Posted in autoimmune, energy, health and wellness, inflammation, isagenix, Life, Night shade Allergies, thyroid, Uncategorized, weight loss

The Battle with Food! Keeping Unhealthy Weight Off!

My mum always struggled with food. Her weight burgeoned after she quit smoking in the early sixties. Food became her next addiction. However, really when I think what she used to eat I don’t think she ate excessively – a lot but mainly the wrong types of food.

She was told by a dietitian early in the sixties not to eat white bread as she was probably gluten intolerant – this before it became a buzz word for food intolerance issues! She paid no heed and bread was always her downfall.

I am not going to get in to gluten debate now as there are way too many who know more than me and I would suggest researching this aspect of food, but I would like to discuss is the battle with food many of us have.

I remember those nights of sitting alone at the dinner table after everyone else had left: Staring down at the now cold, limp beans and stew lying untouched on my plate, sobbing and trying to catch my breath from literally an hour of fighting with my mother over not eating.

The battles raged constantly over my eating habits until finally she gave in and allowed me to eat raw vegetables in the afternoon as she prepared the evening meal and she wouldn’t serve me stews allowing me to eat alternatives. (Even now I gag as I think of those meals – It wasn’t her cooking all the time just my likes)

She always made us a three course breakfast which I loved: fruit, cereal, protein of some sort and toast, with a juice. It was a good way to start the day because I rarely ate much thereafter until later in the afternoon.  In the tropics anything other than a crispbread would be a soggy mess by lunch time at school!

Now I look at it, I felt really good after that regime kicked in. Fresh vegetables and fruit as opposed to life sapping cooking, and very little red meat, with some cheese, little bread and minimal sugar – in any form! I felt good!

So fast forward nearly 50 years later and the battle with food continued but this time with me arguing with myself. Sugar entered my life in my late teens, as did caffeine and other forms of nasties. I still preferred, lightly steamed for raw vegetables, and not a great fan of red meat but introduced breads, pastas, and rice and other foods that didn’t agree with me. So now after years of progressive weight gain, and digestion issues I am discovering the theory of the “leaky gut” syndrome.

Autoimmunesecrets.com really offers some amazing insights into areas that I have struggled with, (to the point of feeling suicidal, the same as described by one gentleman on this program). I had to find out answers pretty much for myself because Doctors couldn’t find answers with traditional testing, and thanks to my naturopath who persevered, we discovered food intolerance that were literally crippling me and causing me incredible pain.

My battle with food seemed to continue but in a different form, me against my body! Lately however, after hearing some of these ideas from the guys above I really feel like I have come to a better understanding with my body – “I will do what I can and body, you need to do what you do well!”

I have always been thankful for my body but the struggle was real. I am now addressing the gut and really concentrating on eating as I did when I felt well – eat well during the morning and afternoon, light at night. I still have some limitations but trusting that soon I might be able to incorporate night shades back in to my diet once again. In the meantime addressing the gut issues has resulted in loss of weight, and inches, as well as feeling well – my main focus always!

Isagenix Products

Ensuring I have enough of the correct vitamins and minerals, and utilizing other supplements to increase my energy levels and boost metabolism has been a major key to wellness. A customer asked me recently what I was using from the Isagenix range of products.

 Click here to see the some of the products I am using. I really recommend the cleanse regime to begin with and then follow up with the vitamins and energy drinks to keep going! Cleanse for life and I loooove the Ionix Supreme drink for warding off sickness or strengthening the immune system.  People comment on cost but my doctors visits or lack thereof over the past 4 years is testament to keeping healthy. I also calculated the cost of shakes and bars and find that it is very cost effective as meal replacements for a period. I also find that the amount of ingredients is usually over other comparative products – a nice bonus.

One other thing I am doing is working with my health program on my Samsung phone. It keeps track of my calorie intake, and usage, as well as my sleep. I am competitive by nature so competing monthly with one million other users and being in the top 2 or 3 percent in terms of steps per month is a great incentive for me! Find what works for you and use whatever it takes to release those pounds, into the blue yonder!

