Join me in losing weight with arthritis

I've noticed a few posts recently about how difficult it is to lose weight with arthritis, and it totally is! I've been struggling for ages to lose anything, despite it being pretty much the only thing the doctor talks to me about. Which is frustrating - I would still have arthritis even if I weighed less, but that's a different topic.

So, my thought was, if we got together as a group and said we'd support each other in losing weight. It might help, as we all understand the issues to do with arthritis, unlike other places about losing weight. We don't have to share actual measurements or weight if we don't want to, we can just say if we've had success or not, how we've felt, pass on tips or ideas, generally be a friendly place to discuss losing weight. Open to everyone.

Note: My exercise is close to non-existent. I sometimes go for a walk, and even more rarely I manage to persuade myself to do some home-based exercise. I sadly can't really afford a gym membership, so no swimming or classes etc for me. The good news is that apparently exercise has very little to do with weight loss. It will make you fitter and healthier, but apparently only has a very tiny impact on weight loss (one source: So, while I'm going to try to improve my exercise amount for my general fitness (and hopefully get some of those mythical mood-improving endorphins which I swear my exercise doesn't produce), my weight loss goals are focussed around what I eat, not what I do. Which is easier on the arthritis, but still very hard to control.

I'll start (obviously). I'm happy to share info - you don't have to! it's completely unnecessary for this:

If in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout


  • Shaphron
    Shaphron Member Posts: 54

    So I'm 38, have arthritis in both knees, and I'm very overweight. I believe my BMI is actually classed as obese. The NHS says my "healthy weight" is 8st6 to 11st5, so I need to lose in excess of 7 stone to make them happy.

    My main start is to cut out snacks - especially chocolate. I am guilty of eating chocolate or cakes when I'm feeling down and depressed. Also when I'm on my period (sorry guys, but it's a real thing). So I'm cutting this out completely..... Almost completely. I'm allowing myself 2 shortbread fingers at most once a day with tea, and occasionally I'll have a couple of squares of dark chocolate (I normally have milk, so this is a huge change, and much less). I'm also allowing myself to have milkshake, as I love it so much. This is the powdered milkshake you stir into milk. I suppose if I got myself a good blender I could make healthier milkshakes, but again that's an expense I'm not prepared for (those things are expensive). I'm allowing myself these so that when I feel the need, I've got an allowed way to indulge and feel a bit better about myself, so I don't beat myself up.

    I'm not following any particular diet, and I do not have the patience to count calories, so I'm attempting to be sensible with my food - cutting out needless carbohydrates like chips, having more vegetables, cutting down on take-aways. We currently have 1 take-away a week. I'm going to try to half this, as they are some of my most unhealthy meals. I'm not going full low-carb tho, as I enjoy having whole-grain fibre-full breakfasts (porridge is my favourite). They help me with digestion, and I'm not willing to cut them out to go full low-carb. I have swapped all sugar in my tea to sweetners, and I'm trying to cook meals myself rather than use pre-prepared ones from the shops. I rarely have lunch, sometimes my milkshake is it for lunch, so I'll need to be aware that if I do get hungry then I'm more prone to snacking.

    My plan is to come on here approx once a week and update on if I succeeded at following my plan that week or not, where I did well, what ideas I had (if any). No shame if I don't do well, just a look back on what happened and to support anyone else who chooses to join me. My hope is that by being accountable to someone it'll give me more motivation to be "good" - and maybe I'll help someone else on here struggling with the same thing.

    I'll be back next week!

    If in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,112

    I think you have a good plan, @Shaphron . Exercise is very important for arthritis but, to lose weight, eating less and eating the right foods is key.

    @Turbogran , who now only posts in 'Val's cafe', lost a lot of weight and we've had other successes, notably a lady confined to a wheelchair who lost 5 stones.

    I'm lucky in that I've never had a weight problem but, if ever I've felt I was getting a bit too much, I've just not bought cakes, crisps, biscuits etc for a while. As getting to the shops is difficult and painful that means I don't eat them. I'm also lucky in that I dislike pastry and cream and my stomach dislikes chocolate even though I do like it.

    A little treat every so often is good for all of us.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 44

    I have added lockdown-lard to my already excess weight and need to lose 3 stones +. At 75 I too find it extremely difficult to shed those damaging lbs after having had to adapt from a previously extremely active life and also having an underactive thyroid following surgery for Graves disease in 1992. The unwanted kilos have been creeping on for the past 15 years. I hate them with a passion but have done nothing serious about them - several starts but as many finishes!!

