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  1. Hello friends! My name is Sky, and most of the time, I don't feel very good! I have anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and a thyroid gland that may or may not be working correctly; I am overweight and don't exercise; I don't often take time to cook varied, whole foods that I enjoy; much of my life is unplanned and disorganized; and I spend much of my time dissatisfied with my appearance, achievements, wardrobe, and daily accomplishments. I'm really a ball of fun, let me tell ya. But this is the season for taking stock and making plans for things to improve in the new year; and this year, I would like to take steps to help my body and mind feel better. In the Big Picture, "feeling good," to me, would look like: Having energy most days to complete, not only my necessary tasks, but also after-work projects or activities that I want to do. Having a workout routine that I perform regularly, which helps me be functionally strong for daily life and increases my sense of well-being. Creating and maintaining a daily, weekly, and monthly routine for my household cleaning, storage, shopping, and chores that keeps my home reasonably clean and frees up mental energy from making those decisions intermittently. Regularly cooking healthy meals, rich in vegetables and protein, that I enjoy making and eating. Being able to travel and do most things without IBS symptoms. Developing and implementing spiritual, mental, and emotional habits that help me be gratefully grounded in the present, and spend less time worrying about the future. Intentionally making progress toward my big goals like buying a home, buying a car, writing a book, planting a garden, upgrading my wardrobe, etc. Regularly engaging in creative endeavors I enjoy (writing, photography, needlecrafts, desktop publishing) and sharing some of that work with others. Having a happy, thriving relationship with my husband that's nourished through conversation, play, intimacy, exploration, teamwork, and working toward shared goals. Cultivating and prioritizing a daily Bible study and prayer practice, including striving to apply what I learn to my daily life and consistently worshiping and studying with other Christians. Making space for giving back to others, through hosting, donating, volunteering, visiting, and messaging. So in a nutshell: I want to have more physical and emotional energy, make space for things I enjoy, support a nourished body and mind, and have tangible and intangible resources to share with my family and community. This is, obviously, MUCH more than a challenge-long or even year-long project. Striving for this state of being is more of a lifelong pursuit and a process of giving myself grace and patience when life looks much different than that ideal. But at the same time, I can make meaningful steps toward each of these aspirations, and I can build a lifestyle that supports my feeling good more often than not. Now, the kicker is, I've been setting short-term goals related to this Big Picture list for the last few months, and I just ... don't do them. I start out feeling convinced that my small efforts won't make a difference, that I can't achieve the things I want to do, that I don't deserve success, and so on. So before I start haphazardly reaching for my kettlebell or adding a bunch of vegetables to my grocery list, I want to work on mindset and realistic goals. Here's my breakdown for the five weeks of this challenge: Week 1: Mindset Write down 7 affirmations and save one for each day, either on my bulletin board IRL or here on NF. Identify key values associated with my goals (i.e., hospitality, courage, openness, self-honesty, trust) and orient the affirmations around these. Find Bible verses related to these values and copy them down along with the affirmations. Create a vision board with images that remind me of these values, affirmations and verses, and print it and use it as a desktop wallpaper. Week 2: Break it down Organize my Big Goals into similar topics / areas. Select either a handful or all of the Big Goals and figure out 3-4 smaller steps to move me toward these goals (for example, if the goal is "buy a house," one smaller goal could be "talk to Eamon about a realistic down payment and calculate how much to save each month toward this amount"). Week 3: Take steps Select one small-step goal from each topic area and add to my daily habit tracker. Try to perform the small goals consistently for the whole week. Week 4: Reflect Pause to figure out what's working and what isn't, without judgment - if it's not working, either it isn't really a high priority to me, or else I need to try a different tactic. For things that aren't important, let them go! There are plenty of other things to focus on! Week 5: On my way! After reflecting and adjusting, add updated goals to habit tracker and try to consistently perform them for the week. Do something fun to celebrate progress! I'm seeing a lot of things on social media about taking it slow in 2023 and not pushing so hard to set goals; but honestly, I kind of did that in 2022, easing into my new life as a newlywed wife in a new state, and I'm feeling ready to push and stretch myself again. This feels like a lot but I'm feeling good about it. (One last thing that's floating around in the back of my head this challenge, which I have mentioned in previous challenges and likely won't be able to refrain from mentioning in this one, is that my husband Eamon and I have been casually trying to conceive for the last few months; so in addition to riding the rollercoaster of "Is it happening this month?", I'm working hard in therapy to unpack my fears, hopes, expectations, and goals for parenthood while I work on these other goals. Ideally I will limit how much I brain dump / vent / rant about that in this space, but also, I'd rather do that than get triggered and go off on my loved ones who are trying to help me, which is what I've been struggling with lately, so ... no guarantees. ) I'm glad you're here and I'm excited to discover some health, vitality and joy together in 2023!
