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:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

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’s Your Nutrition?

For anyone (especially those of us with fibromyalgia), nutrition is the KEY to feeling and looking your best.  Without the proper FUEL, it’s tough to find the energy to get through the day.  Energy is a thorn in the side of every person with fibromyalgia.  I know for me, it was debilitating to say the least.  When I decided to address nutrition, I took the first step in my journey.  I’ve certainly delved into this subject in previous posts (Ulimate Reset: Why Make the Commitment?, Why Shakeology?, Food = Fuel), but this time I want to give you useful tools to help you make the same transition in your life.  So let’s get started.

Forks Over Knives

This was a true turning point in my nutritional journey.  This film explains in a way no one ever has the importance of nutrition and the results of eating the wrong foods vs. the right foods.  FOK advocates a largely plant-based diet.  What does that mean?  It means you know where your food comes from.  While I’m vegan, that doesn’t mean being vegan is the only way you can stick to a largely plant based diet.  If you choose to include meat or fish, be smart about your choices.  As Americans, we tend to believe we “need” huge portions of meat and fish and tiny amounts of veggies.  The opposite is true.  Your meal should be mostly fresh veggies.  Every meal.  That’s what it’s all about.  Eat the right foods and avoid the wrong foods.  Check out the trailer.  The film is on Netflix so if you have it, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND watching it.

Food Journal

After watching FOK, I knew I had to make some changes.  The first change was eliminating meat and fish.  Then I decided to try and figure out which foods were making me feel worse.  I had always known about “trigger foods” but didn’t want to admit that I needed to give up some of my favorite things.  Once I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, I decided to give it a go.  The food journal should be kept for at least a week.

Here’s how it works:

  • Write down everything you eat for each meal and snacks.
  • Write down how much water you have each day.
  • Write down any activity you have each day.
  • Write down how you feel each day.

After a few days, it will become pretty obvious that certain foods and drinks are making you feel worse.  Some things to look for:

  • Coffee
  • Aspartame (Diet soda, splenda, etc)
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Processed foods (especially fast food)

Download it here: Weekly Food Journal

shakeology pinShakeology

I’ve said it a million times: Shakeology changed my life.  Literally.  I was really skeptical before I started using it.  I heard that I’d have more energy, lose weight, and just feel better.  It seemed impossible.  Until around Day 3 of using it.  I can’t say enough about it.  I believe every single person would benefit from using it daily.  So what makes it different from the average meal replacement shake?

Ingredients: Shakeology ingredients are sourced with not only the users in mind, but also the planet.  The ingredients are highly sustainable and in most cases harvested by hand.  They are SUPERFOODS and the creators of Shakeology scoured the globe for the finest ingredients with the highest nutritional content. Check out this video about where the ingredients come from.

Shakeology is packed with:

  • Proteins
  • Amino Acids
  • Vitamins & Minerals
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Digestive Enzymes

Because it is packed with so many nutrients, Shakeology GIVES YOU ENERGY.  I mean, real energy.  Without it, I would never have been able to start Turbo Jam and I certainly would not have moved on to TurboFire.  It’s amazing stuff!

Get Your Nutrition on Track

I can’t say enough about the importance of addressing nutrition in order to support your body and find some relief from your symptoms.  If you would like help in your journey, feel free to contact me here or follow me on Facebook for info on upcoming support groups.

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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: Beachbody TurboFire Challenge Week 3

tf_logo_lowres

Dates: June 17 – June 23

Total Workouts: 6

Total Workout Duration: 315 Minutes / 5 1/4 Hours

Nutrition: Beachbody Shakeology Vegan Chocolate DAILY; Vegan Power Diet

Supplements: VegaSport Pre-Workout Energizer; VegaSport Recovery Formula; CoQ10; MSM / Glucosamine

Okay, I’ve made it through another week!  Phew!  As usual, TurboFire was the perfect combination of CHALLENGE and FUN.  That’s why I love it.  I was super impressed with some of my progress this week.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say I AMAZED MYSELF!  So, let’s take a look at the recap so you can see what I mean…

First Impressions

This is week 3 – I can totally do this.  I began with ZERO anxiety and 110% confidence that I would KILL every workout.  And I did.  A positive attitude goes a LONG way!

I made some major strides this week and grew a lot in my strength and durability.  I attribute that to two things: one, it’s been 3 weeks since I moved to a high altitude climate and I think I’m getting used to it; two, I’ve worked my butt off every single day.

Favorites

Well, well, well…  How to pick a favorite?  6 awesome, challenging workouts. 6 days of feeling empowered, strong, and invincible.  Here are a few favorite moments from the week:

  1. HIIT 15 + Tone 30 – Thursday June 20: This is the second time I’d done this workout and, well, it got a LITTLE easier.  The biggest thing?  I CAN JUMP!  When doing plyometric training, jumping is key.  When you have FM, jumping is HARD.  But, I kept trying until I could do it.
  2. BURPEES:  Okay, okay, okay.  I know a lot of you do these without breaking a sweat.  But, really, I didn’t think it would ever happen for me.  Chalene calls them “SUMO” but you know what she means.  You know you’ve got to try.  Until you CAN.  This week, I finally could.  And I was AMAZED.  This was the day I wrote my post “Amaze Yourself”.
  3. Core 20 + Stretch 40: In last week’s recap, I listed this as my least favorite workout of week 1.  After doing it each week, it’s moved to the favorite category.  It’s TOUGH.  But it WORKS YOUR CORE!  What I’ve learned is: your core really is the key to all movements, so you need to WORK IT.

