How to Lose Weight if You're Disabled & Can't Exercise

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Many health experts agree that proper diet and exercise are the two keys to losing weight and keeping it off. For disabled persons, being sedentary and unable to exercise is sometimes a fact of life, which can make losing weight a real challenge. With guidance, patience and plenty of willpower, it is possible for the disabled to manage their weight through diet alone.


  1. Calculate your resting metabolic rate ( to get an estimate of the number of calories your body needs each day at rest. Reduce your daily caloric intake to as near to this number as possible.

  2. Start keeping a food journal. Record everything you eat, right after meals, so you don't forget.

  3. Overhaul your diet. Eliminate excess calories by avoiding products with sugar and refined flour. Incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet. Aim to take in less calories than you burn.

  4. Don't restrict yourself from the foods your enjoy, just eat them in moderation. Avoid mindless snacking in front of the TV, and eating out of a box or bag. Dole out single servings into cups or baggies in advance if you think this will help you eat less.

  5. Stay mentally healthy; keep connected with friends and family, and talk to a counselor if needed. Listen to music, meditate or write a letter if you feel prone to emotional eating. Keep yourself mentally healthy to avoid emotional eating and overeating.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't rule out all exercise just because you can't run or walk. There are many simple exercises that can be done in a wheelchair with light weights or large rubber bands as discussed at Also, look for exercise videos or DVDs especially made for those with disabilities. There is a movement program called Healthy-Steps that is specifically geared to those with chronic illness or disease, and the exercises can be done seated. There may be local classes, or DVDs can be purchased for use at home.



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