Thank you, Rich, for recommending the Arthritis Foundation. I teach the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, and It's amazing what good it does me (that's why I teach it!).
I had a 60-year-old man attend my class. He had severe osteoporosis and walked bent over with the typical osteoporosis shuffle walk. He faithfully attended my class (not the aquatics, the 'land-based', we sit in chairs and stand for part of the exercises) for three months. At the end of three months, he was standing up straight and walking normally. He and I and my supervisor were all amazed at his rapid progress.
Now, this is atypical progress in my experience. It usually takes people 3-6 months to see major progress. But this class works. I took the class for three years before I became a class leader. My fibromyalgia pain dropped from pain level 7 daily down to a 1 and 0 within a year. Just by doing these simple exercises? I was amazed!
Again, thank you for recommending the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Programs. If members of this discussion group do not live in an area where a class is offered, they can purchase a DVD or video cassette to use for exercising.
Good luck, Mike. I'm living proof that this program works. I have osteoarthritis throughout my entire body. My rheumatologist is amazed at how well I function. I leave him brochures about the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Programs and tell him that most of his patients won't believe that gentle exercises will reduce their pain. But it does.
In January 2003 I weighed 225 pounds - at 5' 1 1/2" tall! I hadn't realized I had gained that much weight. I've always had a weight problem; it runs in my family.
The first step I took was to keep a food diary for a week. Lo and behold, I was eating 3 pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream a week! Who knew?!
The second step I took was for the first week to cut out only 1 pint of the Ben & Jerry's and add one fruit or one vegetable.
I lost one pound in the next month. I wasn't an exerciser; never had been.
The second month I added a 5-minute walk each day and a second fruit or second vegetable each day. And lost two pounds that month.
The third month I cut down on the number of cookies I was eating. I love to bake and I'm very good at it, and I ate everything I baked (I was single and lived alone). I didn't cut out completely eating cookies. I just cut in half the number of cookies I baked and ate. I also increased my walking to 10 minutes each day. Whoo Hoo! Lost five pounds that month! Total weight loss at end of 3 months: 8 pounds.
The fourth, fifth & sixth months, I continued the pattern. I increased the exercise very gradually and very gradually substituted healthier foods for the unhealthy foods. I always allowed myself my comfort foods — mashed potatoes and gravy, fried chicken, cookies, ice cream — but in half the quantity I had previously eaten them and made sure I concentrated on the pleasure of eating that particular food.
Six month weight loss: 20 pounds. I was really surprised!
January 2004: twelve month total weight loss following the same pattern: 50 pounds!
I've struggled since then, with my lowest weight of 160 pounds, and I'm now at 170 pounds. Yes, I know what I have to do, and I will do it. My husband is also obese, and we just bought a treadmill. I've been on it once a day for a week for only 5 minutes and I've controlled my food portion size, and I lost two pounds this week!
You have to figure out what works for you. What works for one person doesn't work for another. It's your body, your genetic makeup, and a host of other factors, including any health conditions you have and medications and/or supplements you're taking.
Be prepared for the plateaus that occur every so often. Our bodies sometimes think we're starving ourselves when we've cut down on the number of calories we're taking in and our metabolism slows down to compensate (at least that's my theory; I don't have any scientific evidence to back that up; I just know it happens to me).
I made an Excel spreadsheet to chart my weight loss, and it's all over the place. It helps me to have a chart to look at, to see where I've been, where I am now, and where I want to be.
Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress or lack of progress. We're here to support each other and to give encouragement when it's needed and kudos when they're deserved.View Thread
I saw my primary care physician last week, and I have lost 8 pounds since my visit six months earlier. My weight had shot up to 178 eight months ago due to stress.
My plan and goals are the same as in the past:
1. Slowly eliminate the sweets, replace them with fruit and vegetables, a little at a time.
2. I'm keeping an activity, pain, and food log. I have OCD, and even when I know I'm overdoing physically, I sometimes just keep going. I know that when my fibro and osteoarthritis pain levels go up, I eat more comfort foods. Comfort foods are high fat and high sugar foods — mashed potatoes and gravy, cookies, potato chips with sour cream, etc.
3. A trick my husband and I use is to keep those high fat and sugar snacks hidden; either in the back of a hard-to-reach cupboard or down in the basement. It we have to hunt for them, it's easier to reach for a piece of fruit that's in a bowl on the counter. We keep carrot and celery sticks in bags in the refrigerator for the crunchy munchies. If we want a creamy dip to go with the veggies, I use nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream to make it.
4. If I'm truly craving cookies or ice cream or mashed potatoes with gravy, I have to eat my way through a ½ cup serving of vegetables, two pieces of fruit, and a piece of celery with peanut butter. If that doesn't take away the craving, I eat 3 or 4 cookies, or ½ cup ice cream (I measure it out) or bake one potato in the microwave and make some gravy to go on it. Otherwise, I'll eat anything I can find, trying to satisfy the craving. Sometimes, you just need to eat whatever it is you're craving.
5. Now that we have the treadmill, my husband gets up a half hour earlier in the morning and walks for 10 minutes. As his body gets accustomed to the walking, he plans to increase the time in 5 minute increments until he's walking a half hour each morning.
My husband prefers not to talk about his weight and his strategies. He just lets me know when he's lost a pound or two. He has requested that I not bake cookies because he can't stay away from them and can always ferret them out if they're in the house. Little does he know that I keep a stash hidden on the bottom shelf of the freezer disguised in a frozen vegetable bag. He's 6 feet tall, so he seldom looks on those bottom shelves; that's where I put the items I use the most.
My goal is to lose 2-4 pounds a month until my weight is down to 140. This is now September, so I won't reach that goal until June or July My doctors feel that 140 pounds is more realistic for me at my age of 68 than the 120 pounds they'd really like to see. Of course, I know what's coming; I've been through it before. "You've done so well getting your weight down to 140, could you try for 135?" We'll see when the time comes.
I'm currently having back and leg pain, and I have a past history of mild to moderate osteopenia with mild to moderate degenerative lumbar spine changes. I have to limit my treadmill walking to 5 minutes twice a day. I go in for an MRI next week for the diagnosis and prognosis. I am encouraged by my doctors to continue teaching the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, because it slows the degeneration of my spine.
I know I can do this. I've done it before. So, it's time for me to go eat some veggies and fruit!
I encourage everyone in this discussion group to think really hard about what works for them. Each of us is different, and each of us needs to devise our own eating and exercise plan so that we'll do it. This plan I use has evolved over an 8-year period of time. When I gain weight, I always reach a point where I say to myself it's time to return to the weight loss plan. And I do. It might take six months, but I do get back on track.
Amelia, this is quite lengthy, so feel free to edit and delete the repetitive parts.
Good luck everyone! Keep us posted on the discussion board.
Have you had a sleep study to check for sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (Willis-Ekbom disease) and/or periodic limb movements? Do you have fibromyalgia or chronic pain? Lack of enough REM sleep can cause weight gain, or in your case, cessation of weight loss. I don't remember where I read that information, but it was from a reliable web site such as NIH or one of the trusted medical school web sites such as Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins.View Thread
I am a certified Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program leader, land-based program. All the exercises I teach can be done seated in a chair. I have had several people in my class who cannot do any of the standing exercises. As part of our training, we are taught how to adapt every exercise for people with physical limitations. Go to www.arthritis.org , click on offerings and programs, enter your zip code, and if there are any classes near you, they'll be listed.
If no classes are available in your area, you can purchase a DVD or videotape of the exercises from the web site.