defyingfibromyalgia

My journey from CAN'T to CAN – one workout at a time.


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Fibromyalgia and the Beachbody Challenge: Why it Works

bb_challenge_lg_horiz_light_high_resI’ve talked a lot about my experiences with various Beachbody programs.  In doing so, I think it’s become pretty clear that these products have changed my life.  But, what I want to emphasize is this: there’s nothing special about me.  Nothing super-hero-esque that makes me able to do something you aren’t able to do.  I am just a person with FM that decided to fight back.  Each one of you has that same power – that same choice.  The reason I became committed to Team Beachbody is this: I truly believe these programs can change the lives of every single person that commits to them.  I see it and hear it every day.

So, what’s with the Beachbody Challenge?

Well, in case you didn’t hear about it, I’ve decided it’s time to host a Challenge Group.  It’s open to everyone, but my main focus is connecting with people that felt like I did a few short months ago – helpless, hopeless, and defeated.  I want to prove to you that you CAN feel better; you CAN fight back.  And there’s no better way than this environment of support.  So, why will it work for Fibromyalgia?  So many reasons….

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  1. Shakeology: When you’ve got the healthiest meal of the day in your arsenal, you’re truly set up for success.  Each Beachbody Challenge Pack comes with a 30-day supply of Shakeology – the best nutrient-packed meal replacement shake on the market.  The nutrients in Shakeology are the foundation for health and wellness, which is your key to overcoming FM.
  2. Support: By participating in a Challenge Group, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people that are facing the same challenges as you.  Group members will be there to encourage you on tough days and celebrate with you as you succeed.  The support available with Team Beachbody is the stepping stone to results and success.  When you feel hopeless, someone will be there to say, “you can do this”.
  3. Accountability: Being a Team Beachbody Coach means I’m going to be there for you every step of the way to hold you accountable and encourage you to achieve your goals.  More i6ff1f-foodfuel3mportantly, your group members will be there waiting to hear about each day’s workout.  That accountability is what will help you stick to the program and get the results you’ve always wanted.
  4. Meal Plans: Each program comes with an awesome meal plan. This totally takes the guesswork out of getting the nutrition you need to be healthy and get fit.
  5. Results: What can I say?  BEACHBODY GIVES YOU PROVEN RESULTS.  The programs work.  And, more importantly, getting fit is your BEST defense against FM or any other health condition.  This is how you fight back.  This is how you get results.  Physical exercise has been proven effective in fighting pain, fatigue, and other FM symptoms.  For more info on that, check out my post, “Why Physical Exercise for Fibromyalgia?“.

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What are you waiting for???

So, whether you have FM or not, it’s pretty clear that these programs are going to unlock your hidden potential.  It’s time to STOP letting people tell you what you can and can’t do and START proving them wrong.   I want everyone out there that is living with something like this to know one thing: you don’t have to settle for this life.  You CAN create the life you deserve.  Whether you’re ready to take the challenge or not, now is the time to improve your nutrition and get active!

Do something every single day to make tomorrow better.  You CAN do it!

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon

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How Do You Defy It?

Slide1We all have obstacles. Yours could be fibromyalgia.  It could be obesity. Or diabetes.  There are infinite possibilities.  I’ve been asked several times how I defy fibromyalgia.  Trying to answer that in simple terms is difficult – there are so many things involved in this process. So I figured, why not devote an entire blog post to this complex, yet all-important question?

Mental

When you have something like FM, it’s easy to focus on the physical.  The pain, the exhaustion, the feeling that you CAN’T do what other people can.  Well, I’ve learned something that has changed the course of my journey: the MENTAL is much more powerful.  Defying Fibromyalgia is about 80% mental / 20% physical on most days.  Sometimes it’s more like 95/5.

