May 3, 2013
I have been doing a lot of writing today. It is feeling therapeutic as I take some time to reflect and surrender. I have been battling several colds and injuries that have kept me less mobile, so writing is a better use of my time then all the computer games I have been playing.
I have written over the past 6 months in my blog about various changes I have made to my life to improve my health. I have been more careful about my food about 70% of the time. This means that I aim to eat really healthy most of the time, but still have my treats. I have been eating various foods from the Medifast program, as well as taking the Raw Meal Powder to make shakes for my morning meals. I find that a Raw Meal Shake is a great way to start the day (adding fruit and yogurt), and the Medifast desserts are a great way to end my day. In the morning, I have about 5 cups by my computer – 2 shakes (can’t ever make it small enough), water, coffee, and sometimes airborne and/or tea. Let’s say, I clear the system early with all the trips to the bathroom. In the afternoon/evening I tend to go for some protein (fish, veggie burgers, occasional red meat/chicken). I use cottage cheese and salsa on a lot of things. Those veggies are still hard to get in – need to add some to my shakes. I feel better with a lower fat diet and with a moderate amount of carbs. I would probably do even better if I could avoid the chips I had today. I am brainstorming on how to pack my weird foods to work next week. Maybe if I bring the salad, I will be forced to eat my veggies.
Exercise has slowed recently because of illness and injury. I joined a soccer team to work on my personal soccer skills, but have missed a few weeks. I also play racquetball, but this may not work anymore with my work schedule and other issues that have come up. I love this type of activity because I feel more like playing than working out. I enjoy the P90X weight routines, because they start out simple and progress. When I am sick, I can go to an easier plan. When I am able to keep a regular routine I can add time and intensity.
My pain has felt much better lately. I had some work done on my back that has helped tremendously in working through the knots and tension. Though I still ache, much of the time it is mild. Once or twice a week the pain will affect my sleep. The other times my sleep is effected is usually my own stress, or the cats sleeping at my feet.
I have been struggling more with the emotional and mental challenges. I can’t always cope well with the stress around me, and can find myself discouraged and slightly depressed when I am sick for days on end. I am doing more reading and have rejoined a support type of group which will be helpful. I will however lose some of my other support when I return to work. In many ways, I believe work will give me some time not to over focus on things, at the same time it could wear me down. Keeping myself spiritually and value focused will be important so I don’t self defeat.
I am enjoying the warmer weather and more time outdoors. Oregon is beautiful this time of year, and energizes me. We have a few weeks of down time before my commitments pick up, so hopefully grace will follow me into the busy time of the year.
2 Comments | Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Health | Tagged: chronic illness, chronic pain, diet, fibromyalgia | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
December 10, 2012
I have been feeling sick the past few days. I have slowly been adding in more foods to my current food plan to see how I react and to start adding in more calories. I started using a food plan through Medifast where I use only gluten-free products and vegetarian (though I am eating fish), and was feeling much better with this food. (For more information on the plan you can see my health coach page at the top of this blog or go to http://healthcoachelissa.com/). Because this is also a weight loss plan, it was time for me to transition to more regular foods and add in calories. I started adding in more vegetables and fruit, and was having more cottage cheese for my protein option. Something I added has made me feel sick to my stomach.
The good news about having a reaction is that it clarifies that my body is reacting to what I eat. It appears that I am not breaking down certain substances in my food. I am guessing it could be related to fructose found in my fruit and some of my vegetables like broccoli. I have had a little bit of milk in lattes a few weeks ago (not on my plan) and didn’t react to this. When I started adding two more vegetables a day, I added more cooked vegetables and started feeling sick. I felt worse when I had some apples.
Today, I have gone back to what worked before – the 5 Medifast meals and 2 cups of lettuce with some tomatoes and fish. I also picked up a gingerbread latte with my daughters while Christmas shopping and this seemed to be ok. I am enjoying my teas and lots of water. I will try to readjust my body, than add in the cottage cheese this time instead of the vegetables/fruit in about three days. I will then add in some more vegetables/fruit that are lower in fructose 3-5 days later. I may also pick up some probiotics.
I have always enjoyed doing research. I am trying to look at this as my personal research. This helps me be less frustrated when I can’t have something that I really want to have. It can feel complicated when I don’t know exactly what is causing the problems, but at least I have found some foods that work for me. I will just have to learn how to get around the holidays and all the food I want to have, while I am trying to figure out what is happening in my body. Eventually I may be able to have some of these foods again, but clearly they aren’t working for me now. I may just have to add some peppermint to my Medifast brownies and pudding for a festive flavor.
