Is a Paleo Diet good for Women suffering from Lipedema?
This is not a very well understood chronic disease, likely to be genetic, that effects hormones to where the women get the big thighs and legs, but can well shaped everywhere else. So they are not obese, although many assume they are, including many doctors.
It often develops after puberty, child birth or some sort of trauma trigger. It can get so bad it can cause mobility issues and be very painful.
It looks like some doctors looked at this condition around the 1940's, and there is current information about how to deal with the condition, but I could not help to wonder with the way our diets can express genes, I was wondering if anyone knew how or if a paleo diet would either stall the condition or even help it?
Well, technically you can't heal it.
I developed it after long years of starving myself in diets and was diagnosed with it a year ago. My body was basicly storing all the fat in my legs. I starved myself since I was 11 years old on low fat-low calories-low everything-diets, in order to look like the girls in the magzines. My body was then just trying to keep the little fat I gave it, and never let go of it.
I went to many doctors, who told me to wear compression tights everyday. For a good while I sqeezed myself into those every morning-painfull. I very easily got bruises, my legs hurt most of the times and were sore to the touch. I could barely stand.
I tried everything to "cure" my lipedema: Vitamins, Fasting, Medication, Sport and so on. One doctor even told me to only eat cooked grains and little no animalprotein/fat, so I ate only cooked grains in water for 2 weeks. It was horrible. The plan was to slowly include veg. after awhile. Anyway the diet made my legs go worse and I even had to go twice a week to lymphatic drainage... I am in my twenties.
I have been trying to be primal for the last 8 months now. The pain in my legs stopped, no bruises, and they got thinner. Also the little water/fat collections(bubbles) under the skin have dissapeared. However as soon as I eat white bread, milk, glutamate, alkohol, coffee it seems to get worse again pretty quickly. I haven't narrowed it down to any particular one of those, but I am pretty sure it is all dairy products(even butter) and grains.
These days I can say, I have no lipedema. But technically I am just controlling it through my primal lifestyle. I am very thankfull for that, because the first time since I have been a young girl, I can eat food I like and don't have to starve, and I am not gaining weight at all.
Besides the dissapearance of my lipedema, my period normalised and insead of 4 days of bellypain and 8 days of bleeding, it is now just a couple of hours of bellypain and 4 days of bleeding. Also my skin cleared up, I don't have to sleep after meals, feel full of energy every day, my hair got fuller, i am more relaxed (no more arguements with my bf ) , my body looks more toned, no migranes anymore and the list could go on.
Whoa. My mind has just been blown. I had never heard of lipedema until this post, and just googled it. Then I did an image search and found many pictures that look just like me--fairly normal proportions above the waist, with grossly disproportional legs (in my case, my thighs more so than calves). I had gastric bypass and lost over 100 lbs. but my thighs were still rather big compared to the rest of my body. In contrast, I felt like skin and bones above the waist.
I always thought I was just pear shaped with bad cellulite and prone to bruising, but now I wonder if I have lipedema. I'm really glad to hear that at least one person is finding success with a Primal diet, so at least I'm on the right track. In fact, I've lost weight since going Primal, and for the first time it doesn't seem to be coming straight off my boobs first--I kinda wondered how I could still be a C cup at my current weight (when I lost weight after gastric bypass, I was a B cup at this weight). Interesting!
What helps me is, to be very strict about some of the primal rules:
1. Strictly stay away from dairy and any dairy products, at all times. At least for a while. It seems to make it worse.(I realized that, when I got bruises without actually hurting myself.)
2. Same goes for alcohol. Maby very very little dosage and only ever with food.
(I am going to try an add a little dairy products back in after a a couple of years, when my body has fixed itself.)
3. Swim and walk.
4. Soft leg massages, or dry brushing into direction of the heart.
5. Smoked fish or fishoil capsules intake. (This is important, especially for women and their omega 3 fat storage. Mark wrote an article about that a while back.)
By the way: I wasn't primal yet, when i was diagnosed. When I started looking at the pictures in the internet i developed anxiety disorder, because doctors told me, I can NEVER heal it, and it WILL ALWAY get worse, especially if I don't wear compression and stay on a very low calorie diet. Also they sad, I am allowed no sunbaths and sport. It was such a tough time, because I believed in convetional medicine. I was just sitting at home crying. It was like beeing dead alive.
