Tag Archives: bodyimage

Making conscious changes; Life with anxiety and IBS.

Hi guys, I thought I’d share some information with my general health and a recent diagnosis I’ve had after several years of discomfort and flare ups. It’s been a confusing ride and trying to read what your body is trying to tell you isn’t always easy, especially not when every symptom you have, Google seems to diagnose you with cancer or heart failure. Real nice, huh?

Anyway after way too many weeks of suffering and losing sleep over horrifying Google searches, I booked in to see the GP and get some answers. It was decided that I have IBS, something which so many others suffer with and runs through my family. My diagnosis really wasn’t too difficult as I have most of the tell tale symptoms of IBS so when going to the GP , I already had a good idea of what was going on but wanted to be certain so that I could treat this best as possible at home and make the necessary changes to help improve my situation.

A diagnosis meant that I could stop stressing uneccesarily over my health and perhaps be able to sleep at night rather than lay awake worrying if I’ve had a heart attack or have tumours growing, not exactly great for my anxiety levels and definitely doesn’t help with the fatigue I suffer. With a diagnosis I can now commit to proper plan of action to battle the bloat and improve my health. What was suggested was to follow a low fod map diet – avoiding certain fruits, vegetables and gluten and to eat a healthier diet. I eat well generally speaking but I am ready to improve myself and do better in order to tackle my stomach troubles. Anything to get rid of the dreaded bloating.

Around three years ago I was on a gluten free diet as I had trouble with bloating, stomach pains and cramps but I was never diagnosed other than by myself. I ate gluten free and mostly survived on porridge oats and fruits, salads and gluten free pizza. As a couple, myself and my Husband tend to eat well and excercise a lot through walking. Euan has recently been diagnosed as having a gluten intolerance so I suppose we are on a similar page with regards to health and at least we can help to guide and support one another through this and live a gluten free lifestyle together . I suppose this does make the weekly shop a bit easier (if only more expensive). When Euan first stopped gluten, I was curisng him as it was a run around trying to think of meals to have, foods to get in and then of course the making of different meals for each of us. Now here I am, on the exact same boat and kicking myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to care for and nurture my family and I don’t mind making meals and organising the breakfast and lunches but what I do mind is the time that is consumed by doing so. Trying to be health conscious and really consider what I am buying is time consuming and it is very well time I could have with Eleanor or reading a book yet it’s time I now don’t have spare. To shop for three different people’s needs and get healthy choices, prepare good meals and try to be on top of my game at all times while running around after my wee girl is not easy. To stay on top of everything while working and running a busy schedule is tough as everyone knows I’m sure. Life is super busy and every year just becomes even more so, as they say; life won’t wait.

We are a health conscious family and we really try to be the best version of ourselves both mentally and physically, making changes when required. We are rather fit and try walk everywhere and pass on good habits to our Daughter with regards to her health and fitness. We live for the outdoors and fresh air. To be so active and on the move non stop yet feel blaoted and unwell all of the time really does bring me down and plays havoc on my self esteem and body image. Not exactly what you need when you are crippled with anxiety as it is and over think, worry non stop. The last thing I want to worry about is how I look but with my IBS I really do worry about how my stomach appears, especially at the end of a busy day.

I hate to look down and see what resembles a pregnant tummy, to suffer terrible nausea and migraines each day and struggle with fatigue. A mixture of stress and anxiety and IBS has really taken toll on my health and most days I feel miserable right now and my mood low. With a New Year and a fresh start I’m out to get on top of my health issues and start over. I am going to make more effort to practice beginner yoga – I’ve dabbled with this before during pregnancy but not a lot and certainly not since birth and I am going to revise my eating habits while working with a therapist to ease my anxieties and try to take back control over my mind and body.

