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Alexandra

Episode 137: Feel Great In and About Your Body—Even With Fibromyalgia with Kim Hagle

Movement is not a way to pay for what you’ve eaten or shrink your body. It’s a way to care for your body and feel how you want to feel in it. If we reframe our thinking, moving away from focusing on what we want our bodies to look like and toward what we want them to do, it becomes easier to treat ourselves with kindness and respect.

You can’t control your health just by eating a certain way and exercising. There’s so much more to overall health, and you can’t measure it on your bathroom scale. Instead, by setting goals that are meaningful to your life and experiences, like improving your sleep or increasing your mobility, you can shift focus to where it matters most and will have the biggest positive impact on your life.

Today, Tami is joined by size-inclusive fitness specialist Kim Hagle to talk about diet culture and movement as self-care. Kim was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia just six months ago, and her work and fitness routine has had to shift as a result. If you’ve ever felt hesitant to exercise because of the pain or you feel like your self-image is holding you back, this one is for you.

In this conversation, Tami and Kim discuss Kim’s journey to becoming a size-inclusive fitness specialist, her recent fibromyalgia diagnosis, how her symptoms impacted her physical activity and mental health, the importance of rest and listening to your body’s needs, conquering the fears of weight gain, muscle loss, and pain from exercising, Kim’s “all or something” approach to movement, changing how we think about exercise, recognizing movement as a form of self-care, honoring where your body is today, shifting body image and finding self-acceptance, practicing gratitude for your body, how diet culture impacts our beliefs, recognizing that we can’t measure health on the bathroom scale, personal responsibiltiy in health, creating your own definition of health, measuring health improvements based on outcomes that matter to you, practical steps to define your health goals and take small actions to improve your health, benefits of working with a coach, when to work with a physical therapist, the importance of self-compassion, embracing a slower pace, and more.

You are worthy of feeling good and being treated with kindness and respect, especially by yourself. It starts by meeting yourself where you’re at, being compassionate, and taking one step at a time.

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Episode 136: The Truth About Doing Less to Heal More with Dr. Andrea Moore

“Sometimes taking care of yourself means not doing all the things.”

When you have chronic pain, it’s easy for self-care to become a job where you have to do all of these things, or else you haven’t taken care of yourself. But self-care should nourish you and fill your cup; it shouldn’t feel like a burden.

Healing requires us to develop a toolbox of techniques that work for our individual needs, and one of the biggest game-changers on the journey to getting better is getting in tune with the right energy for approaching our healing.

Today, Tami is joined by Dr. Andrea Moore to explore how self-care can turn into self-sabotage and why focusing too much on eliminating pain can, in fact, amplify it. Dr. Andrea has her own chronic pain story, and she now helps those suffering from chronic pain find harmony and safety within their bodies. If you find yourself constantly chasing new wellness trends or ticking off an endless list of self-care rituals, this episode is for you.

In this conversation, Tami and Dr. Andrea discuss Dr. Andrea’s chronic pain story and journey to finding relief, potential pitfalls of self-care and healing practices, the frantic energy that can come with pursuing treatment after treatment, finding balance when pursuing wellness, balancing self-care and living life, recognizing that self-care should feel nourishing and not burdensome, the vicious cycle of pain, physiological changes that happen when you experience chronic pain, the power of getting help, the concepts of body harmony and respect, redefining feeling safe in your body, accepting the unpredictability of life, the symbolism of cherry blossoms and Tami’s connection to them as a symbol, our tendency to repress and judge emotions, understanding what nervous system regulation really means, creating a balanced approach to emotional healing work, getting better at doing hard things, allowing yourself to take a step back and accept your current reality, building your capacity for intense emotions, the role of self-compassion in taking accountability, playfully engaging with your emotions, building trust and connection with your body, why we need individualized self-care strategies, limitation sof group work and when one-on-one time is needed, Dr. Andrea’s invitation to take a moment to pause and self-reflect, and more.

If you find yourself stressing that you can’t do everything you need to do instead of being excited about living your life, that’s a good sign that it’s time to seek support.

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Episode 135: Living Your BEST Life with Fibromyalgia with Dr. Robin Pfaff

“We can help almost anyone feel better because we have so many tools at our disposal.” – Dr. Robin Pfaff

Managing fibromyalgia requires a holistic approach that goes beyond physical symptoms and equally addresses emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Our well-being is multidimensional, and each aspect requires attention and care.

To explore this approach further, today Tami is joined by Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® Dr. Robin Pfaff. Tami and Robin are talking about her new book, Living Your BEST Life with Fibromyalgia: A Compassionate Approach to Reclaiming Your Heath and Reimagining Your Purpose, which Tami found to be very powerful.

