Dealing with weight gain

talkingfox

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I know this sounds uber vain in comparison to many of the more distressing issues we deal with on a daily basis...BUT...

Does anyone have any tricks for dealing with the seemingly reasonless weight gain that so many of us get? I've packed on 30 lbs in the last year, all the while eating no more than 1400 calories a day. I've actually had to drop it to around 1100 just to stay stable. As an ex-lifter I follow a pretty clean diet protocol as well.

I've always had to eat like a bird and train like a thoroughbred to take even the teeniest bit of fat off anyways. Since I've had to remove daily gym time from my life (at least for now...grrrrr :p) I'm at a loss as to what else I could be doing.

My blood sugar is starting to creep up and I've no desire to deal with type 2 diabetes on top of everything else, yanno?
 

spit

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wish I had a good answer. There's IMO some kind of basic metabolic dysfunction going on for quite a lot of folks with this. I don't know whether I have CFS or something else, but whatever I have, its heavy onset definitely coincided with a huge and sudden weight gain without any corresponding major change in eating or behavior. Now, I'm not particularly active, but I'm on stimulants and also barely eat -- and haven't dropped weight at all.

FWIW, deep sleep is when our bodies tend to release HGH, so if you're not getting enough good slow wave sleep, you're likely to have major shifts in muscle and fat proportions, too. There may be other things going on, too, but not getting enough slow wave sleep, which is a common problem in CFS and some other things, has major implications for the body, so it might be worth trying to figure out how to get more of it (much, much easier said than done, I'm afraid).
 
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George

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Yeah it sucks

I started putting on two pounds per month back when I first got sick and was still really active.
(For me onset was each year I taught I picked up the illness of the year and my function dropped about 10 %.) So in the beginning I just could not figure out what the heck was going on. My doctor just said I was getting older then decided that I must be secretly eating. (eye rolling here)

Then it just stopped and I haven't been able to get it off no matter what.

The bad thing is it's all in my upper body particularly the breast area, just rolls of fat. I went from a barely B for 20 years to a (gulp) Double D. If you take a picture of my butt I look like a typical size 16. But I'm a 22 up top and I look like the rest of me should weigh in at 300 lbs. (course the 200 is bad enough)

I have no clue how to fix that problem. If I had money I'd have those suckers sucked out with never a second thought. Heck, I'd have them reduced to Double A's (big grins) After 3 years of carrying the extra 20 or 30 lbs around I soooooooo want to be flat not fluffy!

My diet is so strict due to all the food intolerance that I Lucky to do 1400 calories a day. I've pointed this out to my doctor but he ignores what he doesn't understand. (sigh) True I can't exercise cardio wise but I do exercise for 5 mins at the top of each hour for a full 60 min. total at the end of the day.

I don't know. (sigh) Sorry for the rant. (sheep grins) But that is the one sore spot for me with this illness. Every thing else I've accepted and incorporated and managed but every time I look in the mirror I want to cry.
 

Tony

Still working on it all..
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No white food diet....

Some healthy friends of mine lost several kilo's on this diet. A naturopath put them onto a "no white food" diet. No flour, no dairy, no sugar or salt. And drinking 4 litres of water every day. They did it in summer so it was a bit easier to get all that water down.
I'm a bit hazy on this, but from memory they both dropped about 8 kilo's over 2 months or so and one told me he felt great. No great exercise involved for them, just working as normal.
 
Did you notice if your weight gain started when you started any meds? Pain pills and anti-depressants can cause weight gain.

Then there are metabolic problems, such as hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue and hypoglycemia.

If you suspect one of your medicines causing weight gain, then consider switching to a different med.

You need a complete thyroid panel to diagnose thyroid problems, not just TSH. That would be TSH, free T3, free T4 and thyroid antibodies.

A regular doctor doesn't know how to test or treat adrenal fatigue, you'll need a naturopath. Same deal for hypoglycemia.

I suggest that you start taking chromium to support your pancreas. This is probably the biggest single thing you can do for your blood sugar outside of diet. I also recommend the Zone Diet, which is designed to control your blood sugar.
 

fresh_eyes

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Weight gain used to be the most difficult part of this illness for me too, George. I gained 25 lbs in *one month* at my sudden onset of CFS, and I also got the "you're getting older" line too (I was 33). Plus everybody kept asking if I was pregnant, which was a touchy subject anyway...Urgh.

