Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis
I woke up one Fall day in 2011 and I could barely turn the door knob to get out of my bedroom. I tried it with my right hand – Nope! I tried it with my left hand – Nope! The pain was intense, but I needed out of my room. So I tried again with my right hand and I was able to get the door open. These funny changes to my body kept happening. Soon both of my ankles hurt – almost all the time. Then my elbows hurt – both of them. That’s a weird place to hurt. And then my knees began to ache. I was 50 years old and I felt like I was falling apart.
I went to my doctor regularly from September through December that year. Each time we would try different “fixes.” None of them worked. I couldn’t use a can opener any more. I couldn’t grasp a grocery bag. I had dropped and broke my brand new iPad. Things were not good. In December she ran some preliminary blood work testing for Rheumatoid Arthritis. It came back positive and she suggested I see a Rheumatologist.
The Rheumatologist in our city said they could get me in in June (it was December and I was in a lot of pain – 8 Motrin a day type of pain.) The Rheumatologist in a neighboring city (40 miles away) could get me in in April. So I chose them. My doctor sent them the necessary paperwork and within a few days, they called me and asked me to come in right away. That was the scariest thought I had ever had. I thought I must be dying if they changed me from 4 months from now to 4 days from now.
Thankfully I was not dying, but I was in pretty bad shape. When you are first diagnosed, a lot of blood work is drawn and you have a chest x-ray to check your lungs and a hand x-ray to check your joints in your hands. All of that was done in the initial visit. I was immediately started on a Prednisone regimen and that basically went for all of the year 2012. I was already heavy but being on the steroid caused me to gain even more weight.
Fast Forward to 2016
My Fitness Journey began in January of 2016. One of the things my trainer and I did was food journaling. I wrote down (in the Fitbit app) everything I ate. Everything. Every Sunday I sent him a summary and every Monday we talked and made adjustments. I didn’t know it at the time, but the adjustments he was making for me were greatly reducing inflammation in my body.
When you have RA, it is necessary to have blood work drawn every three months. My prescription will not be refilled without the blood work. Right before I began working with the trainer, I had my blood work drawn. There is a test called the Vectra test. It’s a summary of a lot of inflammation markers and I had this done in January and again in July (6 months after I had changed my eating.) Look at the results!
Whatever You Are Doing, Keep Doing It! Dr. Yu
My doctor was so impressed with the weight loss and with the blood test results, she told me that whatever I was doing to make sure I kept doing it. But you know what? Whether she had said that or not, I knew I would keep it going. Because I FELT the difference. So what was the big key?
In my article The Best Meal Plan for Weight Loss I talk about how all food has calories and for fat loss you need a deficit of calories at the end of the day/week to see a weight/fat loss. So you could essentially eat pizza and ice cream as long as it fit within your calorie in goal.
When I began working with the trainer, (Jan 2016), I made some pretty significant changes to the way I had been eating. Those changes were 1. I gave up soda 2. I stopped eating sugar 3. I cut my bread consumption WAY down and 4. I greatly reduced the “processed” food that I had been consuming. These changes not only helped me lose fat, but also RID my body of inflammation. Since that July of 2016 blood test, I have never had a high C reactive reading from my blood work and my blood work is done EVERY 6 months. But I also have not gone back to soda/sugar/bread/ and processed food.
If you struggle with inflammation of any kind, I stand by the statement that yes you can lose fat by eating less calories than you expend – meaning you can eat any type of food out there. BUT if you struggle with inflammation, I highly recommend that you try giving up sugar, soda, and processed food and limiting your bread intake. See if you can feel the difference.
I have a friend who tried this after reading some of my posts. She too experienced the same thing. Read her story here.
I also have written several posts in January of 2019 with some simple suggestions on how to reduce your sugar intake. These can be found on this website under January 2019 or by searching inflammation. If you too have experienced your inflammation decreasing or going away completely due to dietary changes, please send me a message or comment below. I’d love to hear from you.