How Losing Weight Can Improve Your Quality of Life
During the month of March on many of the sites here at HealthCentral, we are talking about “death and dying.” This might not be our favorite topic but one which is vitally important. For MyRACentral, I wrote about Engage with Grace and the One Slide Project which encourages people to have a serious discussion with loved ones regarding their personal End-of-Life wishes. It is important to be able to make some of your own choices when life, or death, is trying to take away options.
We make choices each and every day. What to wear, what to eat, when to sleep, what to read, who to talk to, how much to be active, and whether to share any of it online. I choose to talk about many aspects of my life. Well, maybe not what I wear so much, but certain personal details of living with chronic illness and being obese, neither of which are a barrel of laughs.
I don’t think about dying so much as it relates to my health, but I do think about quality of life. Often when one lives with multiple sclerosis (MS), the focus turns to quality of life and the maintaining of abilities. I’ll admit that I hadn’t been putting much focus into either of these things in my own life while I had been experiencing long MS exacerbations in recent years.
But putting some focus on weight-related issues has surprised me somewhat. My thoughts turn to “life and living.” More specifically quality of life.
If I want to have an improved quality of life, I must address what I put into my body and how I use this body. Since MS limits the way your body can function in many ways, it is imperative that we maximize our abilities. There are even ways to relearn (or re-teach our bodies) how to do certain tasks, such as using a hand or walking with confidence. I’ve undergone physical therapy to do both of these things in recent years.
I also realize that in order to continue to move my body, I need to have less of it to move. I must lose weight. Otherwise the fat, inflammation, and cholesterol (to be discussed next week) will insure that I can no longer do so without risk.
Keeping track of what I eat, what I weigh, and how I feel is helping me to focus on more important things....like living. I’ll never run marathons or shout from the rooftops that weight loss and exercise have “saved” my life. But maybe they might just do that. Remember that my gynecologist once said that I was slowly killing myself by being overweight ? I didn’t truly believe her and she certainly didn’t inspire me to do anything about it at the time.
Certainly though, making these changes are helping to preserving my quality of life. And that is what is vitally important on this journey we call living. So far I’ve noticed that I feel better when I eat good foods. When I eat greasy foods, my stomach feels queasy. If I eat baked goodies, my fingers swell and it aggravates my RA. If I skip breakfast, I feel ravenous later in the day and it’s hard to get satiated. And if I eat at my favorite Indian restaurant, I feel just fine but do tend to weigh more the next day (like today).
Somebody recently reminded me: it’s not about the numbers, it’s about how you feel. And I feel good. Perhaps not magically stronger in the legs or more able to clean my house in a single day. But feeling better about myself. Now that the weather has improved and the sunshine is calling for company, I plan to get outside more often. Talk a walk down the street, sit on the deck and listen to the birds, soak up some vitamin D from the sun. Come out of hibernation and join the world. Enjoy life.
What does facing weight loss issues and exercise make you focus on? Has it made any difference in your day-to-day life? How does your body feel? How does your mind feel?
March 7, 2010
Weight: 261.9 lbs