Friday, 31 July 2015

How I'm managing my fibromyalgia now

I've been doing much better lately with my fibromyalgia symptoms, but a pre-virus flare-up left me stricken and wondering what exactly I'd been doing in the past few months to keep the beast at bay.

Although I've read that it takes a good six months for fibro suffered to bounce back after pregnancy and childbirth, I'd like to think I can credit a few well-executed self-care techniques for keeping me functioning.

I did give up gluten, followed by dairy, for a couple of months.  When I went back to eating those particular foods in late May and found that there was no apparent connection between them and my fibro symptoms, I decided not to cut them out again.

Still, avoiding so many foods meant I necessarily ate healthier things.  Bread and cheese and their next-of-kin meant weight gain and sluggishness, things undesirable in themselves but especially unhelpful when one already has an autoimmune disease.

The past month, I've been focusing on eating positively as well as negatively.  That means choosing deliberate foods instead of just avoiding them.  Using the Whole30 as my guidepost for yes-foods, I consider each addition before adding it.  So, I may have something with sugar in it (like a dollar sweet tea from McDonald's), but it's not sneaking in under the radar.  Being aware of it means that I have the control to actively choose and curate my diet around that it for the rest of the day.

But don't think that I'm depriving myself.  I'm focusing on meats, fruits, and vegetables, but I go for the gold, always getting my favorites.  I mean, if you have a meal you only sort of like, why eat it?  Then you'll definitely feel like you're missing out (and set yourself up for diet failure).  Instead, I keep coming back to old favorites I never tire of: salad with lots of onions, avocado, and tomatoes; juicy hamburgers, sans bun; and brothy soups with lots of veggies.

I've also become a religious napper.  I've always liked naps. craved naps, welcomed them like old friends . . . but I've never exactly scheduled them.  Now I take a nap nearly every day at the same time with Roan.  It helps that Afon is going to school, so there's a built-in schedule.  Also, Afon doesn't nap, so it's a little hard to sleep when he's here.

What I'm not doing--and would like to do next--is add regular, gentle exercise to my routine.  It's important for fibromyalgia patients to keep moving, even when it hurts because, "Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people just don't shoot their husbands!"

What do you do to keep healthy and feel well?

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