Weight Gain and Caregiving: 6 Tips for Avoiding the Caregiver “20”

Person on scaleThe caregiver “20” can be an unfortunate reality. The stress and emotional strain of caring for someone else can lead to emotional eating. It can cause the caregiver to pack on a few extra pounds. Lack of time is another big problem for caregivers. Healthy living usually requires additional time to spend preparing meals and exercising. Unfortunately, extra time is something caregivers don’t have much of in their daily lives.

There are, however, steps you can take to help to maintain a healthy living balance while caregiving in the new year.

Caring for the Caregiver

Here are a few ways to help prevent weight gain while you are caring for a senior loved one:

  1. Plan meals ahead of time. Maybe take a few hours every other weekend to cook and freeze healthy meals. That will make it easier and quicker to thaw and heat up healthier entrees at meal time.

  2. Take advantage of salad bars, bagged lettuce and pre-cut fresh vegetables at the grocery store. The time it saves will be worth the extra expense.

  3. Try to get fifteen minutes of exercise in the first half of the day and another fifteen minutes later in the day. It will have the same benefits as 30 combined minutes of exercise, but may be easier to work into your busy caregiving schedule.

  4. Sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain and obesity. Experts believe it is because when we are fatigued, we make poor food choices. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night may help you better manage your weight.

  5. Because weight gain for caregivers is sometimes linked with emotional eating, journaling may help. Getting your thoughts, fears and frustrations down on paper might help prevent you from overeating.

  6. Explore healthy take-out options near you. Many restaurants offer diet-friendly menus in conjunction with programs such as Weight Watchers. Get to know those resources so you can utilize them when you are too busy or too tired to cook.

Finally, be kind to yourself. Having positive self-talks and giving yourself a break is important to your overall well-being.

Have further questions about how you can prevent weight gain while caring for a senior loved one? Please comment below or contact us for more information!