Eating Through an Injury

I have recently found myself practicing what Jen, our life coach here at the Ivins Resort, preaches. Jen does some wonderful lectures on the numbers and math of weight loss and weight maintenance. One great piece of advice Jen gives involves strategies for managing your weight during an injury or illness in which exercise and activity are limited. Jen often advises that during such times it can be wise to go into weight maintenance mode and make your calories in equal to your calories out. In this way, you can avoid gaining weight during an injury, and once the injury is healed, you can switch back into weight loss mode and continue losing weight.

Finding myself this week with an injury that will take weeks to heal, I have really appreciated and taken to heart Jen’s advice. Since my exercise and activity levels have been restricted, I have had to reduce the number of calories I am consuming. Additionally, I have really tried to increase the quality of the food I consume so that I am able to feel satisfied and so that my body can get the nutrients it needs to heal.
Here are some of the strategies I am using to help with this process:
  • Reduce or eliminate my evening snack–as my activity level has decreased, I need less food to maintain my current weight, and this has helped to reduce my calories.
  • Increase my fruit and vegetable intake in order give my body more vitamins and minerals to heal. This also helps with low-calorie volume eating.
  • Increase my fluid intake, especially water. More fluids helps with waist elimination, and can also assist with any constipation that may result due to decreased physical activity.
  • Eat more meals at home rather than going out to eat. This can really assist with controlling the amount and quality of the food I am eating. When I was invited to go out, I was very mindful of my choices. Instead of a less healthy and higher calorie option, I chose shrimp cocktail with a side of broccoli and asparagus.
  • Be as active as I can in a safe way that still allows my injury to heal. It can be very frustrating to go from a level of high activity to little or no activity. So I have tried to find ways to be active that are safe for my injury. Instead of my normal long runs, I have been walking moderately each evening. This has been great as it gets me moving, out of the house and able to clear my head, and has also helped control any frustration or mild depression I might be feeling as a result of the injury.
So, if you find yourself with an injury or illness, I would highly recommend Jen’s advice. Find safe and easy ways to make your calories in equal to your calories out, while at the same time increasing the quality of the food you eat so your body can get the nutrients it needs to heal.
Rachel Andrew MPH, RD, CD