Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How Functional Neurological Disorder has affected my weight

My dressmaker nicknamed me the 'incredible shrinking bride' in the lead up to my wedding. I couldn't stop losing weight. In despair she told me to 'stop it' as she could not possibly take in my wedding dress any more!  6 weeks after my own wedding I was a bridesmaid at my friends wedding and the dress, that had been snug at the fitting, hung off me. I had to pin the bodice to my bandeau bra so that it would not move and cause a wardrobe multifunction!

This was post baby number 3, pregnancy number 8, after which I had needed to lose 20kgs.  I jogged at least twice a day and tried to do either pilates, yoga or tae bo in a day as well.

Skip ahead to 2007.  Another baby, 2 more pregnancies. The last one devastating. It left me about 10-15 kgs overweight and sporting a baby jelly belly & no baby to show for it.  Looking ahead to our NT adventure planned for the end of the year, I knew I needed to get back on track or I would come back from 4 weeks travelling terribly unhealthy.  I had jogged & done pilates with baby number 4 up until the day I was hospitalised with pre-eclampsia.  But the last pregnancy had taken its toll on me and I was no longer jogging.

I made a decision to turn things around and started getting up at 4:30am so that I was ready to head out on my jog as soon as the sun peaked over the Moresby Ranges. I implemented all the exercise tactics I had used in the past to get fit. By mid December 2007 I was once again fully ripped.

Sometimes I think people don't believe me when I tell them I got control of my weight again after baby number 4, pregnancy number 10.  But I did.  It seemed even if I let weight creep on, all I had to do was go back to my reliable routine to shed it again.

Skip forward to December 2012.  Post baby number 6, pregnancy number 14.  Although I lost weight while I was pregnant, since having the baby I had put it back on and nothing was shifting it. I promised myself that I would use the Christmas Holidays to shed those unwanted kilos.  Due to trouble sleeping, getting up at 4:30am to jog was no longer an option as I was barely falling asleep from the previous day at that time!

So I committed to walking every morning as soon as I could get out of the house. I had done that when I first started jogging all those years ago and it had been a great starting point.  I stuck to my plan the whole school holidays but by January 26, 2013 I was really sick.   By February 6, 2013 I was in hospital.  My medical condition had gone undiagnosed and untreated for too long, over 10 years.  In hospital for two weeks and on bed rest after my release, any fitness I had gained back was gone. And the worst thing? I hadn't actually lost any weight from all the exercise I had done over the holidays!  :-(

Left untreated for so long, in response to any genuine attempts to exercise enough to lose weight, my body just says NO!  When my stubbornness kicks in and I insist YES the muscle pain is excruciating. The whole body lethargy debilitating.  My children cannot touch me without causing me physical pain & bruising.  

Bottom line: I cannot do any of the things I used to do in the past to lose weight. I have tried. I have tried them all. My pilates that I love SO much, only 15 mins into a session my legs will stop responding to commands.  About the only thing left to me is walking, and I HATE walking. I'm a hare, not a tortise.....!  But then even walking became painful, my right leg, my strongest leg, playing up. At the start of this year (2014) I was walking 7.5kms a day, dragging my gimpy leg behind me. Since my stay in hospital in 2013 two muscles in my right leg have 'switched off' neurologically, and no longer work. So the other muscles bear the brunt of carrying my weight, hence the pain. Also I keep falling into the classic trap of anyone with any sort of fatigue illness; having a high energy day and making the most of it going all out getting EVERYTHING and ANYTHING done, and then laying around whacked out for the next week, barely enough energy to lift your arms to brush your hair, let alone taking a step without tripping over the pattern in the lino....

And still I lost no weight.  I am not a great swimmer, but I tried swimming laps. It was great impact free exercise and didn't seem to bother my leg but sadly I couldn't fit pool trips into my daily routine or weekly budget :-(

I even contacted Michelle Bridges hoping she might take me on as a challenging project.  One of her assistants wrote back telling me to sign up for the program...not quite the result I had been hoping for. I've had offers from local trainers to help me, but they all want me to pay for the sessions without even knowing if they can actually help me achieve any results. Also a lot of them run comparisons and competitions between the participants in their classes. I already see my friends around me starting on their weight loss journey and passing me on their way. I don't think comparing my journey to others is healthy for me at the moment. I'm not the average participant.

Already believing I was eating better than ever before in my life, my only option left was to try the "I Quit Sugar" route and after two months, weight started to move. Not heaps, but enough to encourage me to continue.

And so now here I find myself again at the start of another Christmas School Holiday period. I'm not sure yet how I am going to make the most of it, but I know I am!  I have already returned to my pilates and I hope to add daily walks back in.

No jogging for Ali *insert epic sad face*

So if you see a lady walking around town, accompanied by a gaggle of Freaks, and dragging a gimpy leg, give me a wave and maybe even a honk of encouragement. Because I aim to show you that it can be done. A mother of 6, with health issues, can shed weight and regain a healthy BMI ;-)

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