How I’m losing weight and regaining muscle strength

 

When you have limited mobility, one of the most annoying things is being told to lose weight and not being able to.

Since I was diagnosed, I always struggled with my weight. Desi aunties and uncles would straight up just “you’ve put on weight. Here, have a gulab jaamun”.

Doctors would tell me I needed to lose weight by watching my diet and doing how ever much exercise I could. I tried swimming, which was super time-consuming and not helpful for my fatigue.

My condition causes my muscles to slowly get weaker, which makes weight maintenance increasingly difficult and my body was retaining insane amounts of fluid.

Now, after 13 years, my weight is finally getting under control. I’m no size 8, but I’m healthier, happier and stronger than I’ve ever been.

There are two major commitments I made.

Diet

Bye bye bread. Not entirely – I can’t live without roti. But where possible I leave it to the side. These are carbs I don’t use nor need. I didn’t even cut down for the purpose of losing weight. I just hated the bloated feeling it gave me so I got rid. Everything else was a welcomed bonus.

I have a crazy sweet tooth, which I really cannot get rid of. Not even sure I want to. I still eat the chocolate and lollies that make me happy, but just enough to satisfy the craving. One piece of chocolate a day to get that taste is enough. I’m no nutritionist, but my very unprofessional advice is that you can still eat everything you want, but in moderation.

Stop eating when you’re full – don’t feel the need to polish your plate off. Eating excessively for the sake of eating does not help starving children in Africa. Let’s stop telling our kids that, maybe?

Vibration Training

I swear by this. I’ve been doing vibration training since the end of 2010 and it has truly been revolutionary – no exaggeration. With my muscles getting weaker by the day, Vibra Train slowed down the muscle weakening progress and got rid of excess fluid in my legs. I still have swelling, but it’s now under control.

Since I got my standing wheelchair, I started a new programme where I stand on the machine and the vibrations travel up my entire body. This stimulates my muscles and gets everything moving The 10 minute vibration movement in a semi-standing position is like doing squats non-stop for the same amount of time as well as cardio. I can really feel my heart rate going up, which also makes my metabolism go faster and helps with the weight loss process.

I also grip onto these vibrating handrails, which stimulate my arm muscles right through to my shoulders. So my whole body is getting stimulated.

Before this, I had to hold on to a rail or something stable with both hands while standing to transfer. My legs were way to heavy to move. Now I can stand using only one hand for support and I can move my legs easier than what has been possible in years. Vibration training has literally reversed the effects of my muscle degeneration. Doctors told me that this would never be possible.

These New Zealand engineered and made machines were specifically designed for people with limited mobility, the morbidly obese or any other health conditions that affect easy movement, such as arthritis. With studios scattered nationwide and some internationally, your programme will be designed specific to what you are capable of. It’s not easy and you have to stay committed, but the effects will blow your mind and really question the predictions medical professionals make after your diagnosis.

I don’t do scales and I’m not even sure standing on a scale is an accurate representation of your body’s health. But what I do know is that all my clothes are now too big for me and I can’t remember when I could last move my body so easily.

To me, it’s not about losing weight to look good or conforming to society’s ideals about beauty. It’s about making my life as easy as I can under my circumstances. The less weight I have to carry, the more I can move in a body that is already restricted. The healthier my body, the less health issues I have to deal with in addition to my existing condition.

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