Seven Easy Steps to Increase Your Energy and Reduce Fibro Symptoms

fibromyalgia_exerciseLet’s face it, rebuilding your health after a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome isn’t an easy task.  It’s a journey that takes dedication, self-awareness, some practical tools, and this gives you an opportunity to  brush up and acquire some new skills to help you through it and out through the other side.  But it can and must be done in order to survive, to repair, and to heal yourself and that means taking a proactive approach because let’s face it, no one can else can or will do it for you.

This is a journey that begins with a single step, a decision to get well, and often is solo when it gets right down to it.  Of course, having lots of support is ideal but isn’t always available when we need it so knowing some quick and efficient ways to restore some real easy energy to your cells, fast, is the way to go!

Whilst I personally have not suffered from fibromyalgia, I do know what it’s like to suffer from chronic pain, achy joints, and the feeling of complete and utter exhaustion, fatigue, and being tired and drained.  For the many people who suffer with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and pain, their numbers are growing with estimates being greater than 12 to 15 million people in America alone.  The upside of these alarming statistics is that awareness is raised and more solutions will be found and made more readily available.

More and more people are suffering through auto-immune related disorders, low thyroid function is rampant among us and adrenal burnout is more common than ever from our high stress lifestyles.  When you’re hurting all over from pain, and you feel utterly drained of all your energy and stamina, it becomes paramount to find ways out of this and to get yourself healthy and well.  I’m going to share some of them with you here starting with seven easy steps you can do to help you get things going and on your way to wellness starting today.

So be thinking about what you will do and how you would like to see yourself enjoying all this sudden new energy that shows up and begins acting upon you in positive ways as your health improves and you pick back up.  Because that’s what you will begin to experience, I promise!

How would it feel to accomplish everything on your to-do list and have energy left to have FUN?  Would it make a huge difference in your life if you no longer experienced an afternoon, or mid-morning crash and you could go on into your evening and enjoying your day well until bedtime where you could rest assured knowing that you would sleep well through the night without waking.

Step 1.  Sleep

fibromyalgia_sleepThe importance of a good night’s sleep makes all the difference to how you feel and how much energy your body can make and enjoy.  To people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, it comes as no surprise hearing about the disadvantages of lack of sleep as their symptoms simply get worse when they can’t sleep.  The importance of sleep simply cannot be over-emphasized and there are definite things you can do to help your body along to achieve this goal.

Drugs aren’t the answer as many sleep drugs, especially the sedatives (tranquilizers), don’t allow a person to go into deep stage restorative sleep, which is what is needed for healing and restoration to occur.  Most of these sleep drugs actually deplete the natural sleep hormone, melatonin and it can be purchased at most health food and pharmacy stores.  Melatonin works for the first night for the majority of those who take it except that it doesn’t have all the side effects associated with prescription sleep drugs.  Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that is able to protect a cell’s nucleus and DNA blueprint of each cell therefore you’re likely to feel brighter and less susceptible to free radical scavengers that cause rapid aging and leads to fibro flares and other symptoms.

Foods that are high in melatonin include oats, rice, barley, bananas, sweet corn, and Japanese radish.  Melatonin replacement therapy is a safe and effective way to induce deep, restorative sleep.

Individuals with fibromyalgia and / or mood disorders are very often low in serotonin levels and so you may want to consider adding a simple over-the-counter amino acid called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which converts to serotonin in your body.  Not only does 5-HTP, along with certain B-vitamins and key minerals, help to produce the brain chemical serotonin, but it will also increase melatonin levels by 200 percent!

Other supplements you may want to include are magnesium, vitamin B 6, valerian, and kava kava.  Magnesium is particularly helpful as a muscle relaxant including the heart muscle, and studies show that seventy percent of people are severely deficient in it.

Finally, consider including a Power Down Hour.  Do something calming and not stimulating 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep.  Television, cell phones and computers all over-stimulate and make it difficult for us to fall asleep and experience a good night sleep.  Consider taking a warm bath with lavender, reading something soothing, or prayer and meditation.

 

Step 2 — Eat a Healthy Breakfast

fibromyalgia_breakfast_smoothieWhat’s the best way to fire up your metabolism with energy?  Eat a quality protein and carbohydrate balanced breakfast.  Did you know that by eating breakfast within an hour or so from rising in the morning, you’ll get your metabolism running faster than if you skip this very important meal?

Skipping breakfast is a big mistake.  Even if you aren’t normally hungry or used to eating breakfast first thing in the morning, do it anyway and break that pattern as quickly as you can.  You need to break your ‘fast’ from the night before in order to raise your blood sugar levels as well as switch on the calorie-burning button in your body.

