Fibromyalgia. If you’ve been diagnosed with it, it’s likely you’ve experienced frustration, bewilderment, and probably even depression. It can kind of feel like a life sentence. Am I right?
The muscle weakness. The fatigue. The brain fog. The lack of restful sleep. All the questions.
Will I ever be able to live a normal life again? Will I forever have to take meds that may or may not work? Do I really have to endure the groggy side effects of those meds on top of the fatigue and brain fog I already feel?
Let me tell you, as a fibro warrior myself, this is far from a life sentence. You can absolutely live a normal, active life. You can manage without all the meds. You don’t have to succumb to the drugged feeling on top of the fibro brain fog.
I was diagnosed with fibro when I was 19, over half my life ago. (And have been diagnosed several times over since.) I never stopped being active. I just learned what I could and couldn’t do without repercussions. It’s been 25+ years of trial and error. I try to stay with the things I know won’t cause flare-ups. But if I really want to do something I know will cause one, I’ll plan to rest the next couple days. And I’m ok with this. Because I still get to do the things I love.
I’ve also learned that food can help or harm. I’m still learning but I have a pretty good idea of what my body needs and doesn’t. I stick to clean eating (very little processed foods and added sugars). I’m also learning (yes, still) what foods cause reactions of some sort and what ones help me feel my best.
Always trial and error. The trick is learning to listen to your body. It will always always tell you what it needs and what it doesn’t. If you’re not sure how to do this, I recommend starting with a journal.
Know that you are more in control than not. And know that you are not alone. I’m here to help in any way that I can! Maybe start with my guide to managing fibro naturally. You can get that here.
If you're anything like I used to be, when you think of getting results from a workout, you think high impact. Low impact workouts are for rest days only, right? Wrong! In fact, I've gotten some of my best results from low impact programs.
Now, don't get me wrong. Shaun T is always fun! (Cize and T-20 are some of my favorites.)
But after a freak fall while playing volleyball in February of 2018, I had to slow it down. High impact wasn’t what worked best for my body anymore. (I’ve finally begun to truly heal the last few months thanks to dry needling, but that’s for another post.)
Yoga has become my best friend. Yoga? That's not even a workout is it? I mean you just stand there (this according to a neurosurgeon I was seeing after my fall).
If you think yoga is just standing there, you have obviously never practiced it. I find it to be the most well rounded form of exercise I’ve ever done, working on the inside and out.
And yoga is great for defining muscles, not to mention the strengthening and flexibility you get from practicing.
I’ve tried going back to some higher impact workouts a few times, thinking I miss it. But I really don’t. I’ve fallen in love with yoga. It’s what makes me feel my best, in every way.
So yes, you can absolutely get results from low impact workouts. The point is to keep your body moving. Find what works for you. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
And don't forget to clean up your diet in the process. Bad eating habits will absolutely keep you from your best results.
How are you? Are you a low-impact or high-impact worker outer (yes, worker outer...it’s a thing. Ask me.)
- If you're curious, here are the ingredients I switched up:
1. Ground turkey in place of ground beef. I had some on hand and wanted to use it.
2. Fresh onion in place of dried. This is just my personal preference.
3. Orange bell pepper in place of green. Again, it's what I had on hand at the time.
4. Stewed tomatoes in place of diced. Another personal preference.
5. 2 small zucchini + 2 small yellow squash in place of 3 zucchini. It's what I had and needed to use them. Plus, I just love yellow squash and zucchini together! Yum!
6. Montreal seasoning in place of Italian. It's what was in the pantry, and it worked! Yay!
7. No cheese. This was by shear accident. I totally forgot it. Oops!
Slow Cooker Turkey & Veggie Casserole
Listen to your body.
If you know me in person, or if you follow me on social media, I'm sure you've heard me say (more than once), "listen to your body." If I have any advice to give, that's the best. Y'all it's so important. No one knows you the way you do.
It's also common for me to be asked, "how?" "How do I listen to my body?" "What does that mean?" So let me see if I can explain.
It's hard for me. This is something I've been doing since I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of 19. No one told me how. No one even told me to. I just did it. Naturally. I didn't want to slow down but I quickly learned some things led to more pain than others. Some things would take longer for my body to recover from. So I learned what was what.
I realize though, that this is not the case for everyone. And, honestly, it seems to not at all be the norm. So, I'll do my best to help, because I feel it is so so important to our health.
Our bodies give us so many cues. Muscles tense up. Stomachs churn and cramp. Our bodies want to give out. We get headaches. Our brains become foggy, making it difficult to think or concentrate. I could go on, but I think you're probably getting the picture.
Y, all, these are all signs from ourselves telling us to change something. But what? How do we know?
Invest in a journal. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. It can be something as simple as a spiral notebook or something with more guidance like one of my favorite Dailygreatness journals. (These are fabulous by the way.)
Start making notes of EVERYTHING! Seriously. What did you eat today? How much? How did you feel afterward? The next day? What else went into your body? Think OTC's or prescription meds. Or maybe you use essential oils* or another natural form of pain relief. What did you drink? Write It All Down!
Did you workout today? What did you do? For how long? Notice anything different in your body? Where? How does it feel? Did you feel better or worse afterward?
Where you active or sedentary? What types of things did you tell yourself today? (Y'all, self-talk is sooo important! We'll address this in a future post.) Who did you surround yourself with? How did they affect your overall thinking and feelings about yourself?
I know, in the beginning it can seem like so much. It can feel like too much work. And if you're expecting immediate answers or changes, you're likely to lose hope and give up. Let me first encourage you not to do that! That's the worst thing you can do.
Start off small. Pick one area you want to focus on first. Then add another, and another. Choose a journal (like the Dailygreatness Wellness Journal) that will walk you through with prompts. Eventually you'll find yourself doing it automatically.
Just whatever you do, don't give up! Remember, you're doing this for you. You're working toward health and finding your best self. So, now you choose. Are you worth it or not? If you're asking me, I say you absolutely are!
Earlier this year we decided to go Paleo. Brandon had had great luck in the past with a Keto diet (the two are very similar), so I thought why not? If this helps him, I’m all for it.
We continued with the Paleo way for a couple months. (If you’re not familiar with Paleo, think caveman and you’re on the right track!) Brandon lost 20 lbs. I, however, found 10 of those.
*Let me say here, that I’ve never been one to gain easily or quickly. So this was odd for me.
I started thinking back to what had worked for me in the past. I’ve always leaned heavily toward fish or chicken when it comes to animal protein. I’m happy to eat rice and other grains and even went vegetarian for a while a few years ago (I felt amazing by the way).
I remembered seeing something about the Blood Type diet years ago. So I decided to do a little research. Turns out, it’s super accurate for us. He’s type O and does best on a heavy protein diet with little to no grains and legumes. I am type A and do best on a largely plant based type diet. It's all quite interesting and I'm enjoying experimenting with this theory.
It makes sense, though. We’re all so unique in how our bodies respond to everything. Illness, temperature, different workouts, foods. Y’all, we are not all made the same. So why would one way of eating work for all of us.
So I’m curious. What diets have you tried? What’s worked and what hasn’t?