As we enter into the New Year, it’s tradition to make resolutions for change, family benefit or self-improvement. However, studies have shown that most resolutions are abandoned within the first few weeks. The reason? They aren’t realistic, attainable, or sustainable. For women with Lipedema, making viable resolutions may be even more difficult due to the pain, health issues, and restrictions on mobility many live with on a daily basis.

Engage with Your Treatment Program

It makes sense that as a starting point, it might be helpful to examine health and lifestyle habits to figure out what needs to be addressed, and identify what has been advantageous to be carried over for another year. It is beneficial not only to recognize what can be improved, but also to validate the progress made. The fact of having Lipedema can’t be controlled, but those with Lipedema can make choices on how to interact with it. That may entail maintaining consistency with successful components of a Lipedema care routine, while adapting the approach to care to improve daily life.

Be Gentle with Yourself

It is natural to experience frustration in not being able to do daily tasks, and that is a normal response.  This year, rather than making resolutions such as “lose weight”, “re-organize the office”, or “find a new job”, which focus on things that didn’t come to fruition last year, the resolution can be to acknowledge your feelings and lift the blame from yourself. Instead, try to focus not on limitations, but on past achievements, how they were accomplished, what is realistically within your potential to be undertaken, and ways to help make life flow more smoothly. The difference this year is to set small, incremental expectations and then celebrate their achievement.

The Weight Management Challenge

Radically dieting has been proven not to be successful. Instead, think of how you might improve your diet by making small changes. For example, suddenly forcing yourself to drink 8 glasses of water on a daily basis may make you feel like you are drowning. Setting a goal to drink one extra glass of water a day for the next week is probably more attainable and won’t feel like prepping for a medical procedure. Then use that momentum to continue your healthy changes, like finding recipes that use 2 cups of kale or coconut oil instead of butter.

Handling Holidays

These days, it seem like holidays and special events typically center around food, particularly chocolate and sweets, which we know can be difficult when on a specialized food program. The challenge is to invent ways to engage in the festivities that work with your lifestyle, without focusing on candy and sugary or high fat food. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and is a notorious trouble maker in that regard, but showing love doesn’t have to equate to chocolate. It can be much more: select fruits to make beautiful gift baskets (and hint for the same); write poems with loved ones and share them; paint pottery with hearts and sayings to give as gifts; get manicures; see a movie; or buy an adult coloring book and make a homemade card with your finished piece (sounds hokey but coloring is a great way to relax, concentrate on only the colors and pattern, and doesn’t require a great deal of movement, plus you get a beautiful artistic product!).

Explore the Media

2018 is not a year to feel isolated if you take the initiative one small step at a time. The internet and social media platforms are a great way to integrate more interaction with others with similar stories into your life. There are many possibilities: Lipedema support organizations; Facebook groups you can join; Pinterest sites; and newspaper/magazine articles which provide positive support and resources. Depending on your time commitments, decide to carve out a “me time” every day, once a week, every 10 days, or whatever timeframe you can sustain and make it a regular “me time” to investigate one resource at a time until you find your niche, and then become involved yourself in that platform. The key is to focus on the quality of the connection and what it contributes toward building on your strengths and reaching milestones, not to spend endless random hours on the internet.

Participate in Personal Interactions

Meeting new people in social situations may be uncomfortable for some people with Lipedema. But if any of your media discoveries sponsor personal interaction at events, etc., you know if you attend just one, you’ll be sure to be among friends, others who share similar experiences, even if you don’t know them yet. Taking up a hobby you love is also a great way to release happy hormones, as well as meeting people with similar interests.

Tally Up the Little Things

Keeping your personal adversities isolated and feeling like you have to apologize for your physical condition can be exhausting and mentally draining. While it isn’t realistic to decide that “today I will be different” and poof you are, reaching out to your friends and family to also become involved in other’s stories, educational resources and research efforts can help you share feelings and daily challenges. The more they know the better they will be able to understand the condition from your perspective and help them support you to successfully empower your lifestyle incrementally. Instead of “don’t sweat the little things” perhaps Your New Year’s resolution can be “tally up the little things”. Then celebrate in the larger strides you’ve actually been able to make without having set unattainable goals.

Make a Real Change

For those that desire to make a truly significant change in their management of Lipedema, Dr. Marcia V. Byrd, MD, of The Lipedema Surgery Center, specializes in the latest Lipedema-specific Liposuction techniques developed by Dr. Joseph Stutz of Germany. Water-Jet Assisted Liposuction (WAL) and Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL)  are highly specialized techniques used in the treatment of Lipedema. The main objective of the procedure is to alleviate pain, increase mobility, and prevent the progression of Lipedema which may limit your activities of daily living. To learn more about Lipedema, or to book a consultation with Dr. Marcia V. Byrd at the Lipedema Surgery Center in Roswell, GA, call 770.587.1711. Dr. Byrd and her team are devoted to providing you with the highest quality in service and personal care.

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