Back?

After realizing how many hundreds of repins my last workout got, I’ve decided to reboot this old, abandoned blog and try to make something out of it.

So sorry for disappearing off the face of the web. Life got in the way. Things happened. Here’s a bit of an update:

I moved to another part of the country and am now a resident of Edmonton, Alberta. We made the move so that I could finish my degree in Atmospheric Science, and as of now only have 2 more years before it is finally complete. My husband got a new job as an employment coach, and our family is, for once, doing very well.

My fibromyalgia has become more manageable despite being in a colder climate. I managed to gain back all the weight I had lost due to overeating while depressed. I’m now on two medications, an antidepressant and an antiseizure medication, which is helping considerably with my fibromyalgia pain.

I still do a lot of walking, and am hoping to update my new followers as I lose weight and work up to strength training again.

I look forward to getting back on track with you!!

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Beginner’s Body Weight Workout

Workout Wednesday… on a Thursday!

So, we all have to start somewhere. When I first started out (just 6 weeks after the birth of my second son) I had a hard time doing the most basic moves. I kept an exercise diary of what I was doing, how many repetitions, etc. so that I could see the progress I was making each week (I highly recommend this by the way, it’s so satisfying to look back and see how far you’ve come.) I recently looked back at the very beginning and plucked a few of the moves out to show you what I did. This workout requires NO GYM and NO EQUIPMENT. You can literally do it in the middle of your living room, provided you have enough space to lay down.

beginners_bodyweight

Start out slowly and only do as many reps as you comfortably can. For pushups, keep your knees on the floor. Check out you tube for some idea on how to keep good form and how to do these moves properly without risking injury. If it starts to hurt, STOP!!! I don’t care what other people will tell you, DO NOT push through the pain as that will only cause you to flare, or worse, cause injury. If you suddenly become weak, you need to stop. Listen to the cues your body is giving you and follow them. Always, always, always do low impact moves. That means no jumping or letting both feet leave the floor at the same time.

Please Note: I am not a certified trainer (yet) although it is something I am aspiring to be. I just have experience with chronic pain and exercise, and feel that other people on the same path could benefit from some shared knowledge. For example, I can tell you that doing burpees is a terrible idea for chronic pain sufferers!

Have fun and don’t get discouraged if it hurts. Just rest a day or two and try again!

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“It can’t be that bad…”

You obviously don’t suffer as much as me.

You obviously don’t have FM/CFS/etc. since you can exercise.

You’re taking advantage of the system.

You’re not that sick!

These are all said to me over the past week (mostly by the same person.) Let me tell you, this has nothing to do with who I (or you) am. This has everything to do with the person who spoke these hurtful words. For years I allowed myself to live an unhealthy lifestyle because I falsely believed that my condition was to blame for this. After all, every time I tried to go for a walk I would end up in pain. If exercise causes you to flare, you obviously can’t do it, right? Therefore, since I exercise, I must not be in pain or it must not be that bad.

Wrong. DEAD wrong. I decided to do an experiment on myself. I decided that attempting to live healthily was a good goal to try and achieve. I never expected to exercise without pain. I knew from the onset that this would be a long, painful and difficult journey. When I first began to workout, I was often in a lot of pain afterwards. I kept my head up and hoped that as time went on, it would pass and the flares would diminish. Well, they didn’t.. not really. What did happen, however, was that my “normal” periods, my non flare periods, became wonderful. I began to feel normal for small amounts of time. The healthier I become in terms of weight, diet (the food I eat, not the calorie deficit) and muscle tone, the happier and better I feel. This makes it so much easier to mentally deal with the pain and sorrow of a pain flare. This helps me remember that, despite how crappy I might feel in the moment, I KNOW that it will get better and I CAN wait it out.

Fibromyalgia does not make a healthy lifestyle impossible. It does make it more difficult, but life with FM is already difficult, so what’s the point in not trying? You’re already in pain. You’re already suffering. Don’t you think you deserve to be happy and pain free when you’re not flaring? Don’t you think you deserve some hope, to know that when you finally come out of the flare, you feel fantastic? Don’t lie to yourself and tell yourself you can’t do it, that it hurts too much or that you don’t have the willpower. You absolutely do, you just have to believe it.

Love your body. Yes, it hurts, and fibromyalgia has taken from you not only your ability to move normally, but to do it pain free. I get it because I’ve been there and, in times of flare, I still am. I still walk into walls, bang into corners and cry in agony as the pain shoots up and down my body. I still drop things, I still have trouble getting up from a sitting position and I still hurt every single morning getting out of bed. I love myself enough to take care of me and the vessel I live in, despite its obvious flaws. I have learned to take care of me, even when nobody else would. You owe it to yourself to make some positive changes in your life.

The words said to me this past weekend hurt. They hurt because they had come from a person I once considered a friend. Yet I know deep down that these words have nothing to do with who I am, and everything to do with the person’s own denial. They have the power to change their life but refuse to, and my success causes them to face their own lies.

I am not successful because I’m not sick, I am successful because I fucking worked for it!