I certainly aim to work on my anxiety and try to improve life for myself , I’ve never suffered anxiety until after a few months post partum which ever since I’ve been crippled with horrible thoughts, worries at all times and real bad palpitations. I break out in a sweat, become clammy and panic often so much so that feel that i can’t breathe at times and melt down. I have terrible social anxiety and I dislike social situations, I become nervous and jittery and feel like I can’t cope, I become agitated and visually distressed and can become quite rude and snappy. I can’t deal with busy places and will either not enter to leave when I’m faced with a busy place such as the supermarkets.

I once ran across the road without thinking while there was incoming traffic and nearly got hit by a bike, I was so wound up by this that I went to the local supermarket to grab some juice but the self scan wasn’t working, it wouldn’t accept the bar code, my heart was racing and in a midst of anger and panic I grabbed the juice and ran out of the store without paying. I had stolen a tin of juice while blinded by a haze of panic and palpitations, not a big deal on the grand scheme of shoplifting but I’ve never stole in all my 25 years u til this moment and I think I was always feel terrible for doing so. Anxiety got the better of me and continues to do so, so much so I avoid certain situations now.

I’ve only have anxiety since having my Daughter and I would really like to get ahead of the game and take back my life. This can become bad at any time, like everyone I’m only human and I have good days and bad days but lately most days are bad and I cannot sleep for stress plaguing my mind. My head races, my body aches and I am so run down I can’t be the best version of myself which is no good for me and feels like I fail my Daughter from time to time. I need to get on top of my health, listen to my body and get strong.

To aid my anxiety as mentioned, I have been to a session of cognitive behavioural therapy to help cope and have set out to have a session each second week to work on coping mechanisms for stress and find out what triggers my behaviours so that we can then learn how to prevent and ease behaviour. Between therapy, medication and my change of diet, I hope to see a Great improve with my mind and my health. I don’t expect miracles but they say that anxiety and IBS go hand in hand, if I can work on my stress and try to better my anxiety I would hope this would have a positive effect not only on myself but for my IBS, that’s the plan anyway. Fingers crossed, I’m real tired of having to feel so worried all of the time and have my moods fluctuate not even daily but sometimes hourly. It’s not easy to live in such a way where you lack control.

When I became pregnant In 2017 flare ups with IBS and bloat didn’t bother me anymore and my stomach was absolutely fine, no pain and minimum bloating. I assumed I was doing okay and allowed myself to eat most foods again, besides meat as I became a vegetarian. However neatly two years post partum, old troubles are creeping back, the bloating is fierce and the mood swings even more so. It’s time to say goodbye to all things gluten once again and try to replenish my stomach health.

I won’t miss gluten in honesty as I’ve done this whole diet before, I know what I enjoy and I know what I can and can’t have so it’s just revisiting old habits for myself and really trying to remain focused. With low fod map diets it is important to avoid certain foods that can trigger the IBS so as well as avoiding gluten,I will be skipping on certain other foods from each food group. It is always tough to change diet, especially while raising a young family but as mentioned Euan is too gluten free meaning we can share the same food and eat the same meals to save having to make three different meals, three times a day.

Eleanor will have most of the same food as we do, especially with the little amount she does eat but I won’t be giving her a gluten free diet as this could cause trouble with her body while it still develops and I’d hate to cause any disturbance with her health. What we have as gluten free such as pasta for instance, Eleanor will have with the gluten.

Has anyone else reading this suffered with post partum anxiety and IBS? The two go hand in hand as we all know but I’m looking to seek some help and advice from others who may be suffering too and to reach out to those of you who suffer in silence. I’m here to try to create a support network of possible and I’m available to chat all times, just send a message my way and I’d be happy to share more of my story as I would be happy to hear your advice and thoughts. If you happen to have gluten free meal recipes, coping mechanisms for IBS and ideas of what to do to aid IBS please do, fire away. I’ll always try to remain my most open and honest through my blog and if I can help someone reading this, that always means a lot too.

As always, looking forward to hearing from you all.

Keren.

Body positive and pregnancy. The postpartum race to recovery.

