Category Archives: Fitness

MS in the Gym

Leaving the gym tonight, Trainer asks how I’m feeling. “How am I supposed to feel!? My brain is eating itself.” Frustrated. Discouraged. Battle. Fighting for Control over my own body.

I just couldn’t keep up tonight at all. I couldn’t even hold some positions, let alone add weights. My ass still hurts from last night’s injection which made floor work difficult. I felt better engaging my abs and hovering instead of having my cheeks to the floor.

My pace was so slow and my form was shaky and unbalanced. My body was screaming against my brain’s orders like a defiant child. No wonder so many people with MS just roll over and cry for a year at a time. When you grunt and you push and you give it everything you’ve got and can’t make progress or even engage the muscles… Watching them twitch around… mocking me… Just… Horrible.

And then people feel they are being kind by giving you allowances because you’re different and they tell you it’s okay to stop and sit down. NO! I don’t want to sit down. I don’t want to stop! Maybe I can’t do everything that others are doing, but I’m not about to give up!

Do you realize the battle I’m fighting here against my body? Against the negativity? Against unknowns? Trying so hard to focus and keep it together and not yell and scream and cry and punch a wall?!!! Although the wall probably wouldn’t have much to worry about.

So many invisible tethers attached to my body are pulling me backwards faster than I can force out the forward momentum. When does it get easier again?

And then I look in the mirror and slap myself… SNAP OUT OF IT. You couldn’t walk! Remember??? This is still progress.

Oh and Raw Vegan Day 44. Going raw vegan is so much easier than dealing with MS.

I raced a teenager and won.

Really!  I totally did!  Last night, in fact!  I know, I’m not THAT old.  I’m only 30.  I still count this as an accomplishment and let me tell you why!

So last night in the gym parking lot, it was me, my boyfriend, my trainer, and the teenager.  Trainer drew the line on the pavement and ordered his troops to do a full lap of fast running around the lot perimeter.  Eyeballing my competition, I knew I was completely screwed at the start.  There’s no way!  None.  Might as well give everything I have since I’ll be racing myself.

Gimpy (my left side) still isn’t 100%.  I remember being in this parking lot nearly two months ago for my first almost lap of limping around the lot.  I limped so slowly because I wasn’t accustomed to my new gait.  I was also trying very hard not to swing my hips to compensate for the leg muscles refusing to engage.  It took conscious effort with each step to work through the motions and retrain my body, but mainly my brain, to walk again.

Trainer and Boyfriend stayed on either side of me as I limped around with tears and scowls on my face.  It was hard and I was angry and impatient.  I tried to increase my speed just a little.  I used the anger to propel me forward just a little faster.  Trainer and Boyfriend were wary of my tendency to push too fast too soon.  Trainer cautiously pleading with me to slow down and Boyfriend kindly encouraging me to continue at a steady and safe pace, “you can do it, hon.”  Balance.  Hah!  I didn’t know if I’d ever walk properly again, let alone run.  I had no time for balance.

Back to the teenager.  I’ve seen her in the gym a couple of times and she’s joined our impromptu boot camps twice.  I guess she’s new?  Or just new to the schedule?  She is a client of Trainer, but it doesn’t seem like she wants to be there at all.  Each time I’ve seen her, she belly aches about everything he asks.  Trainer bargains with her repeatedly to get the effort he wants.  She resists or refuses or gives half effort and quits.  I suppose her parents are paying?  If she wants to be there, she has an interesting way of showing it.  She’s strong and fast, as most teenagers are.  It’s not that she can’t!  She just doesn’t have any drive to put in any effort.  But she could easily beat me in a race.  Easily could.  But didn’t.

Ready, set, go!  Off they went ahead of me.  Boyfriend in the lead, Trainer catching up to Boyfr…. wait… what the hell?  Trainer is running backwards… and gaining on Boyfriend.  What?  Really?  LOL!  Teenager is ahead of me but starting to lose momentum.  In fact, her arms are flailing a bit and she’s grabbing her side.  She stops.

