I’m a health and fitness philosophy junky. What does this mean? It means that I am intrigued by all things health, nutrition and fitness related. I read all kinds of books, magazine articles, blogs, newspaper articles and yes even tweets all related to this subject.. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree, sometimes I’m shocked, sometimes skeptical and sometimes I think “shouldn’t everyone just know that?” I learn so much about what is out there and you can find someone to even say a diet of Twinkies without exercise is the way go.
I was not always like this however and even though I grew up in an active family with my parents running off to the club to workout, or going to play tennis, my father meeting his rowing buddies, and my mother golfing with her girlfriends I unfortunately had this “I don’t like to sweat” idea that I lived by. That all changed when I was diagnosed with MCTD and getting married 2 weeks after my diagnosis. I was forced to take notice of what health meant to me and my situation. Luckily I found a great physical therapist who although can come across a little extreme he really did have my best interest in mind. Back in 2003 he recommended that I cut out all sugar. Sounds hard right? It is, sugar is literally in everything. It might not be called sugar but it all means added sugar. Years later he recommended the no gluten diet. This was easier since there was a non-gluten version everything out there. You want pizza, there is gluten free, you want mac and cheese, go ahead no gluten. Even donuts had a gluten free version. Then I went to Kripalu for a week and they have a gluten free section but if you aren’t 100% sure you have a gluten intolerance try our food. They make all their own food with good whole ingredients. What I learned is I don’t have an allergy to gluten at all. What I have learned about myself is that I do much better when I don’t eat a lot of processed foods. Most people don’t do well on processed foods such as sugar and gluten. I have really come to realize with all the reading that I have done and the experiments I have tried for myself is that the same common thread is eating clean, whole foods as much as possible. Our bodies are machines that need fuel to perform, therefore, some believe food is even more important than exercise.
If you have been reading my blogs you know I’m a true believer in exercise. My days of “I don’t like to sweat” are over. I actually believe I need to sweat everyday and I would recommend anyone with MCTD to sweat everyday since we are carrying around extra fluid in our hands, feet, knees, hips and anywhere else you have it, sweating helps release that. However, what if I couldn’t exercise? What if one day my joints just don’t want to move for me in a way that allows me to exercise? I’m doing everything today to ensure that doesn’t happen but one never knows. After my research and reading I believe I can still live a healthy life with my diet. I believe the key is food. My body feels better when I eat the right things. I have less fluid in my hands when I eat the right foods. I have less brain fog when I eat the right foods. I feel stronger when eat the right foods and I feel like I can really exercise hard when I eat the right foods.
Is it a balance of diet and exercise? I would honestly say the scale is tipped towards diet but yes diet and exercise are the winning combination. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn this until I was forced at the age of 30 so for the younger readers especially challenged with MCTD learn the lesson early that diet and exercise are key but your diet is the golden key.