As an athritis sufferer, managing
your weight through diet to minimize strain on your load bearing joints
is a key strategy for minimizing cartilage degeneration and
reducing resultant pain and stiffness. Weight loss also goes
hand in hand with movement (exercise) which is another very
important key to battling your arthritis.
struggled with carrying some extra weight at one time or another and
losing the extra pounds can seem like a daunting task - especially for
people with arthritis. The rewards however for losing the extra
pounds are numerous. The first time you can climb that set of
stairs without the cane, or the first time you can really
hug your grandchild are moments of pure personal triumph
that make the hard work all worth while.
is a lot of diet related information out there, so key for us
was sorting through it to cull some pointers that
actually work and that are relevant to arthritis sufferers.
In this article we bring together arthritis diet advice
from dietitians, weight loss coaches, personal trainers and
real people that have dealt with the weight loss challenge successfully.
are the 16 most important tips about healthy dieting for people with
1. View it as
a lifestyle change rather than a diet
By it's nature the term "Diet"
implies a temporary change of eating habits but the key to
success is accpeting that you'll have to change your eating habits
permanently if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
2. Limit your intake of refined
Consuming foods that are high in refined sugar is one of the
quickest ways to add weight. Refined sugars come in many forms
such as: dextrose, fructose, corn syrup and maltodextrin. If you crave
sugary sweets then rather than trying to go cold turkey - simply limit
your intake over time. For example you should try to go from a
whole chocolate bar every day to a half a chocolate bar within a month
and then a half of that by the next month, and so on and so on.
I know this approach works as I've used it myself to wean
myself of off sugar in my coffee. Baby steps are easier to
live with than are big radical changes.
3. Learn to distinguish
good fats from bad fats
It's common knowledge now that
trans fats should be avoided as they increase bad
cholesterol (LDL) and decrease good cholesterol (HDL). Trans fats also
wreak havoc on your arteries by clogging and hardening them. Saturated
fats are ok when used in moderation and should
not make up more than five to ten per cent of your diet.
fats are your good fats and you can find them in such foods as
nuts, fish oil and olive oil. These fats are
beneficial because they help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and
prevent cardiovascular disease. A healthy diet consists of no
more than one to two teaspoons of unsaturated fat in a meal.
4. Breakfast... it
really is the most important meal of the day.
Breakfast gets little respect as
it's the most commonly skipped meal. The problem is that when
you skip breakfast your metabolism slows down to compensate and you
don't burn fat effectively as a result. Eating breakfast ensures that
you keep your metabolic rate up, which triggers the body to
keep burning calories (fat) which plays an important role in
establishing and maintaining a good weight loss plan.
Eat regularly throughout the day
In order to keep your blood sugar level consistent, you should eat
three well-balanced meals a day. If your three meals are more
than four hours apart you should also eat healthy
snacks in between your meals to help keep your metabolism up.
6. It's often what's on your food
that you need to watch - rather than
what's in it
Eating a plate full of
healthy meat or fish and veggies is great, but, be careful not
to nullify your good work by slathering on lots of
mayonnaise, butter, salad dressing or oil. Ultimately your
goal is to limit, reduce and replace these
unhealthy toppings over time and use low-fat product, low
7. Snacking is
beneficial if you choose healthy food options
Eat fruits and vegetables instead
of chips and cookies. Try out a variety of fruits and vegetables and
determine which ones you really like and then keep them on
hand - prepared in advance for snacking. Raw
nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese and clear soups are
also great snacking options.
Most restaurants have healthy menu choices now - seek them out
you must eat out, then have a water instead of the soda or iced tea.
Have the chicken wrap with little or no special sauce and a salad
instead of fries. It's ok to get salad dressing but choose
calerie version and ask for it on the side so you can apply only as
9. Reduce your portion sizes
today and you'll want to eat less tomorrow
body quickly becomes accustomed to routine. If you eat more,
demands more. If you eat less, it gets by on less.
The goal is to
reduce portion sizes to include a healthy amount of food and never so
much that you feel full when your done eating. As an
serving of meat should be about half the size of your clinched fist.
10. Avoid eating after 7
The later you eat - the less time your body has to burn off those
calories and the more likely they'll end up as fatty deposits.
must eat late, then be doubly aware of portion size and fat
as to minimize the damage to your diet.
Recognize right now - before you even start -that you will fall off
11. Do you drink enough water?
It can be tough to drink the recommended six to ten glasses of water a
day but it's definitely worth the effort. Among its myriad of
benefits, water is the best thing for your complexion, it's a
detoxifier extraordinaire and it helps to reduce feelings of hunger.
Try drinking a glass
of water before reaching for a snack or
your dinner before you dig into that dessert.
If you're not a fan of
plain water then add some lime or lemon to it, or drink it in
of decaffeinated herbal teas for example. The key is to get
water in you as possible and your body will thank.
12. Strive to get eight hours of
good sleep a night
Not getting adequate sleep affects at least three
hormones. Leptin - an appetite-suppressing hormone - may decrease.
Ghrelin - a hormone that keeps hunger pangs in check - may increase.
Cortisol -a hormone responsible for helping to manage stress -
increase which increases the potential for fat storage. A lack of sleep
can also increase moodiness and magnify that "Stressed Out" feeling
which can often trigger binge eating.
13. Identify and confront your
emotional eating habits
to recognize if you are eating as a comfort mechanism to mask or
address emotional issues. This type of activity often goes on
private and is easy to identify if you're willing to
confront it. Food
can certainly be a temporary crutch but recognizing that you need to
get to the root of the real problem so that you can properly address it is key
to eliminating this very poor eating habit.
14. Keep a food journal
of how well you think you have an undertsanding of what you're
you should keep a food journal for at least the
first three months of
your new diet. People never fail to be amazed by what they're
doing versus what they think they're doing and your journal will help to
add clarity to what you need to do to be successful in the short term
and in the long term - should you fall back into some bad eating habits.
15. Rally support from
friends and family
them know what you're doing and what your goals are and ask them to
help you. If possible, partner up with someone else who would
benefits in changing their eating habits. Lean on friends and
for support when things are bad and celebrate your successes with them
when things are going well.
The people who care about you
take a vested interest in seeing you succeed and they may be the ones
that help keep you on the straight and narrow during the tough times.
off the wagon is not the hard part - everyone falls off at
Getting back on is the real challenge, so prepare yourself now for the
falls and they won't be a surprise nor will they be as painful.
are just bumps in the road on the way to your ultimate
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