I normally set my goals for September. I find with the boys it’s the easiest time for me to get into a new routine. The kids are going back to school and are no longer on a summer schedule. This year however, I am having a huge change in my life that will force me into a new schedule. I am starting college in the trades, I will be taking classes in the Industrial Millwright course at Cambrian college.
September 2018 was the year that I started really focusing on myself as an individual. As mothers we often put the needs of our children and spouses ahead of our own. I had a hard time putting myself first but it was needed. I had brought a lot of toxicity in my life from my past and it was time for me to heal. It was time for me to remember what my identity was. Who was I as a person? Who was I outside of my relationship? Who was I when I wasn’t being the mom?
2018 started my journey to healing myself emotionally and physically. It was a journey that strengthened myself as a person which also helped me become a better partner and mother. My partner and I bought a house in December of that year and we’ve been living in it happily ever since. I started counselling and changed jobs. I did all these things to be a better person. Counselling helped me get in touch behind the reason of all my hurt and anger and has helped me greatly become a calmer version of myself.
2019 brought even more changes. I won full custody of two of my children. I know this sounds weird but that was part of my healing as well. My kids had a hard time adapting, the relationship between my ex and I wasn’t improving ( God only knows I wish I could have that, look were separated but we still hangout together kinda of break up). Without going into detail lets just say it wasn’t a good place for anyone to be. Since the boys have been here their schooling and behaviours have improved and they still get time to spend with their dad. I made the difficult decision to go back to school, I started going to the gym regularly and taking care of my eating ( I still fall off the wagon but I get back on it much faster then I used too. I am still continuing to take care of myself in various other ways such as : infra-red saunas, avoiding gluten, learning when to step back from the gym when I am feeling unwell, drinking a tons more water a day etc…
My Goals for 2020
Maintain a minimum 75% average in my grades. To do this I will have to study at least 1 hour a day minimum on my work. I will ask as many questions as I can. I will listen and learn. I will take good and proper notes with all my tools ( binders and pens, post it notes, laptop). I will review these notes when possible.
I will be employed and continue to maintain paying my bills on time. I will review my budget monthly and give as many hours to my employer as I can. I will work responsibly and do my best. I will take note of the exact date my bills are due so I can manage my money safely and without worry. Most of my payments are done automatically right now based on when I get paid now, so I will have to check the dates. I will also try saving some money for my next semester of school.
I will continue to have a healthy lifestyle. I will go to the gym at the school either before, in between or after classes depending on when my course start for at least an hour. I will learn how to meal prep better then I do now. I will research and put up a better meal plan once I am fully educated on how to do this. I will try and do research 30 minutes a night so I know what will work once I get to my residence for the 1.5 years. I am hoping these will build me a good foundation for when I come back home to the boys. I am hoping to know how to do this by December 30 2019 so I can implement it by January 2020.
I want to read more. I want to read at least one book a month. I will do this by reading in my spare time once I’ve done the important things 9 studying and exercising). I want to read at least 30 pages a day if possible ( I tend to fall asleep reading).
I am sure I will have more goals throughout the years and that the goals I have now will develop in bigger better dreams and goals later on. I know they are currently vague on some points but I will be refining them probably in my journal until I have a full game plan. It is hard for me to be super specific when I have no clue what this new journey will be throwing at me.
Having goals with a chronic illness sometimes seems really daunting. We are often found wondering if we will even be able to meet the goals we set out. It’s a scary thing because we often assume if we set goals we need to achieve them and it should be fairly easy. I also know with a chronic illness we have a lot of ups and downs and we never know how long we will be down for. It makes setting goals frustrating because sometimes we feel like we can never achieve them.
I know the struggles of setting goals, I have a busy family plus invisible illnesses. I do consider myself a “lucky” one as the symptoms of my diseases are still well managed through diet and exercise. It wasn’t always like that though. At one point I started seeing my pain increase and my flare-ups came along more often. I that point I made goals for myself to reach. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t a straight line, it still isn’t.
I don’t like to set my goals in January because that’s when everything has completely slowed down and it’s when many people start their New years resolution. I found that setting goals for me has been easier to start in September and I found it easier to stick too. That’s around the time the kids go back to school and a new routine is generally set into place.
I have written other words you can replace with the same acronym SMART. Some of these words will have the same meaning as others. I do find though that sometimes having words that resonate with you can help you stay motivated and stick to your goals.
So why is having goals so important?
It’s easy to sit on the couch and say you want to do better for yourself but without a focus/starting point you end just sitting there day dreaming. Setting a goal is the first step to take your daydream into reality. Goals help you in a multitude of ways.
It can keep you focused you now know what your end goal is and what you need to do to accomplish it. You can be more motivated because you can see the progress as you move towards your goals. It’s a place where you can see yourself being better, happier, healthier. Goals also keep us accountable to ourselves, the only people we let down when we don’t achieve what we want is ourselves.
