One of the most difficult parts, for me, (it’s all difficult to be honest) is coping with the weight gain and mg. I’ve put on quite a few pounds due to my inability to workout and the high level of steroids I’ve been taking for the past year. Right now I am somewhere between 185 – 190lbs. Thankfully, I’m a bit on the tall side and it’s distributed pretty well (shoutout to genetics). Before I got sick I was about 145-150 lbs. So that’s 35-40 lbs that I’ve put on in a year.
When people tell me I still look good, I just don’t see it. Now, I know I’m not morbidly obese. But when every part of your body has added inches and your clothes don’t fit or flatter you anymore, and your stomach sticks out more than your booty and jiggle has replaced what used to be muscle, it’s hard to swallow. I appreciate the compliments, but I’m used to seeing myself a certain way and I don’t feel like I will be comfortable in my skin until I get back there. Or at least somewhere in that neighborhood.
I don’t care what you say. Don’t debate me on this. Even the most self confident person will crumble when they rip their favorite pair of jeans because their thigh meat is too juicy. (Yes. This happened to me, at work none the less). I digress.
In the grand scheme of things, in a choice between suffering when extreme MG symptoms and a couple of rolls, clearly, I would pick the rolls. HOWEVER, in my pursuit of normalcy and taking back control of my life, I am determined to whip this body into shape. The question is how to best go about it while keeping my MG in the back of my mind.
Pre diagnosis I was in the gym heavy, just about everyday. I had a personal trainer. I was doing two a days sometimes and gearing myself up to start running marathons. After being out of commission for a year, I know the smart thing would be to ease myself back into it. But my desire for results is so strong I want to go full force.
In an age where everything is instantaneous and social media is trolling you with ads for waist trainers, weight loss teas, laser fat removal, and magic pills that eat the fat away overnight, it’s hard not to get sucked in. Oh, I can do this and just wake up snatched? Bet! EHHHHH no!. These celebrities promoting these products probably don’t even use them. It’s just a check for them. Call me old school but I think I’d feel more proud of myself doing it with no gimmicks. Nothing beats hard work and dedication. (MESSAGE!)
The first step was re-joining the gym. In true Morg fashion, there was a lot of anxiety about this. Which gym should I join? It was between Gold’s and LA Fitness. I was previously a member at Gold’s. LA has a pool which is actually recommended for people with MG because the water will keep you cool and can assist with movement when you’re feeling weak. In the end, Gold’s won due to location and price. Would this be a waste of money? I never know how I’m going to feel on a day to day basic so some days, training just may not be in the cards. What would my old gym colleagues say? Not only I was nervous about all the questions regarding where I had been but more so the “she let herself go” stares.
After about two weeks of going back and forth with myself, I walked into the gym. On my first day back, I saw the familiar faces of some of the trainers and they did ask where I had been. I gave a very brief explanation about MG and surprisingly I didn’t feel the “you got fat” stares. Instead I was met with “well, you look good”. *Wipes Brow*
Now technically my specialist has cleared me for cardio. But I like to throw a little strength training in there as well. Muscle burns more calories than fat so by trying to rebuild some of that muscle I’ve lost I’m hoping to jettison my weight loss journey. I feel comfortable doing this because 1. I know my body and my limitations 2. There is literature ¹ ² that supports the theory that people with MG and general muscle weakness can benefit from strength training and exercise. I don’t really have a strict regimen that I’m following. I’m just adjusting to being active again.
Now people, exercise is only a portion of the battle. Exercise changes the shape of your body. Diet changes the size of your body. What you put in your mouth is really the major key in weight loss. You need the right combinations of food so your body can do what you want it to do. I’m not a crazy junk food person but I do think that I can clean up my diet even more to optimize my results. I really don’t want to think of it as a “diet”, because “diets” are temporary. I want to make healthier food choices everyday that I can really sustain. #issalifestyle
As I embark on this journey, I would like to remind myself that :
- Balance is key. I still want to enjoy life. Like if I want to eat pizza or a burger I’m going to eat it and not feel bad for it. I just know that my next meal needs to be healthy.
- Focus on the journey not on the destination. Super cliche I know but I think of my journey as pit stops on a road trip. Instead of just saying I want to look this way and getting frustrated at the end of the week when I’m not there yet, I want to set smaller weekly goals that will help keep me motivated. (Example: drink a green smoothie everyday for a week, Run 2 min without stopping etc) All victories even small ones are worth celebrating.
- Listen to my body. It’s ok to miss a workout if my body says it can’t. Pushing myself will do more harm than good.
I’ll do an update a month from now and let you all know how it’s going. Anybody recently start their own fitness journey? What worked for you? How close are you to your goals? Want to be gym buddies? Words of encouragement?
¹ Rahbek MA, Mikkelsen EE, Overgaard K, Vinge L, Andersen H, Dalgas U. Exercise in myasthenia gravis: A feasibility study of aerobic and resistance training. Muscle Nerve. 2017 Jan 13. doi: 10.1002/mus.25552. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28085204.
² Dalgas U, Stenager E, Jakobsen J, Petersen T, Hansen HJ, Knudsen C, Overgaard K, Ingemann-Hansen T. Resistance training improves muscle strength and functional capacity in multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2009 Nov 3;73(18):1478-84. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181bf98b4. PubMed PMID: 19884575.