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Composed: Nov 29, 2022

Author: Autumn

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I have Lipedema - what in the world is lipedema?

A few years ago, I heard of a condition called Lipedema. This was a true "Ah-Ha!" moment for me. The first of many. I first heard of lipedema in a Facebook group where someone shared that they had lipedema. They shared some pictures and discussed their symptoms. It felt a lot like I was reading my own life story. Well, maybe not exactly the same, but there were so many similarities that it was really striking.

What is Lipedema? First, let me explain what it isn't.

Many medical professionals have never heard of lipedema. This is the main reason why many patients go years or decades with this condition and never receive a diagnosis. Many patients are misdiagnosed with simple obesity. They're told to "eat less and move more", which they do with limited to no sustainable results. In fact, sometimes the results of following that advice are quite disastrous.

Lipedema isn't simple obesity. It isn't Lymphedema, though there are some similarities. It isn't hyperlipidemia. These are all conditions with similar names and/or similar symptoms but they're different conditions.


Before I go too much more into how and what I eat, let me share some results. It took me about 6 months of following a high-fat, moderate-protein, animal-based ketogenic diet to achieve the results in the before and after photo below.

If the word "keto" is triggering for you, just read on. You probably have a different idea of what keto is than I do. There are different versions of keto. Yes, that's right. There are different versions and many of the versions that work for others (metabolically healthy men, for example) don't work for us.

Before and After of lipedema legs

Before you ask, no I did not have any surgery. Yes, I did do some exercise. I worked out 2x a week doing weight lifting. I worked my upper body one day a week and worked my lower body the other day. I did not do any cardio.

The next photo before, during, and after photo below shows the progression of changes over a much longer period of time. The first photo was taken long before I learned of keto. The second was while I was doing a more traditional ketogenic diet. And the third was after I learned how to implement keto for lipedema and really dialed in what I was doing to maximize my results.

Picture showing lipedema legs Before Keto, while using Standard Keto, and after taking the Hacking Keto class

I've labeled the image on the right "Hacking Keto" because that is what the class I took was called. It is now called Keto for Lipoedema and Lymphoedema. If you're wondering why the different spellings, lipedema is how it is spelled in the US and lipoedema is how it is spelled in many other English-speaking nations, such as England and Australia. They are the same conditions, just slight spelling variations. And the same is true for lymphedema vs lymphoedema; they are the same conditions with different spelling.

These are my losses after the 8-week course:

After another couple of months, I lost an additional:

And finally, another couple of months later, I had lost even more:

I think (or know) I have lipedema. So, what now?

The first thing we usually are told or read about lipedema is that it doesn't respond to diet and exercise. Nothing could be further from the truth! The next thing we're told or read is that you cannot lose lipedema fat. I question that one, too. Finally, many people are told that exercise may do more harm than good. I've always been one for questioning, especially when someone cannot tell me why.

Many people, including many within the medical community, do not have the answers to these questions:

So, if we don't know the mechanisms, do we really know these things to be fact? I don't see how. If a doctor treats 100,000 patients with limited to no success, does that mean there are no treatments? Or does that mean the patient was treated wrong? Or perhaps we do not yet know the correct treatment? Hmmm…

Don't get discouraged!

I don't think medical professionals (and others) understand how disheartening it is to hear that you have a condition that cannot be helped. When we hear: you'll never lose this fat, you'll never get better (it's a chronic and progressive disease, they say), and exercise may do more harm than good we are disheartened. Thankfully, I think it is less common for the advice not to exercise to be given. However, when a person is not diagnosed until they are in the advanced stages of lipedema, the advice not to exert yourself too much is still given.

I don't think people hear themselves when they give this advice. First, they tell us that we must eat less and move more then they tell us that diet and exercise will not help and that exercise may actually do more harm than good. It's contradictory and it's nonsense! Try not to get discouraged. Although I completely understand why someone might feel discouraged after being given such horribly grim news. If you're feeling discouraged, read on!

I took a class

It was online and anyone can take it. PS: this class is also for lymphedema. So, if you've got lipedema, lymphedema, or lipo-lymphedema it's a good class. It is taught by two ladies. Kimmi is a clinical nutritionist who has both lipedema and lymphedema. Katrina is a certified health coach who has lipedema.

They both have experience with administering a ketogenic diet, including a carnivore diet, to treat these conditions. One is located in Australia and the other is in the US. Their class can be taken from anywhere in the world and there are no set times you need to be in attendance. They are wonderful and I could never say enough good things about them.

It's not my class and I don't get anything (commission for referrals, etc.) for mentioning the class. I am just sharing the information so others can benefit from the information as I did.

They also have a Facebook group, so if you're interested in learning more from them, it's a great place to do so commitment-free.

OK, back to the results

The next photo (below) is before and after taking the Keto for Lipoedema and Lymphoedema class. I had pretty good results with regular keto. But I definitely had better results with a more refined approach. I trimmed down not only my legs, hips, and thighs, but also had very visible results in my waist, arms, and face.

Before and After photo

These are the visible results. And a picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes. But the best part was that I felt really great. I felt good in my own skin. Swelling was down, pain was down, and enjoyment of life was up.

A few final words

Right now you might be thinking "I tried keto and it didn't work for me". The only part of the advice that diet and exercise don't work for lipedema that is true is that the typical eat less and move more dietary intervention dispensed by most medical professionals, dietitians, and nutritionists does not work.

Lipedema does not respond positively long-term to caloric restriction. So, if the type of keto you've done was about counting calories, limiting caloric intake, limiting dietary fat intake to "make the body burn its own fat" (eye roll), or eating less, that is likely the reason it did not work for you.