‘I’m against giving up treats!’
Tina tells us how the right diet can help you lose weight – despite lipedema.
Those who get to know Tina nowadays, will be immediately infected by her cheerful and upbeat nature. The 34-year-old always has a smile on her face and a positive aura. But that wasn’t always the case – especially during puberty, the bubbly Swabian struggled with major weight fluctuations, and she’s also always been struggling with the right nutrition due to type 1 diabetes. She tried countless diets and lost weight until the yo-yo effect kicked in and Tina ended up weighing more than before – until she ended up weighing 110kg. Apart from the excess weight, Tina also has other ailments: aching legs and arms, constant blue marks and lumps under her skin are becoming increasingly noticeable. But for Tina, there’s a logical explanation for all this: her hobby of horse-riding and the work with her horse. At that time, this superwoman couldn’t imagine that she might have a second chronic disease on top of her diabetes.
Several years passed without Tina knowing the reason for her oddly shaped legs and arms. When she went to a swimming pool with a friend in 2015, that friend directly voiced her thoughts: ‘There’s something wrong about your legs’. Her friend was so sure about it that she took Tina to her phlebologist. And she got her answer quickly: stage 2 lipedema.
‘There’s something wrong with your legs.’
Answers to her questions
Tina’s GP sent her to the Feldberg clinic for rehab. There, the doctors also diagnosed the lipedema in her arms. Finally, she had answers to all the open questions which had piled up since puberty. And Tina realised that she had some control over how she felt. ‘When I got the diagnosis, one thing was clear for me: something has to change right now. I’ve had that certainty for six years now and I know that I can’t simply lose weight with this illness, but I’ve still been trying to make the most of it.’
Tina realised that she had developed an eating disorder due to her diabetes and all the diets. So she went on to explore the cause and made herself aware of her own behaviour. When do I eat what and how much? With this awareness, Tina changed her entire diet – but this time in a way that was appropriate for her situation and, most importantly, doable. She realised that it was predominantly ‘emotional eating. That’s also why I’m against banning or doing without certain foods. If I fancy a piece of cake, I’ll treat myself to one.’
That’s how Tina found her optimal diet: in the beginning, she mostly had shakes and bowls for breakfast that contain a lot of fruit and protein powder. She also made sure to have regular meals: in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening – plus breaks in between so that her body had the time to digest the food. And Tina noticed that it worked. The physical exercise in particular, usually one to two hours per day, helped to drop the pounds. And lo and behold, she managed to lose weight despite her lipedema. Overall, the Swabian lost 35kg.
‘If I fancy a slice a cake, I’ll treat myself to one.’
Successful dietician and lipedema consultant
When Tina looks into the mirror nowadays, she likes what she sees. Her experiences have encouraged her to become self-employed: she is a dietician and a lipedema consultant. ‘There was a high demand – I kept being approached by despairing women who asked me for methods and options and who wanted to know how I managed to get to where I am now. That’s why I decided to do an apprenticeship to become a dietician and why I have also become quite a successful coach for women who also suffer from lipedema or lymphedema.’
A special app helps Tina and her clients to structure their everyday life, to note down, analyse and adjust eating habits and to make their group exercise sessions happen. The personalised consultation programme consists of one-on-one sessions, workouts and webinars with the whole group. The conservative therapy components also play an important role in the coaching: ‘Since I’ve started wearing my compression clothes, I have got rid of most symptoms, I can move and do sports again and I also know how restricted women are due to their lipedema. A lot of them are massively overweight on top of the other issues, just like I was for a long time, and I just want to show them what’s actually possible – without surgery, just through consistent conservative therapy! It isn’t always possible for every woman, but those women I was able to consult and assist keep showing me that there really is a lot that is possible!
This one-on-one coaching is very time-consuming, but always individually tailored to the patient. That’s why Tina is available for her clients around the clock – via WhatsApp, phone or email. While the coaching does require a lot of energy from Tina, it does give her a lot of strength.
‘I know the challenges that we’re facing on a daily basis and I’d like to show as many women as possible that you can still lead a happy and content life despite having lipedema. I want to help them lose weight, reduce the pain and develop a whole new appreciation for their body – and I want them to achieve this without having to give up all their favourite food or torture themselves with hours and hours of exercise.
Want to find out more about Tina?
On her website, schwarztina.de, you can learn all about Tina’s success story and her experience as a lipedema coach. What’s more, she also shares useful tips and provides an insight into her everyday life. You can also find her on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Tina even created a Facebook group where she shares all her knowledge.
This could also be of interest:
A burst of courage: become a #LipödemMutmacher!
This is where courageous women have their say about overcoming lipedema challenges day after day.