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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My first consultation at Airedale Clinic

Airdale are a private clinic that specialise in finding out what chemicals and foods affect our immune systems and cause medical problems, treating the root cause rather than masking the symptoms with medications.  You can read more about the great work the clinic do here.

When I was tracking my symptoms with a log I found a number of things that affected my symptoms of fatigue and stress:-

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress
  • Over doing things
  • Food and drink
  • Chemicals 
  • Hot weather
  • Dehydration
  • Injuries and other painful medical conditions

But some of these things affected each other too, for example certain foods affected my sleep, an injury affects my fatigue etc.

The first consultation was done over Skype to reduce my need to do the 1 1/2 hour round trip to Keighley which I would not have been able to manage.  It was with the Co-Director Dr Apelles Econs, lovely man, very caring and understanding and very knowledgeable about autoimmune disorders and allergies.  He gave me a frank explanation of how fibromyalgia works and affects the nervous system and what can be done to improve symptoms.  I have attached my treatment plan for you to review below:-


I want to share my journey with you to allow you to see what I am trying and what improvements I have.  There is no cure for fibromyalgia and the NHS are only interested in giving us pills and potions to band aid over our symptoms, not to treat the root cause.

The initial consultation was £175 but you can’t put a figure on good health.  The GPs only know how to prescribe meds or do referrals to specialists, but in the UK there aren’t any for fibromyalgia.

I recently had a bad flare up due to injuring my knee falling off a motorbike in training, I actually fractured my knee and again it took 2 months under the creaking NHS to find this out, as I had to wear a leg brace for a month restricting my movement the immobility flared up my fibro and back pain to the worst levels I’ve ever experienced.  

My healthy diet lapsed due to laziness and I put on a stone in weight and felt dreadful.  You are what you eat after all.  I gave myself a kick up the backside and ditched the processed foods and lost 7lbs in 3 weeks, since starting my diagnostic diet as recommended by the Airedale Clinic I’ve lost a further 3 pounds in the last 5 days.  At first I felt lethargic, had bad headaches (gave up coffee), could not sleep at all and my aches and pains got worse.  But I’m now on day 5 and I’m feeling a little better, I was in another mini fibro flare up due to overdoing things at work but I feel the diet is helping me recover quicker.  The only problem I have right now is very bad lower back ache which is hurting every time I remain still, especially when sitting and it’s worse when I lay down.  The only foods I can eat are detailed below, highlighted:-


The diet helps to detect whether food is affecting my condition to track how I react to the natural diet. It is only for 2 weeks and quite frankly I would do anything to feel better, even as one person put it yes I would sell my soul.

This is one of the pages out of my diet book:-


I have also obtained my full list of tests and results to share with the clinic from the NHS and I have a list of potential tests should I want to go ahead with them privately:-


I have ordered the stool test to start with until I know whether I have had any of these on the NHS, which I doubt as the NHS wouldn’t treat the outputs of most of the above tests.

I have a follow up consultation on the 11th to discuss how I’ve felt the diet has gone and discuss next steps.  Thankfully sebsequent consultations are only £90.

I have bought a vitamin B12 spray as this vitamin can help with fatigue, aches and pains, the tablet form is not adequately digested by our systems, but the spray works best, the gold standard are vitamin B12 injections.


I will update you on my progress with honesty and complete openness.  Maybe there is something I am doing that you would like to try.

Please feel free to ask me any questions, my Facebook page is updated on a more regular basis and is available through my blog.

Working with Fibromyalgia 

Let’s be honest life does get much more difficult with Fibromyalgia and it’s hard for people to understand how it feels to have this condition.  I’ve had spinal issues for ten years and had chronic intermittent pain for 6 of those and permanently for the rest.  But I never ever imagined that I could feel so ill all of the time.  

It is only since I started mindfulness meditation that I realised that the pain is not constant, it changes and there are brief moments that I don’t feel any pain.  I do also believe that because our brains and bodies have increased pain sensitivity that we are used to feeling it therefore our brains and nervous systems continue to ramp up the pain.  When I meditate I focus on the areas that hurt the most, which is mostly where I have my fusion.  I slow down my breathing and focus on the area of pain and the area around it and I realise it’s not constant but changeable and I focus on what colours it reminds me of and what shape and contour the areas are.   We are often told by our doctors to ignore the pain and try to keep busy, I find this just stresses me out as I end up only focusing on the pain.  I find by using meditation to focus on the area and acknowledge the pain, making friends with it, realising it’s not constant I feel so relaxed, you can read more here.

