Gaining weight is a common concern for people in general, but with MS, there are a few other factors at play. Symptoms such as pain, fatigue, dizziness, and depression may affect your energy levels as well as your relationship with food. On top of these symptoms, steroid therapy prescribed to decrease inflammation can cause you to gain weight.  These factors are not your fault, but you owe it to yourself to take the reins and do what you can to maintain a healthy weight.

Why should I care?

Being overweight or underweight can actually worsen MS symptoms, in addition to affecting your health overall. Of course, we prefer to think in terms of actions and benefits. Whether or not you’re concerned with the number on the scale, weight management strategies like eating well and exercising can help you maintain muscle mass, increase mobility, and manage stress.

Where to start?

  1. Drinking plenty of water can help with weight management by making you feel full, so you eat less. Try drinking water before meals or when you’re craving an unhealthy snack. Bonus points if you’re drinking water instead of caloric beverages such as soda and juice! More tips here.
  2. The right exercise regimen can help with managing weight. Added benefits include improving muscle tone, endurance, and range of motion, as well as lifting the mood and decreasing fatigue. There’s no one-exercise-fits-all approach since abilities among MS patients run the gamut, but a Health Advisor, Physical Therapist, or personal trainer can help you figure out the right routine for your body.
  3. Eating right is a huge component… but beware of fad diets. There are so many out there, including ones that specifically target people with MS. Before trying anything restrictive or expensive, consult your doctor for recommendations. Your Health Advisor can also schedule a consultation with our nutritionist on staff to figure out the right meal plan for your needs.
  4. Find an accountability partner This could be a friend, a family member, or even your Health Advisor! Basically, find someone you feel comfortable talking to and keep them in the loop. You may find that if you shared your goals, you’ll be a lot more motivated to achieve them! 
  5. Take it one day at a time. The key to weight loss success is setting realistic goals and taking specific steps on a regular basis to reach them. We call it the tiny step method (more info here), and we use it because it works.

The overarching theme is that there are many things you can do to overcome your barriers and achieve your weight loss goals – it’s all about pacing yourself and sticking with it!

If you’re not yet a Pack Health member, you should also know that we’re here to help. *Click here*  to get your own personal Health Advisor. They’ll be your coach, assistant, and accountability partner on this journey to better health. Our 12-week program is free (due to grant funding) while supplies last!

Read next:

Exercise with MS

Roasting Veggies with MS (Downloadable Recipe Guide!)

5 Myths about MS

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