  2. It's challenge time, and that means you all get to hear about my grass hut dream again. I hope you missed me. Now before you go thinking, “what?†allow me to explain. My boyfriend (that happened) has an uncle whose life quest was to marry a nice girl, have a great family, and retire to the beaches of Hawaii where he would live in a bungalow (grass hut) and surf all day. The grass hut isn’t the prize in itself, it's just the place we happen to keep the things important to us, but it's still the symbol in our minds of a whole life. It's been awhile since my last challenge, and stuff hasn't been great. I need this more than ever, and the timing was too perfect to wait. This is the part in the story where conflict arises. It's going to be a fight from here on out, but I learned a lot of tricks and saw a lot of problems the first two times. So, I’m going to have to take this how it should be; one step at a time, really because this lady is shopping for particularly glittery stairway.
  3. The Mission: UNLOCK DIETARY BEAST MODE. What would it be like to eat food and not worry about getting sick? What would it be like if I had a diet that contributed to a healthy weight but didn't make me sick when I eat? I aim to find out. I'm Melissa. Hi! In addition to the challenge things I am working on below, here's what I'm like. I'm a 37 year old living in the intermountain west. Things I like to do include being outside (mainly hiking, camping, backpacking, canyoneering, and rafting), reading, cooking (currently getting into fermentation and sausage making), baking, board games (word, old fashioned, and strategy games), other people's pets and children, and yoga. I think Ron Swanson might be my spirit animal. My superpowers include anxiety and reading comprehension. That's me five years and at least forty pounds ago on my very first canyoneering trip. Some numbers for the start of my first full challenge (all minuses are since my last weigh in on August 11th)! Weight: 187 (-11 pounds! Body fat: 43% (-3%)! Upper bust: 40.5" (-.5") Full bust: 45 (- 2" yesssss)! Under bust: 36" (-2") Waist: 36.5" (no change) Belly: 45.5" (-.5") Hips: 45" (-1.5") Left bicep: 14.25" (-.75) Right bicep: 14.5 (-.5") Left thigh: 29" (-1") Right thigh 29.5" (-.5") Left calf: 18" (no change) Right Calf: 17.5" (-.5"). So that's 11 pounds gone forever, 3% body fat melted (just using my scale for this), and 9.75" inches returned to sender. While weight loss isn't part of my challenge for now, it is still important to me so this is exciting stuff. On to mission control for this challenge! #1. Conquer my digestion. I've spent too much time letting my faulty digestion be in charge. I am doing an elimination diet in an effort to figure out what my system can handle, and I am committed to doing whatever it takes to turn this dark carnival back into a happy funtime circus. If that means living on bone broth and zucchini, BRING IT ON. Right now, this goal means: stick to my elimination diet 100% until it either starts working, or it becomes clear that it is in fact not going to work, at which point it's time to call in additional professional help. I currently eat very few things (pretty much just zucchini, carrots, bone broth, and plain animal proteins), but one upside is that my very restricted diet has me in ketosis (fat burning mode). I'll take all the fat burning help I can get. This is my circus, and those are my monkeys. #2. Be The Kindly Brontosaurus in dealing with doctors and medical stuff. Be the brontosaurus! Be kind, but don't leave until I get what I need! I need to be more assertive (not aggressive, just assertive) in my dealings with my medical issues. It's my body, no one else will ever have as much at stake as I do, and it's time to stop letting stuff happen or not happen to me. This means: making all my appointments in a timely fashion, being assertive at those appointments (be the brontosaurus! take a dinosaur friend if necessary!), researching all my own stuff thoroughly, getting second opinions, making sure my doctors know what they are talking about, filling all prescriptions in a timely fashion, and pushing and persisting for all necessary tests to get done. To healthy people, that may sound like a lot. For anyone else with chronic illness(es), that list will seem familiar. I have a lot going on, healthwise, and it's important for me to keep on top of things even when I feel horrible. I am done using illness as an excuse for not taking good enough care of myself. Don't feel good? Do the things anyway. #3. Track all the things! Continue to keep a daily journal that includes what I eat, medications, and symptoms. If I don't have my journal with me, just make a note on my phone. There is almost no point in my elimination diet if I don't write down what I eat and how I feel. Weight loss and exercise aren't included in those goals for the simple reason that my elimination diet is very difficult and is enough to be going on with right now, but I am working on both of those things as I can. Grading and loot! I do love me some good loot. #1: Diet. This is pass/fail at the end of each week: did I stick to my elimination diet? Fail=get back on the horse, or get a new horse. Pass=LOOT if I've stuck to it 100%. I'll decide as I go what my rewards will be. I am including some diet vacations for planned travel because it is impossible to go backpacking while on my diet. On travel weekends, pass conditions include that I must return to my diet the morning after I return home. #2. Be The Kindly Bronotsaurus. This is pass/fail at the end of each week. Fail=did very few or none of the things I needed to do, and means it's time to ask for some help to get those things done. Pass=did most or all of the things, and means MOAR LOOT, again to be decided as I go (what can I say, I have whims). #3. Track all the things. Once again, this is pass/fail at the end of each week. Fail=tracked 3 or fewer days, or failed to track two days in a row and means no loot for me. Pass=tracked 4 or more days, and earns me more loot. I plan to earn a lot of loot. Shiny! A reward for anyone who made it through all that: it's the song that inspired my thread title.
