[RA & Diet] My Weight Loss Journey

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niki wyre my weight loss journey rheumatoid arthritisMy Weight Loss Journey

by Niki Wyre

It has been no secret that I have battled with my weight for years like many of you. Every year I would set resolutions to lose the weight, eat better, stop bad habits and try to get my health under control. In December 2010, I weighed in at my highest weight ever, 309 pounds. Between my endocrine issues, insulin resistant polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)  and hypothryoidism, matched with frequent dosages of prednisone and loss of mobility the weight just kept on adding up. As the years and weight crept up on me, the more self concious I became. I became withdrawn, didn’t like my pictures being taken and becoming more depressed. I wore a size 26W jeans that were too tight. I hated myself.

After weighing in at my highest weight I decided to try to take my life back from Rheumatoid Arthritis and the weight. I was determined. I motivated myself by watching marathons of Biggest Loser, Heavy, Dance your Ass Off and more. If you haven’t seen past seasons, Hulu Plus and Netflix offer online streaming of all episodes. I was inspired by their weight loss journeys and wanted that for myself. I did have a big obstable though, my Rheumatoid Arthritis and other conditions causing the slightest exercises to be too painful to bear.

I was on top of my dieting from the New Year of 2011 until about May. The weight was starting to drop. Then I started having a cheat meal once a week, then a cheat day, and it just snowballed. I had to admit to myself that I have a food addiction. Food is something that I have always fought with. When I was in high school I was anorexic. After high school, I binged and purged. Now as an adult, food was my comfort. If I was in pain I would reach for food. If I was sick, I would reach for food. If I was depressed or sad or overwhelmed, I reached for food. I would use food as a reward for myself, as a celebration of events, as a comfort, and really I was just punishing myself with each time I chowed down on unhealthy choices. McDonalds, Arby’s, Steak n Shake, you name it, I probably loved to eat it. When I look back now at the things I was just eating last calender year, I feel sick. I was killing myself.

Last December, 2011, I was told that my my blood work came back as Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), also known as prediabetes. I was in shock. It was a lot to absorb. I knew I had extra weight. I was told I had fat infilitration in my liver, but for some reason I didn’t believe I was in as bad as shape as I truly was. I’ll be honest, I cried a lot, dwelled on past mistakes and finally gathered enough determination to make my goals a reality. At Christmas 2011, I weighed in at 274.5 pounds. From that moment, the game was on for me. There was no turning back. I couldn’t let myself go further, to gain the diagnosis of Diabetes. It was up to me to take accountability for what I have done to myself.

losing weight with rheumatoid arthritisSo I went back to watching the weight loss shows like Biggest Loser, through my waking hours. It was constantly playing in the background while I used computer or cleaned. Letting it sink in. I even branched out to watch seasons of Biggest Loser from the UK and Australia. The people and their stories truly inspired me. I started reading books on overcoming sugar addiction, learning to love myself and most importantly, forgive myself for my past mistakes. This past week I started reading weight loss journey books of past contestants as well as celebrities that have gone through amazing amounts of weight loss.

As of last Sunday’s weigh in (March 25, 2012) I am currently 241 pounds. I still have a lot more to go to my goal, but I’m getting there a few pounds at a time. I just fit into a size 19 jeans yesterday with almost an inch to spare! My goal is to get a healthy weight of 155 to 160 as I’m tall at 5’9″. I want to be able to feel good about myself, love me for who I am and not feel so self conscious like I have had for so many years. I think one of the hardest obstacles for overweight people is not the eating, the food, etc but lies in the reasons why we are eating. For so many years I stuffed my emotional pain and inner turmoil further down with food. If you reach for food when you are upset, hurting or in pain or to fill a void inside, you are an emotional eater. It is both a mental as well as physical journey to overcome emotional eating or food addiction. The only way to truly be free of it is to address the issues that started the behavior in the first part.


I want to tell you all the following things:

1. You can do it. No matter how hard the obstacles may seem, you can do this. I can’t really exercise, have metabolic disorders, go on high bursts of prednisone, but I’m losing the weight. If I can do it, anyone can.

