Severe personal injuries pose a significant risk that goes well beyond lost wages and future opportunities. When people experience a serious injury, their lifestyle and health habits are dramatically altered. As a result, people that are dealing with a long-term injury have to take measures to avoid clinical weight gain–specifically people whose injury prevents them from being active and mobile.
Fortunately, weight management is not just about killer workouts and starving yourself. There are a number of strategies that you can employ to avoid gaining weight while you deal with your injury that don’t involve athletic activities.
Strategy #1–Move As Much As Your Injury Allows
Depending on the nature of your injury, certain parts of your body could be immobilized. If that’s the case, even a simple walk around the block is impossible. Furthermore, athletic activity that utilizes injured body parts could cause your recovery to experience a setback–which must be avoided at all costs.
That doesn’t mean you can’t move the other parts of your body. Simply choosing to stand while you watch television or handle business in your home can burn 100 calories each hour. If your legs and back are the injured areas, try doing arm exercises while you sit. Even bicep curls and shoulder presses with light weight will burn calories and help prevent obesity from creeping into your life. Look here for more ideas and a calculator on burning calories.
Strategy #2–Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate
Most people don’t count calories unless they’re trying to lose weight. However, calorie monitoring is highly effective for people who want to maintain their weight as well. That means if you experience an injury, you should probably start counting calories immediately. To do that, you’ll need to know your Basal Metabolic Rate.
In simple terms, your BMR is the number of calories your body needs each day to do basically nothing. Particularly for people who work in an active profession, their daily calorie needs are much higher than their BMR. That said, your daily calorie needs drop to your BMR when overcoming an injury. Knowing your BMR will help you manage your meals to keep your calorie intake where it needs to be.
Strategy #3–Give Yourself Frequent Non-Food Rewards
Injuries can cause a lot of emotional and psychological stress in addition to physical difficulties. Unfortunately, one of the most common reactions that people have to stress is comfort eating. That means you’ll be more likely to indulge in high calorie foods during a time when you’re less likely to burn them off.
The best way to prevent this is to preemptively reward yourself in non-edible ways. Movies, books, clothes, and other items that people sometimes neglect to purchase for themselves are a nice way to keep your spirits up–as your budget allows. By doing so, you’ll be that much less likely to reward yourself with indulgent meals or treats.
Strategy #4–Drink Cold Water
Your body needs a lot of water to function correctly. The Mayo Clinic suggests that adult males drink three liters of water each day–much more than most people typically get. This lack of water can cause you to gain weight in a number of ways.
First, your body can sometimes confuse thirst for hunger. Adequate water consumption prevents your body from turning to additional calories to meet its water need. Also, the process of drinking cold water can actually cause you to burn 50 calories each day. This double benefit makes water consumption critical for injured people trying to manage their weight.
Personal injuries are never an easy situation. That said, your injury doesn’t have to force you into weight gain and a state of compromised health. These strategies will help you maintain a healthy weight until you’re back at full strength.