Happy New (slower and kinder) Year

7813051B-AB2E-4601-A4A6-A507DDCC3B93I’ve been meaning to write this for a few days and something has stopped me each day. As a Yoga teacher, MS-y blogger and health geek I felt it was something I really ought to be doing.

But whenever I started reading articles and blogs about “New Year Clean eating ” or “New Year’s Resolutions” I realised that it wasn’t really how I was feeling.

And as I only ever write about how I’m feeling, it just wasn’t going to work.

I’m easing into 2018. As usual I’m feeling a bit lethargic after the Christmas travelling, over-indulgence and general lack of routine. So I’ve decided it’s probably more important to gradually regain some of those lovely habits that keep me so well and sane, rather than scrabbling around at the bottom of the fridge for green things to go into the nutribullet from the minute the new year starts.

So last night instead of cutting out dairy, sugar and all things tasty, I ate some cheese and booked myself a massage.

And yesterday instead of frantically sprinting off the mince pies (which I can’t really do anyway due to my crazy leg),  I went for a speedy march to the beach in the rain just as it was getting dark. On my own. It was blissfully energising and lung clearing.

Yesterday was the last day of the Christmas holidays with my kids. So after a torturous shopping experience (online shopping is always wiser), we had a tasty, warm and averagely healthy lunch in a cafe whilst playing a silly game and giggling our heads off. We then plodged  through the mud at a beautiful wetlands centre before heading home to reluctantly take the tree down. Bliss (apart from the shopping section).

And tonight, instead of decluttering, ironing and cleaning, I’m going to run a bath using some of the delicious products I was given at Christmas that usually sit there collecting dust until the next year.

Now I’m not saying I won’t be joining in with the post Christmas cleanse.  I’m pretty sure I need to lose a few lumps of belly,  and I really enjoy and desperately need all things healthy to maintain my energy levels which plummet after anything out of the ordinary.

I’m just saying that the other things are all part of it too. There’s no point in me stuffing my face with turmeric-infused-quinoa if I’m stressed and in need of a veggie lasagne followed by a long bath to try and chip away at some of the leg hair that I’ve been cultivating since having children and giving up on shaving.

My more realistic New Year’s resolution this year is to be kind to myself, learn to make better bread,  and make sure I spend more time on things that make me happy and help me feel great.

Phew.

Be kind to yourself

Love, Lynne x

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Is there life outside yoga?

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I couldn’t possibly put down in a short blog how much yoga benefits me. Out of everything I do to keep myself well, it is the one constant that never fails to make me feel better physically and mentally. With an immediate effect.

Yoga will always be The Boss in my MS-y world.

But I am also a secret gym-lover (sshh), so this article makes my occasional couple of hours in the gym seem a lot more important than I had realised.

Here’s to keeping my brain as un-atrophied as possible 👍

 

I’m much better at Yoga than I am at selfies

Can someone please teach me how to look a bit less awful on social media?

Cross eyed, bag eyed, one eye bigger than the other, one tooth longer than the other. Don’t suppose it matters really.

The hair. I know. Storm Brian is to blame.

That’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is the weird not-quite-confident-enough-to-pout-or-do-the-side-angle-selfie-face (I’ve tried it. I look and feel ridiculous).

I look like a mum trying to do a selfie. Oh. I am a mum trying to do a selfie. My poor kids are going to be so embarassed in a few years time.

Anyway the point of this blog is NOT to analyse a block of pretty crap pictures of me looking a lot older than I had hoped I do.

It’s about me trying stuff that’s not that comfortable and easy for me.

Like the yoga class I went to this morning.

It felt amazing to be practising back where my yoga started. In an Iyengar yoga class that felt like a real challenge. And after ten years of MS progression, the challenges are different.

The teacher had no idea that I am a teacher. He noticed when I needed help and I accepted the help as if I knew nothing. Which at certain points, was true.

*You never stop learning yoga. Every class you teach, attend or practise at home uncovers something new. That’s one of the many things I love about it.

Some days I feel that it would be easier to stick to what I know I can manage. Fear of worsening my symptoms or bringing on fatigue often holds me back. But on a sunny, well-rested Sunday like today, I felt strong enough to ignore my MS. And I am so pleased I did.

I’m nearly forty-two. This morning when I was upside down feeling strong and focused, I felt twenty-two.

Bring. It. On.

Thanks lovely yoga centre. I will most certainly be back for more of the magic.

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Healthy, Happy and MS-y

IMG_6645I am always grateful to have been diagnosed with MS when I was relatively young.
Yes it was a shock. And yes I cried incessantly for a month. I feared that all the things I wanted in life were now impossible.
Luckily the control-freak in me took over and I have since been doing lots and lots to keep myself as well as possible.
So far, so good.
MS has forced me to take care of myself in ways which I’m not sure I would have done without it.  I have an in-built warning system which means I get a definite warning such as numbness or a headache when I am overdoing it. But after ten years of living with MS, I now don’t even have to get to this point before I realise I need to down tools for a few days (well, as much as I can with two small children to take care of!).
Here’s a great video clip of Nicola Chapman of pixiwoo talking about her experience of MS. It feels good to hear that others are living and managing MS in the way that I am.
As everyone affected by MS knows, there are different types and levels of disease progression, but as more and more treatments become available, I really hope that we will all have the ability to improve our health further with simple lifestyle choices. It has had such a positive effect on me, physically and mentally, and I hope that this is something that is available to everyone with MS very soon.  
Take care of your precious selves.
Love, Lynne ❤

 Two weeks on…

IMG_5932Two weeks ago I wrote this. At the time I was feeling really tired and in desperate need of a boost. So I got all health-obsessed to see how much difference it would make.

