My Journey to Overcoming Osteoarthritis (A Case Study).
Table Of Content
Anita's transformation journey is both inspiring and awesome! From always being told that a 'diet' has to be following a set of strict rules and intense physical training, Anita came a very long way in understanding the importance of making sustainable lifestyle changes to help her get in shape.
Quite honestly, as a team, it was an honour for us to work on Anita's transformation journey. Her child- like enthusiasm, yet seriousness towards her goals made our weekly calls productive and fun. The entire team truly cherished celebrating her small victories and progress.
Noticing sudden weight changes, and being recently diagnosed with Osteoarthritis, Anita trusted to work with us in spite of being very skeptical if she would even see any changes. The first step for the team then was to change her mindset towards nutrition. Just like we did with Bijal, another one of our star client.
With very small tasks like sleeping an hour earlier than she was used to sleeping and including the right foods into her diet. Anita started noticing a changes in her energy levels and even body composition from the very first month!
Not only did Anita very soon start seeing improvements in her knee pain from Osteoarthritis, she today walk's pain free and even indulges in physical activity!
The entire team, being a silent spectator to Anita's progress were constantly discussing how we can help her during team meetings. The first step, was to encourage her to start physio sessions. We then researched and connected her to the very best yoga instructor to help compliment holistic wellness in addition to her eating plan.
Having worked with thousands of clients now, my intention is to help my team understand that extra theoretical knowledge is not what clients need. But being there for them when they feel their worse self and providing emotional support when they need hand- holding must be our primary goal.
Anita's success was realising that there is someone eagerly waiting to talk to her at the end of the week and discuss her progress. This emotional support kept her going and wanting to improve throughout.
Like with any other client, not once was Anita asked to cut on calories or count macros. The biggest change made was to help her identify food groups that reduce inflammation and the once that cause it. This freedom in having nutritional guidelines VS a strict diet chart made it simpler for Anita to tweek her meals for healing the body.
I absolutely love when clients give me a feedback of shock that they are losing weight without starving. In Anita's own words, "you gave me so much food that I was never starving! What changed was how to eat and when to eat and COLOURS!"
Watching Anita's relationship with food change was a treat- eye for all of us int he team! From her very first consultation call of being frustrated and guilty about eating to now looking forward to celebrating each meal, her approach towards nutrition has changed forever and this means everything to us.
From Struggle to Success – Understanding The Protocols Of Treatments.
To start with Anita’s healing journey, we had to understanding the problem, both from a physical health perspective and mental readiness to make change.
Based on the initial induction call, we came up with the following findings:
- Excessive weight gain within a very short time
- The current diet plan lacks many essential nutrients and is not balanced
- Severely disturbed sleep patterns
- Sedentary lifestyle due to knee pain
- Consumption of junk foods every weekend
Over the past year, she had gained 10 kgs despite her efforts to lose weight. Our approach was not only to help her lose weight, but:
- Help her body heal from Osteoarthritis and knee pain
- Help her achieve a hormonal balance
- Help her develop a positive association with food
- Help curate a plan that she can follow forever, not a plan with a deadline.
To address her concerns, a comprehensive and individualised treatment plan was created. The focus was not only on weight loss but also on lifestyle modifications to achieve permanent outcomes.
How Did We Help Her with Osteoarthritis:
We followed 5 critical steps to accelerate the weight loss journey with a personalised plan.
Limit Acidic Foods:
Anita's source of acidic foods were coffee/ tea and sugar's added in her chai. Coffee contains caffeine, which has been associated with increased joint pain and inflammation.
By reducing or eliminating coffee intake, Anita instantly experienced a reduction in joint pain and inflammation, leading to improved mobility and overall comfort.
Additionally, excessive coffee consumption can interfere with calcium absorption, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and joints. By cutting back on coffee, Anita was now able to absorb more calcium from the foods she ate.
Anita was also having her first cup of the drug as soon as she woke up. This interfere's with circadian health, especially if you activity level is minimal in the morning hours.
Now, had we asked her to give up coffee altogether, she would never stick to the plan. But making sure that we slowly reduce her dependency and push her first cup to a later point was a lifestyle change that came easily to her.
