Arthritis Services Arthritis Services

Weight!  What’s holding you back from winning at the losing game?


History and Statistics

Research is supportive of the fact that people who are overweight and have arthritis face increased demands on their energy and pain levels.  Obese rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to a study conducted by Dr. Siri  Lillegraven  and presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (2007), displayed worse quality of life outcomes on four key levels: pain, fatigue, physical function and overall utility scores. The author explains, “It seems that obesity has an impact on a patient's quality of life and on the self-perceived burden of RA.  In the key areas highlighted by this study, RA patients with concurrent obesity scored significantly worse in the quality of life assessments than normal weight patients."

Arthritis risk and incidence are on the rise among overweight baby boomers.  Between 1971 and 2002 obesity related arthritis incidence soared from 3-18% (Sharon Obrian).  These trends are continuing with some sources declaring that 61% of Americans are overweight. There are many issues that have contributed to America becoming a heavier nation, non- the- least of which is the confusion surrounding how and what to eat for healthy weight-loss. Quick fad diets have plagued the world of obesity and have contributed to the poundage.  Obesity and its resulting health related diseases is a national public health crisis, and quite frankly according to William Dietz, MD “the toughest social issue we will have ever faced.” 

In the book, Therapeutic Groups for Obese Women, A Group Leaders Handbook, Professors Buckroyd and Rother at Hertfordshire University (2007) hypothesized that “eating behavior is determined in part by emotional states.”  They go on to question, “Why else would people who are overweight and faced with serious health crises continue to overeat?”  Through their work, they have discovered that there are emotional mechanisms at work which make it very difficult for some persons to eat less.  Psychological factors certainly influence eating habits. Many people eat more as a response to boredom, sadness, or anger.



A Program of Change

In late April, Arthritis Services is starting a counseling program to combat the psychological challenges of weigh-gain and unhealthy eating. This program, Weight!  What’s keeping you from winning at the losing game?, will help persons explore in a group therapy setting the emotional issues that may be undermining weight loss efforts. The obvious answers would be to eat less and move more, however it is apparent that it is not so simple for so many. What is holding them back?

Participants will attend bi- monthly counselor-led group therapy. Educational clips will be included. The counselor will evaluate the progress of participants at intervals along the process. In order to receive maximum benefit from this program, Arthritis Services asks that individuals attend at least 40% of the provided sessions or a minimum of 9 of 24 offerings.

Attendance Records will be kept and percentages of attendance noted. Reminder cards will be sent to participants to encourage attendance.

Some things you can expect from this program:

-The person taking action will record one change they have made in eating habits after 6 sessions attended.

-The person taking action will explore emotional eating behaviors.

-The person taking action will record on post testing if the meetings have allowed safe ventilation of their feelings regarding emotional overeating.

-The person taking action will discover “hidden” reasons for “holding onto” weight.

-The person taking action will record on post testing if the group sessions have allowed self-exploration of “reasons” for “holding on to” extra weight. Persons are not required to write or verbalize confidential information. (Exception: Licensed counselor is required by law to report child abuse).

-The person taking action will discover community resources for help with the losing game.

-The person taking action will be made aware of the community resources in Charlotte, NC that can assist in the weight loss journey and record this information on post testing every 6 weeks.

We hope that you will join Arthritis Services in discovering ways to think differently about "dieting" and to deal with emotional issues that can prevent weight loss and healthy eating. Contact us to sign up.