The RenalTracker Team
July 4, 2019

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. It has been written and vetted by RenalTracker's team of kidney experts and researchers. The same team was awarded the KidneyX Prize organized by the American Society of Nephrology and HHS for pre-dialysis solution in Washington DC in 2019.   

If you want to join our exclusive coaching on how to avoid dialysis, book a call to see if you qualify.

Losing weight can often be hard for people. Part of this depends on your body's metabolism and your lifestyle. However, a great part of this can be attributed to all the unhealthy foods you get everywhere now.

What makes it even harder to lose weight is the fact that people often do all the wrong things in their attempt to lose weight.

So what do people often get wrong with losing weight?

Weight Loss for CKD: Dont's

1. Skipping meals

It's a common notion for people who want to lose weight to think, "Yeah, maybe I'll just skip a meal or two." Wrong choice.

Abstaining from food is absolutely not healthy. Rather, it causes some serious complications if done regularly. One most common effect of skipping meals is hypoglycemia or having low blood sugar levels. Not only does it harm your body, it also add to the urge of eating twice as much food in your next meal.

Do yourself a favor. Eat a balanced, regular meal. 

2. Diet without exercise, and the other way around

Undergoing a diet but not doing even the slightest amount of exercise will get you nowhere. Exercise is a staple of the body -- without it, your muscles will atrophy, your blood will not circulate properly, and you build up unwanted fat in your system.

Same is true when it's the other way around. Doing a bunch of exercise routines, but still failing to incorporate healthy eating habits is also useless. You'll still end up eating more calories than your body uses, hence the fat buildup.

Woman in the kitchen peeling a fruit

Advice: balance it out. To lose weight and keep it off, diet and exercise are a necessary, inseparable pair.

3. Delays, delays, delays

It's not uncommon to hear excuses from people who want to get into dieting. Things like, "I want to, but not right now," "I'll definitely start dieting tomorrow," or "I'll need a gym membership first, and I have to buy some running shoes before I can start."

Friendly advice: quit dawdling and start doing.

The fact of the matter is: using these excuses will just get you to put off starting your diet and exercise to the next day. And then the next day. And the next, and the next. There's practically no end to "tomorrow". In truth, no other time is better than now.

4. "Rapid Weight Loss" products

Magic pills. Slimming soaps. Appetite-curbing magnets.

All these and more promise fast results in your weight loss endeavors. But more often than not, they don't actually work. When they do, it's often due to the placebo effect -- letting you think it was the supplements and products, when really it was your body doing the work all along.

Also, one thing to consider before going with these "lose weight fast" products is your kidney condition. Some of these products might use SPPP-containing compounds, particularly potassium and phosphorus.

Another friendly advice: take the slow, but steady and safe, weight loss regimen; the natural one.

Which begs the question, then: how do you lose weight naturally?

Effective Weight Loss Tips

1. Talk to your doctor.

If you really want a safe and effective way to lose weight, talk to your doctor. He/she should consider your kidney condition when planning out the best weight loss program for you.

an elderly couple consulting a medical professional

This can include a full physical examination, followed by a tailored eating plan and an exercise program that often does not require you to go to the gym or need any expensive equipment.

2. Best exercise plan + great activity level = effective weight loss

The best exercise regimen often include cardiovascular and weight training exercises. However, when you're 50 and above, your doctor might adjust or replace weight training with a different exercise.

These are effective in burning calories and balancing out the muscle-fat ratio, increasing your metabolism and reducing your weight at the same time. Just don't go beyond your body's limits and overtire yourself, as that might cause more harm than good.

Elderly Couple working out

Also, even just increasing your activity level greatly helps the process. A little walk here, a little jog there, and a bit of biking from time to time can help you lose some extra pounds.

3. Eat right, for your body and for your kidneys.

Having a renal diet is already a great help. Most of the foods that kidney patients should avoid are high-calorie foods as well.

Food with Calories listed

However, there are still some kidney-safe foods which are also high in calories, especially when you eat more of them than you should. Learn to control your portions, and choose more vegetables, fruits, and other fiber-rich foods. 

And, as always, follow your doctor's/dietitian's advice.

4. Stick to the plan.

Consistency is key. Be disciplined enough to keep to your weight loss plan. It doesn't matter how slow it may seem, or how little you think you achieved over the weekend. What matters is that you set realistic, achievable goals and stick to them.

Other effective weight loss tips include:
  • Set realistic goals. Don't go for the impossible 40-pounds-in-2-weeks. Focus on small, achievable goals and do them regularly.
  • Eat breakfast. Jump-start your day right with a hearty breakfast. What you get from this meal will be used to burn fat and calories throughout the day, so make sure you have enough in the morning.
  • Go with small, healthy meals after. Instead of going for a full lunch and dinner for the rest of the day, try 4 smaller-serving meals to help increase your metabolism and calorie-burning.
  • Stay hydrated. Follow your designated water intake limit to keep your body properly hydrated.
  • Avoid too much sugar. You can have a few pastries from time to time, but don't make a daily habit of them. Just... don't.
  • Stop eating fatty foods. Stay away from fried dishes. Grilled foods work better, especially when paired with kidney-friendly veggies.
  • Consume more fiber, especially from fruits and vegetables.

(A little side note: these tips work for people who want to gain weight, too. These tips are basically about how to achieve the appropriate body weight in your age.)

Whether you're overweight, or you just wanna shed some pounds, a fact remains: there is no shortcut to shedding weight; at least, not a healthy, side-effect-free one. You need to have the right mindset and the determination to shed those pounds for a healthier, better you.