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Healthy Living for Better Rehab and Recovery

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Jessica Kishpaugh is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist in Wyckoff, NJ, and owner of LoYo Wellness, LLC (
Jessica Kishpaugh is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist

I was sitting in physical therapy recently for the umpteenth time giving my PT every excuse in the book as to why I couldn’t go back to exercising.   I was in PT because I was diagnosed with a spinal issue that was causing considerable pain to my lower back, as well as a diastis recti abdominus (aka splitting of the abs) after I had my son 10 months back. We had been working to reduce the pain and strengthen more core for months and it was time for me to back to working out.

He politely, but in a kick-in-my-ass sort of way, reminded me, “Jessica, you’re a COACH. You work with people all of the time on lifestyle issues and releasing their fears.  Get out of your damn head!” Touche, doctor. Touché.

I was letting fear of pain, fear of failing, fear of not being in the same shape as I was a few years back, fear of whatever I was fearing, get in my way of just starting.

So I started.  Because I knew that exercise - both cardio and strength - is what my body needed to both alleviate my back pain and also give me peace and mind in life again.  It would give me the ability to feel healthier, less stressed and more motivated to succeed in all areas of my life, not just recovery.

I started going to spin classes and walking outside. I started doing arm and back strengthening exercises. I added back in my core exercises to strengthen my transverse abdominus (to help reduce the diastis recti).  And I was feeling awesome. Some days were a bit harder, and some days I felt really sore. But SORE was way better than PAIN, so I knew I was getting somewhere.

And of course, mindset is only one piece of the puzzle.  The other was focusing on nutrition. When our bodies are flooded with a variety of nutrients, we can live in optimal physical and mental health as well as peak performance and recovery.

When we are injured or facing a recovery battle, our body’s focus is on fighting inflammation and fueling repair.  Optimal nutrition can play a key role in controlling inflammation, providing key nutrients for rebuilding or repairing injured tissues or muscles, minimizing muscle atrophy and supporting strength preservation.

Eating clean can help heal your injury and speed your recovery.  So here are some healthy eating tips to maximize your recovery: Focus on eating anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats such as chia and flax seed.  Increase your omega-3-rich foods like salmon, sardines, and anchovies; avocados; and nuts and nut butters. Eliminate or reduce pro-inflammatory foods like refined sugars (candy, doughnuts, white bread) saturated oils (margarine, shortening), processed meats (hot dogs, lunch meats, sausage), and foods high in saturated and trans fats (fried foods, greasy foods, chips).  Keep essential nutrient (vitamins and mineral) intake high. Boost your lean, clean protein intake.

Focus on quality of calories, not the number of calories.  In fact, stop restricting your food intake, even though you may be concerned you’re living a bit more sedentary lifestyle as you recover. You need food to be used as fuel and to keep your metabolism up and running.  Focus on feeding your body high quality nutrients and optimal foods like fiber, protein, healthy fats and fruits and veggies. And your body will be sure to thank you with a speedy recovery, stronger muscles, and an overall healthier and happier outlook on life.

Jessica Kishpaugh is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist in Wyckoff, NJ, and owner of LoYo Wellness, LLC ( 

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