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How can I avoid weight gain during injury recovery?

We are so excited to have another Guest Blog from Morgan Bettini. Morgan is a Registered Dietitian and Registered Yoga Teacher who specializes in intuitive eating and yoga for athletes and plant-based eaters.

As a dietitian working with athletes, this is one of the most common questions I get. While your energy needs may change slightly, there’s no need to stress over the number on the scale (though it can be easy to do).

If gaining weight is a concern, it’s important to dive into why that may be the case. Sometimes I find people fear they will be seen as a less worthy runner/athlete in a larger body. Sometimes people fear they won’t be “as good” if they gain weight. Sometimes people use their sport as a means to “burn off” calories consumed and can feel uneasy about not having that available anymore.

Here’s the thing…it’s ok to honor your cravings (and the more you listen to your body, I promise, you won’t have cravings for cookies all the time). It’s also ok to want to nourish your body and recover as fast as possible. It’s not ok to restrict food or energy intake at the expense of delayed healing, increased physiological stress (and potential adrenal fatigue), or challenging your relationship with food and your body.

The other thing to keep in mind is that many athletes and nutrition/wellness professionals talk about “balance” while representing bodies that, for the most part, take unbalanced discipline to achieve. While you may hear “everything in moderation,” many athletes you idealize often treat their aesthetic like a full-time job and the truth is that there is more to you than being an athlete.

There are so many faucets to life other than your athletic performance or your weight. In times of injury, focus on what truly matters. And if you’ve been injured before or you are working through an injury now, know that adequate nutrition can help help but fixating on your weight will not.

Instead of focusing on fear of gaining weight, can you be grateful for your body? Grateful for the many miles your body has got you through. Grateful for your legs that get you to where you want to go. Grateful for the time spent with loved ones at a birthday party when normally you would’ve been out running. Focusing on gratitude and finding appreciation in the small things sounds simple but when working through an injury, it is incredibly important for recovery.

With optimal nutrition and a sound mindset, you can recover from your sports injury more efficiently and help prevent injuries in the future. Because individual needs vary, working with a dietitian can give you a better idea of how to incorporate these nutrients and principles into your diet.

If you have additional questions or would like to work with a dietitian, Morgan Bettini is a Registered Dietitian and Registered Yoga Teacher who specializes in intuitive eating and yoga for athletes and plant-based eaters. She dishes up a hefty dose of wellness in her blog and newsletter at:

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