My Favorite Homemade Chocolate Recipe

If you are like me and LOVE chocolate, but can’t eat it for whatever reason then you are going to love this recipe. It is perfect for eating straight up, or using it to dip your fruit in (my fave). Only tip I have for when you are making it is not to over cook it. If you do, it won’t taste bad but it will be a different consistency. I did that already so that’s how I know!

When you are cooking it on the stove, as soon as everything is melted enough to mix together it is good to pull off and cool. So, without further adieu, here is the recipe!

Healthy Homemade Chocolate

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a pot on the stove over low heat. Stir constantly until it is mixed together.
  2. Pour mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and put in the fridge or freezer until cooled and hardened.
  3. Enjoy!

Top Self-Help Books to Start Living Your Best Life

Just like it is important to take care of our bodies, we also need to make sure we take care of our minds. This is not only by what we eat, but also how much reading we do (or don’t). Any kind of reading is better than none, so it is great to indulge in what interests you. But, if you can slip in a self-improvement book in there you will be doing yourself a HUGE favor.

These type of books helps us to change our mindset and learn more about why our lives are not where we want them to be. They help us to understand more as well as give us different ways of seeing things in our lives. So, I am going to share my top 6 favorite self-improvement books that I have read so far. If you can read one or two a year you will be much farther ahead than if you read none.

My Top 6 Books for Self-Improvement

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  1. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis – This is my number one pick right now because she was beyond inspiring. She goes into all the lies that we can believe about ourselves and why you need to forget about them. She uses her own stories to detail each lie and she is brutally honest. This is a MUST read if you are ready to live your life with passion and hustle.515IKwrjWCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_
  2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – This is a great one if you find that you are in a funk. You know those ones where everyone is out to get you, your life is spiraling downward, and it’s everyone else’s fault? Mark talks about how there is only so much we can give a f*ck about, and we need to figure out which ones are more important.514MjXZc3xL
  3. Using Curse Words by Myra Fiacco – This is my newest one I have just started reading and so far it is fantastic. This is one for those who feel like that are so overwhelmed by everything on their plate, when you start to get so overwhelmed by self-pity and stress. Myra talks about her own struggles with it and how she came out of it and restored her happiness with herself, her family, and her marriage.51+6L6FnRzL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_
  4. Own The Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus – This is a great read for making everything better in your life. Aubrey goes into changing habits and mindset about waking, working, learning, eating, training, playing, sleeping, and sex. I have taken away so many new great habits to make sure I have the best possible day everyday.51tF5bhDl0L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_
  5. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis – This is the next book on my reading list. Why? Because Rachel Hollis is a bad ass and I love her work. This one is for those who want to own who they are and stop living in the light of someone else. If you read this one before I update this, please comment below and tell me what you think!51dZiYV4emL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_
  6. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay – This one is a bit different from the other books I have put in here. But it is a really great read to help you understand that what you think of yourself will be who you become. Louise talks about how we can better ourselves by changing the way we think, and gives daily affirmations and work to do everyday to keep your thinking positive.

That is all I have for now, but as I keep reading books that are worth sharing I will keep updating this list. What are some great books you have read? Share in the comments and help me, and others, build up a reading list.

Cheers!

Leah

All Natural Facial Toner

Friends! I am dabbling into the world of all natural DIY products. Why? Well, because our world is full of toxins that are not good for anyone. Having Endometriosis means that I need to be extra careful about what I am putting in and on my body. And of course, I want to set a good example for my children in hopes that they will make better choices a lot earlier than I started to.

I have made a few different DIY toners over the years that I used for a small amount of time and didn’t like them. They made my face feel gross, or I would break out really bad. I have been using this recipe now for a few weeks and I have had zero issues with it. And the best part was that I already had all the ingredients!

So, why use a homemade toner in the first place?

There are so many harsh chemicals in store-bought toners that we really don’t need to absorb. When you buy commercial toners, you will get ingredients like:

  • Propylene Glycol
  • Alcohol
  • Glycerin
  • Artificial Fragrance

These ingredients, among others, can be very irritating to out skin. If you do happen to find one that doesn’t contain nasty ingredients, then it is probably going to cost you an arm and a leg.

