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Living with Arthritis

Losing Just 1 Pound May Help Your Joint Pain

If you’re overweight, dropping a few pounds can ease the pressure on your knees and hips.

Losing 1 POUND of body weight Weight Loss Reduces Arthritis Knee Pain= Losing 4 POUNDS of pressure on knees Weight Loss Reduces Arthritis Knee Pain

And, of course, losing excess weight has lots of other health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases, increased energy, better sleep, improved mood, and much more.

Keep Moving® Strategies for Effective Weight Loss

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Clearing Up Portion Distortion

When was the last time you had only a half-cup of ice cream on your cone? Or a spaghetti dinner with just a fist-sized serving of pasta? Believe it or not, these are standard portion sizes for these foods.

So what does a portion look like?

  • Meat Serving SizeMEAT (3 oz) = deck of cards
  • Butter Serving SizeBUTTER (1 tsp) = postage stamp
  • Fish Serving SizeFISH (3 oz) = smartphone
  • Salad Dressing Serving SizeSALAD DRESSING (2 Tbs) = 4 soda capfuls
  • Fruits and Vegetables Serving SizeFRUITS/VEGETABLES = tennis ball
  • Peanut Butter Serving SizePEANUT BUTTER (2 Tbs) = ping pong ball
  • Bagel Serving SizeBAGEL = hockey puck
  • Cooked Starch Serving SizeCOOKED PASTA/POTATO/RICE (1/2 cup) = small fist

To eat healthy, you have to understand serving size.

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Calories 2 Ways

You don’t need to go hungry trying to lose weight! In fact, there are ways to create bigger, more filling versions of your favorite meals without adding calories. One approach is to add more water-rich foods to your meals. Foods that have higher water content—such as fruits, vegetables, cooked grains, soups, and stews—usually pack fewer calories in each bite. Try building your meals around more of these foods and cutting back on some of the high-fat ingredients. The result? You can cut calories but still eat enough to feel satisfied.

320-calorie sandwich Half Bologna Sandwich

Half of a bologna and cheese sandwich with mayo on white bread


Whole sandwich with reduced-fat ham and cheese, mustard, higher-fiber bread—and fresh vegetables added

Whole Ham and Cheese Sandwich320-calorie sandwich

397-calorie salad Small Chicken Ceasar Salad

Small conventional chicken Caesar salad


Large chicken Caesar salad with lower-fat Caesar dressing, less cheese, more veggies, and high-fiber pita instead of croutons

Large Chicken Ceasar Salad397-calorie salad

330-calorie pasta Small Serving Mac and Cheese

Small conventional macaroni and cheese


Large gourmet mac-and-cheese made with whole-wheat pasta, nonfat milk, reduced-fat cheese, and less butter—with veggies for added nutrients

Large Serving Mac and Cheese330-calorie pasta

By choosing the right foods, you can eat more–not less–and still lose weight.

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Take More Steps, Burn More Calories

Eating fewer calories is one way to lose weight. Burning more calories with physical activity is the other.

Activity can mean more than workouts or special exercises. In fact, you may already do a number of things that may not seem like “exercise” but that do burn calories, such as cleaning the house, walking the dog, even dancing! You may also want to try a wearable fitness tracker to see just how active you are each day!

Here are some easy ways to add more steps to your day:

  • Push your shopping cart around the outside aisles of the grocery store before shopping.
  • Walk around the room during TV commercials.
  • Circle the block each time you go out to get your mail.
  • Schedule walks to catch up with friends and socialize.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Pace while you’re talking on the phone.
  • Stroll around the airport or train station while you’re waiting.
  • Take a walk at lunchtime—even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
  • Get off the bus before your usual stop.
  • Walk the kids to and from the school bus stop.
  • Park farther from building entrances.
  • Walk to coworkers’ desks rather than emailing.
40 to 60 minutes
270 CALORIES Bike Riding
60 minutes
300 CALORIES Raking Leaves
60 minutes
320 CALORIES Dancing
60 minutes

*Note that these calorie counts are averages; the amount you burn depends on your gender and current weight.

Grab every chance to walk—even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll be burning more calories.

Things You Can Do Now to Reduce Joint Pain in the Future

If you do nothing to manage your arthritis, it usually gets worse over time. However, by making tiny changes to your most basic actions and by avoiding further joint injuries, you can help prevent more joint damage and pain.

Protecting Your Joints:

Reminder: Talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes in diet, exercise, or medication.

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