Recovering spoonies: lacking online representation

I have never really been one to use my blog for super deep retrospection or to advocate for anything in particular, yet this blogpost has been in the back of my mind for a while and well…. here it is.

Like most people I turn to social media for inspiration and motivation. This can be just daily motivation to keep me going through the day, or for inspiration with regards to wellness and leading a healthy life style. However, I have increasingly found myself dissapointed with the lack of representation for recovering spoonies like me. If you are not sure what a spoonie is, Wikipedia is your friend ;).

By far the majority of wellness and lifestyle influencers, vlogers and bloggers cater towards able people. They constantly repeat to you that for a healthy lifestyle you need to balance your food intake with exercise: it’s 80% food and 20% excercise. They stress that you need 8 full hours of sleep to be well rested to get the most out of your day. To stick to morning routines with yoga, medidation… all that jaz. They then post really delicous looking recipes that are “so easy to make”. And to encourage you to do all this, and to get to your own goals they post one picture after another that is a variation on the one below:

8 Motivating Tips for Weight Loss

Well, imagine seeing this everyday whilst having a body that you will literally make you sick when you exercise to much. As someone who suffers from Chronique Fatigue Syndrome I literally risk getting into a crash when my heart rate is elevated for a prolonged amount of time, which makes exercising extremely tricky. And when I say a crash I don’t just mean I get tired. It can cause a range of symptoms, including physical pain (joint pain, full body pain and throat ache <– or a combination of all three), less control over my emotions (mood swings are a bitch), nausea and dizziness, other flu-like symtoms… Yeah it’s a real doozy.

Moreover, one of the issues with Chronique Fatigue Syndrome is that even if I sleep I do not rest. So even if I sleep 8 hours a night, I still wake up tired. This makes sticking to a mourning routine quite hard, even though I do force myself to do this for as much as I can. It’s a bit hit and miss, but I just take every day I do get up at 6 as a win.

Which brings me to the great weight-loss recipes… Yeah they are great. Just not if you aren’t allowed to eat half of the ingredients that they have in them (because of intollerences… trust me, most spoonies have a bunch) and are too complicated for you to make, cause newsfalsh you are tired or in pain, or both… all the time.

And then it is topped off with the constant reminder that you need to try harder, despite the fact that you getting out of bed and doing the things you need to do is already part of you trying really hard. Literally for spoonies, recovering or not, just doing the things they do costs a lot of effort and sometimes the staple “get healthy!” motivational quotes just make you feel like you aren’t cutting it. Like the hard work you do for just “showing-up” (whatever that may mean for you) isn’t enough.

Even the recovered spoonies who are trying to help you recover trough their own experiences fall into the trap outlined above. They post pictures of themselves working out in the gym and keep chanting this mantra of pushing yourself. I realise for them they of course also want to share their achievements and you know what? More power to them! But do not pretend like showing a picture of yourself in a gym is helping your fellow spoonies get where you are, because let’s be real: it isn’t that easy. It seems that they have forgotten how hard it was to get to that point and that wesometimes you just need to give ourselves some freaking grace and acknowledge how hard we work to do the things we do.

So I have instead been following influencers that advocate for disability and spooniness. And they are great. They have taught me how to check in with my body, to be more accepting of how I feel on bad days and to not constantly feel like I have to push myself. Especially an influencer on Instagram called Kat Inokai has helped me so much in embracing my spooniness. If you are spoonie reading this, make sure to check her out.

However, these people advocating for disability and spooniness are usually people who suffer severely from chronic illness(es). They have not yet gotten to a point in their recovery where they can focus on trying to start exercising again or losing any of the weight they may have gained. They are off far worse than I am.

They cannot yet share in the struggle to keep of keeping a balanced diet where it goes well for a couple of days, but then you get to the point where you are so tired that your body just tells you to eat… a lot. And because you are so tired you don’t have the energy to cook anything. So you grab something that isn’t great for you. And you know this, but at that point you just don’t have the energy to fight the cravings, or any willpower left to resist, because you needed all of that just to make it through the day.

They are unable to display the struggle of doing exercises that are low-impact and the feelings and thoughts that those trigger. Like: is this really all I can do now? Surely I can do more than this? But if I do, will I get a crash? How much exercise is safe for me to do right now? Should I do this every day, every other day? Once a week? All of this with no guidance, as frankly: no one is figured it out yet!