The quality of your meal makes all the difference.  When we load up on processed cereals or nutrient depleted foods we are not providing the necessary nutrients our body needs.  Eating a breakfast that’s loaded with empty calories and sugar does a disservice to your body and kills your energy levels by putting you on a roller-coaster effect of mood swings, and eating irregularities.  So, steer clear of things such as sugary cereals, pastries, and bagels.  A much better choice would be eggs topped with salad, a green smoothie that contains spinach, kale , coconut milk, protein powder, and delicious Superfoods, or a bowl of cooked rolled or steel-cut oats, with some flax seeds, ground almonds, and cinnamon.  For sweetening, add a little maple syrup or liquid stevia.

Also, try thinking outside the box (the cereal box that is), and have a small piece of grilled fish or last night’s leftovers, assuming they are healthy.   Quinoa is a grain with a perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates and it tastes great with nuts and seeds sprinkled over the top, some flax seed oil, and a spoonful of maple syrup.  Spice it up and be sure to enjoy your breakfast.

 

Step 3 — Keep Well Hydrated by Drinking Water

fibromyalgia_waterHydration — purified water and / or distilled water is the best way to prevent or deal with disease and give you energy.   Water is the universal solvent and next to breathing clean air is our most important healing and pro-survival element.  It’s essential to drink adequate amounts particularly when you suffer with fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, weight gain, and other symptoms.

Tap water and even some spring bottled water can be unsafe with its added chemicals and spring water is unregulated.  Our bodies need water to function and are made up of seventy percent water.  Cells require optimum hydration in order to move nutrients through and into them.  Water flushes toxins out of our body and keeps our cells functioning.

Sometimes we think we are hungry or tired when our body actually needs water.  So each time you think you are hungry or feel drained, drink a tall glass of water and see if that feeling still persists.

When it comes to meal time, remember that drinking coffee, tea, alcohol, soft drinks and iced drinks all interfere with the ability for our body to digest our food.  Remember that caffeine is a diuretic which depletes vital nutrients out of your body so be sure to keep well hydrated by drinking more water whenever you drink caffeinated drinks.

I recommend drinking 8ounces of water first thing when you wake up before you drink coffe or eat your breakfast.  Adding the juice of a lemon can help with digestion, assimilation of nutrients, and increase your energy levels.  Water will help flush toxins out of your body and assist your body in eliminating them much quicker.  So, indulge yourself by drinking regularly throughout the day.

Step 4 — Foods with Fiber

fibromyalgia_fruits_vegetablesIncrease the fiber foods in your diet as they will give you real and sustained energy.  High fiber foods stabilizes your blood sugar which in turn raises your energy levels.  Choose fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds as your in-between meal snacks.  The optimal amount of servings is now between seven to thirteen so indulge yourself freely in them.

Don’t think you can manage this?  Try blenderizing or juicing!  Toss a bunch of spinach, kale, fruits such as berries, banana, with some flax seed oil, and almonds in the blender and make yourself a healthy blended smoothie of fruits and vegetables.

Fiber in our food acts as an intestinal broom by cleaning our gastrointestinal tract and internal system.  Fiber keeps our bowels moving, reduces constipation, regulates hormones, improves your sleep, and leads to greater energy.

Step 5 — Eat Healthy Fat

fibromyalgia_healthy_fatsHealthy fat is an important macronutrient for health and wellness.  For years, the media has led us to believe that fat is the prime suspect which leads to cardiovascular disease, cancer, atherosclerosis, and others.  However, this is not the full story as it is the type of fat you consume, which is the real culprit leading to inflammatory conditions, heart disease, cancer and more.  There are good fats and bad fats and it is important for you to know which foods contain which ones.

Healthy fat actually has many different and important functions in the body that are important for overall health and energy production is a major one of them.

Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids that work to prevent inflammation in the body, as well as promote healthy brain function.  When making food choices throughout your day, think about whether the food you’re about to eat contains healthy fats such as omega-3s, or unhealthy fat such as trans-fat.  A trans-fat is an unhealthy substance that’s made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils.  Hydrogenation solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and the flavor stability of oils and foods that contain them.  However, trans fats wreak havoc with the body’s ability to regulate cholesterol, create inflammation, lead to obesity, and drain you of energy over time.  A personal test: If you have cellulite, this is an indication of a trans-fat build-up.  Focus on following a low or no trans-fat diet and add in the healthy fats for energy.