My accountability now sees me having released only abut 5.5 kilos or 12 pounds over a few weeks about 1 kilo or 2 pounds a week, a nice steady amount, and the inches are dropping and muscle is returning to areas that haven’t seen it for some time! My shoulders are thankful for the chest drop let me tell you!

Health is a journey but stay focused; do what you need to to stay motivated. I look forward to hearing some of you share about your journey to healthy living!

Blessings for now

Until next time Narelle

 

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Walking the Camino – How to Prepare

The Camino de Santiago is an 800 km or 500 mile walk through France and Spain. It is a pilgrimage walk that has been around for thousands of years that has many trails originating around Europe. It was said that you could step outside your door and begin the pilgrimage from anywhere in Europe. During the time of occupation by the Ottomans in Jerusalem the Way of St James became a safer pilgrimage and acceptable in the eyes of the church for pilgrimage absolution.

St James was supposedly buried there after having floated there from Jerusalem on a ruder-less boat. I don’t know about that. There are many beliefs surrounding the pilgrimage that many believe or don’t believe but there is one binding factor with nearly all pilgrims who we encountered or spoke to had one thing in common: the sense of being called to walk The Way!

Many including myself when they find out about the Camino Way have a strong sense that not only would they like to do the long walk but there is a strong feeling of “having” to do the walk.

For me it started after I watched the movie, “The Way”, written and directed by Emilio Esteves and starring his father Martin Sheen.  It is the story of a father who completes the trek after his son dies on the Way getting caught in bad weather: something that is a common occurrence as seen by the memorial headstones dotted along the pathways.

Once I saw the film I knew I had to do it. But at the time I was pretty much chair bound with illness and pain. However, within a couple of years I set the date to make the journey.

It was 2 years down the track, the year we celebrated 40 years of marriage and Paul turned 60. Also, it would give me time to gain my health back, while starting to train for the walk.

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In training in the Philippines. Early hours of the morning because past sun rise, the heat was too much.

One of the first thing I did was buy a pair of comfy training shoes. They were light, a size larger then I needed (to help with blisters), and didn’t confine my feet and cause pain. The first pair of shoes that didn’t cause me pain!

I walked in rain, in the cold, the heat, the day, the dark, by myself, and with others. The time rolled by as the miles did.

So here are some of the preparations myself and Paul underwent to prepare for the Camino.

  1. Set a date – Setting a date  brings the goal into focus and plans will begin to take shape.
  2. Train – Set up a training program and stick to it. I tried to do at least 6-8 kilometers a day more on others in any kind of weather, wet, cold, hot, everything except for thunderstorms – They were a no go!  I would also recommend stretches to build strength. The one I didn’t do enough of was to door more hill climbs.
  3. Carry a pack – The more I started to walk I would add weights to a pack to increase my ability to carry a pack. I even used coral rock in the Philippines to get used to the added weight.
  4. Study – Increase your knowledge of the paths you will follow. Understanding the terrain and what is ahead in terms of weather, and accommodation. Also understanding how diet and water affects walking.
  5. Purchase the correct equipment –

       –  Pack – We changed Paul’s pack right at the end. It has to have a waist band to                 take the weight and not pull on the shoulders.

–  Rainwear  – A good rain coat is important. We will probably go with the Atalaa next time. Our ponchos were ok but not great. They needed to be longer although they were light weight – always a consideration. The Atalaa people seemed to just cruise by unscathed by the weather on themselves or their packs.

Footwear – Of course it goes without saying – correct footwear is a must. I was told to go a size bigger and it worked. Two pairs of socks fill the gaps. Duct tape is a must. Prevents blistering!

Underwear. We opted mainly for bamboo socks and jocks. I would hope for a better fitting pair next time that dried quicker. Also undergarments that wick moisture away from your body too.

