How to Lose Weight in a Wheelchair

Weight gain is generally due to consuming more calories than needed throughout the day. Wheelchair users can find it difficult to lose weight because fewer calories are used through physical activity. Just because it’s more challenging for wheelchair users to lose weight, it doesn’t mean you should give up hope. There are several things you can do to lose weight in a wheelchair and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Discuss Your Weight with Your Doctor

Before you begin taking steps to lose weight, speak to your doctor. Discuss your body mass index and your weight loss goals. Your doctor’s approval is essential to your journey of losing weight. At times, some patients tend to lose more than necessary, so always be sure your weight loss goals are safe, healthy and realistic for your body type. 

Eat Fewer Calories

This sounds easier said than done. But it is possible with will-power and determination. Remove high calorie foods such as sweets and processed foods from your diet. After removing the high-calorie foods, fill the empty spaces in your refrigerator and pantry with healthier options. Consider adding fresh fruits and vegetables along with poultry and other lean meats. Replace your high calorie snacks with yogurt, granola bars, nuts, vegetable dips, and other tasty and healthy treats. You don’t want to deprive yourself, you just want to eliminate high-calorie foods and enjoy a balanced diet. Eating a healthy balanced diet includes the following: 

  • Enjoying starchy foods such as wholegrain pasta, brown bread, oats and potatoes
  • Eating five fruit and vegetable servings per day
  • Consuming organic dairy foods such as low fat milk and yogurt
  • Consuming protein such as eggs, beans, fish, poultry, meats and other non-dairy sources of protein 

Below are some of the foods to avoid that promotes weight gains:

  • Potato chips
  • White bread
  • Processed deli meats
  • French fries
  • Mayonnaise
  • Butter
  • Ice cream
  • Cakes and candy
  • Fried foods
  • Fast food

Portion Control 

Currently the size of dishware is large, big and huge. If you were to compare the size of a standard dinner plate from the 1980’s to the size of one today, you will find that it has almost doubled or tripled in size. While the large dishes are beautiful, they also encourage you to fill it to the rim, causing huge portion sizes. This leads to high calorie intake. You can still enjoy your beautiful large plate, but just fill it half way. Another trick is to use the sandwich plate from your dining set. This is a more suitable portion size. If you still feel hungry after your meal, drink a full glass of water and wait 20 minted to see if you are still hungry. Research shows, that your brain and stomach register feelings of fullness after about 20 minutes.

Eat Frequently

Eating frequently may not sound like good advice when you are trying to lose weight, but it actually speeds up your metabolism. Eating a meal or snack in small serving sizes every two or three hours throughout the day will keep you full, help balance your sugar level and prevent you from binge eating. You will also find that you are not so eager to consume junk food since you are pleasantly full and not always looking for a quick fix to ward off hunger pains. 

Get Active 

People with mobility issues may have a difficult time being active. Discuss with your doctor what type of exercise, sport or movements you are capable of doing without causing harm to yourself. Always follow your doctor’s advice and never exceed your limitations. Once you have approval enjoy discovering all of the activities that will keep you active. Ideas include gym equipment that has been adapted for wheelchair users, swimming, netball, basketball, badminton and stretching exercises. There are also a line of fitness DVDs that are specially created for wheelchair exercises. 

Drink Plenty of Water 

Trade in sugary juice and soda for water. Sweetened juices and soda contain a lot of calories and rarely make you feel full. Water keeps you hydrated and keeps you feeling full. If plain water doesn’t sound appetizing to you, try adding a slice of lemon for added taste. You can also try adding other fruits such as orange, strawberries, peaches, etc... to your water to help enhance the flavor. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times to keep you hydrated and flush toxins out of your system. 

Involve Your Family 

If you are eating a high calorie diet, chances are those you live with are too. Alert your family and friends that you are beginning a new healthy lifestyle that will help you reach and maintain your weight and fitness goals. Create healthy grilled dishes and snacks together, encourage each other and get active. When everyone around you is living a healthy lifestyle, it is easier for you to maintain yours as well. 

Always speak to your primary physician first before making any changes or additions to your diet or physical fitness activities. Everyone is different and has their own limitations. Don't think you are stuck with the weight that you have just because you are in a wheelchair. Adapt to a healthy diet, eat small serving sizes, drink plenty of water, stay active, motivated and most importantly - keep a positive outlook on life. Soon you will see the pounds melt away and reveal a happier, healthier you. 


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