We haven’t even rounded the first corner when I pass her.  I look ahead and see Trainer and Boyfriend keeping pace with each other.  Trainer running backwards and Boyfriend running forwards.  I’m trying not to laugh so I can keep breathing through my own strides.  I look back.  Teenager is walking leisurely.  I look forward at the pavement.  Okay.  You know what?  You don’t want it?  I’m going to take it.  GIMPY is taking you down.  And as I rounded the last corner to the finish line, I see Teenager clumping through the middle of the lot at her leisurely pace while Trainer argues with her “Really?!”

Even against seemingly impossible odds, I’m still going to keep trying.  I won because she didn’t want to try.  I’ll take that victory and I’ll keep trying.

Gym Challenges – Weakness – MS

Last Thursday, my trainer asked me to stay home from the gym and take an additional rest day because of the recent round of weakness.  I was getting dizzy and unable to lift even close to my usual amounts.  …this too shall pass …please.

My weekly one hour training session is officially on Saturdays, but I try to go Monday-Thursday after work as well.  Friday is the set rest day because the gym closes early on this day and I can’t make it across town fast enough from work.  Sunday is the optional make-up day or alternate rest day.  5-6 days a week in the gym is good.  My trainer will work with me and his other clients if he’s free during the week.  I look forward to the impromptu boot camps.  He is the kind of person that will give above and beyond if you reciprocate with effort.  I’m happy to push and he’s happy to give.  It’s not special treatment though.  He spoils all of his dedicated clients this way.

I’ve been going through phases of weakness in my fitness and am in one right now.  I’ve noticed it more since the hospital, but I also knew this battle all too well for several years prior to the hospital.  It just didn’t have a diagnosis yet.  I was hard on myself and called myself weak or lazy or just not dedicated enough.  I know, it’s bad to beat myself up… I’ll share that story another day.

Now I know with confirmation on the MRI images showing the 4 lesions that there’s a logical reason for the weakness.  I also notice that my writing isn’t as good when I go through the weakness.  My brain gets a little slow.  Everything slows down.  And then, when my brain is ready, I am allowed to resume at a normal pace and reality.

I am coming out of it soon.  I can feel it.  For now, I take it slow on the treadmill or elliptical and get demoted to the baby weights at 3 and 5 pounds.  Ridiculous and embarrassing, but this is the new normal I need to come to terms with.  I’m not always going to be strong.  I’m not always going to be able to bump up the weight.  I’m not always going to be able to do more than I did yesterday.  And I need to learn to be okay with this and love my overall progress.  It’s easy to get discouraged, but it would be far worse to wallow or quit.  I must keep my head up and continue moving forward.  One step at a time.  One rep at a time.  One lap at a time.  One breath at a time.

From immobile to running a mile in less than 2 months

Yesterday, I ran a little more than a mile and bench pressed 20 pounds on the big bar, so whatever the bar weighs plus 20.  Someone told me the bar is 45 pounds.  Baby steps to heavy lifting.

I was asked yesterday on social media about this, “Are you doing something else besides (raw vegan) to help you improve your running?”

Yes absolutely.  A bunch of things!  Each day I work hard and have been working hard since day 1 (September 8, 2014).

Back up to September 8th when I went to the hospital with my left arm and leg totally numb and limp at my side.  Since day 1 in the hospital, I walked every day while I was there (even when I couldn’t walk properly).  I raised my arms and legs up and down slightly while laying in the hospital bed.  I kept doing it until I sweat and then some.  I cried because I was scared and they didn’t know what was wrong with me, but that fear just fueled me to work harder to fix myself.  I worked up to sitting up and walking on my own and then doing laps around the neuro ward by the 4th day.  The physical therapist came to see me on day 3 and was so impressed at what I had already accomplished.  She had nothing new to teach me.  I taught her a dexterity game I had come up with.  She said she would teach it to patients to make therapy more fun.

