Four ways to love a messed up body.

Here’s the backstory; the four ways – how is a bit below. My body is constantly killing pieces of itself off. When I was ten, my immune system attacked my pancreas and killed off the beta cells that create insulin, the hormone vital to breaking down the food you eat into fuel for your body.

In my twenties, it decided to start treating the food I ate as foreign invaders, everything I ingested setting off the immune system response squad and leaving me in joint pain and nausea spirals.

At thirty, it’s developed a weird need to constantly break down my muscle fibers like an Olympic weightlifter and, no matter how much I try to coax it that we are not, in fact, aiming for any gold medal, my body seems to think that it needs to act like it’s training for the podium in our sleep. My shoulders are in a cycle of freezing, draining the fluid that allows me to reach and bend to the point that my joints lock up, then – months later – magically deciding we’re done with that and granting me motion again.

The cycle is frustrating but throughout it, I have to give my body credit. For all it messes up, it is trying REALLY hard to protect me. Like the guard dog who has lost all semblance of cool at the mean, scary leaf that just drifted into its yard, my body seems to have no idea that it’s in major overkill mode. Its intentions are good; it’s just supremely bad at its job.

In my early twenties, all of this overzealousness led to almost 60 pounds of weight gain. Continue reading “Four ways to love a messed up body.”

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Sick doesn’t equal weak.

 

It’s been really interesting to watch how some people react to the idea of being sick, particularly when it comes to mental and chronic health issues. Having a body that doesn’t quite work the way everyone else’s does isn’t weak. It’s the most normal damn thing there is.

No one’s body works the same as anyone else’s. Some of our quirks are a little more pronounced than other’s, sure. But the same way someone has freckles, my pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. The same way someone has a thumb that bends all weird (you know what I’m talking about), my brain doesn’t produce enough serotonin.

It doesn’t make me weak. It makes me human.

It doesn’t make YOU weak. It makes you strong as fuck. Continue reading “Sick doesn’t equal weak.”

Get to know me ❤

With the recent publication of my book – Beyond Powerful: Your Chronic Illness is Not Your Kryptonite – I recognize that a lot of you are new visitors to LalaJackson.com so I wanted to give you a little intro into who I am!

You can also learn more about what I write (and love to talk about) here. Drop me a note to lala@lalajackson.com if you’d like to say hello or have an idea for how we can collaborate on something together!

How to feel better today

I used to be that person who woke up at 5am, wrote morning pages, did yoga, drank 32 ounces of cold water, and was in my home office seat at 9am ready to go with gusto. I have not been that person in a while. Extensive morning routines can be exhausting and unsustainable, but there are a few key things I really try to stick to because they make such a massive difference.

In this video, I go into the two most fundamental things to make sure I stay in the mindset I want throughout the day.

 

How about you? How do you start your day so that it’s your best? What are the practices that keep you in the mindset you want to be?

$2,000 for 20 years with T1D

I’m fundraising for JDRF because I believe in their vision of a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D). Almost 20 years ago, after having lost 30 pounds in a month and almost going into a coma, I was diagnosed with T1D at 4am on Thanksgiving morning as I was carried into the emergency room.

Because of progress made possible by JDRF – the leading global organization for T1D research and advocacy – I have gone from 3 insulin shots per day to an insulin pump, which works kind of like a mini-IV, that more closely mimics a human pancreas to give me insulin 24/7.  Continue reading “$2,000 for 20 years with T1D”

It’s here! Beyond Powerful is published!

Today is the day – Beyond Powerful: Your Chronic Illness is Not Your Kryptonite is now officially PUBLISHED. Learn more at BeyondPowerfulBook.com and grab your copy. Once you read it, please be sure to leave your review – your reviews help a TON with marketing on Amazon.

AMERICANS! Grab it on Amazon (or Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, Powell’s Books, Indie Bound, Walmart (online only), Target (online only), etc.)

BRITS! Grab it on Amazon UK, Foyles, or Waterstones.

CANADIANS! Grab it on Amazon CA.

AUSSIES! Grab it on Angus & Roberston or Booktopia.

GERMANS! Grab it on Hudendubel or Thalia.

ERRRBODY ELSE: it’s available on Amazon Kindle WORLDWIDE ❤

And if you want to go grab it at your local bookstore in person please do! If they don’t already have it stocked, please ask them to stock Beyond Powerful by Lala Jackson – it is being distributed through Ingram, which is a really massive book distribution service

WANT IT IN YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY?
You can look up whether or not your local library has a copy here. Apparently only the Denver Public Library already has three copies at the moment (NO idea why but I appreciate you Denver). If your local or college library doesn’t already, please request that they do.

ALSO, if you’d like to share what I do and what I write about with your favorite blogger, podcaster, writer, show host, etc., please feel free.Obviously I’d love to spread the word about the book but I’m also more than happy to be a guest/resource to talk about wellness, chronic health, mental health, healthcare policy, etc. They can learn more about me at LalaJackson.com

I can’t thank you all enough. Truly.