Posted in Motivation, My Journey, Pain Management | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cloudy Day, Cloudy Mind

My apologies for not updating sooner. It’s been a long few weeks full of weather changes, life changes and flares.

I’ll tell you a secret: I’ve been going to therapy. Many years ago, when I was a child, I suffered from abuse and neglect. I have developed many coping mechanisms over the years, the primary being high anxiety and a low emotional intelligence. As my therapist said, I’m far too “Vulcan like.” (If you don’t get the reference, I feel sorry for you. Go watch some Star Trek ASAP.) I need to “get in touch with my emotional side” and develop some comfort with my emotions. I truly believe that constantly striving for self improvement is the KEY to happiness. I feel like I’ve been stalling for a while now in life, so I decided to make some changes. I began working out. I began to lose weight. I began to focus on fitness and mental health (hence why I finally worked up the courage to get some emotional healing done.) I’m finally starting to feel happy.

The weather has also changed, leading to more pain and less motivation. With cloudy days come a cloudy mind, thanks to fibro fog. It’s a common belief that weather changes can affect pain in people with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other conditions that cause joint pain. The science behind this phenomenon isn’t well explored, but there is some evidence to suggest that the pressure changes associated with weather change can cause the fluids in your joints to expand or contract, which causes pain in some people. (Read more about this here.) Unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about this except wait for it to pass. Meanwhile, our brains are doing their best to cope and as a result, we can’t think quite so clearly. I have dropped, on average, 4 glass cups a week for the last 3 weeks. I think I’ll replace them with something shatter proof!

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Food Friday: The Importance of keeping a Food Diary

Despite what many people claim, there is no specific diet for treating fibromyalgia symptoms. Fibromyalgia can be a tricky condition to treat because everybody experiences it differently. Sure, there are some common symptoms like wide spread muscle pain, joint pain and tender points but the finer details are very unique to each individual. For example, I have a hard time keeping my hands closed in a fist due to the nerve pain I experience. My parent, who also has FM, does not have this problem. Just like each person has a unique set of FM symptoms, so too does each person have a unique diet that works for them.

Some people have reported success in going gluten free, paleo, low carb, high carb, raw or even vegan. I’m not going to tell you what works because it’s YOUR body and only you know how to manage it.

What I want to talk about is the importance of keeping a food diary, not to lose weight, but to identify if there are any foods that might be affecting your FM. I suggest logging everything that goes into your body. Pay attention to how your food makes you feel. When you have a flare, see if there’s something in your food log that may have triggered it. Perhaps it’s something you don’t normally eat or, perhaps it’s something you eat too much of. It could be dairy, gluten, or even something as normal as tomatoes.

If you suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome,) which is common in people with fibromyalgia, try an elimination diet. Log what foods you’re eating and cut one thing out at a time to see how it makes you feel. Start slowly and record how you’re feeling (a journal as well as a food log are fantastic tools for managing your FM) and hopefully, with some time and persistence, you will discover what’s triggering your pain.

There are several ways to keep track of the food you eat. You could try using an online tool like MyFitnessPal to track your food (and calories) but sites like this were designed for weight loss in mind. If seeing your calorie count doesn’t bother you, then I would go this route. If you feel intimidated by calorie counts, feel free to write down your foods in a notebook with general information like what you ate, how much, time of day, etc. Don’t worry if you forget sometimes, it happens to all of us. Just do your best to consistently keep track of what you ingest so that you have a better idea of what affects your FM and what doesn’t.

For more information on diet and fibromyalgia, check out these links:
WebMD: Fibromyalgia and Diet
NFRA: Fibromyalgia Diet
MedicineNet: Fibromyalgia: The Diet Connection

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Trying to be normal

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Workout Wednesday: Low Impact Aerobics and Fibromyalgia

 

There is increasing evidence that low impact aerobics of moderate intensity do wonders for fibromyalgia. According to WebMD, light exercise like swimming, walking, floating and stretching are the best to control fibromyalgia pain. Strangely enough, exercise is one of the best things for fibromyalgia but one of the hardest things to do. Most people that begin a new exercise routine never stick to it since it often requires pushing through the pain, sometimes a lot of it.

When first starting a new exercise routine, it is best to start slowly. The first video I did was very low impact and about 20 minutes long. I could not finish it all. I could do (at the most) 10 minutes of this low intensity workout before I was at risk of triggering a flare. Slowly, over the course of a month, I did a little bit more until I could complete the whole video. I started out doing it 2x/week and by the end of the month was up to 5x/week. Do what feels good to you. If you can only do 5 minutes of this video, do not be ashamed or embarrassed. What matters is that you are moving and improving yourself!

I have compiled a short list of basic, low impact aerobics for you to start with. Even if you’ve been doing this for a while it’s nice to get back to the basics for a bit. 

The first video I watched:
Part 1: http://youtu.be/iC_UG8yVGOw
Part 2: http://youtu.be/TMwGBr82XW8

A few others that are worth checking out:
Jessica Smith’s Low Impact Fusion Walk (For the record, I LOVE this woman’s workout videos!)
HASfit’s 10 Minute Low Impact Workout

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