The Gym Struggle
I have always been a big guy and a few years ago I decided I needed to lead a healthier lifestyle. At that point in my life, my weight was getting out of control and my IBS symptoms weren’t making life any easier, so I used these reasons to eat better and exercise more. I started doing tons of research on how to work out and diet effectively, so much to the point where I almost decided to become a personal trainer. However, my IBS is so severe that unfortunately I discovered I cannot commit to a strict schedule that is normally required by most jobs, so I quickly had to give up on that idea even though I really tried. Nonetheless, I became almost infatuated with exercising regularly and eating properly, even if the journey was sometimes painful.
I suffer from alternating IBS-D and IBS-C, but I mainly suffer from diarrhea. It took a long time for me to accept this condition because it meant that I had to do a lot of things differently. Since I was so used to living my life a certain way, I figured the best learning mechanism was to develop a strategy that would help keep me motivated and consistent with leading a healthier lifestyle. First thing I understood was that it’s important to study my routine and habits because this information will help me with my plan of attack. For example, the times I choose to eat, the kinds of food I put in my body, the times I go to bed, the amount of sleep I get, and when and how often I have a bowel movement. Once I figured all of these things out, the next step was coming up with a strategy to better manage my symptoms.
In order to eat better and exercise more, I needed to find out what was the best method specifically for me. Through this health journey, I have come to realize that meal prepping is a very efficient way for me to eat healthy and properly portion out my meals. My old habits consisted of overeating and lots of junk food, and every time I acted careless of what I ate my symptoms would go “bananas”. Now that my meals are well-balanced and portioned out to the right sizes, my symptoms are much better controlled. However, I still needed to get my sleep and exercise routine in order. Unfortunately, sleeping for me is still a struggle, but if I can find time to take naps throughout the day, then that helps. In regard to going to the gym, I realized the best way for me to be able to exercise effectively was only after I had a bowel movement. The reason was because if I felt constipated then the pain would be too unbearable and uncomfortable for me to withstand the physical activity. Although I have come up with a strategy that works best for me so far, I still find it difficult to be consistent.
What has been keeping me from going to the gym as much as I would like, besides suffering from a chronic condition, is the simple fact that work just drains the heck out of me sometimes. I rather do some sort of relaxing activity after work instead of something that requires essentially … more work. (For example, smoking a medical marijuana joint and sipping on a glass of cabernet sauvignon while watching re-runs of The Jamie Foxx Show.) I have to be honest, I have multiple bowel movements a day to the point of fatigue, so it gets pretty hard to develop energy and motivation to exercise. However, I will continue to work at my goal of leading a healthier lifestyle and never stop trying.
The most important thing for me, or any of us to remember is that we should never compare ourselves to others and always go at our own pace. I may fall off track once in a while, but as long as I stay focused on my own path, then success will be attained and my only competition is myself.
“If there is no struggle there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?