Why are these 2 ingredients great for a DIY facial toner?

white ceramic teacup on saucer with brown liquid

Green Tea has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help to repair skin damage and reduce redness. It can also help to fight the aging process that we are all trying to avoid!

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Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is a gentle exfoliant and helps to restore your natural PH balance.

DIY All Natural Facial Toner

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Pour 3/4 cup of hot water into a mug and add your desired amount of green tea to it. Make sure you have enough to make it fairly strong. Let it steep until the water is cooled down.
  • Pour the green tea and raw apple cider vinegar into a container of your choice. I just reused an old toner bottle when I finished my last store-bought stuff. (or click here to get this one)
  • Keep it in the fridge and use 2x daily.

Let me know below how this works for you. Do you have any other great tips for facial toner?

Cheers!

Leah

New Career Path?

Well, if you have been following me this far, then you already know how much I love/need to learn. And this time my learning addiction is taking me on a possible new career path. I have signed up to become a certified Health and Wellness Coach. Say what!? Yep, I have decided to take something I am passionate about, use it to better myself, and then help others do the same.

Why I chose Health and Wellness Coach?

I have actually been looking into different kinds of coaching for a while now. I looked into fitness, nutrition, and life coaching. The problem I have with those is that they only tackle one problem, and in my opinion, all three need to be together to get long-term results that stick.

Health and Wellness coaching encompasses all of those coaching skills to make lifestyle choices that last forever, and not just a 30-day fix. Many people try to make a lifestyle change in only one area, either fitness or nutrition. Sometimes they even try both. It is hard, and they can’t fight their cravings, or they can’t commit to working out every day, so they give up. But, there is one important key factor that many forget or don’t think about when it comes to making major life changes; mindset.

Our past experiences and what we were taught growing up, shape our ability to stick to something or not. There is usually something deep down that is holding them back, a fear of change or something from their past. While a Health and Wellness Coach is NOT a therapist, we are trained to help you discover your reasons why as well as what stops you from achieving your goals in the first place. Our job is to help you get past those fears and feel what it is like to attain your wellness goals. We are also there to help people set SMART goals.

You don’t want to set a goal to lose 100 lbs in 6 months, because you will be depriving your body of what it needs to thrive and stay healthy. By setting smaller more attainable goals, it will help you to stick with the plan for life, rather than for a month or two.

How do I plan on using my training?

I haven’t decided what exactly my plan is yet, as I have just started my journey of learning everything I can. What I do know is that I am going to start with myself. I can’t create a business about health and wellness if I can’t follow those same steps myself. So, once I have got my body and health where I want it to be, I will start to focus on helping others better themselves as well.

As of right now, I would love to have a specialty in helping women with endometriosis get their lives back. If I can get my life back from this disease, I want to help others get that same relief as well. Although I would not be opposed to helping others as well. I have a passion to help people better themselves, and I feel that this career path is going to be my calling.

Wish me luck!

As I embark on this learning journey I hope to share tips and ticks that I learn with all of you. So, wish me luck!

Feel free to comment below anything you would love help with if you had a Health and Wellness Coach. I will try to help as I can, and this would be a great way for me to learn the needs of everyone out there.

Cheers!

Leah

This is Only the Beginning

Well, it has been a week since I decided to share my fitness journey with all of you, and I am proud to say that I worked out 4 of those 7 days! Go me! To top it all off, I didn’t do a single class. I decided to jump in feet first and start doing my own workouts. Now I will be the first to admit that I definitely didn’t push myself as hard as I could have most of those days, but I am okay with not being super sore. Especially when I have to chase a toddler around all day, among everything else I juggle.

