Guest Blog Post
Diet Recommendations for Individuals in Wheelchairs
By Naomi Esterly
By Naomi Esterly
Losing weight is tough enough when dieters are able-bodied and can exercise properly, but not everyone is that lucky. For those who were not blessed with a fully functioning body, weight loss and dieting can be extremely difficult, especially for those confined to a wheelchair. To make this struggle even more difficult, those who are wheelchair-bound are also expected to consume less calories than those who are not confined to a chair.
If that is not hard enough, the quest for weight loss continues to gets even harder for the disabled. Although less calories are being consumed, many doctors recommend that those in a wheelchair increase their vitamin and mineral levels in addition to lowering their daily calorie intake levels. These recommendations can be hard to accommodate into an already strict diet, but are not impossible when done correctly.
Some may think that those in a wheelchair would need to consume more calories since they are constantly wheeling themselves around, but this is untrue. In reality, most wheelchair-bound individuals should stick to a diet of around 1,100 calories per day to maintain their current body weight. If looking to shed unwanted pounds, their calorie intake level may need to be decreased even more. While this is commonly done, this weight loss method is not recommended without talking to a doctor first.
Since consuming less calories means eating less food, a diet that is high in fiber is essential. Food items such as apples, raspberries, kiwis, carrots, oranges, seeds, pears, hummus, and whole grain bread are all great snack choices that are high in fiber. These snacks also have the benefit of being easy to add as a side dish to nearly any meal.
While fiber may not seem important, it will help dieters feel full longer despite eating less food. Best of all, most foods that are high in fiber are also low in calories, helping to aid in weight loss even further.
While calcium isn't necessarily needed to aid in weight loss, it can make the process a lot easier. This is because wheelchair-bound patients are extremely prone to developing bone disorders, such as osteoarthritis. By taking daily calcium pills or consuming a diet that is rich in the mineral, dieters can cut their risk of developing the disorder dramatically.
Since many people with osteoarthritis are overweight due to pain while exercising, it's important that wheelchair users to make this change to their diet sooner rather than later.
Another important step in losing or maintaining weight is to have a diet rich in vitamins. When wheelchair-bound, vitamin A, C, and D are especially important because they help to control the urinary tract and immune system. Vitamin D, which comes from sunlight, is typically supplemented into the diet because it helps aid in calcium absorption.
Another recommended trick for losing weight when in a wheelchair is to boost the body's metabolism as much as possible. This is normally done by exercising frequently, but may also be achieved by frequently eating smaller healthy meals throughout the day. For example, instead of dieters eating three large meals in the morning, afternoon and night, five smaller meals can be spread out over the course of the day. This will help teach the body to burn fat, not store it.
Naomi Esterly just had a new baby! She’s also a mother to two twin boys and a wife to an army man. In between her duties as a mom and wife she’s also a volunteer in her local community center and a freelance writer for 1800WheelChair.Com.