  4. I've had digestive problems for many years. I have been actively trying and failing to solve them this year. I am currently feeling pretty discouraged and at the end of my rope as far as finding a way to eat food without getting sick, so I'm asking anyone here to please give me advice. Since May, I have adhered 80-90% to the elimination diet protocol outlined in the book Digestive Health with Real Food. For the past 19 days, I have stuck to it 100%. Despite those efforts, eating still makes me sick and I just want to be able to eat and not be sick. So much. Things that I currently put in my mouth: Water Bone broth I make myself using water, salt, and fancy organic bones Plain animal proteins (nothing aged, cured, or smoked) Two cooked veggies (zucchini and carrots. The diet also allows green beans and spinach but I am not eating those right now) Two healthy fats: ghee and olive oil. The diet also allows the following things that I am not eating right now: ginger (gives me heartburn), fresh herbs. Medications: B12 (for an unexplained deficiency), birth control (to help with endometriosis), antihistamines, and the painkiller tramadol as necessary (usually 3-5 days per month). That's IT. I don't put anything else in my mouth right now. I really thought that eliminating dairy, grains, sugars, and FODMAPS would help, but it hasn't. I tried as many probiotics as I could get my hands on to no avail. I don't even know what to do anymore, I just know that I am extremely fed up with getting sick. I get sick at a minimum every other day, sometimes every day. It is painful and inconvenient, and I feel sad and super frustrated. I am trying so hard to be good to my body, and I just wish I knew what it needed. I have been scoped from here to Sunday, and all the doctors can tell me is that I don't have cancer or an IBD. Things that come up are gastritis and IBS, but without a plan for what I can eat without having symptoms, those are not useful diagnoses. Other medical stuff that may or may not be relevant: I have an inflammatory condition called endometriosis that should not, according to my doctors, be related to my GI problems. I have persistent eczema, severe pollen and food allergies and am unable to eat nuts, raw fruits, raw vegetables, and some cooked fruits and vegetables due to allergic cross reactivity (it's called oral allergy syndrome). I have an unexplained B12 deficiency. My ideas: 1. Something I'm ingesting is still making me ill. It's either food, water, or medicine. Tweak those things, rotate them in and out, maybe get a water softener. 2. Do a 3ish day bone broth fast wherein I only eat bone broth to see if I can stop getting sick. 3. Go back to eating the unhealthy foods that don't make me sick (mostly bland and easily digested carbs like white rice, bread, and baked goods--I've been tested for celiac, and I don't have it). 4. Go back to the doctors and persist until they come up with some kind of plan or something that will help me. 5. Could there be an undiagnosed health issue causing this? I have some unexplained weirdness, maybe it could be related to my GI issues. Get a better GI doctor and persist until there's a plan to rule things in or out. What should I do? Pick a number from my ideas, or come up with your own! It's like the least fun Choose-Your-Own-Adventure ever! What ideas do you have? Throw anything you've got at me, I'm desperate. Encouraging words welcomed here or over in my challenge thread. Thank you from the bottom of my discouraged little heart.
