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 so 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; 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:
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:
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.
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!
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.
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!