The cycle of disability and weight gain

012615-blog-fork-spoon-gowomanNow don’t let the word “disability” scare you off! We are just talking about those conditions that limit what you can do or how you do them. There are a lot of people who have such functional limitations; in fact, were talking one in five people in the United States.

In the GoWoman Weight Management Program for Women with Mobility Impairments, we are mostly talking about women who have anything from mild limitations, things like, the most common disabler of women- early-stage arthritis, as well as fibromyalgia, back problems, or multiple sclerosis, to more significant limitations, such as spinal cord injury, amputations, cerebral palsy, or neuromuscular disorders.

Mobility and cooking

When you first experience problems with mobility, there is a tendency to cut back on exercise, usually because it causes you too much pain.

The same holds true for cooking. It’s just too much trouble to stand for a long time at the kitchen counter or over a stove. Why bother when it’s so much easier to just buy foods that are already chopped or cooked, or better yet, just eat out.

Yes, you know that processed foods have less nutrition, too much salt, probably too much sugar, but you have a good excuse – you are in pain! And the pounds come on, like layers of clothing on a winter’s day, which makes standing and walking even harder and more painful.

Then you start getting other health problems, like high blood pressure and sleep interruptions. As the medications accumulate, so do the side effects, including weight gain, and the deck gets stacked more and more against you.

Breaking the cycle

At some point, you need to say STOP! Go back to the beginning of the cycle and look closely at what it would take to keep on cooking.

Something as simple as getting a barstool and moving it into the kitchen can ease the stress of cooking on your legs and back. Ordinary stores now carry cooking utensils with rubber grips and suction cups to help those who don’t have arm strength or finger dexterity.

Want more suggestions on how to bring ease and enjoyment back into cooking? Download this PowerPoint presentation with web links .

Have a great solution that helped you out? Be sure to share it in the comment section below.

-By Margaret A. Nosek, Ph.D.

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