Even if it was just the task of sitting up in bed or getting up from the bed or walking to the bathroom, I pushed hard and did it by myself.  I told people to back off when they would try to help me.  I muscled through excruciating frustration, humiliation, and pain with my brain not engaging my muscles properly.  I stood in front of the mirror and did exercises between medical tests and worked on controlling the movements with my brain.  Jedi mind tricks.  I walked slow and steady by myself but with a limp when I left the hospital.

The first two weeks after the hospital were the hardest. I cried during my first yoga class because I couldn’t stand up on my yoga mat properly with my feet together without losing balance.  But I kept trying to do it through the tears and didn’t quit.  I finished the class doing all that I could do and cried some more.  They still hadn’t firmly diagnosed me with MS (pending spinal tap results).

I declined physical therapy and went with a personal trainer in my local gym.  From day one, he had me walking forwards and backwards with assistance at first and each day going further and further.  We worked on the pavement in the parking lot and eventually made it around the entire building.  I wobbled a lot and fought balance and coordination, but I never let myself fall.  If I felt like I was going to fall, I would stop, rebalance, and then continue onward.

From day one in the gym, I had weights in my hands to work on strengthening and reengaging function in those weak joints and muscles.  There were a lot of weak and limp spots.  I did assisted leg presses with my weak leg with no added weight at first.  I did partial squats and lunges as far as I could go into the position.  I worked my core and did yoga balancing exercises.  I had assisted deep stretching to manually work the muscles that could not yet engage.  I stayed self aware and cried ALOT but kept pushing through the tears.

I think going raw also helps with increasing my running stamina.

Long story short, I continue to fight each and every day for improvement in all areas of my body.  I’m getting stronger and faster and I don’t even walk with a limp anymore.  I still have weakness and backsliding days, but overall I’m getting stronger.  I’m not stopping the fight to improve.  To move.  I remember not being able to sit up in bed or stand up without wobbling and that pushes me just a little further each day.

At first, it felt really hopeless and impossible and I had many moments of tearful pity parties.  The fatigue was VERY hard to work through in the beginning.  I would feel so horrible most of the time and would find myself barely hanging on to the elliptical or to my trainer for support.

The most important part was not stopping the momentum.  Working hard even when I felt horrible.  My excuses had to become my reasons.  Fatigue lessens with exercise and raw eating so I don’t have to struggle as hard anymore.  Each day you push through the symptoms and do what needs to be done, the next day will be easier.  And then the next.

It’s okay to be tired.  It’s okay to hurt.  It’s okay to cry.  It’s okay to be angry.  It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.  It’s okay to struggle.  It’s all okay because it gets easier the harder you work.  One day at a time.  One breath at a time.

September 27 – October 11, 2014

September 27, 2014

I woke up this morning feeling very tired, grumpy, and sore. Gimpy (my left side) is generally more numb and weak in the morning time. You know what I’m going to do about this?

Go back to bed? No.
GO TO THE GYM? Yes!!!

I did about 2 hours today in the gym. Part of the warm up was fast walking outside around the building. I had not yet been able to fast walk until today! Balance and coordination are coming back! Also did some walking backwards with spotters.

The work out consisted of controlled stair steps cardio followed by legs, core, and arms on the weight machines with intense assisted deep stretching for cool down.

I was stumbling out in a good way. 

September 28, 2014

Gym meditations planned for today:

The fully raw organic vegan lifestyle… will it stop and reverse Multiple Sclerosis? What about Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism?

Yes, I’m willing to try if there’s even a small chance of success. Resistances and old habits must be dealt with like cooked comforts.

Fear of going hypoglycemic with any diet change… I already conquered being pre-diabetic in the 6th grade caused by the S.A.D. upbringing. Vegan diet reversed this. I must trust that my body will adjust appropriately given the proper fuel.

Peace and healing in my subconscious mind must become a priority. Things I read about today talk about severe childhood stress and psychological trauma causing dis-ease in the body in adulthood then causing manifestations as autoimmune diseases even with decent lifestyle choices. There is more work to be done than I previously thought. It’s not as simple as “get over it” which I thought I had already done. I don’t bitch or fret about the past much anymore, but apparently my body is still manifesting dis-ease.

