The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Exercising with ME/CFS

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by sickntired771, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. sickntired771


    I have always been skinny but now i am overweight from lack of activity and need to lose pounds. Are there any safe or safer weight loss exercises for CFS that wont drag me down further?
    oceiv likes this.
  2. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Senior Member

    The best I can suggest is a paleo diet, which seems to help some people with CFS, and which seems to be a useful way to lose weight as well.
    heapsreal, Beyond and Keela Too like this.
  3. sickntired771


    It is definitely a useful way to lose weight but my CFS got the worst on a paleo diet. I desperately need carbs for energy.
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    I think that diet is probably a better focus for weight loss, and exercising is better for building/maintaining muscles. What exercise is best for you depends on lots of different things, and what you're aims are.

    For food I focus on trying to have solid satisfying meals that mean I don't really want any dessert/sweet snacks. It seems like everyone's a bit different with stuff like this though. Best of luck finding something that works for you.
    beaker, Valentijn and oceiv like this.
  5. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

    No, exercise for weight loss is not advised in ME/CFS. Stretching, range of motion, and very limited (light weights with very very short duration as in <5 mins) strength exercise is advised for some patients. If you need to lose weight with ME/CFS, diet is likely to be your best bet.

    FWIW, as soon as my energy improved through treatment, my extra weight fell off with no particular effort on my part. I suspect my metabolism was improved in some way. I was eating well the whole time, though. I doubt the weight would have dropped off naturally if I had a poor diet on top of poor health. ;)
    Valentijn, catly, ahimsa and 2 others like this.
  6. GhostGum

    GhostGum Senior Member

    Vic, AU
    You say you needs carbs for energy, try adding sources like sweet potato and brown rice, over refined carbs. A meal with a lot of sweet potato or brown rice will sustain you better over time and reduce any cravings, throw in a little meat or beans, few more veg and how can you go wrong.

    Paleo is such a loose term as well IMO, can still have some carbs. Best thing to do with any diet like this is focus of veg/micro intake and not meat/fat intake, throw in some good carb sources if it seem necessary. Unless anyone is trying to go full keto to see how it impacts health there is no need to stick to any 'paleo' diet to the letter.
    sickntired771 likes this.
  7. Keela Too

    Keela Too Sally Burch

    Biggest help to me in controlling appetite, is to avoid sugar - especially the processed sort.
    I'm gluten-free as well.
    oceiv likes this.
  8. CantThink

    CantThink Senior Member

    England, UK
    Walking? It depends on how sick you are, but if you can do some walking without making yourself worse with PEM then that's probably the most easily available/for free exercise you could try. Some people can manage gentle stretching exercises.

    Also if you aren't up to that, then just moving around the house and doing chores helps burn calories and increase mobility (if that's going to happen without relapse/PEM).

    Most of my daily calorie burn probably occurs when I have to wash myself or prepare food. If I am doing a bit better I can sometimes walk to get to places from the car (like to attend appointments) or take my little dog for a sniff. Problem is I usually end up with PEM and flat on my back - I am not good at figuring out limits (my limit is probably half which is not very far for a 'walk').

    You might find a food logging website/app helpful - My Fitness Pal is quite good. It helps track calories by logging the food you consume (and you can also input activity, fluid intake, current weight & measurements). Then you can see if your food intake is truly too high for activity level or if not, then maybe look at thyroid status and whether this might be an issue.
    rosie26 and oceiv like this.
  9. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    I've not been able to find an exercise that helps with weightloss but doesn't cause PEM (I've tried yoga, tai chi, weightlifting, callenentics, walking on the road and in water, pilates, swimming and other water exercise and many other things).

    The best things for me have been

    1. eating less carbs
    2. skin brushing (gentle with a heart rate monitor to make sure the HR doesn't get too high)
    Valentijn likes this.
  10. boo85

    boo85 Senior Member

    You are better off eating healthily and aiming on getting well, rather than exercising. You need to control your weight with diet, and use your energy to get better. I know I have to conserve my energy for when I really need it, so I don't "work out."
    Valentijn, rosie26 and oceiv like this.
  11. Alea Ishikawa

    Alea Ishikawa

    Yes, I would say diet is a major factor in weight maintenance/loss. If you are able, I'd suggest tracking your daily calories and eating foods that make you feel full so you aren't as hungry later. For me, that's typically protein/fat like chicken, turkey, eggs, even pork and steak. I can also do milk, but I know not everyone can do dairy. I'm also one of those odd people who actually eats mustard greens, spinach, and broccoli.

    If you are blessed enough to go out to eat/order out, they have low-calorie options sometimes. Applebee's has a ~$13 portabello steak with grains, spinach, and cherry tomatoes for 340 calories.

    You can treat yourself once in a while, but you'd have to take the calories away from somewhere else. I'd suggest mixing up the diet with healthier things you like and eating before shopping to help keep away from things that'll get you in trouble.

    If you do exercising, do gentler stuff like stretching or modified push-ups, ~30 seconds at time, with considerable rest thereafter - like the Workwell Foundation suggests. Start slow. And take it easy on yourself.

    You can start tracking roughly how many calories you'd burn per day. For me, walking around the house ~1,200 steps/day on average and doing some small stuff might put me at 1,880 calories.

    You may have to give up something else to exercise. It depends on how important it is to you.

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