Diagnostic diet part 2 and Fibromyalgia 

As promised, I would send you an honest update on how my diagnostic diet is going.  I started before I spoke to the consultant and completely ditched all processed food, so nothing came out of a packet.  I lost 7 lbs in 2 weeks and felt so much better; less fatigue and reduced muscle pain.  

I went into the diagnostic diet for 2 weeks to cut down my diet to a very basic bland hunter gatherer type.  This basically removes all potential foods that could cause a reaction with my nervous system.


You only eat the highlighted foods for the first 2 weeks.  You track your symptoms and at first you feel worse; giving up coffee gave me a migraine.  I lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks!!  

After the first 2 weeks my daily headaches disappeared, my fatigue was reduced, my muscle pain went away and the nerve sensation issues I had like tingling, itching, pain upon touching disappeared.  

I was just coming out of a flare up when I started the diagnostic diet and my sleep was terrible; 7 hours over 3 nights.  I asked for 5 days worth of sleeping tablets and usually they take my sleep from 3/4 hours to 4/5 but this time they worked great.

It took about a week to get over stopping the sleeping tablets (this is why I don’t like to take them)! Now I’m sleeping much better, deeper and longer 5/6.5 hours. 👍

Switching to fresh food only I lost a total of 1 stone and 7lbs in a month and never went hungry.

My moods are better, less extreme and my menstrual cycle was less severe.  I haven’t had digestive issues either.

The next phase of my diet is to slowly start bringing in the rest foods not highlighted on the photo above, one by one and track symptoms.

So far I’ve been able to eat asparagus, grapes, veal, tuna steak and tomatoes.  

I’m still not able to exercise until I’ve finished the next month as this could skew the symptom tracker.

I can’t wait to restart proper exercising as I’m so weak, getting out of breath walking up hill or up or down steps.  I couldn’t even keep up with my 67 year old dad!

It’s not easy as you have to have willpower and you have to track everything; symptoms and weight, which will start to increase if my nervous system reacts to it.

I have a comprehensive stool analysis kit to do and send off but I need to wait till I get paid as it’s £160 for the analysis; 3 collections and I have strict guidelines to follow including mixing with liquids, dealing and posting lol.  I have a list of other tests to do too that I have to pay for as the NHS has refused, simple blood tests.

I am willing to do anything to feel better and the Airedale Allergy Clinic here have done more for me than the NHS have in over 3 years.  The NHS don’t have the funding or support to investigate or locate cures for conditions like Fibromyalgia.  The US are way out front in this area as it’s about making money and a cure or even medications or treatments would rake in millions.  GPs are trained to give us meds and there aren’t any specialists only pain or arthritic specialists available in the UK, we are sent to these for more band aid treatments for our symptoms.  What we need is locating and dealing with the root cause!! 


Feel free to ask me any questions!  Or join my page here for more insights and research sharing.  

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Fatigue and muscle weakness and pain getting worse

Sometimes it takes a while to realise that things are getting worse with your health.   I’ve been attending Download Festival now for 9 years and I noticed last year I was more tired and achy but this year was dreadful.  I only managed to walk into the arena once each day and I had to spend the rest of the time sat in the van.  I missed all the headliners.  The Disability camping was moved further away to a better site but it was a 50 minute round trip to the entrance on a hill.  I could not walk that far so when I went back to the camper I was done in.  Now I’ve always been able to walk around the festival but this year it was different.  I have took the decision next year not to go and I am going to start working on my fitness levels.  

I read an article about a woman that started doing intense interval training and it was by no means easy but she managed to reduce her fibro symptoms so much that she doesn’t feel that she has it anymore. I do believe this is possible and I can only imagine how ill she felt and how much blood, sweat and tears she shed.  Now obviously this is not an easy task but if one person can do it then it is possible and not impossible.  I used to do high intensity interval training even when my back was degenerating and it was only when I stopped training that my fibromyalgia symptoms started to come out.  I even trained after my fusion and it’s only when I started to hurt I slowed down training that I started to get more ill.  The less you move the worse it gets. 

