How’s the diet going? Losing weight with fibromyalgia

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You may remember my post ‘You are what you eat’. My carer was diagnosed with high cholesterol a few weeks ago and is trying to reduce the cholesterol and lose weight.

I decided to get my cholesterol checked by my doctor; as I do far less exercise and probably eat a lot more than my carer. 

I was surprised to find it was ‘OK’; although my BMI was high and I am categorised as overweight.  My question is, How can this be? We both eat the same meals?

Our bodies burn up calories differently.  Some people are more likely than others to have high cholesterol. This can be for a number of reasons, which do not necessarily relate directly to the food they eat. 

Between us we have learnt a lot about reducing cholesterol. It isn’t as straightforward as I had first thought. 

Learning about the different types of fat, such as saturated and unsaturated fats has been tricky, when trying to select food. Also good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol.

Butter or its equivalents was very confusing.  Fat spreads are high in saturated fat but some contain plant sterols which help to reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. They work by blocking some cholesterol being absorbed into the blood stream from the gut.

The British Heart Foundation has produced some guidance about food labelling which is really useful when choosing healthy food.

In a nutshell it really means eating a healthy balanced diet which is low in saturated fats.

Losing weight and lowering cholesterol are two different things, but combined you can do both by cutting out food high in fat and saturated fat.

So far I have good and bad news; the good news is…..

My carer has managed to lose almost all the weight required in roughly two weeks. I asked ‘What’s your secret to this amazing weight loss?’ Apparently not eating unhealthy snacks throughout the day. If you feel hungry substitute the unhealthy food with different types of fruit. Most drinks are OK, as they contain no fat/calories and having a drink rather than food can help to make the stomach feel full. Also cutting out cake and biscuits which pile on the pounds. 

My results so far are less encouraging, I have only lost 2 lbs in about two weeks. Having fibromyalgia I think it’s harder to stick to a diet. I have cut back drastically on snacks now and we longer eat cake for tea. Both of which were piling on the pounds and are full of saturated fats. I’ve stopped eating cheese, only cottage cheese. But chocolate, my favourite snack I’m still eating. Dark chocolate is better; so I have a small piece at a time. 

The good news for me is, I have noticed I’m not wanting to eat as much or eat as many snacks. My clothes are also a lot looser around the waist! I’m taking it slower losing the weight and hopefully I will be able to stick with it.

If you want to find out about high cholesterol the NHS website has more information.

Another site that has a lot of facts about reducing cholesterol is Heart UK .

I also came across an interesting article by Dr Axe an American clinical nutritionist about reducing cholesterol naturally without using statins.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions about this please let me know. It would be great to share others experiences.

So, you think you know all about fibromyalgia?

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There’s always one clever friend who starts a conversation with…

‘You know, I think I had fibromyalgia years ago.  I was sick for months with pain as a child……but now I’m fine’.  

I get exasperated when I hear someone say something like this; I want to say to them,

‘Noooooooo,  You cannot be serious’,

in my best impression of John McEnroe!  

But I just remain calm and agree with them 

‘O, yes you are probably right’, 

thinking to myself, why did I agree when I know there completely wrong? I now realise they’re not as clever as they think they are!

Fibromyalgia is an illness with NO CURE, it’s not possible that you had it ‘years ago and are now cured’.  

The best doctors in the world have not found a cure for fibromyalgia yet. Look it up on google as, ‘fibromyalgia cure’, it will say there’s no cure.

For anyone who is confused and does not know anything about fibromyalgia, I will run through the main symptoms.

The main symptoms are:

Pain throughout the whole body 

Joints and muscles feel stiff

Quality of sleep can be poor

Feeling tired and fatigued 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Extreme Sensitivity 

Cognitive problems, feeling confused, or dazed, sometimes called Fibro fog

Headaches

Depression 

Anxiety 

Painful periods in women 

The symptoms can vary from person to person.

Symptoms can get better or worse from time to time.

 

Factors that influence this are:

  • the amount of stress you are experiencing 
  • how much daily exercise you have
  • and changes in climate and temperature 

Further information is available on the NHS website.              

If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, consult your doctor or health professional.

Going back to the fact there’s no cure.

I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for 14 years and found some times are really tough. I have been able to boost my general health through diet, exercise and meditation.

The positives are my symptoms are still there, but have improved greatly since I was first diagnosed.

If you would like to read more about how I achieved this have a look at my Fibromyalgia Self Help or contact me via the link below.

Decoupage Christmas Tree

For the start of Advent, I’ve got my tree ready……..

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I decided to base my tree design on more traditional colours.  I began by painting the tree with white acrylic paint and then covering it partially with triangles of two different coloured green papers.  Adding finishing touches of brightly coloured gems. As always please contact me if you are interested in purchasing any item.

I love trees as you will see in my work next year. As a designer they are so visually appealing at all times of year.

This week also happens to be Plant a Tree week  organised by the Tree Council.

Trees provide so much for us and the environment we live in. We often hear about trees being cut down and vast areas of forest being destroyed in other parts of the world.

 Trees really are important for our future and the generations to follow us here on earth. This is especially important for those of us living in urban spaces. Trees provide oxygen for us, food and a habitat to live in for many birds, animals and insects. Please have a look at the Tree Council website and take part if you are able.

Fibromyalgia cure…someday?

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I had a strange thought today…. What would it feel like to be completely cured of fibromyalgia?  

In a fleeting moment of feeling better I started to imagine how different my life might be…..

I could do any job, I choose without feeling tired, and aching.  I could be a landscape garden designer, maybe doing a show garden for the Chelsea flower show.

Travel to places I can only dream about.  Visit New York and see the Statue is Liberty would be amazing.

Eat whatever I want without it making me feel ill and incredibly tired. Go to a restaurant in the evening and eat a Mexican meal.

Take up proper exercise; perhaps running and train to complete the London marathon.

The possibilities are unlimited and mind-boggling.  Probably similar to the feeling lottery winners experience.

If you are reading this and don’t have fibromyalgia you’re probably thinking. These aspirations could be within my grasp.  I agree they are for you, but for us Fibro sufferers not so. 

So far fibromyalgia has no cure. We will live our lives never experiencing things most people take for granted every day.

We cannot plan; we don’t know how our illness will be on a particular day.  All of these aspirations are not possible for us.  We end up feeling bad because we’re not able to participate. Or are letting others down as we are not well and cancel at short notice. Resulting in a lot of negative feelings, making us feel even worse.

I’m not going to descend further into a spiral of doom; as you will stop reading this.

Going back to the dream of what might’ve been, keeping the positives of hope, optimism and excitement I was able to feel. Carrying those thoughts and feelings forward into the future.

What if scientists found a cure for fibromyalgia tomorrow? Yes, I could do everything I mentioned above if I wanted. Being realistic it’s not that likely, so what’s left?

Having a goal, to work towards is important for me. Something to plan for and look forward to in the future. 

To be relevant goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time limited; according to a friend. This sounds very business like, so I would suggest this format could be used very loosely.

My top five goals are:

1. Keep a positive attitude to all things; having  a positive mental attitude and planning to do things within my capabilities.

2.  To look at situations in an objective way; looking objectively at what is possible and building on this.

3.  Take care of myself by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and trying to get enough rest and sleep.

4.  Learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby is a really good way to feel a sense of achievement.

5.  Daily meditation practice for de stressing the mind.

To kick-start this positive frame of mind, I practice  Meditation  every day.  If you have not tried meditation, it’s a great way to free the mind from stress.  If you practice regularly you will notice you’re ability to concentrate and remain calm increases. If you want to learn Meditation  have a look at my page on this.

What are your aspirations for the future? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

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