I thought that telling my own story would be a good way of sharing some of the health challenges I’ve been able to overcome holistically.
Until I had my first Child my health was pretty good. The only notable challenges were that I suffered from severe migraines around the age of 12-20 years and also I had lower back pain, starting somewhere around the age of 19-22 years but other than that I was in good health.
When things changed
After I had my Son, I felt so tired all of the time and it felt like it was more than just a lack of sleep. As a new Mother as I was pretty lucky, my Son slept through the night from 6 weeks old. I visited my Doctor with no idea about why I might be feeling like this and she suggested they check my thyroid levels, (I do have a family history of this) but they came back fine. My lower back ache, that I had just coped with for years got a lot worse and was stopping me from doing simple things like walking or picking up my Son. I was a referred to a physiotherapist who gave me some good advice and some exercises, both of which helped. I just continued to feel really tired though, to the point where I didn’t feel safe driving as I thought I could fall asleep at the wheel at any moment. I just accepted that's how I felt and had no option but just to push on.
……..and continued to get worse
Three years later I had my second Child and that pregnancy absolutely killed my back, I coped by seeing a very good Osteopath in my third trimester but was in a lot of pain most of the time. I was diagnosed with PGP (pelvic girdle pain) and wore a stability belt to help stabilise the pelvis and reduce the pain. Following the birth of my Daughter I admit, I felt so unwell. I felt low on energy, tired all of the time, I couldn’t wake up in the mornings, I felt dizzy, my heart would be racing, I couldn’t fall to sleep at night. I went back to my Doctors who said this is either normal for you or there is a small chance you could have PoTS (postural tachycardia syndrome); so we will book you in for tests. I went home and did my research and came to the conclusion that yes I did seem to have a lot of the symptoms but my gut instinct told me this was not it, so I cancelled my tests, much to the annoyance of my family. I booked a private health check with BUPA because I knew it was something else, I came out quite a few hundred pounds lighter (money not weight!) and was told I was in good health. I knew this was still wrong and really didn’t know where to go next. I decided to book in with a nutritionist who had previously helped me with my Son’s fussy eating, to see if she could offer any solution. After a thorough consultation she told me I had adrenal fatigue, I went home to research the diagnosis and this time I felt relieved, this was it! I’ve written an article about adrenal fatigue, check out one of my blogs posts for that one! I was treated with natural foods, supplements, breathing techniques and alternative therapy and I felt much better within a week. Although, complete recovery takes a long time and once you have exhausted your adrenal glands, you are also susceptible to relapse so need to adjust your diet and lifestyle long term to keep well.
But my back………I didn’t know who could help or how I could help myself
My back was still bad and getting worse, the pain was not only in my lower back anymore but mid/upper back right side and right across the middle of my back as well. I’d get this burning pain every afternoon and everything hurt it. The only time it felt better was each morning, after a good rest but the pain would soon creep back in until it was at its worst by late afternoon. I went on a quest to resolve it, I tried a chiropractor, cranial sacral therapy, alexander technique, osteopath, physiotherapist, monthly massage, visualisation and lots and lot’s of acupuncture which really helped get it under control. I took out all heavy exercise from my routine and tried my hardest to rest as much as possible. All of this helped a lot but it felt like the symptoms were only just under control.
When things started to improve
My break-through with my back has been two things really, becoming a (naturopathic) nutritionist and because of the knowledge I gained in my training, I've completely changed everything. The way I eat, my lifestyle, my water intake, the use of naturopathic techniques (which help create movement within the body) and the use of high quality supplements.
The second key change was to my mindset and doing some work on an emotional level with a coach, this has developed my emotional and spiritual wellness; not just the physical, which I seemed to concentrate on for the previous 35 years! I also feel that learning how to avoid trans fats and therefore taking another layer of stress off of my body was also a key. I have completely got rid of the pain in my upper/mid back and my lower back pain is now only a minor niggle sometimes and I believe will clear itself, but as I have had the pain for such a long time, it may take time to completely heal.
So, although my overall journey has been about 4 years now I would say I have really put a lot of effort into my diet and lifestyle for one year and the changes to my physical and emotional wellbeing are HUGE. I just feel energetic, happy, motivated with no aches or pains everyday…..you know…..how you are supposed to feel! I’m not perfect, like anyone else, and sometimes I have an off day but that just reminds me to get back on track as I feel the effects of not eating well instantly. I really believe that consistency (not perfection) is key. My typical diet is now about 80% plant based, as I believe this is the quickest way to heal by keeping the body alkaline. In the main I stay away from gluten, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar and feel better without all of this, but aim to keep relaxed too and if there is a celebration or a time when I can’t stick to that 100% or sometimes I want to have an occasional glass of champagne or wine it’s OK; the balance is working well for me right now.
The healthier you get, the more you notice the aliments that perhaps you hadn't actually acknowledged before, they seem to fall by the way side. For example, I used to have a cold/blocked nose a lot but now I don’t eat dairy and rarely have alcohol this has gone. If I do have these things, then guess what, yep! it returns and then that’s my gentle reminder. But if you have always eaten the same foods, you will never really know how they effect you as you always feel the same.
I want to help others feel the change I did, so many people are in pain or discomfort. Most of us have aliments or illness that we don’t talk about that often but we can do so much to help ourselves and make it easier, if only we knew how. Working with a nutrionist can give you the food education you never had and you will find out how simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can have overwhelmingly positive effects.
I’m also a strong advocate of yoga and the peace it can bring to your mind, your nervous system and your stress levels. This is why I again share that knowledge, we all need to benefit, anyone can do it even if you are a beginner. Check out my website where you will find the details of a online membership I run with my Sister, where we teach yoga, breath work and more. Otherwise, find a local teacher or even a Youtube video to get you started. You need to give back to your body that serves you daily.
I also enjoy going to and running retreats. Access to delicious, healthy food, daily yoga and other relaxing therapies are on offer so you can treat your body with the kindness it deserves.
I’ll keep you up to date with my progress on social media and my website. Please get in touch with any comments or if you think I could help you in anyway.