A quick note from Donna: I hadn’t planned to cover a New Year’s topic this year, but my fibro friend Andrea from Autoimmune Strong reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in publishing this guest post. As I read it, it reminded me of how I have dropped the ball so many times by making decisions that aren’t the best for my health. I’m guessing most of us can relate to that. Her post was also a reminder that I had planned to begin the Autoimmune Strong program months ago when I first wrote about it. I think it’s time that I finally commit to getting started. What about you?
Guest post by Andrea Wool, creator of Autoimmune Strong
This post contains affiliate links.
It’s that time of year again! I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because they are so hard to keep. But I do get reflective around this time of the year, and I start thinking about what went well in the past year and what could have been better. Today, I took a long look at myself. But before I tell you what I found, I need to tell you a little bit about my journey first.
My name is Andrea Wool, and I am a personal trainer. When you hear that sentence, you conjure up an image of a personal trainer: super fit, muscly and lean. Well, that doesn’t really describe me. I am not a traditional personal trainer.
I live with fibromyalgia, hashimoto’s thyroiditis and celiac disease. I became a personal trainer for one reason only: to learn how to use fitness to improve my health. You see, there are many medical studies that illustrate how exercise can help manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease. When I was at my sickest, I was desperate for anything that could help me manage my symptoms. But when I tried traditional exercise programs, I found they didn’t help; they only made things worse.
So I went back to school to become a personal trainer and a nutritional therapy practitioner, and I learned how to use food and movement to heal myself. I put together a comprehensive program for myself, and IT WORKED!!! I have spent the last three years feeling great, managing my symptoms and living the energetic, happy life I had always imagined I could. (This program became the foundation for Autoimmune Strong, my online exercise program designed for people living with chronic illness but more about that in a minute.)
So now, here I am today, reflecting on 2017. I got so used to feeling good that I loosened up the reins a bit. 2017 was a year of big change for me, and I found it challenging to deal with these big changes AND maintain my own self-care routine.
This year, my husband and I moved with our two kids to a new city in a new state. We have all had to adjust to a new environment, make new friends and find our identities in this new place. This had come with a lot of exhilaration, but there has been a lot of anxiety, too.
Paired with this move came a career decision. This past September, I decided to focus on the business of Autoimmune Strong full time. And, like with the move, there have been so many exhilarating moments.
With more people using Autoimmune Strong, I have been a part of so many people’s healing journeys. I am blessed to know that my program has lifted the spirits and bodies of so many people this year. (Some stories are shared on my home page, and you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram to hear more inspirational real life stories from Autoimmune Strong members). But with the good comes the not-so-good. The reality is that while I am a personal trainer, I used to spend my time working in a gym, and now I spend my time online, and I spend most of my days sitting at a desk in front of a computer. That’s right, I sit all day for a living.
So here is my confession: With the pressure of the move and the change in my work, my body has suffered. I have forgotten to practice what I preach and put myself first. I have prioritized my family and my business first, and I have put my physical health to the side. I have stopped doing my daily workouts, I have been less focused on healthy nutritious food and my body has suffered.
Symptoms I have had long under control have started creeping back in. I am exhausted much more easily, and I am struggling to get out of bed in the mornings. My body feels swollen and achy, I have neck and upper-back pain, and my body feels tingly, like it’s on fire. It hurts even when my kids hug me. I have gained weight and lost my muscle tone. My acne has gotten worse. My TSH [thyroid] numbers have increased, as have my insulin numbers. Things I took for granted, like being able to scoop my 9-year-old up over my shoulders (which makes him laugh and laugh), I can’t do anymore. It hurts too much.
I am not mad at myself for letting my daily exercise routine go. That’s a big lesson I have learned here! I understand there were big things at play here. My family’s happiness is of the utmost importance to me, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur and chase my dream of helping other people feel as good as I did. But this trade off can only go so far. Otherwise I will lose my ability to live the life I want.
So now, it’s time to get back on the horse and start again. I know it will be hard, and it will take time to get my body back to a healthy state, but I am ready to start the journey and to do the work. This is more than a New Year’s resolution; it is a life resolution! I took my eye off the ball for a few months, and my health regressed significantly. But now I know exactly HOW important it is to keep movement in my life and how quickly it can all go awry.
So, in 2018, I am dedicating myself to you … that I will be doing the work to get back to being Autoimmune Strong.
And I ask you what will you do to take control of your health in 2018????
There is no time like the present to grab hold of the reins and change the course of your life.
Join me! Let’s make 2018 the year we get back into good health.
Andrea Wool is a personal trainer living with fibromyalgia herself. She is the founder and instructor of Autoimmune Strong, an online fitness program designed specifically for people living with chronic pain, autoimmune disorders and fibromyalgia. Join her in her journey to get her health back in 2018. Follow her on Facebook @getautoimmunestrong, Instagram @getautoimmunestrong and Pinterest @Autoimmune Strong. To learn how to become Autoimmune Strong, join her and her worldwide community at www.getautoimmunestrong.com. Check it out today and receive a 7-day free trial!