Remember goal setting is for everyone.
Where to start when you’re setting goals?
This can look different for everyone. I like to write a few paragraph of what I want my life to look like in a few years down the road. I then read it to myself, look where my life is now and what do I need to get there.
To set goals you need to be SMART. I learned this acronym years ago when I was first learning how to set goals. The acronym will help you set precise goals for you. ( I will use weight loss as an example as it is generally the most common goals)
Specific: Just saying, I want to go back to school, get healthier, start a business. That’s a great start but it isn’t specific. Goal setting should be more then one phrase. In fact it should almost be a paragraph. To be specific you will need to answer these questions:
What is it you want to accomplish?
Why is this important?
Where are you going to accomplish the goal?
Who is involved? ( a goal normally will have more then one person involved)
Which/What can limit your progress, what resources are available?
Example: I would like to lose weight because it will help alleviate some pain. I will exercise at home for 30 minutes a day with exercise bands and my favorite Beach Body videos. I will also make and adhere to a meal plan weekly. I will not eat out even if I don’t want to cook.
Other meanings for the S that might help you stay motivated:
Stimulating: Set a goal that will keep you interested. You won’t get bored of, this is a key point in staying focused. It has to challenge you in a good way.
Sensible: Don’t over shoot. Making a goal too hard will make you lose motivation and can cause failure to achieve it.
Measurable: Your goal needs to be measurable because that will give you an end results when it comes to time, what you want to lose/gain, it is what gives your goal the ultimate end time. Give your goal a time frame of when you want to accomplish it. It will also help you asses where you are on your journey and help you see if you need to tweak a few things to get you there or even maybe see that you might of overshot and that’s ok too.
Example: I would like to lose 15lbs in the next 6 months or I would like to weight 180 by July 20th or I would like to lose 1.5 lbs every week until I have a weight loss of 20lbs.
As you see there is many ways to word your end goal. Other words that might keep you motivated with the M:
Motivating: You need a goal that is going to keep your interest. One where the end goal is awesome for you. You can also add what you might reward yourself with at the end once you achieve your goal.
Meaningful: Pick a goal that is meaningful for you. Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with what others might what you to achieve. If you pick a goal that isn’t meaningful to you won’t be as motivated to finish it.
Maintainable: You need to pick a goal that won’t burn out. Sometimes adding smaller goals that lead to your bigger goal is an easier way to go. Having smaller goals can also help keep you motivated as you hit might hit smaller milestones faster. Picking a big goal to reach might not always be easy to maintain because of possible set backs such as an illness or loss of funds.
This is also the part that many people with chronic illnesses have an issue. Know that if you do have a flare-up or your health takes a turn for the worst, financial issues arise. You can always move your time line a few weeks back.
Achievable: Your goals need to be attainable. They should be able to challenge you a bit without overstretching yourself. You should be able to complete it with the things you have on hand and need to consider any restraint that you may have such as : financial or physical limitations, do you have the education or need to acquire it?Have others been successful?
Other A words:
Attainable: This is just another for achievable. I find though in some cases just using a different word. One that resonates with you can help you set goals that are good for you.
Acceptable: Pick a goal that makes sense. This word can fall with maintainable. Something that can challenge you but won’t be so hard you can’t reach. It needs to be a goal that you are capable of reaching.
Action-Orientated: Have a goal and put it into action. When you write a goal you need to know what actions you need. Writing a goal and breaking down every action you need to make might help you stay motivated as you have a more complete track of where you are going. Having a schedule or a calendar where you can mark off what needs to be done can be very helpful.
Relevant: A relevant goal is one that will help you be better but that will also help elevate the people around you to move forward with you. For example: if you are losing weight to be healthier you might be able to motivate others around you, it will allow you to spend more quality time with your children ( have more energy, be able to play of the floor). Being relevant will help you be a better person for others all while focusing on yourself.
Other R words:
Realistic: Don’t pick a goal like I want to be a millionaire by winning the lotto and make that your true goal. Although, yes people have become millionaires winning the lotto the odds are very low. Picking goals that you can actually achieve in a reasonable amount of time with a good plan is your best bet. Setting goals too high ( although not a bad thing) can become a detriment in you reaching them.
Rewarding: Pick a goal that has an outcome that is rewarding for you. Goals should meet a need and have an ending that is rewarding for you. It can also mean that once you reach your goal you will give yourself some type of reward, like a new wardrobe or a movie date.
Revisable: Make goals that you can come back to and feel like you might be able to change without quitting it. Making goals is important, but it shouldn’t be made in such a rigid way that modifications can’t be done.
Time-Based: This is when the goal should be accomplished by. It is your final end date. It is important to have an end date, without an end date you might never achieve your goal because you don’t know by when you want it accomplished.
I could not think of other words for the letter T.
Here is an example of a full goal.
