Here’s part 3 of the self-help survey results. This part explores exercise and diet. You can all the parts published so far on this page, scroll down for older posts. One of the respondents’ complete answers can be found on her own blog page Sky Blue River.
Do you think exercise is helpful for this condition? How do you exercise?
It depends what is classed as exercise. I always make sure I get up and do something even if I am in the middle of a relapse and it is a huge struggle. I think it is important to keep moving, but traditional exercise i.e. going to the gym, is totally out of the question.
I find that very short, slow walks here and there can be helpful in building up strength and getting me out and about/ cheering me up. I use daily living activities as exercise mostly, anything else is too much!
The right kind of exercise can be highly useful. Yoga, T’ai Chi etc. Walking our dog seemed to feature a lot in my early recovery days, then the Flexibar.
I think effortless exercise is really important as long as you don’t exceed your energy limits or exert yourself in any way. T’ai chi, Yoga and short walks all help me feel healthier. Although I have learned how important it is to adapt what I do each day to how I’m feeling and not just aim for the same (or more) every day.
How important do you think a healthy diet is to improving your condition? Have you made any changes to your diet that have helped? What changes?
I think it helps significantly. The majority of people’s systems will cope with unhealthy food if their psychological stress is reduced, but ultimately if you want to be healthy eating a healthy diet is the way to go. I changed my diet to organic when I was ill, juiced a lot of fresh fruit and veg, avoided processed foods, toxins such as caffeine, alcohol etc, basically things which can act as stressors to the body.
I have tried changing my diet many times, but it has had no effect on the ME. I have stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol.
Yes. Cut out bread and pasta. Drinking lots of water. Yakult. Lots of protein e.g. eggs, chicken
I think healthy eating is really important. Apart from the changes I’ve had to make because of developing intolerances, I’ve found eating lots of protein really helps and minimizing carbohydrates. I also eat lots and lots of fresh (mainly organic) veg and have given up caffeine and alcohol. I think cutting down on dairy has also helped and I eat very little processed food.
Do you take any supplements? What kind? What supplements do you think have been most useful?
I take Berrocca. Would like to try more/ different things but I have no idea where to start in looking for things to help!
I took loads when I was initially diagnosed (things like co q10, multivitamin, olive leaf extract, b vitamins etc), but now I just take a few for general health (antioxidant, vitamin d and b12) and to supplement a vegetarian lifestyle.
I have over the past 2 1/2 years taken various supplements, but found none of them helpful. I also had a vitamin injection every two weeks for about 6 months called the Myers Cocktail, but had no improvement in symptoms.
The first time around I took loads: multivitamins, magnesium, selenium, zinc, vitamin C, Echinacea, etc. This time I’ve been trying to test them out by introducing them one at a time and then going without for a while. I now take Essential fatty acid supplements (echiomega and evening primrose oil) as there is quite a lot of evidence for their benefit and I’m pretty sure they are helping. A multivitamin for vegetarians, extra Vitamin C, Chromium for blood sugar issues, ginko biloba (definitely helps me cognitively, don’t have nearly so many problems finding my words) probiotics, and supplements to tackle my gut imbalance (now’s candida clear seems to help me! not sure if citrocidal is helping me much but I find it hard to remember to take it). I now take Echinacea in response to signs of a new infection instead of taking it all the time.
Have you developed any food intolerances/ gut problems/ blood sugar problems since having this condition? How do you deal with these issues?
I was coeliac before being diagnosed with ME/CFS. Being gluten free is easy these days, it was much harder 10 years ago when few people even knew what gluten was.
Yep….nothing (has helped) as yet
This didn’t seem to be an issue the first time round but is a huge problem for me this time. I have become intolerant to sugar (and fruit sugars), gluten, mushrooms, yeast, vinegar and also seem to have erratic blood sugar levels. Exclusion diets, probiotics and anti-candida supplements have helped me control symptoms to a certain extent but I can’t say I feel as though I’m winning the battle. A high protein/ low carb diet has probably been the most helpful for gut symptoms. But when I cheated over Christmas I briefly felt a renewed sense of vitality even though my gut symptoms and sugar cravings worsened.
Just a reminder that I’d love to hear from more of you, so please feel free to comment. Or you could still answer one of the surveys in full if you’d like to!