Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Feeling Better Through Diet and Exercise

I am amazed at how much health can change dramatically in one year.

Last fall, I was in excruciating pain from osteoarthritis. After learning that I have grade 2-3 cartilage loss in the left knee, my orthopedic doctor gave me three hyaluronic acid injections to help ease the pain. He also suggested that the only truly effective way to get better was to ride my exercise bike.

My rheumatologist (the one who just retired) was kind enough to order physical therapy for me so that I could receive expert guidance on what types of activities I should be doing to delay possible knee surgery in the future. She also suggested that I consider weight loss surgery because being morbidly obese was not helpful.

Slowly, I began to ride the exercise bike at home more frequently and for longer periods of time. My physical therapist worked with me for two months to build strength and flexibility. She also determined that my knee cap was “frozen” in place which wasn’t helping matters either. Correcting that situation was enormously painful, but worth it in the long run.

Around the same time, I began to honestly assess what I was eating, document meals and snacks, and use my FitBit to monitor activity. I started slow but began to lose weight after a couple of months. I noticed that if I continued to exercise and document everything, I continued to lose weight. One month that I couldn’t ride the exercise bike the scale didn’t move as much, which strengthens the message that a combination of diet and exercise is most effective for weight loss/management.

Over the course of one year, I was able to drop 54 pounds (and still counting). The pain in my knees is almost a non-issue as long as I continue with the at-home plan my physical therapist created. I have achieved actual remission of my RA, which is different than low-disease activity or near remission. And, I feel pretty doggone good.

Read this post in its entirety:
Diet and Exercise Have Helped My RA

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