Fibromyalgia and weight control can often be a difficult combination. The fact that those of us with fibromyalgia don’t sleep well and have a difficult time exercising can make weight control seem impossible.
There are several reasons that fibromyalgia and weight control combat each other according to Jacob Teitelbaum M.D. He describes both fibromyalgia and CFS as circuit breakers. They operate similar to circuit breakers in a house that short out when they’re overloaded. Our bodily circuit breakers can be tripped by poor diet, lack of sleep and several other factors. If caught in time we can turn the circuit breakers back on by getting back on track with sleep, exercise, and proper diet.
The hypothalamus gland in the brain our main circuit breaker. This gland controls things like body temperature, sleep, hormones, blood pressure, digestion, and blood flow. Unfortunately when this gland gets turned off it can’t be turned back on with just enough rest. Persons whose hypothalamus gland has shut off can have many infections or recurring infections. They also can have a body temperature lower than 98.6 degrees and have trouble sleeping. Dr Teitelbaum also suggests that there could be a problem with the mitochondria or energy furnaces in our cells and that this is what causes the hypothalamic to shut down.
Fibromyalgia and weight control are difficult because, for one thing, fibromyalgia patients don’t get enough sleep, especially the deep sleep we need to produce hormones that stimulate muscle production. These hormones also help regulate insulin. The more sensitive you are to insulin the more apt you are to produce fat.
It is important to get 8 – 9 hours of sleep a night. Now I know that many of us with fibromyalgia are lucky to get 5 – 6 hours of sleep but we need to find ways to relax enough to get that badly needed amount of sleep. Maybe we should go back to days of old and go to bed at sundown and rise at sunup. Today we are stimulated longer during the day with lighting, television, computers, games and other distractions. Our bodies can’t shut down and let us rest like they did years ago. Keeping our brains ‘jazzed’ with all of these outside influences does not let us relax and achieve the deep sleep we need. Many of us who have fibromyalgia know that we feel worse if we’re in constant noise or work under flourescent lighting. Same holds true at the end of the day when your brain is over stimulated – you can’t sleep.
Other theories include thyroid dysfunction and an imbalance in the hormone Leptin that controls your appetite. It’s also been shown that fibromyalgia patients burn about 500 calories less every day. That’s a 25% decrease from a healthy person. Also medications like Lyrica and Savella can give you the munchies. (Just what we need, right?)
Now we’re back to things I’ve mentioned in previous articles. Mild, consistent exercise, even when you hurt, will help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia and weight control. I’m the first one to admit it’s darned hard to get moving some days, but I’m also the first one to say that the more consistent I am with my walking, the better I feel. No weight loss yet but the pain is less. It helps to have an exercise buddy. My hubby goes with me early in the morning (between 6:30 and 7:00) for a mile to a mile-and-a-half walk 4 times a week. We attach a portable speaker to the Ipod and walk to the beat of the music. The first couple of weeks I thought I’d scream from the pain but after almost two months of doing it steadily I find I hurt more if I skip more than a day in between.
I am now rid of all the nasty treats in the house. No more trail mix, party mix, chocolate (cry, sob), cookies, or sweet rolls. Hopefully I can convince himself not to bring anymore in the house. If he wants one he can buy one for himself and enjoy when I’m not home. Instead I bought some of the best Braeburn apples I’ve had in a very long time. I also have yogurt and will stock up on nuts again. I’ve bought bagged salad that has mixed greens so I get more than lettuce for nutrition and will start juicing again. Sticking to lean meats and less breads. This is how I’ve done it before and it should work again. I can convince my body I don’t want all the nasty stuff as long as I don’t cheat at work. I work in a restaurant.
I’m thinking that improving my diet will also improve my sleep. My body will be more nourished and I should be able to relax better in the evening.
Yes, fibromyalgia and weight control can be a fight but I truly believe that with some diet changes, exercise, and even prayer I can accomplish my goal of 20 lbs. That’s 7 more lbs. than I’ve actually put on but not realistic. Wish me luck and I’ll do the same for you.
Fibromyalgia and weight control