24 Ways to Manage your Chronic Exhaustive Illness

By the CFS, M.E & Fibromyalgia Coach

Chronic Fatigue, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Fibromyalgia are Chronic Exhaustive Illnesses that are debilitating for every individual in many different ways.

My CFS, M.E & Fibromyalgia Coaching method looks at 8 core areas of your life. It focuses on understanding the causes of Physical and Emotional Health, so that you can regain your health and wellbeing and work towards getting your life back.

In the meantime, take a look at some things you can start to change and implement now, to make some much-needed improvements.

Nutrition and Gut Health – so there can be a link between CFS symptoms and accumulated body toxins that come from a poor diet, as well as heavy metal toxins:

  • Eat Organic
  • Stay away from unprocessed food – preservatives and additives
  • Eat foods which have not been plastic wrapped
  • Avoid foods wrapped in aluminium foil, or in aluminium cans
  • A clean water supply is essential
  • Get clean air. If you can smell it, it can make you ill, so avoid air fresheners sprays, perfumes, cleaning agents and new paints
  • Avoid pesticides – dog and cat flea treatments, fly repellents

There are four aspects of diet which commonly cause fatigue

  • High sugar diet – carbohydrate and high fructose corn syrup
  • Food allergy or intolerance
  • Chemical overload diet – caffeine, alcohol, msg, food additives and prescription drugs
  • Micronutrient deficient diets 

Balancing your blood sugar is the key to weight loss, less hunger and greater energy

Changes you can make right now:

  • Reduce (ideally eliminate) sugar in all forms, including simple carbohydrates (white processed flour products), fructose, corn syrup and alcohol.  Sugar causes inflammation and plays havoc with blood sugar levels, feeds yeast overgrowth and suppresses your immune system.  All of these side effects deplete valuable energy reserves. Do not swap sugar for sweeteners, as they are not recognised by the body as real food.  Their chemical makeup can mimic the action of neurotransmitters in the brain and can over stimulate the nervous system.  Anything advertised as ‘diet’, or ‘low fat’ put it back.
  • Avoid MSG, found commonly in Chinese food. MSG is also present as a flavour enhancer in many packaged foods, especially crisps, packet soups, sauces etc. It’s always good to check the labels.  MSG is listed as E621.  MSG over stimulates your cells to the point of damage and is linked with many, often long-term health problems.
  • Caffeine has a direct impact on the adrenal glands, which are already not working optimally in chronic exhaustive conditions.  This also impacts the neurological function in the brain.  Caffeine can provide a short-term energy burst but long term will exhaust you and prevent you from getting well.  If your caffeine intake is high, reduce this gradually to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.

I found that reducing my intake to a maximum of 2 cups of tea in the morning before 12 noon, was the right balance for me.

  • Avoid hydrogenated oils or trans fats. These are often listed in the ingredients of margarine, biscuits, cakes, frozen meals, fried foods, sweets, crisps, and many dairy products.  

So, what can you eat?

  • Ideally, eat small meals more often.  When energy levels are low, you are aiming for 3 meals a day, plus 2 snacks.
  • Protein should be eaten at every meal, including your snacks.  Healthy protein sources include: meats, chicken, fish, games, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses.
  • Ensure each meal is naturally colourful. Choose foods from a wide variety of colours – orange (sweet potato, carrots) purple (beetroot), green (broccoli, spinach, beans).  Traditionally the ‘Cave Man’ diet is a good way forward as this is how our bodies were ultimately designed to eat.  I started with Paleo, which worked well for me and my recovery, but do find what works for you. 
  • Drink plenty of clean water, continue small sips throughout the day are the best way.

Sleep – this enables us the time to service our body and repair itself and heal

Here are some ways to help improve your sleep:

  • Aim for at least 9 hours of sleep and go to sleep before 10pm.
  • The best quality sleep comes during the hours before midnight.  This is when human growth hormone is produced – a vital hormone for health and repair.
  • Allow yourself at much natural light in the day as possible and complete darkness at night. This encourages endogenous production of melatonin).
  • Don’t eat any substantial meals after 6pm. If you choose to have a snack later on, just be mindful of having something healthy, such as nuts, seeds.
  • Start to implement a stable bedtime prep and sleep routine. Going to bed the same time every night, this allows you at least those 9 hours sleep. Waking at the same time each morning, allows your body clock to get used to your routine.
  • Switch off any electrical equipment, including your mobile phone, at least 1 hour before bed. This enables you to be more relaxed and ready for bed.  Electrical equipment can play havoc with our bodies, especially whilst suffering with Chronic fatigue, M.E or Fibromyalgia.

Pacing – this is another key aspect of getting the balance right for you and this can be very much trial and error in the beginning

Do not give up, persevere and you will find a way that works for you

Here are some things you can do now to help you:

  • Adopt the 80% rule. This means knowing what you are capable of in a day and just do 80% of that.  20% is ‘getting better’ energy, get enough mental and physical rest.
  • Get organised. I cannot stress this enough, you will more than likely need to pace yourself, to ‘get organised’ so take your time. This is a life saver, once you have cracked this.  I found that writing everything down and making several lists really helped this process. It really helped reduce the ‘washing machine’ that was constantly on ‘full cycle’ in my head.
  • I find that keeping a journal can not only be a very Therapeutic process, but also enabled me to journal my journey (literally). Look for triggers, positive and negatives ones, which then enable you to change things that aren’t working for you.  Not everything is always in our awareness, so journaling can really help draw subconscious elements out, to help with this process too.

I hope you have found this useful

To find out more about my CFS, M.E & Fibromyalgia Coaching method – Click here to book a FREE Discovery call to discuss how I can help you regain your health and wellbeing.

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