Getting Active Again

So I am now “one of those people”I have started Couch to 5K ( a 9 week running programme) This won’t sound that remarkable to most people. A lot of people have exercise integrated into their lives, but it has taken me a long time to get back into it.

Spoiler: this post does not contain any before and after pictures, neither does it contain any inspirational quotes.

Why have I bothered?

I used to run when I was at School – always long distance. People thought I was mad for liking cross country but it was something I could do relatively well; running for my district and my county sometimes. But I didn’t keep the exercise up while I was at uni which was an error. I forgot the positive feeling of running and when I discovered my body wasn’t as healthy as I thought it was  in my early twenties I had kind of resigned myself, rather sadly, to never putting my trainers on again. I did yoga and the like but I didn’t really see myself as the regular gym going type.

I envied my friends who seemed to always be out on their bikes, or doing marathons and other amazing things, tracking their exercise and living by their fitbits but was never compelled to try and follow suit – seeing this level of activity as unattainable now my body decided it wanted to act as though I was an old lady. To this day, whenever I find my body struggling to do basic things I refer to it as being my old lady body or OLB for short.

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Healthy body, healthy mind?

In addition to my physical health, the prospect of going to the gym, running in public and the associated little/no make up look that often goes with it was also daunting for my mental health as well! I did try the gym for a while pre-instagram boom and anxiety had me in a state where I was convinced as soon as I left the gym people were laughing at me for even trying. I told myself that if I couldn’t do a ‘reasonable’ stint at the gym (what does that even mean?) It wasn’t worth going at all.

But here I am, almost on week 3 of ‘couch to 5K’. Going to the gym every other day, I have even having managed going running in public more than once. Week 1 I felt constantly shattered,  asking myself when I would feel like #thisgirlcan  and “I don’t sweat, I glow”. I wondered where the boundless energy associated with being healthy, could be located. But I have pushed through and I now think that doing something is better than doing nothing.

We live amidst an instagram frenzy with almost everyone on there and tons of lifestyle and fitness posts. I already notice a difference in gym goers. The guys are more muscly and the girls are leaner-more power to them but that is kind of intimidating as I kill myself on a treadmill.

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I get the impression that there is increasing pressure on young people to look good or to be living life in a certain way. I used to think the pressure was mainly on women but now I can see guys are expected to look a certain way as well. I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone who aspires to look like the instagram posts we see and is battling inner demons like the ones I have described above. I’m surprised at myself and am apprehensive that I will hit a wall sometime soon, but I’m no longer making excuses.

This post isn’t meant as a brag, I’m just happy my body is currently letting me get out of bed and more. I’m feeling a tad more positive and as though I now earn any time I choose to sit on the couch and do very little.

My next step is to make sure I couple this exercise with some decent, healthy food before/after the gym. Any tips on that would be gratefully received; @eemaalou 

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Health and work: Endometriosis UK Information day 2014

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This post, I hope will be overwhelmingly positive after what was a great day on Saturday. I attended Endometriosis UK‘s information day and it was excellent! I found it fulfilling on many different levels. I wanted to try and gather everything I had found useful from the day in one place, after tweeting lots and taking nearly 20 pages of notes! You can see I was a massive keen bean from the start:

What has this got to do with work?

Well Endo impacts my day to day life and a large part of that is obviously getting up and going to work for the day battling with pain and fatigue. If you want to read more about that etc take a look at one of my last posts  (although bear in mind I was angry after having surgery rescheduled so it sounds a bit ranty)

This also links with work because I have never done volunteering for a charity on this level before (helping with my local support group ) and this will inevitably help me build valuable skills for working with people generally. I have just submitted information to become a member of Endo UK and look forward to working with them more closely.

The info day itself

So not only did this give me an opportunity to speak with people with the same condition as me and get to know them and their stories but this was actually the first time I had traveled to London and used the underground alone. So massive tick in a box that would usually have caused me a lot of anxiety!

The day started with an opening talk from EndoUK and went on to talks from doctors, nurses and other professionals ‘in the know’ about endo (hey could that be a new slogan?) in the afternoon we were in sessions where we were split into groups to discuss different topics, one went over coping strategies and the other went over how endo impacts on people’s relationships. Both were really useful but the second session made me feel a little bit emotional.

Coping Strategies

It was great being in a room full of wisdom with everyone sharing their coping strategies for dealing with endo day to day. Some of these I had heard of, others I hadn’t. You can see the tweet below for some of the items we listed (the page was already jam packed and it just got fuller and fuller after this!) I have embedded tweets instead of the pics because some how that made them better quality/easier to read.

How Endo impacts people’s relationships

This session was particularly emotional. People were really open and honest about the things they experience with regards to relationships being impacted by endo, be that friends, families, partners or work.

Work was an area that was mentioned a lot. I am lucky to have supportive colleagues and my boss is very understanding but I heard about some people who have had nasty or dismissive managers. I also heard about the number of women with endo who had to change work arrangements or go self employed in order to be able to work around their needs.

It was so nice to see that people found my tweets useful and were sharing them. I think some people will get sick of my twitter feed from now on and possibly my facebook feed as well because I will be posting more about this because it needs to be in main stream consciousness! As we were discussing in our groups, government and/or health care professionals don’t always acknowledge endo as a big problem because it will seriously open up a can of worms if they want to properly address this problem and help people. One of the things we can do to help at least is educate people about it.

But is is a balancing act

While writing this post I have been having a particularly rubbish time in terms of pain and fatigue and feeling isolated despite all the awesome and inspiring people I met at the weekend (“if they can be strong, why can’t I?”) I have now joined Health Unlocked which is a forum for people to post in for support, I would advise other people make use of online forums such as those and the ones provided by EndoUK  – that’s how I first got in touch with other people after I was diagnosed. I was lucky that I knew a bit about endo from one of my close friends but I have met people recently who have been diagnosed and have been left in the dark by their doctors.

It’s sad for me to think that despite the fact there are lots of people out there who can relate and are going through the same, if not worse than me I can still feel really isolated.One positive I can take is that the advice a nurse I spoke to on the day gave was put into action yesterday and I have managed to get a follow up appointment which is another step in the right direction to getting some treatment/help.

If anyone has found  this post useful please share it on social media so it can benefit other women who have endo or similar conditions. Also do visit EndoUK’s website there is wealth of information of there and I keep discovering more every time I go on there. If you want to donate to them as well that would be amazing the money helps provide vital support for women with this disease.