So again I find myself lacking representation. I find myself wondering why the “wellness” industry isn’t incorporating us in their narrative? There are so many of us, so why ignore us? Are we scary, because you don’t know how the advise you give us may affect us? Well, newsflash the advise you are just producing on “default” now sure ain’t doing much for us either.

And where are we ourselves? Where are the spoonies that are still in the midst of recovery? The, as I have begun to refer to myself, “high-functioning spoonies”? Are they just as lost as I am? Are they not showing themselves/ not advocating for our experience of spoonieness, because our lives are kind of boring? Do we feel like our lives aren’t interesting enough to be put on social media, because it is a repetition of the same thing over and over again, as we don’t have the energy to add anything new into the rotation? Is it because we are so desperately trying to hang on to be able to do the things we can, that we don’t have much energy for anything else, including advocating for ourselves?

I have reached a point where I am seriously considering becoming this advocate myself. Despite my life being boring and me perhaps not being the best example of a recovering spoonie. As I said, I am pretty high functioning, which may make it hard for others to relate to me. I have a fulltime job and am trying to finish a PhD: not the easiest to relate to. But then again, if there is one thing I have learned from CFS, it’s that everyone’s experience of it is different. Everyone is affected differently by it. So why would my experience of it be less valid? And maybe there are people who will find confort in me fighting to maintain my “boring” life, because they are doing the exact same? Maybe it will inspire others to share their story as well.

What do you think dear reader? Should I step up?

Be kind to yourself: it really does make life a little easier

Despite the world being pretty much on fire, I have to say the first couple of days of 2021 have been pretty okay for me personally.

For the first time in months I finally feel calm. As if for the first time in weeks I can finally just breath. It’s as if everything is finally in place and I can finally think clearly again. These past couple of days I for the first time in a good while felt like I had the headspace to focus on the things I want to do again.

Does that mean I got up at 6 a.m. every day this week? That I was able to work on my dissertation from Monday to Friday? Nope. I still have chronic fatigue syndrome so there are going to be days that are just not going to go the way I want them to. I had a couple of pretty rough nights, which caused me to wake-up so tired that I decided to set my alarm for another hour.

And you know what? That is absolutely okay. If I am too tired to work on my PhD today or if I cannot get myself do do the dishes, then I will give it another try tomorrow. I have stopped getting upset with myself for not being able to do all the things I had planned on a particular day… And my gosh does that feel good!

As some of my avid readers know I absolutely love decorative planning. This is a type of planning style where you liven-up your planner with cute and pretty stickers. Every weekend I would sit down with my planner, decorate it and plan out the entire week. For everyday I would decide what I was going to do. Needless to say, if you have an illness as unpredicatable as chronic fatigue syndrome that does not work. So what happend was that I found myself getting frustrated every time, because I could not finish all the things that I had planned to do. Instead of my planner helping me be more productive and me enjoy working on it, I felt like it was a reminder of my failure to do simple things like dishes and was some kind of testemony to my inadequacy…. Yeah… If that isn’t one heck of an unhealhty mindset, than I don’t kow what is. So, I decided to quit planning for a while. I tried to get bak into it multiple times, but I could simply not find a way for it to work.

Until now. Every weekend I now sit down to decorate the week before, as I used to, but I do not plan anything yet, unless it is an actual meeting with someone. Instead I have incorporated planning into my morning routine. That way I can check in with myself on the day to see how I am feeling and to gauge how much I will be able to do. At the same time, I have learned to have peace with it if I have one of those days where I have less energy than I thought I had. So if I have written down that I will be doing the dishes that day, but am too tired, I simply put it off to the next day and regard th eplanner entry as a reminder for tomorrow. No giving myself crap, no feeling bad about it. It is what it is.

And you know what? It actually works! Yesterday, after a really crappy night I just couldn’t get up at 6 a.m…. So I got up at 7 instead. In the morning I had resigned myself to do nothing on my PhD that day, but planned that I would at least do dishes. Well, after working half a day I was quite unexpectedly able to focus on my PhD for 2 hours. However, the trade of was that I wasn’t able to do any dishes because of that. So I left that chore for today… and ended up cleaning the stove as well whilst I was at it. Just because I could. Flexibility for the win!