Leave a Comment » | Chronic Pain, Food, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, elimination, fibromyalgia, food, food intolerance, health | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
December 6, 2012
I am feeling energized as I am eating healthier. My pain level seems to be slowly decreasing, though it is still there. My back pain is easier to deal with, though I hope to be able to eventually sleep on my back again. I notice that I am able to make it through a day much more than in the past. At times I still have bad days, especially if I feel stress or have a cold, but overall every day is so much better than 6 months ago.
I am trying to reduce some of the chemicals and unhealthy products I use each day. As I run out of supplies, I am aiming to buy more organic beauty supplies. I bought some make-up from Pure Minerals that feels great on my skin. I also am trying some organic shampoo and conditioner. I have noticed that my hairs feels silkier (even before the shampoo change), and perhaps this is due to the extra nutrients and water I take in each day.
This is the first time in a long time where I lost weight in a healthy weight. Most of my recent weight loss was due to stress or changes in medications. I have always been happy when I lose weight, but my body still felt drained even though I weighed less. I enjoy shopping at the discount store for smaller clothes, and not having my stomach hurt in my tight jeans. I feel lighter and it helps me stay motivated to make other changes.
Being the goal person I am, I am looking to my next step. I plan on continuing to add back different food into my diet to see if there is any effect. I am starting back on a regular weight routine with the P90 book to build up my muscle. My teenage daughter is interested in doing it with me, so it makes it more fun and keeps me accountable. I also will continue to build my network of friends and support through blogging, reaching out, and health coaching. I love having people around me for support. Thank you all who have shared with me.
Leave a Comment » | Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Food, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, exercise, fibromyalgia, goal planning, health, organic, weight loss | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
November 19, 2012
I am excited about my own journey towards greater health and being part of this journey with you. When I began a new food plan in October of 2012, I had three hopes for myself. 1. To become a health coach as I love coaching other people. 2. To lose 10-15 pounds, as I carry all excess weight in the middle increasing my rate for heart problems (which run in our family). 3. To reduce my symptoms from Fibromyalgia – lesser pain and greater energy.
My particular plan consisted of both vegetarian and gluten-free options. I have always wondered if certain food items could contribute to my health problems. Though I am not yet sure whether it is the change in the food choices and/or the nutrition in the products, I am certain that it is changing my life. My energy has increased drastically, and I am on my way to being drug free because of the reduction in pain. I can’t wait to edit this section with “I am not on medication”. I have found hope after years of struggles. I also have lost 8 pounds so far and have about 5 pounds more to go .
I love the simplicity of this program. I can take things step by step – making changes and learning as I go. I have never cared for cooking, so the easy meals work. I have learned how to cook fish for the first time, and prefer this over chicken any day. My favorite meal is the cappuccino drink once I learned to use the blender to stir the mix with boiling water. I also enjoy the puddings, the shakes and the brownies. I eat the cereal for my “to go” food or emergency food, since the bars have gluten in them. I always liked cereal.
I have spent the last month trying to incorporate the program into my life. I strive for a life of integrity, and desire to live out the words I say in my personal actions. I have read through the book and utilized the study guide to learn some nutrition fundamentals I thought I knew. I have also enjoyed listening to numerous support calls to understand some of the challenges we face and ways to work with them. I was surprised how the simple things could make a difference, and how much there is to learn. Fortunately I can take all these lessons step by step, which is the best way for me to make changes. Much of my hesitation regarding a program switched to amazement at how much wisdom and support was offered to aid me in becoming healthy.
My biggest struggle is social situations. I am still learning how to deal with eating around people and managing the peer pressure I feel, or think I feel. I miss my skim milk and still crave breads and pizza. Fortunately, these situations are limited, and most of the time I am grateful for my new health, less pain, more energy, and that my jeans aren’t tight.
More about the program can be found at http://healthcoachelissa.tsfl.com/. You can also send me an e-mail at email@example.com with any questions or if you want me to send information your way. The idea of this program is to achieve greater health through changing your habits. This could include losing weight, reducing health problems and medications, being more fit, understanding healthier living, learning about nutrition and more. I have been greatly impressed by what I have learned so far, and am excited to share it with you.
On a personal note – I have been married almost 20 years and have 2 middle school daughters. I have a degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. I love reading memoirs, blogging, learning, planning and researching. I enjoy traveling – whether camping, visiting relatives or going to Hawaii. My favorite fitness activities are coaching soccer, racquetball, weight lifting, yoga, and running.