  5. Last time on the Rebellion My last challenge was officially a flop. I neglected the last 3 weeks of my challenge when the darkness within (aka my depression) decided to come roaring in for a visit. There are a number of factors contributing to why I am so exhausted and withdrawn from the things I love. Like lifting, yoga, friends. I don't remember the last time I touched my kettlebells or my pull-up bar. Luckily, I've been slowly recovering and taking care of myself and am ready to tackle a new challenge. I'm focusing on making some tiny changes to my current routine so I don't get overwhelmed. I keep thinking I can do ALLL THE THINGS, but am reining myself in to the smallest possible change I can move forward with for my bigger goals. In the meantime, challenge time! Main Quest Health, wholeness and healing in body, mind, and spirit. Motivation I will face each day with an open heart, be adventurous in all the ways that piqued my curiosity, have specific long-term goals, and practice kindness and compassion towards myself. I will meet myself where I am with love, compassion, and without judgement. I will celebrate the smallest of successes and be gentle with myself if I fail, focusing instead on learning what works for me. I am a unstoppable, untamed and wild force of nature when I go through life with all of my mind, body and soul. Challenge Aim: This challenge I'm recovering in the Druids grove. While I struggle to do battle with the darkness within, I am seeking refuge, support, love, compassion and rest from the earth and sky. Getting in touch with my inner Druid will allow me to find the peace, confidence, and resiliency to face whatever challenges will come my way. Challenge Quests: Quest 1: Peace Within (2 mins daily yoga flow) I want to grow deeper into my yoga practice. Yoga has worked wonders for my anxiety and pain levels when I commit to it. I want to do 2 mins of a yoga flow when I wake up in the morning after my shower before I start my day. I originally wanted to do a 30 day yoga challenge but decided to start REALLY small so I didn't get overwhelmed. 2 mins is definitely doable! Quest 2: Sky Above (No phones in bed, sleep tracking) My sleep has been all over the place, and a struggle for the last couple challenges. I tried doing no phones in bed last challenge and it worked wonderfully when I committed to it! Going to continue working on that this challenge. I also ordered a Mi fitness band (like a fitbit) to track my sleep, I'm exicited for my new shiny! 1) No phones in bed - I moved my charger to the kitchen so it stays out 2) Track my sleep using a Mi fitness band Quest 3: Earth Below (Daily tracking Pain Levels and Triggers) I've been under a lot of stress lately at work, and I've been having a difficult time managing my pain levels as a result. I'm working proactively with my support team (therapist, doctor, etc) to address this, but need some data! I'm going to track my pain levels and eating and see if I can come up with any patterns) Quest 4: Fire Within (Pick up 5, put it away not down) In my ongoing quest for a clean house, I want to focus on putting items away, not down! My daily quest is to pick up 5 items out of place and put them away. Challenge Summary QUEST 1 - Peace Within: 2 mins daily yoga QUEST 2 - Sky Above: No phones in bed and sleep tracking QUEST 3 - Earth Below: Daily journaling QUEST 4 - Fire Within: Put it away not down, pick up 5.
  6. Hello, everyone. I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to post this, but I am curious to each response. I suffer from IBS-C (irritable bowel with constipation), with occasional bouts of diarrhea. I've been diagnosed with IBS by a doctor, taken labs, enzymes, probiotics, food elimination/FODMAPS. While I've made great strides in improving my condition, the constipation and bloating are still a pain. Sometimes, sporadically, I get loose, and really just cannot pin down what in the world is going on. Much of my condition is psychogenetic, but even on the days when I am otherwise calm and happy, I still get 'plugged' up. Recently, I just ordered some L-Glutamine and Collagen Hydrosolate (it's like bone broth), so hopefully those will help. But otherwise, I try to eat a balanced diet. I am wondering what you guys have done to combat your own IBS problems? With probiotics, I have yet to find one that is dairy free- I've tried soil-based, but these only made my constipation worse (Prescript Assist, Primal Defense), but might try Megafood's Megaflora, as it's dairy free (I cannot tolerate ANY dairy whatsoever), so I'm wondering if this is another problem as well. Would love to hear your thoughts!