Can I use meditation as a way to repair the current damage in my brain? My next MRI will certainly show the truth.

September 29, 2014

Living Food Day 1:

Eating every 2-3 hours to increase metabolism and exercising with cardio and weight lifting for an hour a day minimum.

Meal #1 – 1 dragon fruit and 2 bananas.

Meal #2 – 1 head red romaine topped with dill kraut.

Meal #3 – black grapes and 1 green pear.

Meal #4 – 2 small honeycrisp apples, 1 large cucumber, and 1 large orange bell pepper.

Meal #5 – kale chips.

Meal #6 – 1 raw revolution golden cashew bar.

Meal #7 – undecided – either a small watermelon, honeydew, or papaya.

Meal #8 – Optional. 1 banana with chia seeds and cinnamon. Maybe an avocado and tomato if I’m still hungry.

Note… I hate bananas. I’m eating them for health reasons. It’s not about my pleasure. It’s about my health.

MS causes brain fog.
Raw vegan causes mental clarity.

MS causes low energy.
Raw vegan causes high energy.

What are some others, I wonder?

And everything else, I must let go. It’s not in my control.

September 30, 2014

Living Food Day 2.

I did one day fully raw organic! Happy dance!!

Real food line up:
1 dragon fruit, 4 bananas, generous vine full of black grapes, 6 vine ripe tomatoes, 3 small avocados, 1 bundle of kale, 1 green bell pepper, bunch of baby broccoli, and 1 large cucumber.

I made veggie dressing with water, organic garlic powder, organic onion powder, organic cayenne, and organic salt-free lemon pepper with nutritional yeast and a small amount of miso paste as the salt.

I feel clean and energetic so far! I even noticed that my brain wasn’t as foggy when I woke up this morning.

The only slightly annoying things I noticed were my auto-pilot tendency to desire warm food after work and also my body temperature was cooler than normal.

End of raw organic Day 2 and I observe that I haven’t really been hungry since eating breakfast.

I nibbled on tomatoes, kale, cucumber, bell pepper, and avocado for lunch, but really it was because I looked at the clock and thought, “it’s time to eat.” But my body didn’t need to eat. SO ODD!! THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

I had a “raw beer” (Kombucha), Raw Revolution bar, and some kale chips for dinner. I always crave warm and processed in the evening after work. I indulged in these to satisfy my craving, but truly, I wasn’t that hungry. Hm.

October 1, 2014

Raw food line-up Day 3:

1 dragon fruit, 3 bananas, 1 papaya, and 2 tangelos, and IF I’m still hungry today, I have 2 small honey crisp apples, an orange bell pepper, a large cucumber, and some baby broccoli with tomatoes just in case.

Papaya for lunch!!!! SO… This just happened in the kitchen at work!

Bro: you trying to be healthy or something?

Me: something like that.

Bro: is that all you’re eating?

Me: for now. I’ve already had a dragon fruit, 2 bananas, and 2 tangelos. I have some baby broccoli and tomatoes, and cucumber, bell pepper, and honey crisp apples for later.

Bro: sounds like you won’t lose much weight eating all that.

Me: who said I was trying to lose weight?

Bro runs away in fear.

October 2, 2014

Gratitude, raw organic adventures, and gym meditations.

I’m so happy to be able to walk and type today. I’m glad for knowing some wonderful people. As my inner self changes, so do the types of people around me. Respecting myself means knowing when to let go and not look back. Respecting myself means nurturing pure love in all forms.

I only ate raw organic baby broccoli for breakfast and half a papaya for lunch. I didn’t really have an appetite until I came home from work today. Then hunger set in. Zucchini noodles with tomato basil sauce took 5 whole minutes to make from scratch! It was so tasty I didn’t even take a picture before it was inhaled.

