1. Find out your current weight. Next, set a realistic first goal and put a rough timeline on it. One of the easiest ways to find out where you are in terms of health is to measure your waistline. In fact, sometimes the scales is off-putting, so just using a tape measure may be enough (plus the mirror will usually tell you the truth!). To do this, place a tape measure about one inch above your bellybutton. Make sure it’s pulled tight, but isn’t digging into your skin, and then breathe out naturally, taking your measurement. 


Waist measurement for 

At increased risk 

At high risk 


94cm (37 inches) 

102cm (40 inches) 


80cm (32 inches) 

88cm (35 inches) 


  1. Start moving (starting small is okay!). The ideal is to move for 150 minutes a week – you can break this up into shorter sessions of three bouts of 10-minute walks per day on five days of the week. If it’s too much for now, set a smaller goal, such as getting a total of one hour over the course of the week, and then slowly build to the ideal amount. Flexibility (such as a yoga/Pilates class once per week) plus resistance exercise will also benefit you – where you use your own body, or small weights, to help maintain your muscle mass (and we know that muscle helps to boost your metabolism). Follow our resistance exercise programme online, designed by a chartered physiotherapist – you can play this on your laptop whilst doing it at home: Take Control Exercise Programme. If you think you could benefit from a class that focuses on improving physical activity levels, look no further than our Be Active with Arthritis course - BAWA. 

If you are worried about further damaging your joints, choose low impact activities, such as aqua-aerobics classes or cycling on a stationary bike, or rowing on an indoor rower. We understand that you may have fears, but don’t be tricked into thinking that inactivity is harmless. The truth is that, for arthritis, inactivity is likely to make your condition worse. Moving your body regularly, on the other hand, has been proven to bring about relief from symptoms, as well as a much-needed boost to your mood and wellbeing.  

  1. Improve your food quality. Buy a new cookbook – one that emphasizes healthy eating and get experimenting. You may need to spend a bit more than usual, but it’s worth it – nothing is more important than your health. Consult the food pyramid for more information of amounts and types of foods to include. Listen to our Inflammation Nation Podcast with registered dietitian, Louise Reynolds from the INDI (Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute), on which foods to eat when you have arthritis: Healthy Eating and Arthritis. 


  1. Drink more water. Often hunger is confused with thirst. Not only that, but if you are adequately hydrated it could help boost your metabolism and even reduce your appetite. What’s more, many people who enjoy sugary drinks, but then replace them with water, see a big drop in calorie intake (and a rebalancing of their blood sugars, meaning they become less hungry). Aim for eight glasses of water (some of which can be cups of herbal tea) to hit the ideal intake. 


  1. Go brown. Swapping white, processed carbohydrate foods, such as cereals, breads or rice/pasta, for wholegrain alternatives will help keep you full for longer, meaning you consume less calories overall. Not only that, but research shows that many Irish people do not eat enough fibre, which is essential for good health, so your body will thank you for it. Make sure to increase your fluid intake (see above) to avoid constipation and slowly increase your fibre intake so your bowels grow accustomed to it.  


  1. Choose good quality proteins and fats. Fish, lean meat, eggs, pulses and beans will help satiate you, making you less likely to overeat later on. These foods also help to stabilise your blood sugar levels. Also opt for healthy fats, such as those from olive oil, avocadoes and nuts regularly.  

  1. Ditch the sugar. We know that when someone is consuming sugar regularly, their blood sugars are unstable, with many peaks and troughs. This blood sugar rollercoaster means that when people are experiencing a ‘low’, they are much more likely to make the wrong decision, reaching out for high sugar, high calorie foods to ‘fix’ the problem (this is all done subconsciously). By eliminating most of the sugar from your diet (both the obvious type, but also the ‘hidden’ sugar present in many tinned soups and sauces, and breakfast cereals or yoghurts), you will be much more likely to make better choices. As a guide, read the label for sugar. 

Learn How to Read a Food Label for Sugar 

Choose foods with less than 10 grams of sugar per 100g. 

If the label shows more than 15 grams per 100g, check the source – if ‘sugar’ or anything ending in ‘ose’ (like maltose or lactose) is up high on the ingredients list, then put it back on the shelf. If the source is natural sugars (such as dates), then it’s fine.  

Dairy: For milk, yogurt and ice-cream, choose less than 2 grams of sugar per 100g. For cheese, choose less than 15 grams per 100g. 

Remember, weight loss is not just about better physical health, it will also make you FEEL so much better, in your clothes and in yourself, particularly if you’ve been overweight for a long time. Even losing 5-7 Ibs will make a huge difference to how you feel. 

Don't be Disheartened

Don’t be disheartened if you have a lot of weight to lose, or if you’ve struggled to exercise for years, despite knowing its potential benefits. ANY weight loss will benefit you; just as moving from being inactive to even slightly more active will benefit you. Start slowly but do start today – even if that just means adding salad to your dinner tonight or walking around the block for 10 minutes – in order to start reaping the many, many benefits of reaching a healthier weight 

Tune into Inflammation Nation

If you are aged 40+ and find losing weight to be a challenge, be inspired by our podcast with Professor Rose Anne Kennythe founding Principal Investigator of Ireland's largest adult population study on the experience of ageing in Ireland (The Irish LongituDinal study on Ageing - TILDA). In the podcast she discusses how to age better with arthritis: Healthy Ageing or listen to the episode with registered dietitian and communications manager with the INDI The Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute Louise Reynolds, where she discusses the best foods to eat when you have arthritis: Listen Here.