Secret Weapons

  1. Shakeology: I suppose it’s really no secret, but I LOVE Shakeology.  It REALLY helps my symptoms and truly is the “Healthiest Meal of the Day”.  It gives you everything you need to FUEL your body and keep moving through the day.
  2. VegaSport: In watching TurboFire before beginning the program, Chalene mentioned drinking Beachbody Results and Recovery during workouts, especially HIIT workouts.  The thing is, it’s not vegan so I knew I couldn’t drink it.  So, I looked for a vegan option.  I found VegaSport.  Not only is it vegan, but it’s also formulated with ALL NATURAL ingredients. I use both the Pre-Workout Energizer and the Recovery Accelerator and LOVE THEM BOTH.  A great option if you want a natural way of soothing sore muscles after working out so hard.

Overall: Week 3

Hey, I did it!  I LOVE the challenge of TF and I love that your strength grows exponentially each time you workout.  My body is changing, I am growing stronger, and I feel better each day.  Actually, I feel AMAZING.  Fibromyalgia who?  Yep, it can kiss my grits.

See y’all next week for another recap!

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon

 


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Food = Fuel

FOOD IS FUEL.

The sooner you start believing that, the healthier you’ll be…

I figured in this journey of mine, it wouldn’t be fair to go on without addressing nutrition.  It has played a HUGE role in my ability to transcend my condition and become stronger, happier, and healthier.  To overshadow it with talk of fitness routines and challenges would be leaving out what is the main reason I am able to do it at all.

Giving it Up

As soon as I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was reading as much material as possible so that I would feel empowered and in control.  I read up immediately on the dos and don’ts of FM – largely diet and nutrition.  Of course, the top 5 things I could not have were the top 5 things I would NEVER give up – or so I thought at the time.  Here’s what I found on the list of foods to avoid for FM sufferers (also note my reaction to the list when I read it several years ago – before I changed my diet):

  1. Caffeine (Hello, my name is Wendy and I’m a coffee addict)
  2. Aspartame (Hello, my name is Wendy and I’m a diet coke addict)
  3. Gluten (Do they really expect me to give up beer? AND bread?)
  4. Dairy (What would life be without cheese?)
  5. Nightshade plants (Seriously? No tomatoes?)

Okay, so after years of pretending none of this applied to me, I came to realize this line of thinking was ruining my life.  So I started to change.

The first to go? Diet Coke.  Seriously, the stuff is basically poison.  I gave it up in 2008 and haven’t had a single soda since.  And I don’t miss it at all.  Goodbye aspartame.  It’s been nice knowing you.  The rest of the list took some time.  Like YEARS…

How to Give Up the Rest?

Slowly, I began to connect more with my body, how I felt, and what was making me feel that way. I was seeing a clear connection between what I ate and how I felt.  Seems pretty obvious, right?  Well, do you really SEE the connection?  Or do you eat things that are really, really awful for you because it’s too hard to eat healthy?  Uh huh.  We became vegetarians sometime in 2010 or 11.  Cheese-loving vegetarians, but vegetarians nonetheless.  At least it was an improvement.  The next thing to go was gluten.  This happened thanks to James.  He was reading up on how it affects FM and said, “Maybe you should think about giving up gluten”.  At the time, we were regularly going to our favorite pub to sample the latest craft beer offerings.  And what he was saying was we should think about giving up gluten.  And so we did. And things started to get better.  Slowly.

Shakeology & Ultimate Resetbeachbody ultimate reset

This was KEY to my transformation.  I can’t stress enough what the Ultimate Reset experience did for me.  For both James and I really.  We started it March 3, 2013 and finished March 23.  What does it do?  It retrains your mind and body.  It redefines how you see food, how you feel about it, and what you choose to put in your body.  You don’t starve.  In fact, you eat a LOT.  Week one, you’re still eating some dairy – you’re alsShakeology_logo_with_tag_LRo GIVING UP COFFEE.  Yes, that’s right.  This confirmed coffee addict gave it up.  AND I haven’t had it since.  Week 2, you’re going vegan baby.  I thought it would be SO difficult.  And yet, here we are – July 14, 2013 – STILL vegan with no plans to EVER go back.  We’ve NEVER felt better.  I’ve never been healthier.  And without this change, I would NEVER have been able to do the rest.  No Turbo Jam, no TurboFire, no hiking, no conquering FM.  Diet is KEY.  What you fuel your body with is key.  Shakeology is a part of every single day and it truly FUELS my body.  Amazing stuff.  Truly.

Food is FUEL, Not a Reward

Food is not a reward.  Food is how you prepare your body for the things you want to do.  Food is how you prevent disease.  Food is how you prolong your life.  IF you choose the right foods.  It’s not easy.  But it IS worth it.  I never thought I would go vegan.  I never thought I would give up coffee.  I never thought it would make a difference.  But you never know till you try.  And I’m so glad I did.  Because, before I gave those things up, I NEVER thought I could hike, workout, or ever be active again.  Here’s to eating healthy.  Here’s to being healthy.  Here’s to make the right choices for your body.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon