If you suffer from chronic inflammation, as I do, you may notice that losing weight can be a CHALLENGE. While it might seem like a coincidence, there is correlation between chronic inflammation and weight loss struggles. Sometimes it seems that can follow all the weight loss tips there are, and still struggle. It is possible to lose weight as someone who suffers from chronic inflammation. You do need to know, though, that weight loss progress may be slower than it is for those who don't have chronic inflammation. There are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting into great shape while battling chronic inflammation.
Chronic Inflammation and Weight Loss
I've dealt with chronic inflammation since my late teens or early twenties. In fact, I was diagnosed with lumbar arthritis and degenerative disc disease at 21 and have been on prescription anti-arthritic medication ever since. And weight had been a struggle for me for years. The pendulum has swung wide, too. I've been 102lbs and I've been nearly 250lbs. For the last ten years, it seems I've lost, and regained, the same 75lbs or so.
What Makes Inflammation Slow Down Weight Loss?
A while back, my clinician looked at me and said, “Your chronic inflammation could be a factor in your struggle to lose weight.” It was then that I realized that if I want to lose weight, it's crucial to understand the role that inflammation plays in weight loss.
As it turns out, when your body is sore, it can prevent signals to the brain that let you know to stop eating because your stomach is getting full. If you do not feel like you are full, you may eat more than you should, consuming too many calories to lose weight successfully. Often times, inflammation also leads to reduced movement, which results in lower caloric needs. Additionally, chronic inflammation can lead to fluid retention — which displays as weight on the scale.
This doesn't mean that those who deal with chronic inflammation can't lose weight. It means that we have to be more intentional with food decisions while treating inflammation. While inflammation and weight gain often go hand in hand, there are some steps that you can take to reduce inflammation and lose that weight.
Foods that Fight Inflammation
The first thing you should do when you want to reduce inflammation and start losing weight is to start looking for foods that fight inflammation. The biggest thing to remember is that anti-inflammatory foods are typically single ingredient foods that are in their natural state, i.e. unprocessed and unadulterated in any way.
Anti-inflammatory foods include (but are not limited to):
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- nuts, like walnuts, almonds, and pistachios
- olive oil (and whole olives)
- green tea
- chia seeds
- bone broth and collagen
Foods that may increase inflammation include:
- processed junk foods like chips, fast food, etc
- refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, white rice, tortillas, biscuits
- sugary foods and beverages like soda, energy drinks
- partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or margarine
Some foods may also trigger inflammation in some individuals but not in others. For example, gluten exposure may cause inflammation in gluten-sensitive individuals. I am one of those.
Fish Oil Supplements
In addition to eating the right foods, you can start taking fish oil supplements. Fish oil supplements are worth taking because they contain omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your body and help reduce inflammation. My doctor recommended that I take a fish oil supplement twice daily and to be sure that it contains both EPA and DHA in it, in addition to the Omega 3's.
Researchers say that intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation. Eating causes natural insulin spikes. Intermittent fasting naturally reduces this occurrence, can improve insulin resistance, slow the progression of type 2 diabetes, and reduce cardiovascular risk.
My doctor recommended intermittent fasting because of both inflammation and insulin resistance. There are different types of intermittent fasting. There are also a few things you need to know before you start intermittent fasting into your way of eating, including combining keto and intermittent fasting. You can also calorie count, to ensure that you don't overfeed, but I've found it to be unnecessary with intermittent fasting.
While maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight, with chronic inflammation
can be IS a challenge, it doesn't have to be impossible. Choosing foods that fight inflammation, avoiding foods that trigger inflammation, using a quality fish oil supplement, and intermittent fasting are just a few of the things you can do to work toward your goal.