Everyone needs to eat healthy, by consuming protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a modest amount of fats. Besides, adequate nutrition provides persons with an amputation a powerful emotional and mental boost they need to keep on living despite living through a difficult circumstance. While the nutritional needs of a person before and after amputation does not differ overall, there are slight yet essential differences in their nutrition strategy to maintain their wellbeing.
Amputees tend to gain weight more easily because they engage in less physical activity given their mobility challenges. If an amputee has no one with them to assist in buying ingredients for a healthy meal, shopping for food becomes a less practical option. Instead, they’ll choose to order fast food that could be delivered to their doorsteps in minutes. Depression can also lead them to overeat, which in turn contributes to weight gain. Side effects of medication that amputees consume as well as difficulties in adjusting to a new lifestyle can all cause weight gain.
Effects of weight gain on amputees
Additional weight can add stress on your prosthetics and reduce its comfort around the knees or joints. This would further discourage any exercise such as walking, which would further contribute to weight gain and prosthetics pain in an endless feedback cycle. Weight gain would also affect the amputee’s emotional outlook and self-esteem. Thus, they need to have their weight checked and managed by having a proper and balanced diet.
Meal plans for amputees
To ensure that you eat well and have well-chosen foods for each day, you and your loved ones will need to have a meal plan prepared. Having a meal plan ensures that you get the nutrition you need for each day while regulating the number of calories, cholesterol, fats, and carbs that you consume. Among the essential steps involved in the preparation and implementation of a meal plan include the following:
- Draft a weekly menu that takes into consideration your calorie needs. The ingredients you buy and eat in a day will depend on this menu.
- Foods rich in Vitamins C and E, protein, iron, and zinc should be given priority on your meal plan. These nutrients are essential in healing and tissue repair related to your amputation.
- Schedule a day in your week where you can go grocery shopping for healthy and fresh ingredients.
- Set aside a day of the week to prepare and pre-pack food rations for the whole week.
- Strictly portion your food into fixed amounts to prevent overeating. Pre-packing your meals for the week helps ensure portioning is enforced.
- Keep yourself well-hydrated at all times. Drinking plenty of water helps add to the feeling of fullness without the calories, fats, and carbs.
Talk with a registered dietitian who can help you come up with a meal plan that would give you the nutrition without the added weight. They might also refer you to a specialist who can design your meal plan for you, as well as the set of exercises and activities you need to do to keep your weight within healthy levels. These specialists will prepare your meal plan and exercises strategy according to your physical characteristics, medical circumstances, and specific needs.
If your mental and emotional health is affecting your capacity to plan your meal, you would need to set an appointment with a psychologist as well. They can help you not only cope with the mental and emotional trauma from your amputation, but they can also help you modify your behaviour to adjust to a new lifestyle that requires you to stick to a strict routine, which is your meal plan. Mind-body-meditations and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are some of the techniques they can use to help you achieve your nutritional needs.
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