While most women will say they are making the choice to eat better and start exercising, it is usually because they want to fit in that tiny little black dress, but for me, making the choice to get healthy was for a much different reason. Four years ago my body was hit with an unknown autoimmune disease, and my life was about to drastically change. I began to lose function in my hands, arms, and legs and with an already serious back problem, it was becoming more and more difficult to walk and function. I knew then that even though the doctors could not narrow down which diseases I had, I had to make sure that whatever my body was going through, I was providing the best body to battle it.
As a single mom of 4 kids at the time, I had a hectic and crazy schedule with work, schools, and after school activities. While I tried to cook dinner as often as I could, often we would either eat out or Hamburger Helper was my best friend. I was always on the go during the day, so I would grab a snack bar or just not eat anything until dinner. I knew this was all the wrong things to be doing, but it had become a routine with us. Well, that was the first part of my routine that was about to change. I got rid of all the processed foods, went shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, and changed our meats from burgers and dogs to fish and chicken. I prepared all our meals from scratch with all natural ingredients. We ate 3 meals a day, and the ‘on-the-go’ snack bars were healthy granola or fruit.
The next thing to work on was getting fit. This was a little more difficult given the fact that I no longer had a body that was always cooperative. I had always been an active person, so it wasn’t like I was in super bad shape, but there was plenty of work that could be done. To start with, I knew that in order to keep my legs as strong as I could, I needed to keep working on my muscle tone. I had a treadmill, and while I wasn’t able to do any running, the treadmill did have the handrails, and if my legs were unstable, I was still able to keep them moving at a slow pace. On some days I could do more, on others I couldn’t do anything. I also had some small hand weights, and while I never planned on getting heavier weights, the constant repetitions with the lower weights worked to keep my arm muscles toned.
So, while some things have got better over the years and some things have got worse (I tend to cheat here and there and make an occasional Hamburger Helper meal), I am determined to keep my body as strong, fit, and healthy as I can despite the diseases that are trying to take my body away piece by piece. I always knew that eating healthy and keeping fit was something I should have been doing; it is only that much more important now. I don’t yet have a name to call what I have (they seem to bounce around with MS, RA, Lupus, and Fibro), but I do know that whatever it is, I will do everything to make sure I stay as healthy as I can so it can’t take me without a fight.