Looking back, Kim G. still can’t quite figure out why she put on so much weight eight years ago. Up until then, she had always been a healthy size. But all of a sudden, she put on a few pounds, then a few more, and soon she went from 114 pounds (healthy for her 5’1” frame) to 187 pounds.
“At first it might have been a combination of a bunch of things, like having minor surgery, getting a little older, and dealing with my chronic arthritis,” says the 57-year-old from Cocoa, FL. “But when the weight started coming on, I figured that if I was going to gain weight, I might as well enjoy sweets and carbs along the way.” That attitude is what ultimately led to her wearing size 3X clothing and staying there for six years.
When Kim’s arthritis got so bad she had to quit working, she started worrying about what all that time at home was going to do to her health. “I didn’t want to be sedentary and just lie around all day on the sofa, but my arthritis made it tough to do certain activities,” she says. “I thought about it and knew that at the very least I could walk every day, which is why I asked my husband for a Fitbit One.”
At the time, Kim lived in Asheville, North Carolina, so she started walking to the downtown area and back home. “It’s a hilly town so it was a pretty tough walk,” she says. “I’d check my Fitbit app afterwards and I loved seeing the equivalent to how many flights of stairs I climbed!”
Along with her daily walks, Kim made tweaks to her diet. Before she knew it, she had a completely different eating plan. “I made my diet changes knowing that certain foods made my arthritis symptoms worse,” she says. “So I eliminated all foods that could be inflammatory, like nightshades, sugar, dairy, grains, and processed foods. I really went back to basics.”
While it sounds strict, Kim found there were a lot of healthy foods she could eat. “I scrambled eggs with spinach or baby kale in the morning for breakfast, would make a lunch out of an apple with almond butter and a green smoothie, and had chicken with beets or sweet potatoes for dinner,” she says. “I also reached for fruit like oranges and bananas for snacks.”
Slow and steady was Kim’s motto, which is why it took about six months for the weight to really start coming off. But once it did, it didn’t stop. She now weighs 107 pounds and, even better, is in a lot less pain from the arthritis. “My arthritis is worse if I’m heavier and eating poorly,” she says. “These days I still have pain, but it’s not a constant and can come and go—I just feel so much better!”
Kim’s Advice for Others
Get creative with smoothies
“Turmeric may sound exotic, but I use it in everything, even my smoothies,” she says. “I’ll combine baby spinach, kale, turmeric, coconut water, and frozen mango and blend it all together—it’s delicious!”
Try yoga at home
“I love a nice gentle yoga and wanted to be able to practice it at home,” she says. “I found a yoga channel on YouTube and follow along to the free videos—I love them!”
Have rules about sweets
“These days, if I want something sweet, it has to be grain-free, dairy-free, and organic—or I simply reach for fruit,” she says. “That helps me keep even my splurges on the healthier side.”
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This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.