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How to Avoid Weight Gain after Injury
When I broke my talus bone back in October 2012, I was terrified I would gain weight because I had to stop working out. Well, not just that. I wasn’t even allowed to put any weight on my right foot for four months, and I spent the first three of those in bed pretty much 24/7. I know a lot of people who gained weight during recovery precisely because they were in bed 24/7 for weeks and months. But that didn’t happen for me.
So if you’re worried about putting on extra pounds because you won’t be able to move much for the next few weeks or months, here are 3 simple tips to help you avoid weight gain after your fracture or injury.
#1 Keep a positive outlook
Just because you had an injury or fracture doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world! Do not beat yourself up if you cannot do your regular routines in the months to come. I know that’s hard to do when you’re lying in bed, itching to get out or simply move around again. But I was there, too. Forget working out – I was hardly moving around for at least three months when I broke my talus bone, but I just held on to my vision of one day being able to run again, and when things got tough, I would simply do some very light upper body exercises that I could manage in bed.
I know it may seem impossible at that time but it’s not a good idea to stress yourself any more during recovery – stress, after all, contributes to weight gain (did you know that?).
So go easy on yourself. Yes, you will lose some muscle mass and tone. No, it’s not the end of the world. It comes back faster than you can imagine right now. Make plans for how you will exercise once you’re allowed to move more, and make this something you look forward to.
#2 Work on a personal project
Recovery time is the best time to take a break from your regular routine and enjoy the things you’ve been putting off because of your busy schedule. Do you have a list of books you’d like to read, but never find the time. Start reading! Miss a lot of TV episodes because of late night work? Have a series marathon. Educate yourself on things that have always interested you.
Technology and the internet allow you to take online courses without ever leaving your bed.
You can write your own recovery story, you can learn calligraphy… you can even start an online business. Just think of it like this: if you were given a month or more to take a break, with the condition you can’t move around much, what would you be doing at home? Trust me, there’s plenty you can do, and having other activities while recovering will keep your mind busy and body busy. Plus it will also prevent you from eating too much.
#3 Pay attention to your diet
Have you ever seen someone who spent their recovery time just lying in bed with a pack of potato chips, some candy bars and a 6-pack of soda? It’s not just a good way to gain weight, it’s also not a good way to recover! Your body needs nutrients to repair the damage better and faster and these nutrients are usually not found in processed and junk food.
This last tip is one of the most overlooked thing during recovery. When you comfort yourself with junk food while recovering, you are adding to the inflammation already present in your body because of the injury.
This will make your recovery slower, as well as more painful.
I thought I’d been eating pretty good before I broke myself, but when I really cleaned up my diet and started eating tons of greens and just unprocessed, whole foods, my physiotherapist couldn’t believe how little swelling and pain I had every time I came in. A whole food, plant-based diet is anti-inflammatory, so it can actually lessen your swelling. And the very important benefit is that you’re not consuming empty calories – it’s all loaded with nutrients that will help you get back on your feet faster, and fiber which will keep you feeling full, without actually going over your reduced caloric requirements. It’s a win-win option!
If you’re struggling through recovery today or have no idea what to eat to help you recover faster, send me a message and we can figure out a custom recovery meal plan just for you!