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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myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon

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The Truth About Overcoming Fibromyalgia: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

I’ve written about this several times, and I’m sure I’ll write about it several times more.  The thing is, most people out there aren’t quite hearing what I’m saying.  My journey has been nothing short of amazing.  But here’s the kicker: every single person out there could experience results like this IF they were willing to TRY.  That’s where I lost most of you.  But, I’m not one to give up that easily.  And so I’m going to lay it all out: what I did, how I did it, and how you can do it too.

The Decision

This is step one.  First you DECIDE you want a better life.  That you DESERVE a better life.  For me, this came during a serious ROCK BOTTOM situation.  In bed for a couple of weeks, in excruciating pain (as usual), and completely SICK of feeling that way.  That’s when I knew this wasn’t the life for me.  That I had to do something about it.  Now, no one can make this decision but YOU.  Just like no one can do the work but YOU.  This is all up to YOU.

Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

Can I say it again? NUTRITION!  Few things are as frustrating to me as seeing people that claim to want to feel better posting about their fried chicken dinner or McDonald’s excursion with the kids.  THIS IS NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER.  THIS IS WHY YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP ALL THE TIME!  Seriously folks, you will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER feel better until you CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT.  EVER!

Where do you start?  You start by eliminating processed foods, fast foods, and soft drinks.  YES, REALLY.  Why? Because they are poisoning your body.  Then you identify the foods that are making you sick by keeping a food journal.  Then you eliminate those foods.  The end result is a largely plant-based diet – that means, lots of fruits and veggies with lean, healthy protein.  I personally am vegan, but you can get healthy protein from animal products if you make SMART CHOICES.  Since I don’t eat meat, I can’t really help you identify the right meats to eat, but a little research will steer you in the right direction.

Shakeology helped me get my nutrition on the right track and it helps me keep it there.  It has been one of the single biggest factors in my transformation.  Send me a message if you’d like more info on that.

Fitness is HARD WORK

I know what you’re going to say: I CAN’T workout because I’m in pain all the time.  Guess what?  So was I when I started.  But I did it anyway.  You have to be willing to FIGHT to make progress. Once I corrected nutrition and started using Shakeology, I was able to get moving and start working out.  As you get fit, lose weight, and build strength, that’s when fibromyalgia starts to lose and that’s when you start to win. If you aren’t willing to work hard, fibromyalgia will always win.  ALWAYS.  It’s really that simple.

There is No Magic Pill

If you’re waiting for me to tell you about a magic pill, you’re in the wrong place.  If you’re waiting for me to tell you about a cure, I just did.  Fitness, nutrition, and HARD WORK.  That’s your cure.  I HAVE NO SYMPTOMS.  NONE.  Your cure is fitness.  Your cure is nutrition.  YOU CAN FEEL BETTER.  YOU CAN HAVE YOUR LIFE BACK.  Put in the work and you too can feel better, look better, and be FREE FROM FIBROMYALGIA.

I’m not saying the only way to do it is with the programs I’ve used.  I personally believe Beachbody products are the best out there because I am living proof.  BUT find what works for you and stick with it.  DO SOMETHING. MAKE A CHANGE.  Find your way out of the grips of this horrible condition.  Be willing to FIGHT.  Be willing to COMMIT.  Be willing to WORK HARD.

Complaining = USELESS

I used to complain all the time about my condition.  USED TO.  And a lot of you insist upon complaining day in and day out.  I understand that.  Really I do. BUT, until you STOP COMPLAINING and start focusing on POSITIVITY, nothing will change.  Change your mindset, change your life.  CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE.  Shift your focus.  Don’t let fibromyalgia be the center of your life anymore.  CHANGE IT.  Focus on your goals.  Focus on the things you want to do when you conquer your symptoms (not if, when).  Make the choice.  Change your life.

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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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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