Reader mail 6

Dear Krista,

I feel compelled to write you and tell you how fantastic your site is! Here is my life story.

I am a 30 year old woman who is classed as medically disabled. I have many many medical illnesses working against me, and I have since I was 13 years old. This includes Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, migraines, and heart disease.

I struggled with weight on and off since I was a kid, and finally took control in high school. I became thin and healthy. Then my weight ballooned again when I was in a very abusive relationship. I left the relationship and again lost the weight. Then I got pregnant and was on bed rest and gained even more back. So my highest weight was 270 pounds or so.

I knew I was big, but I didn’t think I was THAT big. Boy was I wrong.

I used my medical issues as an excuse not to work out. Oh I am too weak, I don’t feel well enough, etc. etc. etc. I began to have bad chest pains, bad headaches. etc. They did tests on me to check for brain tumors and came up clean. After seeing about 15 specialists for the headaches I went to another doctor for a second opinion and pretty much begged for help.

The medical conditions won’t bother lifting, but here they are.

1. Early onset Parkinson’s disease (problems with balance, depth perception etc. from the Parkinson’s )

2. Crohn’s disease (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, daily hell)

3. Low immunity (and all the joys that go with it, always being sick)

4. Heart disease (if I don’t work out I have the bad heart but when I stick on track it is good)

5. Migraines (daily… something to do with my Parkinson’s. I take a mild narcotic to control the pain)

6. Hormone imbalance from hell (which I take many meds for so 10 days of the month I am kinda out of commission but I work around that)

7. Many gyno issues because when I had my son. Well. Things. Didn’t go well.

8. I have issues with blood pressure from all my meds and my heart crap but usually can manage as long as I don’t have to move super fast and heavy at the same time.

Well… over that year, I noticed I no longer fit in waiting room chairs. I would go to my appointments and have to stand for the entire wait. My mom, so sweet that she is, would stand with me so I didn’t have to feel as stupid. People would stare and give dirty looks. I would be red, hot, sweaty, out of breath. JUST from STANDING. Imagine.

I went in to see the doctor, and he was rude and blunt. He called me fat. Told me my tests showed my cholesterol levels were SO HIGH that they couldn’t even be MEASURED. My heart was going into mild failure several times a week. I was to be put on “medications” for the rest of my life, which wouldn’t be long because at the rate my heart was failing, I had a year left at most.

Mid-appointment, the doctor got a phone call and took it. He left me alone in his little office. I couldn’t sit in the chair so I stood, panting, red, chest pains, sweating, nauseated. He came back 45 minutes later and said, “Why are you standing?? You look like you are about to pop a blood vessel. Sit down! ” He gave me a look of utter disgust. I had no choice but to say why I wasn’t sitting. Saying the words “I can’t sit , because I don’t FIT in your god damned CHAIR” was what pushed me over the edge.

I was DETERMINED to prove him WRONG.

The day of that appointment I went home and I researched Atkins… and with NO HELP started the low carb life style (however I modified it greatly to be low fat, low carb, high protein). NOTHING that was man made, processed, or “franken food” made it into my mouth. I began to push through my sicknesses and work out. I can’t leave my house without much medical hassle so I bought a stationary bike. that was my start. I began to bike daily, and watch the weight melt off.

I had my blood work done again 3 months into it, and my heart specialist was SHOCKED. He said to me, “Are you seeing another doctor??? Are you on medication for cholesterol???” I said no; no-one has given me the meds yet (it was why I was there to see him , to get the meds). Well he and his nurses were in total shock — surely my numbers were wrong. They went from immeasurable to NORMAL RANGES within that 3 months. No one believed I did it without medications. My mother had to vouch that I did it on my own, naturally.

The weight slid off. I got stronger. My illnesses still control me. But I control my weight.

I began to buy more equipment. Used weights and a rowing machine. I bought a treadmill. Someone donated a stair climber to me. on and on it went. Aerobics tapes, boxing equipment, etc etc etc. My equipment has grown so much that my tiny apartment is more workout stuff than normal house stuff! Guests give me odd looks.

I have lost 90 pounds. I have 10 left to go and am working for that now. I gave my body time between each 15 pound push to catch up but DIDN’T go off my “diet” which is a LIFETIME change.

I was looking at your site, and saw that one lady who was 47. She did what I did yet she is so seriously PUMPED. My God. I would kill to have her body!! I showed a ton of friends your site and they are also impressed with you.

I can’t afford a trainer, and can’t go to a gym even if I could afford a trainer. I can’t afford any more equipment for a while (no bench, and no barbell). I am going to try and use some of your moves to get myself more buff. I am working against so many odds. I can’t let them stop me.

Update: After I suggested a more intense, low-tech strength and fat loss training program for Jayde, she emailed me this one month later, in early April 2006:

My weight is dropping (slowly but I hope steadily :)) My inches lost this month total were 8.5. 🙂 My thighs and arms, as well as abs are truly showing signs of my labours! I never thought my hips would drop lower than 44 inches but be damned if they aren’t now 43! That is fantastic encouragement! Same with my arms: nothing was losing the weight there or making them stronger. Now I have lost a full inch on each bicep and can see definition now. My friends and family are truly impressed; they are noticing the difference without me saying a word. I truly owe you so many heart felt thanks. And thank my luck the day I found you and your site!

I officially fit back into jeans I wore in highschool. Last time I tried them on (3 months or so ago) I couldn’t wiggle them up over the thighs and hips. I am in them, and I can actually breathe and move comfortably! I just had to share this with you, I am so freakin thrilled.

Hi Krista:

I’m 50 years young and have been lifting weights for 6 years now. In the spring of 2006, I decided I would like to compete in a
Figure Competition. That September, I performed in my first show, I didn’t place in the top 5, but I wasn’t at the very bottom either. It was a scary, rewarding and fun experience and my next show is in October 2006. Here is one of the pictures from the competition.