The upside of putting in the effort against all the odds is now paying off in huge ways this last year.
My body has been through the ringer as you may have read from my other posts, and when having experienced crippling exhaustion from: ME/CFS, POTS, Fibro, and EDS (Hypermobility Syndrome) rebuilding the body and exercising has been at times like hiking a mountain. At first it wasn’t possible, all I could ask for was some basic movement.
Unless you’ve encountered these bodily experiences, it’s hard to imagine how impossible cardio vascular exercise is. But keep the faith!
Luckily I never beat myself up when I went from a size 8 to a size 14. At the outset of my nose dive, I lost huge amounts of weight, likely because of sky high cortisol levels. Then I had the opposite experience and added a whole layer of blub around me, but in a way I was glad that I could move into this stage.
Food became very important, because it was one of the easiest things to focus on, and to bring some slight joy into my eventless, barren life, that largely existed of getting washed, dressed, and down to the garden and up again for the day, with some other things thrown in, like TV time, doing some stretches and some computer time.
Luckily I had more important things on my mind instead of worrying about my weight. For example, being able to get around more, get to work and generally back to functioning which did take around two years!
However, right from the outset, I have kept up my own tailor made movement / exercise programme for six years. Even when it was simple floor movements and light Pilates in the garden, then moving onto more complex routines, longer walks, and now I am happy to say that as a bonus I’m a size 10 again, and I think I’m rocking these jeans Yipee!
Each week / month I aimed to extend my activities at a snail pace, and many times when I got knocked down again for some reason, like a flare, over doing it, life stress, getting to a doctors trip, or hormone fluctuations, I had to get myself through the disappointment and remind myself it was temporary. Just being chronically ill is more stress than you can likely imagine, because everyday you still are so sick, and having to be in a body that isn’t functioning, and is out of whack.
I’d get back up and on, and each time my baseline stretched a tiny bit more. In a way, that I didn’t know, I wasn’t just rebuilding my health, I was laying foundations for my new life, learning how to merge an amalgamated, more realistic personality into my body. I was also learning to self-soothe and come to work with the fearful parts and un-bending parts of my character.
Yet, a transformed “achiever” is still that, and you can’t take the achiever out of the achiever, you can just be something much more. It may have been what got me into this experience, but it was also the part of me that got out of it. My self-worth, however, was to become far greater than what I could do.
Some people lose lots of weight with these health experiences, and some people gain a lot. Finding out why can be useful. Sometimes it’s simple, like comfort eating, and sometimes it’s because of a change in metabolism, because of low functioning adrenals. Whatever your situation, trust that you can uncover your truth, and don’t chastise yourself for your change in form. It’s just part of the journey.
I must say I didn’t have much faith that I’d get to exercise more heavily again, but I was so glad to prove myself wrong. I just kept chugging away at the immediate goals in front of me, which always leads to long lasting shifts.
I also had many changes to my diet, as I had to explore what was Healing to me. After being a vegan for six years left me hugely depleted, I was magnesium, calcium, B12, folate and iron deficient despite having supplemented. At the time it was tough to start eating meat again but my body was calling for it, and it certainly helped me. Now I have naturally craved a different diet of minimum meat, fish and eggs. I’m so glad I got the experience to learn from my body’s needs, rather than the ideologies and desires from beliefs. Sometimes, I learned that can be quite detached from one another.
I even ate a few Macdonalds during this period, and to be honest, although it’s not my food of choice, I felt completely liberated by doing things I had been so judgemental about. I’d come from an anti-headache pill person to a rattling pharmaceutical cabinet, macdonalds eating, in active purposeless, wheelchair using thing 🤣there was so much growth in going through this and I’m humbled and far, far less judging of people. It’s so important you just do what you need at the time you need it. Don’t worry you will balance out again.
Feeling good again in your shape is possible for you, even if your going through chronic fatigue. Once your fatigue is minimised you can do more. Additionally don’t let pain stop you, because movement is one of the most important aspects of health, your mental health will come on leaps and bounds. Don’t be scared, give it a go and explore your own limits.
I love assisting people with these health experiences, it’s as much about our psychological journey, as it is physical. There are so many cycles within cycles, which makes knowing the right action at any one time hard to know. It’s coming to accept this layered complexity of health is one of the most important components.
Don’t forget I offer private one to one sessions in Westcliff on Sea Essex at The Therapy Life Centre or long distance. I also run workshops to help accelerate your next steps.
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