I posted the picture above in The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies Facebook group this morning because it is something that I have to remind myself of often. Whether it be in regards to eating healthier or exercising, lack of progress feeds my insecurities and makes me wonder if what I am doing is really worth the effort.
I didn’t get where I am overnight!
One thing I have to remind myself of daily is that I didn’t get where I am overnight. The weight I gained came from years of inactivity and comforting myself with food. Sure, I could easily blame it on my chronic illnesses, but the truth is that fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis aren’t to blame, I AM! For years I allowed pain and fatigue to control every aspect of my life and as each year passed by, the further out of shape I became.
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Getting real with myself
I have struggled with weight since high school. Prior to my invisible illnesses deciding to pummel my body with daily pain, I was at a healthy and acceptable weight.
It took a year of watching what I ate and daily exercise to reach my goal, so it would be unrealistic of me to think I could shed the weight I have gained since the fall of 2003 in a few weeks or months.
Another thing I have to consider is that I am 15 years older!!! I will be turning the big 50 this fall and let me tell you my metabolism is nothing like it was when I was in my early 30’s.
Accepting and rejoicing the progress I have made
I began getting serious about becoming as healthy as I can possibly be in January of 2017. Ten pounds is all I lost from that time until January of 2018. TEN POUNDS!! At first, I was pissed off by the number, but then I realized that those were 10 pounds that I didn’t have to lose this year! Not only that, but I developed better-eating habits and my body stopped craving foods that aren’t good for it. I also began craving physical activity.
This is something that I have never done, not even when I was younger. Overcoming cravings, yearning to move my body, and losing 10lbs is progress that I never expected to achieve, nor would I had I done nothing at all. So far this year I have lost 5lbs. That’s 1.6666666667 pounds per month. I could let this number get me down or I can be proud of myself for losing them.
I choose to be happy,because my eating habits and physical activity are continuing to improve. While I may not be seeing significant results on my bathroom scale, I am seeing it in the mirror, in pictures, and by how my clothing fits. I am down a pants size and am no longer embarrassed of having my body photographed.
I began my fitness journey with baby steps. I didn’t force myself into following a restrictive diet. My dietary changes have taken place one at a time. In time I will be following the diet that is perfect for my body, because I am taking small steps to allow my body time to adjust.
Had I decided to go full speed ahead and overhauled my diet to be what I want it to be right from the start, I would have quit. Same goes for exercising.
I didn’t begin with walking 4 plus miles a day or using my rowing machine for 60 minutes at a time. I had to take baby steps and began with 5 minute increments a few times a week.
My advice for you
Consider these three things if you are struggling to find a fitness routine that works with your disease:
- Search for physical activities that you are able to do, NOT what you wish you could do.
- Listen to your body and do what you can, when you can.
- Baby steps are better than no steps! You will never make any progress if you aren’t trying.
And when you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself that:
- You didn’t get to where you are at overnight, significant progress will take time.
- You’re health is important! Having a chronic illness is not an excuse for not caring for your body.
- A bad day is just that, let it go and move on. If a setback or flare requires that you reduce your activity or dictates that you have to start back from square one, that is okay!!!
Whether you have a chronic illness or not, The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies are here to motivate, encourage, and support you in your quest to improve your health. Click here to join us.