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Why Does Fibromyalgia Cause Weight Gain?

Fibromyalgia compensation is something we specialise in, which is why we know so much about the condition and its side effects. In this blog, we discuss how fibromyalgia and weight gain are related.


As a chronic pain condition, fibromyalgia is renowned for causing a wide range of extremely painful and uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, temperature sensitivity, and restless leg syndrome. A common unfortunate frustration that many fibromyalgia sufferers face is weight gain, even if they don’t particularly eat a lot of food. In this blog post, we discuss the link between weight gain and fibromyalgia and provide tips on how you can help to stop it from happening to you.

Like most diseases, fibromyalgia comes with its own set of good and bad days and there’s no way of telling what kind of day you’re going to have when you wake up in the morning. Fibromyalgia compensation is something we specialise in, which means we regularly witness first-hand how the condition has the power to dampen every sufferer’s mood. When you’re feeling particularly down, it may only take one small thing to push you over the edge, and that small thing could be weight gain; no one likes to see the scales go up, however, this can be a particularly traumatic experience for fibromyalgia sufferers and may lead to further problems, such as depression.

There are a number of contributing factors as to why fibromyalgia patients often gain weight, such as the following:-

  • Lack of sleep – Due to the extreme pain caused by fibromyalgia, many sufferers have trouble sleeping and will often become extremely sleep-deprived. A lack of sleep can lead to a reduced metabolism, which is then replaced by an increased appetite and cravings for high-carb and high-sugar foods.
  • Lack of exercise – The pain caused by fibromyalgia can sometimes be so bad that sufferers will avoid exercise at all costs, much like anyone in pain, which means they won’t be burning the calories they need to maintain, or lose, their current weight.
  • Medication – A number of medications, particularly antidepressants, have the side effect of weight gain.
  • Hormones – Fibromyalgia is known for causing hormonal imbalances, affecting the levels of cortisol, thyroid, serotonin, and insulin, as well as the production of growth hormones, which can cause the metabolism to slow down.

If you have fibromyalgia and are worried about gaining weight, paying attention to your diet will help; due to the severe pain you most likely experience everyday, you won’t find exercising easy, which means your metabolism may slow down as a result. Below are some appropriate diet plans that you could follow*.

  • High protein, low carbohydrate – Switch your carbs for foods that are good proteins, such as lean meats, eggs, dairy products, tofu, soy meat substitutes, and legumes (peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils). Up your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid sugar and sweets, breads and pastas, rice, potatoes, carbonated drinks, and alcohol.
  • Don’t stuff yourself – Rather than eating until you’re stuffed, only eat meals until you’re full and remember to eat slowly, chewing your food well. Eating regularly during the day is healthier than eating three large meals, so try to find the time to eat five to six times a day. For example, try three regular meals and two small snacks, three small portion meals and two large snacks, or five small portion meals. If, alongside your fibromyalgia, you suffer with irritable bowel syndrome, you may find that eating smaller, more regular portions helps.
  • Eat protein first – When sitting down for every meal, make protein your top priority and eat it first; by doing this, you will immediately activate protein digestive enzymes, which helps to slow the absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Time for a break – When following a diet plan, it’s important to give yourself a break on the weekends; knowing you have the option to eat whenever you want when the week comes to an end will make it much easier to follow the rules during the week.

*It’s important to remember, however, that you should consult with your doctor before starting any form of diet. We have experience in handling fibromyalgia compensation claims, however, are not best placed to provide medical advice in instances such as these, which is why we recommend that you arrange to see your local GP or doctor prior to beginning a new diet or exercise regime.

If you suffer with fibromyalgia and would like to share your story or connect with fellow sufferers to gain help and advice, join our Facebook community. Alternatively, if you have developed the condition as a result of an accident or injury, get in touch with us to discover whether or not you are entitled to compensation.

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