Trans fats  are best avoided and can be found in these products:

  • Soybean oil, cottonseed oil, vegetable oil
  • Corn oil, canola oil, (partially) hydrogenated oils
  • Nuts and seeds roasted in soybean, cottonseed, or partially hydrogenated oils
  • Low or non-fat mayonnaise
  • Miracle whip, all kinds
  • Margarine spreads
  • Low or non-fat cream cheese
  • Cool whip
  • Low or non-fat sour cream
  • Crisco
  • Shortening
  • Nut butters (peanut butter) with partially hydrogenated oils (Skippy, peter pan)

Do you have any of these fats at home, and if so, what are you going to do with them?

My suggestion is to clean out your cupboards and purge your pantry of any of these unhealthy fats and notice how much more energy your body will soon reward you with.

Foods that contain healthy fats include:

  • Nuts: Hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia, walnuts.
  • Avocado
  • Cold-pressed olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Flax seeds and flax seed oil
  • Cold pressed peanut oil

Simply adding more omega-3’s into your diet will help with strengthening your immune system, relieving chronic pain, regulate your hormones, regulate neurotransmitters in your brain, cure dry skin, help reduce food cravings, break down cholesterol in blood, and improve your energy.

Step 6 —  Keeping Proportions in Perspective.

fibromyalgia_portion_controlEating and digestion of food require energy.  When we over eat or have big meals we become exhausted, right?  Overeating drains your energy. Therefore, practice maintaining portion control by keeping to the serving sizes, or downsizing them.  Don’t go back for seconds, chew your food thoroughly and eat your food slowly.  Once you have eaten, wait at least 10 minutes before you go back to determine if you are still hungry.  This gives your body time to process what it has consumed and sends a signal to your brain that you are full.

You’d be amazed at what little food we really need to survive.  Here are a couple of key proportion tips to ensure you keep your body fueled and your energy high:

1.         Downsize your dinner plate to a salad plate.  When you put 3-4 ounces of protein on your plate with 2-4 vegetables, and possibly a whole grain such as brown rice, your plate will be full.  You will not feel like you are being deprived.  And realistically, this is all the food you really need.

2.         With veggies, half cup each is a serving size along with 3-4 ounces of animal or plant protein.  Regarding veggies, fresh is your best option for the highest nutritional values.  Eat a raw salad once a day for the enzymes which will aid your digestive system and create more energy and vitality for you.

Step 7 —  Get the Sugar Out

fibromyalgia_sickSugar robs your body of energy and sabotages your health in very many ways.  On average, Americans consume 150 pounds of sugar per year, which does not include high fructose corn syrup, the main ingredient in soda and iced teas, which adds another 60 pounds.  Sugar works in the body by giving us a quick high, which results in a crashing low, taking our energy and vitality with it.

As if that wasn’t enough, sugar depletes your body of vitamins and minerals while adding excess fat.  The heavier you are, the less energy you will have because your body is struggling to work under pressure from the weight.  By reducing the amount of sugar and refined foods we consume, we can increase our lasting energy throughout the day.  Many refined and processed foods have the same effect as ordinary table sugar because they too are missing the necessary fiber, vitamins and minerals needed to digest them in the body.  When we eat refined foods, our body has to relinquish its stores of vitamins and minerals to aid in digestion, therefore depleting our stores and with it, our energy.

Candidiasis, or yeast overgrowth are prevalent among people with fibromyalgia and this is often brought on by eating too many sugars and simple carbohydrates.

Candidiasis commonly infects the ears, nose, and the urinary and intestinal tracts.  Typical symptoms are constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, indigestion, rash, bladder spasms and infection, and ear and sinus infections.

Yeast overgrowth is similar to allergies in that there are a plethora of symptoms.  This can lead to skepticism in many doctors as the symptoms are tough to define.  It’s not uncommon for yeast overgrowth to cause or contribute to such complex conditions as depression, asthma, fatigue, mental confusion, weakened immunity, allergies, chemical sensitivities, hyperactivity, chronic ear and sinus infections, and adrenal fatigue.

Cleaning sugar out of your diet and replacing it with a healthy ratio of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats guarantees to increase your energy levels and provide you with less sickness, reduced symptoms and greater vitality.

I guarantee that when you implement these seven steps your vitality with increase, your symptoms will improve, and your body will thank and reward you with more spark and energy!

What action steps will you incorporate in the next 24 hours as a result of what you learned in this article to help you in your recovery process?

Send me an email with what you did and what changed for you as a result of your actions: drdee@foodsforfibromyalgia.com.

Health, love and support.

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