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How to lose when you can't exersise

McBackMMcBack Posts: 33
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Diet, Nutrition, Weight Loss
Ok, well I suppose I could work out the upper body, but anything below the waist causes flare ups. Walking, leg lifts, crunches, these are all pretty much out of the question. I mean I can do a little but not enough to make a difference.

I am 6'4" and weigh in at 253lbs. My ideal weight for my frame is about 200lbs and up until about 2 years ago when my back started to get worse again that is where i was. I have since put on about 50lbs, mainly around the waist and gut, and as anyone with a bad back knows, that is a recipe for pain being it pulls forward on the spine.

Shortly after my fusion surgery back in 2001 I put on about 35lbs while waiting for the fusion to take place, but once the green light was given for PT I did the Atkins thing and walked a lot and got it all off in about 6 months. Now that the back has taken a turn for the worse again and the pounds have piled even higher I m having a hard time shedding them. I tried Atkins again, but this time its not working like it did the first time and I can't understand why. I lost like 20 lbs in the first two weeks the first time around but this last try....little to nothing and I gave it a good go too :/

What works for others here? I know exercise needs to be incorporated, but seeing as I can't work the lower back and legs I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?


  • Have you tried water exercises or swimming? Since my back flared up in 2/2008 I have done various types of water exercise. At first just walking, then more PT I had learned at a water pt place, then swimming, and at most water aerobics. The water takes the stress off your body and if you can find a warm pool it feels very good on sore joints and muscles. Now I am 7 weeks post fusion and I have been back to the pool for 3 weeks, starting over with my walking and mild PT. I have lost 45 pounds slowly since March. I also of course watch my diet, counting weight watcher points for the most part. I still need to loose 40 pounds to get into the ideal category for my height/age. I am devoted to keeping this weight off as I know it is the best chance for my back to stay healthy. Good luck to you, as I know weight loss is sooo difficult. Sue
  • :) we have a weight loss group here and would love to have you join. :H we all face the problem of difficulty exercising or meds that cause weight gain so come join us. see week 35 in this forum if you like. join anytime. check out the exercise ball. even with pain you can use it to work the core. of course talk to your doc about any diet or exercise plan. Jenny :)
  • I bought a stationary recumbent bicycle and it's great on the back it has a full backseat for support. Best investment I got so far for excercise equipment and my husband likes it too. It doesn't burn a lot of calories in the beginning courses but it's good for toning and cardiac workout. My husband had knee surgery and it helpes him but it was painful at first and also for me if I do more than 30 minutes a day. Of course check with your Doctor first. See you around.
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I live in a rural area and with the price of gas it is difficult to get to a pool/gym, about a 70 mile round trip. Seeing I am on disability as it is and can't make ends meet, making this trip a few times a week is pretty much out of the question.

    I really like the idea of the recumbent bike a lot, but again, most of the roads around me are gravel. Guess I need to move, huh? And I would if this damn economy would improve so I could sell my house, but that's another subject.

    I might look in on the weight loss group. I've been thinking about WW...just don't understand the point system and am horrible at cooking for one person.

    One thing I am adamant about is using stevia instead of sugar, which was the only difference in my last attempt at Atkins, and I am wondering if this held a factor. Does anyone here use or know anything about stevia. I discovered it in NZ a few years back and have been using it ever since.

    TY for the replies
  • I think Charry said her recumbant bike is stationery, so if you had one like that you wouldn't have to worry about the roads, just do it in your house.

    I lost 42 lbs on Weight Watchers years ago and most of that was without exercise. But then, everyone is different. Once you get the point system it's pretty simple. If you don't cook for yourself now then what are you eating? Either fast food or frozen or sandwiches? There are things you can eat on WW that wouldn't keep you in the kitchen long. What if you made a batch of something and froze it in individual portions?

    I look forward to seeing you on our weight loss thread!
  • :) McBack, you can use the Weight Watchers food plan with our group. your bike will provide great exercise. we weigh in once a week and talk throughout the week as well. so quit thinking and come on over! Jenny :)
  • I started to reply earlier and got pulled away...I do cook for myself (like I have a choice). I am just lazy when it comes to the kitchen. Put a hammer in my hand or a computer in need of repair in front of me and I'm raring to go, but cooking never was my forte. Add that I live alone and HATE shopping usually results in a bare fridge and cupboards.