From the moment I discovered I had fallen pregnant right through to the end of pregnancy, I battled with many insecurities. The inevitable weight gain, the swollen feet and wrists, the bloating and the terrible acne. The lot.

I was not one of those women who suited being pregnant – disappointing enough, I never had that whole ‘pregnancy glow’. I was more drained than ever, my skin was dull and covered in acne and my body was slowing down. I lacked sleep and it showed, I couldn’t get more than four solid hours at a time.

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I don’t think there were many days during pregnancy where I felt good.

I chose to document my growing bump through photographs. This distracted myself from the chnages my body was making, especially the weight gain – something I daunted, and allowed myself to learn to embrace the time and not to feel so low about my self image. I was growing a life inside, what is more precious than that?

The images I have taken throughout my pregnancy will remain close to me forever, it soon became a little hobbie. The weekly ‘bumpdate’. Toward the end of the third trimester, growing close to my due date, I finally began to love my bump and appreciate my body for all of the work it was doing. The body really is amazing and a little TLC really pays off.

I had days where I was very upset looking at my reflection, my body didn’t seem like it belonged to me anymore. I was more just a machine made to carry a life and I had no control over my ever changing body nor the weight gain. Looking back, it was silly and I only wish I treated myself a bit better during my pregnancy, I should have ate that doughnut, I should have enjoyed take away. Rather, I chose to survive on a diet that was mainly fruit and fiber based with plenty of yogurt for calcium and a lot of raw vegetables and vitamins.

I would cook meals for Euan and sit at the dinner table for our evening meal with a bowl of fruit and yogurt – the same meal I would eat for breakfast and lunch almost every day. I didn’t like to eat out as that meant stepping away from my comfort zone. If I was feeling real adventurous, I would have a sandwich, providing it was marked “Low Cal”. Not quite the solid  healthy diet required for growing a life.

I feel shameful and I do wonder, had my eating habits and concerns over my weight not been so drastic, would my baby have stopped growing at week 34 and have been classed in the fifth percentile, smaller than average and forced to arrive early over fears of her growth? I will never know for sure, but I feel guilty that I didn’t allow the life inside to thrive to her full potential due to my own selfish ego.

I am currently exclusively breastfeeding and my daughter is thriving, she feeds well and within five days she was back up to her birth weight! The midwife claimed that this was amazing. High five, go me!

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It brings me great pleasure to know that am providing my baby with the nourishment she requires and grows from. The sleepless nights, are all made worthwhile, knowing that they are paying off and  that I am solemnly providing for my daughter Something which I am both delighted and proud of. I have no fears or concerns over her health and I am sure that I have a healthy baby who is most definitely loved.

 

Now that I am no longer pregnant, my beautiful baby girl is in the world, happy and healthy, I can begin to work on my body image again and get back to a place that I am happy with at a pace I can safely manage and maintain. Since the birth of Eleanor, my skin has almost fully cleared up – something which I am delighted with as this had bothered me a lot. So much so that I would spend some time looking at my reflection and crying. It is silly, I know.

I now have to be a role model for my baby girl and have to ensure that she picks up healthy eating habits and a good self esteem. I would hate for her to think that she is simply not good enough or meeting unrealistic expectations in any way, shape or form.

I am certain my baby is well, her feeding is coming along great and she is growing and changing by the day. I can’t wait to grow with her. I think that having my baby, has made me realize that it is not about looking good. Sure, it is great to feel good about yourself but I shouldn’t have to set unrealistic goals or undertake a crash diet to meet the needs of my ego or the expectations and pressures that new mum’s face when losing baby weight.

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I am going to take my weight loss by the day. Slowly but surely and some day I will reach a goal that I am happy with. I am in no rush to jump back into shape, I have a baby to care for and that means I must care for myself now too. I cannot be selfish anymore, I must become a healthy role model. It will take some time, I won’t be happy overnight but I will get there and I will teach my daughter to love herself, to be strong and wise and to have a good self esteem.

 

(39 weeks + 3 vs 5 days post partum –  I got this)