The Awkward Art of Getting a Lipedema Lady Back on the Fitness Wagon 

Well Hello Fabulous Lip Ladies!

I just made it home from a brand new gym, after a long period period of not working out. I’m feeling pumped, so I wanted to write while the mood struck me!

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with life that it throws you way off your routine, and you lose sight of your goals all together? Have you fallen off the wagon time and time again, and maybe it’s weighing on your heart this very moment? Well, if you’re like me (hopefully I’m not alone!) then join the club, girlfriend! This blog and this post is especially for you, with all my love. 

Falling off the wagon is an easy mishap for anybody, but it’s an especially sore spot for ladies with the hereditary condition Lipedema (which makes it super tough to lose weight.) 

Between the media images of scantily clad size 4 models and juggling life’s curve balls, Lipedema ladies get to walk the tight rope of fragile self-esteem from years of being told we are just obese and to buck up and lose weight by doctors, family, friends, bullies, and ourselves. I’m no exception! So, today I decided I wanted to “keep it 100” with my fellow lippy gals and share some of what I’ve been going through and what helps me climb my big legs up on that wagon again and again. 

Part of getting back on the wagon for me means consistently blogging and sharing my experiences with other ladies just discovering they may have Lipedema, and like those of you who are fighting the good fight of Lippy fat everyday. So, here goes.

First off, thank you for taking this journey with me. I’m not Lipedema doctor, and nothing I share should substitute for good medical advice. However, what I can offer best is transparency about what it’s like to fight this condition everyday and find balance and positive body image despite the odds stacked against us, or piled on our hips! I’d say that, and years of studying what I need to do, makes me a Lipedema expert!

2016 was a super tough year, as I’ve shared in a previous blog around the new year. I went through a period of struggle financially, emotionally and physically. I was able to maintain some consistency with my work outs, but mixed in were long periods of skipping the gym since I couldn’t afford it, or because I was sleeping out of my car and couch-surfing, just fighting to make it through another day. Life threw me a ton of lemons like divorce, chronic pain, surgery, and job loss. I struggled to fight off chronic depression, despite however big my painted smile was. Chronic depression is a pretty common symptom of Lipedema sufferers, because we have so much fighting against us in our physical bodies and emotional bodies, including chronic inflammation (which I have heard contributes to mental illness.)

Getting back on the wagon is tough enough for fitness gurus who have to be out for a knee injury for a few weeks. For Lipedema sufferers, getting back on the wagon can feel like lifting a 1,000 lbs gorilla off your back, and for some of us carrying around a lot of excess fat or in severe daily leg pain (another symptom,) that’s no exaggeration. If you’re like me, and you’ve got life beating you down on top of all that, it seems impossible some days. That’s a hard spot to be in because self-condemnation can really steal your light and hope.

So, how do I do it? Again, I’m no pro! Sheesh, I just went back today after a few months of being out. I’ll definitely need your encouragement and support. I’d love to hear how you motivate yourself to get up when you fall down (please comment!)

Still, I want this blog to inspire you and give you hope and motivation….motivation that I’m willing to kick myself even harder to get back up and be able to give. That said, the best advice I have to share is this: 

We were born with Lipedema, we didn’t ask for this. It sucks, but it is what it is. We unfortunately have to fight much harder than most people. So, the first step is accepting that good daily health practices, nutrition and exercise are critical for us, but optional for most people. Acceptance frees us to evaluate more honestly where we are at, what we need and pin point small changes we can make to move in the right direction. 

Ladies, this idea of our journey being “a marathon, not a sprint” is what allows me to keep dusting off my lumpy fat knees and keep going. I’ve fallen off every wagon you can think of ( weight related, relationship-wise, etc) and I manage to keep getting up again because I know that my mental health, my physical health and my self-esteem depend on me following through regardless of the odds. Resilience is something I believe you can choose to build within yourself, just like happiness and self-esteem. 

I must do this, it’s not an option. It took me a solid two whole years to drop 50 lbs (about ten of which I’ve put back on,) but I’m in this for the long haul. This is MY life and MY happiness after all, and I’m the only one that that can get away with telling me to get off my fat butt! (Then live to tell the tale! haha)

Seriously, please KNOW that you will fall off, life will throw curve balls, and be ready with a plan. My plan to gain back will power and motivation is always “baby steps.” 

