If worry were an effective weight-loss program, women would be invisible. (Nancy Drew)
In 2012 I was able to lose 25 lbs. working for the Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club. How did I do this? I started working out a little more and became interested in weight loss programs. The club has a very successful program, now in its 3rd run, titled “90 Day Weight Loss Contest”, a conservative approach to weight loss, modeled a little after TV’s Biggest Loser. Winners in this program have lost between 25 and 48 lbs last year. The nutritional part of that weight loss program is the main reason for my own weight loss and the associated tremendous relief I experience for my knees damaged by 25 years of playing tennis on hard courts.
Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan writes on their web site under Chronicling Orthopaedic Care: Focus on You and Your Family, “Why should we worry so much when we gain a little bit of weight? It’s no problem, we’ll lose it again, it was due to the holidays and we simply let ourselves go while enjoying some good food. Or we are getting a little older and our metabolism is slower so maybe we can’t lose it completely. That’s life, right? If we keep up this type of mentality we are in trouble; setting aside the obvious concerns that normally come with weight gain, such as heart trouble, high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, fatigue, breathing problems and countless other issues, we are also increasing the pressure on our joints.”
I have heard about all these side affects of gaining weight, but have never considered myself really overweight. At 188-190 lbs and 5’10” I thought I was a little chubby around the waist, but so were many of my friends and it didn’t bother me so much. When I started to develop pains in my right knee about 5-6 years ago, I did not associate those at all with my weight and thought it’s natural for a tennis player to have a “bum knee.” My doctor wanted to do surgery right away, but I didn’t do it. Instead, I bought a few pairs of decent orthotics and went on my way.
However, the pain came back intermittently and I began wearing knee braces. Being German, I was drawn to the Bauerfeind brand, of course, and that seemed to be a good choice for suppressing the pain, but it didn’t go away for good. Not wearing the brace going up and down a flight of stairs was still painful. Then I read a passage from Dr. Jonathan Kluett’s work on Joint Pain and Obesity. Kluett wrote, “Even small weight changes make a big difference because joint forces in the hips and knees increase about three times that weight with normal walking. This means that 15 pounds of extra body weight is felt by the knees as an extra 45 pounds.” Hard to believe that a person is able to take so much weight of one’s joints. Made me think!
In 2012 I was able to lose 25 lbs. working for the Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club. How did I do this? I started working out a little more and became interested in weight loss programs. The club has a very successful program, now in its 3rd run, titled “90 Day Weight Loss Contest”, a conservative approach to weight loss modeled a little after TV’s Biggest Loser.
More evidence of the connection between weight and joint problems such as Osteoarthritis is widely available. MedScape Today wrote in 2005: “The leading cause of disability in the United States, osteoarthritis (OA) is a complex, degenerative joint disease with several established risk factors. For OA of the knee, the most important modifiable risk factor is obesity. Both the American College of Rheumatology and the European League Against Rheumatism recommend weight loss and exercise to reduce the painful and incapacitating symptoms of knee OA.”
In 1997 DT Felson and CE Chaisson reported results from a study at the Boston School of Medicine Arthritis Center about understanding the relationship between body weight and osteoarthritis. “Overweight people are at high risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) and may also be at increased risk of hand and hip OA. Furthermore, being overweight accelerates disease progression in knee OA. While the increased joint stress accompanying obesity may explain the strong linkage between obesity and knee OA risk, it does not necessarily explain why obese people have a high risk of disease in the hand nor why obese women are at higher comparative risk of knee disease than obese men. Unfortunately, studies of metabolic factors linked to obesity have not provided an explanation for these findings. There are a paucity of data on weight loss as a treatment for OA, but preliminary information suggests it is especially effective in knee disease and that even small amounts of weight reduction may have favorable effects.”
The opinion about weight loss and its impact on knees has become even more interesting. Researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina found that for overweight or obese adults with osteoarthritis of the knee, losing a single pound could result in a 4 lb reduction in pressure placed on the knee joint. Dr. Stephen P. Messier and colleagues. “Accumulated over thousands of steps per day, a reduction of this magnitude would appear to be clinically meaningful.” He added in a press release, “The accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked. For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in compressive load per mile walked.”
I love my new weight of about 162-165 lbs. According to the above reports it took almost 100 lbs off my knees. Together with still wearing orthotics in all my shoes I’m pain-free and don’t even need a knee brace for playing tennis anymore. Participating in the club’s weight loss program gave me a nutritional roadmap that was originally initiated by the club’s fitness trainer Anna Koroknyai. She was real good at making it understandable why I should stop eating fried fast foods and drinking sodas. I did and made all my portions overall smaller.
The club’s weight loss program added a Registered Dietitian, local Burbank professional Ruth Frechman. Her bestselling book “The Food is my Friend Diet” is the basis for her teachings and I learned that every day all my meals should include 50% fruit and veggies, 25% protein, 25% carbs for a balanced diet. Can’t wait to learn more about balanced diets and keeping lost weight off.
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