Over the weekend, I had a slight mishap. I’ll spare you the details and make a long story short, I sprained my ankle. The good news is that there are no broken bones, only a grade 2 sprain that will take a couple of weeks to heal. The bad news is that most of my usual training will be on hold until I’m back on my feet (or foot rather). This also means that there will be no Spartan race for me next Sunday, I guess the muddy obstacle course will have to wait until next year. It’s disappointing, but I’ve made my peace with it. Moving on to the next one!
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy lazy sundays and assure you that I’m taking full advantage of being waited-on at home. But there’s only so much R.I.C.E (rest-ice-compression-elevation) a person can take before getting fidgety. Let’s face it: nobody likes being benched. In the past, I’ve had shin splints and hamstring pulls but never so many hours of couch-confinement. But, this experience did make me understand the frustration of being sidetracked by a sports injury. A person might feel unmotivated, regress to poorer eating habits and maybe see themselves put on weight they had lost. Having such a big part of your healthy living routine be put on hold is difficult, but it isn’t worth sabotaging the positive changes you’ve already made.
Don’t let a sports injury weigh you down, literally.
It isn’t over
I’ve known clients, family members and friends with sports injuries, all of them requiring way more bench-time than me. In each case, having their training suddenly stop shook them to the core.
A common reaction: Giving up your goal. Without your training, you figure your goal is unattainable and feel no choice but to gradually let go of your healthy food choices. That is, until you get better.
A better reaction: Reevaluate your goal. A sports injury is a bump in the road.. not a sinkhole. Which means you’ll get there eventually but simply need to rethink how long it will take. If your goal was weight loss, then you must carry on with your healthful ways. At best, you will lose weight at a slower pace or at worst you will lose none at all and keep steady. Either way, the idea is to focus on proper nourishment for speedy recovery.
Get reacquainted with your hunger and fullness cues
During the bed-ridden stage of your injury, your body will burn less overall calories since daily activities are very limited. But serious injuries can see an increase in metabolism during the initial healing process. So although your body will be burning less overall calories than it did during training, it might not be as little as you think. So, how much should you eat?
Reaction 1, eating too much: Despite the drop in expended calories, you stick to the portions that used to satisfy your ravenous, athletic appetite. As a result, you put on a few pounds.
Reaction 2, eating too little: You’re an energy balance pro and drastically reduce your intake to avoid a calorie surplus. As a result, you aren’t providing your body with what it needs to properly recover and rebuild.
A better reaction: Readjust your portion size to satisfy your physical hunger without going beyond the point of fullness. In other words: Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re almost full. Ideally, meet with a nutritionist who could evaluate your individual needs.
Find comfort in friends, not food
Dealing with an injury can be difficult and frustrating but it doesn’t justify mindlessly munching your feelings away. Besides contributing extra empty calories to your day, the comfort food will only relieve you from your frustration temporarily. Instead, whenever you’re feeling down, find comfort in a friend or in a cheery movie. And just in case you’re hungry and desperately looking for something healthy to enjoy during that movie, you can try one of these tasty treats.
Find other ways to be active
Your injury might put your usual training off limits for now, but this doesn’t mean all activity is off the table. It’s worth asking an exercise professional who may guide you towards other exercises that will keep you active and help to rehabilitate your injury.
Have you ever had a sports injury? How did it affect your eating habits?