I want to lose 20 lbs by January 1 2020 this will give me 4 months to attain my weight loss at a rate of 1-1.5 lbs a week. I will be doing so by going to the gym 3x a week for a minimum of an hour. At least 15 minutes of that will be cardio. I will also spend an hour a week on meal planning and food preparation to ensure that I have a healthy supply of good food on hand to prevent eating junk food. If I cannot go to the gym I will use the weight bands and dumbbell set that I have with my favorite workout videos to get a workout in. In achieving the weight loss I am hoping to be stronger and more energetic for the things I love the most like my kids. I will reward myself with a new wardrobe once I attain my goal.
Now, within that big goal you can now break down your goal to mini goals.
So let’s say you wrote this goal down in September. You know that you have to lose 5lbs a month in order to reach your goal. You break it in to smaller goals either by doing a weigh-in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to track your progress. Your goal now becomes to lose 5 lbs a month for the next for months. This might help as the 20lbs is now broken up into smaller amounts making it seem not as big as of a mountain to climb.
This will allow you to see if you are remaining on track. If you aren’t you can then take a look at what is going on. Are you losing inches but not seeing a change on the scale ( meaning you are losing fat but are building muscles), are you not sticking to your eating plan. Are you having a hard time hitting your gym goals? if so why?
Yes, we have a chronic illness but that doesn’t mean it has to completely take over our lives. We have a choice to let it take control of us or not ( yes to a certain point it will affect us). Our goals might look small compared to some. Like making it to the end of the drive-way without being exhausted. Taking the steps so we can take a shower without having to go take a nap after. Our goals all look different and it doesn’t make any one less of a person if they aren’t huge.
I know I should have actual titles for these little catch up blurbs but I really can’t think of any. This week, since my last random life stuff a few things are happening.
As of today I only have 9 more days of work before I am officially done working. I will be spending the next bit spending all the time I can get with the kids and getting ready to go to college. Meaning packing up the last of my things and sending the last bit of paper work to my future work place. Having a job lined up for me when I moved was really important. I am happy that I was lucky to find one a few months before I could even start. It has taken a huge burden off of my shoulders.
I am completely and officially enrolled in school now. I have my schedule now yay and I’m surprised that it isn’t as heavy of a course load as I’ve expected. My classes average 2 hours a day, which is weird on that part but it have theory and then applied in most classes hence the average two hour classes. I have 8 classes in total and I am so excited to start. I have to catch up on a lot of my reading materials to catch up on the materials so I can know as much as I can before starting.
The Christmas party for my hubby’s work was fun. Needles to say I we were home at 9 because I had too much fun. The decorations were very nice this year and every one was dressed nicely. I wore a leopard dress that I wrote about in my last random life post. I really liked the way it looked. I couldn’t decide if I should wear a long boot or an ankle so yes, I made a poll. Long boots won, they were comfortable and didn’t hurt my feet and had had a small heel height.
This week has been good in ways I couldn’t imagine. Can we say thank god for warranties. My youngest broke his glasses, they are under warranty so we get a new pair for free. The CV shaft on our truck broke , Warranty covers it. Had an issue with our bath cartridge ( what helps regulate the water temp) that was just free no warranties needed.
We’ve had a lot of snow fall. We shovelled the drive way 3 times to not have too much of it pile up and make it more difficult. I slipped in a parking lot and hurt my lower back. I still went to the gym I just couldn’t do all my usual exercises that I normally do. Sorry deadlift my favorite. I got some cardio done and oh boy I seriously need to add more of that. I also need to add more yoga or at least stretching into my routine. Last week active recovery with yoga reminded me of how stiff I can get.
My oldest Christmas gifts that I ordered came in. I just now have to wrap them. He got a sewing book and two sewing kits ( an owl and some monster kit to sew). He’s really into crafty hobbies and I’m glad for it. His sewing book has a few pictures of boys in it which I find great. <y only qualm about it is that I wish it showed how to sew shorts instead of skirts so he could sew himself his clothes. My youngest is saving money for a game system. Although I am not as fond of a game system as it doesn’t bring in as much life skills ( yes it works hand eye coordination and other things) but it has no other real application that I know of yet. That said though it is a great lesson in how to manage money.
My next Sunday post is about how to do SMART goal setting. I am also hoping to post about what I have for my flare-ups. Those will be within the next few weeks.
As I am sitting here working on this post my hubby is talking away about his workout. His feeling about every exercise and his worries. I love sitting here listening to him talk. Sometimes it drives me crazy. He can talk for hours about everything and anything.. It’s one of the things that drive me crazy and frustrates me sometimes, but it is also one of the things I love the most about him. I am going to miss all the conversations we have about random things. I’m going to miss the hustle and bustle of being busy with him and the kids. Never knowing when someone is going to pop out with a big BOO around the corner. The laughter, the tears just everything. Even all the things that frustrating I will miss. As the days inch closer to me leaving I am seeing all the lovely things that I am going to miss. It’s not that I am not grateful for everything I have in a daily basis. I know I am lucky to have 3 loving men in my life. It’s just that I find myself paying attention to all the smaller things we tend to miss when we get into a routine.