    As I have mentioned earlier, I live in a rural area so in order to have fresh produce I have to travel 40 miles. As such I don't get them often enough. Instead I freeze a lot. When I do have produce I usually grill up a chicken breast and toss it chopped over leaf lettuce, peppers, cukes, etc. I do a lot of crock pot and freezing in the winter months. Not much else to do, but those tend to be high carb, fattening recipes like stews, chili's, lasagna and such.

    And no, I don't do double cheese burgers :& , but I will have the occasional taco from the Bell or maybe a Wendys burger when I get to town...not often though. I love cheese and meat and veggies so the Atkins diet was a no brainer for me. Just don't know why it didn't work the second time (3 years later). And breakfasts gets boring in that regiment real quick. One can only doctor up eggs and bacon so many ways.

    I've considered the Nutra System, as this sure would solve my lack of culinary arts and pantry issues, but I can't imaging that stuff tastes well. And I know, if I don't get serious and stop being lazy I'll never beat it. I've done it before, so I know I can again. The desire is there and the incentive sure is too with my back getting worse again, so it's gotta happen.

    I do have a WW book here called "Weight Loss That Lasts".. Anyone familiar with it? A friend bought it for me a while back, but I have yet to read it. I would have to assume the point system is in it though...maybe not?

    Oh, and the stationary bike...I presently own an 810 sq ft one bed/bath home. I guess I could put one in here somewhere, but it would be right square in the middle of the dining room or living room.

    I'm full of excuses aren't I?...LOL Not trying to make em, just saying it like it is. I have to get in shape so it's gonna happen one way or the other, just trying to figure out which way. Getting back on track with my diet is the first step. Once I am down to smaller portions and the right foods my stomach will shrink again.

    Guidance welcome ;)
  • Hello,

    Why you do not try online fitness websites. they are also suggest you a good exercise according to you body. Try to drink water as much as possible. and take some diet food.
  • You're right about putting the bike in the living room where we have it but you can put a screen in front of it.It's great for when you watch tv and peddle. 10 minutes a day 3 times a day or 30 minutes of excercise is good daily. There's a show called "sit and be fit" early in the morning. Portion control is key and 6 small meals a day or get lots of fruit apples and bananas cut your appetite I heard in chat today. Lots of water is good too. It's sure hard to deal with this disability and lose weight too. See you later. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I have tried Nutri-System and found many of their meals and snacks to be quite tasty. I did get some I didn't care for at first, but I just avoided those in the future. Not a bad diet system.
  • I'm new to this forum and I am very interested in the weight loss group, but I can't find it on the website. Can someone tell me how to find it starting on the home page? Thanks a lot!
  • The diet group is under a different post each week under Diet, Nutrition and Weight Loss. This weeks subject line for the thread is:

    Week 38 I think my scales R stuck.

    We weigh in every Friday and post our results on that week's thread.

    Please join us!
  • Hi,
    None of this is easy and you have had good success in the past and should try again whatever you did the first time worked and over time we become more disconnected in keeping that effort going and pain itself determines some of the motivation in even attempting to continue.

    Big weight loss in short periods is never sustainable and setting a shorter term goal with attainable and realistic goals will repeat that success you had. I use my own windows of opportunity to exercise when and as often as possible and to some extent have changed the patterns of eating and the perhaps the reason for using food and comfort eating.

    I have a list of food that I will not eat and most of the time it is a balance of proteins and carbs and closer monitoring of portion size, I would agree doing it alone is hard and you need encouraging support. Our PM had us doing routines very simple step ups and get that body working. For me weight loss and no exercise will almost be impossible and you would have to be around the 1500 calorie mark, which over time is not healthy. Find and devise a plan that works for you, know you resting heart rate and at what level is needs to be at to maximise effort and keep going. We had prescription health activity all free through the doctors.

    Write a list of what is stopping you and perhaps the positives of weight loss and work with that.

    Good luck and keep posting. John, another 2lbs week!
  • You lose weight when you consume less calories and burn more. So if you are not exercising, It's best to be on low calorie diet. I started getting back problems after a sports injury. What I try to do now that I can't really excersie the way I use to, I need to watch what I eat. While doing research I tried the Bistro MD diet meals. It is a low calorie diet recommended by doctors & it works very well for me. They deliver it to my door and it tastes great. I lost 12lb in 3 months without much excercise, just daily walking.
  • Hello - I hope that you have found some answers for yourself. I began about 30 years ago, when I was at my heaviest, just over 280 or so. I worked in a warehouse and was lifting stuff all day. To me that justified the weight. It did not help the back and I wished that I had lost the wieght years ago.

