My Story, My Challenges, What I’ve Done to Fix It!
My life changed about 20 years ago. I was managing a salon and working about 60 hours a week in a relatively high stress environment when I literally crashed. After about a week, the doctors determined I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (aka Epstein Barr Virus). At 22, I really had no idea what this meant or how it would affect the rest of my life. I kept up my active lifestyle, continued playing volleyball, and became more and more exhausted. A car accident 5 years later triggered the onset of Fibromyalgia. Back then this diagnosis was something new. Very few people had heard of it, many doctors didn’t or wouldn’t even acknowledge it. Many women were told they were just depressed…..here’s a pill. I was lucky to have a reflexologist at work suggest I look into it, gave me her doctors number and was diagnosed quickly after MS and rheumatoid arthritis were ruled out. She was the first of many people who have been put in my path over the years who pointed me in the right direction.
At first I felt lucky to finally know why I was having all of this pain which had now spread from my neck and back to my fingers, elbows, knees and feet. Soon the reality of exactly what I was dealing with set in. I was forced to give up volleyball and my favorite past time of shopping was greatly curtailed. I would go to work, come home, and hit the couch. Usually with take out as I felt too horrible to stand up and prepare food. I wish I could blame the beginning of my weight gain completely on the fibro, but I have to admit I made poor choices. I had never had good eating habits, but my active lifestyle had previously kept the pounds at bay. While I do believe I went through some depression during this time, my life was not completely horrible. I met the man of my dreams and married him in 2000. We bought the salon I had been managing for 5 years and I was now a business owner at the age of 29. I went through a support group and spent a lot of time in online chatrooms trying to get information of which there was little.
At first these outlets were helpful as I needed to know there were others who understood the feeling of looking fine on the outside, but being in so much pain. After awhile though they became depressing. I had started swimming everyday and was thrilled to let my new internet friends know when I did my first mile! Instead of “good for you!”, I was attacked. They actually said there was no way I had fibromyalgia if I could do that and one even told me I should stay out of that chat until I saw another doctor to get the diagnosis confirmed. I was no longer welcome. Really? So much for support! I quickly realized this was a group on people who would rather sit around and complain than do something about it. I was too young to take “there is no cure, you’re stuck in pain forever” to heart, so I kept on going.
The years went by, many doctors were visited for a variety of different issues (get into those next time). Most doctors continued to roll their eyes at the mention of fibromyalgia. Those who acknowledged it only wanted to slap me with another prescription or pain medication. I managed it on my own by changing my lifestyle and learning and ACCEPTING my limitations. No easy task, but at some point you realize the dishes will still be there in the morning. If you are hurting that bad, sit down. Fibromyalgia is a nasty, painful disease. The good news, it can be helped without prescription drugs!
HOW I ARRIVED AT A MUCH BETTER PLACE:
There is only one answer: diet. You have to change what you are putting into your body. Again I had different people placed right in front of me, and at the right time, to drill this concept into my stubborn head. This included a Mom at a playground we never go to who was here visiting from Washington State. I heard her talking about having CFS and fibro and how practicing a gluten free lifestyle gave her a life back. I immediately barged in on the conversation and started asking questions. I then went home and began Googling and posting on FaceBook asking for recipe’s and help from my friends. Use you resources. When someone has information that will help you, they are usually eager to share it. This is one of the many reasons I love FitWorkz. Ray Binkowski, the owner and author of Eat By Color has been right where I am today. He understands every aspect of this process. It’s him on the cover holding his then too small pants!) I now practice an 80-90%gluten free diet, limited dairy and as fresh as possible. If this junk food junkie can do it, anyone can. Once you feel the difference, you won’t want to go back to your old ways.
Another just as important guidline is GET RID OF THE CHEMICALS. Artificial sweeteners, gone. Switch to Stevia. No more pre-packaged meals full of preservatives and junk. Stay away from soda and all the chemicals it contains. Fat Free anything is loaded with artificial garbage that your body was not meant to process. Your car was meant to run on chemicals, your body is not. My kindergartner said it best. It’s either a go food or a slow food. It’s not rocket science, it’s a commitment. You have to make the decision to have a better, healthier, life with less pain. How am I able to exercise with fibro? I follow these guidelines along with the beginning workout in Eat By Color slightly modified for my needs. I’m not perfect, but so much better. For my friends with fibro, if you are in so much pain that exercise is the last thing you think you can ever do, I beg you, try Eat By Color for 2 weeks. Even just 1. I guarantee in just a few days you will notice a difference in your pain and energy levels. Once we accomplish that, we can start talking about getting you in to FitWorkz and get you moving again!
For everyone else, it is just a matter of doing it. Set a realistic goal, and go for it! Make a list of all the reasons your plans failed in the past, and find a solution. Ray Binkowski, owner of FitWorkz and author of Eat By Color, highly recommends hiring a personal trainer. If you have scheduled time with someone, and paid for that time, you are so much more likely to keep that appointment. Many times we get distracted by life and our workouts fall by the wayside. Keep your appointments. You also need to begin a nutrition program that supports your new workout routine as well. Eat By Color promotes a protein rich diet which helps to build lean muscle and a better metabolism. Consuming a protein shake after a workout, along with drinking plenty of water also helps control muscle soreness. Always a good thing when you are first getting back in the swing of things.
Next step, pick up the phone and schedule a complimentary consultation with Ray (815-756-1188). This is free, you do not need to be a FitWorkz member to take advantage of this. Ray will go through your goals with you and let you know what we have here at FitWorkz to help you get there. I’ve have so many people tell me “I already eat healthy”. Guess what, so was I, BUT I was not eating foods condusive to weightloss. Therefore, I was not losing weight. This is an incredible resource, USE IT!
Now, take some time and write down every excuse you can think of why you can’t eat fresh or get to FitWorkz. Please put them in the comments below and I WILL have a solution for you. Believe me I have used all of them in the past and at some point someone has called me out on everything! If you want it, you can have it. If you are having trouble finding a way, I will help you. Remember, we are in this together. Please feel free to e-mail me anytime with questions or comments at ann@FitWorkz.com.
MY PROGRESS: 7 weeks into Eat By Color and I feel fantastic! As of yesterday, I am down 9 pounds. While that may not seem like much, it is ALL BODY FAT! I am fitting into clothes I couldn’t a few weeks ago. Just yesterday we re-tested my body fat after 4 weeks. My scale was up 2 pounds, my body fat DROPPED 26 POINTS! Once again, lesson learned-stay off the scale, it is not always your friend! My new goal is not going to be measured in pounds, but in body fat points lost. I have been very honest when it comes to sticking to the Eat By Color plan, but I know there are a few things I can do even better. I’m shooting for the same number in March. My hard work is starting to really payoff and people are starting to comment on my weightloss. I’m lovin it!
MOTIVATION TIP: If you have not already “liked” the FitWorkz FaceBook Page, DO IT! We are always posting exercise videos, recipes, motivational quotes, and best of all TESTIMONIALS. Reading about real people getting real results will inspire you too!
Until next time,
P.S. My review of Evolution Training coming up in just a few days………..