Anyway let’s discuss working, some days I often wonder why the hell I put myself through the stress but I’d rather have a reason to get up than be at home depressed and worrying about my body hurting.  My job is very stressful, working with extremely challenging stakeholders and trying to manage my time to work within my limits.  I have had to toughen up and learn to pushback and say no, people constantly try to book long meetings, want me to travel to London (5 hour round trip) for something that could be done over the phone/screen share. There’s an expectation to always be online and work long days constantly attached to your desk, work through lunches and attend lots of meetings,which dramatically reduces productive time to do any actual work.  Meetings are also booked back to back so you end up running from one place to the next and always being late.  
Do not be afraid to speak up about changing your work environment and ways of working.  Here are some of the changes I’ve made to my working week:-

  • Don’t work excessive hours, listen to your body, my fatigue generally takes 48 hours to kick in.
  • Block out lunch breaks, what’s your contracted minimum lunch break?
  • Set your calendar so people know what hours you work.
  • Eat lunch away from your desk, unless you go for a walk at lunch!
  • Don’t be afraid to say no, not everyone’s priority is your priority, negotiate on deadlines.
  • Block out time in your diary to do actual work with a no meetings clause.
  • Switch off your phone and email when working on something to reduce distraction.
  • Book out meeting rooms or ask to work from home when you need quiet time to get stuff done.
  • Make action lists so you don’t miss any deadlines.
  • Don’t stress about things you can’t control, speak to a friendly face and share your concerns, you’d be surprised how helpful someone else can be when they look in from the outside.
  • Book meetings for 25 or 55 minutes giving you time to get to the next meeting and grab a drink or nip to the loo.
  • Make sure you take a healthy lunch and water with you as you need to eat to stay focused.
  • Make sure people factor in breaks to long meetings and especially lunch breaks as you need to rest and eat.
  • Keep weekend work to a minimum don’t let it become the norm.
  • Don’t just say yes to travel, always challenge the need for a face to face meeting, can’t it be done by phone/video conference or a screen share?
  • Have a rule of no meetings till X time, to give yourself time to prepare in a morning.
  • Have a rule of no meetings after X time to allow yourself a reasonable finish time.
  • Work from different positions, could you get a hydraulic desk, I have one and it really does help my back.
  • Block out time before and after meetings to prep or write them up to ensure you stay on top of things.

These are just some of the things I have put in place and I always find that if you’re honest with people and explain why you do the things the way you do, most people are reasonable and understanding.  The ones that aren’t you may have to enlist the help of your colleagues or just stick to your guns.

You are no good to anyone if you end up going off sick.  Many times in the past I’ve pushed myself too much and caused a flare up, now I have learnt the warning signs and I’ve even cancelled meetings as I haven’t felt well, explaining that if I don’t I’ll be off work.  

If you feel you aren’t getting the support you need maybe it’s time to have an honest chat with your boss about your condition or maybe look for another job.  I recently moved out of my old role which I loved as I couldn’t do it anymore, the expectation of being out on the road constantly was impossible.

Put yourself first always even if at first it feels uncomfortable, which it probably will as I know I did. 😉.  You can read more about working with Fibromyalgia here 

What a year!!

I was just thinking to myself whilst sat on the train to London (only the second time I’ve made this trip in the last year) how far I’ve come.

It’s easy to sit here concentrating on the pain in my spine, my upset (not very sociable) sensitive digestive system or the fatigue but where is that going to get me?  I’d rather sit here looking out the window admiring the beauty of the world, the fact I’ve managed to keep hold of my employment and how I planned a year ago to move out of my very highly demanding role of spending 4 days a week in London (6 hours round trip).  To now successfully obtaining a local job at the same grade leading a team less than 2 miles from home.  I’ve weaned of all regular meds, found 2 fantastic super fibromyalgia supplements that work.  Altered my diet.  Found mindfulness meditation and yoga (I love these).

