Injury is a very real, and very unfortunate side effect of most people’s sporting and fitness endeavours, I know I’ve had my fair share and more! My ample time spent on the physio’s table puts me in a good position to discuss the difficulties of staying in shape whilst injured. We’ve all been there, or at least know somebody who has been injured and gained loads of excess weight right? It’s not always the fact that these people have become depressed or defeatist and simply ate crap to offset the time they would normally be training either.
Why do we gain weight when injured?
One of the main causes of weight gain when injured is the continuation of the original diet regime that was in place when competing. Clearly if you stop competing and continue to eat and drink like you did, then you’re going to be consuming more calories than you’re burning off, hence putting you into a calorie surplus and positive energy balance.
Sometimes there has to be a complete overhaul of the original diet, certainly from a ‘total food consumed’ point of view. So in order to make this a little more achievable start to think ‘Low-Energy-Dense Diets…and I’ll tell you for why…
These diets are nothing new, they simply provide you with a greater volume of food for an overall lower energy intake, whilst still leaving you feeling satiated (full). Low-Energy-Dense diets are high in whole fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, as well as low-fat dairy, legumes/beans peas and pulses, and lean meats.
The diet should not be too restrictive, but is ideal for reducing high fat foods, and limiting or eliminating sweetened beverages and alcohol that contain unwanted excess calories. The high fibre, high water, low fat nature of the diet reduces total energy intake, increases transit rate of fat through the bowl, and leaves you feeling full.
Manore, (2013) explains that a low-energy-density diet is effective at reducing total energy intake over a day, quite simply because you feel as satisfied after consuming a fraction of the food. Reducing the energy density of a diet is more effective at lowering energy intake than reducing portion size, plus it doesn’t affect hunger, fullness or the overall enjoyment of eating. A diet plan that keeps you feeling full and satisfied is far more likely to increase compliance, and that is ultimately what it’s all about.
Manore, M, M. (2013). Weight management in the performance athlete. Nestle Nutrition Institute. Nutritional Coaching Strategy to Modulate Training Efficiency.