One of the reasons why I decided to share this in this blogpost with you all today is because I hope it helps some of you to perhaps be a little kinder to yourself as well. It is so easy to get upset with ourselves because of our limitations, physically or otherwise. Yet where does that get us? It only makes us feel frustrated, unhappy and may cause us to give up something that we love doing because of that. There’s enough negativity in the world already right now, don’t become another source of it for yourself.

No matter what you are struggling with, you are doing the best you can and that is enough. As someone on instagram wrote yesterday “being in our bodies is hard”. And so is being in our minds at times. But that is okay. It is alright to struggle or to feel pain. It is not your fault and it does not make you any less worthy. You are you and you are enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially not you yourself.

chibird — A small corgi pup to remind us that we are in...
Copyright: Chiibird

Hi there: life update and restarting my weight loss journey

Hi There...' by CrimsonKanji on DeviantArt

*Removes some cobwebs, whilst cat runs after a spider* Well hello there! I am sure by now you were wondering if this blog was ever going to see another update. Surprise! I’m back!

Well sort of… I am not going to promise to write every single week, as I know that my CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) does not always allow me to do so – don’t underestimate brain fog. However, I do plan to most more frequently than twice a year haha. And why? Because I now actually have the time, the head space and a reason to do so!

Up until mid-June I was juggling 4.5 days of work with completing a post graduate degree in Digital Curation and trying to do even a little bit of work on my PhD (still working on this…). Add a 5 hour (2,5 to and 2,5 fro) daily commute to that pre-lockdown and you can probably see why I did not exactly have any time or energy to blog.

However, my new job, which I am to start in October, actually has me working from home so that leaves a lot more time and energy to work on different things! Huzzah! Time to dust off this blog, make some progress with that PhD and actually get back into planning.

So…what’s my reason to get back into blogging? I can’t say my life is particularly interesting at the moment as Birmingham is going back into local lockdown as I write this. So don’t expect any outdoorsy adventures, because there are going to be none (I’m high risk: I don’t leave the house unless I 100% have to!).

So why then? Well to be frank: accountability. Like, I need to lose these Covid kilo’s so I can fit back into some of my clothes lol. Yeah… like almost everyone else I have gained weight… And it was not just being stuck in doors that did this… It was also the stress of finding a new job during a global pandemic. I had two job interviews lined-up in March and then lockdown happened, causing them both to be postponed indefinitely. And let me tell you, it’s been one hell of a struggle finding a different one.

I’ve always been someone who handles stress really well, but apparently when it comes to unemployment… well, not so much… I can now honestly say I have a new standard to measure stress against: “I am so stressed it is giving my cat bladder problems”. Poor Pancake has been having a right old time peeing because she picks up on my stress, the poor thing! But don’t worry I am doing all I can to make sure she gets better!

So, basically this means this blog is going back to its roots. I created it in May 2016 for the exact purpose of helping me lose weight, so we are just starting right over again ;).

For now, my weight loss journey will mostly involve adjusting what I eat as finding an appropriate workout has been a struggle… You know that feeling that makes you genuinely feel great when you have done a workout as the adrenaline and endorphins rush through your body? Well turns out that for CFS suffers it doesn’t work that way. Research suggests that our body either doesn’t create endorphins, or does so only in a small amount when we exercise. As a result, if I do anything high intensity I feel absolutely awful and cannot do anything intensive for days on end. So no Chloe Ting 2 week shred for me… >.>

Walking has always been a great way for me to get my exercise in without too much backlash… which is great, but not during lockdown. I have, however, found a series of Youtube videos with “walk 1 mile at home” workouts so I will be doing those. The key will be to build this up and not immediately start doing them every day… Which I have to say sounds depressing. I mean, my brain is like: it’s 15 minutes of walking in place with some sidesteps… Like… seriously? What’s so freaking hard? And my body just goes like: try doing this two days in a row and I will make you SUFFER! <– yeah I made that mistake… Not doing that again.


So healthy food it is! As always, I am being helped in this by my lovely Herbalife coach Kim van der Laan. She introduced me to the Herbalife shake + herbal supplements years ago and they really have made a difference. I take the sake every morning and the fiber supplements 3 times a day. Kim’s coaching has been extremely flexible, and she really adjusts it to my needs. I can reach out if and when I need her, but it’s also okay if I need to take a step back. Honestly, I cannot recommend Kim or Herbalife enough to those who want more energy and to create a healthy lifestyle. If you are interested, let me know and I am happy to answer any questions or bring you in contact with Kim.