In my past, I sacrificed my gym time to please another. I put his happiness and comfort before my health and goals. I was happy to do it too. Lessons learned, this time around, gym time is my time. I’ll leave when I’m ready.

October 3, 2014

Day 5 raw organic vegan.

Honestly this is not as hard as I thought it would be. Although, this time, I had been increasing my raw intake for several months prior to this attempt.

This morning, I woke up ravenous!!! I also pushed hard at the gym last night and did 65 minutes on the elliptical at level 12 intensity, which is my best time and highest level since before the hospital.

I made fat cucumber noodles with 2 large cucumbers. The green sauce was kale, broccoli, macadamia nuts, tomato, onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and a little garlic pink Himalayan sea salt. I topped the dish with lemon pepper. And that was breakfast.

I have a whole honeydew, half a papaya, and some chopped apples, cucumber, and bell pepper on hand if I get hungry at work.

October 4, 2014

Pre-gym breakfast smoothie – 4 bananas, 2 cups of red grapes, 2 leaves of swiss chard, 1 scoop of Essential Greens powder (Genesis Today), and cinnamon with unsweetened coconut milk.

Gratitude.

I took off jogging for the first time since before the hospital and shocked the shit out of my boyfriend and personal trainer. I lasted the length of the parking lot in front of the gym.

Although, the left knee was spasming for the rest of the training session, I was very proud of this first time jogging accomplishment.

It was hard to accept just how weak my left knee was during the remainder of the session and I got down on myself… frustrated and angry. Tears.

PERSPECTIVE. A little less than a month ago, I couldn’t walk. Keep it in perspective, Rebecca. Stay proud , be grateful, and be gentle with yourself.

October 5, 2014

I shared a breakfast juice with boyfriend.

4 apples, 1 pear, 6 carrots, 4 pieces of turmeric root, and 3 stalks of celery.

We bought our first real mattress and have been working very hard at sleeping on it all day.

Previous beds for both of us include:
-the floor.
-sleeping bag.
-air mattress.
-air mattress with sleeping bag. I call this the Redneck Pillow Top!
-a relative’s crappy discarded and heavily used mattress. Ew.
-a new mattress bought at an auction that was previously displayed in a model home which was essentially a model mattress and not ever designed for anyone to actually sleep on. The model mattress was the one they hauled away in place of this real mattress today. Ouch!!! My back!!

I am not a good sleeper anyway and need all the quality sleep I can get in this MS battle. It was time for both of us, but it also became a necessity now for good health.

October 7, 2014

4 bananas, 2 apples, 2 pears, a Raw Revolution coconut delight bar, a cucumber, a tomato, 2 bell peppers, and some raw horseradish leek kraut for the rest of the day. If I am hungry later, I will have some raw kale chips and a raw Kombucha.

October 8, 2014

My lunch is laughing at the frozen microwave lunches.

1 yellow bell pepper, 1 orange bell pepper, raw horseradish leek kraut, and raw superfood kale chips.

This was my big fatty meal of the day. Let’s calculate an estimate!

50 calories for each large bell pepper = 100 calories. I am estimating that I used half the bag of Kraut which makes 60 calories = 160. And I used the whole bag of k
ale which is 220 calories.

So grand total was 380 calories for that HUGE plate of food towering over any tiny frozen entree with more calories and crap than I can count.

But truth be told, I don’t care about calories at all.

Gratitude. MS Battle.

I’ll be honest. It was a tough morning. I ended up late to work due to the battle. I got to work and my bosses were surprisingly supportive! I usually put on a strong face, but sometimes it’s obvious that it’s just a plain tough day.

It got better as the day went on and I think it really helped that the bosses were being patient. I worked hard, ate my raw organic vegan food, took my supplements, and did an hour on the elliptical at the gym with level 12 intensity.

I’m grateful that my bosses were patient today. I’m grateful to myself for staying strong and getting it done. I’m grateful that exercise and nutritious food have a way of making me feel better. And I’m so grateful to flop into a cushy real bed at the end of another day won.

MS, you can huff and puff, but you aren’t going to keep me down.