  7. Greetings Members of the Rebellion! I'm Anna, an almost 30-something from Texas, with a few health challenges that I'm hoping I can overcome in my quest to "level up" my life. I've already participated in one challenge (as a Druid - the challenge in June/July) and I was quite successful, but I never really became part of the bigger community, so I thought I would introduce myself. I have EDS-III (Hypermobility ) in a fairly mild presentation. Basically, I am SUPER BENDY. I am extremely flexible in almost all of my joints, and several of my joints sublux fairly frequently - which is to say I can partially dislocate my shoulders and hips, at will. This makes for weird party tricks where I gross everyone out, but I'm not supposed to do that because it's actually kind of bad for the joints. As well, this makes me both prone to injury and highly susceptible to joint pain and early onset arthritis. My fingers/elbows/knees also bend in weird directions and are fairly unstable. As a result, I have fairly significant joint pain that I am managing with my rheumatologist through pain meds, diet, and exercise. (And lots of sleep. I MUST sleep 8-9 hours a night or I am a mess!) Anyway - this pretty significantly reduces the exercises I'm allowed to do. I can only run intermittently, for short distances, on soft surfaces (like grass or a track), and my doctor prefers that I don't run at all. For cardio I'm allowed to walk, bike, and swim, but not do anything that would create impact on my joints. I'm also not allowed to do heavy barbell training because of the risk of dislocating something. My elbows bend 25-30 degrees in the wrong direction, which makes things like overhead presses really hard. What I CAN do is resistance training with my own bodyweight and exercise bands, and light barbell work (like dumbbell rows). I'm impacted differently day-to-day - some days are very hard, others are easy. Some days my hands are strong enough to open that jar of pickles, other days I just can't do it. This is very frustrating, and is part of my motivation to "level up" - I want to be strong and healthy, and more able to do things. This means building my muscle strength to make up for my joint weakness. For the last year I've been Walking to Mordor - right now I'm about 50 miles shy of Rivendell. I wear a pedometer (fitbit Zip) daily, and am trying to do things like walk a lap of the building every time I use the bathroom, or use a printer that's farther away, to increase my daily steps! This week I've started two things: Beginner's Bodyweight Workout - I can do two circuits. I'm lifting a bocce set instead of a dumbbell for the rows, but it works! (Completing this workout nets me 1 extra mile in my Walk)Moderate intensity interval training - walking quickly (3.5 mph pace) for 2 minutes, jog (2.5-3 mph pace) for 30-45 seconds. I'm on a concrete walking trail, so when I jog I move over into the grass. (This workout takes me about 2 miles to complete, but I just count the steps for this, no extra credit on my Walk)I have major IBS issues and celiac disease - so aside from occasional oatmeal or rice, I'm already grain-free! I'm moving towards a more paleo diet, though I am hard pressed to give up my daily yogurt, or milk in my tea (I've tried soy milk and almond milk, and while both are fine in coffee, in tea they are not my favorite). Also I love dark chocolate, so I'm loathe to give that up, even though I only eat it in small amounts (one square a day, max!) At 5'7'', I have a little bit of weight to lose (15 lbs ish) to be where I feel most comfortable (currently at 165, hoping to be at a strong and fit 150). IRL I'm a desk jockey working in the oil and gas industry (doing sales writing), a WoW gamer (Human Paladin/Troll Druid, mostly RP, a little bit of PVE raiding, though I'm a retired hardcore raider), an avid D&D player (currently a 3.5E Elf Ranger in one game, a 4E Dwarf Cleric in another), and the Chief Distributor of Gooshyfood for two cats (Max and Charlie). I also enjoy gardening and crafts, but my job and commute have made that less of a priority in my life lately. I am hoping with some support and community I can stick with this increased intensity of working out, get strong, and be better at life in general! Progress will be slow, since I recover slowly, but any progress is good progress. I am thinking about joining the current challenge, looking forward to the Rebel Women's Academy, and ready to kick life in the butt. I want my body to work WITH me, not AGAINST me, and I want to feel like it's my ally, not my enemy.
  8. Hey fellow rebels! I'm a big sci-fi geek. I like Star Wars (inc expanded universe), Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Iain M Banks Culture novels. Other things I like include roller derby, criticism and theory, spyro the dragon, gammon and eggs, meditation and loud music (but not at the same time). I've been a nerd fitness lurker for almost a year now, but have only been eating paleo and lifting for a few months and only been strict with myself for a week or so. Being a forum member seemed like a good way to stay motivated and stop cheating. Also, as an aside, I joined paleo trail- you can watch your diet level up! I started eating paleo as a last ditch attempt to ease the IBS that has pretty much plagued me my whole life. Eating gluten free certainly helped, but it wasn't until I cut out grains (inc beer!) that I saw a big difference. I used to bloat so much that I looked 6 months pregnant, or more. However wonderful the benefits (improved rosecea, sleep, pain and bloating) I keep creeping back to the dark side. Not this time! Some stats Class: Druid/Scout Strengths: Long distance ranging at speed, making amazing paleo meals (that my doubter boyfriend likes too!), flexibility, thighs of steel Weaknesses: Alcohol, laziness, poor triceps Goals: Short Term: Eat a 80/20 paleo diet and feel better! Strengthen triceps and chest muscles Become more moderate in my drinking Attend 3 fitness classes a week Long term: Enter a power walking marathon Reduce my bodyfat percentage by 5%
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