In the next blog I will go into more detail about my current and target weight, weight-loss plan etc. so stay tuned for that.

As always thank you for reading <3.

90 day challenge, dietary changes and shorts!

Guess who is finally back for another update? Yep that would be me. Apologies for the massively long absence, but I really wanted to take some time to recover some energy and did not want to push myself into writing regular blog posts when I did not feel up for it.

So I am sure you are all wondering: how have things been going? Pretty good actually. In my previous blogpost I wrote about the 90 day challenge I was doing. I completed it about two weeks ago with pretty nice results.

Chest: -4,5 cm
Waist: -5,5 cm
Hips: -4,8 cm
Thighs: -1,6 cm
Weight: -2,1 kg

So overall that is a -16,4 cm loss and I am back at 68 kg. I am pretty pleased with this, the more because I wasn’t able to work-out a lot due to my chronic fatigue.

Speaking of chronic fatigue, I have to say I am gradually getting more energy back. The mesology treatment (please read an older blog post for more information on this) really seems to be working. I have been taking a ton of different supplements to help with my fatigue, as well as digestive issues. On top of that I have also had to make some massive dietary changes.

crash-dietMy mesologist has put me on diet that only includes foods that are easily digestible. So I cannot have gluten other than spelt, I can only have meager meats (such as chicken or lean beef), non-fermented cheeses (so that excludes mozzerella, brie and the like). Oh and I am not allowed to eat raw vegetables, so salads are out of the question.

As I am also rice intolerant (yes, never heard of that before either) and slightly allergic to nightshade, that has mostly left me with options like quinoa, couscous and sweet potatoes. All in all, a pretty restrictive diet.

And to top it all off, I have also had to give up my morning coffee… *gasp* Yep, because apparently the way your body processes coffee counteracts homeopathic.

Thankfully I can still have my trusty Herbalife shake in the morning, though I have had to switch to the “free from” version, as I am apparently allergic to soy ^__^” .

But is it worth it? Definitely! My body just seems to have a lot less trouble processing food, which leaves me with more energy to spend on fun stuff! Like writing blog posts late at night, after a full day of work! Yeah, I know! I am blown away too.

Don’t worry though: I am not going crazy. I am taking this month to stock up on as much energy as I can. I have learned that if I am high on energy, I should still take it easy and preserve it, rather give in to the inclination to cram in all the things I have been wanting to do for weeks in a short period of time. Honestly, it’s really hard not to do this. Especially with the weather being absolutely lovely!

… And speaking of nice weather. I actually decided to take the plunge this year. I have been considering it for years now, but never actually did. This year, things are going to be different though: cause I bought not one, but TWO pairs of denim shorts! I bought a pair in dark blue and gray.

shorts

For reference, I have not worn shorts since I was in primary school. I have always felt like I need to hide my (not particularly small) very white thighs. But this year, I just thought: screw it! I’m done with wearing long jeans when it’s 28 degrees (Celsius) outside. No mas!

nomaspostercomp

bonus points if you can name the reference in the comments

So now I just have to get myself a cute pair of sneakers to go with them and I’m 100% ready for summer in both Holland and Florida! 😀 Yep! November in Walt Disney World is going to be HOT: average of 25 degrees Celcius so shorts will definitely be in order ;).

Well that’s all for now guys. I will try not to make you guys wait another 2,5 months before the next post ;).

Round 3: Battling the fatigue with… Mesology

Well it is almost the end of the first month of the new year, so it is high time for a blogpost and an update. I am writing this as I am still battling it out with the flu that has been going around, so apologies for any typo’s.

As my trusty readers will now, chronic fatigue syndrome has really been kicking my but lately. I therefore made it one of my new year’s resolutions to actually learn how to pace myself and to improve my energy levels in 2018.

So the first thing I did was taking a vacation. We rented a little cottage in a holiday park, where I walked a bit, drew a bit in my new bullet journal and did a whole lot of nothing. Now I am the type of person who usually wants to do anything and everything when they go on holiday, so this was pretty new to me… But gosh it was wonderful. And I am planning to at least have one such vacation per year from now on.

Apart from my holiday, I also decided to try-out two other things: 1). mesology and 2) the Heralife 90 day challenge. Now, because I have quite a lot to say about both topics, I am going to be focusing on mesology in this blogpost and will write another one about my Herbalife challenge. It’s going to have some full lenght before pictures, so stay tuned for that!

