Health & Wellness Articles

"I Stopped Medicating Myself with Food"

How AQUAGIRL08 Learned to Manage Her Chronic Pain with Diet and Exercise

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How do you maintain a positive attitude despite these difficulties?
I had to change my mindset from "Oh, poor, pitiful me" to "Look at the opportunity I have to be creative and make big changes in my life." It wasn't easy, but I dug my heels in and was determined. That day was the start of "Cyndi's Great Life Adventure!" I decided that every day I get a chance to have a fresh start. If I mess up, I learn from it and move on. I had to learn to forgive myself. Now, every new day can be anything I decide to make of it.  Imagine the possibilities!  It's very exciting!

Has weight-loss been a factor in helping you relieve pain and improve mobility?
Definitely! Extra weight stresses the joints and spine, thus causing additional pain. As I've lost weight, my joints have begun to feel better. Weight loss combined with strengthening my body has greatly increased my mobility. When my joints and spine are held firmly in place by good posture, strong muscles, tendons and ligaments, my pain level decreases dramatically.

What are the best techniques you use to stay motivated to stick to a routine even on tough days?
I have developed a strong support system for myself. I have 3-4 workout buddies who support me in my workouts and in my other goals as well. We have a wonderful local Spark Team. I depend on the members of the team for "face-to-face" support as well as online support. We schedule monthly events where we get together. I love it! One of my workout buddies is a member of the team. I schedule exercise and "me time" the same way I schedule any other important appointment. My family and friends know that I'm unavailable during these times. I build my free time around my exercise and "me time." It was hard to do this at first but, after a while, it became a habit and my family and friends adjusted.

How has SparkPeople helped you in your journey?
SparkPeople has supplied valuable tools and opportunities for support. (Thank you SparkPeople!) All I had to do was use them. The trackers help me stay consistent with my eating and exercise, which is so important. The Spark articles give me information that I use daily to make healthy decisions. I've found that information is power. I have been able to take the power back from food and regain control of my life. During this process, I've had tremendous support from my SparkTeams and SparkFriends. The whole journey has been easier and more enjoyable with the help of SparkPeople.
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Member Comments

  • I was exercising regularly for a couple of weeks, but now my hip pain has flared up and today I can barely walk. This article was exactly what I needed to stay positive and not give up. Reading how others live with chronic pain, but manage it without medicating themselves with food, has really helped inspire me to not give up. Thank you so much for sharing your story. - 4/22/2016 4:48:23 PM
  • Hi, I'd love to know what 'power foods' you eat as I have some chronic joint pain and I've improved the situation by cutting certain foods out but I hadn't heard that there were some that controlled inflammation. This is a very encouraging post. Thanks - 2/17/2016 4:53:33 AM
  • You have truly inspired me! I too am hypothyroid due to Thyroid cancer, and have severe spondylolisthesis in my back and a fellow teacher to boot! - 9/10/2013 9:28:44 AM
  • Sound to me like you ARE medicating yourself with food. Though in a different way. You've stopped feeding your emotions with all the unhealthy choices and started taking care of your medical problems by eating the healthy things your body needs to take care of itself!! - 5/24/2013 9:54:44 PM
  • Thank you. I live with chronic pain. You are an inspiration. I have found a hot therapy pool and giving up sugar/sweeteners to be life changing. I continue my journey. Thanks for hope! - 5/18/2013 9:02:40 PM
  • Way ta go! Nice lifestyle changes! - 5/18/2013 4:00:28 PM
  • I have found that being positive and leaning on the strength of the Lord is most important! When I started this journey, I used food to solve all my problems! The stress here at our home is unbelievable sometimes, but the good Lord will work that out in time. I took small baby steps and each day I got stronger and stronger. I started to look in the mirror and realize I can do this! It is about setting small goals and being positive! I think that is the most important aspects of being healthy! Also, realize you are worth a lot! God didn't make no junk! - 5/18/2013 2:50:41 PM
  • A very timely article for those of us struggling with pain. Some elements of this story is me. I was a martial arts instructor - something obliterated the cartilage in my hips - had a double hip replacement, had to learn to walk all over again. I am slowly coming back from my 2007 operations and with spinal stenosis. Thank you for showing the way to better health with pain and injuries. Bless you! And thank you SP for your help on our road to wholeness. - 5/18/2013 1:48:22 PM
  • I thank you for writing this. Words can't begin to express how motivating it is to me, personally. I was in 3 auto accidents (with othering hitting ME) in 14 months and was temporarily totally disabled after the 2 wreck. I'm mobile, but most days have a lot of back pain. Having gained weight doesn't help. That's why I am here. YOU are an INSPIRATION!!!! - 5/18/2013 1:03:39 PM
  • I am having trouble figuring out what exercises I can safely do without ending up back in therapy. I've tried working with 3 different trainers and each time had to quit for months from injury. How do you go about finding someone who will help rather than hinder. - 5/18/2013 11:42:00 AM
  • Actually, it wounds like you STARTED medicating yourself with food--the healthy, anti-inflammatory foods with all those important flavenoids--and quit poisoning yourself with the junk. "Let food be your medicine" Hypocrites. - 5/18/2013 11:23:17 AM
  • Great blog and very inspiring! I live with chronic pain also, I have bone mets from stage IV breast cancer. I can't exercise the same way I use to to before I had cancer, but I have found ways to exercise to adapt to my situation. My cancer is not curable, but I won't give up trying to be as fit and healthy as I can, to make the years left the best quality that they can be. I was first diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2003, and just last month, I passed my 6th year of surviving stage IV so far, so I must be doing something right! - 5/18/2013 10:47:32 AM
  • All the suggestions for dealing with pain naturally on page 3 of the article has come in handy for me as I am now in chronic pain with tendonitis of the elbow. Reading these suggestions has been helpful and let me add one~ ! Add PINEAPPLE to the list of what to eat TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION as pineapple contains bromelain and that helps reduce the inflammation. - 5/18/2013 9:31:05 AM
  • By exercising and eating better. Watching my intake. - 5/18/2013 8:23:45 AM

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