Accept where you are, then pick one or two small things you can do different today to improve your health. Maybe its drinking more water, cutting out soda, or perhaps it’s going for a short walk twice per week.

Remember, I didn’t lose 50lbs overnight. It took ME, a willingness to forgive myself, and a great counselor to advise me to take baby steps. With the help of trainers, therapists, doctors, and surgeons I was able to make that happen. With or without surgery, we’re on this Lipedema journey together. You’re not alone. I get it, and I get how tough it is!

I’m writing this blog today to say, I got back on the wagon again today, and so can you! I’m not sorry I fell off, because it taught me lessons and it allowed me to be real and to relate to you. I hope someone out there who really needs to hear this finds this article. 

No one can fight for you like YOU can. The first step is always the BIGGEST one, and sometimes the first step has to be taken again and again. You deserve to be happy, feel beautiful, and pursue good health. 

I want to throw in one last thing. If you have any Debbie downers or mean girls or guys telling you that you’re lazy, fat, never going to be consistent, or anything else to bring you down, I want you to walk away or tell them to shut the hell up. Then I want you to look in the mirror and realize that YOU are your best cheerleader, and you’re not alone anymore. We’re in this together Lippy gals, and I believe in you! 

Share what’s been on your mind in the comments, or how you manage to get back on the wagon! Then, share this with a Lippy gal who might need some encouragement.

Lets do it!


Lip Lady Fab, Crystal Willis 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. sthomas30 says:

    Love this post! Keep inspiring! x

  2. Stephanie Simmons says:

    YEARS… I’ve realized that there HAS to be something different about my legs. They definitely don’t look like others legs…& ive mentioned it to my family, friends & doctors & they just told me either girl get over it & there nothing wrong Girl you just “got big legs” men like that or “work out & eat right”. I have always been TERRIBLY INSECURE about my legs thighs, knees & calfs they have always been thicker & column like with my calfs that are so thick & my thighs hang over my knees. I walk & I even run & NOTHING HELPS.. they are so heavy and sometimes I’m afraid I’m going to hurt my knees.
    I’ve often worked out with trainers who just don’t get it either steering me in the wrong direction with diet & exercise allowing my thighs to …well actually get BIGGER.. no one gets it.. but now I know why.. not it’s such an unknown disease in the United States or just dismissed. I’ve purchased compression pants just on my own & WOW WHAT A RELIEF sheesh but no one gets It.
    Sadly being an African American woman they make It seem as if it’s just supposed to be this way I KNEW THIS WAS WRONG!! My legs ache & not the normal ache the fat hurts. I researched & researched everywhere & recently found the diagnosis lipedema. PLEASE HELP 😩How do I go about getting diagnosed. I am in the process scheduling an appointment to schedule with Dr. Herbst. I am mental prepared that this process will be years for healing. I have done runway modeling. Working on my self esteem. In 2015 I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer so this definitely has complicated my weight loss efforts. I’ve read your story & I relate totally. I follow you on IG if you can inbox me or provide some assistance I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank You for sharing your story I too would love to share my testimony and story once I’ve been properly diagnosed…
    I’ve even seen there was even a conference happening this month.. ok I do hope to hear from you. I am
    Looking so forward to assisting others.. & getting help for myself. I embrace my life & my size I just want to know that this is just NOT MY FAULT.. 😏 You know.. ok i’m done.. thank you for your time.
    continued blessings
    “1Lovelylockss” on IG

    1. Hi Stephanie! So glad you’ve joined us on this journey! The best way to get a diagnosis is to see your primary doctor, take print outs, list your symptoms, educated them and ask to see a specialist in lymphedema and be prescribed Complete Decongestive therapy, MLD, compression garments and nutritional support. Start exercising. Do your conservative treatments while your waiting your turn to see Dr Herbst. It will improve your chances of a recommendation for Lipo if that’s what you want. Dr. Karen Herbst gave me my formal diagnosis and lengthy treatment plan as well as a letter of necessity for Liposuction which was so helpful! Definitely, she is worth the way. Subscribe to updates and keep following, I’ll have much more info and tips coming soon because I’m devoting myself to growing this blog to help other women. Remember, sexy is a state of mind! Xoxo

  3. lievelyne says:

    Good job ! I need to get back on the wagon too ! Letting my lipodema win. Never get comfortable and always keep smiling. E.

  4. SG says:

    I really needed this today. Thank you for posting.

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