Losing Weight with RA

  • Feeling proud of myself.


    Today, I am visiting relatives in Oklahoma.  I don’t get to come out here very often from Washington, DC and I haven’t been here during the holidays in years.  But this year I really wanted to see my family and watch my nephews’ excitement as they tore into beautifully wrapped gifts from under the Christmas tree.  I was not disappointed at all.


    Another thing I’m not disappointed in is myself.  One year ago, I was not able to get around as well as I do now.  I was having difficulties.  Some of that had to do with the state of my RA and MS and some of that was due to my weight.  Looking back at videos and photos from December 2009, I don’t like what I see.  My body was bound up in a coat of fat, much too binding and suffocating.

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    What did I do about it?  First I purchased a bathroom scale which is accurate down to the 10th of a pound.  Then I chose a day to document my weight.  The first Sunday in January.  It was a good way to begin the year....it was also a gift to myself.


    During the year, I have posted about my weight loss and have kept track of the weekly progress.  Not many people would be willing to open themselves up to the same extent, I imagine, by posting such personal information.  But what I received is positive feedback, very supportive and rather encouraging.


    That’s one thing which we do for each other - provide encouragement and support.


    Here on MyRACentral, we have a community which supplies answers to one another’s questions, offering advice and information....all at your fingertips.  Thank you for helping to make that possible.


    Another thing which I am proud of is that I made the decision to ask my rheumatologist and neurologist about changing medications last year.  Honestly, my RA didn’t seem “bad enough” to warrant a powerful drug but that thought was quickly put away once I experienced what increased improvement REALLY felt like.  Wow, what a difference Rituxan has made and now I know what remission feels like!


    Last fall when I was to begin using Rituxan, a powerful monoclonal antibody therapy targeted at CD20+ b-cells (it is also used for non-Hodgkins lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia), I stopped using a drug specific to multiple sclerosis, Copaxone.  At that time, I didn’t realize weight gain could be a side-effect of Copaxone.  Perhaps stopping this medication helped to jump start my weight loss journey, but changing eating habits certainly had something to do with it.


    As we approach the final days of 2010, it is time to think ahead about the future.  Some folks make annual resolutions, yet others may resolve to avoid resolutions.  I fall under the latter category.  I don’t “DO” resolutions, but I am thinking about the year to come.


    Having lost over 40 pounds during the year, I certainly aim to keep it off.  Since my weight loss slowed down at the same time I started receiving monthly high-dose steroid infusions, I hope to lose more as I won’t be doing steroids again until a relapse occurs.  The steroids have been helping my RA in addition to keeping the MS under control.  But I can’t keep taking them forever.


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    Although I had wanted to lose another 10 pounds this fall, I remain proud of my stick-to-it-ness.  I’m sure that I’ve gained weight during this trip back home.  We’ve been eating some really great-tasting comfort foods.  But I’m not going to let that take away from the sense of accomplishment I feel.


    Before wrapping up my last post of this year, I’d like to ask you to answer one question:


    What have you accomplished this year for which you are proud?  Please share with the community and add any goals you may have for the new year. 


    As for myself, I plan to get back to keeping a food journal and will continue weighing in each Sunday morning.  Until next year, please have a safe and festive New Year’s holiday.  See you soon.


    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: December 27, 2010