An Achilles injury can make losing weight difficult because it forbids many of the exercises and activities that burn calories to help you lose weight. Worse, the extra weight you may gain during recovery places extra pressure on your ankle whenever you stand or walk. This can slow your healing. The key to weight control with this kind of injury is to focus on the diet side of the calorie equation, then add exercises as your body becomes stronger.
Set a goal of losing one pound per week. Harvard Health says that you can safely lose one to two pounds a week; but that is contingent on a healthy diet and exercise.
Reduce your daily calorie intake by 500. It takes 3,500 calories to make one pound, so this amount will keep you moving toward your weight-loss goals.
Focus on lean proteins, healthy fats, fresh vegetables and fruits in your calorie-restricted diet. These foods deliver a high level of nutrition in comparison to their calorie content. Avoid refined carbohydrates and sweets, which are high in calories with low nutritive value.
Take a multivitamin that includes a full daily dosage of vitamin C. The overall nutrition will fill any holes left by your calorie-restricted diet. The vitamin C, in particular, is vital to your body's healing processes.
Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. This can help fill your stomach if you get hungry between planned meals, and the water helps your body heal.
Exercise only in the context of your physical therapy regimen in the beginning. These exercises can be painful, but they both burn calories and strengthen the most vulnerable parts of your ankle and leg as you recover.
Enroll in an aqua fitness class as soon as your doctor approves. Aqua fitness is group fitness while partially submerged. The fitness class will burn calories to help you lose weight, and the buoyancy of the water will protect your Achilles tendon from further injury.
Consider a low-impact activity, such as tai chi, brief walks or stationary biking, as your next step. This will increase your calorie burn while still minimizing the risk of re-injuring your Achilles tendon. Again, step up to this level only with the knowledge and permission of your doctor or physical therapist.
- Harvard Health Publications: Calorie Counting Made Easy
- The Sports Injuries Handbook; Christer Rolf, M.D., Ph.D.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Achilles Tendinitis