One of my pet peeves for several years now is the tendency for doctors to look at my weight and say, essentially, that it’s my problem. I’ll acknowledge it’s not healthy – at my heaviest I’ve been about 235. I know it’s bad for the joints that have arthritis in them (back and knees), which adds to my pain issues. Last night in the pool during AquaMixx, I had significant pain in my knees moving through the exercises. I also know I feel sluggish when I weigh too much. It’s a catch-22 of not being able to exercise because I don’t feel good because I weigh too much when exercising can help reduce weight which would help me move.
I acknowledge all that. What my issue is, however, is that doctors tend to dismiss chronic pain when weight is involved. I can say definitively when I was 16 and skinny, I still had pain. And I’ve had pain throughout gaining and losing weight. I have had both an increase in weight and pain the last couple years – is it a chicken and the egg syndrome? After all, I have a double whammy now. I’m over 50 and I’m overweight. Ding ding ding, of course I have pain, right? No.
The pain in my hands right now is very much like the pain in my knees when my arthritis bites me. Do I have arthritis in my hands? No. The pain in my shoulders when I hug my husband too long is very much the same as the pain in my back, which is from slipped discs and arthritis. Do I have arthritis in my shoulders? No. I have several days a month when I feel like I have the flu without the fever, vomiting/diarrhea. Do I have the flu? No. When my cat walks on me (let’s say the skinny one, not the tubby one) it feels like he’s stepping on bruises or creating bruises with every step. Am I bruised all the way up my legs, side, stomach, back, arms? No. All that’s fibromyalgia. Not age. Not weight. Fibromyalgia.
So I’ll take the weight-loss challenge, and let’s see what happens to mobility (my primary goal), pain, and fatigue. I don’t own a scale, but I’m very sensitive to weight in terms of how my clothes fit. And I have access to a physician’s scale at work when I notice that my clothes feel different. I don’t like to consciously try to lose weight because I tend to get frustrated and just binge, and then gain and it’s a mess. But here are my goals for losing weight:
- small dinners, trying not to skip them, but I get home late and eat dinner late, so I need to really just have a yogurt or something very light. Maybe do vegan at night.
- Eat normally during the day at work – I don’t eat that much anyway, but to keep satisfied, allow myself to be happy eating at work.
- Don’t deprive myself, but encourage myself to cut back on carbs. Now I want a bowl of pasta. But when I do have carbs, I’ll have whole grains. I don’t eat much bread anyway, but I do love pasta.
- Continue to get to the pool at least once a week for AquaMixx. If possible go twice with the second time running laps in the pool.
- Add daily stretches at home. Leg lifts, bending, whatever I can do now that I have my own space. I’ll work on creating a daily routine and I’ll get my yoga mat out of the trunk of my car.
- Track my progress. It’s easy to start something, but if I’m doing this on my own, I don’t stay accountable and it’s easy to just slide back into old habits. I’ll track progress at least once a week to be able to be accountable to myself.
- Don’t blame myself for slipping. No guilt. No scolding myself. Only encouragement.
It’s not easy, especially when I’m not convinced that there will be a significant difference in the way I feel. But being mindful of the food I eat and being diligent in exercising will definitely help me feel better. The question here is – will losing weight help fibromyalgia pain?