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How Can I Lose Weight with a Bad Back?
It’s amazing – over 25 million people worldwide suffer from some sort of back pain.
And the number is growing. As more of our lives are spent in front of computers, televisions, or driving in our cars, our backs take the toil of a sedentary lifestyle.
Having an overactive lifestyle can also contribute. If you do manual labor for a living, it’s likely to assume your back takes on the brunt of the work. And, if you are an athlete or avid exerciser, you have a much higher chance of dealing with back pain at some point.
The point is this – whether a bad back is caused by too much physical activity or not enough, our backs are (literally) carrying the brunt of our pain, and our weight is affected by that.
But there are steps we can take to help our bad back feel better, and even lose weight in the process.
1. Choose an Exercise Program That Works With Your Limitations
If you have a bad back, you already know this – exercising is hard. And, it’s not often fun. If you are already experiencing pain, any sort of physical activity can just exacerbate that and, oftentimes, just make it worse.
But here’s the good news…there are plenty of ways you can move your body, burn calories and lose some pounds even when you have a bad back. Yes, it might be hard to get started, but once you do, it will be worth it.
And – most people who have a bad back but start an exercise program say that it doesn’t take long before they start experiencing a drop in their back pain. Moving your body appropriately and effectively can not only result in a change to your waistline, but a change to your back pain as well.
There are lots of low-impact activities that can help you lose weight while not affecting your bad back. Swimming, walking, low-impact fitness classes – all of these could be right for you.
2. Choose a Diet That is Rich in Nutrients and Low in Fillers
Even if you find a great exercise program that you can incorporate into your day and doesn’t make your back pain worse, there’s still a good chance it won’t be enough to help you lose weight.
We all know that losing weight is hard. It’s even harder when you are dealing with a bad back. No matter how motivated, or committed to exercise you may be, there’s a good chance that physical activity alone won’t be enough to help you lose weight.
This is where what you eat can play a big role in losing weight while you’re dealing with a bad back.
Even though we all know that burning calories is an important part of losing extra pounds, we also know that not putting those calories in our bodies, to begin with, can also help.
If you have a bad back and find your ability to be physically active is limited, it’s important that you think about what you eat…now more than ever before.
Try to choose foods that are rich in nutrients but not fillers or junk. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked), lean proteins and plenty of foods with fiber will ensure you are feeding your body appropriately, but not filling it with empty calories.
Empty calories, like cookies, candy, fast food, and chips, are harder for your body to process and will not help with your weight loss goals. Plus, they won’t make your body feel better, which will probably result in your back pain sticking around longer.
3. Incorporate Yoga Into Your Daily Routine
If you really want to get serious about losing weight and dealing with your bad back, yoga is the answer for you.
Yoga is an ancient practice and has been around for over 5,000 years. It’s a practice long revered by people who are trying to improve everything from their spiritual health, mental health and physical health to trying to improve their flexibility, mindfulness and even lose weight.
It is a practice that is adaptable to anyone, regardless of their age, weight, or level of activity.
It’s also inexpensive, and can be done anywhere, inside or out.
In fact, have you ever tried goat yoga? Check it out!
Yoga is the perfect solution for you, if you’re struggling with a bad back. Not only will it strengthen your core muscles (which can help with back pain) but you will also burn calories doing it. Some types of yoga will allow you to burn as much as a 30-minute jog, depending on their intensity.
Yoga is also great for low-impact strength training. Strength training has been a proven solution to back pain, and is also great for losing weight.
4. Be Patient
When trying to lose weight, no one wants to be told, “be patient.” We’ve embarked on this journey and are ready to go!
But weight loss takes time, and if you are wrestling with a bad back, it may – unfortunately – take longer than it would for other people.
As I mentioned earlier, when you’re trying to make a lifestyle change with a bad back, everything is going to be harder. Even everyday, normal activities that you have to do – preparing meals for your family, driving, grocery shopping – can end up being a challenge. Throw in trying to exercise and drop a few pounds, and the whole ordeal can completely overwhelm you.
It has been proven that people who try and lose weight with an injury are much less likely to succeed, not because their injury prohibits them, but because their mindset does.
When you are trying to lose weight and your body is in pain, you lack the motivation to follow through. Not only that, you struggle more with feeling inspired to exercise or eat well because you are more focused on what’s wrong with your body than you are on helping make it right.
Bottom line? Be patient with yourself. Dealing with a bad back is no small feat and it deserves your kindness and care. If you take it slowly, but follow the above suggestions for losing weight, the pounds will come off. It may take a bit longer than you want it to. But it will happen.
5. Be Consistent
Finally, perhaps the most important step to losing weight when you are dealing with a bad back is to be consistent. Slow and steady wins the race, remember?
So many times, our weight loss plans are thwarted because we try to do too much, too soon, and in too many complicated steps. We get excited about something, only to completely lose interest the next week.
How many of you – like me – have old exercise equipment collecting cobwebs in the garage, or half-empty boxes of protein bars sitting on your pantry shelf?
Time and again, research has told us that it doesn't really matter what we do for weight loss, it’s how consistent we are at it. No matter how many new diet trends or exercise videos pop up, if you aren’t going to stick with it, it’s of no use to you and your weight loss plan.
This rings even more true if you have a bad back. Pain in our bodies is going to make our desire to exercise or eat right even lower than it already is when we are healthy. Finding a program that you can stick to is going to be even more important for you if you are dealing with back pain.