So, Mesology…. I am pretty sure the majority of you will have never heard of the term. Well, I honestly hadn’t come across it either until my boss brought it up. Apparently a friend of hers and a co-worker have made great progress with it. So she urged me to give it a try. As I currently have nothing to loose and everything to gain, I decided to give it a shot!

So what the heck is mesology? Well it basically uses clinical medicine and combines it with homeopathic treatments from all over the world, including China (acupuncture) and Indian (Ayurveda). Basically, they have just taken all the good stuff from the different treatments and combined them.

During my first appointment about 1,5 weeks ago my mesologist checked a number of things. She first asked me to fill out a form so she could know a bit more about my medical background, then she did a stomach examination, felt my wrists (not quite sure why), examined my tongue and then turned to electro-acupuncture. Yep… electro-accupuncture. Nope, you do not get electrocuted nor do they put needles in you (thank god for that). Instead, they do something that is a whole lot more complicated to explain. So bare with me.

Below I have included a picture of device used for electro-acupuncture.

My mesologist asked me to hold the shiny cylinder in my one hand whilst she used the pen (at the fore of the picture) to press the meridian points in my body (hence acupuncture). She examined the meridians on my hands and feet. Whenever she pressed the pen against my body, the little meter would tell her how well the organs worked that were connected to the meridian points she was pressing with the pen.

My mesiologist used the round metal device in the picture (on the left), to center the meter in between. However, by placing little test tubes with supplements, vitamins or minerals in one of the metal circles in the device, she was able to measure how the supplements would affect my body.

So what did I learn?

1. Apparently I am allergic to soy products. ^__^” Which would explain why the anti-inflamatory diet was such a big failure (that diet is super high in soy). So no soybeans, tofu or anything of the sort.

2. Like my mom, I apparently don’t respond too well to foods belonging to the nightshade family (such as tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber or potatoes). Although it is less of a problem when they are pealed and cooked through, she nevertheless advised me to limit the amount of potatoes I eat.

no rice3. My body does not like rice. According to my mesologist my body cannot process rice very well so she has forbidden me from eating rice for the time beaing… Yeah… So hardly any potatoes and no rice. *Insert sad teary eyed face here*. This is basically what I eat with every meal, so that is going to be interesting. Thankfully I can have quinoa, bulgur. couscous, red lentils and sweet potatoes. So I have been looking up recipes with those ingredients. I have already tried a really nice broccoli, quinoa and cheese casserole by Cookie and Kate (side note: I did adjust the amount of cheese in there, chose almond milk instead of regular and added in some onions and an extra clove of garlic for a bit more flavour). So I am sure I can manage. But my cooking is definitely going to be a heck of a lot more adventurous. ^__^”

4. My immune system is a hot mess (oh the irony as I write this whilst having the flu). Now this is definitely part of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as the fatigue is partly caused by your immune system going hay wire. Usually this can be traced back to a viral decease in the past. In my case this is probably pfeifer’s decease which I had when I was 15 years old, as my mesologist was able to determine that I respond really well to supplements which aid people with pfeifer.

unhappy stomach5. My digestive system isn’t in a much better state than my immune system. In fact, it might be worse (yeay!). When I went to the hospital because of my intense fatigue about 4 (?) years ago, I complained to them about being nauseous all the time. Since stomach pills alleviated the nausea, they concluded that I had too much stomach acid and prescribed stomach protectors. At that point in time they were unable to pinpoint the fatigue, because my bloodtests were good. During later hospital visits in which they focused on my fatigue, I suggested multipletimes that there might be a correlation between the nausea and my fatigue, but they dismissed this. These were clearly separate complains (which just happened to surface at the same time… right).

Well, fast forward to my mesology appointment. Turns out I do not have too much stomach acid, but too little. So, what happens when you have to little stomach acid? Whatever you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner does not get digested properly. As a result, it will continue to sit in your stomach, where it will slowly begin to fester and yeast, causing you to become incredibly nauseous. Lovely image, isn’t it? I would say that’s a whole different issue than too much stomach acid.

intestineNow if only my digestive issues would have ended there. But oh no, there’s more! Apparently my small intestine is not working properly. To put it into perspective: if my intestine was working properly, my electro-acupuncture meter should have indicated at least 40, or preferably 60 and above… instead it read 12! So what does this mean? It means that my small intestine often fails to tell the rest of my body which fluids it needs to produce to get all the nutrients out of my food. Now, I have no problem absorbing the nutrients once they have been extracted, but because my food is not processed properly I simply do not get enough of them. As a result, I get increasingly more  tired, as I am pretty much constantly undernourished. My mesologist even suggested that this might even be the cause of my intense nightmares.

