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Losing Weight With Fibromyalgia

author image Lisa M. Wolfe
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.
Losing Weight With Fibromyalgia
People are exercising in the pool. Photo Credit: kzenon/iStock/Getty Images

Weight loss is never an easy choice. If you have fibromyalgia, your plans for weight loss seem more challenging. Calories are the culprit when it comes to weight gain, so losing weight is a result of a decrease in calories. Decrease your daily intake by adjusting your diet and increase your daily calorie-output with exercise. Here's where it gets tricky for someone with fibromyalgia: the pain that accompanies the condition makes exercise uncomfortable. With a conscious effort though, you'll find the workout that helps you burn calories and protects you from pain.

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Easy Exercise

Step 1

Perform cardiovascular exercises such as walking, cycling or swimming. Begin with five minutes a day. Gradually increase your duration by one to two minutes a day until you are able to perform 60 minutes of exercise to burn calories that lead to weight loss.

Step 2

Keep your heart rate between 55 and 75 percent of your maximum if you are new to exercise. Calculate this by subtracting your age from 220 and multiplying the result by 0.55 and 0.75. Locate your pulse on the side of your neck or the underside of your wrist and count the beats you feel within 10 seconds during your workout. Multiply the result by six to determine if you are within the comfortable workout range.

Step 3

Add strength training into your exercise routine on one or two days a week to increase your metabolism and burn more calories to help you lose weight. Choose eight to 10 exercises, one for each large muscle group, and perform one set of eight to 12 repetitions. For example, include squats for your lower body, crunches for your core, dumbbell arm curls for the biceps and dumbbell shoulder presses for the shoulders. Include exercises for your chest, back and calves also.

Step 4

Incorporate aqua exercises into your workout routine as a no-impact activity to reduce stress on your joints. Swim or walk the pool for 15 minutes three times a week or participate in an aqua-aerobics class. Begin at a low-intensity and gradually increase your swimming speed, or increase your walk to a jog to burn a higher number of calories.

Step 5

Use a stationary bike if outdoor cycling is not available, or as a workout that is not weather dependent. Gauge your workout intensity by your target heart rate. Pedal at a speed that elevates your heart rate within your range for 10 to 60 minutes. Perform your cycling workouts one to three days a week as one of your cardiovascular, calorie-burning activities.

Diet with Care

Step 1

Eat lean meats such as chicken, fish and turkey instead of red meat to reduce your calorie-intake. Reduce your daily calorie intake by approximately 250 calories to add to your weekly weight loss.

Step 2

Increase your intake of high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables to provide a full-feeling, with less calories. Eat an afternoon snack such as apples and peanut butter or carrots and hummus to integrate high-fiber foods into your diet.

Step 3

Plan to eat three meals a day plus two healthy snacks. For example, eat a vegetable omelet for breakfast and in one or two hours have a piece of fruit. Eat a grilled chicken salad for lunch and in an hour or two have a handful of almonds. Cook a healthy dinner such as baked fish early in the evening, so your full stomach does not further interfere with your inability to get a complete night's sleep.

Step 4

Avoid eating excess calories from fried foods, sugary foods, junk foods and carbonated beverages. Bake or grill meats instead of frying foods to reduce the calories. Replace sugary snacks with an apple or an orange to satisfy your sweet tooth. Drink plenty of water instead of drinking carbonated beverages.

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