So, I was on Facebook this morning when someone posted one of these type sayings in the spirit of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. It occurred to me that there’s a chronic illness version of that and here it is…
If you give a chronic illness person a bit of energy, she’s going to want to clean the house. When she begins to clean the house, she will remember that she’s probably better off using her energy to cook some meals ahead of time.
When she begins to cook, she will realize that it’s time she ate something. When she gets to the refrigerator, she will notice she needs to go food shopping.
When she gets back from the store, she’ll realize that she left the stove on and the pot is burned. When she goes to throw the pot into the sink to cool, she’ll have remembered she never ate lunch.
When she returns to the refrigerator, she will remember that she left the groceries in the car. When she finishes putting away the groceries, she’ll notice that the house is even messier than it was this morning.
When she thinks about cleaning the house, her body reminds her that she is out of energy.
And this is why she is found sitting on the floor near the couch in a house that looks like it was ransacked with the ice cream melting on the ground beef that is running down the kitchen counter.
I’ve been talking about exercise and diet as it relates to chronic illness this month. Last week I talked about my quest to find something that would allow me to lose weight. This week I’d like to share a sort of discovery I made that added more energy to my day.
I was talking about trying to find an eating plan for weight loss with my aunt when she mentioned that she was told to have protein shakes in place of meals. After looking into the kind she used, I found that there was some research that suggested that older women should have more protein than the RDA recommended.
Here is just some of the of the information I found:
“The current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram (g/kg) of body weight a day for adults over 18, or about 2.3 ounces for a 180-pound adult. But research is showing that higher levels may be needed for adults age 65-plus.” according to an article on Feb 12, 2018, called: How Much Protein Do You Need After 50? – AARP“
Further, the above article goes on to say: “In our older years, we are at risk of sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, strength and function. The essential amino acids in protein are key nutrients for muscle health, but older adults are less responsive to low doses of amino acid intake compared to younger people. A 2016 study from researchers at the departments of Food Science and Geriatrics at the University of Arkansas found that this lack of responsiveness can be overcome with higher levels of protein consumption. The study says that protein levels in the range of 30 to 35 percent of total caloric intake may prove beneficial, although the researchers acknowledge that level could be difficult to reach for many people.
People with sarcopenia may need 1.2 to 1.5 g/kg of protein a day, according to the Mayo Clinic; that’s 3.5 to 4.3 ounces for a 180-pound adult. It is also important to eat the right type of proteins, including some that include the amino acid leucine, which has been shown to preserve body muscle. “Leucine is found in higher amounts in animal foods: beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and products made with milk. It’s also found in soybeans and, to a lesser extent, other beans, nuts and seeds,” according to an article on the Mayo Clinic’s website.”
From anther: “Researchers say that the percentage of protein in the diet had a positive relationship with pain threshold, meaning that subjects who ate more protein had higher pain thresholds. The pain threshold is the point at which sensation becomes painful, and a low threshold is associated with fibromyalgia” . according to an article, Vitamin E, Protein May Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms, from Sept. 6, 2015
Armed with this information, I decided to have a high protein/low carb shake instead of breakfast and a high protein/low carb protein bar for one of my healthy snacks. What I found surprised me! After a short while, I began to feel more energy! Energy I hadn’t felt in many, MANY years!
As I mentioned last week, I had asked my doctor for her ideas for losing weight and she suggested I limit my calories to 1200/day. When I began keeping track of calories, I found I was only eating 900-1000 calories/day. Simply adding more protein, I began to feel more energy.
Something else I found was that actually eating more calories (the right kind of calories/foods) helped my weight loss program with my health coach. This got me thinking that those of us with chronic illness/conditions might actually need more protein or certain foods or kinds of calories to have more normal energy levels. I’m no doctor and I haven’t been able to find articles about this, but I plan to talk to my doctor about this when I go and this is why.
How many people with chronic illness fatigue have trouble doing normal activities? How many who are having good energy days fall off the energy wagon when they attempt to do exercise or housework or walking?
