Fibromyalgia is a disorder which affects the musculoskeletal system. Symptoms include pain, fatigue, poor sleep, memory problems and mood disorders. Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia experience dramatic weight gain. The underlying metabolic problems associated with fibromyalgia can make controlling weight very difficult.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology discovered that people with fibromyalgia are more likely to be overweight. The data illustrates some interesting findings. In patients with fibromyalgia:
· 4% were underweight
· 25.9% were normal weight
· 29.9% were overweight
· 43.8% were obese
The Link Between FM and Weight Gain
Just why does fibromyalgia cause so much weight gain in so many people? There are a number of reasons including:
Lack of Sleep – Sleep is an important part of managing weight. One of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia is lack of sleep, especially the deep REM sleep needed to restore the body. Recent studies show that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are at risk for weight gain. Getting less sleep causes the metabolism to slow while the appetite increases. People who can’t sleep often crave foods high in carbohydrates and sugars. Excessive intake of these foods are sure to cause weight gain.
Neuroendocrine Problems – Fibromyalgia contributes to several hormone deficiencies. The body isn’t able to produce and maintain adequate production of serotonin, cortisol and thyroid. This can lower your metabolism making it hard to efficiently process food. This may cause the body to become sensitive to insulin, triggering it to go into fat storing mode.
Decreased Activity – Because fibromyalgia patients suffer from increased pain levels, they aren’t able to increase their activity level. This makes it very hard to burn the amount of calories required for weight loss.
Medication – Side effects from medications commonly prescribed to fibromyalgia patients to treat their symptoms can cause weight gain. This is especially true for certain types of antidepressants used to treat mood disorders caused by fibromyalgia.
Ways to Lost Weight
Pain makes it extremely difficult for fibromyalgia patients to increase their level of exercise. A slower metabolism means that eating less doesn’t usually do much. So how can those who have fibromyalgia lose weight? One strategy includes coming up with a diet plan that is geared toward increasing metabolism. The right quality foods can also help you burn calories.
Eat a High Protein, Low Carb Diet – Focus on deriving protein from lean meat, eggs, dairy products, tofu and legumes is a wise choice. You can also limit your carbohydrate intake. Get your carbs from fresh fruit and vegetables. Include fats in your diet from fish oil, almonds, avocados and plant oils. Avoid processed sugars. If you need a sweetener, try something like Stevia. Foods to stay away from as much as possible include sweets, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, hydrogenated oil, soft drinks and excess alcohol.
Eat Your Protein First – You should never eat carbs (even the healthy ones) on their own. Always eat protein first. When you eat in this order, you are promoting better digestion. The protein will activate your digestive system, which will slow the rate that your body absorbs carbohydrates.
Eat Until You Are Full – Portion control can take some time to master, even for the best of us. At meal time, eat until you are full and then stop. Eat slowly, completely chewing your food. This can help you avoid overeating in two ways. First, it can give your stomach time to let your brain know you are full, since there is a bit of a delay. Second, eating slower can aids digestion because you are more likely to chew your food completely.
Eat Smaller Meals – Try to eat 5 or 6 times a day. Eating several smaller meals instead of large ones can boost your metabolism. You will have to experiment a bit to find the right schedule. If you have irritable bowels, you may find that eating less helps.
Before you begin any new diet or exercise regimen, check with your doctor first. You may also want to ask about screening for other problems that can contribute to weight gain. Your health care provider will work with you to determine what course of action is best for you. Total Home Health can connect you with experienced health care experts who are ready to help you live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Join today to learn jumpstart a longer, healthier life.