I have found something something that has helped a lot with all my symptoms, particularly the weight thing. I do regular 'liver flushes' per the Hulda Clark school of thought. It's as kooky as can be, but for whatever reason, it works for me.
 
R

Robin

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Did you notice if your weight gain started when you started any meds? Pain pills and anti-depressants can cause weight gain.
Yep, other types of drugs like cortisone, contraceptives, diabetes medication, even stuff like Prevacid can sometimes cause weight gain too.

I've been alllll over the map with weight and CFS, at one point I'd gained 40 pounds. The only thing that helped me was very gradual calorie restriction -- I'd ditch 50 to 100 calories a day for three or four months, and then once I got used to less food, drop another 50 to 100 calories a day, etc., until I got to my target weight. It took three years, and it's been two years since I lose the weight and it hasn't come back (cross fingers).
 
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After having been athletic and slim all my life, when faced with ME/CFS induced weight-gain (over 1/2 my original weight:eek:), mirrors were a nightmare for a while. Refusing to get depressed, I started saying to myself "big is beautiful".

I've done what I can to get the weight down, about 20% gone so far. And think over time I'll be able to get rid of some more. But 'big is beautiful' is my most useful tool. And besides - I've discovered the joy of cleavage!
 

talkingfox

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@ fresheyes Hmmmm liver flush. I think I'll be looking that up. Thanks!

I'm not taking meds right now, so that can't be it, don't eat sugar flour salt or refined carbs (or refined anything else for that matter) so that can't be it. My last thyroid check said all was well.

I don't think I could restrict my calorie intake more than it already is and maintain it. 1100 calories means I can brush my teeth twice a day and it puts me a little over ;)
 
S

starcycle

Guest
@ fresheyes Hmmmm liver flush. I think I'll be looking that up. Thanks!

I'm not taking meds right now, so that can't be it, don't eat sugar flour salt or refined carbs (or refined anything else for that matter) so that can't be it. My last thyroid check said all was well.

I don't think I could restrict my calorie intake more than it already is and maintain it. 1100 calories means I can brush my teeth twice a day and it puts me a little over ;)
Strange, the thought that popped into my head the other day after posting initially was "liver flush." maybe there's something to the idea.
 

richvank

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Weight gain in CFS

Hi, all.

For what it's worth, in the GD-MCB hypothesis for CFS, the reason for the weight gain is that there is a partial block in the Krebs cycle near its beginning, at the enzyme aconitase, just beyond citric acid in the cycle.

The result of this partial block is that the cells are not able to burn carbs and fats at rates as high as normal.

Carbs and fats must enter the Krebs cycle as acetyl-CoA, which precedes citric acid, and therefore they are subject to this partial block. When carbs come in, and reach this partial block, they are shunted off and converted to stored fat.

Proteins are a different story. They are broken down into amino acids. Amino acids are largely convertible from one to another by transamination reactions, and some of the amino acids are able to enter the Krebs cycle beyond this partial block. They can therefore be burned to produce ATP, and this is the reason why quite a few PWCs report that they feel better on a high-protein diet, as long as they still have CFS, and hence, this partial block.

So what causes the partial block at aconitase? Aconitase is an enzyme that incorporates an iron-sulfur complex. This complex is vulnerable to reactions with oxidizing free radicals. These can oxidize and remove an iron ion from the enzyme molecule, which deactivates it.

In CFS, it is generally agreed that there is a condition of elevated oxidative stress. That means that the concentrations of oxidizing free radicals are higher than normal. This is what produces the partial block at aconitase.

Why is there a condition of oxidative stress in CFS? There are at least three competing hypotheses at this point. Mine is the GD-MCB hypothesis, which proposes that glutathione depletion is responsible for the oxidative stress. Free radicals are generated as a normal part of the metabolism, and when glutathione is depleted, their levels are allowed to rise.

Although a high-protein diet will help to control the weight gain while a person has CFS, the longer term strategy is of course to get well. That's what the Simplified Treatment Approach for lifting the partial methylation cycle block is directed at. In the GD-MCB hypothesis, glutathione depletion is tied to a partial block in the methylation cycle, and the latter needs to be addressed in order to correct the former.

