Lose Weight to Help Your Knees and RA

Shedding pounds can do wonders for your knees—and benefit your rheumatoid arthritis! Get started with these weight-loss tips.

Melba Newsome
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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.

April 2013