Lipedema education at FIBO

Almost exactly a year ago, after her visit to FIBO, Christiane expressed the wish that we could work together as #lipedema sisters to ensure more visibility there in 2024. Ursel also thought this idea was really great and slowly started to plan it. When I heard that, I was immediately hooked. I love community activities and networking of all kinds and since January of this year I have had an even greater desire for more education outside of social media, so we got together and shared the idea in the community. Together with a group of 12 women with lymphedema or lipedema we were able to turn the plan into reality on April 13, 24, but let's start from the beginning.

What is FIBO?

FIBO is the world's largest trade fair for fitness, wellness and health in Cologne. The vision is a strong fitness industry and a healthy society. An active and holistically conscious lifestyle is more important than ever and is the focus of FIBO.1

Full of anticipation at the entrance


A few months ago we launched a call together to attract interested parties to the campaign. In no time, a group came together and we were able to start further planning. Of course, our basis was that we would wear our compressions clearly. In keeping with this, we came up with the idea that Caroline's great shirts would be a great fit for our project and would be a great addition to draw attention to the flat knits. At this point we would like to thank you very much for sponsoring the T-shirts!

As colorful as their owners: our variety of flat knits could not be overlooked.

The foundation stone was laid relatively quickly, but how do you get the message across to the local people? A flyer was needed. I took over this part and put the most important initial information and contact points on paper and summarized them on 6 pages:

If you would like to have this 6-page flyer to display or distribute, you can here in the AnOtterShop Order with free shipping at cost.

Expert meeting at FIBO

Ursel took over the organization of various appointments with people from the areas of health and fitness. Your preparatory work made our day on site much easier because we were able to go from person to person together as a group in a structured manner. We attracted the attention of the experts through our joint appearance and were able to give our educational measures more weight.

We met Nicole Klein, Mike Sommerfeld, Peter Hinojal, Ingo Froböse, Sven Huckenbeck, among others.

This meant we were able to talk to people from a wide range of areas about lipedema and were pleasantly surprised at how well most of them had dealt with our disease. We also mentioned that we would like to see more studies on the topic of nutrition or exercise with lipedema. Let's see what happens.

In any case, the encounters were very positive and we experienced a lot of understanding.

General reactions

At the trade fair itself, reactions from those not affected or people who probably didn't know what kind of "tights" we were wearing were rather inconspicuous. There were a lot of looks, but from my point of view only questioning ones, not judgmental ones. Since we randomly distributed the flyers to many women, they were able to find out straight away what we were talking about. Some men also lost their gaze on our legs and then they also handed us a flyer. It's not as if they are a target group that is unimportant - the more you know about lipedema, the better.

We also discovered in the group and in conversations with others that we Lipies/Lymphies have just as much a right to take part in FIBO as everyone else. We have an illness - yes - but we are also people who can integrate activity into their lives. Each of us at our own pace and possibilities.

So I can finally say that the experiences were mostly positive.

We visited FIBO under the motto “Flat Knitting Heroines”.

Had, had bicycle chain

During the preparations for the meeting, there were also various reactions from other Lipies that they did not dare to go there. Not because she wasn't interested, but because of her appearance. Of course, after losing over 30 kg of weight, I know these thoughts very well and I know that in society we often think in a pigeonholed way. Only today I definitely know one thing better: you can't always see athleticism on the outside of a body.

Don't let yourself be limited just because you are wonderful the way you are. We are unique and we all only have this one life. So, do what you enjoy or what interests you!

But regardless of whether we're sporty or not, we're ALL different people and I hope that every person starts to make peace with themselves at some point. So here's a little reminder to be more accepting of yourself. We don't need to talk about love straight away, but maybe it will even end there at some point.

Personal highlights

What I liked most was the cohesion of the group. In so many ways, it is easier to tackle projects together instead of alone! I was also really happy about how happy Christiane was afterwards that her dream of meeting together at FIBO came true.

I am often asked if it doesn't bother me if people ask me about flat knitting and my answer is always the same: No, on the contrary, because that way I can tell that person something about lipedema directly. I went to FIBO with absolutely no expectations, but secretly I wished that someone would talk to me and explain it. Even if it happened very late, it was still on the train to my car. A younger visitor to FIBO asked me what kind of pants I was wearing. When I was able to tell her not only about the lipedema, but also about what we did that day, she was really blown away. So my heart jumped even faster than it already did after this eventful and wonderful day. I also thanked her directly for asking, because (as we know) this is unfortunately not always a given.

In addition to all these positive experiences, I met two of my followers by chance at the exhibition center and once tears even flowed. I am grateful that I can continue to give others courage and hope through my journey. Giving everything but giving up is my honest motto and I hope to positively inspire at least one person every day.


At this point I would like to thank everyone who was involved, supported us, gave us their time or simply thought of us. Together we can change a lot and we look forward to what the future holds. What is certain is that solidarity will bring us forward in all matters!

Speaking of which, the next FIBO will take place in 2025 from April 10th to 13.4th. again in Cologne. Christiane, Ursel and I would be happy if we met you there too! And who knows, maybe with the help of sponsors we can set up a lipedema awareness stand. We dream big so that together we can change the future positively.


vanessa reins round and sporty lipedema

Author: Vanessa Reins

Hello together! My name is Vanessa Reins: lipedema fighter, otter lover and perfectionist. Since I was diagnosed in 2014, I've been on my way to finding a new me that I can continue to shape with exercise and a good helping of self-love. It is a matter close to my heart to give you my experiences, tips or advice for your path and to motivate you to join the #antischweinehund team. You can pick up your motivation ration on my Instagram profile @rundsportlich. I am looking forward to seeing you!

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