Basket Full of Various Fresh Vegetables

The Battle of the Bulge

When You're in Pain


For many of us, being disabled means our activity levels have dropped substantially and this means our weight balloons. As if we didn't have enough problems, our image of ourselves plummets as clothes no longer fit and we feel "fat." Here are some ideas garnered from various nutritionists on how to enjoin the battle of the bulge.


Also some medications can cause weight gain (or loss) no matter what we eat. Check with your doctor if your weight suddenly increases or decreases. There may be alternative medications you can try.


Many of us grew up with the current ‘food guide pyramid’ which recommends healthy portions of grains, fruit, and vegetables with more moderate consumption of dairy and meat (or meat alternatives). The ‘food guide pyramid’ will probably become completely obsolete some day soon. For now, it's the best guide we have.


The sixth group, consisting of sweets and oils -- which is or course high on our favorite food list -- should be limited. However, it's also been proven chocolate relieves pain, so what's a person to do?


Antioxidants are in the news constantly. The more we get, the better we're supposed to feel.


What about the five servings of fresh veggies and fruits a day? Who really sticks to this and what is a serving anyway?


According to nutritionists, a serving is 1/2 cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit or vegetable 3/4 cup fruit juice. Fresh is best, frozen second, and canned comes in last, with most of the nutrients lost in the canning process.


Read The Labels


When we're in pain, a frozen dinner can seem the easiest way to get a meal and the variety increases daily. Less than 30% of total calories per day should come from fat, so if you depend on frozen dinners, read those labels. Don't starve yourself by eating 3 300 calorie meals a day and conversely don't load up on fat you don't need. Eating a variety of foods increase the likelihood of getting the nutrients you need.


Beware Of Low- And No-Fat Foods


Low- and no- fat foods are one of the biggest marketing ploys out there. If a food is low or no fat, it has to be good for us, right? WRONG! Read that label. In order to replace the taste lost in the removal of fat, extra sugar and other ingredients you might not want in your body are often added. Stuff you've never even heard of -- and will have a hard time finding out what it is -- is added to low and no fat foods.


It may be low fat but so high in sugar that you're actually getting MORE calories than you would in the "normal" version of the same food. Since normally we are allowed 30% fat in our daily diet, cutting out all fat can actually be harmful.


Fresh Or Frozen?


Fresh frozen veggies and fruits are as highly recommended by nutritionists as raw, fresh foods. Most are frozen in their natural state.


Canned Foods


With canned foods, watch out for the preservatives added to maintain flavor and keep them from spoiling. In the old days, tons of salt and sugar were added during the canning process as preservatives and much of that process has continued through the present. However, there are also healthy alternatives on the shelves.




That said, canned soups can be very nutritional for those who have limited energy for cooking or difficulty consuming food, if you watch out for the preservatives. Frozen soups are now available, which eliminate the preservatives and maintain the nutritional value of fresh foods.




Americans are one of the few people who consume more protein than they need. Most of our meals center around the meat being served. Eating some protein with every meal is good for muscle maintenance, healing and insulin levels, but the sources are important. Foods heavy in fat, such as beef, should be eaten in moderation. Fish, chicken, turkey, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and soy are preferable protein sources.




A multi-vitamin is a good supplement according to nutritionists, and if you eat a wide variety of foods, with at least 1500 calories a day, you don't need a lot of food supplements.


Vitamin C is known for healing and citrus foods, berries, tomatoes, and green peppers are high in natural Vitamin C.




Snacking need not be looked upon as negative if you're snacking on the right foods. A frozen smoothie, apple with peanut butter, salad are all great snack foods and keep your energy level at a constant. A vast majority of nutrition professionals recommend small, frequent meals rather than three large meals a day. This can be particularly effective if you're hypoglycemic or trying to lose weight.


Determining Your Total Calorie Needs


Determine you total caloric needs based on your body weight and activity level.


Healing From Surgery Or Trauma


Talk to your physician about a referral to a registered dietician. The ADA

also provides this information.


The 80/20 Rule


One diet I ran across in my constant pursuit called upon the 80/20 rule. This meant eating 80% healthy foods and allowing oneself 20% of the foods one really liked.


Some diets also allow a weekend off where you can just relax and eat normal foods.


NOTE: As with all diets, check with your doctor before pursuing any changes.