Whilst my mesologist was summing up all of the above, I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell I am still standing up straight and managing to function at least somewhat properly. My body is an absolute mess.

I did think it made an awful lot of sense what she said though. She was able to connected the dots and the different symptoms in a way no (other) doctor has yet been able to do. And what’s more: sShe said that if we address all the issues above, we might solve 80% of the problem…. Yes you read that right:

80 flipping percent!

Hope GIFMeaning I might be able to get rid of the majority of this mind boggling, draining, annoying fatigue yet! *insert Haleluja chorus here*. I swear, if she can help me get rid of this fatigue, I am buying her one massive bouquet of flowers (I would buy whine, but I have no idea if she likes alchohol).

But now I am sure you are all wondering: how are we going to address this massive list of issues? Well, by not eating the things I am allergic to and taking a whole bunch of supplements (including probiotics). And oh my god those supplements are expensive. Like seriously… But the good thing is that my mesologist does not sell them herself, so she isn’t prescribing things to make a profit.

So fingers-crossed that we can tackle that 80 (?!) percent people. Until that point, I’ll…

Tip: check out all of Chibird’s awesomely cute motivational gifs 😉

To invinity and beyond!

Ehm, hey there! I am sure you are all wondering where I have been and what caused the loonnnggg silence on my blog. Well get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, because this is going to be another looonnngg post.

As I wrote in my previous post, I wasn’t really doing all that great. At the time my CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) was kicking my but, which caused me to try the anti-inflammatory diet.

After two weeks of the diet, I decided to drastically adjust it. My body was not responding well to the no-gluten side of it. So rather than going gluten-free, I decided to reduce the amount of gluten I ate, but still allow myself to eat the occasional sandwich if my body indicated it needed it. Same for diary and meat products. I have been eating less meat (firmly sticking to lean meats such as chicken) and more fish and have tried to eat 1-2 vegetarian dishes each day. I occasinally eat a slice of cheese or coffee creamer, but oterwise firmly stick to non-dairy products such as almond milk.

tired2Unfortunately, the diet has still left me struggling with fatigue big time. I have had a number of weeks when going to work three days a week was pretty much all I could manage. I actually had to drop everything else, because I was physically incapable of doing it or because I was so tired that the thought of it simply stressed me out.

As such, I had to give up yoga, decorative planning and blogging for a while. I even had to skip a couple of my tap dance classes… Now that’s not to say I have not done anything fun at all though. I have allowed myself to go to Movie Park Germany and gone out to dinner with my aunt and uncle who I had not seen in a long while. So all has not been pure missery :). But I have had to pay a price for those outings: I have needed at least a day if not more to recover from them.

As a result of the fatigue I have not been making much progress with my dissertation either. Most days I have just been too tired, so my brain has been unable to translate my ideas into coherent, gramatically correct English sentences >.>.

So what has all of this meant for my weight? Well, I have to confess that it has caused me to fall of the wagon. When I feel this extremely tired my eating tends to get a bit out of control. My will power goes down the drain and I just eat anything I can get my hands on. It’s like my body goes into survival mode. Food means energy, and energy is what we need. So eating it is! The result: I put on 1,5 kilo’s… Go me *sigh*.

everytime-ithinkihave-allmy-ducks-in-a-row-one-of-the-23692428Last Saturday I decided it was time to get my ducks back in a row. I did some Yoga, planned the upcoming week and was frankly ready to get back on track… And then I got hit by some kind of virus or bacteria. Which has resulted in me leaving work early on Monday and just sitting on the couch with a body that was just a trembling heap of missery for the rest of the week. My legs felt shaky and I got out of breath just walking from the couch to the kitchen and back: and that’s 30 freaking steps (I have counted them)…

But I refuse to let this get me down. I am going to use the weekend to get better and then slowly pick-up the pieces the coming week. My goal is to get back on track with my food intake and to do what I can without over excerting myself.