Anyways spoonies I am going to let you go. I have people to cuddle and love that need me.
I did a little questionnaire on my Instagram asking if I should post more on it. I got all yes’s so I decided maybe I should do more on the blog about my personal life and not just things that I like. I know my post tend to be random and not follow any specific order but it’s just the way I work. I have ideals and I just type ’em out and voila a post is formed.
I also wanted this blog to reflect me and for people to want to know what my life entitles living with a chronic illness and raising a family so what better way to write about what actually happens in my life and not just post it on Instagram.
If you have been having following me you know that 2019 has brought a lot of changes and challenges. I got full-custody of my children and after a long time of thinking about going back to school I will be going back to college come January 2020.
I am going to back to college to become an Industrial Millwright. For those of you who don’t know what that is : Industrial Millwright is a well respected trade, we do a wide range of things. We need to learn how to read schematics, fabricate parts, troubleshoot, install and maintain machinery, and so much more. That is what got me wanting to go into it. It is diverse and there’s so much to learn. I know a lot of people were surprised because I am in the health field. Many people thought I was going to go to be a nurse, but that’s not what I want. Yes, it is a huge change of field but like I tell people, every machine is like a human body. It has parts that move, part that support etc… and that’s what fascinates me. I also follow many woman millwrights and the things they do is a thing of beauty, it is an art all into itself.
I had my last movie night with the boys for awhile yesterday. I’m really going to miss those. Popcorn, movies and cuddles can’t get any better then that. We watched Dora and the lost city of gold. I truly enjoyed it. It reminded me a bit of an Indiana Jones movie but with a teenage girl and a better plot. It had plenty of laughs for the whole family and it really wasn’t what I expected.
My kids used to watch Dora and Diego often and when I saw that title I suck it was going to suck major D. My hubby and I previewed the trailer and were surprised by how good it looked. Needless to say we will be watching it again without the kids. You should watch it.
We also set up our Christmas tree last night. I despise decorating I am a but of a grinch when it comes to decorations but I do the tree every year for the kids. The deserve great memories. I bought it a few years back for my small apartment and it fits nicely in my living room. The boys had fun finding all the decorations they’ve made me over the years at school and daycare. I think it makes them happy to know that I treasure those little things they made me.
We also set up our Christmas tree last night. I despise decorating I am a but of a grinch when it comes to decorations but I do the tree every year for the kids. The deserve great memories. I bought it a few years back for my small apartment and it fits nicely in my living room. The boys had fun finding all the decorations they’ve made me over the years at school and daycare. I think it makes them happy to know that I treasure those little things they made me.
Tonight we are heading out to a staff party for my hubby. I am wearing a leopard printed dress. I never thought I would wear one. I never pictured myself in one to be honest. When I think leopard print I think ‘thin’ “rich” woman. I know it doesn’t sound nice but that’s just what I pictured, let’s think media and movies that’s usually who’s wearing them.
I am excited to wear the dress because it’s completely out of my comfort zone. It’s not something I would’ve picked out for myself. The sales rep is actually the one that put it in the dressing room for me and the boys eye lit up when I stepped out of the dressing room to show them. They looked at my like I was the most beautiful mom I the world. And considering they usually see me in scrubs or PJ’s that was all I needed to see. I tried on a few more dresses but other then the little black number I tried first and the leopard dress they didn’t like the other ones on me. My boys usually have a very different thought on my actual clothes that I wear so for them to both agree on the two dresses meant I was getting them.
For work, I’ve been counting down the days. I gave my letter of resignation at the beginning of the month. I will be done on the 20th of December. I wanted to spend the holidays with my two boys, relaxing, doing fun things and well finishing my packing among other things.
This will count as my Sunday post. I will try and post these mid week with a few different pictures that aren’t on my insta.
This is a poem I wrote a while ago when I was having a really big flare. It was at a time when I didn’t talk much about my disease. I felt ashamed because most people didn’t understand how I could look so healthy and yet feel so horrible. I decided to share it will all spoonies in the hopes that it might touch your soul in some way or another.
I got sand between my joints, daggers in my shoulder blades, and calves that feel like burning coal.
I got a goodnight's rest, yet I still feel like I ran a marathon, no amount of napping will help.
I hear how lucky I am to be young, but this body feel so old, They don't understand because it's invisible.
I can be skipping today, running tomorrow, and in an instant be asking, where have all my spoons gone?
Hot one minute, cold the next, no it's not this and this I got it checked, I promise, I'll be fine.
When people think it's in your head, You're being dramatic you're a fake, They don't understand because it's invisible.