Marks Daily Apple saved my life, and I thought I had lost it at that point. I just gave it a shot and it worked, because I had tried everything else. These days I am very sceptical with our convetional medicine.
I went grain-free ketogenic lowcarb and lost 170 pounds, approximately none of which was from my lipedemic areas. And much of which was fluid, not fat. So my fingers and breasts and stomach and feet lost massive weight -- those were the only parts that were normally fat, apparently -- and the ridiculously gigantic pelvis to ankles and upper arms didn't seem to lose much. They did lose 'water' weight, which of course varied literally by the day (as I am super obese based on body weight, mostly all in the lipedemic areas, so it's 'Stage III') and which returns if I am not extremely low carb (and, when my body would no longer tolerate a keto diet, that was that). I was not entirely dairy-free, and I was not paleo (e.g. would never have ingested maple syrup, honey, sweet fruits and starchy veggies, etc.).
I actually didn't know that I was lipedemic, despite the advanced degree of it and tendency of it in my family, until after I'd lost all that weight and nothing was touching those areas of fat, and I found it by accident reading up on something for a friend.
Finding information about the subject first caused great validation (what I'd always known was true but seemed obscure to only my family, turns out to be textbook predictable), and then horrific depression (now it's official there's no known cure), and then helpless rage (1 in 11 women suffer this but nobody wants to research it, suggesting that industry is making way more money off perpetuating the fat-as-morality myth and having well over 25 million women in the US alone pursuing diet food and other treatments that won't do jack for them and actually tend to make things worse). (Lipedemics are commonly known as "anorexics in fat suits" as they've spent much of their life chronically starving trying to "compensate" for a body that will not let go of fat in those areas and the cultural mythos that says it's because they eat too damn much.)
The effect knowing about it has had on my 17 year old daughter, who clearly suffers it seriously, has been even more devastating. I've spent literally years of my life now speed reading the internet, research papers and abstracts, everything I can about nearly any even potentially related topic to include detail nutrition of course.
It's pretty well a horrible nightmare at advanced stages. People at really low stages can probably drop water weight and lose most the symptoms which might explain the note above. But by the time someone is stage III it's all over but becoming jabba-the-hut immobilized (you can't use crutches, don't fit in wheelchairs, nobody can carry you) and having your lymph system crushed by the sheer weight and size of it. I want to believe there's something nobody has stumbled on which is why I've spent most of my free time for years searching for it. But the first advice I'd give anybody is do anything you can to NOT gain any more fat. Because apparently it never, ever, ever goes away. The second is for godssakes to get ENOUGH PROTEIN to "feel strong" so as much movement can be maintained as possible because every bit of sedentary contributes to a growing contrast between the weight and the bloat and the interference of the fat itself, vs. mobility.
Having lost weight on my non-lip areas, much of it gradually came back (my liver/thyroid seemed to refuse a keto diet eventually, and worse) except it came back on the bottom half instead, mostly, which is just horrifying, since it just made things worse. I'm glad I lost the weight, it hugely improved my health of course, but in the end given its partial return it was more like a redistribution, and I think if I'd known that in advance I might seriously have considered verrrrrry slowly losing only half that, rather than being so gung-ho for keto and losing a ton of weight fast and then having my health crash hard.
I think if a person maintains a healthy primal diet and exercise (I don't mean major exercise just regular motion), you have no reason to gain additional bodyfat, and there is no reason to think it will get worse.
I think the only reason it is said to get worse is for the same reason they say diabetes gets worse: because of the crappy diet people follow and the equally bad version doctors recommend. But I know tons of people who dropped symptoms of diabetes through eating a more appropriate diet and it's definitely not getting worse for them. So I think that warning is likely just as wrong in the case of lipedema as it is in the case of diabetes.
A proper eating plan will at the minimum take off bloat weight and may even do more. Since lipedema is inherited and hormonally correlated and since a ton of women have been trying to solve it for themselves for a long time with every imaginable approach, I don't know that any given eating plan we know of will actually cure it. But I think it's fair to say that a proper eating plan for your body will probably pause it and hold it in stasis, and reduce extra water weight (which is part of it), and that is invaluable even on its own.