Category Archives: health and fitness

3/9/17 A New Role Model!

Hello, this is Liz, Maggie’s mom. Thank you all for your kind words, well-wishes, and woofs! in response to Maggie’s post yesterday.

I did eat the eggs (Maggie helped) and had no pain at all. Today, I’d like to share my new personal role model with you!

This is Ernestine Shepherd. She celebrated her 80th birthday last June. This picture came up when I searched for her on Google Images. I do not own the picture. That’s right. She’s 80.

images

I saw Ms. Shepherd’s video on Facebook, where she talks about getting up at 2:30 every day, running for ten miles, and by 7:30, is in the gym – where she trains a group of ladies.

This woman is awe-inspiring for me. She didn’t start working out until she was about 70 or 71, if I have my facts straight. She worked out with her sister (“I had never done any kind of exercise before,” she says). Before her sister passed away, she told Ernestine to keep working and get in the Guinness Book of World Records. And she did.

As most of you know, I’ve had a rough couple of years of health issues, from a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy in 2014 to foot surgery for arthritis on my right toe in 2015 to an RA diagnosis in January. I was upset, depressed, sleeping a lot, eating more, and gaining tons of weight.

I went back to the gym “for some cardio” but I’ve always loved the weights. I’ve been back at them for a couple of weeks and already showing results. When I feel like giving up, I think of Ernestine Shepherd. She is my inspiration! Miraculously, I have even pushed Jim to accompany me to the gym! I feel better, more relaxed, and as of today, post a 13 pound weight loss. On Tuesday I completed a personal best on the leg press, doing 3 sets of 10 reps on 210 pounds. The arthritis that I have been feeling in my toes, knees, and mostly, left hip, is practically nil.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about the inspiration I have found from this wonderful, incredible woman. She is strong within and without. She is radiant and beautiful. She is my new inspiration and role model.

So many times older people get pushed aside. Relegated to off-stage. Why can’t we bodybuild at 70? 80? Why can’t we bust those stereotypes? Ms. Shepherd is living proof that we can. I am grateful to her! I hope you enjoyed reading about her!

Have a great day – see you at the gym!

Your friend, Liz

 

 

 

3/8/17 Mom’s Return Visit to RA Doc

Today, Mom had her two-month follow up appointment with her RA doctor.

In case you missed it, let me recap: In January, Mom was diagnosed with early-stage Rheumatoid Arthritis, a progressive auto-immune disease. Mom was given some medications (that were very expensive) and caused her some distressing side effects. Chris (cb, http://www.contrafactual.com) sent Mom the links to some videos by Dr. Terry Wahls. He also advised Mom to pick up the book, “The Wahls Protocol“. cb has blogged about this before, and Mom was really interested!

Mom watched the videos, bought the book, and she and Dad embarked on some significant lifestyle changes; including, but not limited to, eliminating inflammation trigger foods like gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar; ingesting a whole lot of fresh fruits and vegetables; incorporating Juice Plus+ into their diet (also see cb’s blog for this), and returning to the gym for regular exercise. 

Back to today. The doctor started the appointment by telling Mom she looked great and said that she seemed to be doing very well on the medication. Mom took a deep breath and said, “No.” She then handed the book to the doctor, explained that the medication really bothered her stomach, and her wallet (!), and she had decided to take on an all natural approach. They talked some more, and Mom proudly said that she’d lost 12 pounds since she’d last seen him (the doctor) and anticipated losing more weight, and that she felt, “90% better”. Mom said if she can’t reverse the RA, she’d like to stop it dead in its tracks!

In a nutshell, the doctor was very happy with Mom’s progress and suggested a “wait-and-see” approach. He said that Mom had to closely monitor her symptoms and make sure she wasn’t ignoring any signs that the RA was getting worse. They discussed this some more, and he also suggested that she slowly and carefully try out – one at a time – the eliminated foods to ascertain which ones were the triggers. He then reiterated that she looked great and to come back in four months, but not to hesitate if she needed an appointment sooner.

Mom is over the moon happy and gave me so many scritches and belly rubs when she came home! She kissed my nose and said, “Maggie, let’s try some scrambled eggs for lunch!” I can’t wait for a table scrap!

Please check out cb’s blog at contrafactual.com for more  information on Wahls, Juice Plus+, and just because it’s a fun website with lots of sci-fi and fluffy cats.

Woof! Thanks for reading!

Love, Maggie

 

 

1/26/17 Mom writes: Kicking RA’s Butt!!

Hi, it’s Liz. Maggie has been kind enough to lend me her blog so I can post about my RA journey so far.

First, though, I need to tell you how much my physical activity had fallen off.

3 years ago, I was a Tae Kwon Do student, active with a personal trainer at the gym, and went horseback riding and bike riding with Jamie whenever we could.

A little at a time, I noticed it at the gym first, my ability to do the exercises diminished. Also, I had a sharp increase of pain in Tae Kwon Do. Sitting on horseback became impossible – much less mounting the horse in the first place. The bike was out of the question due to hip pain. Eventually I had to stop all these activities. Soon, I could not sit, sleep, or walk properly because of pain. The pain in my left hip was to the point that I was limping or dragging my leg behind me. My toes were awful and I was limited in my mobility, limited in my choice of footwear, and unable to stand on tiptoe.

The weight came. Boy, did it ever. I’m only five foot one (and a half!) and so, being small, the weight looked and felt enormous. Then came my RA diagnosis. I had such a difficult time walking after riding in the car that Jim advised me to ask my doctor for a handicap placard. I couldn’t believe how quickly my life had degenerated to this.

On January 3, I saw an RA specialist who kept me on Celebrex and put me on Hydroxychloroquine. He advised me that he would evaluate me in three months, because it would take about 10 weeks for the meds to kick in and make me feel better. Oh. Great.

Now, I have been in contact with cb from http://www.contrafactual.com, and he strongly urged me to get the book, The Wahls Protocol. I’ve blogged about it, but to sum up, Jim and I (because it’s always better to do things as a family unit, although I am more lenient with my son) bought the book, jumped right in, and on Monday of this week, started the Paleo Plus protocol and eliminated inflammation-triggering foods, i.e., dairy, eggs, gluten, and sugar.

Has this been easy? No. My go-to comfort food is a piece of toasted French bread slathered in light olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. This was hard to give up, and my mouth is watering just thinking about its toasty deliciousness.

But I can’t argue with results. Yesterday (Wednesday), after 3 days of following this diet, I went to a Pilates class and was able to do most of the exercises, and kept up for the entire hour. I didn’t limp, I didn’t drag, I was able to stand on my tiptoes, and I felt GREAT. This morning I have a little muscle soreness from the regime, but nothing major, and NO arthritis pain at all! That’s right. NO ARTHRITIS PAIN! Oh, and I’ve lost 8 pounds since Monday.

I don’t take a lot of supplements, a CAL/MAG/ZINC, Lutein, Krill, and B3 vitamin was all I was taking. However, since Wahls demands that you consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, and that much fiber comes with its own set of issues, I have incorporated a Juice Plus+ regimen. I take 2 capsules of the Vineyard, Garden, and Orchard once a day with a meal (usually dinner) and a full glass of water. Company literature says Juice Plus+

“…helps you bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat, every day, by providing whole food based nutrition from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables”.

If you’re suffering from poor health, an autoimmune problem, or if you’re interested in any of this, The Wahls Protocol or Juice Plus+, I urge you to visit cb at his blog, http://www.contrafactual.com and check it out. You have nothing to gain but getting your life and health back.

Game changer. Life changer. Thank you cb.

Thanks for reading,

Liz