Developed by Sanofi Genzyme for a UK audience

Listen to your body

Paula Sanchez

Blogs

02.06.16

6 minutos, 46 segundos

So often I'm told; "You look really well! How are you managing MS so well on top of everything else going on in your life!?" All I think to myself is… where do I start! Nutrition? Sleep? Exercise? Mental approach? Lifestyle choices?

When I was diagnosed with MS I made a conscious decision to evaluate my lifestyle and the choices I was making. My diet wasn't great, I didn’t exercise enough and I wasn't taking care of my body. So I came up with a mantra, a way of life, some simple changes, which really opened my eyes to the importance of personal care and really taking care of every aspect of my health, beyond MS.

Three key areas I make sure I RESPECT and FOLLOW:

1. SLEEP – 8 hours, not much more and certainly no less. Too much sleep doesn’t actually help me feel energised and less than 8 hours starts to take its toll. So I find a consistent 8 hours a night is perfect; and the key there is CONSISTENCY. This might mean I have to miss the last 30 minutes of my favorite TV programme, or not stay out as late as everyone else but I make sure I plan ahead so that I will always get 8 hours sleep. TRUST ME, it pays off! I feel so much better for it.

2. EXERCISE – I make sure I do some form of exercise at least 4 times a week. That could be yoga, weightlifting, running, walking or anything to make sure I’m active and never losing muscle strength. I want to be sure I am always fully prepared for anything MS has to throw at me. Usually I’ll go early in the morning or late at night when the gym is cooler. You don’t have to be a ‘gym person’ to be ACTIVE and to work on strengthening muscles and stimulating the body to keep it healthy. I also find it makes me much HAPPIER, which in turn helps me BEAT MS.

3. NUTRITION – Fortunately I don’t drink so that’s the first step but I’ve also tried so many diets and food combinations to see what else works. I’ve now decided that I like to follow an 80% to 20% ratio of good food to treat food. IT’S THAT SIMPLE! All through the week I eat clean and NATURAL foods… nothing processed. I have a great balance of different vegetables, meats, fish, potato etc. But obviously I have to cave in on my LOVE for chocolate! I don’t believe in cutting out foods that I enjoy as the act of having them can make me feel relaxed and HAPPY. I’m not ‘dieting’ or trying to lose weight, I’m ON A MISSION to beat a crazy neurological condition.

YOU HAVE TO MAKE CHOICES AND YOU MUST LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

I choose to live my life a certain way so that I can achieve the ‘impossible’ and BEAT MS.
Of course I face struggles everyday in different ways. The heat really affects my MS and just this lunch time I chose to stay in the air conditioned office rather than joining my friends on the open rooftop because I know that sitting out in 23 degrees heat just won’t do me any favours. Especially when I’m in full work gear and overheating as it is. At 6 o’clock when it was significantly cooler, I decided to take a long walk to a further station to get home so I could get a little Vitamin D myself. It may seem silly and insignificant but all these small things really do help.

I have the same struggle when going to do any physical activity – I can’t get too hot. Same story, EVERYDAY! So I make sure I take iced water when I train, I don’t do too much cardio, I take longer rest periods and I make sure the area I’m training in is air-conditioned.
It all sounds really basic but these are every day things I CHOOSE to consider when approaching every single situation. It’s become second nature. I actually find enjoyment and satisfaction in knowing that all of this is part of my MISSION to Beat MS.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – KNOW YOUR CONDITION, KNOW YOURSELF AND LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

At the end of the day; you have to be HAPPY with what you’re doing day to day. A healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand so I make sure I make time for both. I won’t ever do anything that makes me miserable but sometimes it’s about knowing WHY you’re doing it in the first place and then you’ll find enjoyment in it.

I’ve completely changed my life around and not by making big changes, but really little ones in my every day life. Now I’m successfully beating MS.

GZEMEA.MS.16.04.0195a

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