Our bodies are not made to be immobile we were naturally born hunters always moving around, but as time goes on our lifestyles make us more unhealthy.  We have tv to watch, cars to move around, processed and fast food.  Drugs we can take to mask over health problems.

I am a real believer that food and exercise being the only medicines I need.  All medications have side effects and are not good for the mind or body.  I tried to come off anti depresssnts last year and use s more natural alternative and I became so ill after 3 months I went back into them.

Painkillers are not good for the body either and you get used to them so end up either on maximum dosage or on something stronger.

I have never suffered from such debilitating fatigue or muscle aches and weakness until this year and it’s getting worse.  Some days I can barely walk at all and I’m constantly having to rest after everything I do.  I have to plan all my activities to the finest detail so not to overload my nervous system.  I cannot stand loud music or bright lights and have to wear earplugs a lot, which is fine I have no problems with that.  I get sunburnt easier and my skin swells up so I bought some natural sun cream.  My scalp started to itch and I bought some special shampoo which reduced the itching.

The fatigue and muscle weakness is extreme.  I find myself doing less and less and from what I have noticed the fatigue, weakness and pain is getting worse.  It is a battle of the mind as our mind tells us to do less as we hurt, but it is the wrong decision.

The less you do the weaker the muscles get, but it is much more painful to exercise as muscle pain can be very extreme with fibromyalgia.  When I used to regularly work out I used to hurt from the gym but I liked it as I knew I was getting stronger.  But with fibro the pain is sometimes so bad after working out that it can make me cry and my whole body throbs and every attempt to move is excruciating.  In order to get stronger I have to keep pushing so the pain from working out will last weeks or even months.  You have to start slow, I have managed to do 3 ten minute workouts on the power plate this week.  Next week I am going to build up to 4.  I am also trying to walk every day and I have stopped using the lift at work and take the stairs.
Next year I am not doing the Download festival and I am hoping to get back into interval training.  I want to test out the theory of regular exercise reducing fibromyalgia.  Exercise can help reduce anxiety, depression, increase mental alertness, reduce insomnia, reduce muscle weakness and aches and pains.  Over time it can also help with fatigue.  In the short term it will get worse but what have I got to lose, I hurt anyway whether I move or not.  I have felt a dramatic worsening of physical symptoms from doing less exercise so my moving less to ease the symptoms have made it worse.  The only way to change what we have is to do something different so that it what I am going to do.  Here is some good tips of exercising with fibro here 

Fatigue and fibromyalgia 

I have to be honest fatigue and anxiety are two of my most crippling symptoms at the moment.  I have had a busy weekend with a motorbike lesson Saturday morning, loading up the campervan for camping and unloading on return then I went out on my motorbike 3 miles to watch a stunt show for 2 hours.  Monday I felt great, Tuesday and Wednesday morning I have felt by far the worse I have ever felt in terms of fatigue.

I open my eyes and the stiffness and pain is extreme I feel it in every part of my body all over my skin, like I’m severely bruised, I cry lots more out of frustration I guess.  I struggle out of bed and it takes me between 90-120 minutes of waiting for my tramadoland the caffeine from my coffee to kick in.  I hate this feeling more than anything it’s horrible, getting into work is a massive struggle, today I have booked a days annual leave as I don’t even have the energy to get up.  I’ve been laid in bed for 3 hours now!!

Fatigue is a difficult one it’s all about pacing and you have to keep a diary of activities to learn how much you can do and when to rest to reduce fatigue flare ups, fatigue never kicks in straight away it takes my body 48-72 hours for it to kick in but when it does it floors me.  It’s a frustrating experience as I really had fun with my family this weekend and now I am paying the price.

