When sporting injury hits, it often means you have to stop physical activity entirely – and that can lead to serious long-term consequences when it comes to fitness. While exercise is crucial for a healthy lifestyle there is more to the story. Without a set of healthy eating habits, the loss of activity caused by injury can significantly increase the risk of weight gain during recovery.
Control your cravings
For many, cravings are a constant struggle and without the aid of exercise they pose an even greater challenge to maintaining weight. Their intensity has been linked to a range of factors relating to our lifestyle and diet. For example, research has shown that our craving for sweet foods is associated with poor quality sleep. Healthy lifestyle choices coupled with smart eating can significantly reduce these cravings. Thankfully there are a number of dietary tools at your disposal including caffeine which has been shown to reduce appetite. High calorie-dense foods such as pasta and bread (which are high in carbohydrates) are significantly less satiating than protein, fruits and vegetables.
Volume eating is a dieting strategy involving the consumption of low calorie-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and lean white meat. Because these foods are low in calories they allow for significantly larger portion sizes without the risk of weight gain. This strategy requires a little more effort than traditional dieting as your meals have to be well planned but finding the right recipes will be a huge help. If you struggle with cravings the payoff may well be worth effort as the increased volume of food leaves little room for hunger.
Understand your body
Ultimately the formula to weight loss (or maintenance) is simple; calories in versus calories out. However balancing the equation requires a detailed understanding of your body, habits and diet. While that might sound difficult to achieve, all you need is a well thought out approach to analyzing your lifestyle. The first step to this is learning your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the base number of calories you burn each day before accounting for exercise. This can be done using one of the many calculators available online and will allow you to set a rough upper limit on your daily calorie intake.
From here a food journal and a set of kitchen scales will be your best friends. By weighing and recording the foods you eat each day you can accurately keep track of your calorie intake. With a clear picture of your diet established it’s now time to examine your eating habits. If you find that your daily calorie intake exceeds the limit you have set, your food journal will allow you to identify foods that may be disproportionately responsible and limit or remove them from your diet. Over time you will form an intuitive sense of your daily requirements and how they line up with your intake, eventually eliminating the need to weigh and measure.
Weight gain becomes a much more pressing challenge when injury prevents you from exercising. It’s important to remember that online calculators and tools can only ever provide a rough estimate of your calorie usage. Regular weigh-ins and detailed food journaling are the foundations of a successful dieting plan. When coupled with a few clever adjustments to your diet and lifestyle, the lack of activity caused by injury can be successfully mitigated.
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