2. You are worthwhile. When you have weight and self esteem issues, it can be hard to overcome your inner turmoil. Know that you deserve to be the healthiest you possible. When you have conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, you need all the edge you can get in your health to stay healthy. Every extra pound we carry adds 4 pounds of pressure to your knees! Even if you are just 20 pounds overweight, it’s an additional 80 pounds of pressure on your knees and doesn’t help your feet at all.

3. It’s okay to have setbacks or self doubts. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Some weeks you may not have a loss or a small change while others you have a phenomonal loss. If you break down and cheat on your healthy lifestyle, it’s okay. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start. I personally found through my self discovery learning about food addiction and emotional eating that I can’t allow myself to cheat. One cheat leads to another and another until I snowball. Once I am more mentally stronger, I hope that I can induldge in small things here and there. I do have to say that yesterday I was parked next to a McDonalds and realized it no longer had any power over me. That is an amazing feeling.

4. Take pictures. Believe me, the furthest thing from my mind was documenting my bloated face and body. However I am glad that I took some pictures along the way. The change already is crazy to see. I find that it helps justify why I am doing this and helping me move a little bit more towards my goal of loving / accepting myself. For the first time in a long time, I’m actually okay with looking in the mirror.

5. Don’t do it alone. Thanks to social networking and online communities, like Facebook or Spark People, there is a multitude of support available with just a few clicks of a mouse. If you have a close friend or family member that wants to join you in your efforts, the more the better. It’s the support that will get your through the tough times and when you need encouragement.

6. Do what you can, when you can. For over a year and a half now, RA has really taken a toll on my body. On a good day I can manage some Yoga in Bed stretches or small range of motion exercises. Due to back, knees and stress fractures, I have been unable to walk, run, bike etc. It’s hard to exercise when your pain is that bad and moving scares you. During flares there is definitely no way I can get much movement in. Start small. You can get a cheap pedometer or a metabolic tracking device like the BodyBugg system or Fitbit to see what you average on steps per day. Then make a goal. It could be as simple as adding 50 more steps a day or a walk once or twice a week. Most of our members report that water exercises are the best way to go, while chair yoga or yoga in bed are more gentle in joints. If you slowly add activity into your lifestyle you can prevent injury or additional pain. If something hurts, stop. Try not to go all out and overdo it as well. That is never good for RA.

7. Nutrition accountability.This I cannot stress enough. My weight loss has been based pretty much solely on a healthier eating style. You need to account for your daily caloric intake. As long as you consume less calories than you burn in any given day, it will reflect a loss. Here is a calculator for figuring out what your daily caloric burn is by the Mayo Clinic:   Calorie calculator By Mayo Clinic staff

Fact: A pound is the equavalient of 3500 calories. So you need that as a deficit in order to loss a pound or in surplus for a pound weight gain. My current calorie budget is set at 1400 calories a day. Considering I used to eat sometimes double that in one fast food meal *cringe* I thought I would be hungry all the time. Incorrect. I found out that sometimes its even hard for me to reach my daily goal. I feel like I eat a lot. I do 4 to 5 small meals a day to add up to my total.

I have set a goal for myself this calender year that I’m hoping to acheive by new year’s eve. I want to be in “onederland” as they call it on Biggest Loser. It’s been atleast 7 years or so since I had a weight starting with the number 1. That means I still have 41 more pounds to lose this calender year alone. I’m currently the smallest I have weighed in three years now. Let me tell you, it feels great to shed years worth of gain. It is rewarding. I’m trying to stay on track and keep motivated. I tell myself if I want something I shouldn’t have “Nothing tastes better than how skinny will feel”.  However I do plan on getting down to 155 to 160 pounds for my goal weight.  Want to calculate a healthy weight goal for yourself? Here is the Ideal Weight Calculator by Health Status.

If you are looking for some inspiration or want to start your own self discovery, I recommend these books that I have read so far. I’m trying to mix in a self help or healing book for every few novels I read. It truly has made a difference in me. I feel different inside. More mentally strong and I feel like I can actually do this. On some level I am still mad at myself for not waking up to this reality sooner, but I’m learning to forgive myself for the past.  See my Self Discovery and Weight Loss Inspiration Reading List here.

If you are interested in learning about my eating lifestyle, diet choices, eliminated items from my diet in more detail, check out my blog on this topic here:

How is Niki Losing All That Weight?

