Monday, September 26, 2016

Feeling younger every day

Four months ago I sold most of my Size 6 jeans in a yard sale because I'd resigned myself to never getting into them again.  I ached all over virtually all the time, and was also resigning myself to a fairly depressing and scaled-down life of inactivity.  Moving hurt.  Living fatigued me.  That's what fibromyalgia is all about.  The arthritic knee didn't help either, and the Achilles tendon surgery I'd had last winter had taken its toll on my strength, stamina and flexibility.  I thought I was going to have to accept feeling like an 80-year-old, even though I was only 63.

Today I'm replacing the Size 6 jeans I sold....with more Size 6's.  I don't hurt like I did four months ago.  Even the knee is improved.  I have my life back again.

In fact, I feel like I'm getting younger every day.  I no longer feel 80, or 63.  Maybe 45 or 50.  I'll take that!

The secret?  Actually, I have two, and I'll share them with you.
1.  I gave up foods that disagreed with me.
2.  I changed my daily exercise routine.

Sounds pretty simple and common, I know.  But the turnaround in how I feel is anything but "common."  It's a freaking miracle.  First, a brief look at the dietary changes....

I stopped eating refined sugar because I knew it was causing inflammation and spikes in my blood sugar.  I stopped eating most gluten for the same reasons.  I eliminated artificial sweeteners and processed foods.  And I drastically cut back on my alcohol intake.  This all started as a water fast back in June, and it morphed into an appetite-killing realization that food often made me feel worse than hunger did.  Certain foods are safe and satisfying, so I concentrate on them and eat only what's necessary.  Most days I now consume about 1,000 calories.

The other secret:  I devote one hour of every day to uninterrupted exercise, immediately followed by total rest and a shower.  My hour starts at 6:15 a.m., after I've fed the dogs.  That's the only hour that works for me.  If I don't do it then, it won't get done.  The exercise is light but nonstop.  I don't even break a sweat.  I just keep moving, doing a wide variety of things to include yoga, resistance exercises, light cardio, and coordination drills.  After my hour, I return to bed for 45 minutes.  In yoga they'd call this time "savasana," a time to rest and rejuvenate the body after working it.   When the gentle alarm goes off, I rise and jump into the shower for a hot, invigorating scrub that leaves me ready to tackle the day ahead.

In future posts, I'm going to elaborate on how I came to adopt this new lifestyle.  I know it won't work for everyone--especially the "going back to bed" part.  But the combination of good nutrition and consistent exercise has turned my clock back about 15 years.  And there is no medicine that can replicate that feeling!

I'll be sharing my adventures in physical therapy with you too.  The four months of PT following my Achilles tendon surgery have changed my life.  Let me tease you by quoting the slogan that's plastered over the doorway of my physical therapist's office:  
 "Exercise is the best medicine."

More to come.  I might as well warn you, I'm going to be preaching my discoveries with a passion!!

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