The easy answer to how I defy it is this: I decided to.  It’s a decision you make.  A decision to fight back.  Whether you’re fighting FM, diabetes, obesity, or some other obstacle, your mental state is the key to your success.  Without the right mental state, none of the other elements are possible.  Maintaining proper nutrition, sticking to a workout schedule, getting through those tough workouts – none of that would be possible without making a mental commitment first.Slide1

Anytime you decide you’re ready to tackle that obstacle that’s been controlling your life for far too long, you’ve already taken the first step.  Defying FM – or anything else – is tough.  It requires determination, tenacity, stubbornness, and FIGHT.  Deciding to do it means you have those qualities.

Emotional

Like all big accomplishments, there is certainly an emotional side to my ability to defy FM day in and day out.  In the early stages, it was incredibly tough to remove my emotional self from the daily decision to fight.  Every accomplishment was an emotional high.  Every time I had a tough day, it was an emotional low.  Those tough days made me feel like I was crazy for trying.  That I couldn’t do this.  Those days reminded me that I have FM.  Luckily, the emotional investment made when I committed to this journey was more powerful than every negative thought I had.

Physical

beachbody ultimate resetThe physical aspect of my journey has been critical to my ability to keep moving forward.  I am motivated by my pain, my exhaustion, and my symptoms.  When I began the journey, I completed the Beachbody Ultimate Reset.  This was a HUGE part of overcoming my physical symptoms.  It was a huge part of making a physical commitment to changing – of believing change was possible.  For me, there was the necessity to have things get worse before they could get better.  The first few days pushed me into horrific pain, but somehow I knew it was the end of it all.

As I moved through the process of defying FM, I entered the physical challenge of cardio exercise – which I honestly believed was impossible.  Each day that I pushed play, I was retraining my mind and body to believe I could do this.  Defiance enters the picture when the workout gets tough, when you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning to workout, and when you push through the pain to find your way to feeling better than ever.

Defy It!

The moral of the story?  All things are possible.  I NEVER thought I could overcome my symptoms.  I NEVER imagined being able to put FM in the backseat.  I NEVER knew I could live a life that wasn’t filled with pain every minute of every day.  But, here I am.  I’ve done just that.  By continuing the fight, I’m achieving things I thought were impossible. That makes it possible for you, too.  There’s nothing unusual about me.  I just decided to try.  You can too.


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Think Like a Warrior

Slide1“You have to think like a warrior” ~ Chalene Johnson

Anytime you face a challenge, your mental state is the key to your success.  Even with a fitness challenge – without the right mindset, you will fail.  When I took the first step in this journey, I knew my mindset would have to change.  I’ve always been strong.  I’ve always been a fighter.  But that wasn’t enough.  I really had to become a WARRIOR.  That’s the only way you can survive life’s real challenges.  You coach yourself through those tough parts.  You tell yourself, “you can do this”, and you keep fighting the fight – warrior style.

How Do You Get There?

I think the hardest part in facing something truly CHALLENGING is getting started.  Once you get going, once you put one foot in front of the other, you’ll have some forward mobility.  The simple act of “deciding” is the key.  Making that choice.  Saying to yourself, “I can do this”, is really what it takes to get you started.  A lot of the other skills – the fight, the drive, and the determination – already reside in you.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t even consider facing the challenge in the first place.  Either you’re a fighter or you aren’t.  But only a true fighter can become a warrior.

What Keeps You Going?

There are many days – MANY DAYS – when I absolutely do not want to get up at 6 am and face this ridiculously challenging workout.  Just the other night, we arrived home after a weekend away.  It was Sunday and all day I’d been thinking, “YOU HAVE TO WORKOUT WHEN YOU GET HOME”.  Still, when we finally got home after driving for 9 or 10 hours, I almost convinced myself it was okay to skip it.  To put it off until another day.  It was 8pm and the workout was an hour long.  Heck, I wanted to be in bed at 9.  But, you know what? I did it.  And I felt SO AMAZING afterwards.

