Updated: Oct 7
Living with fibromyalgia often goes hand in hand with experiencing increased stress due to the unpredictable nature of when symptoms will strike. However, regaining the reigns of control through diet and lifestyle can help relieve stress and bring hope.
Almost half of all fibromyalgia patients report that certain foods can trigger their symptoms. An effective way of finding out what food may be exacerbating your symptoms is to keep a food journal. You can record your food intake using a fitness app, create a digital journal, or go with the old-fashioned and preferred approach and record your meals in a food journal notebook.
You may notice that your pain worsens or has headaches and severe fatigue after consuming a particular food. Your journal will make it easier to see patterns, and you can then adjust your diet accordingly. It would help if you also kept notes of your daily activities and the effects on your condition and symptoms. List any actual exercise and record other activities such as typing, reading a book, cooking dinner. Keep notes of what seems to cause you pain and where in your body you feel pain.
Journaling will help you keep track of progress and changes in your condition, and you will have notes to refer to when talking to your doctor or therapist about what you think makes your symptoms better or worse. In addition, it can be very empowering and even exciting to discover correlations between specific food items and the responses they cause.
Try these steps
➤ Record as many details about your day as you can.
Even if you think a particular food or activity is "safe and "that it doesn't trigger your fibromyalgia symptoms, still record it. You may discover that what you thought was safe is a symptom trigger for you.
Here are some questions you might want to use to help prompt you:
What did I eat today?
What did I drink today?
How often did I eat, and at what time?
Be specific and include everything you consumed, food and drinks. Also, be sure to note down any oils, condiments, herbs & spices you added to your meals. A helpful tip to ensure accuracy is to write down your meals at the time of eating rather than rely on your memory later.
What was my pain level today?
Where was the pain?
What type of pain was it? Stabbing, burning, sharp, dull, stinging, or aching pain.
Did the pain fluctuate from rest to movement?
Record your pain using a pain scale of 0-10, with zero being free from pain and ten the worst possible pain. It might be helpful also to associate a number with your level of functioning. This type of pain evaluation may not be ideal for someone with fibromyalgia. Still, health professionals widely use it, and using this scale can help explain your pain to your health care professionals to assist them in better understand the trends in your pain. Remember that most health care professionals do not have experience living with fibromyalgia pain, and the more information you can provide them, the better.
How well did I sleep last night?
How many hours did I sleep last night?
Did I wake during the night?
What do I think caused my difficulty in sleeping? Pain, anxiety, stress, irritable bladder, digestion issues, or something else?
How is my digestion today?
Did I have any digestive issues?
Did I have an upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea or constipation?
How's my mood and emotions today?
Am I feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, low, up & down, tearful, stable, calm, happy, joyful? Or something else?
How's my memory and cognition today?
Did I have any trouble remembering things, or did I feel focused and sharp?
How was my energy today?
Did I feel energetic in the morning, but did I crash in the afternoon?
Did I feel low in energy all day, or was it a "good day," and I had energy throughout the day?
Did I exercise today?
How did I feel during the exercise and afterward?
✽ You may feel increased pain and fatigue the next day or so, be sure to consider this when reviewing your pain scale as you look for any trends.
Be sure to jot down notes regarding any situations or life events that you think affect you on that day, such as the weather, family conflicts, work stress, or any tiresome activ