My Top 10 Fitness Tips For Lipedema Weight Loss

Leah Gilbert, Australian-based plus-size endurance athlete, fitness instructor, 2XU Elite Sponsorship Program, founder of Body Positive Athletes. Follow Leah on Instagram @leebee232. Get more fitness tips in the Huff Post article: HERE 

Losing Weight With Lipedema:

Here Are My Top 10 Fitness Tips For Lipedema Weight Loss

Written By Guest Contributor: Asmaa Hammad

Despite the fact that Lipedema fat doesn’t respond to traditional weight loss methods, it is possible to achieve better fitness level and lose some weight in the process.  Those suffering from Lipedema can control their symptoms, manage inflammation, and lose some weight in the process.  Dieting and exercise helps to control and manage the progression of Lipedema, so weight management is critical to keeping the disease in check.  Of course, tumescent liposuction can be a beneficial treatment for painful Lipedema fat removal, but what if surgery is not an option for you at the moment?  This article will go through the ten best Fitness Tips to Lose Weight with Lipedema, as well as pain management tips to help you get started toward a healthier, more active life! Once you’re finished, you can check out my helpful e-book for more weight loss tips, “Lip Lady Fab’s 5 Step Guide to Loving Your Legs After a Lipedema Diagnosis!

Going Gluten Free:

According to, gluten is a substance found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. Gluten helps food maintain their shape and their elasticity.  Gluten is found in cereals, baked goods, salad dressings, sauces, beers, and pasta.  Furthermore, according to paleo leap, gluten is highly inflammatory in 80% of the population.  Since lipedema has an inflammatory component, it is highly advised that those suffering from lipedema go gluten free to reduce the inflammation in their legs.  Going gluten free can also help you lose weight since you will be focusing on foods that are more natural.

The Paleo diet:

The paleo diet is all the rage these days among athletes and those suffering from chronic conditions, but what is the paleo diet and why is it so good for those suffering with Lipedema? According to, the paleo diet is based on the notion that for the best health, people should eat whole, unprocessed foods.  Foods that are acceptable on the paleo diet are: grass-fed meat (research shows that grass-fed meats have a higher range of omega 3 fatty acids), free range chicken, eggs, organic fruits and vegetables (if you can afford organic), good fats, such as olive, avocado, and coconut oils, nuts, and seeds.  The paleo diet avoids dairy, processed foods, gluten, grains, white potatoes, flour, and legumes.  Research shows that the paleo diet is good for those with Lipedema because Lipedema has an inflammatory component and the paleo diet is an anti-inflammatory eating plan.

RAD Diet:

The RAD Diet stands for Rare Adipose Disorder, which Lipedema falls under. The RAD Diet was created by Dr. Karen Herbst, (an adipose tissue disorder specialist), who advocates “lower consumption of pasteurized dairy products, animal proteins, fats, simple sugars, flour,” and avoiding foods that have preservatives and chemicals.  Also, lower salt intake, and rest the gut every once in a while by drinking a liquid based diet, such as stews, smoothies, and fresh juices.  The RAD diet has a lot of the same principles as the paleo diet, but there is some variation.  For example, the paleo diet believes in high fat, whereas RAD believes in reducing fat intake.  There is no one right diet for everyone since everyone is unique and different.  It really depends on individual preference.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD):

According to, MLD is a type of gentle massage that is encouraged to drain the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of tissues responsible for expelling toxins out of our body.  MLD can help reduce pain and prevent fibrosis, which is scarring of healthy tissue.  MLD therapy has shown to be beneficial for those suffering from lipedema since it reduces swelling of the legs and alleviates pain. You can also try a dry brush to encourage your lymphatic flow from home.


Swimming is a low impact exercise and water exercises are beneficial to those with Lipedema since the main complaint of lipedema is pain, especially while attempting exercises. Water exercises strengthen muscles and stimulate the lymphatic system.  It also takes the pressure off of the joints and is a proven stress reliever.