I also have Essential Tremors and I have noticed that, when I’m especially shaky, I feel especially tired. I’ve also noticed that many of my hot flashes are followed by an immediate lowering of my energy level. What if those of us with chronic illness fatigue need a higher amount of protein or a higher amount of calories from certain foods?
Has anyone else had better energy by eating more protein or more calories from particular foods? Is this a thing? Could this help Fibro? CFS? What say you?
Check back here next week for a look at food and chronic illness.
I don’t think you’d be human if you were sunshine and roses every day, especially in the face of chronic struggles and hardships. However, some will tell you-you’re not a good Christian if you share that you are depressed or upset or frustrated. It’s not like the Lord doesn’t know you feel this way. It hasn’t escaped His notice. It’s not a sin to be angry or sad or frustrated with your situation. It’s only destructive if you stay there. It can actually be quite therapeutic to throw yourself a little pity party now and again.
I think the only people who don’t ever go down deep in the valley of despair are those who don’t have any problems. Know any people without any problems? Me neither!
So when you are exhausted just after getting up in the morning, you go looking for your sandwich in the closet, your electric bill is past due and you have only two nickels to rub together…AGAIN, you will enter that valley. What you do there and how long you stay will determine your quality of life and the joy you find in spite of it all.
The value of a pity party:
Allow yourself time to grieve and/or express your negative emotions so you can move on. Without a pity party, some find it difficult to gather the strength to move on to life’s next chronic hurdle because they haven’t dealt with the previous one. Making time to express your anger, sadness or frustration can help you get rid of those feelings.
What to do at your pity party:
Invite people to your pity party. You don’t have to send out formal invitations or anything, but fellowship with one or two trusted, Christian friends or family members who understand what it feels like to deal with the issues you are struggling with. They will not only understand and allow you to vent but lead you back out of the valley of despair and back to the Lord. They can help by validating your feelings so you aren’t concentrating your energy on justifying why you feel the way you do. You have a right to your feelings. You don’t have to marry them, but you have a right to them as you come by them honestly.
Play Woe is Me. Express how you feel and allow that trusted friend or family member to see the real you–even if it isn’t pretty right now. It’s your party and you’ll cry if you want to so…cry if you want to! You’ll feel better afterward.
Allow friends or family to lift you up. I know. It’s frustrating to make one single statement and have well-meaning Christians immediately jump all over you about not being positive and tell you just to cheer up. But once you’ve had a good cry (or scream as the case may be), you need to be lifted up out of the valley or you’ll be tempted to stay there. And trust me, pity parties are a nice place to visit, but you don’t want to live there! Your friends want to help. Let them.
What to do after your pity party:
Have some FUN! Here are a few ideas. Go for a walk, see the beauty God put on this earth. See the humor in your situation and poke fun at yourself. Lift someone else’s spirits. Make someone laugh. Concentrate on someone else’s problems for a while and try to help. It’s amazing how focusing on others will draw you out of the pit you’ve fallen into. Write about it. Sing about it. Hug your blessings…better known as your children. Hug someone else’s children. LOL
Pray. Pray that God would take this from you and, if God doesn’t take the struggle away, pray that He would use it, your experience and you to lift someone else up.
Lastly, thank God. Thank the good Lord for the good things in your life. Count your blessings. You have some! Even in the lowest pit of despair, you have some blessings you can count. If your dishwasher broke and you can’t afford to fix it, you can thank God your water bill is paid this month and you can afford dish liquid. If you are so tired you can’t get up out of bed, thank Him for the bed you have. If your pain level is high, thank Him for the life you have and the chance you have today to perhaps find your answers. Maybe you’ll discover something that helps you. Maybe you’ll discover a $20 bill in the couch that will pay for a few groceries. I know, I’ve looked there a time or two as well!
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed”— 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
I pray this has been helpful and uplifting. Please leave me some feedback in a comment. Share your story. Tell me what you’d like to see in the coming weeks as I share. And please pass this post along to others who may need to start planning their own pity party. 😀