 – Poles – this is not last for any reason but they definitely were our definite bring along. Some did walk without them – good luck to them. I would never think of it! They were invaluable. Spring loaded were good but not particularly necessary. We didn’t go very expensive due to financial constraints and it really didn’t seem to make a difference, except the tips do wear out after 40 days of pounding. They can be purchased along the way.

6. Stay the course – There may be  road blocks or at least detours so persevere. Keep focused. Don’t give up!

 

 

 

Posted in Christian living, energy, health and wellness, isagenix, Life, Night shade Allergies, Uncategorized, weight loss

VICTORY – WEIGHT LOSS + ENERGY + HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHANGES = 1 ECSTATIC WOMAN!

This is followed up my previous blog on how I gained health and energy. This blog covers the aspect of weight loss. It is a couple of years since writing this and I have maintained my weight but still continue to work at loosing the last 10 kilos I need to.

I have succumbed a few times to reactions to food as something slipped by me so I have still maintained my abstinence of nightshades. I also still maintain my Isagenix routine and swear by them!

Below are some of the other struggles I overcame in this area of weight loss I recorded a few years back!

Struggling with Weight Loss? This might help you however, if you have never understood the struggle of losing weight or being able to keep it off then this blog is not for you. In fact please don’t read it because you will most likely be critical and judgmental of those of us who have faced the struggle and until you have walked in the shoes of those of us who have fought to overcome in this area you won’t get it!

There are many reasons why people struggle with their weight gains. I think I have covered a few of them in the past 6 or so years and will share a few “reasons” here as to why weight loss is complicated for some and not just a matter of not eating too much.

  1. Genes – My family is prone to overweightness

This has been a problem within our family for many years. Our mother had a huge weight issue all her life. I don’t know how many diet fads she attempted in vain. We are prone to weight gain and my siblings and I put on weight as she did – all over. We are big-boned so we tell ourselves. We are just a big family. I always refused to accept that but found myself looking more like her. It has always been an issue for me and a goal to stay slim and to stay healthy. I achieved it for a lot of years but the past few years saw me gain kilo after kilo and the ability to shed them was becoming increasingly difficult.

  1. Comfort Eating and Depression

I saw this in my mother who used food as a comfort for some challenging issues within our family but I personally didn’t know I was also starting to use it to comfort myself. That was until I did a fast last year and realized each time I was starting to feel sad, worried, tired or angry about something I would head for the food cupboard until I remembered I was fasting. It was a huge awakening for me to find my “comfort” from another source other than food. The depression from the cycle of frustration and hopelessness is hard to describe. You actually might need to seek counsel as there may be even deeper roots to the cause of comfort eating that need addressing.

  1. Illness or injury

In 2009 two things happened to my health that was to affect me for the next 6 years. The first was the onset of Hashimotos Thyroid condition, which meant rapid weight gain and other issues that affected my ability to function at any high level of energy, at times even the ability to function for more than an hour or so before needing to rest. Thinking I was just becoming a lazy slob I embarked on a significant physical training program. All was going well although an hour’s exercise meant a recovery time of 3 hours at least. Then I twisted my ankle – ever so slightly. The injury produced a clot somewhere in my leg. Long story short the health issues continued as my weight ballooned. Depression set in and comfort eating became an issue. Cycles! They are hard to break. Exercise became associated with pain and when there are no apparent benefits, frustration and disillusionment.

  1. Food allergies

I started the same route as my mum exploring different diets and food regimes. I embarked on the various paleo diets around and found they worked at various levels. I grew my own vegies; ate healthy meals but still found weight loss illusive. “Just don’t eat as much” people said. How does about 1000kls a day equate to too much! Fasting produced some good side effects in that for that time I didn’t bloat or feel sick. But you can’t not eat forever! I discovered I had an allergy to nightshade plants. Elimination helped but still the weight was only slowly dissipating.

VICTORY!

Last year I undertook a Daniel fast. This means eating only vegetables, fruit and water. I actually found that having one meal a day in the middle of the day worked well for me regarding bloating, sufficiency and just all round health.