I can't do today, what I did yesterday, Sometimes I feel like such a burden, I forgot who I was for so long.
It's exhausting to look normal, when your normal feels wrong, but I remember I need to be strong.
I say I'm fine, to ease their mind, this disease I'm fighting is hard, it's ok they don't understand because it's invisible.
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I want to talk about body temperature. If you’re anything like me, temperature changes outside can cause a ton havock, but with me it’s not just temperature outside it’s my body itself that is defective. I have been asked countless times if I have menopause, the answer is no, I have gotten my hormones and everything else in between checked. I get hotflashes on the coldest days of winters and the hottest days of summer I am sometimes stuck wearing sweaters and wool socks because I am freezing. Today I will talk about the things that can be affected by this and how to manage.
People with chronic illnesses are often prone to be more sensitive to temperature change. It causes a slue of problems and sometimes it’s hard, especially if you’re not well equipped to do so.
I am not going to write about all the reasonings this can happen as I haven’t done a ton of research on it but I will post links for you to read up more on the subject at the bottom of the blog. This blog post is more on what you can do to help cope with the change of body temperature and not why or how it caused. Although I will note this is about both changes to external factors ( weather) and internal factors ( your body)
How to cope with heat
I consider heat the one the hardest to deal with, you can only take off so much clothes. Here are a few things that can help.
Wear cool, light colored, loose, moisture wicking clothes. This will help you stay cool and dry and help to not make you feel like a soggy rag.
Wear layers; If you live in an area like mine, weather can be freezing in the mornings and hot in the afternoons, wearing layers will provide you with the ability to adapt to the temperature changes easier as you can remove layers. Make sure you put the warmer layers on top for easy removal as the temperature rises.
Drink room temperature or hot drinks. This one sounds counter intuitive , but when you drink warmer fluids your body will work harder to bring your core temperature down which will help cool you off. Drinking cold water will force your body to warm up your core temperature making you hot, although drinking cold water does feel good at the time.
Take a cool shower but finish it with a shot of warm water. Taking a cool shower if you can will help you cool down, but make sure you finish with a shot of warm water like that your body will feel cooler upon exiting the shower.
Use a cooling towel. These towels come in different shapes, colors and variety. The one I enjoy using that also recently came out with a halo towel ( one to go around the head) is KOLDTEC towel.
Keep your home cool but not too cool. Another maybe confusing one. If you’re planning on staying home please crank the A/C to full blast. However, if you are planning on leaving the house just cool your house to a few degress cooler then outside. The change in temperature will affect you still but a lot less then if your sitting in a house much, much colder then outside.
How to cope with cold
Wear layers, meaning a variety of shirts, undergarments, socks and slippers, cardigans and sweaters. Just remember if you are prone to having hot flashes put the heavier layers on top for easy removal.
Have a hot water bottle ( do not put boiling water in these, they can cause serious injuries if the bottle breaks).
Have a heating blanket or pads ( buy the ones that automatically turn off, these can be a fire hazard if left on all or night or can cause serious bodily injury as well)
Keep a blanket around. You can put a small blanket in your purse or “flare up kit” to keep on hand.
Keep your environment warm.
Drink warm liquids, soups, yes this trick I use for hot and cold spells.
What if you have both?
I tend to have both at the same time. My head can be burning hot and the rest of me be freezing. The only thing I can suggest for this is to use tricks out of both the columns above based on where you are and what part of you is dealing with heat or coldness.
Remember that no matter if you are hot or cold to please stay well hydrated and well nourished throughout the day.
I know this is a short article but I hope that it will help you cope with some of the temperature sensitivities you may have.
Goodnight on my part spoonies
Links you can read for a better understanding of the reasons:
Everyday my illness bring symptoms. Some days more then others. Sometimes I can jump out bed and others I’m crawling. Having fibro means that you need to learn how to cope with your symptoms and how to ‘avoid’ flare-ups. Everyone that has this illness is very different, therefore we all have different ways to cope with them. Here are two things that I’ve done that has helped me control my symptoms.
Insert eye roll until you can see your brain here.
I know so many fibromites that when you talk about adding physical activities roll their eyes at you. There’s many reasons and the biggest one is: You need to have energy to exercise, you don’t have energy because you’re sore and you don’t sleep and you don’t exercise because it makes everything worse.
My advice start small and slow and with something you enjoy.
There’s a multitude of things you can add to your day.
start small , slow and enjoy it
By starting slow I mean pace yourself. If you find going for a walk around the block too exhausting start by just walking from your living room to your bedroom a few times a day. I promise this will get easier and less painful and exhausting. Once you feel good with that add on to it. Walk to the end of your driveway and back. Do only 5 minutes of yoga and increase from there ( restorative or yin yoga is a slow pace both of them have a different meaning and do different things for your body. Research the differences and decide what is better for you). Get a treadmill or a stationary bike. Start by just standing and sitting multiple times during a show.