Here is a glance at the workouts I did each day…

Day 1

  • 20 minutes of cardio
  • Triceps
  • Biceps

I used the machines at the gym that targeted these areas. I wasn’t feeling the workout vibe this day as I didn’t sleep much the night before (shift work!), so I kept it short and sweet. The days you don’t feel up to it, are the days you don’t push yourself as hard, but you still do it! You won’t regret it, but you will regret not going at all.

Day 2 – a few days after day 1

  • 10 minutes of cardio
  • Upper back
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps
  • Chest
  • Abs

This day I was feeling great. Super energized and ready to work my muscles! Again, I used the machines that targeted each area. I find the machines easier in the beginning as I don’t have to try to figure out which exercises target which muscle. I just decide what I want to work, and find the machine that does that.

Day 3

  • 10 minutes of cardio
  • 5 minutes on the stair climber (thanks to my friend!)
  • Legs
  • Lower back
  • Abs

So, doing the stair climber before doing legs is not something I recommend, but my girlfriend insisted, so I did it. I felt it when it came time to work those muscles ha! I am trying to get a little bit of cardio in every time I work out because I have horrible cardio. If there was something chasing me I would for sure die, either from not being able to go fast enough or from a heart attack, so I feel the need to work on it!

Day 4 – Today’s workout

  • 10 minutes of cardio
  • Upper back
  • Lower back
  • Shoulders
  • Abs
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • 1/4 of a pull-up

My girlfriend and I decided to set a goal of being able to do 5 pull-ups by this summer. So, as you can see, I have a log way to go! Today I worked on whatever I felt was the right thing to do next, so I was kind of all over the place.

The next 2 days I can’t go to the gym so I will be working out at home. Tomorrow I plan on having an active recovery day with some yoga and some muscle rolling, but we will see how I feel. Up next, progress pics, or should I say beginning pics!

How are your workout goals coming along? Tell me in the comments below! Feel free to add pics as well!

Cheers!

Leah

Endometriosis And That Dreaded Time Of The Month (Or All Of The Month)

Having Endometriosis sucks as it is. But when mother nature comes knocking, it can get much worse. Over the years of researching and trial and error, I have learned a few things to make that time of the month a little more tolerable, if not completely tolerable.

Earlier this week I had my IUD removed. I only had it for almost 2 years, but the last 6 months I have had spotting or full-blown periods halfway through my cycle. When I first had my IUD put in after my youngest was born, I went for the 3 week ultrasound to make sure it was sitting properly. It was halfway out of my uterus and I was told that was normal when it was still contracting after having a baby. So that one was taken out, and in went a new one. The new one was fine at the 3 week mark so I never worried about it.

A few of months ago I was having some issues, so they wanted to check my IUD by ultrasound. I went in, and it was still sitting where it was supposed to. So again, didn’t worry about it and just kept going on with life. When I had it taken out a few days ago, the doctor said that it was halfway out again and that was probably the reason for my cramping and spotting/periods halfway through my cycle. Makes sense, but my biggest worry was that we don’t want more kids at this time, so what if I didn’t get it taken out.

Ha, that would have been something, hey?

That wasn’t the only reason I had it taken out. I wanted to have it removed so that I can start the process of balancing out my hormones. As Dr. Cook talks about in his book, hormonal imbalances can play a huge role in the amount of inflammation women can have. If you can balance out all of your hormones, you can experience less pain and flare ups. So, to me, it is worth a shot.

There are many more factors besides hormones that can affect endometriosis and how bad our periods are. I want to take a quick look at some of the top ones and talk about them a bit. If you put all of these together, it can make managing your symptoms so much easier. I get most of my info from the book “Endometriosis Health and Diet Program“, which contains much more information than I have time to dive in to.

Factors that can affect your period when living with Endometriosis

There are a number of factors that all play a part in how painful our periods can be. Some include:

  • What we eat
  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Level of activity
  • Environmental toxins
  • Quality and quantity of sleep

All of these factors play a huge role in how much or how little pain a women has when fighting Endometriosis. And as we all know, pain can come anytime, not just during our period. For the purposes of this post, I am going to talk about how we can make our periods easier to get through. It all has to do with what we do to our bodies during the month leading up to our periods.

