Losing Weight Alleviated a Lot of My Knee Pain


Ken Smith

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I’ve struggled with knee pain for most of my life—as a young athlete and now as an older retiree. My aha! moment came when my orthopedist told me that, with each pound lost, you take four pounds of pressure off of your knees. I took a long, hard look at myself and decided that the weight had to go. I knew it would improve my knee health and my overall health. Now that I’ve lost 82 pounds, I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time. Here’s how I did it.

My wife and I determined that a temporary diet was not the way to go. We had to change the way we ate. My wife does most of our shopping and food preparation, and she made many adjustments even before she began cooking. At the grocery store, she kept her eye out for products that were low in fat and salt. For example, instead of buying the hamburger meat we used to eat, she now buys 97% fat-free meat. To be honest, at first I thought it was a bit dry; but once I tried it a few times, I didn’t even notice the difference. We both love pasta, but now, she buys whole wheat pasta. We’re getting more fiber, more whole grains, less fat, and fewer calories. She also stocks up in the produce aisle, selecting vegetables and fruit instead of chips and cookies. I’ve eaten more fruit in the last 2 years than I have in the 68 years before that combined!

I attribute a lot of my weight loss to small adjustments. Instead of fatty steak with baked potatoes topped with sour cream and cheese, we now eat a lean cut of steak with a baked sweet potato. Instead of butter, I add a low-calorie brown sugar made by Splenda, which is absolutely excellent, and I substitute low-fat sour cream for the regular. It’s amazing how quickly I realized that, while the old stuff may have been delicious, this new stuff tastes really wonderful.

Each morning, if I’m running out of the house to golf, I’ll grab a banana and a 90-calorie breakfast bar. If I have time to ease into the morning, I’ll mix whole grain Cheerios with shredded wheat, and top it with bananas and blueberries. I used to skip breakfast altogether. Now, I thoroughly enjoy it.

For lunch, I used to go for a sandwich with potato chips and a diet coke. We’ve always been Diet Coke people, but we decided it was time to kick the habit. Now, when I go out to eat lunch with friends, I choose a salad and a hard-boiled egg with a lite salad dressing, or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lite mayonnaise and baked potato chips. The baked chips took a little getting used to, but after a while, they did the job.

I gave up some of my favorite greasy, fatty foods, but I also took a tremendous amount of pressure off of my knees. I feel dramatically better. I can walk farther and I can just do more than when I was carrying the extra weight.

Ken Smith doesn’t mind admitting that one of the big benefits to losing weight is being able to play more golf, relatively pain-free. He is the father of two children and lives in Atlanta with his wife, Linda.

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Medical Reviewers: Williams, Robert, MD Last Review Date: Apr 4, 2013

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