What keeps you going?  YOU DO.  You decide to do it.  Or you decide not to.  Whatever the challenge is – it’s up to you.  Yeah, it’s nice to have someone cheering you on, but really it’s all on you.  That’s the true test of life’s biggest challenges.  You have to face them on your own.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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Recap: TurboFire Beachbody Challenge: Week 5

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5 weeks down, 15 to go! This week, we’ll do something a little different with my recap.  Now that I’m 5 weeks in, I can say I love each and every workout.  I get excited each night before bed when I check my calendar to see which workout I get to do in the morning.  My workouts are ALWAYS scheduled.  They are non-negotiable and that structure is encouraging and somehow comforting.  I love TurboFire.  I love being strong.  And I know this is the best thing I’ve ever done for MYSELF.

Improving

Facing this challenge head on has been pretty remarkable thus far.  Steadily, I am improving.  I am growing stronger and more confident in my abilities.  Steadily, fibromyalgia is getting further and further away.  My thoughts don’t surround it any longer.  I think of other things.  Things I can do now.  Things I couldn’t do before.  I think of the possibilities.  The world of possibilities that didn’t exist until I took this risk.  This challenge.  This journey to awakening the fighter that I’ve always been.

Overcoming

Even with such great strides, there is the old “habit” to overcome.  You know the one.  The years in the making habit of thinking “there’s no way I can do that”.  During this week of TurboFire, that habit made itself known.  There were certain things – things that would be challenging for anyone – and I thought “I shouldn’t even try that because I know I can’t do that” – CAN’T?!?!?!  And so I tried it anyway.  To my amazement, I CAN do that!

It’s all about overcoming those things.  Facing those challenges head on.  Finding out if you can, rather than assuming you can’t.  Sometimes you fail.  But sometimes you surprise yourself.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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Why Physical Exercise for Fibromyalgia?

For most of us, the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia comes with strict warnings about curbing our activities in order to keep our symptoms at bay. We’re led to believe that with increased activity, our symptoms will worsen. And so, we go about our Fibromyalgia-controlled lives, taking tons of prescription medications to try and minimize the impact of these symptoms so we can go about our day-to-day activities. You know what? This is just plain WRONG!

Now, let’s be clear. I am not a doctor. I do not claim to offer medical advice of any kind. What I do offer is my story and how my symptoms have reacted to exercise.

How do I do it?

Well, the first obstacle to overcome in adding physical exercise to your once-sedentary life is getting started. The key here is to find the right exercise for YOU. Not me. Not your friend. Not your sister that is perfectly healthy. YOU. I started with yoga several years ago – mostly because that’s all I believed I could do. Also, I really love yoga. BUT, it wasn’t enough. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s walking. Maybe it’s using the treadmill at the gym. Maybe you feel like really challenging yourself with something like Turbo Jam or Zumba. Whatever it is, just start. Start carefully. Maintain an awareness of your body and your wellness the entire time. But start.

Once you get the ball rolling and you start feeling what it does for you, I think you’ll be hooked. I sure am. There have been multiple studies in recent years that have proven cardio exercise to be an effective way of minimizing the symptoms of FM. What hasn’t your doctor told you? Hmm. You got me. That’s why I do my own research so I can be in total control of my health, my fitness, and my condition. Relying on someone that is paid to tell you the answers may not always be the best solution.

The Results

Like all things, the results of physical exercise will differ from person to person. I know what the research suggests and I know what has happened to me as a result of dedicating myself to a cardio training program. A few things that can happen as a result of exercising:

  • Strong Muscles. As you strengthen your muscles, your body is better able to ward off pain. The stronger you are, the easier it will be to move. You can prevent muscle atrophy, which is a common result of the lack of movement FM sufferers are instructed to maintain.
  • Energy Levels. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have energy. As you know, FM depletes all energy from the body. It’s like you are completely exhausted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Exercise gives you energy!
  • Happy. It’s been proven time and time again that exercise releases endorphins, which will instantly boost happiness. With depression and anxiety being very common for FM sufferers (including me), this was a HUGE help.
  • Empowerment. This may be the biggest one for me. When I began my training program, I took control. I took BACK control from FM, which I had allowed to have total control for years and years. Actively participating in an exercise program gives you control of the process and it makes you feel powerful. Unstoppable even.
  • Improved Sleep. Hallelujah! I can sleep. There’s nothing like being exhausted 24/7 and unable to sleep. Ever. But that’s what happens for most people with FM when they don’t take measures to improve symptoms. Exercise makes you tired. You sleep. It’s wonderful!

