defyingfibromyalgia

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


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How I Overcame Fibroymyalgia

IMG_5816It’s been a while since I’ve updated my story here.  I guess I’ve been busy enjoying the fact that I have my life back.  In the past several months, so much has happened.  I’ve been privileged to speak with dozens and dozens of fellow fibro warriors that seem to want to make a change.  All too often, the reality of the process scares them off.  But, even so, I gained much from each interaction.  It’s made me somewhat of an expert in the field, in spite of my lack of medical training and degrees.  In my journey I found that doctors were never much help anyway.  I discovered some interesting links in the backgrounds of each person and many correlations in the current lifestyle, nutrition, and lack of exercise.

It’s a gift to be able to connect and have people so openly share with me their stories and obstacles.  What’s clear is that

Mount Flora Summit - August 17, 2013

Mount Flora Summit – August 17, 2013

these obstacles are HUGE and seem impossible to overcome.  I remember what that was like.  It’s also clear that there is a strong connection with a trauma of some kind and the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  Almost every person I’ve spoken with either had childhood trauma (often repeated for many years in the form of abuse) OR a significant trauma as an adult, such as a serious injury or illness.  It’s also clear that what we choose to nourish our bodies with TODAY will determine the course of our future.  It will decide if we end up in a wheelchair or at the summit of a 13,000 foot mountain.  I obviously chose the latter.   It truly is a CHOICE.  We choose to either give in or put up a fight.  We choose to either say CAN or CAN’T.

What Made the Difference?

If you’ve followed my story at all, you know this hasn’t been easy.  This ISN’T easy.  There is no overnight solution.  There is no magic pill.  There is HARD WORK.  There is the power of CHOICE.  There is POSITIVITY.  It’s frustrating to see the number of people who WANT so badly to make a change, but are too afraid to FAIL.  Failure is a gift!  Failure is our greatest teacher in life.  Without failure, there can be no achievement.  So what are you all afraid of?  I admit, when I started my journey in March 2013, I was TERRIFIED of failure.  I had no idea if I could do it.  But you know what I was more terrified of?  Living the fibromyalgia life.  Living the same life I’d been living for many years.  A life filled with pain and weakness; fear and exhaustion; hopelessness and depression.  That scared me more than failure ever could.  That’s what made the difference for me.

As soon as you realize you have 2 potential futures – one with constant pain, exhaustion, and perhaps even a wheelchair; or one with freedom, energy, happiness, and health – you’ll be on your way.  Once you see that dark future; the fibromyalgia future – you become a WARRIOR.  You become unstoppable.  You will do anything to fight back, to take your life back.  And that’s just what I did.

IMG_5797My Results Thus Far

So, I started this whole crazy ride in March 2013 when I turned to my best friend who also happened to be a coach for Beachbody.  The first thing I decided to do was deal with my nutrition.  I knew what I was eating only made things worse. The MOST IMPORTANT thing I’ve done for myself is start using a superfood meal replacement shake called Shakeology.  This has changed everything for me.  Without it, I would NOT be where I am today.

So step 1 was a 21-day detox called The Ultimate Reset.  This did AMAZING things for me.  By the end, I felt almost “normal”.  I was able to HIKE!  I was vegan, coffee free, and medication free.

Step 2 was a cardio kickboxing program called Turbo Jam.  Was it tough? Yes.  Did I want to give up? YES.  Did I feel like a failure almost every day? YES YES YES.  BUT, I kept pushing play every day for 8 weeks.  By the end, I had no symptoms.

Step 3 was a DIFFICULT cardio program called Turbo Fire.  I have to admit, this seemed impossible when I previewed the videos before I started the program.  But I DID IT.  All 20 weeks of it.  And fibromyalgia was LOSING.

Step 4 was a strength training program called ChaLEAN Extreme.  I was amazed that I could lift weights!  I hadn’t had symptoms in months.  And I finished this program too.

Now I’ve moved onto P90X3.  This program is tough too.  But now I don’t even consider myself a person with fibromyalgia.  I honestly don’t even think I would be diagnosed with it today.  I have my life back because I FOUGHT for it.  It’s been over 300 days since I’ve had a symptom.  So you tell me if it was worth it.  Tell me if it’s worth it to try.  To fight back.  To be willing to WORK HARD.

So, Where Do You Start?

You start by being willing to try.  You start by telling fibromyalgia to take a back seat.  You start by letting your DETERMINATION take over.  I love sharing my story.  I do it because I want every person out there with fibromyalgia or any other huge obstacle to know there is HOPE.  There is always HOPE.  My #1 goal in being a Beachbody coach is to help people who are ready to try.  If you want to sit around and complain about your obstacles, I can’t help you.  If you’re ready to FIGHT, I’m here to be your BIGGEST CHEERLEADER.

IMG_5203Are you ready to fight back?  Contact me at CoachWendyGordon@gmail.com to join the fight.

