The Benefits of Weight Loss for Arthritis
In the United States, arthritis is an incredibly common condition. While there are many types of arthritis – and causes of this condition – one of the biggest risk factors for osteoarthritis is being overweight. When you carry extra weight, it substantially increases the likelihood that you will eventually suffer from the joint pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with arthritis.
Fortunately, there is a way to get relief from arthritis – without taking medicine or having surgery. Losing even a moderate amount of weight can alleviate arthritis symptoms. When you reduce pressure on your joints, it will ease the pain of arthritis and help you have a better quality of life.
Ideal You is committed to helping people with arthritis and other health conditions lose weight in a safe, sustainable way. We know that being overweight can be hard for a number of reasons. Our team will work with you to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition that involves swelling and tenderness in one or more joints. 24% of all American adults – or 58.5 million people – have some form of arthritis. Many people with arthritis limit their activities or take medication to deal with pain and stiffness associated with this condition.
The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) causes the breakdown of cartilage, while rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune condition where the body’s immune system attacks the joints. Other types of arthritis include ankylosing spondylitis, gout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, septic arthritis and thumb arthritis.
Most people with arthritis have osteoarthritis. It is caused by damage to cartilage (the hard, thick substance that cushions the ends of bones where they form a joint). Cartilage allows a joint to move smoothly, but when it wears away over time, it can lead to bone grinding directly on bone. If cartilage in a particular joint is severely damaged, it can become inflamed and swollen.
Risk factors for arthritis include family history, age, sex, previous joint injury, and being overweight. Carrying excess weight puts extra stress on your joints, especially weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, and spine. For this reason, people who are overweight are more likely to develop OA.
There are a number of different symptoms of arthritis, depending on type and severity. Most frequently, people with arthritis experience:
- Reduced range of motion
There is no cure for arthritis. Instead, the treatment focuses on alleviating pain and improving joint function. A person with arthritis may be given anti-inflammatory medications, steroids (as a pill or injected), or anti-rheumatic drugs to slow the progression of the disease. They may also be asked to go to physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion. In some cases, it may be necessary to have surgery – including joint repair or replacement.
Can Losing Weight Really Help My Arthritis?
If you are overweight and have been diagnosed with OA, losing weight can ease arthritis pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the 58 million adults in the United States with arthritis, 39 million are considered overweight or obese. Losing weight can help with many of the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
This is particularly true when it comes to arthritis in weight-bearing joints. Experts estimate that when we walk, go up and down stairs, or go from sitting to standing, we put 3 to 5 times our body weight on our joints. If you are 50 pounds overweight, then you are putting at least 250 pounds of increased pressure on your knees, hips, and back when you engage in these activities. For this reason, it isn’t surprising that people who are obese are 4 to 5 times more likely to get arthritis in their knees, compared to people who are not overweight.
Studies have found that losing as little as 10 pounds can decrease the progression of osteoarthritis in the knee by as much as 50%. In other words, even moderate weight loss can lead to a drastic improvement in symptoms of arthritis. In particular, if you suffer from knee pain, hip pain, or back pain, losing as little as 10% of your body weight can help you feel much better.
Importantly, losing weight will not reverse the damage already caused by arthritis. Once that cartilage has been damaged, there is little that can be done to “fix” it. But reducing the pressure on your joints by dropping extra pounds can reduce the symptoms of OA and can slow down the progression of the disease.
Losing Weight Sustainably
Knowing that losing weight can help to ease arthritis pain is one thing. Actually accomplishing your weight loss goals is another thing entirely.
We know that diets don’t work for weight loss. Our bodies are complex, and simply cutting calories often backfires because our metabolisms slow down to account for this drop in calories. This causes many people to yo-yo diet, as they get frustrated by their lack of progress, give up, and put the weight right back on – before trying again in a few months or years.
Complicating matters further is the reality that having arthritis can make it hard to exercise. If you’re in constant pain, then you probably aren’t able to go for a bike ride, take a hike, or spend an hour on the treadmill. Despite this reality, too many weight loss programs – and even medical professionals – focus on exercise as a way to lose weight, even for people with arthritis.
The truth is that changing your diet is the best way to lose weight – and that it requires a lot more than just drastically cutting calories. There are lots of different factors that affect our weight and ability to drop extra pounds, like hydration, sleep, and genetics. If you truly want to lose weight, you will need to focus on changing the way that your metabolism works.
Many people who struggle with their weight have what is commonly referred to as a “slow” metabolism. What that really means is that your body likes to store fat instead of burning it. If you have a “slow” metabolism, you can still lose weight – by changing your metabolism from fat storing to fat burning.
With the Ideal You program, you won’t be hungry. Our program allows you to burn anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 calories per day of your own fat so that you feel full without eating a single bite. By training your body to burn fat (instead of quick sources of energy like sugar or carbohydrates), you can lose weight quickly and sustainably.
When you enroll in the Ideal You weight loss program, you will get regular meetings with a weight loss coach, plus weigh-ins to track your progress; all natural, food-based supplements to ramp up your metabolism; a structured food list so you know what you can and should be eating; a weight loss journal; and support from a team of weight loss experts. We won’t leave you on your own to figure out how to lose weight. We will support and encourage you along the way, until you reach your goal weight.
Most importantly, we won’t ask you to exercise or eat gross, pre-packaged food. Our program focuses on real food, proper hydration, and losing weight in a way that fits your lifestyle – and your abilities. When you struggle with arthritis or just want to get back into your skinny jeans, our program will help you get to where you want to be.
Ease Your Arthritis Pain By Losing Weight with Ideal You
Tens of millions of Americans live with arthritis. If you’re one of the many who deals with pain, stiffness, and more on a daily basis, we can help. We will work with you to help you drop excess weight so that you can live a happier, healthier life – with less pain.
Ideal You is different from other weight loss programs. We won’t ask you to drink chalky shakes, eat tasteless frozen foods, or spend hours working out. Instead, we will help you change your metabolism so that you can lose a life-changing amount of weight quickly and sustainably.