I started week 7 of boot camp today with The Body Firm of Atlanta. Instead of recapping the last week as I usually do, I’m going to take tonight to talk about how much my life has changed in less than 2 months. If you want to read through my Fibromyalgia posts, click here. They will give you a glimpse into what I’ve endured over the years. A good place to start would be “Fibromyalgia, Tumors, and Me” and my mom even wrote about my condition from “Her Perspective.” Clicking any of the links in this post will take you through my 20-year emotional roller coaster… beginning with the horrific pain of a bone tumor when I was 6 and leading up until, well, now. This post just may close that chapter of my life. Tears are falling now that I’ve typed that sentence — a sentence I never thought I was type. Could this hell I’ve been living in be over? Possibly. Let me explain.

I started boot camp with The Body Firm of Atlanta on April 30th, 2012. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1992 and have since suffered from constant generalized pain all over my body as well as chronic fatigue. I have always been told little to no impact and no incline regarding exercising and activity so I stuck to moderate walking on the treadmill and swimming, neither of which helped. After nearly 20 years of refusing to be treated with prescriptions I finally gave in — I admitted “I Need Help” and decided I wanted to be comfortable so last year “I started a long road to comfort” by taking pain medication on an as-needed basis. My hips and knees had become two of my worst areas — I could barely go up and down the stairs without them hurting. I had significant problems in my lower back and shoulders. I had gotten to where I was having headaches at least 4-5 days out of the week and I woke up very stiff and was even more tired than when I went to bed. I had days where my bone marrow felt like it had been replaced by hydrochloric acid — my legs felt like they were burning from the inside… it was unbearable.

At the end of April, a friend of mine posted a link to an Amazon Local deal: $39 for a 4-week boot camp. I figured I would try it out and worst case scenario, I wouldn’t be able to do it and I’d lose 40 bucks and chalk it up to another one of my “Fibro Frustrations.” The first few days were a little iffy because I was a bit scared to even TRY a lot of the things my group was doing, particularly all the running, jumping, and lunges. I feared that I would go home and regret it for a week when I was unable to function. Quite the contrary, I gradually convinced myself to try those things that I had it driven into my mind I could NOT do and to my surprise, I COULD do them. Over the first few weeks, I found that the more I did, the better I felt. And the better I felt, the more I wanted to do… and by the third week I had completely changed my eating habits because I wanted to feel even better and I knew I needed the right things to fuel so much physical activity.

On one hand, I am ecstatic because my headaches are rare at this point, I don’t feel like it’s 2am by 6pm anymore, and I can pop out of bed in the morning and walk around without having to work myself into it instead of rolling out of bed and limping around as my body loosened up like I had done for SO long, but on the other hand I sort of feel cheated — why had my doctors warned me against doing any of this? Did they honestly think it would worsen “My Experience and Symptoms” or should I become one of the conspiracy theorists who believe they’re all in it to keep us suffering so we keep going back? I was surviving on pain pills and 5-hour energy drinks all because I was too scared to be more active than I was! Now, granted I have muscle aches and my shins feel bruised sometimes after hard running, but it’s nothing like Fibromyalgia pain so dealing with those few things is a small price to pay for the plethora of benefits.

I can get rather long winded so I will try not to ramble too much more, but joining The Body Firm of Atlanta and staying involved with Mamavation were two of the best things I have done for myself in years… I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this great in my entire adult life. A couple of months ago, I was desperate and I felt like my body was working against me. I would cry out of pain and frustration, praying that the rest of my life would not be like that. I have a very happy life — a loving family, great friends, etc… but I was miserable because I couldn’t truly enjoy it. Long story short, being a part of this boot camp has changed my life and I’m SO grateful to our trainer, Matt, for the way he pushes his groups — he slowly presses you to WANT to do it by encouraging you to TRY while also paying attention to your body’s limits and not bullying you into it or making you feel like a failure if you aren’t ready to push yourself just yet (if that makes any sense). I’m also grateful to my wonderful, loving, and supportive husband for making sure I didn’t stop going before I got hooked :)

In 7 weeks, I feel like a completely different person. I haven’t had a headache in nearly a month. I haven’t taken a pain pill since the start of the 3rd week and I no longer have a lingering fear of  becoming a “Burden to My Husband” before I turn 30! If you are in Atlanta, I highly recommend at least giving one of these boots camps a shot no matter what your current situation is. The groups at The Body Firm of Atlanta are very supportive! Even more importantly, join Mamavation because you will need support outside of boot camp as well, not to mention Leah and the Mamavation crew put on some kickass at-home boot camps that are extremely challenging if you’re unable to find or attend a boot camp in your area and the Sistahood has kept me going a LOT of days when I needed some extra oomph. I started this boot camp to get in better shape so I’d be prepared for a bikini this summer. Little did I know that less than 2 months in, looks and weight would be the last thing on my mind.

I’m praying that my last Fibromyalgia post was my last Fibromyalgia post… for good. I’m almost afraid to write that. I told my trainer tonight that I can’t say enough about how much doing this — becoming this active — has changed my life. I’m shocked every day when I wake up, expecting this “good” phase to end at some point and it hasn’t. Here’s to hoping it never does.


Edited to add:

I meant to add my measurements before now but I suppose now is as good of a time as any, so here goes:

  • Bust: 37″ (no change since December 2011 – total loss of 1.75″ in the last 18 months… this is NOT the area I need to lose LOL!)
  • Waist: 35″ (up 0.5″ since measuring my waist in December – total loss of 2.25″ in the last 18 months… I was frowning when this increased in December, but this time I’m assuming it’s because I am building muscle so it’s not a bad thing)
  • Hips: 44.5″ (up 0.5″ since December – total loss of 0.5″ in the last 18 months)
  • Arms: 13.25″ (up 1/2″ each – total loss of 2″ – both arms combined – in the last 18 months… even though my arms are bigger, I’m going with the muscle thing here too because they definitely look better than before)
  • Forearm: 10.75″ (up 1/4″ each – total of 1/2″ loss in the last 18 months – both arms combined)
  • Wrist: 6.25″ (down 1/4″ each – total loss of 1/2″ – both wrists combined – in the last 18 months… then again, who really cares about their wrists??)
  • Thighs: 26″ (up 1/4″ each – I’m actually 1/2″ LARGER – both thighs combined – here than I was 18 months ago LOL… muscle thing again — we’ve been running like crazy)
  • Weight: 166 (up 13 pounds since last summer — total loss of 13 pounds in the last 18 months)

Total change since December 2011: I’ve INCREASED 2″ in the last 6 months but I’ve LOST 4-5 pounds in the last 7 weeks. I look good and I feel great … so phooey on the numbers! LOL!

Total change since December 2010: loss of 7″ and 13 pounds… I am eating right and now that I am in a REGULAR activity that I won’t be tapering off of like I normally do, once my body builds up the muscle hopefully it’ll start burning more of the fat! LOL


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