Tag Archives: Multiple Sclerosis

Weighing in on MS and obesity research

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:

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.

WW2And in case you missed it a few sentences ago, being overweight is known to worsen MS symptoms. Sad, yes, but apparently I did miss it because what am I doing about controlling my weight?

Nothing.

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?

How can I still be obese? After all, if I’m going to the meetings and spending the money, shouldn’t I be losing?WW1

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.

WW3After 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 WW4am 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.

WW5
You may have wondered, if I can’t stand on my own, how can I weigh at WW? Here in photos is the process. First they get Dan’s weight, he then helps me stand, and then they subtract his weight from our joint total. Simple, right?

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.

 

An MS caregiving story in pictures

It’s always humbling when people want to know more about us and about our shared battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Jennifer and I comment that our life together and serving as each other’s caregiver is an open book, and we’re willing to answer pretty much any question. Leave it to a Central Michigan University student to make…Continue Reading

MS and accessorizing for good

It’s interesting how lines from movies have permanently worked their way into regular conversations between Dan and me. For example, trips to sporting event concession stands often trigger one of us to quote Spalding Smails from the golf classic Caddyshack, “I want a hamburger. No, cheeseburger. I want a hot dog. I want a milkshake.…Continue Reading

Discovering power in MS advocacy

Multiple Sclerosis possesses weapons that should make Dan and me feel powerless. Striking us with extreme fatigue. Weakening our limbs with constant numbness. Robbing me of my ability to walk. Powerless. But that’s not how we’ve rolled, both literally and figuratively, in our 10 years of marriage. Dan and I have lived to redefine what…Continue Reading

Whether to go, weather we’ll stay

My initial thought when the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch was that it was much ado about nothing. The posted watch predicted everything shy of hellfire and brimstone the very day Jennifer and I were set to traverse three hours to Ford Field in Detroit and watch our beloved CMU Chippewas battle…Continue Reading

MS lessons learned on unwanted anniversary

When a child turns 18, that child is an adult, right? On his or her own. That’s the deal. Independence at eighteen. November 14, 2015, marked my 18 years. Time for my freedom. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Only one small thing: Freedom is not on my horizon. Even though I’m fully willing to…Continue Reading