I have received alot of questions lately in regards to how I manage to exercise and stay fit while having Fibromyalgia. I have even been accused of not having it. I guess there are some people in this world that would try to pass themselves off as having fibro, but I can assure you that is not me. My goal is to help those that want the help and to be an example that life does not stop with this diagnosis. And it saddens me that someone would do this to people that are just looking for help. I’m also not sure what said person would gain from this…but I digress! I thought this would be the perfect place to address the question, comments etc. so that it can serve as a resource down the road. And I won’t lie, I don’t want to have to keep typing my story over and over! It’s hard on the fingers!!!
My story! I was diagnosed about a year ago but I have been in pain since 2004. I have been exercising consistently since I was 10. Mom had me running with her then!! So I already had a fitness base. I did not stop when I started having pain and I did not stop when I was diagnosed. Diagnosis was actually a relief for me, as I knew exactly what was going on and I knew I wasn’t doing any damage by continuing to exercise. Now I do realize that not everyone that is diagnosed has the fitness base I had. But that does not mean you can’t start SOMEWHERE. Exercise for me makes my pain levels better, on most days. I feel a difference when I do not move. I will not lie, there are some days, like this morning, that are really rough. Did I really want to go outside this morning in the freezing cold? Heck no!!! It was cold, and we all know what that does to our muscles, and my legs hurt. They didn’t want to go this morning. I didn’t want to go this morning. But I did. And my body thanks me for it. The less you move the more you body atrophies, the more weight you put, and the more stress this puts on your body. Your body needs to be the healthiest it can be to fight this condition.
Now yes I’m a bit stubborn! Perhaps that helps!!! A parasite three months ago couldn’t keep me down! But the way I look at is, I can let the fibro win or I can fight. Fight like hell and not let IT win! So what does someone do that was exercising but stopped because it hurt or someone who wasn’t exercising at all? You need to start slow and realize that it may hurt at first. Even those people without fibro that start an exercise program hurt for awhile! And there may be days, even after you’ve been exercising for awhile, that it will still hurt. Figure out what exercise works for you and don’t get frustrated when progression is slow. The point is, you are doing something and over time the effects will add up!
And of course exercise is not the only component to why I “look the way I do” as some people put it. Nutrition is key and is especially key with fibro! There are so many foods that can cause an inflammatory reaction in us. Of course, we are all different and I really encourage using a food diary to figure out what foods YOUR body does not like. And we cannot forget the all important supplementation. I don’t take meds for my fibro. I manage my fibro with diet, exercise and supplementation. Again, as we are all individual, what may work for me may not work for you. Just like with meds, we need to figure out what works for us. Your doctor doesn’t start you on 5 meds at once, right? Or atleast I hope he/she doesn’t. Same thing with supplements, start one thing at a time to figure out what is working.
You also should take a look at your sleep. If you aren’t getting proper rest you need to really look at how to get yourself to the point that you are. Your body repairs itself during REM stage sleep and if you are not getting this then your body is never repairing itself. This causes increased pain, and it becomes a vicious cycle. Many of the meds prescribed do not allow for REM stage sleep so take a look at what you’re taking and see if the problem lies there. There are so many great natural remedies for sleep!
Since the day I got diagnosed it became my goal to help as many people with this condition as I could lead healthier lives with the least amount of pain possible. Of course, there are going to be days that are better than others. Just because I exercise and “look good” does not mean I’m not in some degree of pain daily. I am. I just choose to not let it win. Are there really bad days where I want to cry and crawl under a rock? Yes! I get it out and move on. The pets won’t get fed and the dishes won’t get done if Heather is not a functioning member of society.
Will everyone agree with my methods? No! Will I get criticism and skepticism? Yes! Will I still get accused of not having fibro? Heck yes! Will I still get questions about how I do it? Yes, and I encourage them! I hope to be a source of inspiration to those that need it, a source of information for those that seek it and a friend to those that need it.
Now bring on the questions!!!