I have noticed that if I eat a lot of foods that I shouldn’t be eating, my periods are much worse and almost unbearable. But, when I eat the right foods, exercise and take my supplements, I am able to make it through my periods with little to no pain.

What we eat and how it affects us

First off, if you eat a diet that is high in sugars (natural or added), you will probably experience a lot more pain that if you didn’t. I know that for me, if I eat sugar even a few times throughout the month, I will still experience pain with my periods. Cutting out all the added sugars, and keeping natural sugars low will ultimately help you to control the pain that happens during your period. Cravings will be tough to get through, but after about three or four days your cravings should subside. I find making homemade chocolate with all natural items helps me to curb that “sweet tooth” that pops up from time to time.

Other side-effects of eating too much sugar

  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Poor circulation
  • Fatigued and painful muscles
  • Stiff, painful joints
  • Wrinkles
  • Gray hair
  • Declining eyesight
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Depression
  • Frequent illness/infection

As you can see, when we are already dealing with a disease, there isn’t much room for other issues. Especially when they are very unavoidable. Sugar comes under many names so make sure to read all labels and if you don’t know what something is, don’t eat it. The less ingredients you have in a food item, the better it is going to be for you.

Some other foods that affect Endometriosis pain are trans fatty acids (hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, fried foods, margarine, shortening and all products containing these ingredients), high amounts of carbohydrates, soy, gluten, dairy and genetically modified foods. There are many more than this, but these are some of the main ones that can affect inflammation.

Making sure to limit your intake of these foods can significantly reduce your symptoms and make your periods much more manageable. Another recommendation is to make sure that that you have a balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. If you can’t get this from your diet, make sure you are supplementing until you can figure out how to get these through foods.

Hormone imbalances and how the affect Endometriosis

Balance among our hormones is absolutely vital to our chance of having a pain free existence. Our sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone), adrenal hormones (cortisol and DHEA) and thyroid hormones all work together. If one of these is out, the others will not function properly. Some ways of balancing our hormones is to focus on enhancing detoxification, using dietary strategies, stress reduction, incorporating exercise and movement, using herbs and nutrients, and on occasion hormone replacement.

Of all the hormones, estrogen is the most toxic when you have an overload in your body. When we have too much estrogen in our bodies, we cannot expel it fast enough. This leads to the thickening of the uterus as well as the endometriosis outside of the uterus. Estrogen is the one hormone you want to make sure never gets to high when you are battling endometriosis. To top it all off, the implants and endometriomas have the ability to produce their own estrogen, so watching what we put in and on our bodies is absolutely vital.

These are just a few of the facts of hormones and endometriosis, but I could go on and on about all of it. The best way to get the best information is to do some research.

The stress monster and why we need to tame it

Stress weakens our immune response and increases the inflammatory process, alters blood sugar regulation, contributes to infertility and menstrual cycle irregularities, impairs gastrointestinal function and alters the delicate microbial balance in the gut. There are three main types of stress; acute, episodic acute and chronic.

  • Acute stress: This is short lived. It is triggered by an event or situation where our safety or ego is threatened. Stress levels will go back down quickly.
  • Episodic acute stress: These are also short lived, but happen much more frequently. Common causes are having too many obligations, poor time management, lateness and an overall slew of self-inflicted demands and pressures competing for your attention.
  • Chronic stress: This is the never-ending stress. Common causes are poverty, a dysfunctional home life, an unhappy marriage and job dissatisfaction.

The stress response has 6 steps:

  1. A stressful event occurs.
  2. The hypothalamus is activated.
  3. The hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by way of the autonomic nerves to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands release epinephrine and norepinephrine.
  4. The hypothalamus then activates the HPA axis, which is what hold the “gas pedal” down and will continue to until the brain decides the body is safe again.
  5. The adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulates the adrenal glands to release glucocorticoids such as cortisol. The cortisol levels stay elevated until the threat passes.
  6. Once the brain believes the threat has passed, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated which is what calms us down.