Compression Garments:

Compression garments are beneficial to those with Lipedema. According to the Fat Disorders Research Society (FDRS), compression has multiple benefits, which are: the slow of fat cell growth, improves lymphatic flow, pain reduction, helps legs feel less heavy, and can help from lipedema advancing to the next stage.  Make sure to educate yourself on the different types of compression and get your legs and arms measured, so compression is both comfortable and fits you properly. We love these BioFlect garments because they are easier to put on than most graduated compression and great for beginners.

Editor’s note: If nothing else, wearing sports compression during the day, during exercise, and when you fly on an airplane is an easy and beneficial way to treat your legs well and prevent Lipedema progression.

Cutting out food sensitivities/intolerances:

Since lipedema has an inflammatory component, eliminating food sensitivities and intolerances will prove to be beneficial. According to FDRS, inflammation is an immune system response resulting in heat, swelling, pain, or loss of function.  Getting a food sensitivity test is beneficial because there may be hidden food intolerances that are causing inflammation of the body.


Lipedema sufferers have been told to exercise and to move as much as they can. Walking is one of the best exercises for lipedema because it is low impact and stimulates the lymphatic system.  Current research recommends taking 10,000 steps a day, which is equivalent to walking five miles.  This does not have to be done all at once.  Some ways to get more steps are parking farther, taking the stairs (if it isn’t too painful), going to the park and walking a trail, or even going to the mall to enjoy a stroll.

Weight Training:

If you are suffering pain from cardio exercises, then try weight lifting. The more muscle tone you have, the easier it is to burn fat.  Start off by lifting light with some 10 pound dumbells  and work your way up to heavier weights.  Exercise helps control lipedema from progressing to advanced stages, so any little thing you can do helps.

Editor’s note: Huffington Post recently shared some amazing fitness tips from some of the most sought-after plus-size fitness experts. Be sure to stretch before and after, and ask a trainer for advice on good form to avoid injuries, or maybe strike up a convo with that hot guy at the gym! Potassium in your diet or supplements, and Epsom salt baths, help relieve muscle soreness when you are just starting out!


Supplements like Selenium, Butchers Broom, and Black Seed have been shown to improve lymphatic flow. According to the Journal of Alternative and Integrative Medicine, selenium and butchers broom were shown to improve pain and swelling for those suffering with Lipedema.  According to, black seed is “the cure for everything, except for death.”  Black seed is anti-inflammatory, analgesic (painkiller), and antioxidant, among other factors.  Black Seed comes in capsule form, oil, and seeds.  It depends on how the individual wants to take it.  The use of these supplements have been beneficial to those suffering from Lipedema.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the ten best fitness and nutrition tips to control Lipedema and lose weight in the process.

Have you tried any of the above mentioned or have any of your own tips?  Comment below.

fascia blaster

Want more details on how I lost weight with Lipedema?

Learn how I got started loving my legs after I found out I had Lipedema. I share how I lost 45 lbs, my experience with liposuction and how I got insurance to reimburse me thousands in medical expenses!

Download my e-book, “Lip Lady Fab’s Guide to Loving Your Legs After a Lipedema Diagnosis


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Here’s a list of more helpful sources:

What is gluten?

11 Ways Gluten and Wheat Can Damage Your Health

What’s the Paleo Diet?

RAD Diet

Lymphatic System: Facts, Functions, and Diseases


Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Water Magic: Get fit and soothe your symptoms with a water workout.!sharie-swimming-lipoedema/c1lae

Compression Garments

FDRS Inflammation

Control and Exercise!renee-watters-exercise-for-lipoedema/c6eu

Black Seed-‘The Remedy for Everything but Death’

Butcher’s Broom and Selenium Improve Lipedema: A Retrospective Case Study

21 thoughts on “My Top 10 Fitness Tips For Lipedema Weight Loss

  1. Can you post this on  the  Lipedema Project California Ambassador Facebook page?  Can I get permission to post it?

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  2. Can you post this on the Lipedema Project California Ambassador Facebook page?  Thanks, Marlene Simpson 

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  3. I eat an all meat diet or animal food diet high in saturated fat. I find that fatty beef, like brisket, is satiating and healing to the digestive track. My regular fat has become softer and I have lost 45 lbs since last March. I still have soft and fibriotic Lippy fat but long term I’m thinking that this fat may be broken down. I swim and walk for exercise and currently using a stationary bike 3-4 xs a week. My concerns are weakness in the legs. The pain I have is only when I touch the fibriotic fat with pressure.

