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Dieting and Exercising with Fibromyalgia

By Rebecca Waldron

If you’re like me, having fibromyalgia is a daily struggle. The Mayo Clinic calls fibromyalgia "a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.” Between feeling immense pain and tenderness in muscle groups and the infamous "Fibro Fog," in which remembering details of your day is difficult, having fibromyalgia is rough.

Exercising

Most do not want to even think about exercising when feeling so much pain, but that is exactly what is called for. There are ways to gently maneuver your muscles and help recover your energy. This is needed more than a breakneck aerobic routine, at least at first. Rather than do nothing, it is best to start with simple stretches. Lying in bed or on the couch wrapped up like a burrito sounds enticing, but to take care of your health, more is needed. Start by simply flexing and relaxing your major muscle groups. Take it slow. No need to overdo the first day. Pay attention to the areas that hurt the most and journal them to keep track of progress. The movements should be soft and fluid, rather than forcible.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases states, "research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia." Try to slowly upgrade your stretches to walking around the block. Keep going. Challenge yourself, but only within your limits.

Dieting for Fibromyalgia

While no specific food has been shown to increase fibromyalgia symptoms, eating healthy is always the best choice. Try to eat from a variety of colorful veggies and fruits. Make your plate in the following way: one protein of 4 ounces (about the size of a deck of playing cards), and one small carbohydrate such as brown rice, one whole grain toast or roll, and fill the rest of your plate with veggies such as broccoli, greens, or a salad. Have a nutritious snack consisting of an apple, banana, or other fruit. Dieting will ultimately help you lose weight, which means less that your body must carry. Don’t forget to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, preferably filtered. You will be surprised at how good healthy eating feels after a week. So, don’t be afraid to try this in conjunction with exercising.

I have suffered with fibromyalgia for 17 years. It has been an ongoing battle, and sometimes I lose, but I keep getting up daily and putting my best foot forward. You have to find the balance between too much and just enough when it comes to exercising, and don’t be too hard on yourself while dieting. I still love chocolate ice cream! Hopefully, these tips will have you feeling better in no time. 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Cumming, Ga.

 

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