I’m in it for the long haul

I grew up playing tennis. I was very active throughout my childhood and much of my adulthood. Until I was diagnosed. I believed I couldn’t live that life anymore. It was taken from me. But I was wrong. Now that I’ve found my way back to this amazing, active lifestyle, I don’t plan to ever go back. This is a lifestyle change I’ve made for myself. I’ve also made it so that I am able to enjoy hikes, walks, and other activities with James and the rest of my family. I realize not everyone has the same story or the same symptoms. And for some people, this may seem impossible right now.

But, maybe you could try something. Maybe you could decide to go on a ½ mile walk every day for 2 weeks. And then you can go on a 1-mile walk every day for two weeks. And on and on. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll notice something. Maybe you’ll start to feel better. What do you have to lose? Your FM symptoms? Well, I certainly don’t miss mine!


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Ultimate Reset: Why Make the Commitment?

beachbody ultimate reset

One of the biggest turning points in my life was the day I decided to commit to completing the Ultimate Reset. To be fair, it was one in a series of essential decisions that allowed me to take control of my life and shut down Fibromyalgia. It had been in control long enough and I knew from the experiences of the previous several years that nutrition was KEY to overcoming any health challenge. And so, I made the commitment. The 21-day, strict meal plan commitment. And it changed EVERYTHING. But, why? What makes the Ultimate Reset so special?

Structure

When I began the Reset I felt that my eating habits were better than the average person. I had been a vegetarian for more than 2 years and was gluten free (I believe the gluten intolerance is related to FM). Before I started, I read over the Program & Nutrition Guide and thought, “I can totally do this.”

The thing that stood out most in reading the guide was this: everything is VERY planned out. Every day, for the next 21 days, I knew when I’d be eating a meal, when I’d be taking a supplement, and when I’d be drinking water (a LOT of water). So, to me, that made it super easy to go into it with an open mind. The meals are planned out – completely.

Give it Up

Okay, if you do a total body cleanse, you have to realize there are certain things you’ll have to give up. The one thing that stood out: NO COFFEE! I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. But, more than that, I KNEW without a doubt that I NEEDED TO GIVE IT UP! I think the structure of the program gave me the push I needed to eliminate what was essential an addiction from my life. ELIMINATE IT!

Let’s be realistic, when you give up coffee after having had it in your life for DECADES, it ain’t gonna be pretty. Enter day 1 of the Reset.

Day 1. Okay, let’s be honest here: IT SUCKED. Oh my heavens, what was I thinking? How could I be giving up my precious coffee? I BARELY made it through the day and my head was pounding.

Day 2. Even worse. I couldn’t form thoughts; I could barely stay awake; and my HEAD WAS KILLING ME. Even in my caffeine-deprived haze, I knew I had to get coffee out of my life. Look what was happening to me when I didn’t have it! How could this be good for me?

Day 3. Things started getting better. But I still hated the universe for taking my coffee away.

Day 4. And finally, on day 4, I no longer wanted coffee. And I haven’t had it since. Take that, caffeine addiction!

Fibromyalgia

Like all things I do, I have to measure the results in terms of what it did for my FM. I knew getting rid of the toxins had to be good. I also knew the process of eliminating them would be tough on my body. And it was.

I was in a LOT of pain from about the 4th day through the end of the second week. I was in bed a lot and it was excruciating to just try and function. But it passed. And when it did, something GLORIOUS happened. Where did my FM go? What happened to my symptoms? THEY DISAPPEARED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before the Reset, FM was a HUGE problem. After the Reset, I was able to hike – WITHOUT PAIN. Without wishing I was dead. Without thinking I might die. I could hike. Like a normal person. Like someone without FM.