It started off with being very sick at the beginning of the year.  Flat on my back for about the third January in a row: Shingles, autoimmune issues, flus, bronchial issues, all occurred around the end or beginning of each year.

How I started my road to recovery.

  1. Prayed.

I spent days in bed with the virus I had. So I figured that I would make it work for me. I spent time waiting on God: Days of just being quiet before Him. Those who wait on Him will renew their strength!

  1. Fasted

Because I couldn’t eat from being sick I turned it into a fast. I was determined to see a breakthrough. I don’t believe in fasting as a form of twisting God’s arm but for me it definitely helps in clearing the airwaves between myself and God. I have found after 40 years of walking with the Lord that times of dedicated prayer and fasting definitely bring breakthrough in wisdom and understanding.

  1. Listened

Listened to my body and discovered what worked for me. I had a regime of vitamins I was on and have been for quite a few years but found that I may still have been lacking in a few areas.

  1. Did the Practical

Day by day as I started to improve I started exercises. I was doing my knee exercises in bed and strengthening my core muscles as well as my knees. I then started walking a little each day and building on that.

  1. Found supplements that worked

My biggest breakthrough came though when I discovered Isagenix. I have heard a lot of negative reports about the product since joining but let me tell you I have found they worked powerfully for me and thousands of others.

When I went back to my naturopath who for two years has been working with me to improve my health and weight, with little to no avail, she was shocked to see I had lost 5 kilos in 1 week.

From January to May last year after nearly 60 days on a Daniel fast I had only lost about 7 kilos. The fast was not about losing weight but you would think it would be a bi-product. On the Isagenix program eating more than before and taking the vitamins and minerals, I lost the 5 kilos in a week! Since that time with all the travel and the exercise producing muscle and toning my body I have managed to lose and sustain around 17kilos loss. This isn’t a diet it is a lifestyle change!

Now here is one of those frustrations. My naturopath knew about the products and agreed they were very good products and the balance of the regime was “probably” a good fit for the various conditions I had..!! But she doesn’t recommend them because they are “those” products!! What products? Multilevel marketing! Well really – because an ordinary person can sell them and not just the “professionals” means she didn’t recommend something that could have helped me..

Herein I put up a disclaimer. These products may not work for you. I am not a professional but I do believe in encouraging people who like me have struggled with the whole aspect of weight loss. I am also a trained counsellor and understand that weight loss is a lot more complicated than just not eating too much for many people. See my previous blog where I share some of these issues.

I urge you to consult a naturopath, doctor or health professional who is trustworthy and cares about your health. Mine did but also had some strong opinions that I was happy to ignore. You have to decide to explore your options. These are just my comments and discoveries.

FAQ and Common Comments

Is it for everyone? My only comment on that is that for many it has been the breakthrough they have needed for years. Is it for you? Only you can decide that. For me it has given me the energy that I had been lacking for so many years. The balance of vitamins and nutrients works incredibly well for me. This regime may not be for you but it is worth a try. More importantly, is to find what works for you and your body. It is not a magic pill to swallow but a system that does help many to improve the health of their bodies.

It is expensive!  For me as I did the math, meal replacement and vitamin exchange (remember I was on many vitamins prior to this) meant I came out about equal in cost. The products are good quality and if it works are a lot less expensive then healthcare costs. I haven’t been to a doctor, or even the naturopath since! You do the math. I also saved on my gym costs because I have my own motivation and love the freedom of exercising outdoors…..

It isn’t real food. I love real, healthy food. But I also have found that for the time being meal replacements are working for what I need right now by providing nutritionally rich foods. I still have a really lovely main meal at lunch time and find I am satisfied with that. When I attain my final goal weight I will be able to utilize introducing more foods back in to my diet. However, I will still maintain the cleanse aspect of the regime to maintain good health. This means a cleanse day ONCE (1) day a week. I have heard people “quote” you have to fast 2 or so days a week.

