How to Lose Weight with Limited Mobility

Weight loss has changed a lot over the decades. Remember when doctors warned you that you couldn’t lose more than 2 pounds a week; otherwise, you would risk dying? Of course, this wasn’t true… but everyone certainly believed it!

The reality was that fake liquid diets – low in potassium, made of a combination of chemicals – and incomplete lists of synthetic vitamins and minerals were what killed people who were losing weight on them. Unfortunately, these were medically supervised programs.

Exercise – Or Else You Won’t Lose!

Back then, you also had to exercise, or else your weight loss program was pretty unsound. However, people are now finding that exercise doesn’t ever guarantee weight loss. It only guarantees that your muscles will most likely be more toned.

Exercise certainly is good – the added circulation not only brings revitalization to every organ, but also helps you sleep better at night, look better in clothes, and feel more confident. What I’ve found over the last five years, after years of of working with patients for weight loss, is that they don’t need to focus on the exercise to make the weight loss work.

It’s Changing Your Metabolism By What You Eat That Works Well

With this in mind, you have to know what diets will work to reset your health and your weight. There are four diets that work very consistently to take the weight off, whether you work out or not:

  1. The HCG Diet: a low calorie diet along with very small amounts of the pregnancy hormone
  2. A low calorie diet that is high protein, low fat, and low carbohydrates
  3. The Paleo Diet: no gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar or GMO foods
  4. The Ketogenic Diet: very high fat, high protein, very few carbohydrates

All these diets except the Paleo diet will help you lose up to a pound a day in most cases, at least for the first 30 days. Weight loss usually slows down after that. With the Paleo Diet, you can expect about a 10-pound weight loss if you are currently eating a lot of the foods that are forbidden. You’ll feel a lot better almost immediately – without any feelings of starvation. With the other three diets, you may feel as if your meals are limited.

But I Want To Exercise – and Want Low Impact Exercises

Let’s say you choose one of these diets and still want to do a low impact program. What will you do?

My answer is to focus on exercises that build strength and muscle mass. As you age, you need strength and muscle mass to prevent injury, keep hormonal levels and moods high, and look and feel your best. It’s also essential to prevent osteoporosis, one of the worst disorders you could end up with in your later years. With osteoporosis, everyday activities become very difficult, and chances of injury are greatly increased, so it’s absolutely necessary to take preventative measures.

The term “low impact” exercise doesn’t usually refer to body building exercises, most likely because so many people who use weights for resistance training work out for hours on end. This is absolutely not necessary. Even if you are in a wheelchair, you can do resistance training and build your muscles up. The program I use with my patients of all ages is the Body for Life Program. With this program, a gym is best, but it can be done at home, too. (Obviously, if you’re in a wheelchair, you’ll need to make modifications.)

The reason why I use it is because no one ever hurts himself or herself on this program as long as they follow the guidelines, which are simple: work out three times a week with weights for only 43-47 minutes. You only work out the upper body on Monday, the lower body on Wednesday, and then start the cycle over with the upper body on Friday. Then, you do six sets of repetitions with varying weights, only 43-45 minutes with a one-minute rest in between each set. You can’t harm your body when you’re only working the muscles of the upper body 1-2 times that week!

Here’s exactly how it works:

  • Set 1: 12 repetitions at a very low weight, as if all the effort you did was similar to going for a walk.
  • Set 2: 10 repetitions at a little higher weight, maybe 5, that steps up the effort a little but not much.
  • Set 3: 8 reps at a higher weight, about 5 to 10 pounds, that could definitely make you think you were doing some work to build your muscle
  • Set 4: 6 reps with a higher weight, but never your maximum (only 75% of your max)
  • Set 5: 12 reps at either the same level of set 2 or set 3
  • Set 6: 12 reps at either the same level of set 2 or set 3

The six sets are done on six to seven machines at the gym. That’s it. This is the easiest program after you do the first two workouts for the upper body and lower body. All of my patients always say they don’t even feel muscle soreness with it; thus, it is truly a low impact workout.

If you’re in a wheelchair, you could still do upper body workouts at the gym. If you have limited upper body movements, you could focus on the lower body workouts. There are also bands used for exercises that personal trainers use now; however, the strength gains and muscle gains are nowhere near as great as what you’ll get from resistance exercises (weights).

Ultimately, if you want to lose weight, change your diet and then after a few weeks on the diet, add the Body for Life Program by Bill Phillips. It has already proven itself as effective for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

About Dr. Donna Schwontkowski:
Our nutrition expert, Peta Cohen, M.S., R.D., has been a clinical nutritionist and metabolic specialist since 1996. Peta specializes in examining the root causes of complex and chronic health issues, and helping clients prevent the diseases caused by lifestyle choices, environmental influences, epigenetics, and aging. With her extensive clinical and research experience, she's been invited to share her knowledge at seminars and conferences worldwide. In Peta's articles for the BoomSpot, the blog of the online store, she gives practical tips on how adults 50+ can improve their health right now. Learn more about Peta at
DISCLAIMER: The content of and BoomSpot is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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