*Please note: Today I am talking about some of the major changes that have happened in my life because I simply changed the way that I eat. I am not a doctor and not everyone will have the same experience so everything written here should be used for informational use only and never substituted for professional medical advice.*
If you have chronic pain you can understand that it is hard to have a balanced healthy lifestyle with all the pain cravings that come with chronic pain. When I had chronic pain I tried to stick to a healthy diet but every day I had a high pain day which was almost every day my body was telling me carbs so that is what I reached for and eventually came to the realization that I was never going to have a healthy lifestyle with chronic pain. People with chronic pain often struggle with this because you need some sort of comfort for your pain their comfort is food which there is no problem with only if it starts to create health problems. When I had chronic pain I was not eating healthy and I didn’t realize until I started eating healthy how much it improved and impacted my health. Changing my diet to a low carb diet will not be for everyone but here is how changing my diet significantly improved my health.
I gain self-confidence- When I had chronic pain I ate pretty much nothing but carbs and was doing very little to burn it off because physical activity caused more pain. I was unhappy with my body but wasn’t really willing to do anything about it because any movement caused me pain so I didn’t really have the energy to even make a healthy meal. I just wanted to do what was easy and for me what was easiest was the worst for me! Now since I don’t have chronic pain I have now gained self-confidence because I lost the weight I gained with chronic pain and am building the strength I lost from working out consistently.
I have more energy- In the morning I feel so productive and energized that I can actually get stuff done. This morning I was able to get a workout done by noon which with chronic pain would have never happened. If I had chronic pain I would have thought about it for a couple of hours and then probably convinced myself that I walked with crutches and walking technically counts as strength training so I don’t really need it. I sleep so much better because I have to feel well-rested to have the energy to exercise. I never experienced this with chronic pain because it didn’t matter if I slept ten hours I still felt groggy!
Mental clarity- When you have more energy and are sleeping better you think clearly and are more mentally sharp. Sleep deprivation affects your cognitive functions and can make you very forgetful because it affects your memory. When I had chronic pain sometimes I would go weeks when I had on average of four hours of sleep a night which had an impact on my memory and made me very forgetful so I would sometimes go weeks and not take medication. Now I still occasionally will forget a day or two just like anyone else would but I don’t go weeks at a time because I am sleeping better and can remember these important tasks.
I don’t have as many cravings- When you are constantly eating bread and pasta or high foods you constantly crave them. When I was on a high carb diet I was always thinking about cookies and ice cream but I couldn’t always have them because I can’t drive because of my visual impairment and couldn’t always get to the store to get these things. It’s a good thing I couldn’t because I don’t think I ever really wanted these foods but it was a way of coping with the pain because ever since it stopped and I went low carb I stopped craving these foods daily. I still crave cookies and icecream sometimes just like anyone else would but it’s not every day and at the back of my mind like it was before.
Improved gut health- I cannot go to the bathroom like an abled person can because those muscles don’t work so I have to use a ton of laxatives to have a bowel movement and not always am I successful. Diets high in sugar cause inflammation which can cause you to become more constipated or in my case more difficulty going to the bathroom than I normally would if I had this problem under control. Problems like this cannot be completely resolved because incontinence is a problem with Spina Bifida but through proper diet and exercise, I don’t have difficulty every time I go to the bathroom which I was experiencing when I had pain and it was driving me crazy!
Less heart palpitations- I get more heart palpitations than most people because I get anxious but it is controlled through Pilates and Yoga since it focuses on your breathing. When I get a heart palpitation it doesn’t raise any red flags because I get them occasionally but these last couple of years I was getting more than usual that was kind of concerning but after I changed my diet they just went away. My guess is I was eating too many carbs that affected my heart rate and it never dawned on me that I was hurting my health in the process. If you are experiencing something like this make sure you have a healthy balanced diet and if you do visit your doctor.
My health has improved so much since changing the way that I eat but if I still had chronic pain these changes would not have been a reality for me. I still eat carbs as you should because they are an important part of your health but I pay more attention to the good and the bad carbs and try to eat more of the good ones. This type of diet might work as well for you as it did for me but it might not because not all diets work well for everyone. Make healthy choices according to what makes sense for you and that you can be consistent with. If you can’t stick be consistent because it’s so restrictive then why even bother trying it? Eighty percent of how you look and feel comes down to the foods you put in your body so if you aren’t feeing it well it could be the reason you are feeling awful. Right now it is more important than ever to make the right food choices to keep your immune system strong to prevent from getting sick and your food choices make the biggest difference in your health so make smart choices for improved health. What healthy choices do you have?