How to Lose Weight When You're Disabled

Being disabled doesn't mean you are stuck with being overweight. While a disability may limit the type of physical activity you can do, there are still a number of ways you can lose weight. By concentrating on the things you are able to do, rather than on your limitations, the pounds will melt off faster than you expect.

A man in a wheelchair is playing basketball. (Image: Huntstock/DisabilityImages/Getty Images)

Step 1

Talk to your doctor before starting a diet or exercise program. This is especially important if you suffer from heart problems, diabetes or other medical conditions that can be seriously affected by a change in dietary or activity levels. You might need to undergo a few tests to check blood pressure, body composition, heart health and blood glucose level to ensure you are ready to start exercising.

Step 2

Work around your disabilities. If you have problems with your legs, for example, you can still work your upper body and your core muscles (abdomen and lower back). Find a piece of equipment or an aerobic activity that you can do and make the most of it. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on some days and then work your way up. To lose weight, you should aim for 60 to 90 minutes four to five times a week.

Step 3

Incorporate weight training into your workout routine as this builds muscle and will speed your metabolism, causing you to burn fat faster and more easily. Try to work out with weights at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes or more if you have a lot of weight to lose. Don't worry about the muscles you aren't able to work out, and instead exercise the others actively. Allow muscles to rest 24 to 48 hours in between workouts.

Step 4

Concentrate on your diet. If you are limited on how much you can move, you should focus on reducing calorie intake as a means of losing weight. Limit or eliminate empty calories such as fried foods, fatty snacks and refined flour. Concentrate the bulk of your diet on whole grains, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables. Drink only calorie-free liquids.

Step 5

Eat enough to conserve muscle. If you reduce your calorie intake to an extremely low number (under 1,000 calories per day), chances are you will end up burning muscle instead of fat. This is because your body will resort to storing anything you eat as fat to preserve your body and will shed water weight and glycogen stored in your muscles.

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