Tips for controlling fatigue which I do not always follow hence why I am feeling ill today:-

  • Learn pacing; this means stretching out activities over a longer period.  I’ll give you an example I used to hoover the whole house in one go, now I have a lightweight rechargeable hoover and I do a room a night.  
  • Find easier ways to do things.  All my shopping is done online and delivered, any other essentials are fetched by my daughter and husband
  • Hire a cleaner or ask a family member or friend to help.  I am a proper clean freak so clutter and dirt stress me out so I pay my daughter a wage to clean.
  • Find ways to rest and this does not necessarily mean go to sleep, napping messes up your sleep health.  It means finding a way to relax which could be watching tv, reading a book, doing some crafts, sitting in the sun, etc etc
  • Meditate, get on the sofa and put on a YouTube and look up mindfulness meditation close your eyes, switch off your phone and follow the instructions.
  • If you are feeling down then have a good cry and get it out your system then move on, it’s my favourite way of getting all the frustration out!  Don’t let it ruin your day!
  • Stay positive, focus on what you have and what you can do not what you can’t.  I know this is hard but life is beautiful and when fatigue kicks in it’s overwhelming but we all have great things in our life even if it’s just the blue sky and sun today.
  • Keep telling yourself it will pass because it always does.  If needs be write it down ‘it will pass’ on an A4 sheet of paper and stick it on the wall to remind you.
  • Increase your painkillers to help you get through the flare up but remember to reduce back down or you could end up on a slippery slope of ever increasing pain meds.
  • Take a hot bath, not a shower and use magnesium flakes as they soak in your skin, at first you will itch and go redbut as your magnesium levels increase in your body this will stop.
  • Eat healthier than ever before, poor diet choices will increase fatigue.
  • Do not drink any alcohol as this will make you feel worse!!  The alcohol turns to sugar and is toxic to your liver it will only prolong the fatigue.
  • Get a massage it releases and removes toxins in the body and you will feel the benefit later on in the day.
  • Go and sit in the sun and top up your vitamin D levels naturally.
  • Remember your vitamins.
  • Talk to someone about how you feel, sharing your experience helps.  Why do you think I have my fibro page I need you more than you need me!!

Take a look at this site it’s got great tips and logs to help you plan living with fibro here 

How can you fix insomnia?

Ha if I knew that I’d be a millionaire!! Now here’s the thing; Fibromyalgia causes insomnia and insomnia is one of many drivers in increasing fibromyalgia symptoms. I once read an article about some controlled tests that were performed on ‘healthy’ volunteers; they were kept awake or continuously awoken over several days and then tested how they felt mentally and physically whilst also performing cognitive tests, all of the volunteers showed symptoms of fibromyalgia, even down to increased levels of pain. 
I go through periods of insomnia and I track my progress with a Fitbit. I actually only used to sleep 3-4 hours a day until I established healthier pre sleep activities and then I increased that average to 5-6 hours, I will go into that in more detail in a second. But then insomnia creeps back in and my average drops back down to 3-4 hours. Read more here 

You’re probably wondering what I did differently to help me sleep? These are what I can remember:-

  • Reduced caffeine intake to 1 cup a day (I’ve gone back to 2is this why I now cannot sleep?)
  • I quit drinking alcohol
  • I never eat within 3 hours of going to sleep
  • I have a warm bath with magnesium flakes every night before bed
  • I take a vitamin super supplement each night that includes melatonin, chamomile and 5htp amongst others
  • I undertake some form of exercise 4/5 times a week either yoga or my power plate, yes even when I feel rubbish, mind over matter
  • I practise meditation daily, especially at night (now this has most definitely slipped off my radar just before bed, I need to start doing it before bed again)
  • I wear UV glasses when it gets dark to cut out the blue light from the tv and my phone
  • I drink 2-3 litres of water a day but never 90 minutes before bed
  • My bedroom is kept cool at around 19 degrees maximum
  • My bedroom is completely dark with blackout curtains
  • I wear earplugs for complete quiet
  • I quit taking medication every night for insomnia
  • Reduced consumption of chemicals by using organic
  • Reduced consumption of non natural foods, do not underestimate the effects of a poor diet!!