Robin’s book is an incredible resource for people living with fibromyalgia. As with all aspects of our health, the most lasting change comes when we dedicate ourselves to participating in the activities, reflections, and exercises shared. By engaging at that level, you can cultivate a deeper understanding of yourself and take meaningful steps towards a fulfilling life despite the challenges of fibromyalgia. Robin doesn’t advocate for ignoring our fibromyalgia or pretending that our trauma doesn’t exist. It’s not about the toxic positivity we often see and hear. Instead, Robin gently coaches us on how to embrace the full spectrum of emotions and experiences to foster genuine healing and resilience.

In this conversation, Tami and Robin discuss Robin’s journey from psychotherapist to Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, how starting a coaching practice has changed everything for Robin, why being a fibro coach is a critical element in my remission, fundamental differences between psychotherapy and coaching, the three pillars of mindful self-compassion, the critical role of self-compassion in managing chronic illnesses, the profound value of sharing your unique journey with fibromyalgia, learning that there’s always something to be grateful for even when we’re suffering, building a toolkit so that you don’t get stuck in a negative cycle, avoiding toxic positivity and finding practical ways to avoid unnecessary suffering, Robin’s experience writing Living Your BEST Life with Fibromyalgia, Tami’s advice for anyone thinking about writing a book, the power of going deep instead of wide, what it means to live your B.E.S.T. life, using the B.E.S.T. model to improve your symptoms, how you can use Robin’s B.E.S.T. assessment tool, and more.

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Episode 134: The New Face of Fibromyalgia Advocacy with Ann & Lily Garner

“No matter how small, any type of advocacy you do will have an impact.” – Lily Garner

According to the NIH, fibromyalgia affects 1 in 13 women in the US. That means about twice as many women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia as are diagnosed with colon cancer, and while you’re not going to die from fibromyalgia, living with fibro pain and fatigue can feel like its own kind of death. Despite this and the fact that this rate is on par with or higher than many other conditions, fibromyalgia research continues to receive less funding than its counterparts.

The massive gap in advocacy and awareness means that while every woman knows to get a mammogram each year to screen for breast cancer or annual exams for cervical cancer, most doctors have never been taught how to screen for fibromyalgia or how to treat it. Some educational institutions still teach that fibromyalgia is a psychological disorder.

If we want this to change, we need more funding for fibromyalgia research and more people like today’s guests, Ann and Lily Garner, to advocate on behalf of our community. Ann and Lily Garner join Tami in this episode to discuss their experience advocating for fibromyalgia with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Ann is a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® who has lived with fibromyalgia for over 20 years and her 14-year-old daughter, Lily, has been living with chronic illnesses for the last six years.

In this conversation, Tami, Ann, and Lily talk about Lily’s diagnoses and the long journey of medical gaslighting to get there, the massive difference it makes when you find the right doctor, Ann’s decision to become a fibro coach, how Ann’s experience advocating for Lily led to her working with a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, why Ann and Lily decided to go to D.C. to join fibromyalgia advocacy efforts, the importance of having young people as fibromyalgia advocates, what the day-to-day of their advocacy trip to D.C. looked like, the type of responses and reactions they received from lawmakers in D.C., what’s next for Ann and Lily, Ann’s work as a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, and more.

Tami hopes this episode will inspire you to go out there, do your part, and let’s change the world together.

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Episode 133: Embrace Your Fibromyalgia Wellness Style℠

Have you ever wondered why some people have an easier time managing their fibromyalgia than others?

We all have natural strengths and weaknesses and approach life in a unique way. Managing our fibromyalgia is no different.

Our personalities play a central role in how we approach life and our fibromyalgia, and research has shown that our personality traits have a direct influence on health outcomes and fibromyalgia symptoms.

Empowerment comes from figuring out exactly where your natural strengths and challenges lie so that you can support yourself in a sustainable way that will bring about the best possible outcome for you. To help you on that journey, Tami created the Fibromyalgia Wellness Style℠ Quiz, based on the five-factor model of personality, which measures specific traits from low to high.

In this episode, Tami discusses why she created the Fibromyalgia Wellness Style℠ Quiz, the five-factor model of personality, how the “big 5” personality traits affect fibromyalgia management, the two traits most associated with fibromyalgia symptoms and health outcomes, how Tami developed the four Fibromyalgia Wellness Styles℠, the benefits of understanding your Fibromyalgia Wellness Style℠, additional information and support you’ll receive if you choose to sign up for your advanced profile, early feedback from students and coaches who have discovered their Fibromyalgia Wellness Style℠, the main characteristics and challenges of each of the four Fibromyalgia Wellness Styles℠ – The Ponderer, The Prevailer, The Playmaker, and The Perfectionist, and more.