It’s easy to focus on what we can’t do but that just makes us more sad, the mind does not understand these are only passing thoughts, if we continue to focus on them we get sad, even depressed and guess what our physical symptoms get worse!!

If we focus on positivity, our brain, our mind soaks this up and everything becomes much better.  We feel happier, our pain reduces, some of even all of our symptoms improve.  I could barely work a year ago and this week I am back in work full time.  
I am by no means cured as there is no cure for Fibromyalgia but YOU CAN learn to live a happy healthy life!  It took me a good 6 months to figure out what I needed to do and another 6 months to change ALL aspects of my life, things that you may not be willing to change and I may first I found it hard but whenever temptation sets in I remember how these things make me feel and I say no and if people don’t like it then screw them.

Put yourself first always, you are no good to anyone, partner, kids, work colleagues if you’re ill, but get yourself well and everyone benefits.

I’ll share in more detail how I got myself well in coming weeks…………

Fibromyalgia worsened by negative thinking

This should come as no surprise to anyone right?  I recently decided to come off several online support groups as I personally found that commiserating with others was actually making me feel worse and very negative about my personal situation of living with this condition.  That’s my personal choice and I’m sure others have felt the same on many occasions.

I’m a very positive individual and this condition has really pushed my resilience to the maximum.  I use a number of techniques to help me through the tough times that I’d like to share………..

Laughing is a great free medicine and even when I’m having a flare up I have a collection of comedians that I know when I put them on to watch I’ll end up crying with laughter, this releases endorphins and increases my pain threshold.

Mindfulness Meditation; closing my eyes and deep breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth whilst undertaking a full body scan down from my head to my feet, taking in all the feelings from my body, not judging just acknowledging them and continuing to move on.  I do this very slowly over about 5-10 minutes.

Mindfulness walking, no phone nothing, just walking, deep breathing and taking in the air and enjoying that particular moment, taking in the sights and sounds.  Clearing my mind.

Repeating positive affirmations in my mind, out loud and even on paper, for example; I love my body, I am feeling healthier every day, I am loved, I love life, I feel great etc oh and the most important one first thing in a morning is I am going to have a great day today.

Undertaking mindfulness yoga it’s so relaxing and really helps my stiffness and pain.  Search on YouTube there are loads of free workouts 👍

When I’m feeling negative and stressed all of my symptoms feel worse so it is important that I keep positive and use a wide range of techniques.  What do you do?  Read more about research here 

Diet, lifestyle and fibromyalgia insomnia

Here’s my theory, does your diet and lifestyle aggravate fibromyalgia?  Does what you eat and drink stimulate the nervous system and keep you awake at night?  Does not exercising affect sleep?  Does your mindset affect your sleep?  If you answered no to any of these then I would bet you a months wages that it is true, all of it!

I have eaten a largely Paleo based diet for a number of years now, way before I developed fibromyalgia, but I still regularly drank alcohol at weekends.  I gave up regular exercise after my back operation 2 1/2 years ago and tried and quit the gym 3 times with a doctors letter (I didn’t know I had fibromyalgia do thought I was injuring my back further).

I gave up my beloved hypnotherapy hobby as I did not have the energy and my mental health went into crisis mode.  Believe me I hit rock bottom many times! Even begging the doctor to see a Psychologist.

I could not sleep, felt like I had flu, my spinal fusion was hurting like hell and I was so stiff in a morning I had a year off sick in 3 years added together!  I used most of my annual leave to cover up my health problems.

I am sure many of you can relate to the above.  Fibromyalgia is not as complicated as some people make it out to be (Your General Practitioner).  It is a problem with our nervous systems and what affects our nervous systems? Everything! That’s what.  There is no cure, quick fix it’s all down to an approach to life and that means learning new ways to live.  I know what I’m talking about i live with this every day I just could not see it until the last 2 months through research and talking to others I have seen the light.

Fibromyalgia interrupts our sleep and sleep deprivation makes fibromyalgia symptoms worse, so how can WE help ourselves?  