Needless to say I have had to give up running for a while as well. And as much as I hate it (I actually mis running) it doesn’t look like I will be getting back into that for at least another month. I have also figured out that it is probably going to take me much longer to train for a 5k than a healthy person. So with that in mind, it is probably a good thing that my best friend and I have decided to postpone our goal to run the RunDisney race by another year.

However, this decision to postpone our first 5k wasn’t made because of my fatigue though. On the contrary, I decided to do so, because of something really, really exciting!

Are you guys ready for it?

tumblr_nidv20liau1r1e9x6o1_500

I have booked a trip to Walt Disney World Florida!

I am so excited. My fiancé and I are going to go next year at the end of November. Yep, so we will be there during the Christmas season! This trip will be to celebrate the completion of my PhD (so I’d better finish the bloody thing!). And I am so, so, so excited!

My mother-in-law is also coming with us as she has never been to Disney World, but always wanted to go. Some of my collegues were quite surprised about this decision, as they couldn’t imagine taking one of their in-laws with them on vacation. But I am actually really excited for her to join us on this trip. I believe this is the first vaction where my fiancé will have his mom all to himself, as he has always had to share her with his two other siblings, so it will be nice for them to spend some quality time together. Moreover, I really get along with her (she’s a lovely person) and she’s just as much into Christmas and amusement parks as I am. And bonus: it will be nice to have someone who also likes to visit every single souvenir shop hahaha ;).

So in honor of our trip ti Disney I have decided to make y motto for the upcoming week:

8e0d336a1a60849227866151734255a8aa39813fc37e0af0386a6f50ff02b857

I’m gonna kick this week’s but!

 

Anti-inflammatory diet: 2 weeks in

Well it sure has been an interesting two weeks. Being on this anti-inflammatory diet has forced me out of my comfort zone and to try new dishes and to cook with ingredients and spices that I have never used before myself (including tofu, almond flour and turmeric). Unfortunately, it also forced me to deal with some withdrawal symptoms.

70106a5c90dfb4c97ff20d9c0d712b9cWhen I decided to cut gluten, dairy and meat from my diet, I was not really prepared for the withdrawal symptoms that go with it. Last weekend I had a significant drop in energy levels. On Sunday I was particularly drained and had to deal with dizziness on top of one of my morning colds.

I got through Monday alright, but felt less energetic on Tuesday. You may or may not have heard of Vegan detox or paleo flu, but what basically happens is that you get full blow flu symptoms whilst your body is trying to cope with your new eating pattern. Well I was coping with this flu on Tuesday. It did not stop me from opening my home to my lovely niece and her daughter and husband though. I had not seen them for about 2 years so it was really nice to see them and chat with them, despite not feeling too great.

Thankfully, on Wednesday evening things started to look up and I have been slowly but surely regaining some of my energy. Continue reading

Diet overhaul: the anti-inflammatory diet

Some of you might have seen it pop by on their facebook feed or have come across it on the news, but Stanford university recently published an article announcing that they have likely found the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or CFS).

According to the article CFS is an autoimmune disease. According to the research the body of someone suffering from CFS is itself constantly causing inflammations (i.e. inflections), which the immune system then has to battle. As such, the immune system is constantly at work and often in total overdrive. No wonder that we suffer from such things as muscle ache, throat ache and what I have come to call morning colds.

After reading up on the research and the study, I started to do some digging online to see if there was anything I could do to reduce the inflammation my body is causing. And that is how I came across the anti-inflammatory diet.

This diet, which is not very well-known in Holland or the rest of the EU, was developed by an American doctor called Andrew Weil. This diet is basically a tweaked version of the Mediterranean diet, with the focus on anti-inflammatory foods and what they call clean-eating  – food that has not been tempered with. You have to drastically reduce your sugar intake from non-fruit sources, though you are allowed to use honey or maple syrup with moderation, load up onfish.jpg the anti-inflammatory fruitsies, veggies (think berries, broccoli etc.) and Asian mushrooms. The diet also requires you to eat lots of fish, beans, tofu  and other biological soy based products. Your food has to be both dairy and gluten free. So, basically all animal products are out with the exception of fish (which makes it nearly vegan). Dr. Weil has published a really nifty food pyramid on his website which really explains the diet well, for those of you who are interested.

broccoliAs the diet has helped a number of people with auto-immune deceases, I thought: nothing ventured nothing gained. Let’s give it a try!

