One of the downsides with being a caregiver is the possibility of weight gain. In fact, caring for an older patient is potentially stressful, and stress is one of the reasons attributed to weight gain. However, this doesn’t mean weight gain is imminent when working as a caregiver. So, how can you fight against weight gain?
First, it’s imperative that you make good food choices. Stop yourself from eating out, snacking on store-bought food, and eating just because you feel stressed. You have to remember, as humans, we need to eat for fuel, and that’s the only reason you should eat. So, limit yourself to three meals a day, and make those meals well-balanced. Plus, use the people in your life for support. You don’t have to do this alone, and having extra support will help you stay on track and prevent you from gaining any unwanted weight.
Second, try working on your self-image. In fact, a lot of care professionals who look after seniors get depression, which leads to a poor self-image, which then leads to over eating. The goal is to feel better about your body because if you have low self-esteem you’ll have feelings of guilt and guilt makes slip ups more imminent. So, try going to support groups, either weight loss groups or care professional groups will suffice. Also, as before mentioned, use your friends and family members to increase your self-esteem. Once you learn to like yourself, staying healthy will get easier.
Third, make sure you get plenty of exercise. This step is common sense, but still a lot of care professionals forget about it. A lot of health care workers argue their days are full because of their older patient, but there is always time for your own health. Buy a treadmill and exercise either in the morning or at night for at least one hour. Or, you can always just get out of the house and go for a walk every now and again. Every bit helps when you’re trying to keep your weight under control.
Finally, simply find hobbies you enjoy. In fact, simply doing things that bring you joy will significantly lower your chances for weight gain. This is because when you’re not so focused on the negatives you’re able to handle the strain that comes with this kind of job. Exercise is of course a great hobby, try bringing a weight with you to lift in your down time, while watching your patient. Also, try using crossword puzzles to reduce your need for snacking. Your new hobby will replace your constant snacking, and you’ll feel a lot better about yourself and a lot less guilty.
Being a caregiver for an elderly patient, whether they are family or not, is a hard job to have. But, it’s a job that brings with it just as much pride, as it does strain. All you have to do is learn how to deal with the strain in a constructive way.