Now around 3 weeks ago I started to feel ill like I had some kind of virus, it wasn’t a cold or flu (thankfully my immune system always fights these off plus I take a super supplements with 21 different vitamins in). Ever since I had this short lasting virus I have not slept for more than 2-4 hours a night and this has set off many fibromyalgia symptoms;

  • Headaches
  • Restless legs
  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle aches and stiffness (like having the flu coming on)
  • Mood swings
  • IBS
  • Irritability
  • Pins and needles or burning on my skin all over
  • Cognitive issues; memory and concentration issues
  • And one of the worst; fatigue which I feel like I’ve got a constant hangover, coming down with flu type feeling
  • Depression

All this just because I cannot sleep!!

It’s a vicious circle as sleep deprivation increases symptoms of fibromyalgia and fibromyalgia causes insomnia. Due to having a near miss in my car I even asked my doctor for a couple of sleeping tablets, but they did not work 😂, I have to laugh.

So what should I do, give in, quit, start feeling sorry for myself? No, that won’t solve anything. I will tackle this problem like I do every other problem, by being practical. The solution does NOT lie in regular meds again, it lies within me. I just need to figure this out. I’m going to cut down my caffeine to one a day at 6.30am, stop watching tv half hour before bed and do some meditation/mindfulness yoga and when I cannot sleep I am going to start getting up and meditating rather than tossing and turning in bed all night.

The hardest thing about having insomnia is not being able to sleep in my own bed as I keep my husband awake 😦

If you read this and can relate don’t give up, don’t resort to meds as that’s just a bandaid, use them sparingly and take a long look at your daily activities and lifestyle as the key to removing insomnia will be in there somewhere.

Chronic fatigue and feeling angry

I average around 4 hours sleep every night which when I get in the number 5 is a cause for celebration in this house 💐. I have a pretty good routine:-

  • A hot bath with magnesium flakes and organic bubbles
  • No tv for a minimum of 1 hour before bed.
  • If I use my phone to update my Facebook page and blog I wear my uv glasses.
  • I only have one coffee before 7am
  • I don’t drink alcohol
  • I keep my room well ventilated with a temperature of around 19 degrees
  • My curtains are black and my walls painted dark
  • I wear ear plugs so no noise can wake me up
  • I sleep naked so I am not restricted by clothes
  • I never eat at least 2 hours before bed
  • I mindfully meditate daily before bed and every other day I undertake mindfulness yoga 
  • I have a lavender plant in my bedroom and place some fresh inside my pillow each night
  • I don’t drink water too close to bed so as not to wake in the night for the bathroom 
  • I have no switched on electrical items in the bedroom

I think that I have a pretty strict routine before bed and I really do feel that this has helped me wake up over the past 3 months feeling more refreshed than I have done in the previous 2 years.  But when it gets to about the 5th day of only have 3-4 hours sleep 15-20 hours in total over a working week I start to lose the will to live.  I cannot concentrate, I’m tired, have no energy, my cognitive behaviour starts to suffer.  I hate everyone and everything.  The fake smiles I have to put on at work, people asking me if I’m ok and I nod and say yeah I’m great (when all I want to do is shout out loud NO I AM FUCKING NOT!).

I do know that if I could ramp up my exercise and tire myself out more I’d sleep better, but how can I do that when I exercise then I literally struggle to go to work.  Pacing ah yes good old pacing.  I’m logging down what I do, how I feel etc but each day is different from the next which makes things a little difficult to track.  Some days I can sit for hours others minutes before I get pain.

I feel like I’m having some sort of mental crash, possibly from coming off citalopram and Amitryptyline?  Delayed reaction?  I’ve been off them 2 weeks.

Does anyone know of how I can get more sleep without resorting to regular medications?  Am I missing some vital information?

What do I do to avoid Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue?

This is my personal journey into taking control of my life.  Overall I have felt a reduction in pain, brain fog, fatigue and exhaustion problems, along with reduced stress and anxiety.  You may be wondering how, am I taking some new tablets?  Nope.  I have mourned my old life and moved into acceptance.


