Are you struggling with weight loss because of your arthritis? Do you feel like you can’t exercise as much as you would like, and diets just don’t seem to work for you? As a consultant rheumatologist and one of the founders of the Middle East Arthritis Foundation, Dr. Humeira Badsha is here to share some tips on how to lose weight sensibly, even with arthritis.
First of all, it’s important to know that 80 to 90% of weight loss is through diet, not exercise. Of course, exercise can help, and there are plenty of low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga that can be great for people with arthritis. However, getting your arthritis well-controlled with a rheumatologist is the first step.
When it comes to losing weight through diet, the secret is making long-term, healthy choices. It’s not just about eating fewer calories than you burn. Our bodies are regulated by several hormones that control appetite and weight, including Ghrelin, incretin, leptin, and insulin.
Insulin is one of the most important hormones to understand because it can make you gain weight, especially around the middle of your body. Every time you eat, your insulin levels spike, and certain foods can cause your insulin levels to spike even higher.
So how do you keep your insulin levels low? First of all, eat foods that are low glycemic index, which means they don’t spike your insulin levels as much as other foods. Avoid sugar, carbohydrates, fruit juices, coke, diet drinks, and artificial sweeteners like stevia. Instead, focus on healthy fats like avocados and nuts, proteins like chicken and fish, and lentils.
Also, try to limit your eating period within an eight-hour window. This is called intermittent fasting, and it can help keep your insulin levels low. Making these changes to your diet can help you lose weight sensibly, even with arthritis.
Remember, losing weight and keeping it off is a long-term journey, and healthy choices are the key. Don’t get discouraged if diets haven’t worked for you in the past. By making healthy choices and working with a rheumatologist to control your arthritis, you can achieve your weight loss goals.