    1. Wow! That is really great effort you are making Fran! With consistency and time, your small changes will pay big dividends, and the tips above should help to reduce your pain levels and weakness. It sucks because so many of us suffer from weakness often, as well as those like me who also have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which can make our joints feel week. I just encourage you to push through it as best you can because when you lose fat and build muscle, it will help support your journey and a healthy metabolism. Strong muscles also means safer joints! Be safe and work with a trainer or physical therapist if you can, and always consult with your doctor.

      Again, you should super proud of your hard work Fran!

  4. MLD for lipoedema weight loss? No. MLD is for stimulation & drainage of lymphatic system, so this is misleading. Compression garments for lipoedema weight loss? No. Compression is for lymphatic system stimulation and drainage, and support of the legs in patients with lipoedema, so this is misleading. ‘Walking is one of the best exercises for lipoedema’. This may or may not be true in and of itself; however lipoedema puts a great deal of strain on, and crushes, the lymphatic vessels. A lot of walking exacerbates any damage which has already been done to the lymphatic vessels and so makes lymphoedema worse – I speak from personal experience.
    My best tip would be: Just because something, be it a diet, an exercise regime, whatever, happened to work for you, DO NOT assume that it will work for anyone else – or that if it doesn’t work for them it’s because they’re lazy, not trying, or just in some way ‘not as good’ as you. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!

    1. MLD and Compression are very important to reducing pain levels and managing the progression of Lipedema. As someone with Stage 3 Lipo-Lymphedema who has lost 50 lbs, I can assure you that any attempt to shed pounds by someone with Lipedema should always include these conservative treatments. I don’t make any assumptions about what will work for you, and you should always check with your doctor before beginning any weight loss plan. However, I think it’s very important for us Lippy gals to share what’s worked for us, and every tip listed above has been a big help to my Lipedema journey! Take care!

  5. I agree , Patricia .I suffer from this horrible condition and trust me if l could exercise more l would , it’s so hard to get anyone to understand the pain l feel. Exercise creates more pain especially walking any distance .

  6. Thank you for your positive article. There are a lot of good ideas here clearly described and well evidenced.
    I do though pick you up on your introductory sentence ‘Of course, tumescent liposuction is the best treatment for painful Lipedema fat removal, but what if surgery is not an option for you at the moment?’ Its like you are saying that those who can have surgery don’t have to worry about weight management, its just the rest of us that still have to watch our weight.
    I agree that surgical procedures are suitable for some people and increasingly successful, however your sentence presents this as if it were curative. People with lipoedema who find relief from some symptoms through surgical means will still have lipoedema and all your good advice still applies to them both before and after surgery – if not more so – than at other times.

  7. Excellent post, Crystal! I think that your experience is encouraging for lippy ladies such as myself. The advice that you’ve given is 1,000,000% spot on, and I can attest to it!

    I also lost fat with lipedema (stage 1 bordering on stage 2), Although I only lost 10 pounds so far, my body fat percentage went from 33% to 27%. The process is slow, but it does work!

  8. Help, I started taking black seed oil. I have lipedema and the pain has become unbearable. Why would taking the oil and applying it to my legs bring on so much pain. At the insistence of my husband I have stoped taking the oil but the swelling and throbbing and burning pain has not stopped. I have also notice a tightness in my chest since taking the oil as well. Anyone know why I would have this reaction and what to do now?