When we are in a state of chronic stress, our bodies do not have time to slow down and rest. This is why reducing our stress levels is so important for reducing the amount of pain and inflammation we deal with. So, how can we reduce our stress levels?

First, you need to make a commitment to yourself to take stress reduction seriously. This is a biggest gift your can give yourself. Commit to practicing whatever technique you choose, every single day. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, or multiple days. Don’t be hard on yourself if you let stress slip back in. Just take the steps to get rid of it.

Some of the suggestions in the book include:

  • Deep belly breathing
  • 4-7-8 breathing
  • Guided imagery
  • Meditation
  • Dance
  • Laughter

Some more that I have found from personal experience that have helped me are:

  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Stepping away from the stressors

How much or how little do you move everyday?

The amount of physical activity you get in a day also plays a huge role in how bad your periods can be. Even if you can’t do a full workout, you can still go for a walk or do a little yoga to help get your body flowing. When doing any sort of exercise, always remember that it should never hurt or make your symptoms worse.

There is a difference between physical activity and exercise. Physical activity includes all body movements and can be things like cleaning, taking the stairs, walking more. Exercise is planned, structured and repetitive with the purpose of improving physical fitness.

Here are some ways that exercise and physical activity will help:

  • Helps decrease blood sugar by using glucose and free fatty acids to fuel the body.
  • Helps detoxify the body through sweating, pumping the lymphatic system and increasing production of important protective proteins and antioxidants
  • Metabolizes estrogen by increasing glutathione production which is needed to expel estrogen from the body.
  • Helps to boost your mood, reduce stress and aid in better sleep by increase the production of endorphins (the feel-good hormone).

Some recommended types of exercise for endometriosis are:

  • HIIT
  • Resistance training
  • Walking and hiking
  • Yoga

What are environmental toxins and how do they affect us?

Environmental toxins are any toxin that is found is items such as food, beauty products, health products, containers, etc. The amount of toxins we are exposed to is greatly increasing as the years go on. Researchers now believe that this is why we are seeing more and more young girls experiencing periods and endometriosis symptoms and much younger ages.

Some of the top toxins you will want to keep an eye out for and avoid like the plague include:

  • Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds – these are linked to the development of cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, immune system damage and hormone disruption.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) – this is used in coolants and lubricants for electrical equipment. These chemicals were banned in 1977 due to their resistance to breaking down easily in the environment. They still persist in our environment today and have accumulated in our food chain. The most heavily contaminated foods are meat and fish.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) – this is a toxin found in plastics. It has been associated with damage to our reproductive and developmental health, and contribute to higher rates of endometriosis. BPA also behaves like estrogen and the body has a harder time metabolizing it.

There are many more out there and doing proper research to learn what you are putting in your body is vital to managing your endometriosis and having easier periods.

Sleep and why it is so important

Lack of sleep or a poor quality of sleep can negatively impact your pain, weaken your immune system and alter hormones. This is why sleep is so important to our recovery.

There are 2 main types of sleep:

  1. Non-REM sleep
  2. REM sleep

In the Non-REM type, there are 4 sub-types:

  1. N1 – This is when you first start to fall asleep. You are not yet asleep, but not fully awake.
  2. N2 – This is where your eyes, heart rate and breathing rates slow. About half of your night is spent in this phase.
  3. N3 & N4 – These are your deep sleep stages. This is where much of your bodily repair occurs. About 20% of you night is spent in these stages

REM sleep is when your brain is active. During this stage, your temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing increase back to daytime levels. This is the stage needed for brain restoration. It occurs about three to five times a night lasting about 90 minutes at a time.

So why does a lack of sleep contribute to pain? As you can see from what I said above, this is the time our bodies need to heal and restore ourselves. Without aqueduct rest, our bodies cannot do this and as a result, we will be in more pain. During our periods, we probably need to make sure that we are resting even more as we are not only losing blood, but bleeding internally. Our bodies will need to help and repair the damage occurring inside of us as well.

