Injuries definitely can put a halt to your normal workout routine. Take mine for example, I am wearing a boot because of a foot injury and can not run. About 75% of my workout routines before my injury consisted of running. So without making some changes and adaptations to my current situation the inevitable will happen….weight gain!
Here are a few things I have learned about avoiding weight gain while being injured:
First, this will sound totally backwards but accept the fact that a few extra pounds will develop and that’s perfectly fine. Now we aren’t talking about 20-30 pounds, but I’m up almost 5 pounds from my pre injury weight. If you constantly stressed out about a little weight gain with an injury you’re only going to make the recovery process harder and be more miserable. Another way to think about it is that even professional athletes have weight fluctuations. A runner will typically be a little heavier during the building phase of their training and be at their lightest weight when they are competing. So it’s not the end of the world, it will come back off. But the key is to keep it under control.
Next, make some changes in your diet. Because I am not burning as many calories as before I need to not eat as much. This is a hard one, I love to eat. Any of my friends can vouch for that. But it has also made me more aware of what I eat and how much. Some ideas that have helped me to keep this under control is preparation and being held accountable.
- Prepare: Every Sunday plan your meals for the week
- Accountable: Keep track of your meals with a food journal (be sure to share this with someone else)
Then, open your mind to different exercise possibilities. For me this means becoming a swimmer again and enjoying leisure bike rides around town. I can’t kick in the pool but it’s a great upper body workout using a pull bouy. I am also doing more weight training for my upper body. This tends to be neglected when I focus on running so much so it’s like an injury added bonus!
Next, make some short term goals. Because I am not preparing for any race it’s hard for me to stay focused. Instead I have found that little goals make a huge difference. I am involved in an ab challenge for the month of June, thanks to my sister for suggesting my entire family participate. Also, I will be going out of town in about 3 weeks so I can think of a dietary goal like resisting sugary desserts until then.
Finally, I’ve learned that I simply need to be patient. The more worked up I become about not being able to do what I want (aka run) while I’m injured the more I turn to food for comfort. This is not a good combination. So I’m trying to be more open about how things are going now. If I have a hard or frustrating day then I talk to someone about it. I work with what I have as I know I’m lucky to still be able to swim and lift weights.
I’m off to another doctor in a few minutes. I hope he has a better diagnosis as apparently my MRI showed I never had a stress fracture!