Shedding pounds can do wonders for your knees—and benefit your rheumatoid arthritis! Get started with these weight-loss tips.
Every extra pound you carry actually puts an additional four pounds of pressure on your knees as you walk—pressure that can exacerbate rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The good news? Dropping just 10 pounds will take a whopping 40 pounds of pressure off those knees. And with these diet and fitness tips, you can drop half that weight by next month! Take these steps:
Try an every-other-day plan. A 10-week study from the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that obese people who restrict their diet on alternate days of the week dropped significant weight—from 10-30 pounds! Study participants ate normally one day and had the equivalent of a three-course lunch (25% of their daily calorie needs) the next. Within 10 weeks, they lost the weight. And after adjusting to the plan, people said they no longer felt hungry on the “fast” day.
Take it slow. It’s true, taking your time with meals may help you eat less. Researchers from Imperial College in the UK and Athens University Medical School in Greece found that eating small servings over a 30-minute period produces higher levels of two hormones—PYY and GLP-1—that signal fullness to the brain. What to do if you’re a gulper? Put down your fork between bites (which should be smaller than usual), don’t talk until you’ve swallowed your food and take a few sips of water before picking up your fork again.
Hydrate a half hour before. Two recent studies suggest downing H2O about 30 minutes before meals promotes weight loss. In one study published in the journal Obesity, folks who drank two cups of water before chowing down lost 4.5 pounds more on average than those who did not. In the other, those who drank water before meals reduced calorie intake by 13%.
Write it down. Simply jotting down what you eat—you don’t need anything fancy, a little notepad or even sticky notes will do—has near-magical pound-paring powers. The proof: A paper published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that dieters who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who did not—even if they did nothing else, like exercise, to lose weight. Seems keeping a diary helps keep calorie intake in check while building awareness of eating patterns. If you’re a techie, you might like keeping an online journal or downloading an app like “Lose It!” to your smart phone.
Step it up—slightly. You don’t have to be a super-sprinter or marathon runner to make exercise work for you. Try interval training, which involves alternating walking with running or jogging several times a week. You can also bike. For instance, in an Australian study, participants did 20 minutes of interval training on stationary bikes three times a week—cycling at a slower pace, then adding a burst of speed before returning to slower cycling. They lost six pounds of body fat over four months versus just two pounds for those who cycled at the same speed for 40 minutes.
Dance off the weight. Ever notice how those celebrities on Dancing With the Stars slim down from one week to the next? That’s because ballroom dancing burns about 220-270 calories an hour. Find a dance class in your area and, if your doctor says it’s okay, give it a try.
Like high-energy moves? Try Zumba, a fun and easy dance class set to fast-paced music. An hour’s worth of Zumba burns about 500 calories. Go for half an hour and you still get great benefits.
Prefer to dance behind the scenes? Blast your favorite tunes in the privacy of your own home and go to town!
High-techer? Spring for an Xbox 360 with Kinect. Right now it’s all the rage—it’s easy, fun and the whole family can do it. Just connect the system to your TV and get moving. You can start with Dance Central or Kinect Sports and burn hundreds of calories per hour.