There are many different causes for joint pain. Injuries, accidents, age, posture and weight are just a few of the contributing factors. Chiropractic care can help alleviate and eliminate most of your pain with regular care. There is, however, a certain amount of self-care that is required of patients who want to see long-term results from their treatments.
Part of that self-care includes diet and exercise. If you are overweight, and it is causing you joint pain, the best way to see long-term pain relief is to lose that weight. If you were to seek out help from a chiropractor, he would include an exercise and diet plan as part of a treatment plan designed for you. It's just as important to chiropractic care that you achieve overall wellness by maintaining a healthy weight.
It doesn’t have to be an overnight transformation, you won't need surgery or a personal trainer. The success rate for dieting alone as a weight loss solution is dismally low. Sure, the weight will come off with dieting, but in the long run, the safest and most effective way is to create lifestyle changes that you are comfortable with. The changes you make need to be ones that you can live with in the long-term.
Calories = Energy
The food that you eat has certain caloric values. These values are measured by scientists who literally burn the food to get a measurement of how much energy is required to use up the food. The food you eat is the fuel your body "burns" to keep you going. Some fuels are easier and quicker for your body to use. While other fuels take much longer for the body to transform into energy. This is the basic idea behind any diet that has a point system. The better the fuel is for your body, and the easier it turns into energy, the less likely your body will be to try and use it as a fat store.
Eat It Up
A great way to start cutting calories is to look at your diet and give each food that you enjoy a value. It can be as simple as saying foods are a 0 or a 1. Foods that are high in fat, sugars or are heavily processed are much harder for your body to process. Fruits, vegetables and proteins are high in fiber, minerals and vitamins that will help keep you healthy. For many people, cutting out soda and potato chips is the only step they require to lose weight. Where does that leave them? It's not very fun to be at a party and not get to enjoy your favorite foods. Cutting calories doesn’t have to be a punishment, and if you are too extreme, you may end up cheating and doing more damage than good.
Don't tell yourself that you can't have treats. In the long run, a diet should really be a lifestyle change. If you are comfortable with the choices that you have made to take the weight off, the more likely you'll be able to stick to it. If you ditch the changes you've made and go right back to the same bad habits, you won't keep the weight off and all the hard work you put in will be wasted. Allow yourself treats but remember that moderation is the key to enjoyment.
Here are a few tricks to try.
- Eating out- Choose healthier side dishes. Rather than fries, get the fruit bowl or a salad.
- Don't drink your calories- Soda, juice, tea,etc are all delicious and are a great treat, but many of them have a lot of calories in them. If you were to count up the calories you consume from drinks alone, you may be surprised. If you do choose to have a drink with your meal, try getting a smaller portion. Also ask for a glass of water to go along with your sweet drink. Drinking soda and other sweet beverages can sometimes leave you thirstier than before which can lead to drinking too much. Water can help to quench your thirst and help you avoid drinking all your calories.
- Portion size– The size of an entire portion at any meal– even the ones we make at home– tend to be much larger than we actually need. Most meals you probably walk away thinking that you've eaten too much and are uncomfortable. It's totally fine to get second helpings of something you enjoy, but try getting a smaller portion to start out with. If you are at a restaurant, it's helpful to divide your meal before you start to eat. It can create a visual cue on your plate to tell you when you've had enough.
- Give it a minute- Before you dish up a second helping, sit and wait for 2-5 minutes. Take a drink of water and just relax. More often than not, you'll realize that you really are full or at least satisfied and you don't really need that second helping anyway.
- Drink your water– Drinking water with your meal can help fill the empty spaces. It can also help you pace yourself. The more water you drink, the less room there is in your stomach for food. This little trick can help you get away from the dinner table without feeling overfull. It's also great to drink lots of water; the average person does not drink enough water, yet it's so beneficial to your health.
- Don't lick the plate- As children, we probably heard things like, "finish your meal" or "clean your plate." This habit of cleaning your plate can lead to habits of overeating. Many people also have the habit of picking at their meal after they've determined that they were finished. This habit can be combated by trying the following:
a. Get a box for leftovers if you plan to take the food home. Get it boxed up so it's out of sight.
b. Cover it up. Throw your napkin over the uneaten portion of your meal. If you can't see, it you'll be less likely to continue eating.
c. If you don't plan to take the remains of your meal home with you, then tip a glass of water over it. Soggy food is unappealing, and you won't be tempted to finish it off.
Work It Off
It's easier to cut calories than to burn them. If you fill your tank with sugars and fats, the body will use the energy it needs to perform daily tasks, but will store anything left over in the form of fat. Once it becomes fat, it's there to stay. Cutting calories is a great way to stop yourself from putting on the extra pounds, but if you don't get enough calories in your system, then you won't have enough energy. You could even potentially cause yourself harm if you are too extreme. The body needs the vitamins and minerals in the food you eat to function. The point? A healthy mix of diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off.
Burning calories through exercise will help eliminate them from your system. If you burn enough calories, then your body will start to burn off the reserves in the form of fat. You don’t have to join a gym or buy fancy equipment to get in shape. A healthy lifestyle is just a few steps away. By making simple changes you can increase the calories you burn daily and create permanent healthy lifestyle changes.
It is recommended by the CDC to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That's just a few minutes a day. Setting a steps goal and getting yourself a way to track it is one of the easiest ways to reach the 150 minute goal. 10,000 steps is the magic number that many fitness trackers use as a target. This equates to approximately 5 miles walked and around 300-400 calories burned. Most people carrying a smart phone already have a device on them that is counting their steps.
Here are a few great ways to up your step count with just a little effort.
- Parking – Parking in the farthest reaches of the grocery story lot can help you reach your health goals. The few hundred extra steps will burn calories, and as an added bonus, there are usually better parking options. Shady parking spaces in the hot summer months are easier to find available if you're willing to walk a little further.
- Stand and stretch- Even if you don't have a desk job, you probably sit far more than is recommended. Not only is sitting bad for your posture, too much sitting is bad for your health. Create a habit of getting to your feet and doing a stretch or walk to the water cooler or take a lap around the room. This will burn a few calories and help you with your posture. The longer you sit, the more hunched or relaxed your posture will be, which is terrible for your joints.
- Take the stairs- In this amazing world of technology and convenience, you've been conveniently robbed of a great daily exercise. As a child, you probably spent a lot of your time running around outside and getting great exercise, but now as an adult you have responsibilities. Make the time to take the stairs and get in those extra steps.
Promote self-care by getting in the right food and exercise. With the right plan, you can achieve greater health and wellness by maintaining a healthy weight.