READ ME: Managing your endometriosis: Why it isn’t all about food

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I’ve got to be honest with you. My endo symptoms have been getting worse the last few months.

As a Nutritional Therapist that makes me feel ashamed. I have all the tools so why aren’t I using them? I’ve identified my triggers, I’ve done the hard work over the last 9 years and I’ve been feeling 99% better since I came off my contraceptive pill 18 months ago.

So why aren’t I feeling 100%? Well just because I know what to do doesn’t mean I’m 100% compliant all of the time.

And also because to be honest, it isnt all about food.

I’m really passionate about helping women (like you) change their diet and lifestyle to manage their endometriosis symptoms as I’ve seen that it works.

But food is really only one part of the picture.

Managing your endometriosis symptoms is down to so much more than than and in reality its a complicated jigsaw of moving parts.

From a wellness perspective I like to break it down into a number of parts:

  1. Sleep

  2. Stress

  3. Nutrition

  4. Self care

  5. Mindset

You can eat all the nutritious food in the world but if you aren’t sleeping well, you have a problem. Sleep represents the perfect opportunity for rest and repair which is so important for an inflammatory condition like endo.

Are you getting at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night? Are you waking up in the middle of the night? Do you feel rested when you wake? Are you drinking caffeine in the afternoon? Even if you feel you can get to sleep easily enough this will still be impacting on the quality of your sleep.

These are all questions you need to start asking yourself. The power of sleep cannot be underestimated and it really needs to be prioritised over that latest Netflix series.

Start winding down by 9/9.30 by turning off your phone, lighting a candle or burning some essential oils. Read a book or listen to a podcast (nothing too intense though).

Stress….it can’t be avoided but it has to be managed. Being stressed out constantly is not a badge of honour and we need to start readdressing our relationship with stress (and busyness).

The first step to that is awareness….if I’m honest I knew my endo symptoms were going to get worse because quite honestly I’ve been way too stressed out.

Having two businesses in a growth stage along with our house build is just starting to get too much.

But thankfully we are coming to the end of the house build which should mean a little less stress.

Consider what stressful situations you have going on in your life and what can be done to address them? Is it something that is coming to an end or do you need to do something proactive to address them right now (a job is a good example of this).

Self care and stress go hand in hand. The more stress their is the more self care needed.

Self care as a term has been somewhat sabotaged as it conjures up images of Instagrammable bubbles baths and glasses of wine but self care when it comes to endometriosis can be much more simple than that.

One of the key symptoms I see women with endo have is fatigue. Recognising that that is a symptom is self care in itself. Recognising that you sometimes don’t have the ability to do as much as your friends and family and when you need to rest (and more importantly not feel guilty about it) is a key part of self care.

Start dialling in to those times that you may be feeling particularly fatigued as the most primary and basic form of self care (no bath bombs required). Explain it to loved ones (they will absolutely understand).

Mindset is so important when it comes to most things but its so important when it comes to managing your endo.

Do you believe you have the power to positively impact your symptoms? I do. I believe that with all the tools I have I can. And I’ve seen that over the past 9 years.

Have you ever heard the expression “whether you believe you can, or can’t you probably right”…. That’s truly how I feel about diet and lifestyle changes when it comes to your endo. You do have the power to positively impact your symptoms but you absolutely have to believe you do too.

As I mentioned before these all work together. Its always important to consider these in their entirety rather than isolated parts.

For example say you are going through a particular stressful time…can you make sure you are getting proper restful sleep and planing some meals to make sure you re making them as nutrient dense as possible? If for some reason you aren't sleeping can you try and put some relaxation time in the middle of the day through some mindfulness or meditation? Could you change your exercise routine to include some yoga? There are always ways and means to tweak things so we can feel better everyday and we need to look at these areas through the overall spectrum of managing our endometriosis.

What am I going to do right now to make sure I am feeling a little bit better? The first step is recognition and the rejection of guilt that I should know it all just because I work in the wellness space.

The second step is making a positive decision that will positive impact on my symptoms every step of the way. There is no magic formula (not even for me).

Its simply putting one step in front of the other everyday (which you can do too).

Are you ready to work with me one on one? I’m currently taking on clients. All you need to do is send me a message on lauren@thenutritionistfoodie.com

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Lauren Healy