    Fast-forward to about 10 years ago. I was in the middle of a divorce and I wanted to be healthy, so I could look after my kids. I used a recumbant bike, like others have. I started at 10 minutes per day. Then 10 minutes twice per day. I did not know that I had chronic pain then, but that was limiting me and how much I could work out.

    I kept increasing it by 5 minutes per week, until I was working on it for an hour a day, at least 4 days per week. [Gosh that was hard!]

    I put my bike- in front of the TV and that is how I sat to watch TV. If I was there, I pedalled the bike.

    Over the course of 12 months, I lost about 1 to 2 lbs per week and gradually I dropped weight. I felt great except for the chronic side and with the wieght down, and the exercise up, I could eat anything I wanted and not gain a pound.

    About every 3 months - I would check in with my Dr to see how I was doing. I stayed at 190 or so for several years. A series of flare-ups of the lumbar and I began to lose that momentum. Since then, I have slowly dropped a pound a month or so, and am under 200 again. I just need to make sure I am eating healthy and not over eating on a consistent basis. That hurts trying to lose anything.

    Cheers - David
  • There is also a website EDITED- it's a weight loss website, where they do custom meal plans for you (which are quite helpful when you just don't know what else you could cook up, and you can also vary it by adding some things or take away some ingredients they suggest), you can keep track of your progress and it also focuses a lot on all the vitamins and minerals that you need to be healthy. I like it a lot and I followed it almost religiously a few months ago - lost about 15 pounds in the first couple of weeks, but then moved to Georgia, so I had to put it on a hold since we've been living in a guest house with no kitchen. We're actually moving into our own apartment in about an hour when the boyfriend is done with his meeting, so I'm excited. A bit disappointed because now I have my back problem and can't do much (I love decorating), but eating healthier should be much easier.

    Good luck to you!

    EDITED - Removed Advertising Hyperlink per Spine-Health Rules

    Post edited by Z06
  • Incorporating more raw foods into your diet is a good way to shed pounds. www.giveittomeraw.com is a free forum & community for people interested in a raw food diet. I also have tons of other links & resources if anyone wants to PM me.
  • We all have to get over the reason why not to do it and think of good reasons for wanting to be more active, nothing is more frustrating than trying to reduce our weight in food intake alone and that is the reality for many here as that opportunity to increase our activity levels declines.

    I cannot walk far at all now although have been able to cycle and outside once the rain and wind has stopped.

    We had daily exercise regime at our PM and the reason why some could not do it made everyone smile as they went round the room and gave what they thought were valid reasons for not even trying, eventually with the correct support encouragement and guidance everybody improved the pace and duration they gave to increasing activity levels, I will always be appreciative to seeing those goals as attainable and use that technique on others issues that I may have thought initially were impossible.

  • Although it is more difficult, it is not impossible to lose weight with limited movement. By understanding metabolism and appetite, you can help make the appropriate adjustments.

    1. Keep your metabolism burning. Follow a low-fat, low-calorie diet that focuses on:
    * vegetables
    * fruits
    * whole grains
    * low-fat dairy products
    * lean meats, poultry and fish
    However, our bodies adapt to low calorie intake by reducing our basal metabolic rate, so to help prevent slowing down the internal engines, don't reduce calories below 1,200 a day.
    2. Focus on those foods that have the highest level of satiety -- the ones that make you feel most full after eating. Studies have found that the best way to control your appetite is with a food that is high in bulk and low in calories. For example, eat a large salad and drink a glass of water before your main meal. The most satisfying foods are those high in fiber, particularly fruits. Calorie for calorie, apples and oranges were more filling than bananas. Potatoes topped the list. Other highly filling foods were whole grains and high-protein foods such as fish. The least satisfying foods (for the calories) were bakery products, especially white bread, doughnuts and cakes. Popcorn was the best snack food for satiety. The best way to control and to satisfy your appetite is with foods high in fiber and low in fat.
    3. Visit with a physical therapist to get an evaluation and professional help for safe ways to incorporate some form of movement and exercise into your daily or weekly routine. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find that there are ways your mom can get moving that are adapted to her limitations. For example, it may be that a form of water aerobics would be comfortable. The activity will not only help keep her calorie-burning engines going, it will improve her mental outlook as well. The therapist may also help find some weight-training exercises she can perform that will help increase her muscle tone -- also a great way to help burn calories and lose weight.

