Lipedema (or Lipoedema) is a progressive condition which causes the accumulation of diseased fat in the lower body, and sometimes arms. A common question I’ve seen crop up time and time again is: can you lose weight with Lipedema?
It’s a predicament that causes many women with Lipedema high levels of stress and anxiety. Especially because the condition is often misdiagnosed in the latter stages, with women being sent away and told they need to lose weight. This then causes further frustration because trying to lose weight with Lipedema is a huge struggle.
To understand why it’s so difficult to lose stubborn Lipedema fat, it’s important to understand the difference between ‘normal’ fat vs Lipedema fat. I’ve tried to highlight the differences in simple terms below.
Can you lose weight with obesity?
‘Normal’ fat caused by obesity, or being overweight, will respond well to a healthy diet and exercise, and weight loss will occur usually from all parts of the body proportionally.
In short, as long as you are burning more calories than you are consuming, you will lose weight. This definitely sounds easier than it is, but it is possible if you put in the effort by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and carry out some form of exercise each day.
Can you lose weight with Lipedema?
Unfortunately, losing weight with Lipedema is more difficult. Lipedema fat doesn’t respond to diet and exercise in the same way as ‘normal’ fat. Weight loss will occur from the parts of the body that are not affected by Lipedema, in most cases the upper body. However, minimal weight loss will occur from the areas below the waist or in your arms if they’re affected by Lipedema too.
If for example, you have Lipedema fat deposits in your legs, in addition to a layer of ‘normal’ fat caused by obesity, or being overweight, you will be able to shed the layer of fat that isn’t caused by Lipedema. But the stubborn Lipedema fat will remain untouched. This is due to the fact that the composition of ‘normal’ fat vs Lipedema fat is extremely different. You can see just how they differ in the diagram below:
Can I lose weight with Lipedema?
I spent so many years wondering why I couldn’t lose weight from my legs, if I ever did lose weight it would always come off the areas I didn’t want it to. This meant I was left with a skeletal frame in my upper body, around my waist, back, shoulders and chest. But my legs looked exactly the same. Straight and tubular.
I know this all sounds very doom and gloom. It made me feel very down for several months following on from my Lipedema diagnosis. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, it is more difficult to lose weight from the areas of your body affected by Lipedema. However, a major part of Lipedema is also inflammation. And inflammation can be managed with conservative measures.
My top tips to manage Lipedema symptoms and reduce inflammation:
• Follow a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet as much as you can, see my blog ‘Best diet for Lipedema’ for more details.
• Try wearing compression garments such as these, you can also get prescribed medical grade compression garments from a specialist, such as a Lymphedema nurse or vascular specialist.
• Use a vibration plate. Vibration plates for Lipedema have been known to reduce inflammation and swelling due to them encouraging improved blood circulation. Budget friendly vibration plates here.
• WAL Liposuction (and other forms of liposuction) are the only known ways to completely remove stubborn Lipedema fat, reducing heaviness, swelling and pain caused by the condition.
Disclaimer: My blogs talk about Lipedema, diet, surgery and much more. I’m talking from my point of view to help women, and remind them they are not alone. I am not a medical professional, so the content above is from my own perspective with research I have done into the topic. It’s not meant as medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or a specialist for both your diagnosis, and a treatment plan.