Manuela you are incredible!!! Not only has this mum of four overhauled her lifestyle and transformed herself losing over 36 kilos, she achieved all of this living with the sometimes crippling condition of fibromyalgia.
Here she shares her amazing tips for others who may have to condition and want to start a health and weight loss journey.
Manuelas Weight Loss Journey
Manuela started her journey with the 28 Day weight Loss Challenge almost two years ago. The Queensland-based Manuela has four amazing kids, her youngest of which has cystic fibrosis which on top of her own health issues has made life challenging at times.
She shares, “ Life became extremely tough and challenging due to illness and I became engulfed by it all and my weight ballooned to 114.7kg.”
“At the end of 2019, I had this uncomfortable feeling that I wasn’t going to see my next birthday if things didn’t change and that’s when I bit the bullet and joined the Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.”
In the first year Manuela lost almost 40 kilos. Despite putting a little weight back on this year, she’s refocused and is now back on track.
Manuela was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia 12 years ago and has been living with the condition ever since. Whilst there’s no cure, a combination of exercise, healthy habits, exercise and managing stress can ease symptoms enough to live a normal active life.
What is Fibromylagia?
Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic syndrome that causes bodily pain and mental distress. Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other types of discomfort. While symptoms often resemble those of arthritis, fibromyalgia affects soft tissues, not joints.
Fibromyalgia sufferers often complain of aching all over. Symptoms include:-
- Muscle pain, burning, twitching, or tightness
- Low pain threshold or tender points
- Draining fatigue
- Trouble concentrating and remembering, called “fibro fog”
- Insomnia or not sleeping well
- Feeling nervous, worried, or depressed
Once diagnosed by a doctor, there are treatments and medications available, but regular moderate exercise can be key to controlling the symptoms.
Manuela’s Tips for fibromyalgia sufferers and how to build and exercise and food routine.
Starting your journey with fibromyalgia
“At the start I sense your reluctance to start exercising in the fear that it will aggravate your condition and make pain worse. But it has been proven that in the long run it will actually lesson your pain over time and improve your everyday function. How do I know this? ……. Because I’m living it!
I started my weight-loss journey by walking 2 to 5 minutes a day and gradually stretched it out to 10 minutes, then 20 and over time I’ve reached an hour. I didn’t do this everyday either. I had to work at building that up as well. It was a battle, but one that I’d gladly pick again, because the benefits outweigh the pain in the long run.
When I started my weight-loss journey I had a lot of difficulties moving and generally walking. I was in a lot of severe pain constantly. I was stuck in this crazy fibromyalgia storm and I had no clue how to help myself. I was swept up by it all and it controlled me, and I’m sure this must be happening to some of you too. It makes you feel helpless and you struggle to see beyond the storm of it.”
Dealing with good and bad days
“With fibromyalgia, you’ll have good days and bad days, so it’s important to pace yourself. If you push too soon, you’ll throw your body into what is known as a flare up. But did you know? If you pause too long (days off) you can also push your progress right back again. Sounds strange….. but it’s true. Well this is how it was for me. It really messes with you.
There seems to be (at least in my experience) a sweet spot. A place where exercise is manageable without throwing yourself into these flare ups. The trick is how to find it and that is different for everyone living with this condition. You need to listen to your body, as it will give you an indication of this. It takes time to listen to these cues so don’t feel bad if you miss them at first. I certainly had my fair share of that, and still get it wrong sometimes.”
Start slowly and build up
“It’s important to build up the areas slowly especially those that work on your flexibility of motion and your body’s strength. Positioning is a major factor in reducing injury, so keep an eye on those sort of things.
Before exercising, it’s important to do a good body stretch routine. I found the best exercise to start you off is simply walking. Oh, and make sure you choose even surfaces. I learned the hard way that uneven walking tracks weren’t a good idea. If you have a swimming pool, that’s even better. Start off slowly, a few minutes a day and build it up to a 30 minute or so walk. These are low impact too, exactly what we need to start with.”
Working up to Weights
“I’ve also been slowly introducing weights into my routine. It’s not about how much you can lift but more about your range of motion that you’ll be working on and strengthening those support muscles. Again, make sure your doing these workouts correctly as you don’t want to injure yourself.”
Fibromyalgia is definitely a confusing condition and one that I still think is not greatly understood, but with time and dedication you CAN improve and get back some of what’s been lost along the way.”
Will you get rid of fibromyalgia?
“I have no clue but I’ll certainly do my best. I guess I’ll recap in a years time and see how this journey with fibromyalgia continues to unfold.”
It’s important to be gentle with yourself as you weave your way through the maze of fibromyalgia, especially while your in the process of retraining your body to movement and exercise.
Short term set-backs will happen, they will as it’s part of the journey, so be patient with yourself as you work towards your goals and gradually overcome all the hurdles that come with this condition.”
Food and fibromyalgia
“Did you know that food also plays a part and can be a trigger for your fibromyalgia? There is no fibromyalgia diet as such but there is research done that indicates certain ingredients and foods can increase your symptoms for those with fibromyalgia. Such as…
- Fermented carbohydrates …..bread, pasta, barley and rye.
- Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and even fruits like apples and pears.
- Additives too
“I’m still working on my list but I do see this is true in my journey with fibromyalgia. As this is different for everyone, you may need to do a trial and error check for yourself to see what these do to you.”
“I hope this information helps you weave your path forward on your weigh-loss journey.”
Amazing tips Manuela and thank you for sharing them with us.
Join Manuela on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge
Regain your body confidence with The Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge!
Our Challenge is designed by mums FOR MUMS – to help them reach their goal weight and tackle their health and fitness.
The Challenge is home to customisable meal plans, 24/7 social support and realistic exercises mums can do AT HOME.
To find out more on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge click here.
*Images and references to kilograms lost are as supplied by the individual in the story. The Healthy Mummy assumes information and photographs supplied to be true in nature and is not responsible for any false misrepresentations or claims relating to their programs or products.