Have you ever kept a food and drink diary and looked into what we eat and drink? Do you still drink several cups of caffeine a day, use cows milk?  Drink alcohol, use sugar? Eat convenience foods?  Skip meals, eat sweets, crisps, cakes and eat everything out of a packet that you shove into the oven or worse a microwave?  I used to.  Here’s what I do now:-

  • I switched to organic (where possible) 
  • I eat plenty of fresh veg, I limit fruit due to the sugar content.  
  • I don’t drink cows milk, who ever decided that drinking another animals milk is good for you?  Calcium is in many other products.  I use alternatives.
  • Ditch caffeine or cut down to one a day, first thing.
  • Ditch sugar, one of the most addictive substances known to man. I use a tiny amount of organic honey in smoothies only.
  • We eat mostly (I’m not a saint) fresh home cooked food.  I guess now you might be thinking I don’t have time to cook?  Make time.  
  • Invest in a slow cooker and get out of bed earlier.  
  • Batch cook, refrigerate and freeze leftovers and make your own TV dinners.
  • Throw away the microwave and use the oven, I did.  Microwaves make us lazy and I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to warm up food with a microwave, have you read how they work?
  • Get a blender and make breakfast the night before
  • Make your own cereal bars or buy organic snacks for when you’re ‘on the go’
  • Don’t eat within 2 hours of going to bed
  • Eat slowly and mindfully, enjoy your food, don’t just wolf it down.
  • Eat smaller portions 
  • Eat every 3 hours to stop yourself from feeling dizzy
  • Ditch white carbs, over processed junk!
  • Ditch processed food full stop
  • Don’t eat anything with ingredients you would never add to home cooked food.
  • Keep takeaways to a monthly treat and go somewhere where the food quality is high standard
  • Stay away from McDonalds, KFC and fast food joints
  • Pub grub is a no no unless home cooked if not they should be avoided unless you want to feel ill!  Ask yourself how sluggish you feel after one!

Remember years ago when your grandmother used to cook, would she go to the shop and throw in processed food into the oven then just throw it on a plate and eat it, no of course not!

This is how my sleep used to look from my Fitbit, absolutely terrible and yes I still went to work but I felt very ill.


A few lifestyle changes, which I will come into another time and changing my diet and this is how it’s changed this week


I haven’t slept 7 hours this year!!

Anything over 4 hours and 30 minutes is a celebration.  Am I cured?  Of course not but no doctor can help you get here.  I’ve tried every sleeping tablet going, Amitryptyline worked for 6 weeks then it stopped and it took me 2 months to wean off them and not I felt ill.

Start looking into your lifestyle, diet choices.  Hey you may even drop those extra pounds you’ve been carrying.  I manage to offload a stone in weight without even hitting the gym regularly.  A big part of aiding sleep also has to be exercise, if you sit round all day and don’t tire yourself out you will not get restful sleep.  But I’ll touch on that next time.  Read more about what YOU can do to help yourself here 

Fibromyalgia and women

I read a great fact based article today about this condition and why it’s predominantly women who get diagnosed.  I absolutely do agree with the hormone link and why it’s again predominantly around middle age, but there are a few exceptions as there is with most conditions, ones that fall outside the ‘norm’.  Read more here

I know why I developed it, I have spinal disabilities and had major surgery on my spine to correct the twisting and collapsing of my spine.  My dad also has ankylosing spondylitis, another link to why I developed this, it’s in my genes.  I am certain if we all reflect on our family history and health we can work out why us?

This condition does not have a cure, it’s a chronic condition.  It will not kill us but it DOES have a serious detrimental effect on our quality of life.  We CAN however takes steps to improve our quality of life; keep diaries of our condition, what we eat and drink, sleep journals, activities we do, how we feel mentally and physically.  From this we can work out what is toxic and needs to be removed or reduced in our lives in order to improve our symptoms.  This IS going to be a challenge, if it was easy none of us would be suffering!

I will not give up this challenge, why? Because this is my life and I will live a good quality of life.  The best that I can.

Are you with me? Or are you prepared to give up?  Trust me I have been to hell, I’ve suffered so much pain, given up so much of my old life, landed in the gutter so many times.  

I WILL NOT GIVE UP, NOT UNTIL I AM OLD AND DEAD.  BECAUSE IF I HIVE UP I MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD.

#fibrogoals