Fat and arthritic but needing to live healthier. Help?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Newlyread, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    I'm old, fat, poor and busted but I need to make a lifestyle change or it's only gonna get worse! Once upon a time I lived in the far off mystical plains of Florida with my in-laws and they had a pool and lo, it was good. But the days of private low impact exercise access is no longer available to me.

    My knees have been a bane of my existence since puberty, and now that I'm in my early 30s, turns out they're full of degenerative arthritis, because fuck me anyway, am I right? That means I can stand for roughly five minutes at a time without pain, I can walk an incredible 1/4 block before I get winded and I'm massively overweight. Turns out escaping reality by fucking around online is a lot easier than remembering to get off my fat ass and jiggle around for a little bit.

    But the thing is, I'm a caretaker for my disabled husband, and in order to help him be at his healthiest, I gotta not be broken. Or at least LESS broken. I mean, I went to the doc's for my terrible knees and you know what his treatment plan was? Lose weight!


    Thanks, doc!

    SO basically I am asking for advice on low impact exercise, stretches, healthy meals to make on an exceedingly tight budget, or any pro tips you guys might have! Unfortunately going to a gym or a pool is right out, and while I'm going to make myself walk and try to increase my stamina, I don't wanna burn myself out.

    Or hell, even commiseration is welcome. Thanks, kintsugin~
  2. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    @jacktrash do you have a link to that hand-cycle type thing you were talking about before? definitely seems like the sort of thing that would be useful to @Ruevian

    i know a fair number of bodyweight exercises but i'm not sure how many of them qualify as low-impact. is it standing/bending your knees that aggravates the arthritis, or any leg movement at all? if you can hold them straight and move them at the hips without causing a flare-up, i would suggest leg raises (they're easier when you stick your hands under your butt) and flutter kicks (lie on your back, hands under your butt, and kick your feet like you're swimming).

    if you can get your hands on a couple weights, shoulder presses, bicep curls, flies, triceps extensions, bench press, and quite a few other arm/upper body exercises can be done while seated/lying down. you don't have to lift huge weights or anything, but the resistance helps you keep muscle while you're losing weight. (i taught myself how to do a lot of these off of youtube; they're not as intimidating as they sound, esp. when you've done them a few times and muscle memory starts to kick in).

    idk how helpful any of that was, but good luck!
    • Like x 1
  3. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    Thanks for the advice, budgie! To be honest, I'm not exactly clear on what low impact is outside of swimming -- I assume it's anything that isn't too harsh on the joints? IDK. All I know is a lot of exercise I've been looking at seems downright impossible with the knees I have. For example, I just tried to do some very mild, basic squats, not even going down that far, and my knees sounded and felt like rocks grinding and tumbling around a concrete pocket. Just awful.

    Those sound like exercises I can do though. I can't fully extend or bend my knees, but they seem doable. I'll give 'em a try!
  4. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    the search term you want is 'arm cycle' -- you can get a cheap one at walmart.

    tai chi can help you with strength and stamina, but in general, try to do stuff while sitting or lying down, because that extra weight on your joints is going to be hell. from one fat arthritic to another trust me on this. :P

    i lie on my back on my bed or a mat, and do leg lifts, butt lifts, body curls, and lift small hand weights. since you're trying to reduce your actual interaction with gravity, not just become more fit, go for many many reps of light exercise, rather than few reps of heavy exercise. lift a three pound weight forty times, instead of a ten pound weight ten times. you will still get heavier before you get lighter! resist the temptation to crash diet. muscle is heavier than fat.

    cardio is anything that gets your pulse and respiration elevated and keeps it there for a while. experiment to find something you can do for a long time without pain that is a slight but constant effort, and do it regularly while reading a book or watching tv. again, light effort, many reps. you just want to raise your heart rate a little bit, but keep it up for half an hour or more.

    and if money is what's keeping you from getting to a pool, look into low-income deals at the ymca, apparently it's possible to get a membership for hella cheap.
    • Like x 2
  5. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    Thank you! This is all primo advice. The major factor keeping me from a pool is transportation -- I have a van but it's really on its last legs and I try to keep driving time to grocery runs and doctor appointments. I mean, there's also the fact of being seen, in a swimsuit, in public, aaaaaaaaah, but I can get over that.

