by Kayleigh Rogers
When you think of ways to stay fit and healthy, you often realize that you need motivation. Whether that be internal or external, you need to wake up in the morning and stay empowered throughout the day to make the right food choices, to complete your workouts and push yourself to that next level!
When you are struggling with a chronic illness, your motivation can be extremely challenged or you can become even more passionate. It all depends on your mindset. When I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and Crohn’s Disease, I thought my fitness days were over. So many people around me, with the same diagnosis, were living the opposite of a fit and healthy lifestyle, and I always thought it was because their health hindered them from BEING fit or healthy.
However, that was not the case. As it turns out, a lot of people choose not to experience the benefits of exercise and healthy eating while managing an autoimmune disease. As my doctor told me, they simply are too lazy to take care of themselves. Trust me, staying fit can be a real challenge when it’s hard to just get out of bed. I can totally understand (from personal experience) that fatigue is NOT A JOKE and that it can really affect how you are able to handle your day-to-day life. I can completely relate to those who are worried that a walk is going to make their day worse not better. Luckily, that is simply not true.
So how do you stay fit, healthy and motivated with an autoimmune disease? Let me count the ways….
Start Everyday with Positivity: It can be really hard when you’re in pain to be positive. But, if you wake up and instantly remind yourself that today can be a good day it can help. Wake up and promise yourself that today you will do one thing your body will thank you for. Wake up feeling grateful that today you can fight your disease with pride (which can be much easier when the condition is in remission) and it can really motivate you to get out of bed and at least go for a walk and make a smart breakfast choice.
Be Smart with your Food: I know it’s not easy when everyone else is eating a burger and fries, but food is the number one way to get your condition to flare. You must be REALLY smart about your food choices. Get to know your body and learn what it can handle and what it can’t. If you don’t want to pay for it tomorrow, (with physical pain) you don’t want to eat it today. This tip may seem commonplace for anyone who wants to be fit – but it ESPECIALLY rings true for us autoimmune disease fighters. A single bad item can set you back for weeks- so don’t do it! Love your body and feed it what it needs and can handle.
If You Don’t Move, You Fuse: This is my favorite saying for my arthritis ridden body, but it rings true for any autoimmune disease. Get moving – your body will thank you. It doesn’t have to be ALL OUT INTENSITY, just start walking or low-intensity weight training once or twice a week. Make sure that you are moving (aim for 30 minutes 3-4 days a week to start). As you get stronger, you will be amazed on how your body will respond. You can get healthier from exercise alone and it’s a beautiful thing!
Accept That There Will Be Bad Days: My dearest autoimmune disease fighters this is my last my last tip…. don’t get discouraged. There will be bad days. There will be days you can’t exercise or eat right (or at all). The last thing you want to do is give up. Accept that sometimes your body will win and you’ll need to rest. Listen to your body and love yourself. Tomorrow is another day. You will be active again soon.
Love your body, listen to it & feed it with beautiful, bountiful & real foods. Push it a little so that you can start to feel better, but listen and acknowledge when you are pushing too far. Make fitness and health a priority and your body will thank you!
Kayleigh Rodgers is a runner & health addict. She has lost 30lbs twice and loves to share her story and tips. For more from Kayleigh, visit www.okayfitness.com