Being active does not mean you need to go to the gym. It just mean you need to move and the more you do that better you will feel. Try a multitude of things and find what you enjoy and what is right for you. A 2 minute a day walk will eventually turn into a 5 minute walk and so on. There will be days where no you won’t be able to do it because you will have a flare-up but I find for me not moving makes things worse.
How I did it
I used to work a very physical job at a deli. I spent my days standing on cement floors, taking clients orders, hand bombing skids and doing overstock. It was busy and I enjoyed it. I decided though after 5 five years of absence in my field that it was time to go back it. This allowed me to work less hours at a job that was less physically demanding and more financially beneficial.
The issue with this is that I became less active. I noticed my weight creep up but also how much more my symptoms got aggravated. I was more sore, more tired and less motivated to do things. You would think with a less physically demanding job I would feel better. It wasn’t the case and I found out why when I stuck a fitbit on my wrist. I walked almost 20,000 steps a day at the deli and with this new job I barely walked 5,000 a day. The weight gain and the lack of movement meant I sat more and moved less.
I knew I wanted to get back to being healthier and more active but how to start when walking 7,000 steps a day made me exhausted. I set myself a goal, I was determined to get back up to atleast 10,000 steps a day. That’s when my journey to moving more started. I started small, I started parking farther away in the parking lots ( I am a PSW that goes from home to home to take care of clients) , I started doing stairs, and sitting less ( which I did once I had finished all other tasks needed), I walked around my house from one end to another. Eventually I felt better and my energy came back up but I still wasn’t up to where I wanted to be ( I started this in September). It was winter and I don’t like cold, so youtube became my best friend and so did “Walking at Home with Leslie Sansone”. I would put on the program and go and by March I had exceeded my goals and was able to do 15,000 steps a day.
It was now time to upgrade. At the time I didn’t want to invest into a gym membership but I knew I had to step up my movement game. I then again turned to youtube. I did HITT workouts 3 days week, at first I was lucky if I lasted 10 minutes by the end of the month I was doing 30. My wonderful fiancée was motivated to start getting back into shape again. He went to the gym and signed us both up for a year membership. This was really dreadful for me, I had just started finding my groove at home, I was nervous people would look at me or that as I had done in the past would push myself too hard and then crash and burn.
The first month was a huge learning lesson. I had my workout plan in hand and a great motivator ( my fiancée), I was ready to hit this ball out of the park. I would show up at the gym doing 3 workouts a week. I would push myself to my limits, lifting the heavy of weights to gain maximum strength and doing as many reps as I could. Boy, did I learn. I learned that even though I was able to lift the weights and push out those reps that my fibro would not allow me to. I would then spend the next day at work pushing through exhaustion and pain waiting for bed.
Then something changed. I learned my cues as to when I needed to stop. I had to learn when my muscles felt a certain way that it was time to stop and not push more. Today I go to the gym 3-5 times a week I lift heavier weights and am looking at adding cardio soon. I still have days where I don’t go, hell I just went almost a month with only 2x a week if that because I had no motivation and ate a bunch of crap. I am basically starting from scratch , but that is a story for another time.
I now feel better and stronger. My energy is up and my flare-ups are down. I can do more with my kids and not crash at the end of the day.
Drink water, be mindful of food
Our bodies are anywhere between 50-65% water, take time to think about that for a minute. It plays a big part in how our bodies functions: from lubricating our joints, removing crap ( toxins and waste) from our bodies and helping to provide nutrients to all of our cells are just some of them. Every aspect of our bodies require water and if you don’t have enough you eventually get into trouble. Being dehydrated can have major symptoms where you need a saline I.V., the signs can be very small and often over looked.
Headaches, body aches ( muscles and joint), low energy, strong pee are just a few examples. People with chronic pain conditions often just assume that it’s because of their illness that they feel that way. Water consumption can often help these symptoms become less. Avoiding things like pop, caffeine, alcohol and juices and replacing them with water will also help your overall health.
Eating is also a big part of how well our bodies functions. It provides vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats to help keep our body functioning well. It is also what can determine how crappy we feel too. Avoiding things like fried food, too much processed meats and foods are a few things to avoid. Dairy, gluten and meat alone can also affect how you feel if you eat to much.
Instead go for fruits, vegetables, some grains, legumes, meats and nuts. If you eat well balanced it will help keep you balanced. Doing these few small changes can help you lose weight , reduce inflammation, give you more energy and achieve better sleep. There is a ton of research on this. We are constantly told this and yet we often overlook it.
How I did it
I used to eat what ever I wanted before, candies, a ton of meat, greasy food, bread and pasta. We all know how we should eat but as most people we don’t look at our food until something happens. In search of some answers I watched countless Netflix documentaries that mostly lead to veganism*. I tried it, going mostly vegan for a year and it was not easy and not for me ( at least not yet). Since going vegan I eat more vegetables and fruits now. We have smaller portions of meat and I try to have a vegetarian or vegan meal at least 2-3 a times a week.
