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Friday, October 9, 2009

Suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

For many it can put the brakes on your life. While I am not a doctor, I chose to seek out natural remedies to the symptoms that I experienced. But I do recommend that you see a doctor if you feel that you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or starting a new exercise program.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is different for everyone, but I'll share what worked for me. I was also diagnosed with ADHD... lucky me!

I had it all, from pain in my legs and joints to sleepless nights. Headaches that made me want to cry..and sometimes I did. To depression, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks and that's just the half of it. While I'm not 100% free of all symptoms I have been able to alleviate most of them, and rid myself of the others.

My journey started several years ago, overweight and highly depressed. I wanted a change, and it had to begin with a commitment to myself.

Losing weight was my first priority (some of you may not be overweight...but keep reading as I discuss the other challenges I faced), and boy did I have a lot of pounds to lose. Over 145 pounds, which took 2 years to lose.

My obesity kicked my hormones out of whack, and everything from my mood to how I felt physically was affected by it.

I began with books. Seems simple enough, but the best avenue to seeking out solutions to your problems is your nearest bookstore, library and yes. The web.

Losing weight was only one part of the problem, but as the pounds came off it was like a light bulb had went off in me. I began to see me for the first time. While my weight contributed to a lot, I had other symptoms that I needed to fix.

Below is what I changed/added in my life to help deal with CFS. I hope you can take away from this, and benefit as well.

Everything from my obesity, mood swings and headaches:

Foods - Removed unhealthy junk foods that made my hormones go nuts. I started eating whole grains, soy, wheat germ (this really helped with my energy), fruits and nuts. Including foods rich in calcium, fiber and Omega 3 oils. I did start taking vitamins such as B Complex which has several benefits including helping with energy. I knew that if my body was healthy and given the right nutrients that I would start to feel better.

Watch out for food products with high fructose syrup, corn syrup and so forth. Processed foods, foods high in fat and sodium. I know, you're probably shaking your head thinking .."then what can I eat?". Believe me, once you get the knowledge picking the right foods will become second nature. I happen to eat organic foods, and despite what people think about Wholefoods, its not impossible to shop there and find deals. Wholefoods sells its own store brand organic foods called 365, and are quite affordable.

My typical day of meals/snacks: Use for weight loss/meal ideas.

Breakfast - 1 cup Irish steel cut oatmeal with 2-4 tbs wheat germ, 1 tbs natural honey, 1 cup soy or almond milk. Topped with 1/2 cup blueberries and/or 1tbs chopped nuts.

Snack - low carb yogurt, 4 oz of a homemade fruit/vegetable smoothie, low fat string cheese, or 1/4 cup nuts.

Lunch - Fish/Chicken (size of your palm, cup of green beans, 1/4 cup wild rice. Or Boca burgers with a whole wheat bun and baked sweet potato fries.

Snack - low carb yogurt, 4 oz of a homemade fruit/vegetable smoothie, low fat string cheese, or 1/4 cup nuts.

Dinner - Salad with grilled chicken, hearty low sodium/fat soup, or hummus and pita chips

Again, you can see more ideas at

I started learning yoga to help with the aches and pains. This also helped with my focus.

Listening to relaxing instrumental music like the sounds of waves, rain, etc. Meditating daily. Putting myself in a relaxed state so my mind and body was given a chance to relax helped with anxiety and depression. Depression was further helped with regular exercise, or walks outdoors. Keeping a journal helped track when the depression would come on, and what I was doing at the time.

When feeling a panic or anxiety attack is about to come on I would sit down in a quiet place (if no place to go I'd listen to my nature tapes in my desk) and concentrate on my breathing. I would place my hands down by my side and simply focus on my breathing. Sometimes counting to 100.

For headaches I started doing this: Take Clove Oil - I use Now Foods CLOVE OIL (make sure you are not allergic!). I take a medium bowl of very warm water, not scolding hot, and add 3-4 drops of the clove oil. I take a clean bathroom towel rag and submerge in the bowl for 1 minute. I ring it out and place on the back of my neck for a few minutes, then repeat the bowl process..ring and place on my temples.

Sleep was a huge challenge, but preparing for a good nights sleep really helps. I also made sure that I didn't eat right before I went to bed. I went out and purchased a new pillow, eye-mask and even one of those machines that play soft music or sounds. It's important to be as relaxed as you can to help with the process, so having these things helped. Meditating, doing 15 minutes of yoga or simply laying in bed with your eyes closed and visualizing yourself sleeping and focus in your breathing becoming more and more relaxed. Sounds crazy but it helps.

It took a little time, but it helped a great deal.

Today I am virtually pain free, the headaches rarely come around, I no longer crash from fatigue, I have less bouts with my depression, and those pesky anxiety attacks are more controlled.

Have a question, feel free to ask!

May peace and harmony find you.

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