How I am “moving my DNA” with EDS

Exercise has been the largest regular part of my lifestyle since I was 11yo & nutrition has always been a close second. I began with Buns of Steel videos in my living room, because I wanted to feel healthy, strong and I was hell-bent to change my DNA.

I grew-up thinking that as we age, everyone became overweight, cut their hair super short, tried to sneak a handicap parking pass so you didn’t have to walk far in a parking lot, was always tired and needed to lay in bed most of the day, had terrible chronic pain & multiple other health issues.

And then one day… I realized that path, that destiny I thought was out of my control, was really very much in my control and that even though that was how those around me decided to allow their lives (and bodies) to end-up, I could decide otherwise.

That day was the very first time I could actually see a different version of my “older” self. I made a promise to myself (actually wrote them down) to make taking care of my body my number one priority. I wrote down things like:

– “I will take-out my own trash.”
– “I will clean my own house”
– “I will mow my own lawn.”
– “I will exercise regularly.”
– “I will take care of myself so I have enough energy to take care of my children.”
– “I will not wake my kids up by vacuuming in their room because I am angry.”
– “I will not lay in bed and watch TV all day long.”
– “I will not slap my children.”
– “I will cook dinner for my children.”
– “I will eat healthy food.”

Why did I have to write those promises down? Because even though I was a kid, I knew that I had to have a way to hold myself accountable and read them in order to serve as a constant reminder to myself. Truth is….. I’ve battled debilitating chronic fatigue (due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and chronic pain due to EDS, as well as a variety of other related issues since I was a very young. Not the greatest combo when you are trying to “Move your DNA.” I was and still am so much like my mom and Gram and I knew that it would take changing my lifestyle, making a life-long commitment to myself and sticking to it until I die, to change my DNA. I committed that day and I’ve never looked back.

Staying motivated has been incredibly challenging over the years. I’ve had my fair share of EDS Spirals, but exercise, nutrition and other self-care techniques have always been the core of how I have climbed back out and it has worked every time. Remaining active consistently since I was a kid and taking care of myself through good nutrition, as well as other alternative therapies, are the reasons why each physician that I’ve seen has stated that considering all diagnosis I’ve been given and how incredibly hypermobile I am in each of my joints, I’ve avoided more serious complications & issues.

Proper exercise and good nutrition are 2 of the best “medicines” that can be used for EDS & all other chronic/invisible illnesses, because both are what we CAN control and what we CAN do to help ourselves. When you have EDS, your muscles have to do what your tissues cannot, meaning your muscles must be 2x a strong in order to help keep your joints & entire body stable.

As I used to argue with some of my family when they would give me a hard time for working out every day, calling it an obsession or for vanity, I would say, “exercise is not a luxury for me, it’s a necessity.” Dare anyone try to argue with me on that…thank goodness my husband learned early. It’s always been a non-negotiable for me, even way before I knew I had EDS. I may not have known I had EDS at the time; however, I had figured out not only how to change the DNA of how I would age, but also how crucial exercise was to helping me battle my constant battle with chronic fatigue, helped alleviate some of the pain (at least when I was moving) and how much stronger and less “clumsy” I was.

How I keep motivated – The #Just5Minutes Rule. This a rule I made for myself, because I’m always “self-coaching” myself to battle against the “I don’t want to,” or the “I’m too tired.”  Those statements are constantly playing and replaying in my head.  I swear I feel as if I have all these little head games I play with myself, because sometimes I’m so tired or have so much pain, that showering just feels like running a marathon.

Finally, the most important component for my success in “moving my DNA,” is just focusing on ways to gain strength, acceptance of what I can do vs. what I can’t and persevere when faced with any kind of hardship or additional illness(es).  I made a choice to live differently long a ago and I still reaffirm that choice daily now.  I also believe. I see myself differently than what I saw growing-up and I see my future as just a continuation of what I’ve already done.

There’s no, “I will try…” There’s only, “I will do …”

Our hardest battles are fought within our own minds, but when we find acceptance and are not constantly look for impending doom..it’s freeing.

If you want to read more about how you can also move your DNA, consider reading Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement by Katy Bowman.

IMG_8048 Kendra & Mom - 2002 December 27

This post is for you Mom & Gram… thank you for always supporting me, even though I was so determined to be different. I had to prove there was another way .. for all of us.