We must make sure that we are taking the necessary steps to optimize the sleep we are getting and work towards getting more if that is needed. Some lifestyle tips for helping are:

  • Preparing your body for sleep – avoid doing any activities that can upset you or make you feel more awake. Make sure to get anything done during the day that might stress you out at night if it isn’t complete.
  • Avoid napping – this can alter your sleep wake cycles making it harder to fall asleep at night.
  • Get daily movement and exercise – make sure to do vigorous forms of exercise earlier in the day. Gentle exercise such as yoga and stretching may be done in the evening.
  • Avoid eating large meals within 2 hours of going to bed – having a light snack before bed can help with night-time hungriness.
  • Stick to your sleep schedule – having a set time to go to bed and wake up will make it easier to get the amount of sleep your body needs.

Some foods that can help you sleep better are:

  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Proteins with high tryptophan
  • Veggies with calcium and magnesium
  • Foods high is B6
  • Bone broth and gelatin

I hope that this information helps you even a little bit. Please remember that not all of these changes will be easy, and there will be slip-ups. Pay attention to how it makes you feel when you are making the changes as to when you have a slip-up. When you notice the difference, it will be a lot easier over time to stick with everything.

There is so much more information in the book that I have talked about, and I highly recommend reading it. It has already been a massive life-changer for me. If you have anything to add, or any stories of your own, please feel free to share below.

Cheers!

Leah

 

*This post contains affiliate links
**I got this information from “The Endometriosis Health and Diet Plan” book.

Day 1 – I didn’t get what I expected

So this is day 1 of sharing my fitness journey. If you have been following my posts up to this point, you all know I live with Endometriosis. Well, I have been having a flare up for 4 or 5 days now, it can be hard to keep track when it feels like all the days roll into one. Anyways, whenever I am having a flare up, I don’t sleep well. My body keeps going into deep sleep (or so FitBit says) right before I wake up for the day. This causes me to feel pretty crappy every morning. So needless to say, it is hard to be motivated when I am in pain and feel like I haven’t slept.

I decided this morning that I was going to hit up a hot yoga class today, help stretch my body out and relax me. My youngest is also currently starting the “terrible two” stage, so I definitely wanted some mama time today. It also wasn’t an easy day for me to get out of the door to make it to the gym. I sometimes can be my own worst enemy, especially when I am not feeling 100%, and make excuses as to why I can’t or shouldn’t go. But, I thought to myself, “self, don’t do this. Don’t cheat yourself of what you need and deserve”. So off I went, barely making it on time, but I got there.

I went in thinking it was going to be quiet and peaceful and I was going to just relax all 90 minutes…that’s what happens when you don’t check what class you are attending! I was walking into a power vinyasa class, and the instructor had a different idea for the normal music-less class it is. We danced, we sang, we shook our hips and arms. I have never laughed so much in a yoga class before. It was so much fun, and I left there feeling 1000x better than when I went in.

During the class, the instructor told us that we are the only ones standing in our way. We are the only ones stopping us from getting whatever it is we want in life. How true is that, I knew all this already, but when you are having a euphoric moment, it seems to sink in so much more.

This morning, I was the only one trying to stop myself from feeling better. Every day, my “cravings” are just me trying to stop myself from getting out of my comfort zone. It’s all me. Not my husband, when he comes home with my favorite bag of chips. Not my children, when they are being so bad and I just want to run away. Not anyone else around me. Just me.

So, I invite every person who reads this to just step out of your own way. Let yourself experience new things and enjoy them. If what I experienced today was even a couple of years ago, I would have crawled into my shell, there would have been no dancing or singing from me. But today, I let it all go, all the feelings that hold me back and it felt amazing!

Every journey to greatness starts with one step. One step in the right direction. When you feel the effects of your hard work and determination you won’t want to turn back. I promise you that. But you have to stop dragging yourself backwards, and push yourself forward!

I would like to end this off with a picture of me stuffing my face after class, famished, but totally in a blissful state. I didn’t feel like that before I went, that is for sure.