This does mean that I will (temporarily) be quitting the Herbalife program. Although it definitely enhanced my energy levels (and I highly recommend it to those looking for more energy!), it did not address the core issue. And honestly, I never expected it would, as my wonderful coach Kim had been open and honest with me about this from the start. I am, however, hoping that the anti-inflammatory diet will be able to eventually help me get better.

1454643019-6e09a6a82322ab09d2d5588c8b87be3eI had initially decided to start the diet after my birthday. I really wanted to have cake before saying goodbye to gluten. Moreover, quite frankly I did not really look forward to having giving up bread or meat: I love both with a passion haha.

However, my plummeting energy-levels spurred me on to start the diet this Saturday. Honestly, the past few days have been pretty darn bad. I wasn’t able to go for my run on Wednesday and looked like a freaking zombie on Thursday (one of my colleagues feared I would fall over: that’s how bad I looked). And the past two workdays really took their toll. I am currently writing this blogpost sitting on the couch with another morning cold, swollen glands and a bit of a head ache.

So to kick off of my diet overhaul, I had a chia pudding for breakfast this morning. It’s not really sweet so I wouldn’t really call it a pudding, but it really works well for breakfast. I found the recipe on a Youtube channel called Clean Eating:

CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite milk)
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener)
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
dash of cinnamon

As my concoction looks far less appealing than the Youtube video I shall spare you the picture :P.

Now for my honest opinion of this morning’s breakfast. Personally, I would have liked it to be a bit sweeter. So I added bits of banana to it whilst eating, which worked really well. Tomorrow I am going to try it with honey rather than maple syrup just to see if that adds a bit more sweetness to it.

The rest of today I will be spending on food prep. I will, amongst other things, be making almond flour based pancakes. I am freezing those so I can defrost them on the days when I go to work. So I can have some Pancakes with fruits and a bit of maple syrup in the morning.

200_sI will also be making my lunches, which will consist mostly of baked seasoned tofu, beans and brown rice. I might switch it up a little once I have found more recipes (and have the energy to cook more elaborate stuff). The tofu is going to be interesting though, as I have neither eaten nor cooked it before. ^__^” But here’s for trying new stuff!

Tonight’s dish will most likely be a simple, but nutritious bean dish with brown rice. And I will have some fruits and cucumber for snacks… This diet is definitely going to take some getting used to. So wish me luck.

Also, I am considering renaming this blog: “How my CFS turned me into a yoga doing, jogging, tap dancing and super-food eating health freak” hahaha. What do you guys think?

Also, ideas for delicious vegetarian, gluten free recipes are welcome! 😀

(Again apologies for typo’s and such… My brain’s a bit foggy today).

Update on running and fatigue: it’s a rocky road

My regular readers will know that I have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. This morning I realised that I tend to write the majority of my blogposts during my days where I feel “ok” energy wise, because I do not really want people to catch my at my “low” points. I always try to mask it, so that the people around me (apart from those really close to me) don’t see me at my worst. But for the sake of honestly and openness, I am making an exception today. I am going to give you a peak into my struggle with chronic fatigue.

The past two weeks have been pretty rocky. I have had days where my enertiredgy levels have been “ok”, but for the most they have been pretty low. I have been having nightmares or really restless dreams, causing me to wake up even more tired in the morning.

Now, when I write “tired” I actually mean “exhausted”. Continue reading

The jury has reached a verdict! First 2 weeks with Herbalife

Tomorrow I will have been using the Herbalife shakes for about 2 weeks and I am honestly wondering… where the hell was this stuff two years ago?Afbeeldingsresultaat voor lots of energy! I wasn’t expecting to notice any massive changes any time soon, but I actually have.

For one, it has been easier to get out of bed. I have not pressed the snooze button on my alarm once these past two weeks! I sometimes even wake up before the alarm goes off. And, ok it’s not like I jump out of bed, but I do not feel like I have to drag myself out of it, feet first, either.

The past two weeks have been pretty busy and I have been tired because of this, I have not had a total energy crash where all I can do is lay on the couch and feel tired. Last Sunday I even did a Just Dance session… I cannot remember the last Sunday I did some extra exercise, just because I felt like it. Ok… it probably was a combination of “I felt like it” and “I probably should after what I ate yesterday” ^__^”. So yes, I have definitely noticed a massive improvement in my energy levels. Continue reading