Q: How can I keep from gaining weight when I am injured and can’t run?
A: As runners, we are envied by our passive
peers for our uncanny ability to consume food. When we are confronted with injury and forced to come to an abrupt halt in our training, it can be hard to readjust our eating patterns.
A break in training doesn't necessarily mean that you will pack on the pounds. Especially if you continue to cross train, you are still going to be burning calories. Believe it or not, running isn't the only activity that burns calories. For a 130 lb person, biking can burn anywhere from 400-800 calories an hour depending on the intensity, and 400-600 calories an hour swimming or aqua jogging.
The major technique to practice even when you are not injured is to eat mindfully. Before mechanically reaching for seconds or thirds, ask yourself, “Am I really still hungry? How much is an adequate amount of food for me to eat right now?” If you are in-tune with your body, it will efficiently regulate how much fuel you really need. Eat when you are hungry and stop before you get too full. Yes, it’s that simple. Also, be sure to eat high quality foods every day to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients that it needs to recover more quickly. Though you may feel like it’s the only thing that will make you feel better, alcohol and sweets will not get you out the door sooner.
If you are not capable of doing anything physical, focus on healthy practices like meditation or sleeping better. Meditation can help manage the blues and quality sleep will speed recovery time. And remember, you need to eat too! Sometimes athletes think that because they are not moving around as much that they don’t need to eat. The truth is that our organs like the liver, kidney and heart, not our exercising muscles, burn most of the calories to support the energy we need to survive. Any drastic decrease in caloric intake will not only impede your recovery, but also have negative consequences on your metabolic rate and internal organs.