A reader with a 45-pound weight gain asks for help

Madame Ms. Meniscus,

I gained over 45 pounds and my knees and ankles are hurting and get swollen often. I don’t know if is the weight or what is it, Can u help me please. 

Mrs. Evelyn

Dear Mrs. Evelyn,

Madame Meniscus won’t lie to you about the weight gain: forty-five pounds is significant and the extra weight is adding pressure to your throbbing joints.

That’s because our joints carry the weight of our body and the more weight we carry, the harder the joints must work. You may not know that even a small change in weight (say five pounds) can actually feel like 25 pounds on the joints.  If we are talking about 45 pounds, well, we must do something, mustn’t we? The good news is that by losing a little weight you will feel better. Madame Meniscus knows that this is a difficult thing to do. You are in pain and the idea of exercising may not sound appealing. It may even sound horrible. Please trust her when she tells you that moving your body is not so terrible if you can think of it as bringing your some relief.

Before she tells you how to do this, she must express how important it is to have a discussion with your doctor before you embark on any sort of program.  This is advisable for all persons, not just those with arthritis.

Part of the problem with your weight gain could be due to medication, (and Madame Meniscus doesn’t know if you currently are taking medications of any sort) but there are quite a few drugs that are known to affect metabolism, in terms of weight loss and weight gain.  Again, you must speak to your doctor to find out if medication could be the culprit.

Once you get your doctor’s clearance to exercise, you could start by walking a little each day. You might want to buy yourself a pedometer, and if you’ve never seen one, it’s a cute little device that counts every step you take by detecting the motion of your hips. You can find one almost anywhere. What’s wonderful about a pedometer is that you can wear it all day on your pants or top; you just clip it on and forget about it. Pretty soon you’ll find yourself trying to outdo yesterday’s progress.  Before you know it, you’ll be burning extra calories and feeling better. Your pedometer will be your personal motivator. And why not? You deserve to feel good about your efforts.  And you have Madame Meniscus cheering you on because Madame knows how difficult it is to motivate oneself to move, and it is especially so when one feels worn down and discouraged by pain.

Now that spring has arrived, try to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits. It’s nice to have slices of apple and cucumber, carrots or melon (any fruits and veggies will do nicely) already prepared and chilled in the refrigerator when you need a little snack. With summer around the corner, fresh produce will be hitting the shelves. Eating well and moving a little more each day, even if it is only a few extra steps when you can, will only pay off in terms of your R/A and your overall health.

Don’t forget… before you do anything, check with your doctor or health care professional. If you get the green light after you explain your plan, buy yourself that pedometer, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. You’re on your way.

Madame Meniscus knows that you are willing to try because you wrote to her. She has faith in you. You can do it! Even if it’s only a little, you can do a little and that counts for something. A significant something.

Madame Meniscus wishes you many thousands of happy, proud steps. Good luck

– MM

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