A challenging part of 2017 for me was that I my physical health was soooo up and down and I still struggle to find consistency with my workouts.
I was experiencing extreme bouts of fatigue and by fatigue I mean I could practically doze off sitting up. My whole body was heavy, my shoulders ached, my lower stomach felt like I had a period and my lower back would cramp. I regularly thought I had urinary tract infections as it was symptomatic of that and I have always struggled with these. I can handle the aches and pains but the tiredness was so crippling.
I went to my GP and had some bloods run, what came up was some odd autoimmune disease markers which hasn’t fully shown itself, a person can have many episodes over many years but not know why. Also after struggling with seriously low iron levels, I all of a sudden found myself with significantly high iron which meant I needed to remove it and stop activating absorption food high in iron. I also had to stop all high intensity or heavy weight lifting as I couldn’t afford to break down my muscle tissue while I was working out what was wrong with my body.
I spent the first 6 months of 2017 really up and down with my health – constantly picking up viruses, went to Bali with my new partner and the first three days just kept falling asleep in cars, by the pool etc with exhaustion, struggled to workout and lift heavier weights and gained the most weight I ever had. This was tough on me emotionally as I have always struggled with poor body image.
I also transitioned off anxiety medication in the first half of the year and managed the horrible withdrawal symptoms with food to release dopamine as my system tried to settle.
Once I reached the middle of the year and had come back from Bali picking up a parasite I really tried to overhaul my diet and exercise in an attempt to manage my symptoms more. Further, two women blatantly called me fat which really knocked my self esteem. While I don’t generally take on the words of mean bullies or nasty people, this affected me as I was still rebuilding my self esteem after my marriage breakdown.
As the year progressed I was still experiencing pain, anxiety and the epic tiredness. I was driving to Sydney one morning and had to pull over just to ‘nap’ at 8am – on a positive I have become a great power napper! I returned to my family GP and based on where the pain was located and the cycle of it – she diagnosed fibromyalgia. At the same time I returned to anxiety medication to help manage stress throughout my divorce and settlement proceedings and this medication blocks my nerve messages from my brain to stop the discomfort I was experiencing.
Now the fatigue….. well one way to cure it – exercise….. so find the energy to exercise when you want to fall asleep sitting up. Well anyone who knows me well, knows I love a challenge. So I threw myself into pushing hard with my training (too hard at times) and starting removing high sugar and processed food from my diet as much as possible so I would have big energy highs and crash. This is still such a massive work in progress and 2017 was a shocker for my health. My new partner stood by ever so patiently while I went through this cycle of discovery, wore myself down when my stubbornness kicked in and I would push myself to my limit, crash, be in and out of court hearings, manage family matters, custody disputes and raise my very tiny children still with sleepless nights. Throughout this we were trying to enjoy our honeymoon period, build a new relationship and start the process of blending a family of three young boys. No easy feat that’s for sure. He is Irish so I put his stoic nature down to this – he’s hard as hell when he needs to be so once he dug his heels in evidently he wasn’t going anywhere no matter where the rollercoaster took us.
I have found more of a balance with my training, I have got myself up to 5-6 days again although I still push myself a bit too hard, am learning to be kinder to my body image and try to compliment it rather than criticize it, still experimenting with food and learning to listen to my body when I might be having a ‘episode’ so I can adjust what’s on my schedule.
For anyone living with physical ailments, don’t let it limit you if you can help it. I have had so much frustration with my physical health but I have found my own way to keep it under control and find balance and it took over a year to work out what works and what doesn’t.