Proper nutrition is necessary for proper health. This often becomes even more important to those of us with chronic health issues. It becomes even more problematic for those of us with a permanent disability which forces us to live on a fixed, and often small, income.
I am neither a nutritionist nor a registered dietician. What I am is a person who have experienced the information contained in this post firsthand. While on the surface it may not seem to be logical, I assure you that it is in fact based on medical science, and I have discussed this with many health professionals over the years from nutritionists to registered dietitians, to physicians and physical/occupational therapists.
I’ve spent more time than I care to think about as a patient in hospitals than I care to think about in recent years. During and after these hospitalizations I have noticed a trend. One that I found kind of troubling during a recent forty plus day hospitalization after multiple neurosurgical procedures.
This most recent inpatient stay consisted of five days in the hospital and the majority of the remainder in a local physical rehabilitation hospital. I lost over twenty-five pounds during this entire inpatient experience, despite the fact that I often ate close to three times my normal intake. This didn’t include snacks, calories from beverages, and the like, which was also way above my normal intake. However, when I finally went home, I rapidly put on the twenty-five pounds I was so proud of losing.
I discussed this with a number of professionals, as I was flabbergasted as to how this could happen. It wasn’t drug related, for I’ve had weight changes in the past after treatment with high dose steroids, and am all too familiar with the drawbacks involved with steroids. As it was explained to me, the cause was simple. I ate more frequent and more regular meals while an inpatient. When I returned home, I went back to my old habits of eating only once a day on average.
It was explained to me that, similar to what is taught to a diabetic, smaller more frequent meals are better for the body. I am told it has to do with regulating blood sugar levels and the spikes of blood sugar. It was also explained to me that when you only eat one significant meal that in between your body goes into a type of starvation mode. This causes your body to store more of the energy for later use, which can turn to fat. By eating regular balanced meals you can avoid these spikes and plateaus which allow your body to more efficiently manage the items you ingest.
While I’ve both been taught this, and learned it from previous experiences, I had never encountered such a drastic example of how this happens. I had lost similar amounts of weight in previous hospitalizations but had always attributed it to how ill I had been. Conversely, I had gained some of the lost weight back after returning home. However, this was the first time I could definitely say it was not due to how ill or bedridden I had been. This had prompted me to do the research and share this story with others who may have experienced it.
Have you experienced a drastic weight change during or after a hospitalization? Please share with us in the comments below! Are you a medical professional who can explain it better than I have? By all means, feel free to do so!