With love,
Lala

P.S. Join me at the Beyond Powerful Book Launch Party on Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York! The party will start up at 7PM at Barra Brava. Details will be on Facebook and Instagram soon!

Quick update before launch day

My book comes out tomorrow and, while that’s huge and I’m grateful and focusing on that positive, I wanted to take a moment to be really transparent about why this has been a bit of a tough process.

Last week in particular my mental health took a really scary turn but I figured out why – self awareness for the win – and am feeling better now, but I think my fellow chronic health warriors may be able to relate so despite it being a kind of taboo topic, I wanted to share. 

And hey, go buy the book xo

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What’s your superpower? Join the Beyond Powerful book launch team 🎉

If you somehow missed it, on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 my first book Beyond Powerful: Your Chronic Illness is Not Your Kryptonite, will be available in print in all major bookstores in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. I’m still not used to writing that sentence.

As part of the launch, I am recruiting YOU (if you want to be recruited, that is) to join my launch team by sharing your superpower with the world.

What you get:

  • a snazzy social media image
  • bragging rights that you were on a book launch team because how cool #streetcred
  • super simple instructions from me on what to share and how to share it to help on launch day. I’m going to send you your picture, write you a post (which you’re free to edit) and tell you when and where to post it. You can effectively turn your brain off, I got you.

What’s really amazing to me about the images that have already been created for those who have jumped in to the launch team is the proof that we are all so damn powerful. Look at what we each carry. Look at how we each crush it. It’s truly amazing.

It reminds me that we’re all dealing with something. That we’re all so strong. And that not one of us is alone in this.

If YOU would like to be on the launch team for Beyond Powerful, here’s what to do:

  1. email lala@lalajackson.com
  2. send a photo of your gorgeous self (pictures with “white space”, i.e. pictures where your face doesn’t take up the whole frame, are best)
  3. include your first name, what you live with (can be anything from a chronic illness to stress to whatever it is you carry), and your superpower. I promise you have one. ❤

I’ll be sending you instructions on when and where to post, but your image will also be included on BeyondPowerfulBook.com and possibly on one of my social media channels. I appreciate you!

I watched the bullshit documentary What the Health so you don’t have to.

TL:DR – this goddamn documentary kept me in a state of rage for about 30% of the thing, rolling my eyes for another 45%, and mumbling “fine, whatever, that’s valid” to myself for the other 25%.

I’ve yet to find a nutrition documentary that I think accurately represents the topic because Do-Your-Own-Research-Because-Every-Human-Body-Needs-Specific-Kinds-of-Fuel-and-You-Must-Learn-Whats-Best-For-Yours wouldn’t sell. These documentaries are designed to shock you because that’s how they get watched. That said, What The Health was particularly full of inaccuracies.

What set off my TOTAL bullshit alarm: 

Continue reading “I watched the bullshit documentary What the Health so you don’t have to.”

What my fibromyalgia feels like.

While not exhaustive, this post is meant for you – the person who is trying to figure out exactly what’s causing you so much pain, the person who is looking for answers after a fibromyalgia diagnosis, the person who is trying to find better ways to care for your body.

I’m going to try to be as thorough as possible and share what has helped me, but different things can help you. Do your research. Consult doctors and wellness professionals but know that you know your body best. Look into patterns. Keep food and activity journals.

Just like with my type 1 diabetes, my fibromyalgia is a game of data. I have specifically engineered my life – what I eat, my activity levels, my exercise, and more – to gain control of my health. You can too (and no, I didn’t just meant to sound like a motivational poster. I just legitimately know that you got this. It’s hard, but you do.)

On my worst days, noises cause me pain. I’ll hear a car horn blaring and it feels like every nerve ending in my body has been set off. I’ll try to tense and release my muscles – my calves, my thighs, my forearms – as a distraction, but it’s like the sound waves are reverberating through my body and there’s nothing I can do to stop them.

On my best days, it’s like I’ve never been sick. The human brain is a wonderful thing and tends not to hold on to pain if we train it to do so. People will ask me how often I have pain flares and I can cheerfully answer, “Oh! Not more than, I dunno, once every few months? It’s not awful.”

In reality, I have pain and inflammation flares once every few weeks. Some are worse than others. Sometimes I’ll just wake up with pain – a lulling ache in my muscles, sharp pains in my joints and the typical fibromyalgia pain points (all of which flare for me) – feeling foggy and lethargic, my brain chemicals doing everything but helping my mood, but my symptoms will level out by midday and I’ll be back to feeling like myself. Sometimes the flare lasts a month or more and I’ll be working from bed most days, willing my joints to stop feeling like they’re on fire, avoiding eating for as long as possible because anything I consume seems like it sends me into further inflammation. Continue reading “What my fibromyalgia feels like.”