If I starved myself I would lose weight too! I have heard people on blogs say it is a starvation diet – wrong. It does take discipline and is controlled calories, no doubt, but you are satisfied and getting the right nutrients you just don’t feel like overeating and once you have cleansed your system from the sugars etc your cravings abate. I was fasting and still not losing copious amounts of weight. Starving yourself actually has the opposite affect which I will not go in to here as I have said I am not a qualified professional.

You just have to learn to eat smaller amounts! If I had a dollar for everyone who said that I would be a wealthy woman. It’s about what goes in and absolutely smaller portions help. But it is not always the easy answer. Again see my blog regarding this. I was eating salads and protein every meal and because of allergies was making myself extremely sick. Find out what is right for you.

You started to exercise – therefore your energy returned. It wasn’t the products. I don’t know how many people said this to me as well. However, for me the exercise even though I was doing better still left me depleted of energy. The products definitely improved my energy levels to the point I could function when I get back from excessive exercise. Also I gained 10kilos in as many weeks years ago, as there were health issues that needed to be addressed with a malfunctioning thyroid, even though I was jalking (jog walking) up to 8klms 6 days a week. So don’t assume exercising is the answer to healthier living and weight loss for everyone.

So in summaryfind what works for you. These products are worth a look and a trial. We are all different metabolisms and health issues so take responsibility for your health and don’t expect others to do it for you. Check out this site and look over the products I cannot recommend them enough but do your homework and start living the life your body deserves. Most people do not know what it feels like to be well. Some said I became fanatical when I started recovering and using these products to boost that recovery…I absolutely was! When you feel so wonderful after years of being unwell and unable to get through the day without energy and feeling well…who wouldn’t want to run a marathon and shout it from the rooftops. This excited over 50’s woman completed a 800 klm walk in 2015 and walked approximately 3000 km in preparation for the walk. Life is for living. Check it out.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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Posted in Christian living, communication, energy, Goal setting, health and wellness, Life, Uncategorized, weight loss

Staying the Healthy Course

IMG_24332014 was a massive year for myself and my family. It was the year of transformation for me from unhealthy to healthy: from overweight to slimmer; from near death to alive; from mind numbing work to fulfillment. So many changes, challenges, and victories! I saw these not only in myself but in my family as well.

In terms of weight loss I was able to shed nearly 40 lbs or 20 kilos. The change was so dramatic to my body, on a trip home after a few weeks away, in the dead of night Paul could not work out who was sleeping with him and freaked out!

Fast forward 4 years and many overseas trips and challenging dietary situations and I have still managed to maintain the weight loss give or take a few kilos. It has not been easy!

Less and More

One of the mind changes I had in 2014 was that this was no diet experience. This was a life-style change. From now on my life had to consist of less– less stress, less of amounts of food, less of fats and sugars,  and less of those foods that cause me pain – night shade plants. It also consisted of more – More regular exercise, more regular sleep, more regular examination of where I am at with calories and step counters, more fun paths, more laughter, more peace and joy, more of those things that bring me joy.

When we focus on the less so much we can gain a mindset of lack rather than abundance. We feel deprived and that in turn will cause us to falter and feel somehow we are missing out. With that sense of deprivation it may not be long before we find ourselves breaking out!

I also don’t beat myself up. If I find I have had more rather than less of or less rather than more, I get up and start again. I love that His mercies are new every morning! Every day when the sun comes up I have a clean slate to start again regardless of the day before.

Today is a new day and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Stay the course. Keep going. You are unstoppable if you don’t stop!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

Posted in camino de santiago, Christian living, energy, health and wellness, Life, Night shade Allergies, Uncategorized, walking, weight loss

Weight Loss Confusion!

Watching someone try to lose weight rapidly and discover the “journey” of weight loss and awareness of calories etc, has reminded me of just how consuming the whole concept of weight loss can be.