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Episode 132: Advocating for Fibromyalgia Research Funding with Melissa Talwar

You’re probably aware of the need for more research funding to help us develop new treatments for fibromyalgia. You’re probably also aware of the lack of training most doctors have when it comes to fibromyalgia. But did you realize that the two are connected? Research not only uncovers new potential treatments but also shapes how and what medical schools teach our providers.

Right now, the exact causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. We’ve uncovered many aspects of how it presents, but not enough for it to be definitively classified by medical institutions. That means we don’t even know what specialists to see when we need a diagnosis.

How will this change? More research and advocacy for funding. Advocacy is so important, and in order to advocate for yourself well, you have to be educated about your illness and know yourself well. The better educated you are, the better you can advocate for your needs. This is a significant reason why Tami has created so many episodes of the podcast on Fibromyalgia research and also why she’s so passionate about sharing her experience and the experiences of other people who have fibromyalgia.

Today, Tami is joined by Melissa Talwar, Executive Director of the Support Fibromyalgia Network, a national nonprofit dedicated to empowering individuals with fibromyalgia. In this conversation they discuss why the Support Fibromyalgia Network was formed and how it’s evolved since its founding, what federal advocacy looks like, tackling the lack of funding for fibromyalgia research, the need for systemic changes and research to be able to change the way medical providers are trained, the power of collaborative efforts and patient involvement in driving these systemic changes, the impact of research funding on developing effective treatments and classification for fibromyalgia, current challenges in classifying fibromyalgia, how you can get involved in fundraising and advocacy efforts for fibromyalgia funding and research, the process of going to Capitol Hill to meet with our representatives, how the Support Fibromyalgia Network supports and trains people who want to get started with advocacy, the need for preparedness in sharing our personal stories and experiences, the significance of obtaining governor proclamations and its impact on creating awareness and recognition, the power of a unified voice and collective advocacy, Melissa’s message for anyone who feels like there’s no progress despite the advocacy, being open to experimenting and layering different modalities and tools, exploring a holistic approach to improving your quality of life, upcoming initiatives for the Support Fibromyalgia Network, how a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® can advocate for you and help you to advocate for yourself, resources you can access to learn more about fibromyalgia research and advocacy, and more.

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Episode 131: GLP-1 Medications with Dr. Isabelle Amigues

GLP-1 medications like Wegovy, Ozempic, and Mounjaro are all the rage right now. Originally marketed as drugs to help diabetics with insulin resistance, they were later discovered to help people lose weight.

With those possibilities, GLP-1 meds are positioned to revolutionize health in the US since about two-thirds of the population is either overweight or obese and at risk for conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

But there’s been another new discovery—GLP-1 medications also have anti-inflammatory properties. Several different studies have since shown that GLP-1 medications help to reduce inflammation in the liver, kidneys, heart, and even the brain (which is of particular interest to fibromyalgia patients).

Today, Tami is joined by rheumatologist Dr. Isabelle Amigues to talk about GLP-1 medications and how they can potentially help those of us with fibromyalgia. In this episode, Tami and Dr. Amigues discuss the unusual way Dr. Amigues is incorporating GLP-1 medications in her practice, what you need to know about GLP-1 medications, the anti-inflammatory effects of GLP-1 medications and the implications, the link between inflammation and adipose tissue, the potential impact of GLP-1 medications on aging-related complications and inflammatory conditions, GLP-1 medications as a tool to get you over the final hurdle to fibromyalgia remission, utlizing mindful eating to help you make better food choices, tapping into the virtuous cycle of weight loss, breaking the stigma and releasing the judgment around our weight, factors to consider before taking GLP-1 medication, who should avoid these medications, putting the horror stories of bad experiences and side effects into context, next steps if you’d like to consult with your doctor about taking a GLP-1 medication, why it’s crucial to work with a qualified specialist, the affordability of GLP-1 medications medications, and more.

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Episode 130: Ways To Overcome Privilege In Fibromyalgia? Ask The Coach

“How do you propose we help low-income individuals with CFS and fibromyalgia? Self-care and wellness are rooted in privilege, choice, fellowship, support, time, and money to invest in themselves.”

So many people living with chronic illnesses are forced to navigate the issue of how best to support themselves with limited resources. While you’ll often hear Tami talking about coaching and our training programs on this podcast, that’s not everything available in the fibromyalgia community. Tami and other organizations offer many resources that allow people from all income levels to access tools and support to improve their quality of life.

It’s also valuable to recognize that while wellness is often rooted in the privilege of having money to invest in ourselves, self-care doesn’t have to be. Self-care is about how we treat ourselves, and it’s not a direct link to our income level. In today’s Ask The Coach installment, Tami answers how low-income individuals can access help with CFS and fibromyalgia and whether you can still work with a fibro coach if you haven’t been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

In this episode, Tami discusses the connection between wellness, self-care, and privilege, why I believe self-care has nothing to do with your income level, challenges faced by low-income individuals with fibromyalgia who rely on state healthcare programs, free resources and support provided by Tami and the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute, organizations that can help you implement the suggestions for improving your symptoms, patient assistance programs that can help with covering the cost of medications, tips for accessing lower-cost options for supplements and services, advocacy and support offered through organizations like Support Fibromyalgia Network, Fibromyalgia Care Society of America, and the Sherri Little Foundation, how you can advocate for fibromyalgia awareness and support, working with a fibromyalgia coach without a fibro diagnosis, training to work with conditions outside of fibromyalgia, and more.

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Episode 129: Whole Body Vibration for Fibromyalgia with Sarah Aboody, T-Zone Vibration

Exercise is one of the foundational pillars of health, but with fibromyalgia, we have extra sensitive bodies and nervous systems, and we need to be gentle. That means finding the right exercise to meet our needs can be tricky.

Today, Tami is excited to introduce you to a tool helping her feel even better and that she’s recently been obsessed with: a T-Zone Vibration machine. These machines use whole body vibration, a modality used for decades to increase muscle strength, bone density, and more. In fact, several studies have shown the benefits of whole body vibration for improving fibromyalgia symptoms.

To explore this further and share the results of a small informal study with our students and coaches, Tami is joined by Sarah Aboody, the Owner and General Manager of T-Zone Vibration. In this conversation, Sarah and Tami discuss how whole body vibration works and its uses for improving muscle strength, bone density, flexibility, mobility, and circulation, why oscillating vibration works best for fibromyalgia, benefits and uses of whole body vibration, the results of the informal study on the use of the T-Zone Vibration with Tami and some of our students and coaches, exercise as a pillar of health and how the T-Zone Vibration machine can help to build the habit, guidance for optimizing the use of the machine, why pain and fatigue might temporarily increase after whole body vibration, adapting whole body vibration for different needs, benefits of T-Zone Vibration machines, comparison of the smaller and larger vibration machines, special offers if you want to try a T-Zone Vibration machine, guidelines for getting started with whole body vibration, important considerations and precautions for individuals for whom whole body vibration may not be suitable, and more.

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Episode 128: The Power of Rest: Embracing Life’s Winter Season

Rest is not a luxury. It’s required for healing your mind, body, and soul.

A month and a half into the new year, everything around us is about making this your best year ever. From classes to articles, social media posts, and podcast episodes, there’s so much messaging about becoming a new and better version of yourself.

While growth is a good thing, and the transition into a new year can be a great time to make the changes to move closer to the life you want, you might find that these messages aren’t resonating. What if you’re feeling exhausted or frustrated? What if you can’t figure out where on earth you’d scrounge up the energy to make these changes?

Today, Tami talks about the power of rest and embracing life’s winter seasons. In this episode, you’ll learn about the significance of rest and its impact on healing, exploring life’s seasons and how they relate to personal growth, spring as a season of new growth, what it looks like to open yourself to new experiences, summer as the season of maturing, why we’re often more comfortable in the summer seasons of our lives, how these seasons relate to our fibromyalgia, fall as a season of harvest, acknowledging the process of letting go and accepting change, winter as a time to embrace rest as a necessary component for healing and growth, the power of winter rest, understanding what rest means, using the 80/20 rule for managing your energy, practical tips for embracing more rest in your life, the concept of deep relaxation, the benefits of embracing moments of a “blue mind state,” how to cultivate a “blue mind state,” aligning your actions to embrace the season you’re in, remembering the inevitability of spring’s arrival, things to consider leaving behind during your personal winter, ways to nurture that power of rest, the delicate balance between self-care as work and self-care as compassion and grace for individuals with fibromyalgia, and more.

While you’re waiting for spring to come, lean into your winter season and accept it for what it is. It’s an essential part of life and carries a lesson for you. Get the rest you need and reach out for help to move forward into spring growth.

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