So, What did the Reset Do for Me?

What didn’t it do for me? It changed everything. It gave me my life back. It gave me my health back. It gave me the opportunity to find out how I really feel – without anything contaminating my body. Amazingly enough, I feel pretty darn healthy when I’m not poisoning myself with coffee or other foods that are strictly forbidden for someone with FM. Hello? Why was I eating that stuff in the first place?

The biggest changes I saw with the Ultimate Reset were:

  • Sleep: Before the Reset, I RELIED completely on sleeping pills and I still rarely slept. After the Reset, I USE NO SLEEPING PILLS and I USUALLY SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT!
  • Pain: Before the Reset, I took 4 Tylenol Arthritis (500mg) every night with my sleeping pills (because that’s a good idea) – I would also take them as needed for pain during the day. Since the Reset, I have had ZERO pain pills of any kind. I have had occasional pain (Because I do still have FM), but not enough to require medication.
  • Digestion: Before the Reset, I had problems with indigestion, acid reflux, and discomfort after almost every meal. Since the Reset, I have had ZERO issues like this. I feel great!

Biggest lesson, NEVER EVER EVER underestimate the power of nutrition.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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Recap: TurboFire Beachbody Challenge Week 4

Slide1Another week down!  Woohoo!  Okay, so that’s 4 down, 16 to go.  But who’s counting?

Let’s take a look at week 4, shall we?

Summary: I like to kick, I like to punch, I like to HIIT

Like all other weeks, this one started out with a BANG!  Chalene likes to jump right in and get your week started with an intense workout.  But then, all of TurboFire is rather intense.  So, there were Fire workouts, there were HIIT workouts, there were Sculpt workouts, and there was the formerly dreaded Core 20/Stretch 40 workout.  This week, I seemed to move through the workouts with less effort than the previous weeks.  Even as things get “easier”, each workout leaves you out of breath and SWEATY.  I can feel the results and I love it!

The Best

At this point it’s tough to pick a favorite.  I love every TurboFire workout.  And, what’s even better is I’m able to think less and less about the fact that this would have been impossible a short while ago.  I focus on pushing myself and getting it done each time I push play. And that’s just what I do.

My favorite moment of the week was the completion of the HIIT 20 / Sculpt 30 workout.  It was the longest HIIT workout thus far and I KILLED it.  I am unstoppable! 

TF_product_configuration_170x100What is TurboFire Doing for Me?

Now that I’m a few weeks into the schedule, I think it’s good to reflect on the process as a whole and really share the things I’m gaining from it.  It’s impossible to list everything, but a few things really stand out.

  • Fibromyalgia: Probably the most obvious outcome of this challenge is the affect it’s having on my FM symptoms.  I’m not saying the symptoms don’t exist, because they do.  What I am saying is that they are not the central theme of my life any longer.  Being fit is.  Being capable is.  Being strong is.  FM has really taken a backseat to all of these positive things.  Thanks to my choice to get up every morning, push play, and really PUSH myself through these tough workouts.
  • Confidence: To say this process has pushed my confidence through the roof would be an understatement.  The fact that I’m doing this for ME is like saying to myself “YOU matter; YOU’RE worth it; YOU deserve a better life.” It makes me feel important, valuable, and unstoppable.  This has changed how I see myself, how I feel about myself, and the confidence I have every single day.
  • Strength: This may seem obvious, but TurboFire really makes you STRONG.  Both inside and out.  I love feeling empowered and like I can take on any challenge.  It makes me more capable of facing any obstacle that comes my way.

Final Thoughts

I chose not to have a “least favorite” workout this week.  At first, the challenge of the whole thing becomes a bit overwhelming, but I am now at the point where I look forward to each day’s workout.  I check my calendar before bed to see which one I “get” to do in the morning.  I absolutely love this and love what it’s done for me.  Finding your “soul mate” workout is a beautiful thing.  Are you ready to find yours?

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon