Thinking a little on lifestyle changes

One should never compare yourself to how others are doing when it comes to chronic illness. That being said there are some people that I really admire for the things they have accomplished. I read some comments about some people who are doing phenomenal with exercise programs. Others doing well with massive changes to their diets. Others who have quit smoking, are exercising and doing changes to their diet all in one massive go.

I love these stories. I like to think they say ‘suck it chronic illness!’

I also like them because they are inspirational for those of us struggling to make lifestyle changes. It suggests to us that a) it is possible and b) we might, in fact, get a positive result from it.

Lifestyle changes are very difficult because we do not see a result right away. Often we see the opposite right away. Things get worse before they get better. Not exactly encouraging. Also, it takes a lot of willpower. And not in the ordinary sense of the word either. It takes chronic illness willpower. We are tired. We are fatigued. We have little energy and willpower is something we use to get up in the morning. To do necessary tasks in the day. To do these extra tasks are difficult. Very difficult.

They are worth attempting. I always suggest starting slowly with baby steps. Never compare yourselves to the pace of others. Like for exercise, find your minimum baseline and then you slowly increase from there based on your comfort level. And everyone will proceed from there differently. As I know, since it is slow going for me. Same thing for mediation. No one is going to hit that zen zone out of the gate. It is recommended you do five to ten minutes a day and slowly you just get better and better at it.

We all understand the need to break bad habits and make new habits that will be beneficial to us. However, it is a process. We don’t even know what combo of things we do will even have any effect and so that is difficult on us sometimes. We do all these things with potentially no return. I like to think of it like this; we do all these things and there is a potential for return, like each one might do a slight bit such that it builds up to some sort of impact. And some sort of impact is better than no impact. Even if that impact is just increasing my capacity to cope with pain.

So to those who have achieved these goals and have had a positive impact on it, this is awesome to hear. We need to hear these positive stories to give us a boost once in a while. To hear that exercise is possible and had a positive impact instead of flat out impossible and had no impact. It is good to hear about the positives and the possibilities. We simply do not hear it enough I think.


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