Can’t walk in the morning and Beast Mode activated in the evening! After the elliptical, I had to just stand there until my left knee would hold my weight again. And then I limped out of the gym proudly.

I like the elliptical because I can hold on when I get unbalanced. I just grip really hard and use my upper body to compensate and push the machine forward.

October 9, 2014

MS, Thyroid, and Raw book order.

The First Year: Multiple Sclerosis: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
By Margaret Blackstone

Awkward Bitch: My Life with MS
By Donato Parmelee

MS – Living Symptom Free
By Daryl Bryant

Healing Hashimoto’s: A Savvy Patient’s Guide
By Alan Christianson

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause
By Izabella Wentz

The Detox Miracle Sourcebook: Raw Food and Herbs for Complete Cellular Regeneration
By Robert Morse

The 80/10/10 Diet
By Douglas Graham

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-Based Guide to Recovery
By George Jelinek

Healing Multiple Sclerosis: Diet, Detox, & Nutritional Makeover for Total Recovery
By Ann Boroch

The MS Recovery Diet
By Ann Sawyer

Eat to Live
By Joel Fuhrman

The Starch Solution
By John McDougall

October 10, 2014

Lesson learned. I allowed myself some cooked food this week while still being at least 80% raw and have felt HORRIBLE. Good thing I have the 80/10/10 book in the mail. Fully raw organic is happening. It seems like the only way to feel normal.

I start self injections on Sunday with the help of a nurse who is coming to teach me. Ugh. More needles.

I went to the gym during lunch because MS is being a bully this week. It’s my reason to push harder.

It appears there is no going back (from raw).   Not entirely a bad thing.

Someone told me I have serious GUTS! I love it! I got guts. Just call me Guts!

October 11, 2014

Woke up with fever and swollen itchy throat. Are allergies really that bad (I rarely get allergies!!) or am I seriously sick on top of all this mess? Okaaaay… You think I wasn’t being challenged enough before? Fine. GUTS will handle this. NEXT!

I’ve made a decision. Tomorrow is going to be my 100% fully raw vegan anniversary. It’s a good day for an anniversary. 10/12/14.

Just spent $65 on produce at Sprouts – mostly organic.

I went by the dirty and clean produce lists.  http://www.fullyraw.com/dirty-dozen-clean-15/

2 watermelons, 1 honeydew, 6 mangos, 2 small papayas, 4 big bunches of bananas, 2 bundles of spinach, 4 cucumbers, 4 sweet potatoes (love to juice these), 1 eggplant, 1 bundle of asparagus, 8 green apples, and 2 bags of rainbow carrots. Then add $20 for 6 kombuchas… Raw vegan “beer.”

This is so awesome. I’ve been wanting this for so long but always felt so weak. I know now I wasn’t weak, but I had to take time to unlearn, reprogram, and take small gradual steps to cut my addictions one at a time. Salt will be hard… And I love warm savory flavors. I will adjust in time and find alternatives.

Tomorrow I also start my Copaxone injections. I refuse to begin this medication without beginning the 100% raw vegan journey too.

4 bananas, 2 small turmeric roots, 2 large leaves of kale, 1 small papaya, and unfiltered cold pressed flaxseed oil. You know what? It’s actually quite good. I CAN DO THIS.

I have one day to figure out how I’m going to do 100% fully raw meals in Corporate America with 12-16 hours away from home Monday through Friday.

I’m thinking the night before each day, I will spiralize a large bowl of zoodles and make a savory creamy sauce with tomatoes, beets, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and nuts. I’ll also prepare a large green salad with a fruity dressing. I’ll make 2 bowls of fruit for snacking or just take a melon. I anticipate a fruit juice or smoothie for breakfast at home. Dinner might be the same or maybe a raw veggie soup. Emergency snacks will be raw revolution bars. Junk food will be raw kale chips. “Beer” will be Kombucha.

On the go raw meal planning will be challenging until I get the hang of this. Ideas are appreciated!! The goal is to stay satisfied.