So, where do I start…ok, so I went from 254 to 175 (the lowest I’ve ever been in my adult life and maybe since freshman year of high school) from December 2009 to March 2011. In April this year I was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis).
If you don’t know what MS is read this, if you do know you can skip it. Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.
From April till now (7 months) I have gained back 17lbs, I’m now at 192, eek! I will not have that, but here’s the problem. When I work out I have to be very careful not to overheat.
So you say, ok, that shouldn’t be too bad, you work out an hour and you’re hot and sweaty, so maybe work out for 30 mins instead. And what if you do overheat, what will happen, how bad will it be.
Well, let’s say this; in the past 7 months since I’ve been diagnosed, I’ve had my legs go numb on me twice. The 1st time I was numb from waist down to my toes in my right and from my knee to my toes in my left, I was numb for over a month. The 2nd time I was numb from my waist down to my toes in both legs for over a month. Fortunately the numbness has gone away in both. The problem is, it can come back, it can become permanent, the strength can go away in my legs, I could walk with a limp, I may lose my ability to walk or stand for long periods of time, I could lose my ability to walk all together or there’s a whole other assortment of things that MS can cause at any given moment of any given day.
I don’t want any of these things to happen, but at the same time, I don’t want to regain all of the weight I’ve worked so hard to lose and I don’t want any health problems associated from being overweight.
So here’s what I’m doing about it. I started walking on the treadmill at work a couple of times a day or when I can.
Back to the whole time frame thing, I used to be able to walk/run on the treadmill for 30 mins without getting too terribly hot and sweaty. Well guess what, when I started walking, I only walked for 2 mins and I could feel my thighs starting to feel numb. Yup, only 2 mins! Apparently in 2 mins my body was telling me that I was getting hot. The 1st week I only walked 5 mins each time for fear of my legs going numb. This week I started walking 10 mins at a time and now I can go 6 mins before my thighs start feeling numb. I’ve been told that I can build up my body’s tolerance and it appears to be true, but it’s scary and it sucks that I can’t work out like I once did and believe me I was never by any means an athlete, I could never run a mile straight, shoot I don’t even think I could run 1/3 of a mile straight.
So I’ve said all that to say this. I know Thanksgiving is over, but everyone should be thankful for whatever exercise you’re able to do. Many of us say, ah I don’t feel like working out today, I’ll do it tomorrow. What would you do if you don’t have that choice? Be thankful that you can work out today, even if it’s only for a few minutes and do it! Don’t waste an opportunity to improve your health and your body because one day that opportunity may be limited or gone. When you’re out shopping for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts, don’t complain about having to park a mile away from the front of the store, be thankful you can walk that mile to the store and then still have the strength and energy to walk and do your shopping. Don’t complain that you have to stand in long lines to buy your gifts, be thankful that you can stand in those long lines. I’m thankful for all those things that I used to take for granted. Now that I belong to the MS community, I’ve unfortunately seen these things taken away from too many young people as a result of MS and I can’t live in fear. I have to stay positive, do what I can today and I’ll face those obstacles if they come.
Some things I seem to have forgotten over the past 7 months:
1. Fast food is the DEVIL, although convenient, terrible effects on the body!
2. Planning meals is important.
3. I don’t have to eat everything in front of me or on my plate.
4. My metabolism works better when I eat every few hours. Breakfast around 7, snack around 10, lunch around 12, snack around 3, dinner around 7 (this is during the week, weekend is too difficult to eat this way)
5. Drink lots of water.
6. It’s ok to make time to exercise.
7. To eat my fruits and veggies (I’ve never really eaten set serving amounts, but the problem is, I haven’t been eating them hardly at all!)
8. When you come home from work and sit down, if you have to unbutton your pants because they’re too tight in the stomach, you’re gaining weight and you’re getting too big for your pants and you better do something about it.
9. The situation mentioned above does not give you a good feeling!
10. You do not necessarily gain the weight back in the same places you lost it from.
Ok, enough of my rambling, ranting and preaching. I wrote this to put things in perspective for myself, but perhaps it may help someone else. I wish everyone the best in their journeys, at times it's hard, but it's worth it and so are we!