defyingfibromyalgia

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


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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:

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Why Shakeology?

The more important question is, why not?  

Investing in yourself, in your health, requires sacrifice.  There’s no question that some shuffling has to be done to accommodate the budgetary needs of adding something new to your daily menu.  But, sacrifice makes possible great rewards.  At least in the case of Shakeology.  So, why am I so into this product dubbed “The Healthiest Meal of the Day”?  Well, because it literally is the healthiest meal of the day.

Tell me more, tell me more.

Okay, so if that explanation isn’t quite enough for you, let me expand on it a bit.  I won’t get into the technicalities of Shakeology (it contains x% of this, and x% of that) – you can read that on your own.  What I will discuss is how Shakeology helps me.

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ENERGY!

So, apparently, when you get all the nutrients you need for the day in one healthy shake, you have a TON of energy.  Maybe that’s because our bodies are typically deprived of these ingredients.  Maybe it’s because the ingredients used for Shakeology are the purest available on earth.  Whatever the reason, all I know is Shakeology gives me energy.  And, this is coming from someone that has lived in a constant state of exhaustion (fibromyalgia-style) for YEARS.  After having Shakeology for a couple of days, I was completely taken aback when I realized: “I’M NOT TIRED!”

Balance

The nutrients in Shakeology create harmony – both physically and mentally.  It’s difficult to explain, but it gives me a sense of balance that was lacking before.

6ff1f-foodfuel3

Eatin’ Right!

By starting my day with Shakeology, I am setting the tone for the whole day.  It’s my way of telling my body “I will nourish you today with the proper food.  I will eat healthy all day!” – somehow, it makes me not want junky foods.

Fibromyalgia

I had read some things prior to starting Shakeology that suggested it could actually help with fibromyalgia symptoms.  I thought it was too good to be true.  But, it IS true.  Aside from addressing “fibro fatigue”, it also helps tremendously with fibro fog, pain, and depression – to name a few.  Along with the Ultimate Reset and my fitness program (TURBOFIRE!), Shakeology has all but eradicated my symptoms.  But, without Shakeology, I truly don’t think I would have even been able to begin Turbo Jam or any cardio program.

                                                                                  DEEEEE-licious

One of my FAVORITE things aboSlide1ut this amazing, healthiest-meal-of-the-day beverage is the taste.  You can really tell they put a lot of effort into the formula and were careful to pick the best of the best.  Personally, I prefer the Vegan Chocolate (because, hello, I’m vegan) and I’m stuck on making it this way:

  • 12 oz. Almond Milk (plain, unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp. peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana*
  • 4 oz. water*

*We use frozen bananas because we live in a somewhat remote area and only go shopping once a week.  Also, I have a distaste for overly ripe bananas.  If you use fresh bananas, substitute the 4 oz. of water for 8 ice cubes and you’re good to go!

Cost

I realize for many people, the cost is an issue. BUT, when you calculate it versus the cost of a meal (or going to Starbucks every day), it is a very affordable option.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • The cost of a 30-day supply of Shakeology: $129.95
  • Cost per meal breakdown: 129.95 ÷ 30 meals (1 per day for 30 days) = $4.33

Let’s compare that with a typical meal or visit to Starbucks:

  • Cost of a Venti Mocha: $4.25 (no food here folks; just coffee, fat, and sugar) = – .08 vs. Shakeology
  • Cost of a breakfast meal at your favorite fast food joint: $4.50 = + .17 vs. Shakeology

Need I go on?

The Moral of the Story?

Shakeology is amazing.  It’s my favorite meal of the day and I believe it will improve the wellness of anyone that tries 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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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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Amaze Yourself!

Are you waiting for someone to come along and give you all the answers?  Someone to say, “This is how you will make your life better”?  Well, it ain’t gonna happen!  The thing about it is, this is YOUR life.  Take control of it.  Find the answers.  And do something to make your life better.  Make that choice.  And you just might be amazed.

I Can Do Anything!

Do you ever just feel invincible?  That’s what happens when you take control of your life.  When you start making positive changes.  Changes in your relationships, career, health, fitness, home, and anything else that might be bringing you down.  The changes I’ve made have led me down a path of amazement.  Amazement at MYSELF.  At the things I CAN do today that I COULD NOT do yesterday.  Sometimes, I just stop and think, “I’m amazing”.

Now, I don’t mean to sound cocky.  I’m anything but.  What I do mean to sound like is someone that is accomplishing something HUGE.  Someone that was completely incapacitated by a condition for the last 7 or 8 years that decided enough was enough.  Someone that took that condition by the b@!!$ and said, “you do NOT get to ruin my life anymore”.  That’s me.

And in so doing, I have been able to continuously grow in my abilities.  DAILY.  I wake up 6 days a week at 6am and workout.  I give it my all.  Today, I really had to stop and reflect on how far I’ve come this far and how amazing it really is.  I had to think about my inability to walk up a flight of stairs a few months back and my ability to do plyometric High Intensity Interval Training today and KILL it.  That’s amazing.  I had to think about the fact that I thought I would NEVER ever ever ever (times infinity) be able to hike and I do it EVERY DAY now.  I mean, can you see why I would say I amaze myself?

Do Something for YOU

The thing about what I’ve done is, while it does benefit those around me, I did it solely for MYSELF.  Every day when I workout, I do it for ME.  When I choose to eat healthy, I do it for ME.  What do you do for YOU?  Do you do enough for yourself?  Do you give yourself the opportunity to be AMAZING?  Go ahead, give it a try.  You just might achieve something you never thought you could.  The only way to find out?  Try.  Do something for you today!

AMAZE YOURSELF!

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“No, You Can’t” | “Yes, I CAN”

IMG_3064We’ve all got ‘em.  Those opposing inner voices.  There’s the good one.  The one that believes in you.  Then there’s the naysayer.  The one that thinks you’re a quitter.  When you’ve got something like FM, those voices are always at it.  Especially the naysayer.  Whether you’re walking the dog or just trying to get out of bed, that voice is always trying to get you to give up.  To admit that you just can’t do it.  And, man, how do you shut that thing up???

Well, I wish I could say I have the answer.  But I don’t.  That voice has developed over many years — over a lifetime of experiences — negative and positive.  She has been “trained” to tell you “you can’t do this”.  That voice is still in my head trying to convince me to give up on this journey.  To believe I shouldn’t be doing this.  To go back to being unable to do anything.  And, well, she doesn’t get to win.  Ever.  Again.  Nancy Naysayer already had several years, now it’s time for Polly Positive to get a chance.

So, how do you ignore that voice?

How do you push past the negative images, feelings, words, and beliefs to find your inner strength?  To find the voice inside you that believes you can?  It’s not easy.  And it’s something you have to focus on always.  Like all things, it’s a choice.

  • You choose to believe. 
  • You choose to try. 
  • You choose to hear positive words rather than negative ones. 
  • You choose to motivate yourself.  
  • You choose to overcome.

How do you get through a HIIT workout when you have FM? 

How do you choose to tackle an intense 20-week fitness challenge when you could barely walk up a flight of stairs just a few months back? 

It’s all the same.  You make a choice.  You either try or you give up.  You either listen to Nancy Naysayer or Polly Positive.  Believe me, I’ve got the “I can’t” voice SCREAMING at me during some of my workouts.  But I also have Chalene Johnson yelling at me to PUSH harderAND I have ME.  I have the person that I choose to be.  I have the person that I am becoming.  I have the will to be healthier than ever and to continue to strive for more.

You’re not alone.  Everyone hears “no, you can’t” – sometimes it’s from within, sometimes it’s from friends or family.  DON’T LISTEN TO ANY OF THEM.  Only YOU can decide that.  It’s up to you.  Shut down the negative, elevate the positive.  You can do this! ‘Nuff said.

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Defined

Slide1How do you define yourself?  If you had to pinpoint the one (or two) thing(s) that make you so very you, what would it be?

I suppose this connects to the previous post (Workout Moments of Enlightenment).  I suppose this also connects to the feeling that many of the people I know or have known seem to want to box me in or fit me into a specific definition.  Sometimes, it’s as if they want me to be limited in my abilities still or have a specific set of guidelines by which I operate.  Well, the thing is, I believe we are constantly evolving.  At least those of us with self-awareness and a desire to be the absolute best person we can be.  So, how can we remain the same?  How can we always be defined as X when we are evolving into Y?

I know it must be tough for loved ones when you see a person you care for struggling with some illness or condition.  In fact, I really do know – my mother has Multiple Sclerosis.  But what I’ve noticed as I’ve taken back my life and decreased my FM symptoms dramatically is that there are times when loved ones fall back on your previous limitations.  For example, before my transformation I couldn’t carry much of anything and felt a bit like an invalid at times.  Now, my strength has grown dramatically and I’ll basically carry anything I can.  I’ll do anything I can.  Sometimes, I’m asked “Why are you carrying that?” or Why are you doing that?” My answer? “Because I can.”  So I suppose even throughout my evolution(s), one label remains.  One word will always define me: fighter. 

Today, during my workout, I was amazed at a new achievement.  As usual, it might not seem like much to most people.  But, to me, it was thrilling.  What I’m noticing day after day is that I really am eradicating “Can’t” from my vocabulary.  I can remember when I was unable to do this specific thing on one of the TurboFire workouts and I said “I’m not able to do that yet” – YET.  And what happened?  Now I can.  That’s a fighter for ya.  I just thought, hey maybe I should try this again and see if I can do it yet.  And there you go.  Sometimes you just have to keep trying.  Try every day until can’t becomes can.  It’s a pretty remarkable feeling.