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P.S. My eyes don’t match when I smile, not sure why! Haha

Cheers!

Leah

March – Endo Awareness Month

March has become one of my favorite months because the Endo community is finally starting to have ways of raising awareness for this invisible disease that we live with everyday. Because people can’t SEE what we are dealing with, most of them will write us off as over exaggerating our pain. Some days are worse than others. There are days I can move through the pain, it is there, but I have learned to deal with it. And then there are days where I am stuck in bed, in the fetal position, heating pad cranked to high, waiting for a break in the debilitating pain that came that day.

While Endo can be controlled (for the most part) by changing our diets, there are still many other factors that we have to figure out on our own that cause flare ups. Unfortunately, finding someone to help us and take us seriously, or someone who knows anything about this disease is a hard task to accomplish (but not impossible).

I was diagnosed about 8 years ago, although I lived with this for much longer than that. I still remember when I went in for my follow-up appointment after my surgery. The doctor sat me down, told me I had Endo, and told me there was nothing I could do. When I was done having kids I could come back in and get my uterus and ovaries removed and then I would not have it anymore. I believed him.

It took me 3 years before I found out that my diet choices were a HUGE contributing factor in my pain. Before then, I spent about 75% of my days in horrid pain. I even had 3 weeks were I couldn’t move off of my floor because of a flare up. Being a single mom at that time, having to take 3 weeks off of work because I couldn’t move was not an ideal situation. Once I started researching the Endo diet and cutting out some of the items that were deemed not okay, I noticed a huge difference in the amount of pain and how often it was happening. I was astonished but it still took me until recently to really take the diet seriously.

Why? Because every time I went to see a doctor I was told some new non-truth about this disease and thought that there was no way I would ever have a normal life. So, if I was going to be in chronic debilitating pain anyway, I may as well enjoy what I eat, right? No, but no one told me any different, so I believed that for years.

A few years ago, I got serious into working out. I was lifting weights 5 to 6 times a week and I was loving it. I never felt so good. I was eating right, my body was in amazing shape, and I rarely had pain days. So, once again, I had learned something on my own, by accident, that was very beneficial to my health and my Endo. Unfortunately, my second pregnancy was very hard due to my Endo, and I was unable to continue working out because I was in so much pain all the time from my uterus stretching with all the scar tissue and lesions on it. So, I am back at the beginning, but I do intend on getting there again.

So, why am I telling you all of this? I want to share a very small part of my journey with Endometriosis to help raise awareness. We all have a voice and most times we are not heard when we need to be. I also want to share some very valuable resources in this post so that I can help anyone who is struggling to find out where to start when it comes to healing themselves and getting back to a “normal” life.

Books

I have read A LOT of books regarding Endo. But, here are some of my favorite that gave me the best information and a place to start.

  • Heal Endometriosis Naturally by Wendy K. Laidlaw – This book was the first that I ever read. It helped to give me a different outlook on this disease and how to go about healing myself.
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – While this one is not Endo related, I wanted to include it as it is a fantastic read and helps to change your mindset and the way we look at our situations that arise.
  • You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay – This one is more on doing the mental work to heal your ailments. According to Louise, we manifest our illnesses by our thoughts. For Endo she says that possible causes are “insecurity, disappointment and frustration. Replacing self-love with sugar. Blamers.” I know when I read that, it struck a chord or two.
  • The Endometriosis Health and Diet Program by Dr. Andrew Cook & Danielle Cook – This is the book I am currently reading. It goes in to great detail about why Endo reacts to certain things. It talks about the diet and WHY each food may affect someone. It talks about our hormones and what role they play in the disease. It gives exercises that are beneficial as well as a whole diet plan that will detox, and rebuild your healthy gut bacteria and maintain a healthy lifestyle that will aid in your healing process. Highly recommend this one.

Exercise

While I won’t give specific exercises to do because we are all different and I don’t want to tell you to do something that may cause pain, I do want to talk about how beneficial this is to women dealing with Endo. Exercise is already highly beneficial to everyone no matter who you are, but when you are dealing with Endo, it can actually help more than most women will admit.

When you are starting out, you need to take it easy. I know when I first started, if I pushed myself too hard, it meant I was down for the count for at least a week. When you are fighting back against this disease, you don’t have time to take a week off to rest and heal. So start small; light weights, light cardio, and body weight exercises. When I am in too much pain to do a good workout, I will hop on the elliptical or treadmill and walk slowly for about 20 minutes. I almost always feel a bit better, and I am always proud that I did it, even if it wasn’t much. I know sometimes I have pain that goes away when I move, and sometime it gets worse. So, pay attention to your body and don’t overdo it.

As you start to feel better, or you are having a good day, use those to increase your weight, or walk/jog/run longer. When you are feeling good, always try to use those days to push yourself as much as you feel comfortable. But remember, if it hurts, stop what you are doing. You never want to cause more pain, because that is only going to set you back.

Another great option for recovery days, or when you are in too much pain to workout is yoga! It has been a lifesaver for me when I can’t do much else, or I’m just not feeling the workout. It still moves my body, gives me an active recovery day, relaxes my muscles and relaxes my mind. As we all know (or should) stress is a huge factor in Endo flare ups. Yoga is a great way to let go of the stress and reset.

Diet

Diet plays a huge role in our well-being as I said above. While there are many resources and blogs out there that talk about the diet, they are all very general. No two women are the same, and not all the foods that put me in pain will affect you the same way or at all. I suggest reading The Endometriosis Health and Diet Plan that I talked about in the book section. It will help you to understand so much more about the disease and get you on the path to finding out your trigger foods.

I also suggest the Facebook group Endometriosis Nutrition and Holistic SupportThey have some fantastic information in there and will give you another great starting point on eliminating foods and finding out what affects you.

What Next?

There is so much information out there and it can be hard to know what is good and what is just a bunch of fluff. All I can say is that you need to fight for yourself. If you get a doctor that tells you there is nothing to be done, go find another. Never give up on yourself and research everything! Unfortunately, we almost always know more than any doctor, even the specialists. So go with your gut, if something doesn’t sit well with you, ask questions, and do more research.

I hope that this helps even a few people. I know I could have used more resources like this when I was learning what to do and how to handle the disease.

Is there any other amazing resources out there that have helped you? Leave a comment and share the knowledge with our fellow Endo Sisters!

Until next time.

Leah

 

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Diving into the World of Fitness

I have decided that I want to share my fitness journey with all of you. While I am not perfect, and I tend to think of A LOT of excuses as to why sitting on the couch watching shows would be much better than heading to the gym (which is what I am doing as I write this post), it is a process. It is hard to get into a good routine and stay there. Especially when you have the possibility of an Endo flare-up looming over you, waiting to ruin all the hard work you have put in.

But, that is a part of life, and I want everyone out there who is struggling to stay on track to see that it is okay to have slip ups. You just need to pick yourself up when you can, and keep going.

So, I am going to be showing progress pictures of my own journey, and I will share some of the workouts that I am doing. I go to the gym, and usually do a lot of their classes because it makes me do a whole workout. Nobody wants to be that one person who left halfway through class because they were lazy?!?! I certainly don’t haha

But, as I get more fit, I tend to venture out more on my own and do cardio days, or work one muscle group instead of multiple. Or I do yoga for an active recovery day. One thing I try my best to achieve is that I at least do something everyday. Even if it is small, it helps to ensure that I don’t fall off the wagon for long periods of time. One thing I do remember from the last time I got ripped and buff (well not really, but I like to think so!) is that the more I did it, the better I felt, the easier it was do be consistent, and I spent much less time having to convince myself to start over.

Join me in this journey if you are ready. Let’s take one step at a time, one day at a time. Feel free to post your progress photos on my posts, I love to see other people’s journeys and accomplishments. Let’s lift each other up and help each other get our goals and crush them!

Cheers!

Leah

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