By now you may have read a news article or two focused on the relationship between obesity and Multiple Sclerosis. Articles with ominous headlines like:
- “New Study Provides More Evidence That Obesity Increases Risk for Developing MS”
- “Obesity Epidemic May Contribute To Multiple Sclerosis; Increases Risk By 40%.”
Articles like these show the growing body (pun totally intended!) of evidence that obesity is a risk factor for developing MS. The truth is, being overweight also is known to worsen MS symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese.
Sadly, I am in that group.
Well, that isn’t exactly true. I still attend Weight Watchers meetings, pay money for the program and occasionally buy WW food. So I’m trying, right?
Oh yes, I remember now. I am obsessed with food. Food is everywhere. I am comforted by it. I celebrate with it. And I have to have it!
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about my weight-loss battle. In fact, I wrote a letter celebrating my successful weight loss back in 2010. I found this letter while cleaning out files on my computer, and here were some of my thoughts:
“I have battled with my weight all of my life.
After getting married and seeing myself in wedding photos, I realized I needed to do something drastic to lose the extra 70 pounds I was carrying. But because I have multiple sclerosis and can no longer walk or “traditionally” exercise, bariatric surgery seemed to be my only option.
Dan and I attended a seminar about this procedure. I understood surgery would be painful but was disappointed to learn that the most I could expect to lose was about 40 pounds. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the doctors crushed my hopes completely when they told me bariatric surgery wasn’t possible because I am unable to walk.
“Great,” I thought as we drove home, “I’m going to be fat forever!” That’s when my husband asked, “Have you ever considered Weight Watchers?” One of his coworkers was having great success with the program, so I figured what (besides weight) did I have to lose?
I looked into Weight Watchers, and I am glad that I did! With Weight Watchers, I have always felt that my 70-pound goal is attainable. When I attend my weekly meetings, I am welcomed and supported by my leader and receptionist, and I find such friendship and support from fellow Weight Watchers members.
In just over a year of following the Flex Plan, I proudly boast about my 51-pound weight loss. I’m over halfway toward my goal, which I will meet, despite my disability!
Wow. What a real-life reminder of what once motivated me to control my weight. Sure, I am not exactly the same woman who wrote that more six years ago, but I can become more like her, if I try.
Each time I read this, I remember (and realize) how attainable my goal is. But it’s up to me to put my mind to it and get to work. I can no longer ignore the fact that I have to do this.
Plus, Dan and I have the opportunity to speak at a National MS Society event in Dallas this October, and that is inspiring me to get back on track.
I may not be able to completely control my MS, but I can control my weight and its effect on the disease. My health and my husband are inspiring me to continue my weight-loss journey. As of today, I have renewed my focus!
Anyone need to or want to join me? After all, weight is the only thing we have to lose 😉
*P.S. Special thanks to our friend and my inspiration Lynne for taking these photos of my weigh-in.