In 2012 when one of my daughters was encouraged to go on a Paleo diet for urgent health reasons, we both emptied our cupboards and cleansed! I also remember the absolute shock I felt as I discovered for years I had been looking at charts rather than the ingredients on products – sugars, salts, fats etc as compared to what was actually in the product. The shock stayed with me for months as I navigated the labyrinth of labels and what I thought were healthy alternatives only to discover they were laden literally with “poisons.”

I also remember the confusion of what is “healthy” and what diet is best etc. etc.

Here are 5 keys I have learned to help people maneuver  the “diet” world.

  1. Dieting sucks – lifestyle change has to be your mindset.

A “diet” insinuates a limited time span; a beginning and an end. Dietary changes have to be a life time mentality – unending. There may need to be a period of getting back on track or staying on track which requires a kick start but then you have to always be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth and why!

2.  Mindset is priority – Why do you overeat?

There is a whole psychology around overeating and I don’t intend to get in to it here as there are many reasons why people overeat: sadness, grief, rebellion, laziness, low self-esteem, comfort and the list continues. The benefit of a “time-frame” or health scare  can push us on-wards to changing our mindset to want to change our negative life habits permanently. That is only a kick start though and you have to realize this has to be a life style change – otherwise that weight will come back and stick like glue!

3.  Find what works for you – Find what will keep you motivated.

For me doing life in a gym or pool is never going to keep me motivated. Fresh air, meeting people, walking a dog, finding new paths, these are motivating and invigorating. Finding foods that work for me without making me feel I am missing out also helps keep me motivated. High allergies or intolerance from night shade plants, cause me some issues and can become frustrating but I have discovered that I love feeling well so not feeling well for the sake of a few mouthfuls is a high motivating factor! I really recommend initially working with a health professional to ensure there are no underlying issues and then find what will keep you motivated and interested in food control.

4.  Moderation – How much and what to eat!

There is so much confusion in terms of, “eat this – don’t eat that”. For example, eat eggs; don’t eat eggs. Eat butter; Don’t eat butter. Eat meat; Don’t eat meat. The lists go on. I believe God gave us everything to enjoy! It’s the over indulgence that is the issue for most western cultures. Limit the sugar, salt and fat products and you will see a change too.

So long as you use more then you put in you can keep the weight down. My husband, Paul has no issues with this one and really doesn’t understand my struggles  because he is constantly on the go and utilizes all he consumes. I on the other hand am more sedentary and have to work hard to do the same. My last few kilos I need to lose and have struggled with, mean I have to increase my burning and decrease my intake even more.

5. No Excuses

I can make all the excuses for why I am obese – too tired, too sick, too old, too much work but my health has to remain the utmost priority as it affects every area of my life. There is no excuse to maintain unhealthy life-style habits.

So these are 5 keys I have discovered over the past years of food issues and I will explore them more fully as I continue my journey of lifestyle habit changes.

Until next time – keep persevering. You don’t stop if you don’t stop!

Blessings Narelle

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Making it to the top of the ridge, following the thousands of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago or the Way who have passed this way before: a far cry from the couch potato of yesteryear! Determine today to follow the lead of those who have walked the paths of life style change!

 

Posted in camino de santiago, Christian living, health and wellness, Life, Night shade Allergies, Uncategorized

Swollen joints, legs and ankles.

This blog is so exciting for me to write. The last few years of swollen joints, legs and ankles is over…I continue to dance for joy..or rather walk for joy!!

I remember the days when as a young girl I was called “lucky legs”: Lucky they didn’t snap off as they were so skinny. My knees were bony (I love the fact I am starting to find them again!). My calves were so tight from playing sports every day of the week: As I got older my calves got to the stage where they just wobbled each time I walked and spread when I sat!

As a teenager I used to lay down on my back, my stomach would sink inwards and ribs were exposed..Ribs I still have ribs?

What wasn’t tied down was heading south! Can your underarms be so big that your arms can’t sit down comfortably?  Don’t even start me on my tuck-shop lady arms..sorry to all you wonderful ladies out there who do a fantastic job…You get the picture!

