Weight-Loss Tips for Fibromyalgia Sufferers
The crippling pain and fatigue you feel with fibromyalgia can leave you inactive and overweight. Other symptoms and even your prescription medication can contribute to fibromyalgia patients gaining up to 30 pounds for some sufferers. Unfortunately, the extra weight only makes their symptoms worse. In fact, excess weight may be another symptom or part of the reason why you’re sick. Where does all that weight come from? It’s not just from lack of exercise. Several aspects of fibromyalgia contribute to these excess pounds. When you have fibromyalgia, the appetite-signaling hormone may be out of sync. That sends inaccurate hunger messages to the brain, making you eat more. Or your thyroid, which regulates metabolism, could be dysfunctional. That can slow the body’s ability to burn calories. Plus, the condition itself causes a metabolic slowdown. Furthermore, fibromyalgia patients have a 25% lower metabolism, on average, than someone without fibromyalgia of the same age and body weight. Also, some fibromyalgia medications, such as medications, also increase appetite. This combination of factors makes many people with fibromyalgia gain weight. However, there are ways for fibromyalgia patients to regain control. The most difficult part, when you’re exhausted and sore, is getting started. Here are some proven healthful techniques to overcome common weight-loss obstacles:
1. You hurt all over.
Fibromyalgia pain can vary daily and travel to different areas of the body. Some days, you may not feel like moving at all. When your whole body hurts, it’s hard to believe you’ll feel less pain if you’re more active. But it’s true. Light, consistent workouts help you move better throughout your day. It won’t reduce fibromyalgia pain itself, but exercise makes it easier to function with less pain while doing daily activities. The key is sticking with a regular program. If you start and stop exercising, your muscles have to rebound with each new beginning.
The solution: Exercise in a heated pool. Warm water relieves muscle pain. Find warm-water pools in your area, or look online for warm-water exercise classes. When you’re working out on land, take a hot bath or shower first to warm up muscles. To avoid straining muscles, never stretch without warming up thoroughly first.
2. Exercise leaves you too sore.
If you were unable to move after the last time you worked out, you might be afraid to try again. If you do too much in the beginning, you’ll be wiped out for days.
The solution: Start slowly and gradually increase. Short, daily workouts, even for just three minutes a day to start, work better than longer, more aggressive workouts fewer days a week. If you’re unsure of how to start exercising safely, find a personal trainer or physical therapist experienced in working with fibromyalgia patients. If you go too far, therapeutic massage from a qualified masseuse can ease muscle pain. It helps loosen muscles, reduces trigger points and relieves muscle spasms.
3. You’re exhausted from lack of sleep.
Many women with fibromyalgia fall asleep and wake up several times during the night, leaving them wiped out the next day. Restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea likely causes.
The solution: Ask your physician to refer you to a sleep lab to identify the underlying problem. Look for a lab run by a neurologist. To determine correct treatment, a neurologist will check your brain patterns using an EEG test, which records electrical impulses.
4. You’re too depressed to exercise.
Muscle pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia can leave you feeling like your life has been turned upside down. Chronic pain eventually leads to frustration and depression. When you have fibromyalgia, feel-good brain chemicals are also likely out of sync, which can play a role in depression. Exercise helps by releasing endorphins.
The solution: Find a health care professional who recognizes depression as part of the symptoms of fibromyalgia and prescribes medication. Since the stress of the disease can make depression worse, try exercises as yoga, which offers the dual benefits of stress reduction and exercise. Find instructors experienced in working with fibromyalgia patients and be patient. Easing into an exercise program means it may take weeks before you can exercise hard enough to feel the mood-lifting effect of endorphins.