It’s a disturbing, but simple solution. No meds, no infusion required.
Weight loss can help ease symptoms of the immune illness Multiple Sclerosis.
Columnist of “Life with MS,” Trevis Gleason, said that of course eating healthier is good for everyone, but that “weight management” issues are quite important when it comes to dealing with Multiple Sclerosis.
Between meds we take for our MS symptoms, reduced activity, fatigue and MS anxiety, many of us are dealing with secondary weight issues from our multiple sclerosis. I think these pages will be a helpful resource as we all battle the bulge.
In Cleveland, Julie Mead fought most of her life to reduce her weight. Weighing more than 400 pounds, she tried diet programs and eating healthy and in nearly four years lost 320 pounds. She also noticed that her legs were numb.
She discovered she had Multiple Sclerosis and was also told that losing the weight kept her illness from progressing. Being overweight, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol all stimulate the immune system and exacerbate MS.
Nevertheless, the side effects of steroid therapy as well as the depress and fatigue associated with the illness also causes weight gain. The National MS Association warns:
Overeating can increase MS symptoms or health conditions, such as:
stress on joints
demand on heart and lungs
risk of other illnesses
Set realistic goals
Being realistic means: Try setting a goal of 10 percent of your body weight. This means if you weigh 200 pounds, you need to lose just 20 of them to reap health benefits.
Here are some ways to lose weight—and keep it off:
Don’t diet! Most diets don’t work over the long haul. Instead, you need to alter your relationship with food.
Change one meal at a time. Focus on eating a healthy breakfast, such as rolled oats, fresh fruit or an egg-white omelet. Once you’ve mastered one meal, go on to the next. At lunchtime, instead of potato chips with your sandwich, opt for baby carrots. Then at dinner, stop at one helping of mashed potatoes rather than two.
Snack. Healthy snacking helps to control your appetite so you don’t eat too much at regular meals. Snacking also keeps your metabolism working steadily, which makes your body burn calories efficiently. Stock up on pre-cut veggies, low-fat yogurt, raw cashews, peanut butter, string cheese, whole-grain crackers, oranges, grapes and other healthy goodies.
Focus on your food. Eliminate distractions while you eat, such as reading or watching TV. Eat when you’re sitting at a table. Pay attention to taste and savor every bite.
Follow your cravings. Cravings take over when you feel unsatisfied. That in turn leads to binge eating. Work your cravings into your eating plan. If chocolate cream pie is your family’s favorite dessert, plan on having a modest helping on a special day.
Get support. It’s always easier to change when you have the support of others who are going through similar challenges. You might want to check out Weight Watchers. If the cost of joining the program is an obstacle, try the free message boards.
Don’t forget to get a move on. Start exercising just five minutes a day. If going to the gym is too difficult, put on your favorite lively music at home and move around. Add some stretching and simple exercises prescribed for you by your health-care professional. The key is consistency; do a little bit each day.
Give yourself a specific incentive. Look at your calendar and see what events are coming up. Weddings, reunions, birthdays, vacations—all provide incentives for wanting to look good.
Eventually, you’ll feel good too, by decreasing the MS exacerbations.