I know I’m letting it all hang out here on the internet but I’m finding it very therapeutic to be this honest and think that if one person is motivated by reading my journey than it was worth it. Goodness knows I would of never posted my weight online before. I hope that you will share your journeys with me as well as we support each other. Thank you for taking the time to read about me. More blogs in the future with updates as I progress. (((pain-free internet hugs)))


See related blogs:

How is Niki Losing All That Weight?

My Self Discovery and Weight Loss Inspiration Reading List

My Weight Loss Journey Pictures Along the Way


Looking for more blogs by Niki? Please check here.

*I am not a medical professional, just another person battling their weight. Balanced diets are vitally important not only to your weight but overall health. I don’t recommend going on fad diets or crazy diets that can harm your health. If you are planning on a significant diet or health change, discussing with your doctor is always a great idea. Often they can give you suggestions or guidelines to use along the way.*

Interested in becoming a writer for We are looking for volunteers to keep the knowledge going to all our members. Interested individuals can email Niki by filling out the form below. 

Please let us know what you are interesting in contributing to, what topics or hobbies you are most interested in and any questions you may have about becoming a volunteer writer for RA Chicks. Thank you.

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6 comments… add one

  • Melba

    March 28, 2012, 8:21 pm

    Thank you Niki. I had a gastric bypass at the age of 62…now I am 70 and have just regained 30 lbs… With longstanding (50 years) of RA and being 5′ it is really really difficult for me to loose but I do not ever give up. THANK YOU so much for your blog and I do wish you all the success in the world.

  • Deb

    March 28, 2012, 8:44 pm

    Nikki! Congratulations! I too was 220 pounds at my heaviest. I couldnt tie my shoes because I was too fat. I knew then I had to change. Then I got a severe case of heartburn and went to the doctor, he told me that possibly the heartburn was due to my weight. He told me one thing, that I take to heart even today. Do not eat past 7 pm at night. When I did that I lost 25 pounds. I didnt realize how much I ate at night! I have stuck with that and changed what I eat. The MTX that I am on also has curbed my appetite. But I am no longer 220 pounds, but rather 137 pounds. Another really important thing I did, I threw away my scale. I measured my success in weight loss with how my pants felt. I felt too discouraged with a scale! Good Luck on your journey! You are a super strong person! Just so you know. I never exercised one bit for the 80 pounds I lost. It was all by changing my diet and not eating past 7!

  • Dee

    March 28, 2012, 11:35 pm


    I’m 5’2″ with RA and diagnosed with diabetes in 2009. I lost 30lbs after the diagnosis but recently decided cutting carbs alone wasn’t cutting it and got serious. The hardest for me was going public on my blog to share my weight loss journey with photos and weekly weight. I think it’s the accountability that keeps me on track (most of the time).

  • Stephanie Albert

    March 31, 2012, 10:29 am

    Thank you for sharing Niki. I am going to look into the books and your eating changes. We have the exact same issues and it is so encouraging to not be alone in this. The fatigue has the best of me and I am depressed and unmotivated right now, but reading this has cracked the shell and I know I need to take action. Thank you for taking the time to share for those of us still in the rut. God Bless you on your journey!!!

  • Liz C.

    May 19, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Thank you Niki! I am starting a weight loss journey and had no idea how to do this. It is so hard to face the past, move on and get going. I’m an RA sufferer and I know I constantly use this as my excuse. I disappoint myself constantly and am taking the steps to make myself well again (as I eat my Ben & Jerry’s ice cream). But seriously, it’s hard to fight your demon when the biggest one is yourself! Thank you for sharing.

  • racine

    September 14, 2014, 1:55 pm

    thanks for sharing everyone, some of the posts are a few years old, I have decided to have the , my vsg my weight at it’s highest was 319 this past May. The lowest 265 in 2006. My weight have crept up steadily over the years. I have worked out counted calories and carbs but each time it creeps back up. I am at the point I feel i have to do something drastic. My knees are starting to give me problems and i have no energy. I have been using a app. calorie counter for the past 3months ,weight is down to 306. I am border line diabetic and have sleep apnea. I know having bariatric surgery is drastic, but i’m tired of the up and down weight and how it starting to affect my life. I would appreciate any input.


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