So how has it been?

“Boring” – according to my husband.

Regardless of his reaction, I have carried on (and added a few extra veggies to his plate too). Two weeks in and I am feeling great.

There has been very little “cutting out” and a lot of “adding in”, just as planned.

And as expected, my energy has soared.

I plan to do so much more over the next few weeks in terms of what I eat and how I live to stay well, and after years of searching for a miracle cure, I think I’ve finally found something that works for me and fits in with my family.

The following ideas are not rules (I love a list opportunity), as we are all different and have different needs, but these simple changes have made such a difference to me that I really wanted to share them:

How to boost energy levels and reduce inflammation

  1. Have more early nights
  2. Drink lots of water
  3. Eat more fruit and vegetables
  4. Drink less coffee
  5. Eat and drink much less sugar
  6. Eat less wheat products (especially white bread and pasta)
  7. Eat and drink much less dairy (I don’t have much anyway, but some weeks I accidentally eat lots of cheese and then I get a horrible headache)
  8. Eat more protein i.e. oily fish, eggs, nuts, seeds. Ideally some at each meal.
  9. Eat smaller portions
  10. Leave bigger gaps between eating to rest your digestive system.
  11. Do more frequent exercise even if you feel like you are too tired (within MS-reason or your own physical limitations of course)
  12. Do LOADS of yoga – and I don’t just mean the upside-down-crazy-core-conditioning-stuff (although this is also very important (again within your own physical limits) and I usually do this stuff first, which helps my brain concentrate on the restful bit). I mean every aspect of it. Make sure you include, in fact prioritise, the restorative and meditative side of yoga. (See yoga nidra network for some brilliant deep yogic relaxations which you can download from their site). Please always practise yoga safely, ideally with the guidance of a teacher.
  13. Don’t worry too much if you have a couple of beers on a Saturday evening followed by some delicious chocolate during a slob-out on the sofa watching mindless telly then fall asleep 15 minutes into a film (now there’s an insight into my crazy social life!).
  14. I hardly drink, but if I do have more than a couple of beers in a week, I feel so much more tired. This could well be due to my condition, my treatment, my age and all the yoga I do. Or maybe a combination of the lot. But I’m pretty sure that if you want to increase energy levels, keeping alcohol to a minimum is really important.

Yes I know I sound boring. In fact my husband thinks this angle could be the death of my blog (and maybe my friendships!) I’m sure those more sweary blogs will still appear on occasion. I do still have MS.

But for now, I will stick at the healthy stuff and keep you posted.

I am a yoga teacher after all. I should at least post one quinoa-related blog in 2017…

Happy healthy week to you all

Love Lynne x

 

 

How amazing can it be?

At the weekend I was lucky enough to see a lovely friend of mine who I haven’t seen for years. A fellow yoga teacher, she also happens to be an expert in nutrition.

I like to think of myself as health conscious with a fairly good grasp of what’s good for me and what’s not when it comes to my diet. And although I have been getting a lot of it right, after learning more at the weekend it turns out I’ve also been getting some of it wrong.

So after a lot of post-yoga-day inspirational thinking, I’ve decided to go for it and see how great I can really feel.

I usually let myself off the hook with the dramatic changes in eating habits, saying things to myself like “you’ve got MS, you deserve some treats in life” or “it’ll be so exhausting avoiding all those delicious foods”. But what my lovely friend made me wonder is whether it would be exhausting at all…

What if it was the opposite of exhausting? What if I felt so good that it was more than worth the effort? I’ve recently had a big increase in energy from simply upping my water and vitamin D intake. So imagine if I was to add loads more healthy nutrients and anti-inflammatory foods into my diet. And then imagine if I reduced the inflammatory parts of my diet too. It might be amazing.

The nutrition geek in me is starting to become a lot more than a little excited.

Of all the advice she gave me, this is what stood out to me the most – “Think less about cutting stuff out and more about adding more healthy stuff in”.

I really like this approach

I’m starting with this colourful bunch.

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I’ll keep you posted…

x

(Belated) MS Awareness Week #2: Ten things that are weird about me and MS

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  1. I can’t walk very far, but I can cycle for hours.
  2. When I am in the depths of fatigue, I find it hard to sleep. Brilliant.
  3. When I was pregnant, I had absolutely no MS symptoms whatsoever.
  4. No-one else in my family has MS.
  5. When I’m feeling MS-shit, I don’t look ill.
  6. Whilst I am teaching or practising yoga, my MS disappears.
  7. When my leg weakens after walking it recovers completely after a little rest and a chocolate biscuit. I’ve yet to work out whether it’s the chocolate biscuit or the rest…
  8. Caffeinated coffee makes my right hand buzz.
  9. I can remember 5,000 things to do with the house, school, work and multi-task the fuck out of my to-do list, but if you ask me to fill in a simple form, my brain turns to mashed potato and I have to get my husband to do it for me.
  10. One of the hardest things for me to do when I’m MS-y is concentrate on anything longer than a simple sentence. Hence the lists.