What does the research say about it?
New research suggests the existence of a connection between fibromyalgia and weight gain. The exact nature of this relation is not properly known, however, the research has indicated a rise in the incidence of fibromyalgia among people suffering from obesity or overweight individuals. The most remarkable fact is that the severity of symptoms increases with the increase in body weight. Research has indicated that both the tender points and fatigue increase with the Body Mass Index rise, and the fibromyalgia sufferers with increased BMI tend to have a lower life quality, increased tenderness, greater physical dysfunction, and a rise in the tender point counts. The reverse relation between the weight gain and symptom severity causes a negative feedback loop for the patients. These negative feedback loops are the chain of negative events which tend to have adverse results, with each of these incidents being fed by the previous one in the cycle, and continues until it is stopped by some other reagent or event. The negative feedback loops result in the worsening of symptoms and the development of new ones. For instance, an obese fibromyalgia sufferer tends to experience chronic knee pain because of the stress caused by the excessive weight being put on the knees, due to which the patient is unable to properly walk around without any considerable support from a walking aid. This decreased motility does have a negative influence on the mental health of a patient and might lead to the progression of depression. This depression will continue to provide for the pain of a patient, until some other agent forces this cycle to stop, like a patient losing weight, improving mobility, or the patients seeking help for their depression.
The Relationship between FM and Weight Gain
Fibromyalgia patients complain that they gain weight due to this disease. But why does fibromyalgia cause people to gain weight? It is due to a bunch of stimulating agents, which we discuss in the following lines of this discussion.
Studies have shown that fibromyalgia is also accompanied by various deficiencies of hormones, like cortisol, serotonin, thyroid, and growth hormone, which result in bringing the body metabolism down, resulting in weight gain. Increased insulin sensitivity might also be the reason, which forces the body to enter a fat-storing mode.
Lack of sleep
One of the major indicators for fibromyalgia is the inability of people to get a sound restorative sleep of stage 4. Research has indicated that people who suffer from a lack of proper sleep have a greater proclivity of gaining weight. The absence of proper sleep induces a decrease in body metabolism and a rise in appetite, specifically a craving for carb-rich and sugar-rich foods.
A group of medicines that are given to fibromyalgia patients for treating the flares or usual symptoms, especially antidepressant drugs, tend to cause weight gain as a side effect.
Lack of physical activity
Due to unbearable pain and discomfort most, fibromyalgia sufferers are unable to rise their exercise and work out levels to the amount required for increasing the metabolism and burning the calories needed for the body metabolism to properly work and burn the carbs.
As the pain of fibromyalgia sufferers makes it impossible for them to work-out or to increase their physical activity to a level where they can effectively burn the calories or lower the metabolism in our body down, which indicates that eating less is not an effective strategy in this case. What could be done is following a thoroughly made food plan designated to improve the metabolism and the calorie-burning abilities of the fibromyalgia patients’ body by providing them with the proper quantity and quality of food. This diet must include:
Eating a protein-rich and carbohydrate-low diet
Focusing on the good proteins which could be eggs, tofu, lean meats, legumes, dairy products, and soy meat substitutes will be the first step in the fibromyalgia food-plan. Limiting the carbohydrates uptake to the vegetables and fresh fruits will be the second step. In case of the need for a sweetener, the patients must use the natural ones Xylitol or Stevia. The patients must avoid sugar, carbonated drinks, confectionery products, bread, potatoes, pasta, partly hydrogenated oils, rice, and alcohol.
Proteins come first
Fibromyalgia sufferers must always eat protein food first; they should keep it in their minds to never eat carbohydrates or even the good-carbs all by themselves. The reason for this strategy is that consuming a protein first, activates the protein digestive enzymes, which later on slows down the absorption of the carbohydrates, which maintains the satiety level for longer periods.
Eat till your heart’s fill
Fibromyalgia patients must remember to eat until they’re full at the meals, as opposed to stuffed. Eating slowly, chewing the food well can help in this regard. The patients can eat five or six times per day, which includes three regular meals and two smaller snack meals, or three snack meals and two regular ones, or even better five smaller snack meals. The patients are free to explore and experiment with all these diet alternatives and see what fits them the best. For fibromyalgia sufferers with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it is recommended to eat smaller portions of food frequently throughout the day.
Give yourself a break
A break is all that the body, mind, and stomach need to relax for a bit. The fibromyalgia patients are recommended to strictly follow the aforementioned diet plans and give themselves a little break on the weekends. The realization that you can have a cheat weekend will help you easily get through the week without any trouble.
Check with your Doctor
It is always recommended to check with and discuss with your doctor before you decide to start a new diet plan or work-out. With your doctor, you can also bring up the subject of getting yourself tested for thyroid, fungal growth like Candida, hypoglycemia, hormonal deficiencies, or yeast since these agents are the prime ones in the contribution of weight gain.
How to prevent the gain of weight?
For avoiding weight gain accompanied by fibromyalgia it is recommended to improve cardiovascular fitness and work on the mobilization of tight, sore muscles as a treatment strategy. It is quite understandable for the patients to be unwilling to work out due to unbearable pain and fatigue, however, the movement has a very vital part in the treatment of this disease. Low-impact or no-impact exercises such as water aerobics, swimming, biking, and walking are the best workout strategies, to begin with. Working out daily will aid the patients in significantly alleviating the symptoms of fibromyalgia and maintaining a fit body. Stabilizing muscles and stretching are as important as any other workout strategy. For the patients with chronic symptoms or the relative beginner’s physical therapy is a good option. Daily movement of muscles and joints through a set of activities within the permissible range is extremely useful. Strategies comprising ice, massage, electrical stimulation, and heat are also other advantages of working out with the help of a physical therapist and massage therapist. The most effective treatment strategies to tackle the gain and to alleviate the fibromyalgia symptoms are based on a combination of stretching and using cardiovascular fitness exercises.