Now don’t you get me wrong here I’ve been sliding around this change curve for about 2 1/2 years, 2 of those not knowing what was wrong, I just presumed I was still recovering from major back surgery, I’ve had severe back pain for 10 years now, I’m 41.   But it wasn’t until I requested to see a Psychologist and for the first time ever I spilled out everything, no holding back to a complete stranger that it clicked.  I was resisting, fighting it even, going through the whole ‘why me’ syndrome, why me? Because genetics, lifestyle and taking my health for granted created spinal issues and having that op which was such a massive shock I developed what we know and love to hate Fibromyalgia.

I can’t cure this, no one can, I will always have a malfunctioning nervous system but, can it be controlled? Can I learn to love this thing and work with it and build a different life?  Well that’s what this site is all about.  My journey and if I do achieve my goal then hopefully I can help others.

I read a fantastic article here, I do undertake every one of these activities apart from accupuncture as quite frankly I’d take a massage over this anyday and money does not grow on trees.  But that is a personal choice

Every single day I sit and use a mindfulness technique called a body scan or I used to keep a diary.  How does my body feel today?  I use this recording here. It comes free with my new book.  By doing this you get a sense of how you actually feel, I don’t dwell on pain, I assess my body as a whole and also my emotions, so now I know how I feel and make a judgement on how much I can do.

For the first time in over 6 months this week I managed 2 X 20 minute sessions of mindfulness yoga and 1 X 20 minute swim.  Hooray 


Exercise is vital to remaining healthy, keeping weight to a ‘healthy level’ keeping our hearts and lungs healthy and releases feel good chemicals called beta-endorphins, a natural opiod that is stronger than morphine.  I don’t know about you but sitting around waiting to die is not my idea of a life!! I love moving and if it means I’ll live longer and have less pain then I’ll do it.  Yes we feel soreness more but think long term.  Do it slowly. Swimming and mindfulness yoga are gentle but effective.  I know I used to be as fit as an athlete and tried it all with this condition.  Do not spend all day sat watching tv or in the Internet, get up and go outside, yes if it’s raining put on a coat and walk.  Also drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day and I promise you’ll never hardly get headaches.  Our bodies lose 2 litres a day and some people drink what coffee?  Drink water it’s free and healthy.

I take fortnightly massages at my home at £20 a pop, I’d take a massage over a takeaway any day!! I also use meditation to envisage a massage without leaving my bed, I will dig out my hypnotherapy recording I created.

Baths omg I’d live in one if I could.  I have a hot bath with magnesium salts (I buy 5kg at a time) use 2 cups in each bath at least every other day, as hot as I can stand, I use hot water bottles a lot, especially at work and my friend has a hot tub that kills all aches!! 

Bedtime routine is crucial, here’s what I do:-

Hot bath,

No tv for an hour before bed but if all else fails wear uv glasses

No computer or phone an hour before bed or use uv glasses and change phone settings to reduce brightness at night.  UV light reduces melatonin production in the body and keeps us awake.  My UV glasses below, cost less than tenner from Amazon.


I have one coffee before 8am and no more, I don’t eat chocolate (maybe occasional treat before lunch).  I don’t eat sugar at all if I can help it.  I don’t drink alcohol.  

I read and meditate before bed every night, use a book not a computer or use your UV glasses.

Do not eat at least 3 hours before bed as this will disturb your sleep.

I do not get up if I cannot sleep I use mindfulness techniques to keep calm and enjoy the rest.  Sitting up all night in a computer stressing won’t make you feel refreshed.

Mindfulness keeps my stress under control, reducing my medication has helped my mental health and joining this site has been beneficial here.  Facebook for Fibro Warriors.

Supplementation I will do a separate blog post about these.  Do not underestimate the power of supplementation, I believe Fibromyalgia warriors (I hate the word sufferers) need additional supplements.  How many of us have low vitamin D and an Underactive thyroid?  So did I before I started using supplementation now both are normal.  I use this and I only take 1 a day and my thyroid went normal in 6 weeks as the ingredients replace what is low within your body, without resorting to harmful pills. More of this later.

This is a long post but all of the above has been more effective than any medicine I have tried and believe me that is a lot!!

Good luck and feel free to ask questions.  Nothing happens overnight it take patience, resilience and persistence.