"If you lost a little weight, your joints would probably feel better."

  • Has anybody ever said that to you?  Or statement something similar, starting with:

    • if you only lost weight...
    • if you changed your diet...
    • if you exercised more...

    I haven’t had friends or family say these things to me, but I have had doctors say something similar.  My gynecologist once said that I was killing myself by being so much overweight.  But it was my rheumatologist who specifically suggested that I eat more fruits and vegetables, more fish and less red meat.


    Somehow hearing these words from a doctor is different than from your friends or family.  Unless the person making the suggestion has actually lived with obesity and successfully made these changes, the words will likely fall on deaf ears.

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    I don’t claim to be any expert at all when it comes to weight loss, exercise, or motivation.  But I am proud to say that I have successfully lost more than 50 pounds from my highest weight of 283 pounds.  I have kept those 50 pounds off for six months (since September 2010).


    50 pounds lost!!  That is amazing to me.  However, I have to admit that the past six months have not been smooth-going.  During that time period, I was receiving monthly steroids infusions which certainly made losing weight very difficult.  My weight has fluctuated within a 7 pound range with the highest peaks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.


    But I have no excuse for why the weight is not continuing to drop now.  I haven’t been keeping a food journal like I was last year at this time.  I am still weighing myself weekly (which is very important to me) and keeping a chart of the results (see below).  What I haven’t done (until today) is recheck my caloric needs.


    Do you remember our discussion of Resting Metabolic Rate and Basal Metabolic Rate?  The Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is a measure of the number of calories your body needs just to stay alive.  If you were to curl up on the couch all day with a good book, essentially “at rest”, your organs and other body cells would be burning calories.


    The last time I calculated my RMR, it was 1868 calories.  That’s what my body burned while I do nothing but rest all day.  Today I calculated my RMR using my current weight with a result of 1704 calories.  My body doesn’t NEED as much to keep going.


    What does this mean?  I need to start tracking my caloric intake and energy expenditure again.  I need to get my LoseIt! application back to work on my iPhone.  (I’m really saying this out loud for myself.  I need a nudge in the right direction.)  I need to recommit myself to this journey.  (I also need new pajamas which actually fit and don’t fall around my hips, LOL.)


    I need to tell myself:

    • if you only lost weight, Lisa, ...
    • if you changed your diet, Lisa, ...
    • if you only exercised, Lisa, ...


    I need to be that friend who really cares about me.  Perhaps our friends and family members who make these suggestions really do want to help us live better lives.  Of course, losing weight isn’t going to make the rheumatoid arthritis go away.  It isn’t going to make the multiple sclerosis go into remission.  But it will make living life easier.


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    So rather than include these statements (suggestions) in a list of “what not to say to....” a patient, we should stop and think about what the suggestions really mean.  They mean that people are trying to help; they care about our well-being; or maybe they’ve been there themselves and really know what the statements mean.


    Let me share that after losing 50 pounds, I can say that having done these things I feel better.  My diseases seem to be doing better.  But more importantly, my body is under much less stress and strain.


    During a simple activity such as walking, each pound of body weight creates 3-5 pounds of stress on the knees.  Losing 50 pounds has decreased stress on my hips and knees by approximately 200 pounds of pressure with each step.  That’s an impressive figure.


    So for my own benefit, it is time to get back on track.  It’s time to continue my journey.  It’s time to keep an eye on that goal of having lost 30% of my total body weight.  I’ve only got 32 pounds to go.  More than half way there, woo hoo!!

    February 27, 2011
    232.4 lbs


    March 6, 2011
    233.0 lbs


    March 13, 2011
    229.7 lbs


    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Published On: March 15, 2011