Being overweight is something I have always had trouble with, in my late teens and into adulthood. Losing several pounds is a goal I had consistently set for myself over the years, but never knew where to start. We as a society are always bombarded with new diets, exercises, equipment, and food that all claim to be the holy grail of weight loss. Transformation Tuesdays are posted everywhere on social media and there is a gym on every corner, but I still felt like the weight loss journey was not meant for people like me.
It was not until I started sharing my personal story on Instagram and connecting with other people with disabilities that I finally felt like my goal of losing weight was attainable. Why, you may ask? Seeing other wheelchair users lose weight, empowered me to do the same and helped highlight the path to do so. When we are going to achieve any sort of goal, seeing others do same gives us a hint of encouragement to do the same. To help anyone who is stuck like me, here are some tips and tricks I have used that helped me lose 15 lbs. since January.
Don’t Just Diet, Change Your Lifestyle
For me personally, I have never had issues with how much I eat but with what I eat. I am a junk food junkie with a major sweet tooth who has the pellet of a five-year-old. After much research, I decided to join Weight Watchers online program. This program gives you a certain number of points to use based on your lifestyle and each food is worth a certain number of points, the goal is to stay within your daily points per day. Being someone who thrives on concrete numbers and deadlines, this plan is perfect for me. When I realize that my beloved Starbucks drink is worth 20 of my 30 daily points, it makes me rethink my choices for the day. Also, the Weight Watchers community has a strong online presence, giving me ideas for new recipes and foods, helping me to get out of my comfort zone. Now, I am not saying to go join Weight Watchers, but I am saying go find what works for you. Find what makes you thrive. For me, I thrive on meeting numbers and deadlines. What motivates you?
Before starting my weight loss journey, I was never a big water drinker. Now, I cannot get enough of it. Due to being a wheelchair user, I will never reach the recommendation of drinking half of my weight in ounces of water a day. I might as well live in the bathroom at that point, but it is important to make sure you are drinking some amount of water throughout the day. Did you know that when you do not regularly intake water, your body holds onto weight? When our body is lacking the appropriate amount of water we need daily, it holds onto whatever water we have in our system, as if we are in a drought and saves it for a later day.
One of the biggest struggles with being a wheelchair user and trying to lose weight is the lack of accessible gyms, or knowing what workouts are best for you and your physical abilities. Instead of doing a particular workout regimen, my advice is to just move. This can mean stomping your feet once a day for 20 minutes or just wiggling your arms or even your neck. Any type of movement helps you burn calories and burning calories helps you burn fat. Whatever your goal is, know that you are not alone and that your goal is obtainable, regardless of your physical limitations.
About Isabella Bullock: Isabella, or Izzy for short, is an employment specialist for the Center of Independent Living. She is an iced coffee enthusiast who enjoys getting lost in a good book. Click here to learn more about Isabella.