It’s a well-known fact that the key to losing weight is to adapt a regular routine with some form of physical exercise combined with the right diet. The rate at which excess pounds are shed depends on each person’s metabolism, the level of activity they are involved in, and the kind of food they eat. But there are times when even fitness freaks find themselves in situations where they are unable to exercise as much as they would like to, simply because they are bed-ridden or limited due to an unexpected surgery or illness.
Such circumstances call for the focus to shift to weight maintenance from weight loss, a task that may sound simple enough but is Herculean when you have a tendency to gain weight and are forced into a prolonged period of inactivity. The process is made more challenging when you take into consideration the side-effects of the medication you’re under and the fact that your overall strength is at an all-time low. But there are a few things that you can do to, even under these trying conditions, to make sure that you do not put on extra pounds even if you do not shed any:
Watch your diet: If your life has become more sedentary, there’s no need to eat what you normally do. A deliberate decision has to be made to bring down your regular amount of calories to a level that’s more conducive to the lifestyle you’re now leading.
Reduce Portions: Instead of skipping entire meals or changing your diet completely, reduce the portions you eat.
Liquids work: Include more liquids in your diet – soups, juices and other concoctions that are not laden with sugar have the double advantage of both filling your stomach and not putting on the pounds.
Eat only when hungry: If the clock says it’s dinner time but your stomach says otherwise, skip the meal or eat just some soup. Make sure you don’t overeat or indulge yourself when you do get hungry though.
Cut back the carbs: Eat sensibly, and go easy on or steer clear of foods high in starch and carbohydrates. While eating small helpings of bread, rice, potatoes and pasta will not make you fat, loading your plate with butter, mayo and other calorie-laden sauces and toppings will.
Avoid processed food: The salt in processed and ready-to-eat- snacks is a killer when you’re trying to cut back on your weight. If you’re forced to take time off from work and are sitting around at home doing nothing significant, you have to work really hard to resist the temptation to reach into the snack bag when you’re watching that game on TV.
Even the smallest amount of exercise helps: If you’re asked to follow a physiotherapy schedule in the time you’re recuperating, follow it religiously. The exercises may not be as strenuous as what you’re normally used to, but every single movement helps in strengthening your inactive muscles and joints and preventing them from atrophying. Your workout also helps you recover faster and expedites your return to your normal routine.
Always consult your physician before you effect a change in diet or exercise routine when recovering or recuperating from an illness or injury.
This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of nursing degrees. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.