We can joke about the look of being overweight but the trouble is our health suffers. Enough was enough.

My ankles were painful and debilitating. My knees were swelling and for no apparent reason. This put pressure on my back as I shuffled around lopsided. As well my heart would beat out of control whenever I maneuvered steps or our back yard. Walking brought pain, swelling and tears.

The beginning of my healing was finding out I had an allergy to nightshade plants.

With the swelling and pain going I started walking: small distances at first but increasing all the time. I received prayer at our church when Pastor Craig Sparrow called for people who had ankle issues to come for prayer. I believe through the name of Jesus we can be healed. I was able to start walking almost immediately without pain. The next week he asked for those with knee issues. I hobbled out  the front again. My knees had almost folded on me that morning, were swollen to almost double the size and I could barely walk down to the front of the church for prayer. I accepted the healing and was able to maneuver the steps more easily on the way back.

I believe in miracle healing and I also believe in the process of healing. I also believe in being responsible with our health as well. I believe I have a very practical God who gives us wisdom when we ask Him – for any situation. During a time of prayer and fasting I read a scripture:

Hebrews 12:12-13 So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, Cut through and make firm, and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet (yes make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction), so that the lame and halting limbs may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.

I loved how it said make happy paths and strengthen the knees so the limbs may not be put out of joint and will be cured.

I figured there might be specific exercises for knees that would strengthen and invigorate feeble tottering knees. http://www.knee-pain-explained.com/ was the beginning.

I did them each morning before getting out of bed and a couple more times during the day. I modified exercises, particularly ones lying on your stomach and bringing the leg towards your back. I found supporting the legs together and gently as I brought them toward my back meant there was no pain.

I was careful to ensure there was little or no pain. I needed to experience positive feelings while exercising. For so long my mind associated exercise with pain.

Below are some of the steps I took in increasing my strength and health.

(This is where I put up a disclaimer. I am not a qualified health professional. I am just someone who has suffered with long term illness and issues and am sharing what has worked for me. I have also been under various health professionals and checked with them. I encourage you to do the same. However, I also found that I am the one responsible for my health. They don’t care nearly as much as I do about my health. So find what works for you and do it, sensibly.)

  1. Waited on God

 Isaiah 40: 29 -31

He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength (causing it to multiply and making it to abound) Even youths shall faint and be weary, and (selected) young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up (close to God) as eagles (mount up to the sun); they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

This became my “mantra” or confession.

  1. Kept my goal in mind

During the really hard times I found a goal – to walk the Camino Santiago De Compostella – The Way, an 800 km walk through France and Spain. Many said choose another goal but this kept me going. Your goals should be enough to stretch and motivate you. What is your goal? It should be bigger than just losing a few kilos. We are talking about healthy living here.

  1. Started on the knee strengthening exercises.

 I found them at  http://www.knee-pain-explained.com/  Taking them slowly and carefully, understanding my limitations.

  1. Started to loose kilos.

 Those extra kilos meant heavy lifting and unwanted pressure on the knee joints and ankles. Next time you are at the hardware store try to lift a bag of cement. That is 20 kilos or approx. 40lbs. That is nearly how much I lost last year. It was a slow tedious process. Find what works for you to enable that to happen. I used Isagenix to finally kick-start and still maintain the weight loss 3 years later!

  1. Used comfrey to aid in healing.

I had seen healing and was getting better but still had swelling in the ankle for no apparent reason.  One morning while praying about it I remembered Paul’s mum, Doris’s remedy for rapid healing of bones. She practiced a lot of homeopath remedies and spoke highly of Comfrey. I had it growing profusely in my garden. I had twisted my ankle many years before and it was the start of my down fall releasing a clot into my leg. Since that time I kept having significant pain and swelling in that ankle and leg. There was an extremely tender spot on the inside of my ankle that continued to be a trouble spot. X-rays failed to show any hairline fractures but it was definitely sore to touch. After researching and consulting with my naturopath I started to drink a tea of one comfrey leaf only over a period of 3 days and then stopped. I repeated that for a few weeks. I also applied a poultice regularly over the tender spot and around the ankle and knees. The results were rapid and amazing. I could now drill the spot on the foot with my finger without pain. I recommend this page for more information and consulting with a naturopath regarding taking it but I cannot recommend this little herb enough for anti-inflammatory and healing properties. . There is a warning here though about ingesting the tea. So proceed with caution. However, do remember that any drug, herbal or pharmaceutical in overdose amount can be detrimental to your health. http://www.herbalremediesinfo.com/COMFREY.html 