Best regards,

Rich
 

talkingfox

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That makes perfect sense to me rich. Actually it's kind of a *DOH* moment for me.
Gym rat types (and I certainly was) are usually acutely aware of support for proper Krebs cycling. I'm going to blame it on brain frogs...

I felt like a million bucks when I was lifting and on a high pro diet. Of course the remission at the time wasn't hurting matters either :D

The more ammo the better! Thanks everyone!
 
G

George

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Rich

Well, helk that makes perfect sense! Doc didn't want me on a high protien diet due to high cholesteral and high blood pressure but I think more chicken and fish may be what I need.
 
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Body Composition

I strongly suspect that the way the my body handles energy and stores energy and expends energy is affected by this thing. It's been that way from the start.

During my past partial 'remissions' from ME/CFS -- or whatever this unholy thing is -- I have had stark changes in appetite and fat/muscle ratio that correspond chronologically, but are not in my estimation related to the increased capacity for physical activity that I encounter. In fact I don't think they correspond even to food intake because during 'health' I've found myself having to eat more than usual to maintain my weight! I also put on muscle without having to lift weights...which is kinda weird. I realize an observer would immediately jump to the conclusion that I must be unaware of an increased level of activity. They'd be wrong, trust me on this one. I know that physical activity is not what is changing things. Of course I have no way to prove this but I have a visceral sense that the way I use sources of fuel changes dramatically. During a difficult health period, it seems that I shift toward an increased dependency on caloric intake in lieu of the body reserves that might be utilized during exercise. During 'well' periods of the past, I have been able to fast if necessary or if desired. Fasting is something I simply cannot do when in the throes of this thing.

Sometimes I wonder if the body's response to this problem is to go into some sort of metabolic starvation/preservation mode where chemical/hormonal parameters are skewed to favor the preservation of body weight while blunting our energy expenditure in a way that results in more than a limited capacity for exercise. Other times I remember the theories on mitochondrial dysfunction and the profound local muscle weakness and wonder if overall metabolic rate is being altered that way.

These are the things some of us reserve when speaking to health professionals. You can't stand to burden them with things which you fear may cause them to dismiss you as overly preoccupied with things. :)
 

Kati

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I can very much relate to the weight gain issue, having gained 60 lbs over the last couple years and requiring, obviously purchase of larger sizes of clothing. Even when my appetite is not good, and through my surgery time when I was habing clear soups and jello, I didn't lose anything.

Hormonally, my cortisol tested low, and TSH is normal. I understand that TSH is not the final test, however my dr refuses to do Free t3 and free t4 and antibodies. Glucose tolerance test is normal.

Of note I used to be very fit with cycling, running and cross country skiing amongst other things. Now, I can barely walk 2 blocks.

The other dimension to the weight gain is the emotional part, which takes a toll on me. Avoiding pictures and mirrors, embarrassment when seeng people I haven't seen in a while, frustration and grief over the changing body and even if you wanted to lose the weight, it would be overly difficult with push-crash attempts, PEM, OI and what not.

So what do one do?:confused:
 
D

Denn

Guest
Ditto me too! After a very gradual onset, the apparently inevitable weight gain hit me in a more accelerated fashion in the last few months. Like others, I was fit and tried to maintain at least minimal exercise until about 9 months ago when even the thought of exercise became impossible. I have avoided the mirrors, expanded the wardrobe, etc. Probably the bigget issue for me, as I have surrendered to the gain as an unavoidable process of CFS at this point, is facing my own prejudice toward obesity. I grew up in a family in which being overweight was taboo. As a chubby child, I was subject to the sarcasm of my parents. Unfortunately, as I grew and slimmed out, I unconsciously took on their prejudices. So, the weight gain cleverly plays into my depression, too! However, I am trying to make these attitudes conscious and harmonize this negativity in my life. I can almost bear to look at myself in the mirror now ;)

It's interesting that there seems to be a national obsession about obesity in the U.S. right now. Many young people I know have almost a religious fervor for remaining thin. I think, in this case, the obsession may be worse than the obesity.

Blessings to all for this new year!
Denn
 
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I have now had CFS for 6 months. In this time I have lost 12kg. I was 90 kg now sitting at around 78kg. Not sure if I will start piling it back on soon. I have lost a bit of muscle in my legs so that could be the weight that I have lost. Who knows.