Mission: The healthiest sick girl.

I have a new mission: I want to be ‘the healthiest sick girl’.

I know this may sounds strange to many people, but I bet if you’re reading this you have a chronic illness and so it won’t sound strange at all. Over the past year I have had a lot of people in my life say things to me along the lines of ”you are just so unhealthy aren’t you?” when I’ve rocked up to work looking like death for the millionth time. But nothing could be further from the truth. When you have an inflammatory and progressive disease like endometriosis, prioritizing your health really becomes really important, much more soΒ  than other twenty-somethings who often can and do take their body for granted. That means eating better, sleeping more, exercising smarter, and managing your stress with precision. If you don’t you can expect some major payback with pain and/or fatigue.

It has taken a lot of work, but I think I’ve now truly accepted that I have a chronic illness and will experience some level of pain and fatigue for the rest of my life. That was my entire 2015 really, coming to terms with this new and unexpected reality;Β  lots of therapy, tears, and pizza was involved. I’m ready to start moving on now. I want to be as healthy and strong as I can be, and to start working towards my life goals again. To do this I need to be as well as possible. My health will never be perfect, and this journey won’t be easy, but I am ready for this fight now.

To succeed at being the healthiest sick girl, I have decided to make some goals in the following areas:

Nutrition

I’m so over ”the endo-diet”- at least in its full form. As I have mentioned previously it’s way too restrictive for me, and causes me a lot of anxiety and self criticism when I stray from it’s approved food groups. From now on, I am all about nourishing my body as best as I can with an abundance of healthy foods, rather than focusing on the foods that are ‘forbidden’. I hope this will mean that I enjoy cooking and eating again, since food is one of the great joys of life. It’s all about balance! I will focus on two goals in this area:

1.Adapting meals that I love to make them as nourishing as possible: Healthy eating is so hot right now, so with some googling and new cookbooks (I recommend Lucy Bee, Deliciously Ella, Jamie’s Super-foods, and Hemsley & Hemsley) I’ve learned that I can make all the foods that I love, and keep the spring in my step, by reworking traditional favorites with healthier ingredients. We have endometriosis- that’s enough to deal with without depriving ourselves right?! It breaks my heart when I hear women say they have given up their most loved meals and foods. Making your food from scratch often ups the healthiness anyway since you can use better quality ingredients than supermarkets/takeaways and can leave out any nasties. The photos below are some of the things I have made recently:

pancakes

My favourite cacao pancakes– gluten/diary/refined sugar free.

Vegetable chilli with brown rice, guacamole and sour cream. Lots of spices make this so tasty!

Sweet potato chili with brown rice, guacamole and sour cream. Lots of anti-inflammatory spices make this so tasty!

Every Sunday I make soup to take to work over the next week for my lunches.

Every Sunday I make soup to take to work over the next week for my lunches.

Hot chocolate with almond milk and organic cacao powder.

Hot chocolate with almond milk and organic cacao powder.

2. Upping the amount of organic foods that I eat: There is plenty of evidence regarding the negative effect of pesticides on hormone regulation. I now have a weekly organic fruit and vegetable delivery that really takes the hassle out of this, and to my surprise it hasn’t broken the bank.

riverford

Organic fruit and vegetable delivery encourages me to get creative with new recipes.

Exercise

Working out when you have endometriosis (or any chronic illness) is really hard. I’ve written about this before, but I do believe that with some forethought and planning exercising is possible with endometriosis and can help to manage your pain. This year I am aiming to achieve the following goals with my workouts:

1.Higher frequency and consistency: I want to do some physical activity each day, even if it means going for short walks or swims rather than sweating it out at my boot-camp classes.

2.Do more of the fun stuff: I have joined a Zumba class, as dancing is something I have loved since childhood. It feeds my soul, makes me smile, and the hour goes by so much quicker than at my circuits class! Finding an activity that you love is the key to fitness success!

Products

This area is all very new to me post endometriosis diagnosis, but wow there are a lot of nasty chemicals in the beauty and household products that we use! Many of these chemicals can act as powerful hormone disruptors, which is clearly not good news if you have a hormone-dependent condition such as endometriosis!

I’m not being militant about it, but I am making the move to do the following this year:
1.Be as natural as possible in the products that I use: Last year I switched all of my cosmetics to the Bare Minerals line, and have been really pleased with the results. I am also a big fan of organic extra virgin coconut oil, and have been using this for a range of beauty needs such as a hair mask, lip balm, deodorant, shaving gel, and bath soak! Such simple switches but hopefully they will help promote my health in the long term.

Coconut oil is a great natural beauty alternative. I use it as as a hair mask, moisturizer, shaving cream, lip balm, and body scrub.

Coconut oil is a great natural beauty alternative. I use it as as a hair mask, moisturizer, shaving cream, lip balm, and body scrub.

2.Conduct further research for this blog: I will be posting about this topic in greater depth in the near future so do keep a lookout if interested!

I have deliberately labelled these targets as ‘goals’ rather than ‘new year resolutions’ as I have no intention of this being a short term thing to be discarded by February. This is phase two of endometriosis recovery and it’s a long old track. I’m looking forward to working on this and to being the strongest, healthiest, and (I hope) happiest sick girl in town.

I’d love to hear if you have any long term health/lifestyle goals you are working on to help with your life with chronic illness. Hints on staying on course are also much appreciated!

Love,
Claire
xxx

14 thoughts on “Mission: The healthiest sick girl.

  1. The diet for convalescents used to be visually appealing, tasty, densely nutritious, and easily digested. Eating food that satisfies ALL our needs is vitally important to people living in pain and chronic illness

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    • Hi Sara,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes I completely agree with you on this! Glad we can discuss this topic as the main narratives around the endo-diet are all about restriction which I don’t believe is a positive message, especially where women are concerned who can be more prone to problematic eating styles.
      Take care and please do keep in touch.
      Best wishes,
      Claire
      x

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  2. I agree with everything you said especially re: endo diet. When I was trying to be strict on the endo diet I failed miserably. Now I focus on eating foods that don’t hurt me and mentally I’m a lot more comfortable with that…. I get the you are unhealthy comment alot… Very frustrating

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    • Hi,
      Thank you for your message. Glad it isn’t just me who struggles with the endo diet- I just don’t think it’s realistic or possible for most people to be honest. Your approach sounds like mine, and is a much healthier way forward I think.
      Take care of yourself and keep in touch.
      Claire
      x

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  3. I couldn’t bear restricting my food so much to go through the endo diet, and I’m sceptical how much a diet change could make a difference, almost makes it seem like I inflicted some of the problem on myself by what I eat? I wish I could exercise more but walking and standing too long causes pain; the only good thing is my daily walk with my dog which is relaxing and helps me focus πŸ™‚ Looking forward to a year of new things and hopefully, less pain.

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  4. Great read Claire. For me the focus is on knowing my body’s limitations: if I don’t have some down time (aka 1hr on sofa snoozing with the dogs) every afternoon I really suffer. I simply don’t have the physical strength that I used to have even a few years ago. I used to feel guilty about this especially when talking to girlfriends who are busy working mums and don’t have the “luxury”. However, what would be a luxury to them is actually a necessity to me: more than 2 consecutive days without a siesta and I’m on my knees. I’ve also found that accepting what life has thrown at me and finding a way to turn it into a force for good has helped. I’m no longer controlled and diminished by my endo and resulting infertility: I am now empowered by it as I’ve found a way to use my experiences to help others.

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  5. Pingback: Living with endometriosis: Why your choice of feminine hygiene products matters for your health. | The Endo The World?

  6. Pingback: What is recovery anyway? | The Endo The World?

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