Focus On NEAT Activities:
Anita joined the program with extreme pain in her knee's. Asking her to workout for an hour everyday was out of the question. We instead wanted to focus on her energy burn all through the day instead.
So, instead of a structured one hour workout session, we focused on literally including small tasks through the day like:
- covering a certain number of steps,
- standing between meetings,
- using a standing desk when possible etc.
Besides using specific foods and food groups that are natural metabolic boosters, adding the benefits of NEAT (non- exercise activity Thermogenic's) made a very big difference in changing her body composition. Anita was eating more than ever, not actively working out, and still getting fitter!
Reduce Sugar Intake:
Anita's source of sugar was through her chai/ coffee. Sugar is inflammation causing and highly addictive. Besides, sugar disrupts the balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome.
We wanted Anita to limit her sugar intake, but just like it is with anyone addicted to anything, we understood that it might be a difficult task for her. So instead of only focusing on what to drop, we changed the focus to what to include.
Adding a lot of anti- inflammatory fruits to her diet naturally helped Anita reduce cravings. She was eating so much vitamins and minerals from whole- foods, that she naturally did not crave sugar anymore.
Had we only focused on what to drop, it would frustrate her and only cause more guilt with everything she ate. But focusing on mini victories empowered her more than making her feel guilty.
Prioritise Gut Health
If the root cause to all diseases is the gut, naturally our treatment had to start from healing the gut first.
We worked on making her understand the importance of plant- diversity for gut health. Here is the approach we took:
Instead of blindly asking her to take probiotics, we worked to increase her prebiotic food sources through diversity in the diet. This was an excellent starting point as choosing different colours to fill the plate became a game for Anita. She was excited and looking forward to include as much variety in her diet as possible.
On a mental health perspective, for the first time in very long, food excited her and not depress her!
5 Lifestyle Modifications That We Hand Picked For Anita.
If there is one takeaway message from clients working with my team, it is that their lifestyle has changes for good. The way they wake up, cook, shop, sleep, everything is different from before.
It is these lifestyle changes that guarantee that you wont bounce back to your older unfit self. If you want permanent results, you MUST make permanent lifestyle changes.
Here are the few we handpicked for Anita:
- Sunlight exposure on waking up for reducing estrogen dominance.
- Breath- work techniques to help with craving management.
- Including cruciferous vegetables to help reduce inflammation.
- Herbal Tea's swaped for acidic tea/ coffee.
- Practicing Vinyasa Flow's to strengthen muscles and tendons.
Mouth- Watering Recipes Anita Tried That Helped Her Healing Journey.
The focus of what we do is food. So naturally we have a recipe curator on board who comes up with the most yummy recipes to help clients heal.
Anita's journey was seamless and easy because she did not give up eating the kind of foods she liked. Instead, she just got smarter with regard to cooking techniques and boldly used spices to flavour her meals.
Anita did not have to go out of the way to experiment foreign recipes, but just understand principles of nutrition to change what was already in her kitchen. Here are a few of the recipes from her plan.
Mix Veg Biryani
Rice, vegetables, tofu, with a hint of spices! How could you go wrong. Brown rice is a whole grain that retains its bran and germ, making it rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Compared to white rice, brown rice has a lower glycemic index, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and provides sustained energy throughout the day. The biryani's vegetables, such as carrots, peas, bell peppers, and onions, contribute to its nutritional value by providing an array of vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.
Broccoli and Sweet Potato Soup
Such a simple and tasty one- pot meal, this dish was chosen very specifically to help Anita heal.
One of its key ingredients, broccoli, contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that has been extensively studied for its potential health-promoting properties.
It is known to support the body's detoxification process, enhance cellular defence mechanisms, and may even have anticancer effects. In addition to sulforaphane, broccoli is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. These nutrients contribute to immune function, bone health, and overall well-being.
Sweet potatoes, the other main ingredient, are a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants.
Millet phulka and chole masala.
So desi and tasty!
Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and are packed with dietary fiber, folate, iron, and other essential nutrients. The combination of protein and fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels, keeps you fuller for longer, and supports healthy digestion.
Additionally, chickpeas are known to have a low glycemic index, which can be beneficial for managing blood sugar levels. Millet phulka is a low- GI option and pairs very well with the curry. A truly perfect dinner treat!
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