Help my wife lose about 50-60 pounds so that she can be considered for a kidney transplant

Hi All!

This is my first post to this discussion group! I have a very urgent problem that needs to be taken care of regarding my wife. Her name is Karen, and she is a Type 1 Diabetic, and has been since the age of 4. She is only 38 years old, and in the last two years, her kidney function has gone down from about 60% only two years ago, to about 29% as of right now.

The biggest problem she has, is losing weight, as she is at least 50-60 pounds overweight, and is only
about 5’1" tall. She is also blind because of the Diabetes, so can’t do a lot of the exercising like the rest of the Diabetics that can still see. Karen also hurt her hips a long time ago when she was in the
hospital, so even a lot of the easier exercises are hard on her. Her doctor just told her yesterday, that to be considered for a kidney transplant (her sister from Ontario is willing to donate her kidney), she would have to get down to about 140-150 pounds. The way that her kidneys are progressing, I would think that she has maybe a year of kidney life left before she would need to go on dialysis.

Because of the ‘time crunch’ regarding her kidney function, I need to find very simple exercises that she can do at home, and especially a simple diet plan to help her lose the needed weight. Unfortunately since both Karen and I are both on a disability pension (I’m on the pension because I also have had a kidney transplant), it’s hard to get personal trainers that would be able to help her with
the weight. If anyone out there has any good ideas about the simple exercises or simple diet plan that wouldn’t cost that much money, I’d really like hearing from you! I love my wife very much, and after celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary this year, I’d sure like to spend many more years with her! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Have you discussed this with Karen’s Medical Team members other than the Doc , such as Certified Diabetes Educators : Nurse , Dietitian , and Social worker ? Does she like water exercises ? Have you contacted the Canadian Diabetes Association and/or visited their website at ?
Are Karen’s daily bloodsugar numbers in the acceptable range ? There is so much to think off to be able to give you answers ; I am sure others will be able to direct you as well . This is a good place to start. I wish you well on the road ahead .

Get ahold of a physical therapist in the area and see if they have a few lengths of the surgical tubing. They come in different strengths and she can attach it to a door knob and use it for resistance exercises. Things like you would do with weights except using the tubing. It can be attached to a knob, a foot or anything that is solidly steadfast (don’t do chair or table legs or attach it to doors that don’t latch very well. That may help to get her moving without being a burden on her legs or hips.

Hi Sasha,

I am sorry that you are both going through this, I can only imagine how hard it must be. I agree with Nel and Ken, try to get all the support you can and build a team around you both for support.

I am not an expert on this, but from what I know about loosing this kind weight I think it is imperative that she mainly focus on her diet, exercising of course will help, big time, not only because she will be burning more calories but also it has many other benefits, like increased energy and better control. To loose weight she basically has to consume less calories than she consume on a daily basis.

Eating healthy doe not have to be expensive, but it usually requires a lot of effort to change our diet. Try to get the help from a dietitian, even if it is just for a start, so you can discuss the appropriate calorie intake according to her weight and height.

Sasha, I am sending big hugs to both you and Karen, you two have been through much and hung in there with each other.

Here’s some thoughts as I read your post. Definitely talk to her doc about the diet and the exercise. He is the one suggesting to her that she has to lose the weight, he can be of some help in obtaining services that will help you both. Ask him for a referral to a dietican in your area who might come to your home and help you with a diet plan. Explain to them that you have a limited budget and need help in that area, also. They can help you plan simple meals that will help with the diabetes, losing weight and monetary needs.

Then ask them too about a Physical Therapist who might be able to help get her started on a movement plan for the weight control and diabetes. They will assess what she can do and can’t do…and make it safe for her. There are many exercises that they do in nursing homes with people of limited movement that would work for her. My father was blind also and did the exercises in t he nursing home in a chair that kept him limber and moving…and his spirits up. You could do these with her…and help her with the ones she has trouble with.

Because you are already on disability, there are services available to you that you can and in my opinion should access.
Ask the doc for a referral to those, or to a case manager at your Department of Social Services or Social Security for where to go to get the help you need and want. Don’t be shy, this is your lives we are talking about…she needs a kidney, and to lose the weight…you two need each other…go for it. And keep us posted.

Sasha I agree with the other members who had just replied. It is best she sees a nutritionist or a certified diabetic dietician so they can best plan her diet. How’s her blood sugar? Then see a physical therapist for activities she can take. Have you heard about water aerobics exercises? When you workout in water, you are immersed in a supportive medium that minimized joint pain and makes it easy to move, without pain and jarring.

I wish you the best and I pray you and Karen will have many many many more anniversaries to come.

Teena and Sasha, I would strongly suggest this, don’t know why I didn’t post it in the first place. I have arthritis in both of my knees and the water is my choice exercise. Even if all she does is walk in the water, it will be a movement that she needs, and yet, little weight bearing on her joints. Start very slow. I started with 10 minutes of just slowing walking, hanging on to the side of the pool. You don’t have to belong to a club, or the Y or anything spendy like that…check at one of your local motels that have a pool, explain to them your circumstances and needs ask if they have a time that isn’t busy with guests that you could come in and exercise. That’s what I did here in SD and they were helpful. Don’t take one no, if that is the case, go on to the next one.

