Best Weight Loss Tips for Physical Therapists | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

Best Weight Loss Tips for Physical Therapists

Best Weight Loss Tips for Physical Therapists -

The holidays are here and our clients are busy hanging decorations and eating lots of holiday food. Most of this holiday food is loaded with extra calories from added sugars, fat, and processed junk. After climbing their ladders, lifting the boxes, and the stress of traveling and seeing family, they come crawling into our clinics or gyms with extra weight and a sore back.

What can we do as Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPTs)? Aside from our traditional physical therapy treatments like manual therapy and exercise, we should be using patient education for weight loss. Here are some of our top tips for PTs and weight loss.

Journal Your Foods

Holidays bring big emotions and lots of junk food. Many of this junk food is eaten without our clients' being aware they are eating hundreds, if not thousands, of extra calories. These calories add up quickly promoting weight gain, reducing glycemic control, and stimulating inflammation.

To improve your PT outcomes and shed some pounds, data show that simply journaling what and how much of something you eat can help clients lose weight. We ask our clients to be aware of their posture, positioning, and stress -- why should diet be any different? It's a low-tech but effective tool to help raise patient awareness of their food intake.

Skip the Dessert

Eggnog, Christmas cookies, and candy canes all welcome us to a wonderful holiday feeling. The downside of these processed foods is that they are very nutrient poor and calorie rich.  As such our clients may be adding fat mass and deficient in essential nutrients that help protect their immune system. Enjoying those nightly desserts can add up!

One easy hack is to ask your patients to skip the cookies and cake and go for whole or frozen fruit. Fruit offers fructose, a natural plant sugar, which will help your clients meet their "sweet tooth". Moreover, fruit is often rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, all which help boost the immune system and keep our clients healthy. Data show that consuming fruits daily can reduce upper respiratory infections by almost 50% -- a sweet way to stay healthy!

Focus on Plants

Study after study has shown that a whole-food plant based diet is rich in nutrients and lower in calories compared to a Western Diet. The holiday ham, turkey, and beef all add substantial calories from fat and protein, which can really add-up. Ounce per ounce, most plant foods are less calorie dense than most industrial meat. Industrial meat has been bred to be fattier, the animals don't get nearly the exercise they should, and their feed is designed to make them fat (for a profit). As such, industrial meat is a great way to gain weight quickly.

An easy solution for PTs is to educate your clients about a plant-forward diet. Some clients will be turned off on the notion of being a vegan; as such, emphasizing that trimming down on meat servings, reducing meat frequency during the day and week, and loading their plates with fresh vegetables and fruits is the best plan to keep the calories down. If cutting down on serving sizes, educate clients that a deck of cards is about the "normal" meat serving.  Alternatively, you can challenge your client to reduce meat to only 1 meal per day, or simply skipping meals on entire days (e.g. Meatless Monday). In the end, reducing meat consumption reduces calories, which will help your patients shed the holiday weight gain!

 Get Certified in Nutritional Physical Therapy!

If you like what you see here then know there is more in our 3 board-approved continuing education courses on Nutrition specific for Physical Therapists. Enroll today in our new bundled course offering and save 20%, a value of $60!


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Learn about the Top 5 Functional Foods to Fight Inflammation and Pain in Physical Therapy. 


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Keywords: nutrition, diet, continuing education, weight loss, online, fat mass, wellness, PT, physical therapy, learning, physio, dieting, rehab

Disclaimer: The above article is written as opinion piece and does not convey specific legal, medical, and/or practice act advice. 

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