball causes no strain on joints and doesnt effect your hernias, I was wondering whether you thought this would be suitable for me too as I'd love to flatten my stomach. Perhaps I should consult a physio, but quite honestly I'm sick of health people atm

Hope your Koch pouch is behaving itself as I have read your posts over the years and you've had your fair share of problems too. I'd appreciate any input




Hi Heather, 

Nice to hear from you again.

First off, if you want the k pouch done in OZ and have a surgeon who is willing to assist, I may have a solution for you. PM me if you are interested.

Next, I started using the ball around 2010...just around the apex of my hernia troubles although I have had some more since and had them fixed, I have not had any problem with the ball causing them. That said, I am probably 100% mesh inside by now!

I would suggest firstly, to go slow. Not to jump or bounce too much (I actually use it to 'bounce out' my blockages...slow rhythmic bouncing helps to ease the knots and get things flowing). If you already have a ball, then great, I have a medium sized one that allows me to sit on it with my feet flat on the floor. Any larger and I would not be comfortable rolling around. 

Next, if you feel any stress, pulling or strain or if any of your hernias burn or feel like they are getting worse, Stop!

Finally, even soft movements and breathing helps. So sit on the ball, move slowly back and forth and side to side, slide down with your feet up against a wall or the sofa and rock...all of this works wonders without putting the stress and strain of crunches on your abs. You will feel the improvement without the pain but again, you must be around my age, possibly in menopause which means that your muscles are getting thinner and are more likely to herniate, so be careful!

Let me know if you need any help, I can give you a tutorial!


An exercise routine incorporating a Pilates Ball maybe ideal for posture, strengthening the core and over time, creating noticeable and defined abdomen muscles, but it will do very little to reduce belly flab.

Belly flab, is the most difficult areas of the body to reduce; a controlled diet, less food and portion sizes alone will eventually reduce the belly flab but will take absolutely ages, even if a person stopped eating.

Incorporating a strenuous exercise  routine, such as skipping (Jump rope) will drastically acheive the desired end results, although such an activity is probably not suitable for the OP. 

The whole idea of an exercise programme in unison with a controlled diet is to speed up the desired end results; to see and feel a difference of appearance and level of fitness achieved, which encourages a participant to persevere..

Due to OPs joint pain and concerns  in regard to abdominal scaring and healing; paced walking in combination with a healthy reduction of food and drink consumed, is by far the best solution.

I agree with Strange that cardio is the only way to accelerate the caloric burn but few of us are capable (not talking about your young, strong and otherwise healthy ones...)

 Way back when when I actually had functional knees/hips/ankles, my sport of choice was always climbing...Didn't matter what...stairs, hills, walls (just joking about the walls)...I love climbing and it is the best way to integrate intense exercise that is both calorie burning and strength building.

I was lucky enough to have a park with a spiral ramp/path up a hill about 6-8 stories high and a single flight of stairs (70steps) on the side...I was never a runner so this was ideal for me, it built cardio fitness, could be done in all sorts of weather (we rarely get that much snow here so winters were fine), required no supplementary equipment other than comfortable footwear with good support and weather adapted clothing plus I would add a couple of water bottles as barbells and drank my way through them.

I always started out slowly and worked my way up...even post-op (about 6-8 weeks), I would start by slowly walking around the park and then just climbing up and down a couple of steps.

As time went by I could climb the stairs 10-15xs and the ramp a couple time as a warm up and cool down.

When I was too sick to go out I would just climb the stairs in my house (very high ceiling so about 20 steps up) as many times as I could throughout the day and then do 1/2hr-1hr slowly climbing up and down. 

It takes 0 skill, is doable for anyone with reasonable leg/knee health and actually helps to improve both knees and hips if done with a straight back and proper support.

And it burns a ton of calories.

I cannot jump rope to save my life (or my Achilles tendon) and should not be doing it with all of my hernias and dropping pouch problems but as soon as I get this ankle healed I will be back to climbing.

Maybe you could try it?



Hi Karen and Strong, thanks for your replies, I spoke to my GP yesterday to get his thoughts on the ball, he said I'd have to be really careful cos of hernias, and you're right Sharon, I am in menopause, had to have surgery to remove  everything - 20 years ago now, due to a massive ovarian cyst, the docs thought it was prob due to all the ops I'd had with UC, it was the size of an small grapefruit apparently, anyway since then I've had the works with menopause symptoms, they told me to expect it to be bad as according to blood tests I was years off menopause naturally, but 20 years???? I could have HRT but just don't fancy even more medication on top of the wheelbarrow load I've taken over the years. I've reduced the load now down to 6 Panadeine Forte daily, plus 1 Temezapan, and symptomatic HRT creams after consulting a gynie

Also just to add to the list of woes, I have bone on bone arthritis in right knee, doesn't feel that painful, but the surgeon said it was prob cos I'm on constant painkillers, he recommends a knee replacement, another op I've put on hold, I know it'll have to come eventually, but as I said sick of health professionals right now. Had acupuncture,  the doctor who did it said it would hurt alot more except I have good muscles to support it, so don't think I could do a climbing extercise

Sharon do you have any pain with the mesh? There's a class action going on here at the moment against Johnson & Johnson due to pain caused by the mesh, tho its mainly for vaginal prolapse, not hernias. A   bowel surgeon talked me into having PTQ implants inserted into the bowel sphincter muscle to gain better control, there followed 2 years of absolute agony as they rejected, boring holes through the bowel wall,  1 was surgically removed, the others had to reject naturally as they were too worried to touch the spincter muscle,  at one point I actually couldn't sit down despite being on strong opiates, so I'm reluctant to agree to another foreign body being inserted. After consulting a different bowel surgeon as to why all this went wrong, he said the PTQ implants were inserted into the wrong place!! Should have sued them all!

I do some walking every day, and will continue it as Strong recommends, I think the main problem is now my diet, which has changed alot since my op a year ago, I used to eat alot more fruit and veg, raw salad stuff and even raw veg, lots of  carrots raw especially, but now I'm a bit nervous to eat that stuff because of food blockages with the illeo, and now consume alot more carbs, which is prob my downfall, the stoma nurse recommends, white bread, white rice, soft veg, not much choice there either, been drinking V8, veggie drink, but really miss eating tomatos, I love cucumber, radish, red pepper, lettuce, but haven't had any for the last year, instead its crisps,plain white biscuits, bread, etc all to thicken output plus Panadeine forte

Just started adding yoghurt, found a lactose free brand, have to have lactose free everything since all the laparotomies

Just want an exercise I can do without causing any problems

Thanks for all your advice and I will certainly take it on board




Add Reply

Likes (0)
Copyright © 2015 The J-Pouch Group. All rights reserved.