Exercises for Beginners or Feeling Weak After Illness

If we have been poorly or inactive for a long time, it is really hard to start doing some exercise, but it is a really good idea to start trying to strengthen the body when you feel ready. Most exercise routines are just too much when you feel weak, so today I share with you a video of beginner exercises from my favourite physical therapist peeps.

Some of the exercises are even done lying down so you can do them if you are bed-bound.

Why do them?  They will help move blood and lymph around so helping you bring oxygen – and therefore healing – to static areas, as well as strengthen muscles and release tension, especially in the upper body ie. the shoulders, neck, arms and back. And don’t forget the effect on mood: exercise is proven to cheer you up because of the release of endorphins and the very fact that you achieved something, however little!

10 Minute Mind & Body ExerciseHave a go – do what you can and build up little by little. You might also want to download my free 10 Minute Exercise Book too and combine some of these body exercises with some yoga and meditation moves.

Meditation Was Massive For Me

This is the title of a little video snippet for you, but it could be me saying that! Here, the lady is illustrating in her own recovery story EXACTLY what I have said in the Healing Plan for you: that the approach has to be two-step and done in the right order.

She explains how she had to use meditation to calm herself (and her amygdala) down because diet change, yoga, supplements etc were just not doing anything for her – the body was too stressed to take it all in. Literally.

Then, when she was calmer, she started looking at her thoughts and beliefs that were unhelpful to recovery and trying to change them. This is where the neuroplasticity, brain-retraining and hypnotherapy comes in.

It is precisely what I did to get well. I think of it as Calm, Reveal, Deal!

The second part of the video is how she coped with being a Mum as well as trying to get well. It is very telling that she now feels she is a much better parent because of it, despite the tremendous guilt she felt at not being able to do things with her kids in the early days. She has been a model for her children of how to self-care and that will be a true life-skill.

Do have a watch:

 

Watch This and KNOW You Can Get Better!

OK, this is a big advert for the Optimum Health Clinic, but it is also a fascinating watch and should be part of your listening to recovery stories homework as per the Healing Plan!

Secrets to Recovery: A film about ME, CFS and Fibromyalgia

I found it quite emotional to watch the first half where people are telling their ME/Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia illness stories. I thought I was bad – you should hear how bad these poor people got. It is good sometimes to hear things that you recognise and are going through yourself. I found some of their statements really resonated with me; I had been there, done that and had thoughts the exact same way myself.

Of course, what struck me the most – and made me cry – was that I realised I was sitting there watching it – this time and AT LAST!!! – from a standpoint of recovery; no longer as the ill person searching for hope that others have got well I, which is what I spent almost a year doing! I am no longer that ill person.

The second half is all about how people got well and how they feel now in recovery. It changes you. And one of them also said ‘he was a year into recovery and at about 80%’ at some point and that made me stop giving myself a hard time about not being there 100% yet as I still have some mouth issues going on. I’ll take 80-90% recovered though, thank you; I never thought I’d get to 20%! One of them also said how suicidal he felt with it, with the struggle of every single day getting to him. I definitely felt like that at certain points, sadly.

There is quite a lot about the approach to these complex chronic illnesses in the film too. If you recall, I did work with the OHC in my early healing journey days when I suddenly made the connection between my head and what was going on with my physical body. I called them for help and endured a fear-filled train journey for my first appointment. My illness was hypersensitivity – to anything, but mostly food – I recall in not-so-glorious technicolour the ruddy orange the woman sat next to me started peeling and eating. I was that scared of an orange!

Anyway, their approach is to dovetail functional medicine with psycho-therapeutic techniques in much the same way I ended up doing and have written extensively about in the Healing Plan. As it turned out, I needed much more, or different at least, than the OHC could give me at the time and used different resources and focused very much on the triggering of the hypersensitivity. That’s where all the ACE stuff came from when I had to research again for myself.

