An autoimmune disease or disorder is a condition in which the body is compromised of a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system essentially creates a warzone in the body, protecting it against harmful and foreign pathogens that may cause damage. But an estimated five to eight percent of Americans are living with an autoimmune disease, a condition in which the body's very own first line of defense destroys normally healthy cells. Not only can autoimmune diseases make weight gain or loss difficult, but it can also lead to other health related issues. See how you can manage your weight and keep your health in check with these five simple tips!
Managing Your Weight with an Autoimmune Disorder
Autoimmune diseases can affect weight in a number of fashions, including the physiology of the condition itself, symptoms it causes, and medications prescribed for management. Additionally, weight can be impacted in a number of directions, including difficulties losing weight and unintentional weight loss. Nonetheless, autoimmune diseases can prevent weight loss or make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. But despite the direction the autoimmune disease pulls you towards, manage your weight with the following tips:
1. Consult with Your Healthcare Team
Rather than trying to manage your condition and weight on your own, consult with your healthcare team. The appropriate discipline can help treat the underlying autoimmune disorder, along with creating a safe care plan to meet individualized needs. Attend regular exams annually and as needed to track personal progress and propose any manipulations for effective management and treatment.
2. Overhaul the Diet
A nutritious diet is key in weight loss and maintenance, along with overall health. General recommendations encourage reducing highly processed foods and gravitating towards more wholesome sources, including whole grains, fruits and veggies. A registered dietitian can tailor an individualized diet to meet your personal needs, including management with type 1 diabetes and gluten removal with Celiac disease. Along wiStreth incorporating nutrient-dense foods, it is mutually important to not fall into the traps of fad diets that guarantee any sort of cure-all.
Especially if managing an autoimmune disorder with uncomfortable pain and other side effects, exercise may be the last task you want to take on. However, simply "taking it easy" may be doing a disservice to yourself. Participate in exercisers you feel comfortable completing, including the low-impact movements of biking and swimming. Ultimately, any movement can help manage weight, along with mitigating the severity of experienced symptoms such as joint pain. But before starting any sort of exercise regimen, consult with your primary care provider as a precautionary measure.
Especially when dealing with other responsibilities and duties in life, managing an autoimmune disorder may only intensify stress on a day-to-day basis. Considering such stressors may lead to poor coping habits, such as stress eating, it is important to strategize positive strategies. Heathy stress-relieving techniques include practicing meditation and deep breathing, taking a walk out in nature, and calling a loved one to chat.
Perhaps sleep appears as the simplest way to lose weight, though the general U.S. population is missing the mark. The average American sleeps approximately six hours each night, while the National Sleep Foundation encourages seven to nine hours on a regular basis. And if dealing with joint pain and other uncomfortable symptoms, sleep can be compromised even more. But lack of sleep can impose on weight loss strategies by reducing metabolism and energy, increasing cravings of high-carb and fat foods, and driving the risk of overeating and binges. To mitigate such risk, aim to achieve adequate sleep by implementing a regular bedtime schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and straying away from naps, caffeine, and large meals in the late afternoon and evening hours.