  1. Found what exercises I loved and worked for me.

I don’t know how many dollars I wasted on gym membership. I was happy for a while stuck inside 4 walls with 20 other women going around in circles but it really didn’t motivate me for long. Paul and I bought matching bikes and I had other equipment at home that had been idle for a while. I have found a menu of different exercise routines work best for me.

Find a menu of exercises that work for you and keep you interested. This is my menu.

 I make use of what is around me.

I use the toilet. You may laugh but this was one of the exercises I did to strengthen my knees. Squatting up and down building up to 40 times each time you use the toilet. Exercise doesn’t have to be expensive but has to be enough to keep you interested and time convenient.  Oh and a well-working bowel is also a great way to stay healthy…just saying.

I walk.  I went to my local council and found maps of local tracks around my area. I couldn’t believe there were so many. It opened up a new dimension to the area where I lived – they were my happy paths! I was able to bring my family, grandchildren, husband, dog and even my elderly adopted grandmother on tracks I never knew existed.

I rode. Some days while my knees were still strengthening I rode my bike especially on longer distances. I took g’baies with me on their bikes and Paul added the cart to take the younger ones who loved the outing.

I swim. Here in the Philippines I do some swimming and water resistance training when I can. I can spend 2 hours in the water just working out as it is very easy on the legs.

I stretch. You certainly discover areas of your body that you didn’t realize you had and it works to strengthen those core muscles.

  1. Bought the correct, comfortable clothing.

 My biggest problem has always been footwear. I have always had ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes. I nearly cried last year when I decided I wouldn’t settle for anything except completely pain free comfort. I went to a great shop  Pure Performance for those in Newcastle and they helped me choose. Find shoe shop owners who care!

They let me wear the shoes for 15-20 mins until I found a pair that fit like a glove and didn’t hurt anywhere. I have only had one blister in all the time I have worn them – a lot of kilometres – and that was due to having soft wet feet from being wet for days.

I wear comfortable clothes not necessarily expensive gym clothing.

  1. Kept enlarging myself.

Keep building into your exercise challenges: Increase distances, weights, times, duration etc. You will be amazed as I am at how much further, faster, longer you can go.

  1. Measured – sensibly.

My app measures many things on my walks including steps, calories etc. I weigh myself pretty regularly. However, I don’t allow myself to be discouraged or euphoric with my results. It is nice to see the times go up and weight come down but that is not always the best indicator. There are days when I just don’t do well; I am tired; overeaten; haven’t had any significant walk times –  But I keep going!

  1. Didn’t give up. I stuck to the plan.

There were challenging days but I refused to fall backwards. I wasn’t hard on myself if I faltered in lack of exercise or diet slips, I just refocused and stayed determined not to give up. It’s easy sometimes when we make a plan to get distracted by life and other things. I know what I want I have set my heart and mind toward it!

I hope this has encourages you and I guess the precursor to all of these exercises, tips etc is to START. You will not achieve anything unless you start. For me it has been a little bit challenging walking here in the Philippines..two typhoons in as many months, and two major tropical storms in the last few weeks. But I will keep surging on..The Camino awaits!

This was fun although long read remembering the many happy paths. I am still walking finding new paths. Not as often as I want but I am still using a menu to maintain a healthy life style – just adjusted to current places and situations..I am in the States now just coming out of winter..

Have fun!

Until Next time

Blessing Narelle

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