    Lockdown has brought a long, frustrating saga of house-moving which sees us away from our much loved cycle paths and living in a small, poorly-maintained and gardenless rented house - more comfort-snacking!! Now we are within two weeks of moving into our new permanent home where there will be loads to do and the chance to explore new cycleways etc so there is no excuse for not committing to a weight loss regime.

    You can count me in, Shaphron, and I await the metaphorical sound of your starting pistol and the announcement of 'weighing-in day.


  • Shaphron
    Shaphron Member Posts: 54
    edited 16. Jun 2021, 12:58

    It's a new week! (I know, Wednesday is an odd day, but it's my day I'm always on here...)

    This week hasn't been great. It started off well - I had no sweets at all wednesday to friday (not including a milkshake). But Saturday & Sunday weren't so good. Monday was better, but we did have a take-away, and yesterday was acceptable.... I did go for a walk on Saturday, but I'm pretty sure it in no way balanced out the sweets.

    Haven't weighed myself, mostly because I need to buy some scales....

    Hi @crinkly - great to have you joining in! I can't imagine but that this will be a long process, so I'm going to be here for quite a while 😊 I think I'm in the assessment stage of this, working out what I'm currently doing and what I plan on changing, but as soon as I've bought a set of scales I'll be updating my weight every week as well as sharing my analysis of how I'm doing. There isn't a set start date - so join in as soon as you're ready.

    I have had a thought this week - pasta is one of my partner's favourite things to eat, but it's not healthy. So I've swapped our pasta to a mix of wholewheat, lentil and chickpea pasta. I can't really taste the difference. My partner can, but he says it's an acceptable change (not great, but acceptable).

    I'm trying to think of ways I can eat "normally" while still making healthy choices. I know at some point I'm going to have to be more caring and strict about calories and making sure I stick to a reduction in intake, but I'm working up to it....

    Be back next week.

    If in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,112

    You've made a start, which is good. Even better, I see no need to discard pasta. Surely it's what we put with it that counts more than the actual pasta. Obvióusly not cheesy sauces but, according to this dependable survey, pasta can actually help in losing weight

    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 44

    I'm back again, Shaphron to announce that last Sunday marked my initial weigh-in (to my relief my weight was the same as at Christmas 2020) and I'll torment the scales each Sunday from now on!

    As an added incentive I have pledged to donate £1 for each pound I lose to the local branch of the charity with which I volunteer.

    I know exactly what I need to do in terms of eating and this hot weather is a great time to begin as I seldom feel genuinely hungry. As soon as we get our house-moving date I will also be busier so hope to break the snacking habit too.

    Meanwhile I've made a reasonable beginning and only sneaked one choccy bar this week but will have to do better so bought more small apples and hope the guilt will cut in now I've made my mission public!

    The challenge has begun...................... Has anyone a load of will-power going spare???? 🍏

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,463
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,112

    Crinkly, you don't need added will power. I read your thread on post-shoulder-op exercises and know you can do this.

    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • Sharon_K
    Sharon_K Administrator Posts: 270

    I will certainly join you in this and check in regularly I need to lose about 3 stone. I am using WW app to help me keep a check on everything but using a wheelchair means exercise is virtually impossible so I need to rely on eating the right things. We can do this!!💪

  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 44

    First weekly weigh in and I've shed 2lbs without trying as hard as I might so am pleased. 🙂

    Thought a lot about your words, SW, and decided that this is equally as important in the long term as rehabbing my shoulder was so will regard it as another medical issue. That way it should receive as much attention and self-discipline..

    Like Sharon K I am a wheelchair user although part time so can move around indoors under my own steam but know it may take longer to lose my excess 3 stones than otherwise. This week will see us in our long-awaited new home with loads to be done so I should be distracted from frequent visits to the food cupboards, which will help. 😏

  • bosh
    bosh Member Posts: 18

    Hi @Shaphron thanks for your interesting post. I struggled with my weight for a long time, meds for another condition caused immense weight gain and arthritis made it worse. Finally I’m well on the way to being happy with my weight. I’m one of the many people not disciplined enough to count calories, but I generally try and eat fresh fruit , veg, etc, though admittedly I do need to increase the fruit. What has been helping me is limiting high sugar foods and saturated fats. For things like the dreaded Cornish pasty, for example, I have a 28 day rule, so roughly once a month or whatever Chocolate I find addictive, so I kind of ration it a bit further, as it were. Hope this helps. Take care.

  • Turbogran
    Turbogran Member Posts: 1,976

    Hi Turbogran here over this lockdown I have put on weight, I don’t need to weigh myself I ban feel I have. As Stickywicket said I lost nearly 5 and a half stone previously with SlimmingWorld, and I am going to go back to it but instead of doing it in a group setting I will be doing it online, so wish me luck I will let you know when I start again.

