Weight Gain with Fibromyalgia

Weight gain with Fibromyalgia is a very frustrating challenge!

diets-suck-298x351We may eat less but notice very little difference. According to Dr. Mark Pellegrino, in his book, Fibromyalgia: Up Close and Personal, it’s not unusual for someone to gain 25-30 pounds the first year after developing Fibromyalgia!

Researchers are not sure whether Fibromyalgia leads to weight gain or if weight gain causes the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. All of us living with this dis-ease need to address this very maddening side effect—Weight Gain with Fibromyalgia.

Causes of Weight Gain with Fibromyalgia

• Lack of Sleep:  This is the first symptom that doctors address when you are first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, the inability to get the deep stage 4 restorative sleep we need. Studies have shown that people who don’t get adequate amounts of sleep are more likely to gain weight.  Lack of sleep causes a reduction in metabolism and an increase in appetite, particularly cravings for high-carb, high-sugar foods. Also, your body’s metabolism slows down considerably at night and eating at a time when your body clock actually demands sleep to recuperate is an easy way to put on the weight.

Restless Legs Syndrome and Sleep Apnea also tend to accompany  Fibromyalgia and prevent a good night’s sleep.

• Depression:  Frequently seen with Fibromyalgia, the feelings of sadness and hopelessness can trick you into believing that nothing will help. Exercise isn’t an option when it’s difficult even to move, which leads to more weight gain with Fibromyalgia.

• Depressed Activity:  Most people living with Fibromyalgia are not able to increase their exercise to the levels needed to increase metabolism rates and burn the calories required for weight loss.

• Neuroendocrine Abnormalities:  Research has revealed several hormone deficiencies in Fibromyalgia, such as serotonin, growth hormone, cortisol and thyroid, which can contribute to decreasing the body’s metabolism. There may even be an increased sensitivity to insulin, causing the body to go into a fat-storing mode.

• Medication:  Many medications given to treat the symptoms of Fibromyalgia have the side effect of weight gain.

• Dysbiosis:  When the intestines contain the balance of good and bad bacteria that is optimal for good health, they are described as being in a state of symbiosis. Whereas, dysbiosis (a contraction of the term “dys-symbiosis ”) occurs when this balance is upset. Dysbiosis can result from a deficiency of good bacteria or an overgrowth of harmful organisms.

How can your gut health prevent you from losing weight?

Besides creating other negative influences on your digestive health, Dysbiosis causes incomplete or improper digestion so that you are unable to get the full value from your food, causing you to eat more in order to satisfy your needs. You may be eating the best foods on the planet, but since you are not breaking them down properly, you are still nutrient deprived.

>>> It’s not so much as what we eat, but what we can digest and absorb.  Did you know that approximately 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract?   It’s imperative that we fix our digestive problems to alleviate most of our fibromyalgia symptoms.

What to do about Weight Gain with Fibromyalgia

When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I was not aware I was not sleeping well. I was prescribed a low-dose anti-depressant medication that helped me to achieve a deep-level restorative rest.  I did not like the extra weight gain as a result of the medication and I was not able to eat one of my favorite fruits, grapefruit, while I was taking it.  (some medications do not allow certain foods to be eaten, check with your pharmacist).

  • Insomnia is a symptom of a deficiency of magnesium.  I  use a whole food supplement, afa blue-green algae, that provides the magnesium that my fibromyalgia body needs. Magnesium is shown to support relaxation in the brain and allow you to get a peaceful night’s rest.  Just 1-2 capsules before bed.

A warm bath is also soothing with added Epsom salts before going to bed. I also include basic stretches that I learned at my weekly Yoga class in my bedtime routine.

  • If you are suffering from depression, feeling sad or hopeless, speak to your doctor about chronic pain- related depression. It is a treatable condition and you may feel like exercising again.  (The Omega 3’s EFA’s assist in pain relief and are in the Algae)!

A walk in the park may lift your spirits, too. I like the saying, “when all else fails, hug the dog”, it works for me! I take that dog for walks, too!

  • For neuroendocrine abnormalities, endocrinologists have the training to diagnose and treat hormone imbalances and problems by helping to restore the normal balance of hormones in the body.

The common diseases and disorders that endocrinologists deal with include diabetes mellitus and thyroid disorders. The constant secretion of cortisol in response to eating poorly and/or dealing with chronic stress can weaken the adrenal glands, and eventually lead to adrenal fatigue. This can then lead to developing a thyroid condition.

  • If your digestive health is in a state of dysbiosis, introducing gut-friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics, can help you balance your gut flora and prevent bad bacteria from colonizing your intestines in the future. Sometimes, just supplementing with a high-quality probiotic helps!

Also to correct the bacterial dysbiosis in your intestines is to avoid consuming foods that these bacteria can thrive on. The bad bacteria in your intestines use sugar and starches to live, grow and multiply. Staying away from the sugary foods and desserts will starve these undesirable bacteria and prevent them from overgrowing in your intestines.  The foods that cause weight gain are the same foods that cause tooth decay—primarily simple carbohydrates.

Food is Medicine

Your body has 100 trillion cells and every one of those cells is clamoring for nutrients that will help them grow and stay healthy. Sounds like a lot to deal with, right? What if even 1% of those 100 trillion cells get sick. it might take a lot of medicine to heal them again.  It’s easier than you think to take care of all the cells in your body—Just use food as your medicine!

In the 5th century B.C., Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine pronounced, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”   the easiest way to eat simple and healthy is to take afa blue-green algae, which is a 97% match for our vitamin and mineral needs.

Photo credit:  http://tinyurl.com/n2myglr

I would love to hear from you!

Today, besides being an active grandmother, I am a volunteer with community organizations, and love spreading the word of this amazing super food.  You can read my story of the many challenges of living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, click here.



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