So think about it.  How do you define yourself?  Do you let others define you?  Take control – you own this.  You set the rules.  Make it positive.  Make it empowering.  Define yourself in a way that motivates you to do better; to be better.

There are no excuses.  Just try.  Just give it your all.  And you just might be surprised.

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Jammed: Me: 1 – Fibromyalgia: 0

On May 19, 2013, I reached a major milestone in this journey of mine.  I won’t say I “finished” anything, because I am far from done.  In fact, I plan to keep on pushing for the rest of my life.  The milestone?  I completed a Beachbody Fitness Challenge, which to most might not seem like that big of a deal.  But to me, it meant everything.  When you have fibromyalgia, you’re not “supposed” to be able to do those things.  And, realistically, I wouldn’t have been able to a year ago.  Even 6 months ago.  That’s really what the journey’s all about.  Never giving up.  Keep on trying until you can.

Turbo Jam: Day 1 March 25, 2013turbo_jam_logo

The first time I pushed play on Day one of my challenge, I was really hoping I could get through it.  I wanted to believe, but I still had that dreaded word: “CAN’T” hanging over my head.  That’s why I kept the journey private until now.  Aside from family and one close friend, no one knew I had taken this challenge.  I didn’t know if I could do it.  So, I pushed play.  And I did it.  And on day 2, I pushed play again.  And did it.  Day 3, pushed play; did it.  Well, you get the picture.

Turbo Jam: Through the Challenge

Somehow, I moved through the challenge, not really realizing just how amazing it was.  “It” being what I was in the midst of accomplishing.  When I would stop just for a second to reflect on it, I was astonished.  I was doing something I never thought I would ever be able to do.  I was paving the way for a future filled with possibilities.  Hiking, tennis, maybe even running!  Anything was possible.  Or at least it was becoming possible.

After about a week and a half, I was moving out of the modified workout (low impact) into the regular workout.  You know, the kind regular people do!  How was that possible???  Well, I guess maybe it always was.  I was adding weighted gloves, resistance bands and – OMG – jumping!  What?  Okay, so maybe those of you in perfect health don’t really get the big-deal-ness of this, but trust me it’s a big deal.  To put it in perspective, I could barely walk up a flight of stairs before – both from excruciating pain and from complete exhaustion.

photo-23I DID IT!

Not that I’m excited or anything.  On Sunday, May 19th, I completed the last workout of my Turbo Jam challenge. Seriously.  I freakin’ did it.  And I gave that workout everything I had.  110% all the way baby!  Immediately following my workout, I was elated. I felt a sense of pride I’d never felt before.  I accomplished something so huge that it was hard to even comprehend just how much it changed my life.  When I sat down on my bed to reflect on what I’d just done, I wept.  I just wept.  Happy tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of pride.  Tears of possibility.  Tears of knowing that I can.  Tears of knowing I would keep going forever. Because I can.

What Did Turbo Jam Do for Me?

What didn’t it do for IMG_2752me?  Seriously.  Here are a few things Turbo Jam has done for me.  I know the list will grow when I start TurboFire® (which I will on June 3rd – don’t tell anyone, but I kind of already started – I couldn’t wait!).  On with my list:

  1. I can hike now!  Okay, really, there was no way in hell I could hike before.  I could barely walk my dog.  But now, I CAN HIKE.  In fact, I’ve even made it to the peak of a mountain.  Not a huge mountain, but a mountain nonetheless and that’s a major accomplishment.
  2. I’m happy.  Yep, working out really does improve your mood.  I’m so happy I think I irritate my family. I know I work James’ nerves.  But I know he loves it.
  3. I feel good about myself.  When I took the “before” pictures at the beginning of my challenge, I was not happy.  I look super pissed in the photos because I did not want that camera pointed at me!  AHHHH!  But I’m so glad I have those to reflect on as proof of what I’ve achieved.
  4. Fibromyalgia has become smaller.  As I pushed through the pain in the first few workouts, FM was becoming less of a force in my life.  I was taking control.  I was becoming the force that drives my life.  Sounds crazy, but up until then it was FM.  My symptoms are less prominent and almost non-existent.  I have energy.  I feel great.
  5. CAN’T became CAN.  Simple as that.  Now when I think of something challenging, I think “I wonder if I could do that”; before it would have been an immediate “Can’t do that”.
  6. I could go on.  Turbo Jam changed everything.

Every day I pushed play, I was kicking FM’s ass.  I was making it smaller.  This is my journey.  And FM doesn’t get to win.

There are no excuses.  Just try.  Just give it your all.  And you just might be surprised.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon