In a few days it will be Thanksgiving and then just around the corner are the Christmas Holidays. So who is thinking about diet and exercising? Well actually what better time, for we need to eat right and to exercise to relieve the holiday stress we all get caught up in.
Until I was diagnosed with MS I was a very active and busy person and always had been. I fell in love with dancing and swimming as a little girl and walked everywhere or road my bike and was out in the fresh air a lot! Stairs were everywhere, in my home and neighborhood and at my huge high school. I loved stairs and had my dog to walk with me on our adventures.
After school I got married and had two children. Life stayed busy, then add in a divorce and my working years. Eventually I remarried and my kids were grown. Life stayed busy and I continued to work. About six years before my diagnosis of MS I started to slow down and had entered middle age. I had started to put on a few pounds too so I took up jazzercise classes and I loved them. But after about two years of that I started to get unbalanced in class, fell once and my left leg would get all numb. So I quit going to classes and quit the sessions at home too. All I had now was work and walking our dog for any type of exercise.
With my increasing fatigue and other weird symptoms and doctors having no clue what was wrong with me my overall health was getting worse. I had always eaten what I wanted and was paying no attention to my diet. I wasn’t fat so thought all was ok. However my blood work showed some problems. My doctor said to watch my diet and get in some real exercise, which I didn’t since I felt so bad. I just didn’t get the connection and thought my doctor didn’t understand.
Fast forward to about 10 years ago and 13 years into my diagnosis. I was now a real mess and had lost 2 inches in height (I have back problems) and was kidding myself about my weight gain. I wasn’t bad but I wasn’t good and started to not look like myself! Then I got the diagnosis of being pre-diabetic WHOA! My doctor right away wanted me on meds for it and I said NO way!! My biological father had died of diabetes so I knew it could creep in there and now it had. Finally after an argument with this doctor he said I will give you 3 months to do it your way and then I want you back in here to do it my way.
I went home, looked up diabetes on the internet and started my plan of attack! Three months later I went back to the doctor and was 30 pounds lighter and feeling a lot better .My bloodwork was now OK. This doctor had a hard time believing that I did this with just diet and exercise but I did. Not only that but I kept the weight off and took off almost another 10 pounds. I might lose another 4 pounds just so I look as good as I can and know I am doing all I can for my health. With MS one does not need to carry around extra weight for it is not helpful or healthy for us.
Diet and exercise are SO important and no matter your age or physical abilities this is one area YOU CAN control! My exercise plan is heavily modified dance aerobics’ to music...about 20 minutes a day 5 days a week and about 12 minutes of stretching at night. It really helps! It does not cost me anything and I don’t need to leave the house and it can be done all year long anywhere, I just need music. The key to an exercise program is do one you like so you will stay with it or like me make up your own.
The keys to losing weight is first eat only nutritious healthy food. Second watch portion size, third take in less calories than you burn, forth when you have lost the weight, balance your calories so they are the same for what you eat and what you burn. In a while your body gets used to all this and cravings go down. That is not to say you will never have a favorite food again, you will but in moderation and not often.
So if you are planning on having some special holiday meals just don’t overdo it and keep what you eat the rest of the day to a minimum and or go light the next day. Also remember there are dietitians and physical therapists to seek help from.
Happy Thanksgiving, Holly
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