    Fun fact, and by fun, I mean terribly disheartening: I googled "arm cycle" to see what it do and one of the first results was a post on a bodybuilder forum making fun of "200 lb whales" using the arm cycle. Ha ha, fuck you too, kid.
  6. Vierran

    Vierran small and sharp

    Regular bicycling is also low-impact and good cardiovascular exercise. If it hurts your knees in the grinding/crunching sense, then yeah, that's a bad choice, but otherwise, might be worth looking into. There are fancy stands for setting up regular bikes as stationary bikes, but it also seems like it should be possible to put something together for less money than the ones I can find...
    • Like x 1
  7. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    i found that post too, and for some reason i read the rest of the thread as well, and the kid gets REAMED by older bodybuilders who are like "how the fuck is someone gonna get ripped if they don't exercise, making fun of people for exercising is the opposite of this forum" and "btw kid i looked at your profile, you're a spaghetti, you're free-lifting soup cans, stfu about who's fit enough to be in the gym."

    one of the few occasions when reading the comments wasn't a terrible mistake. :D
    • Like x 12
  8. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    btw if you can get the transport issue sorted out, water aerobics is SUCH A GODSEND OH MY GOD. you can exercise as much as you want with no weight on your joints whatsoever, it feels SO GOOD.
    • Like x 1
  9. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    The very sad and shameful thing is I don't actually know how to ride a bike. I never learned!
  10. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    Oh man, I love being in the water so much, I would love to do water aerobics. Do you have any favorites you like to do?
  11. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    I'm also going to start doing these stretches and exercises every day:

  12. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    my absolute favorite is just basically a walking kind of motion, except you're kind of doing in place -- you're chest deep or shoulder deep, and you have your legs like you're taking a nice long stride, and then bounce up and switch which leg is forward. swing your arms in big pendulum arcs while doing this. the resistance of the water makes it good exercise, but the fact that you're buoyant and it's no-impact makes it painless.

    here are some others:

    • Like x 1
  13. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    Thank you! This is really good stuff, I really appreciate it. :D
    • Like x 1
  14. cleverThylacine

    cleverThylacine cuddles for the weird and the fierce

    I don't know where you live, but what's the public transport situation? I have never driven which is one of the reasons I live in a big city but most small cities have some form of bus service?
  15. Mercury

    Mercury 17 Quicksilver Scribe Tramples The Unrepentant

    No advice, but a fistbump of solidarity, and I want to say something I have to repeat to myself - the small changes really do add up, even though it feels like it takes forever. Going back after a few months and trying something that was initially hard to do is a really good way to remind yourself of that.
    • Like x 2
  16. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    It's pretty good, actually! I live in a college town so we have buses all around. Unfortunately, the nearest bus stop is a couple blocks away, and at my current level of stamina and strength, I don't think I could make it. With any luck, I'll be able to do it soon, though!

    Of course, then I have to figure out bus schedules, oh man...
  17. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen


    That is good advice and I'll keep it in mind. Thank you, dude, and good luck with your strengthening too!
  18. Newlyread

    Newlyread Killer Queen

    Did stretches today, took my first multivitamin, been hydrating and eating healthy. Some light exercise, then some MORE exercise just by helping out my husband in various ways. Feelin' pretty good. Tired and sore but my knees actually don't hurt as bad considering I went to the store today.

    On the flip side, looking up various youtube videos for healthy meal prep and just healthy living is super disheartening because of course it's all skinny beautiful people doing it to stay beautiful, buying expensive food and using expensive equipment in kitchens that look like half the size of my entire house. It's like watching aliens from another planet explain how to live life on their planet.

    Ah well, gotta keep keepin' on regardless.
    • Like x 2
  19. rigorist

    rigorist On the beach

    1. Buy a shitload of the cheapest frozen veggies you can find. Nuke up some with every meal except breakfast.

    2. Go to thrift shop. Buy Weight Watchers materials for pennies on the dollar. Surprisingly good recipes.

    3. Apples apples apples!
    • Like x 2
  20. banshu

    banshu Patron Saint of Annoying Web Theme Workarounds

    im mostly hear sniping ideas myself but i can also offer a fistbump of solidarity. ;; i'm not arthritic but i am a fellow fatty who works retail and standing on hard tile for hours on end does similar things to my knees and ankles.

    a thing that i have found is very very important is to make absolutely sure you're A) never skipping a meal and B) managing to get actual nutrition in you be it thru vitamins or some other source. keeps your appetite down. (also be very, very careful with multivitamins because the majority of them actually have MORE than what you need in them and that can cause side effects as well--i had to stop taking mine because excess vitamin d was causing me join pain so bad i couldnt move my fingers)
    • Like x 1
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