Last year I told you about my stomach issues and my attempts to figure it all out. And then I even received some amazing help and if you read any of those blog posts then you know it’s been one bumpy ride. What I haven’t done in a year is share how it’s all been going. And, more importantly, answered some of your questions! Many of you have wondered exactly how I have been able to do Pilates given my stomach pains. Others, how I traveled with digestive issues. This week let’s discuss how I was able to do Pilates given the constant roller coaster of pain, bloating and discomfort.
My stomach issues didn’t reach a breaking point until about four years, maybe five years ago. Before then, starting in 2007 I was able to try different tactics to help me get a break from my digestive issues. Everything I tried would work for a little bit and then it wouldn’t.
Have you ever experienced that? I first tossed out dairy, gluten, and soy. WOW! The feelings of energy, better sleep, and fewer stomach problems were quick to appear. I thought I had it all figured out and would just have to avoid those few things. This new found strength and energy made doing Pilates easy and fun! Plus, I had way less inflammation so my stomach problems didn’t cause me troubles during Pilates. In fact, I often felt better after having done Pilates!
Over time the effects of being dairy, soy and gluten free started to wain. My stomach issues became more frequent and causing problems in my life, including Pilates. I had such a hard time “feeling” my center because my center would often be working its way towards distention. I became really good at trusting the method and the movement. And, I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially if you are a potential Pilates student or a regular Pilates practitioner. But, Pilates was my distraction from the pain.
Pilates isn’t something you can do mindlessly and its also not something you should do too slowly, too micromanaged. It’s a movement that requires you to be present on what is moving where and what your body is connecting to or flowing through. And, while I would walk in thanking the universe for baggy pants and loose fitting clothes on some of my worst days I would leave and realize that for about 50 min I didn’t even think about my stomach. I couldn’t even feel the pain.
Pilates became my retreat! And, I made sure that I almost never missed a day. As time went on and my digestive issues grew to be more than I could bear and more than doctors could figure out I started to lose strength.
The thing about digestive issues is that they rarely just mean embarrassing moments of bloat. When you have gut issues it’s not just your appearance that takes a beating. It can affect you hormonally, nutritionally and mentally!
Last year, after feeling like I was losing all the strength and stamina that I had gained in the previous 9 years I found out I kind of was. The levels of metal in my system from our water and living in a city of smoke was causing my brains messages to my body to be blocked. I was no longer digesting proteins properly, vitamin d and b12 were almost non-existent.
I could go on and on! But, after years of the doctors not figuring out the issue my body was starting to fail me. And, not only did that mean it was affecting my day to day life it was affecting my Pilates practice too.
What used to be my solace from my digestive turmoil became the place where I could clearly see I was getting sicker.
A year after I finally got results that made sense and started the journey of healing my body I still am in repair mode. But, wow! Let me tell you that as I sit here sharing this with you I am a hundred times better. I am not in daily pain. I also have the energy and will to workout and that means my Pilates practice is back on and at a level that challenges me.
I have no idea the cause, I wish I did. I wish I could tell you this is what caused it so that others wouldn’t have to go through what I did. But, what I can say is this, do not stop searching for answers. It took me leaving my doctors to get answers but that might not be the same for you.
What I do know is that movement helped me more than anything. Doing Pilates is what helped me realize I wasn’t feeling well. I went from having the strength to do anything to lethargy. Then, Pilates became a space where I didn’t have to be the girl with stomach issues. And, in time revealed to me that I was actually getting worse. I have no idea how long it would have taken me to realize that had I not be doing Pilates. Now, Pilates is showing me just how far along I have come.
If you are suffering from stomach or digestive issues and you’re cleared for exercise I do recommend trying Pilates. I know it seems like the last kind of workout you would want to do but Pilates really allows you to have your own growth and journey. You use your whole body in every session, not just your abs.
Next time we talk gut issues I’ll share my travel tips! Because, even if you have never suffered issues from the gut my travel advice will help you get anywhere you want to go and feeling so good!
PS if you have a story you want to share with me I would love to hear it! It’s so important to not keep it to yourself. One of the hardest parts of not feeling well was the loneliness it brought along with it. Share your story below or connect with me on Instagram.