I limit, not avoid because let’s face it we’re all humans and we crave things and I found completely eliminating things from my diet makes me binge on things I shouldn’t and that’s a disaster. Caffeine, sugar, deep fried foods, alcohol, juices, most dairy and now gluten ( I found out I have a sensitivity to it boo).
I didn’t just cut out all this food at once. I started by eliminating pop and juices. I am not much of a coffee drinker and drink tea on occasion I keep to one sugar, one milk compare to the triple, triples I used to drink. I wasn’t much of drinker, I mean of any fluids to begin with. My fiancée couldn’t believe I went a day with only drinking at most 3 cups of anything. I was lucky because he helped me a lot with my water drinking habit. He drinks a ton of water, when he’d come home he would slap a glass of water in front of me and tell me to drink it. The moment I was done he’d get another one, next thing I knew I didn’t need him to remind me to drink water it became a habit. I still sometimes get into the habit of not drinking and I catch myself doing it when my body starts getting to sore. Once I started drinking regularly a few things happened: My migrains were less frequent ( daith piercing helped eliminate them almost all together) , I was less sore, had more energy ,more focus and the constant peeing ( us fibromites tend to have frequent urination issues) after while settled down once my body got used to the water intake although I still do pee a lot.
As for eating that became a bit of needing to a] eat healthier foods 2] Dimish take out 3] stop emotional or mindless eating. Ok , I won’t lie this is still the hardest part for me is the eating. I have learned to make meal plan, avoid trigger foods and be self-aware of my food eating triggers. I started eliminating the junk food out of our house which helped me to not eat them. Meal planning is becoming easier and is helping me stay on track to stay away from take-out, we still have it about once a week which is better then what we used to do and bonus we got a bit more money in our pockets.
I did step by step, if you are capable of just taking everything out without being overwhelmed please do. I am incapable of doing that without being overwhelmed. I know I tried and it just lead to binging. I started with my water habits and then eliminating the junk food out of the house. Next came adding more vegetables, I add vegetables to anything I make for example: Taco night, I add celery, onions, peppers, and carrots to the meat, I then add tomatoes and lettuce to the top ; spaghetti, I sometimes use spaghetti squash or spiralize some zucchini into the pasta itself, I again add zucchini, carrots, celery and really any other veggies I have left in the fridge. I do this with everything, not only does it bring our veggie count up it also lowers our meat consumption and stretches our meals further.
I added more fruits and lowered my gluten intake by having smoothies ( made with almond milk, 1-2 cups of fruits, chia seeds, vegan protein powder to keep me full, cinnamon/turmeric for anti-inflammatory power and sometimes kale or spinach), I also have oatmeal which I add fruit too and I am working on eliminating the sugar that I put into it ( I started eating oatmeal recently, the taste is still a bit of an issue for me). If I do end up having toast which isn’t often anymore I eat a fruit with it. I don’t eat fruits mind you after 12.
I still have a lot to learn and improve in my diet but I find tackling on elifestyle change at a time is a good way for me. I am for progress and not perfection ( no clue where I heard this but it changed my life). I’m signing off now spoonies.
Have a great day.
*Please keep be mindful and do your research. Yes, I watched a lot of documentaries on Netflix but I also did my own research after watching them. Many networks gear their shows based on their opinions or views.
What is it? Who is affects? What are some of the symptoms?
I was diagnosed at the age of 23 after having my son. I am pretty sure that I’ve suffered with it longer than that. Growing up I always had this constant pressure in my shoulder blades. I had aches and pains and bouts of feeling exhausted. Of course I was getting older and that is what I associated it to, growing pains.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness. It is a musculoskeletal illness which means it affects your bones and your muscles. It if often categorized as having wide spread pain and chronic fatigue.
It is still hard to diagnose or treat as everyone has different symptoms to varying degrees and not much is known about the illness. Many people still believe that it is not a condition but a state of mind ( which is BS). It is also hard to treat because the symptoms often imitate that of other diseases. There’s also no real test yet ,that can be run to diagnose. The diagnoses is often done through the trigger point test. The doctor will push on “trigger points” throughout your body. You need to be sensitive to at least 11 out of the 18 to be considered as having fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose because the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Some commons symptoms that usually happen in people with fibromyalgia are:
Wide spread pain
Cognitive Impairements : trouble concentrating or even doing simple tasks.
There are many, many more symptoms which I am hoping to touch on in later post.
Who is affected?
Fibromyalgia can affect any anyone but you are more likely to have fibromyalgia if:
You have a family history of it. Often genes play a role in the diseases we can get and this one is no different. In my family my mother has it.
