Following these 7 practical dieting tips for wheelchair users will set you up for success as you begin your weightloss journey. Adopting a diet designed specifically for those in your situation can help you achieve your weight loss goals. By focusing on healthy eating habits, portion control, and as much movement as possible, you can maximize the effectiveness of your diet plan and reach your desired weight more quickly.
Read on to start your weight loss journey!
Tip #1: Why standard diet tips may not work for wheelchair users.
Standard diets may not work for wheelchair users for various reasons. One reason is that many standard diet plans do not account for the fact that wheelchair users often have different caloric needs than those who are able-bodied. Muscle alone burns calories. Because much of our muscle has atrophied, we don’t burn as many calories as an able-bodied individual.
Another reason is that a spinal cord injury changes your metabolism. The signals to our hormones are disrupted, as well as other connections to our bodies. This can make it difficult to follow a diet plan without feeling constantly hungry or deprived, or just the opposite – you are rarely hungry. So your body goes into protection mode and thinks you aren’t eating enough, so it hoards those fat cells.
Tip #2: The importance of healthy eating and portion control for weight loss.
To lose weight successfully, wheelchair users must focus on healthy eating habits and portion control. Some key strategies for incorporating these elements into your diet include choosing foods high in protein, limiting processed foods and sugar (actually quitting them altogether is a very simple decision with huge returns for your health), and incorporating regular exercise into your routine. Several very small portions of food (about 100 calories) several times a day is a much better way to not feel too full, keep your body burning healthy fuel, and not overeat. Try to eat one lean and green meal a day to get the extra protein and fibrous veggies our bodies need.
Tip #3: Incorporating a healthy diet into your lifestyle.
To start with a healthy diet for wheelchair users, try incorporating some of the following meal ideas into your daily routine:
- High-protein smoothies or shakes, or egg dishes
- Lean meat or fish with vegetables
- Salad with grilled chicken or salmon
- Quinoa, brown rice, or other healthy grain dishes
- Soup or chili with lean protein and vegetables
Tips #4: Sample meal ideas to get you started.
Below are some ideas to get you started with incorporating a healthy diet into your weight loss plan.
- PRO TIP: Start your morning with a bottle of water to wake up your metabolism!
- For breakfast, try a protein shake or smoothie made with almond milk, bananas, spinach, and whey protein powder.
- For lunch, enjoy a salad with grilled chicken or salmon, mixed greens, avocado, and a light vinaigrette dressing.
- For dinner, try quinoa with roasted vegetables and grilled chicken or fish.
- For snacks, enjoy healthy options like fruit, nuts, or low-fat yogurt.
Tip #5: Making exercise part of your weight loss plan.
In addition to following a healthy diet, it is also important to incorporate exercise into your weight loss plan. For wheelchair users, this may mean finding ways to be active that do not require a lot of movement or using specialized equipment. Some exercises that may be helpful for wheelchair users include upper body workouts, chair aerobics, or water exercises.
It is extremely helpful to start your day with a workout. If you can wheel yourself, that could be a quick roll around the block or up and down your driveway. If you can’t push a chair, 20 minutes of arm circles, cardio boxing, theraband workout, dancing with or without wrist weights. Get creative for anything you can do for about 20 minutes that will raise your heart rate. This is a great workout to try!
Be sure to start with your bottle of water, do your workout, and THEN eat your breakfast. Your body needs the protein and carbs to replenish those muscles you just used, and it will burn most efficiently in that order.
Tip #6: Making small changes for big results.
By making small changes to your diet and exercise routine, you can achieve sustained weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s incorporating more movement into your day, working with a nutritionist to create an effective meal plan, or finding new and fun ways to be active, there are many simple steps that you can take toward achieving your weight loss goals. So start today and see the results for yourself!
Tip #7: Resources for finding more information on healthy diet tips for wheelchair users.
There are many great resources available to help you learn more about healthy eating for wheelchair users. Some useful websites include:
With the right information, a little planning, and long-term dedication, you can successfully lose weight and reach your fitness goals while staying in your wheelchair.