Leave a Comment » | Blog, Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Exercise, Food, Health, Health Coaching, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic illness, chronic pain, coaching, diet, fibromyalgia, fitness, gluten free, health, medication, vegetarian | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
November 15, 2012
My journey continues in trying to reduce my medication. My new health habits are giving me more energy and seem to have a positive effect on my pain level. A few months ago I took a break from reducing my medicine because I wasn’t able to function with the increase in pain, and it made it difficult for me to sleep. Earlier this week, after spending a few weeks on a healthier diet (and losing 8 pounds), I felt my pain reduce, and was able to cut out my mid day medication (I was taking a low dose of opioids 3X a day).
Today I am starting to increase the time between each dose. So far I have added a couple more hours in between. I can feel my hands shake some, and a slight increase in pain especially in my knees. I am hoping that in 3 or 4 days, I will be down to once a day.
I am surprised by how effective this has been for me. Unfortunately few doctors I saw gave any information on options for pain control that relates to the food we eat. Part of this is that it isn’t always covered under insurance to see someone who deals with nutrition. I have been referred to physical therapists, accupuncturist, chiropractor, sports doctors, pain management doctors, psychologist, neurologists, oncologist, rheumatologist, cardiologist and had numerous diagnostic tests and tried 11 or so medications. My hope has returned for a cure or at least a low amount of pain without medication. I am feeling better everyday!
3 Comments | Chronic Pain, Food, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, doctors, fibromyalgia, medications, opiods dependence, withdrawal | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
November 7, 2012
I have been experimenting with my food a bit, trying to eat more healthy and focus on a vegetarian and gluten-free diet. I am filling up a water jug each morning of 64 ounces of water, and most days I drink all of this. I decided to try this for a couple of reasons. One was that I am planning on becoming a health coach in December to help others in their health and wanted to try out the food, and second I wanted to see if my food might make a difference in my health. Hearing I would lose some weight didn’t hurt either.
I was skeptical. Actually I am still skeptical. Years and years of trying different things to reduce my pain level, and give me more energy. Many things help – such as exercise, ice and heat, yoga and reducing stress. I even was able to reduce my medication this summer to about 10% of the dose I was given. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to cut it off completely, and any reduction caused too much pain.
So far the past week and a half I am feeling more energized. My body is still tired, yet I am so much more alert. I feel like I have an extra hour or two each day. I am still stuffed up, which is probably due to dairy which I haven’t cut out. My pain has also been reduced some, so I am reducing my medication a little more for the first time in months. I can feel more discomfort in my knees when I walk, and sensitivity in my hands (the tingling sensations are greater). The pain in my body and back are less, and I am still able to sleep at night. I have also lost about 6 pounds, so my clothes aren’t so tight – always a good thing.
I am learning a lot. I feel like I am understanding more what my body needs. I don’t expect a miracle, yet it is great to see some hope and improvement.
7 Comments | Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Food, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, fibromyalgia, gluten free, health, pain management, vegetarian | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
November 2, 2012
I have been trying a veggie and gluten-free plan this week to see if I have any allergies related to gluten and if certain foods might reduce my symptoms. So far I am feeling a little less pain, but more fatigued (probably because I am eating less). I don’t have the stomach-ache I was having earlier, and do feel healthier overall. Because I still feel somewhat stuffed up in the morning, I doubt I have allergies to gluten, so grateful for that. I have also lost about 3 pounds, so my jeans don’t feel so snug.
I will continue with what I am eating for the next week, and then start adding back some gluten products. I don’t care that much for most meat, so will wait on adding meat. I also might try reducing my dairy intake.
2 Comments | Daily Living, Food, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, fibromyalgia, food, food plan, gluten free, nutrition, vegetarian | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
October 26, 2012
Next week, I am planning on trying a vegetarian and gluten free plan to see if it affects my symptoms in any way. I have heard various people share of miraculous recoveries because of a particular diet plan, yet have been skeptical. Even though I don’t expect drastic results, I believe I will feel better if I make some improvements in my food choices. Anything that has the potential of helping me, especially with little cost, is worth trying. I have most of my food ready to go!
I have been continuing with the 15M plan most days. I have been able to do some form of exercise each day for at least 15 minutes. Most days I do more than this. On the days that I have really struggled, I utilize Netflix to watch something of interest. I do best being consistent when I schedule something with a friend, other days I have to result to more procrastination tactics on my part.
I am also trying to make my top 5-8 items I need to accomplish each day. I find it is really important for me to feel a sense of progress, especially when life feels more routine. The check-off sheets remind me that I am doing well, making progress, even if I can’t do everything.
2 Comments | Exercise, Food, Goals, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, fatigue, fibromyalgia, food, gluten free, vegetarian | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T