I’m like many (but not all) women: part of why I’m active is about getting a little more wiggle room in what I can eat. Being vertically challenged and in my late 50s, weight management is an ongoing “exercise” in juggling food and activity.
So what do I do when being active isn’t an option? Illness isn’t always the reason, there are many other reasons we can’t be as active as we’d like to (travel, work demands, taking care of others, injury, to name a few).
Weight management isn’t all about exercise, it’s much more about what we put in our bodies and how we treat ourselves.
Do what you can
Sometimes that means resting. The first day I was sick was a total rest day. No worrying about steps; not a whole of hunger, either. Whoever said feed a fever got it all wrong — when I have a fever I am so not hungry.
The next few days were still rest days, but I did do some gentle yoga. Yoga aimed specifically at colds/flu. When you’re still sick but you’re not completely wiped out, some gentle movement can be very helpful.
As I felt better, I also started to walk the dogs again. Not as long as I usually do, but it’s always good to get out in some sunshine and fresh air — if nothing else, it elevates your mood.
Be gentle with yourself
If you’ve had a fever, it’s a really bad idea to go hard the minute that fever breaks. Your body is fighting some sort of illness, and it needs all its energy directed to healing. Some movement is good, but getting right back into hard training can be a recipe for being down and out even longer.
Rest and you will heal quicker; push and you may get sick again.
Be careful with the comfort foods
It’s so tempting to comfort ourselves with food. Some comfort foods can be healthy — but often they aren’t. A nice bowl of chicken noodle soup can definitely work wonders; #allthecookies are not your friend.
Everyone is different, but things that probably won’t be healing are:
- Too much fruit. Yes, fruit is definitely healthy, but you can have too much of a good thing.
- White foods (bagels, bread, for instance). White potatoes are the exception — they are not the devils they’ve been made out to be; it’s all about what you put on them and they are very easy to digest.
- Processed foods.
- Garlic, Onions, Turmeric
- Dark leafy greens
- Orange foods (carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes)
Neither of these lists are by any means complete, but they’re food for thought.
Eat a little less
If you’re not as active (or not active at all) your body just won’t be burning as many calories. You might not be as hungry . . . but you could be. If I’m sick and not active, I keep an eye on how much I’m eating and will typically eat a little less than normal. I was rewarded with a loss at the scale this week, despite very little activity.
You don’t want to severely restrict food — your body is still doing plenty of work just keeping you alive and healing itself, and eating too little food can as harmful as eating too much.
Do you go for comfort foods when you’re sick?
What foods on the healing foods list sound appealing to you?
What is the weirdest thing you eat when you’re sick (and why)?
I think most of us have come to realize that not all calories are created the same. It’s important to make your calories count when you’re feeling under the weather — you don’t have to gain weight just because you can’t be as active; what you put in your body will always trump activity in the long run. — Chocolaterunsjudy