  9. I started with lipedema at menopause. My thighs were sensitive to touch, stinging and leaving bruises all over. The fat started getting lumpy, resembling cottage cheese. I felt like I was holding onto fluid, making me feel uncomfortable and irritable. I decided to go on an anti candida diet. There is no one official anti candida diet, so I picked one off the internet at random. The only fruit I ate was green apples. Vegetables were all the low carb ones. I stayed away from ALL sugar, dairy products, grains…not even as smidge of any of that stuff….no ketchup, NOTHING!
    I did eat plain red meat, chicken, pork, fish, plain seasoned veggies, green smoothies flavored with fresh lemon juice mixed with water. The only sweetener I used was stevia. No caffeine, no chocolate! I ate almonds…no other nuts. I did drink plain unsweetened almond milk, vitamin water zero, lemon water sweetened with stevia. For the first week of the diet, I still had the stinging pain in my thighs, with bruises. Then after one week, I had a stinging attack, leaving my thighs bruised even more. The “attack” lasted several hours. Then the stinging stopped completely. My thighs started losing fat and looking smoother. I dropped all of my water weight and lost 20 lbs. in two weeks. Unfortunately, I quit the diet after two and a half weeks. It was hard to stick with. But it left me wondering if people with hormonal disorders are predisposed to yeast overgrowth and in lipedema cases, an immune response within the capillaries against the yeast. Maybe the immune attack damages the capillaries that feed the fat cells. I noticed people with lipedema do seem to have connective tissue disorders. The people I know with it also seem to have aspergers like traits. I read somewhere that people with aspergers convert too much dopamine into norepinephrine, leaving them with low dopamine and high norepinephrine, norepinephrine effects capillaries. Neurotransmitters seem to correspond with hormones. .there is also the MTHFR mutation that can effect neurotransmitters and hormones, common in those on the autistic spectrum. There are different forms of estrogen and testosterone. Maybe if the body is not producing enough of the right kind of these hormones, it will over produce the less favorable kind of that hormone. Or maybe too much cortisol, etc, etc. one woman posted somewhere that she and her mother were put on bupropion ( a mild dopamine inhibitor…meaning the dopamine will not convert so quickly into norepinephrine, leaving the dopamine level higher). It reduced the circumference in both the mother and daughters legs. And when they stopped taking it, the legs grew bigger. I know this is not the most well written post, but I would like to see this looked at by the doctors that specialize in lipedema.


    1. Peggy, very interesting observations! When I was on bupropion it certainly helped with my depression and over eating. I’ve since gone off of the medication. I just want to say good job on the dedication to your diet, and it’s tough for anyone with a diet that strict so don’t beat yourself up at all. Get back on the wagon and make small changes that feel more like adjustments to the lifestyle and foods you enjoy. Make it something you can stick with and not so much a race to the finish line! Great job working on you!

  10. Got diagnosed in march of this year. I try to walk but like so many other its painful to go long distances. Going gluten free doesn’t make me have movements. I am a former c difficile colitis and diverticulitis patient so introducing “whole real foods” isnt easy as I am unsure as to what my gut is going to do. Not seeing much difference w compression garments or MLD. Hardly any fluid was able to get out w 2 certified lymphatic doctors. I track what i eat and I’ve gained 15lbs in 6 months. Very frustrating. No one can identify if you have never had to go through what we go through. My mom thinks this is easy for me. She doesn’t understand the pain, frustration including the way clothes have to be bought. Used to be a 16/18 now i am back up to a 24 to get work pants oiver compression. The surgeon in Roswell, GA is looking better and better!

  11. I have been following an Anti inflammatory diet since January for other health concerns. (No table sugar, no grains, eat limited rice, nuts/seeds, chicken and fish and fruit/veggies and drink 3 liters of water daily) I take all natural supplements, including tumeric. In April I started walking, trying to reach 10,000 steps daily. Tonight I noticed a significant improvement in my legs and arms.

    It is great to see your suggestions to improve the condition are in line with what my holistic doctor has me following. And thank you for sharing your knowledge, very helpful info!

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