    Take care
    Carol xx
  • Reb
    Reb Member Posts: 4

    Following all of the excellent posts as have been overweight for all my life. I am 50, and only just been diagnosed with Arthritis (after a slow build up of pain and knee giving out since Christmas), but I am determined to lose more weight.

    I suffer with many medical issues, one of which is stomach / Oesophagus related, so am aware of what I can/cannot eat due to irritating it.

    I am on so much medication, and I know that at least one of them isn't particularly helpful when trying to lose weight.

    Look forward to reading your posts.

  • Shaphron
    Shaphron Member Posts: 54

    Hi all - thanks so much for sharing your journey / ideas and suggestions! I wasn't expecting this many people to take an interest 😊

    I'm starting with the good news - my new scales have arrived and I've lost 3lbs since my last weigh-in (which was end of May...) - so I'm taking this as this idea is working!

    I've been pretty good this week. I had a couple of days where I was feeling pretty miserable (period cramps are evil) and one day my partner even asked if I wanted him to go out and buy me some chocolate, and I said no. I was sensible Wednesday and Thursday, but Friday I did have a take-away which included a bit milkshake, which wasn't great. I had a couple of biscuits on Saturday, and Monday we had some good news from the Tax man (rebate on last year) so we went out for a meal to celebrate. This did include walking into town to get to the restaurant, so at least I off-set it with some exercise. I admit I have allowed myself 2 squares of dark chocolate today, as I felt the need.

    Yesterday I had a craving for bolognaise so I made a big pot with enough for leftovers today or tomorrow, so that will help with cooking and being sensible as well. Having leftovers available makes it so much easier to eat sensibly when you don't feel like cooking.

    As an analysis, I think I'm doing OK, but I haven't managed to cut down on take-aways yet, nor have I increased my exercise even a little. I have done a good job on cutting out sugary snacks and chocolate, so that's a big positive. It's a good first step, and I need to keep this up. Making more big meals which I can save for another day is going to be a tool I use - especially for Friday's when I'm more likely to get a take-away as my partner is out Friday evenings, so it's just me.

    So happy for you @crinkly - 2lbs a week is (apparently) what we should be aiming for as steady and sustainable weight loss! You hit it perfectly! @Sharon_K - great to have you onboard! It's so much easier to do things together.

    @stickywicket - I don't have to discard pasta, but changing it up to wholegrain pasta and adding in some which have more protein in can help when you have it a lot! Although having it help in weight loss does sound like a great thing, so it's not going completely. We still have the normal filled pasta tortellini for when we don't feel like cooking.

    @Turbogran - good luck on SlimmingWorld! You've done it before, so you know you can do it again. If you want support we'll be here as well, although we're not as organised as SlimmingWorld. What's their online program like?

    @bosh - thanks for letting us know it can be done. It's good to know how others have succeeded. You're idea of rationing the "bad" foods is a great one - I'll be using that definitely.

    @Reb - Weight loss is something I've struggled with for years, so this is me finally making a proper go at it. If you think it'll help you can join us in our challenge, but there's no pressure 😊 I hope we'll be interesting to read either way!

    If in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout

  • DorothyParker
    DorothyParker Member Posts: 5

    All the very best of luck. It's daunting to look at the goal, so I've found the best approach is small, realistic goals. This means not thinking "I want to lose 100lbs". It's thinking "I want to lose 2lbs *this week*".

    I personally think the effect of exercise is underrated but we are all different and will all find our own way. It will build and tone muscle, increasing your metabolism; curb your appetite; lift your mood and make it easier to make healthy choices; increases self-esteem, which can motivate you. Of course with arthritis we are limited in what we can do. But "exercise" doesn't have to mean going for a jog. It means keep moving as much as possible.

    Statements in this article like "You work hard on that machine for an hour, and that work can be erased with five minutes of eating afterward," is overly simplistic. Meaningful, sustained weight loss is about changing your lifestyle. People who lose weight by severely restricting calories are destined to regain the weight, because you cannot stay hungry for the rest of your life.

    So I think you are doing the right thing by reducing carbohydrates, but not cutting them out completely. And also not eliminating all treats. Good luck.

  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 502

    I am totally wheelchair bound now , need several joints replace & waited five years & they still wont do it ,

    One thing they did not like was my weight , I needed to lose 40kg ( about 6 stone ) since last september when I was in hospital with sepsis , I have lost 28kg & got about 1.5 stone to go , it can be done even if you can't stand/walk , still dont mean they would do my joints though

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