You are a female. More woman are affected by this disorder then males
You suffer from other inflammatory conditions such as: arthritis and lupus.
What causes it?
There is no known reason as to why fibromyalgia is caused. It has been thought though that some of the following factors my play a role in developing the illness.
Genetics: as seen in who is affected, your sex and family history play a role in whether or not you get the illness. Females tend to be diagnosed more often then men. If one of your family has it as well odds are you can develop it
History of trauma: When I say trauma it can be anything that causes trauma to your body. Infections, accidents, giving birth, as well as mental trauma such as stress an depression. Mental trauma often affects our physical body but a lot of people may not realize this.
At the end of day there is many theories as to why we develop this illness but there is nothing fully proven yet. There’s plenty of research being done now though.
Is there a cure?
There is no cure for people with fibromyalgia. People affected by this illness can only try to manage the symptoms by diet, exercise, and medication.
My next few post will be about the basic of our diseases. I not only hope to reach to spoonies that know what all of this is about, but to people who are new to these unknown disease or just want to learn more.
When I first heard the term fibromyalgia and spondylose I had no clue what they were. I had heard plenty about rheumatoid arthritis and saw what it did. All those curled up fingers and toes. I had seen the effects of spondyloses I just didn’t know that’s what it was. I thought the “hunch back” was just another effect of rheumatoid. It was caused by a type of arthritis which is called spondyloses which is an arthitis of the hips and spinal cord.
Fibromyalgia though what was that? I’ve never heard or seen anything about it in detail. I knew my mom had it because she’s the one who told me to see a specialist. I still didn’t know what it was or what the symptoms were despite knowing the name. My mother has it but she looked and acted fine ( her symptoms are starting to show more, but only if you know her). She works, takes care of my dad who has MS, she helps me with my sons, takes my nephews for a week in summer and so on. She leads a full and active life. Not only being a mom, grand-mother and partner , but as a painter, president of the local art club and so much more. So what does this disease do? Why can’t we see the effects of it? She doesn’t look sick and neither do I.
Aren’t people with illnesses supposed to look sick? We don’t always use canes, or wheelchairs but on occasion we might need too.We don’t look like we’re in pain because it has become our new normal. We don’t look sick, but these illnesses can affect our daily lives just as much as a visible illness can.
What is an Invisible illness?
An invisible illness is a term that en captures a multitude of illnesses. It is used to describe any illnesses that aren’t easily visible. This term doesn’t only include physical ailments, such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, some arthritis, it also includes mental illnesses like depression.
The hard aspects about having an invisible illness is just that, people don’t see us as sick. We struggle everyday to have normal lives, on bad days we stay home so no one sees us being sick. We often get criticized or have a stigma around us because of this. People often think we are lying or are just making the symptoms seem worse.
Often times people with an invisible illness will try not to talk about their disease because of the stigmas attached. “You were fine yesterday/minute ago” or ” You don’t look sick” are often comments we hear. People fail to understand us because we don’t fit the profile of a sick person.
How to bring awarness?
We are often not believed, by loved ones and doctors even. I know someone that thought having fibromyalgia was a bullshit diagnoses until they became ill with it themselves.
Often times people don’t realize that our illness ebbs and flows, that the symptoms can change on a daily basis. We can go days,weeks months without any symptoms. Sometimes our symptoms can hit us at any moment without warning. Some of us can also live with symptoms everyday they have just learned how to cope.
I’ve had days were I had a sudden on set of a migraine and skin sensitivity just because someone walked by me and gave me a hug to hard or squeezed my shoulders. Healthy people expect us to look the part and that is what makes it hard for them to comprehend.
Being candid with people is a great way to bring awareness. Talking about your illness with your friends, family and even your co-workers and others can help bring this awareness.
Compare your illness to someone that has a visible illness or to an illness that people can comprehend more. For example, you wouldn’t expect someone in a wheelchair to be able to reach a high shelf or climb a ladder because you can see they cannot. Therefore, just because you cannot see the illness which causes sudden bouts of dizziness that enables the person with the illness to do those things either ,as it poses a danger to them.
You can also point them to things around you that you do not see. For example, you cannot see the wind yet you can feel it, we all breathe oxygen, we’re all held to the ground because of gravity. All these things we do not see, yes some of these we feel but others we don’t.
Don’t get mad when people say things like ” but you don’t look sick” or ” have you tried ( insert treatment options)? “. I know many who do this, hell I did this before I was diagnosed with my illnesses. People don’t say this to be ignorant or rude, they do it because they aren’t aware of invisible illnesses. They are truly surprised that you are sick and want to give genuine advice. It is frustrating to hear I get it. Bring awareness to them by talking to them about your illness so they can understand. Some people will never believe you or understand and with them just walk away. One of my post will touch base on what not to say to someone with an invisible illness.
I hope this post will help you understand what an invisible illness and to realize that we are surrounded by people that are affected by them.
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