But, their ethos that you need to calm the whole system down, to turn the volume down first and foremost, often before functional medicine approaches is spot on. That is precisely what I had to do. And continue to do. I think if you are a highly-sensitive person – in whatever way that is – you always have that tendency and I personally feel I need always to keep an eye on how high my switch is turned up in life! I still meditate daily as I found, for me, that was one of the best ways to keep the dial down low enough.

The film is a really good watch. Very humbling and I’m sure certain sentences in it will provide you with some ‘aha’ moments. Here’s a couple that did for me:

20′ (minutes in): any suggestion that physical symptoms were somehow psychological was insulting to me. Yep, that’s what I said and have said to me daily, but I continue to say it and take the rap just in case 😉

35′: the glimmer of hope people clung to from reading and listening to inspiring stories and which provided the start of a turnaround. It ‘was like oxygen, literally keeping me alive at one point’. Yep. P worried I was obsessing with them at some points but I so recognised the almost oxygen-like need for them. Again, which is why the bibiotherapy is huge part of the Healing Plan.

44′: you need to develop a healing state before you will absorb anything so functional medicine often comes after the psycho-therapeutic approach, or certainly alongside it. Yep. Absolutely right. Your body simply cannot heal whilst your mind is constantly repeating unhelpful beliefs, fears and thoughts. It’s like the fear feeds on itself (think of that orange!) and it becomes a cycle that you can’t break out of. Your physical body has very little chance of recovery whilst that’s going on.

So, watch the film, recognise some bits about your own story, get some hope, take some action.

Get in touch with the OHC especially if you’re near London, and, of course, start following the 5 step programme I did that’s written down for you in the Healing Plan. Choose one of the meditations and audios that Julie has made for us to go alongside the Healing Plan and at least start one of those. That’s what I did. I did a meditation every day and it sort of grew from there organically.

You can access a lot of the stuff I mention in the Healing Plan and Julie’s special audios in the Mind-Body Medicine section here.

You CAN get there. Blimey, if they could from their positions and I did from mine, that should give you enough hope and start your healing right there!

 

 

Recovery Bloating!

Image result for bloating One of the things you need to be prepared for when you start eating foods again is bloating! As I sit here, I am holding about 8 kittens in my stomach area.

Image result for kittensEh, kittens? P and I measure the size of my stomach in number of kittens to make it feel better!

Anyway, when you have been on a very restricted diet for several months or years and you lose a lot of weight like I did (almost 3 years on 20 foods, heading for a size 6), your body is really going to know about it when you start eating again!

You have basically been literally starving – poor macro and micro nutrient levels mean body systems slow down and you become very cold, fatigued, bony, periods stop or become erratic etc.

I began to think of it a bit akin to how anorexics must feel and suffer. And, as it turned out, my PTSD-triggered hypersensitivity was a form of eating disorder I think although I hesitate to call it that; probably more ‘disordered eating’, although I am not certain what the difference is. In fact, I overheard P telling someone how much better I was the other day and when they asked what it was, he said ‘a bit like an eating disorder’so it is clearly a kind of shorthand for what happened, an easy way to explain it, even if that wasn’t quite it as it started with a purely physiological TGF problem to gluten.

Anyway, yesterday someone liked the post I did When Will I Get Better? and I followed their blog as I often do. The top post was on recovery bloating no less and resonated with exactly how I am feeling! Have a read here:

The Truth about Bloating in Recovery

As you’ll see if you read that, the author talks about the inevitability of the body bloating when you start eating properly again. And, wisely, advises not to let it throw you back into disordered-eating thinking patterns.

I confess, a part of me has body dysmorphia – we discovered this in treatment – and this bloating has certainly made me think abut stopping eating again or at least consider cutting things out again to stop the bloat and fat feeling. This is not good! I am never going there again but it IS hard to deal with the bloating and weight gain, which happens so quickly, that it is quite normal to wobble a bit (in more ways than one!), but if we are aware it will probably happen, we can be ready for it and have a cognitive way of thinking about it ready.