Now, I don’t know how you feel about “asking for help” but let me tell you, usually people are more than happy to help someone if they can. Yes it is hard to say “I can’t afford…” but can you afford to be too proud. Many of us are just that too proud to ask for help. We feel that it makes us look weak, well, I think it makes us look and feel stronger to be in control, and to know what we need and get those needs met. It also allows others to feel good about helping someone. So please don’t allow pride or fear to get in your way. If you need to have a “help” then ask your doc to write you a letter to hand to them to prove that you are needing to use the pool…even if you are going to a club or Y…the letter can’t hurt…

Keep in touch, my friend.

Sending you good wishes and support. I agree w/ all the suggestions already made…especially reaching out to the health care team you are working w/ to get as much help as possible: PT/dietitian/CDE…with f/u on a regular basis. Losing 50-60 pounds on a time crunch is not the easiest thing…so, you need your team to put they money and efforts where their mouth is…so to speak! Most hospital systems have a PT dept w/ an exercise program and support systems for weight loss and a weight loss program. They should prioritize their transplant patients…maybe have study programs your wife could participate in…maybe subsidize a weight loss program participation. Even to get a orientation to diet and exercise would help w/ f/u every week would give you a head start on your efforts. Good luck and know you can post here for support.

The best tactic I know of for a diabetic (or anyone else for that matter) is to concentrate on a low carb eating plan. Carbs are what usually create excess weight, and eating more protein just fits diabetic needs better. Since proteins are absorbed slower AND take time to convert to glucose (about 40% of the protein’s calories) so they don’t flood the bloodstream with glucose, and it gets used up much more efficiently because the rates match better. This also means the glucose doesn’t convert to fat, and control is a lot easier.

Try reading Dr. Richard K Bernstein’s book “Diabetes Solution”. He developed the method in the mid-70s, and recovered from all of the diabetes complications he’d developed after getting diabetes in 1946, while he followed the “standard” diabetes treatment. Look it up at:

Hi Everyone!

Thanks to you all for taking the time to reply to my earlier post regarding my wife’s weight problem. I got a lot of very good suggestions from all of you! A few of the things that I do want to mention regarding my wife and her weight, is that, for one, she is a very ‘picky’ eater, so putting her on any kind of diet plan will be hard. As for getting the support
that she needs through the hospital, I’ve already talked to her kidney specialist, and it seems that the only people that get any kind of ‘health’ support regarding weight, are people that have had heart transplants. My wife’s kidney doctor, unfortunately, is NOT very proactive when it comes to helping my wife lose the weight.It would be nice if our hospital had a weight management program for people that need to lose weight in order to be considered for a kidney transplant, but no such luck in our hospital.

My wife and I have also been to several different diabetic dieticians, but again, since she’s sucha picky eater, it’s very hard for her to be put on any sort of diet. As mentioned by Theodore, a diet higher in protein would help her, but I’ve already tried that, without much success. My wife doesn’t like too many kinds of protein meats, like chicken, pork and fish, so that pretty much eliminates a lof of protein rich foods. She has also tried to get on the
exercise bike we have, but she’ll only do it for a few days, and then she will just stop doing it. Unfortunately, she also has a lot of aches and pains, some associated with her Diabetes, and some because she hurt her hip a long
time ago in the hospital, which makes it that much harder for her to get on the bike.

I’m very greatful for all of the support that I have received so far from all of you! Now, I just need to convince my wife that it’s better that she start exercising on a regular basis and following a better diet plan sooner then later! Thanks again for all of the support!

Hi Sasha and Karen!
Everyone gave you Great ideas to lose weight. I know you have “time crunch”, there is one thing you can do as a last resort to your problem. You need to make an appointment with your doc and ask to the doc if you can get on the diet drug called phentermine. Some doc’s will not put diabetics on this becuase they do not check their blood sugars enough and this diet drug sometimes will make your blood sugars get too low. You have to drink lots of water and exercise 3x a week and for 30 minutes. They say walking is the best but she can walk in the water so her joints will not hurt. I’m on this diet drug but a low dose of it and I check my blood sugars 10 times a day to matter what! So far I lost 21 pounds since March 11, 2009 but a month I was not on it because of my carpal tunnel surgeries on both wrist. Good Luck! Do you have a Center for Independant Living in Canada? They can you find resources like free prescription drugs and other things to help you out! I know this becuse I used to work at one in Southwest Kansas.

Oh… I forgot something… I’m 4 foot and 9 and 3/4 inches tall, 35 pounds overweight. I would exercise 6 x every week for 45 minutes and still didn’t lose the weight. My joints would hurt because I was 35 pounds overweight. Now my joints doesn’t hurt because I lost that 21 pounds when I exercise that 30 minutes 6 x every week and yes I did change the minutes because taking care of family and full time student at Online College now.

so working out for 30 mins a day helped you loose the 21 pounds? I don’t understand…
How long did it take to loose 21 pounds??? and how did u do i???

Hi Michelle! I’m a diet drug called phentermine but a very low dose of it… I have a hard time losing weight because of my low BG’s and they do not occur at the same time every day. I’m a hard case to figure out of that reason. I have been on it for 5 months. It would have been 6 months but I had to quit taken it because of my carpal tunnel surgeries. I have been Type 1 Diabetic for 17 years and the last 8 months that my A1C was 7.0 that was the lowest in those 17 years.