A recent article, “Obesity Linked to Worse Fibromyalgia Symptoms,” caught my attention.
The article covers the findings of Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Terry Oh, who discovered a link between obesity and increased severity of fibromyalgia symptoms.
“We see an association between body mass index with symptom severity and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia,” says study author Terry Oh, M.D., of Mayo Clinic’s Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. “This was the first study to look at distinct groups of obese patients and determine how weight correlates with levels of symptoms and quality of life.”
Is anyone really surprised by this?
I mean, it might not be “duh”-worthy, but I can’t ignore direct experience.
See, excess weight has plagued me almost all of my adult life. As I struggled post-diagnosis to lose weight, my fibro symptoms did, in fact, get worse and ease off as the numbers on the scale rose and fell, respectively.
And I’m not alone, I know. According to the CDC, which lumps fibromyalgia into arthritis-related conditions, over 60% of adults in the US who’ve been diagnosed with some form of arthritis (including fibromyalgia among other conditions) are overweight or obese. That’s a lot of potential fibromites who are struggling with their weight and, presumably, the increased pain that comes with excess weight.
Of course, many fibro patients cannot exercise aerobically at the level needed to aid weight loss.
Note: I said “aid” — you cannot lose weight with exercise alone. Which is the good news for fibromyalgia dolls — the thing we can’t do isn’t the biggest part of successful weight management, but the thing we can do — i.e., get our eating under control — is key.
So what are we supposed to do about it, then?
Right: eat fewer calories, with more dense nutrition per calorie.
And yes, I know that’s much easier said than done. Hell, I’ve struggled with my own eating for years … sometimes more successfully than others. Lately, I had a weight gain that’s somewhat mysterious to me. I don’t think I ate that much … but yet, the scales don’t lie. To me, that conclusively establishes that it’s far too easy to eat mindlessly, instead of mindfully.
But now I’ve got even more reason to get my own eating under control: if there’s a chance that losing weight — even a little — will ease up these symptoms and the increased pain I’ve experienced since the weight gain?
Who’s with me?