For me, as a nutritionist, this is how I justify it to stop myself slipping back: ‘well, what did you think was going to happen when you reintroduced food? You needed to put weight on and you are doing. Your body doesn’t trust that it is going to get food now and has to re-learn to trust you. In the meantime, it is going to hang on to every bit of nutrient you are giving it. And when you put more food in, the gut flora is bound to change, you won’t have enough stomach acid or enzyme production to cope so OF COURSE your gut is going to struggle. Dur..!” etc etc.

That is exactly how my mind is working currently. I wanted to share it with you so you’ll be ready for it too when you start eating more foods again. Give your body – and mind – a chance to adapt and find its level. I anticipate it will take a good few months and will happen each time I put a major food group back in. And, now I can tolerate supplements again, I shall support my digestion, gut flora, vits and mins more speedily.

In essence, today’s lesson is: Bloating and weight gain will happen until the body finds its level again. Don’t let it faze you.

I need to listen to my own advice 😉

Recovery Bloating!

Image result for bloating One of the things you need to be prepared for when you start eating foods again is bloating! As I sit here, I am holding about 8 kittens in my stomach area.

Image result for kittensEh, kittens? P and I measure the size of my stomach in number of kittens to make it feel better!

Anyway, when you have been on a very restricted diet for several months or years and you lose a lot of weight like I did (almost 3 years on 20 foods, heading for a size 6), your body is really going to know about it when you start eating again!

You have basically been literally starving – poor macro and micro nutrient levels mean body systems slow down and you become very cold, fatigued, bony, periods stop or become erratic etc.

I began to think of it a bit akin to how anorexics must feel and suffer. And, as it turned out, my PTSD-triggered hypersensitivity was a form of eating disorder I think although I hesitate to call it that; probably more ‘disordered eating’, although I am not certain what the difference is. In fact, I overheard P telling someone how much better I was the other day and when they asked what it was, he said ‘a bit like an eating disorder’so it is clearly a kind of shorthand for what happened, an easy way to explain it, even if that wasn’t quite it as it started with a purely physiological TGF problem to gluten.

Anyway, yesterday someone liked the post I did When Will I Get Better? and I followed their blog as I often do. The top post was on recovery bloating no less and resonated with exactly how I am feeling! Have a read here:

The Truth about Bloating in Recovery

As you’ll see if you read that, the author talks about the inevitability of the body bloating when you start eating properly again. And, wisely, advises not to let it throw you back into disordered-eating thinking patterns.

I confess, a part of me has body dysmorphia – we discovered this in treatment – and this bloating has certainly made me think abut stopping eating again or at least consider cutting things out again to stop the bloat and fat feeling. This is not good! I am never going there again but it IS hard to deal with the bloating and weight gain, which happens so quickly, that it is quite normal to wobble a bit (in more ways than one!), but if we are aware it will probably happen, we can be ready for it and have a cognitive way of thinking about it ready.

For me, as a nutritionist, this is how I justify it to stop myself slipping back: ‘well, what did you think was going to happen when you reintroduced food? You needed to put weight on and you are doing. Your body doesn’t trust that it is going to get food now and has to re-learn to trust you. In the meantime, it is going to hang on to every bit of nutrient you are giving it. And when you put more food in, the gut flora is bound to change, you won’t have enough stomach acid or enzyme production to cope so OF COURSE your gut is going to struggle. Dur..!” etc etc.

That is exactly how my mind is working currently. I wanted to share it with you so you’ll be ready for it too when you start eating more foods again. Give your body – and mind – a chance to adapt and find its level. I anticipate it will take a good few months and will happen each time I put a major food group back in. And, now I can tolerate supplements again, I shall support my digestion, gut flora, vits and mins more speedily.

In essence, today’s lesson is: Bloating and weight gain will happen until the body finds its level again. Don’t let it faze you.

I need to listen to my own advice 😉