 

 

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

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From Impossible to Possible: It’s All in the Mindset

Progress Pictures, ChaLEAN Extreme Week 8

Progress Pictures, ChaLEAN Extreme Week 8

When I started this journey, pretty much everything seemed impossible.  I was told by “experts” that the most exercise I could ever hope to do would be yoga and walking.  So, for YEARS, I accepted that as fact.  I accepted that this was my life – this would always be my life.  But, when it comes down to it, what do they know?  They don’t have fibromyalgia.  They don’t know what a stubborn, determined FIGHTER I am. Yes, it’s tough.  And most people probably wouldn’t do what I’ve done.  But I have PROVEN that it’s possible.  After that, it’s up to you.

The Change in Mindset

I remember how I felt when I considered doing my very first program, Turbo Jam.  There was no one out there saying “this is possible because I did it”, so I was left to wonder if it really was possible at all.  But I was determined to find out.  So in spite of my mindset of “I really may not be able to do this”, I tried.  And I did it.

The same thing happened with TurboFire.  I looked at the videos and thought, “How in the hell am I going to do this?  Is this even possible?”  I mean, it REALLY seemed impossible.  But I pushed play that very first day and I never stopped.  20 weeks later I was done.  And something magical happened midway through the program.  My mindset changed.

Somehow, I stopped being someone with fibromyalgia and started being someone overcoming an obstacle.  As soon as that switch was flipped, everything changed.  To this very day, I’m asked to share my story with others because it is seen as “amazing” and I am uncomfortable with it.  I feel that I am the same as everyone else. I see myself as a (very stubborn) woman with a (tough) obstacle.  I see myself as someone that USED to have fibromyalgia.  I see myself as just like you.  Just like anyone else that has something to overcome.  (which is everyone)

My Latest “Impossible” Accomplishment

I’m 8 weeks into my latest program, ChaLEAN Extreme.  It’s a circuit training program with a HUGE focus on strength training and lifting HEAVY.  Believe me when I tell you that, once again, I wondered if this program would be possible for me.  But, unlike the other times, as soon as I had that thought I remembered each previous obstacle.  I remembered the first time I pushed play on Turbo Jam, the first time I completed a TurboFire HIIT workout, and the overwhelming achievement of summiting 13,000-foot Mount Audubon and completing an 8 hour, 19 minute hike.  With those thoughts came the reality that, while CLX might be difficult, it IS possible.  One thing I’ve learned in this amazing journey so far is this: “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”.  And I do mean anything.

As I started my final circuit with CLX today, I knew it would be tough.  I previewed the workouts and with mouth gaping opened I thought, “holy crap, this is going to be tough.  But I can totally do it.”  Day 1, Lean Circuit 1.  Seriously guys, this is a tough workout.  There are tricep pushups, plank with a single arm tricep extension, and a zillion other things that I would never have even attempted only 1 year ago.  But I did it.  And I will complete the next 4 weeks with the same determination and drive as every single other challenge.  Because that’s what I’m made of.

Why TRYING is the First Step

As soon as you make the decision to try, you’re changing your mindset.  Your choosing CAN over CAN’T.  Your choosing a better life.  No matter what your obstacles, this is the first step to changing everything.  I never imagined 1 year ago that I’d be where I am today.  I was in terrible pain constantly and my life was HARD every second of every day.  I was depressed and hopeless.  I was overweight and unhealthy.  And I figured that’s how it would always be.  Until I’d had enough.  Until I decided to TRY.

So, when will you make that choice?  When will you decide enough is enough? 

2014 will bring even bigger advances for me.  I will complete program after program, continuing this life-changing trend.  Continuing to defy the odds.  Continuing to leave my obstacle in the dust.  Continuing to forget that I used to be a girl with fibromyalgia.  Continuing to be a FIGHTER that overcame an OBSTACLE.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

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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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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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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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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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No Excuses!

The world is full of excuses.  When it comes to fitness, there is a laundry list of reasons you can use to justify skipping a workout.

 “I’m too busy.”

“I’m too old.”

“I don’t like to workout alone.”

“I’m tired.”

“I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“It’s boring.”

“My kids keep me busy.”

“My back hurts.”

“My knees hurt.”

“My (insert body part here) hurts.”

“I’m too out of shape to do it.”

“I’m already thin, so I don’t need to workout.”

“I have arthritis.”

“I have Multiple Sclerosis.”

“I have Fibromyalgia.”

“I have (insert condition here).”

And on and on…

If we all tried to find excuses, it really wouldn’t be that hard.  I’m busy. I get bored easily.  I have fibromyalgia.  Instead of them being excuses; why not use them as motivation?  A reason to do it in spite of these obstacles?  This video, which I’m sure many of you have seen, really sums up the concept of there being no excuses.

How to Overcome Excuses

In many cases, there is a culture of complaining, an environment of excuse-making – and that can be tough to overcome.  There is no single answer to the question: How do I overcome excuses?  The fact is, it’s up to YOU.  Each one of us has the power of choice.  While we can’t choose the obstacles we face, we can choose how we react to them; how we use them in our life.  Do you choose to use your obstacle as an excuse?  Do you choose to sit and do nothing because of this obstacle?  Or, rather, do you choose to rise above this “excuse”?  Do you choose to force the transformation from “excuse” to “motivation”? It’s all in your hands.  Make your move.  Surprise yourself.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon