Weight loss is a particular challenge for fibromyalgia patients. The illness itself makes you more likely to gain weight in several key ways, and some of the symptoms make weight loss more difficult, but doctors also know that losing weight improves the symptoms. You can break this vicious cycle with some conscious effort and dedication. Here’s how.
Get Your Hormones Checked
Many fibromyalgia sufferers have an imbalance of hormones, which can lead to weight gain. While nobody is certain how fibromyalgia alters hormone levels, it is still a common enough occurrence that you should ask your doctor to run some blood tests. Thyroid hormones may be particularly likely to be off in fibromyalgia patients, which is a treatable condition.
Get More Sleep
Poor sleep is one of the hallmark signs of fibromyalgia. There’s a chicken-or-egg element: it’s unknown if fibromyalgia contributes more to poor sleep or vice versa. What we do know for sure is that getting too little sleep is more likely to lead to weight gain, so it’s important to prioritize regular sleep habits and use medication when necessary to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
Eat More Protein
You may think of low-carbohydrate diets as a fad, but the principles behind such diets are very good for managing chronic health conditions. One of the key points of low-carb diets is to eat more protein, and this is especially beneficial advice for fibromyalgia sufferers. Some studies show that fibromyalgia patients don’t utilize protein as effectively as other people do. Protein is essential for muscle building, repairing tissue and in the proper functioning of blood, enzymes, and hormones. Keep in mind that you should vary the type of protein you get and consume fish, chicken, beans, and tofu as well as red meat.
Added sugar isn’t a necessary part of anyone’s diet because sugar is naturally present in fruits and vegetables. Many people with fibromyalgia constantly crave sweets, which may be due to side effects from pregabalin (Lyrica), a common medication to treat fibromyalgia. Other research shows that fibromyalgia patients may have deficiencies of minerals like magnesium and chromium, which can increase sugar cravings. Since sugar provides empty calories, it’s best to avoid it when you need to lose weight.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Boosting your intake of fruits and veggies is good dietary advice for anyone who is trying to lose weight, but it’s especially important for people who are trying to lose weight with fibromyalgia. Increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption is also particularly essential for fibromyalgia sufferers because fruits and veggies naturally contain high levels of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to heal and repair itself. It’s just a bonus that fruits and vegetables are low-calorie and help you to feel satisfied for longer, making it less likely that you’ll fill up on fattening junk food.
Exercise is especially difficult when you have fibromyalgia. Because your body hurts all over, the thought of exercising sounds painful. However, inactivity not only contributes to weight gain, but it also makes fibromyalgia pain worse. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, only that you are consistent in your habits. A combination of aerobic exercises like brisk walking and light weight lifting can help you to build muscle, and the regular activity will prevent future pain.