  • :P Hi everyone. There are so many posts about this issue. I just read the very last post. In other words, I didn't read all the other ones. LOL :B L) I suffer from back pain. My fusion of the lower back is scheduled for this coming June 9th. I have had weight issues since I developed the back problems. I am in so much pain some days. If I get out of bed, I am lucky some days. Anway, I used to go to Weight Watchers. I followed the point system. Without exercise and just following the program, I was able to lose 35lbs. So Weight watchers works. The sad thing is I had some bad experiences from a vacation one summer and when i returned, I started eating because I was upset. I wish I could go back on Weight watchers. I am also hoping that when i have my fusion that I am able to at least(after I heal) able to get in the pool. I love to swim. I love bike riding also. I have been told that rollerskating probably won't be in my vocabulary after I heal from surgery. :))( LOL I will take the pool though. Anyway, if you can spen the money each month to jpin Weight watchers it really is worth it. I hope everyone has at least one good non pain day this weekend and Happy Mom's Day to all that are moms. >:D< :*
  • As you said you can work out your upper body, doing that would be a way to burn calories. Another thing you can do is to use a proper diet. Make sure your diet has less calories and high in proteins. This will help you lose weight. If you can't prepare diet food at home, then I suggest you can use a diet delivery service like Bistro MD. I've been using it some sometime now and the results are pretty good.
  • As per my experiences if you do exercise then you get best result for weight loss, Follow a low-fat, low-calorie diet that focuses on:
    1 vegetables
    2 fruits
    3 whole grains
    4 low-fat dairy products
    5 lean meats, poultry and fish.
  • Hi,

    My vote for

    Swimming : its good activity to slim your body.
    Drink Water and avoid fast food : the second vote for water, i think we need to drink mim 3-4Lt water in a day. and yes avoid to take fast food.

    and you can browse more daily health tips by therapists at

    URL Removed. Solicitation or advertising of other companies, products, services, or web sites is not permitted. Moderator haglandc
  • Weight watchers works great for me. I bough the kit from their site and it will teach you everything you need to know. I haven't done anything but the diet other than a bit of walking at first but it was just too painful to push through walking more than 10 minutes. So it really does work for me. I've done it a few times but I always give up and put the wait back on mostly because I'm a soda junkie. I'm going to start again soon and hopefully find the motivation to keep it up. I need to lose nearly 80 lbs to get in the middle of my healthy weight range. I'd like to be 130 and I'm at 215 right now. I get discouraged because I can't tone up while I'm losing and I don't want it to turn into flab because I don't want to lose the weight and then still hate how I look. I know it will begetter for my back and I should put looks to the side but I can't really move past the looks part. But anyways if you want we can diet together and talk to each other about our goals and things like that. I did find that I had more motivation when I was keeping a diet journal I would write my goals and fears like I just shared with you in. But in a month I went from 223 to 207 and then put a bit on u till 215. I hope to not gain anymore but I have to get off the soda again.

    I know that wasn't really what you asked but I wanted to share in case you were thinking about WW. Also the kit comes with a book of recipes that you could just use for dinner or lunch several days instead of trying to cook each meal. I've actually found some that are really good and don't feel like diet food at all. I would eat them even if I wasn't on a diet. But once again I'm off topic, sorry. I hope you find the right diet plan for you and that you can get that weight off without hurting yourself more by trying to work out too much/ hard. It's a hard thing to do losing weight without working out but you can do it and we are all here to help and support you through the journey.

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    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc
  • Sometimes you need to lose weight, but you have a big problem. You can not really use too much. This means that losing weight, even if it can be a bit more difficult because you do not burn as many calories. E possible to lose weight that way, but you really need to focus on your diet.

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    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc
  • Can you try to do high reps for longer periods? you will lose some mass as you body adapts to a new stressor and begin to lose bulk to gain stamina/ smaller more efficient musculature.

    the recumbant bike is a great idea, Ime saving for a total gym type of dealy to preserve my lower back too. good luck and keep the chin up!

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    Please note that Spine-Health reserves the right to edit any messages posted or submitted or e-mailed to the Company and use them for content on the website or in other company materials. No e-mail solicitation or advertising of other companies, products, services, or web sites is permitted in the Spine-Health.com forums.

    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc

  • I think it may be possible with carbohydrates foods like beans,lentils,vegetables and whole grains are actually what we term as foods that burn fat.They are also known as low carb foods.This is because they convert to glucose more slowly and this allows the body to process the glucose more efficiently.In other words,your body metabolism have to work harder to get the energy it needs and this helps you to burn more calories than you consume.Because there is a deficit of energy that the can derive from the carbohydrates ,it will start to turn to the stored fats in your body to make up for the short fall in energy.It is through this manner that some foods can help to burn fat.
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