Top 5 Tips For Lipedema Weight Loss – 30 Kg Lighter

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Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

How To Lose Weight With Lipedema

Trying to lose weight can be a discouraging prospect. Despite the number of wonder diets and exercise plans available, it can often seem like it’s impossible to shed extra pounds. Losing weight can be particularly challenging for women, for a variety of reasons, While many women may not be aware of it, a condition called lipedema can make it extremely challenging to shed fat.

In fact, it may not be possible to lose the weight gained due to lipedema through normal diet and exercise. Most treatments focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing the condition by:

  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising regularly
  • Following a schedule of therapeutic treatments, like compression therapy
  • Establishing a support network

In some cases, the fat may be removed surgically. When possible, however, slowing or stopping the progression of lipedema may be the best option.

How To Lose Weight With Lipedema

The causes of lipedema are not known. There is some indication that it is a genetic condition. It is characterized by the formation of disproportionate amounts of fat accumulation along the length of both legs, but particularly around the hips. There may also be enlargement of the arms, though not the hands or feet. The affected areas may be painful, may swell, and usually bruise easily. As far as is known now, there is no way to naturally lose the fat that forms as a result of lipedema. In some cases, it may be removed surgically.

Treatment for lipedema usually focuses on three specific areas:

  • Facilitating self-care 
  • Managing Symptoms
  • Improving overall health

Referred to sometimes as a conservative treatment, this focus is intended to reduce swelling and pain, retain and improve range of motion, and lower body fat generally. Surgical options are usually considered only after this conservative approach has been maintained for a while.

Few specific elements to lipedema treatment.

Healthy Eating

Diet is a key factor in the treatment of lipedema for a couple of reasons. First, women who suffer from lipedema seem often to also be obese. Both conditions can involve problems staying mobile. Those problems are multiplied when faced with both obesity and lipedema. 

An anti-inflammatory diet is also commonly recommended. It’s thought to help reduce the swelling and pain associated with lipedema. At least some of that is due to poor circulation in the lymphatic system. This can cause an immune response, leading to swelling and tenderness. An anti-inflammatory diet can help to reduce the immune response. Dietary supplements may also be helpful in reducing inflammation.

Of course, healthy eating also promotes better health generally. This can be very important when treating a chronic illness.

Exercise and Mobility

Fat accumulation due to lipedema seems to be resistant to normal exercise and diet, but exercise is still a good idea. It is an important part of overall good health, but exercise can also be helpful in addressing lipedema in several ways.

As we’ve mentioned, a significant part of the pain and swelling that comes with lipedema is caused by poor flow in the lymphatic system. Exercise is one great way to improve that flow, helping to reduce swelling and inflammation. 

Exercise can also help prevent loss of mobility. That can be a problem with lipedema in several ways. Swelling and fat accumulation can make moving more difficult or painful. 

Light to moderate exercise is usually what’s recommended. Swimming or exercising in water is often recommended, as it can help lymph flow, as well as for other reasons. Stretching like yoga or pilates can also be helpful. Even a moderate amount of walking helps.

Therapeutic Treatments

The plan of treatment for lipedema is called comprehensive or complete decongestive therapy (CDT). In addition to diet and exercise, there are a number of treatments that help improve lymphatic flow and reduce swelling, as well as medications that can help in several ways, including pain management.

Treatment options that are part of CDT include:

  • Manual lymphatic drainage massage
  • Skin care
  • Pneumatic compression pumps
  • Compression garments

Compression garments are stockings, socks, or leggings which maintain a certain amount of pressure on the legs. This encourages blood and lymph flow. Manual lymphatic drainage massage uses massage techniques to help drain fluid from the swollen tissues. Pneumatic compression pumps are higher-powered versions of the same idea.

Support System

Mental healthcare is a very important part of lipedema treatment. It’s not unusual for lipedema to lead to anxiety, depression, and poor self-image. This can be exacerbated by the general public’s lack of knowledge regarding lipedema.

Finding or creating a support system is a vital step in dealing with lipedema. There are several lipedema support groups, as well as lipedema.org and lipedemaproject.org. where sufferers can find information and a supportive community. 

Lipectomy

A lipectomy is the process of surgically removing fat from the body. There are a few different techniques, but the one that seems to have become more popular is water-jet assisted liposuction

Most people are familiar with the idea of liposuction. Water-assisted liposuction uses a jet of water to assist in removing the fat. This is seen as less invasive and less likely to impact the lymphatic system. 

Liposuction has been shown to slow or stop the progression of lipedema in some patients. Compression garments, exercise, and the other elements of treatment still have to followed after the surgery, however.

A Ketogenic Diet for Lipedema

There is some evidence that a ketogenic diet can actually help women reduce the fat accumulation caused by lipedema. A small study several years ago revealed that this sort of diet may be a successful treatment. Now, several larger and longer term studies are being performed. The results will most likely be available for several years yet.

However, a ketogenic diet is healthy for most people in any case. It’s also often recommended by medical professionals as part of a treatment for several conditions, as well as for fat loss. 

The idea with a keto diet is that you drastically reduce the carbohydrates in your diet. When you eat carbs, they get broken down into simple sugars which your cells use as fuel. If you aren’t eating any carbs, however, your body will look elsewhere for fuel. Fat, which is your body’s long-term energy storage system, starts being broken down into compounds called ketones in a process called ketosis. Though less efficient, your body can run on ketones while at the same time burning fat. 

With a truly strict keto diet, you won’t need to do a heavy workout to get the fat burning. It will happen as part of just living your daily life. It may seem too good to be true, and the keto diet may seem like another fad diet. However, it’s a diet many doctors recommend for a variety of issues and many of its benefits are supported by science.

It’s true that some people are a little over-enthusiastic about its benefits. A keto diet also has a few significant downsides, such as a restricted menu and the difficulty in balancing nutrients to keep ketosis going.

However, because it focuses on fat burning, it seems logical that it should be a helpful option. More time and science will tell for sure.

Losing the weight that results from lipedema is a challenge and can’t be done through normal diet and exercise. It’s possible that science might offer a less complicated solution in the future. However, in the meantime staying active, eating healthy, and following a treatment can reduce the impact of lipedema on sufferer’s lives.  


+ 12 sources

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Medically reviewed by:

Sean Newton has nearly ten years of experience as a health and fitness writer, focusing on diet and its effects on your health. He also is an avid athlete and martial artist, specializing in bodyweight exercises and movement training. Together with an evidence-based approach to good health, his goal is to lay out the facts for readers, so they can make informed choices.