2004 Hawaii Trip
When I learned that my brother and sister-in-law had gone to Hawaii with Beachbody, I wondered what on earth they had done to deserve such an awesome reward. (Obviously, I had not seen them in the previous 90 days.) When I finally saw them at a family event, looking incredibly tanned and fit, I was stunned at the remarkable results they had achieved from this thing called Power 90. I was equally amazed when I offered them some of the cookies I was hoarding, and their answer was, "No thanks." As I finished my stockpile of cookies I began wondering, "What's up with that?" You see, to say I was not the healthiest of eaters would be a gross understatement. In fact, my idea of a nutritious meal consisted of M&M's (peanut, of course) and doughnuts with an ice-cream chaser, accompanied by a pot or two of coffee. Not decaf, either! The idea of refusing a cookie never even crossed my mind! What in the world had gotten into my brother and sis-in-law?
Oh yeah, did I mention that I am diabetic? You're probably thinking, "Aren't you supposed to stay away from sugar if you have diabetes?" The answer, of course, is "YES!" and I did for the first few years of the disease. But, after having three kids in less than three years, I was too busy (and too tired from working 12-hour night shifts as a nurse) to worry about the disease. Initially, I could just take a little extra insulin to compensate for my "cheats," but over the years, my insulin needs increased, and so did my weight. Mind you, I was never that heavy on the outside, because I knew that if I didn't take enough insulin to cover all the food I ate (in increasingly huge amounts...can you say "binge-eating disorder?"), then my body would burn fat and even muscle to try to get energy (a futile pursuit without insulin). My body would also try to flush out the extra sugar through excessive amounts of urine, leaving me so dehydrated that at times it was, quite literally, hard to blink! Naturally, all this added up to frequent bouts of depression that began to last longer and become more intense. All the while, the internal damage was adding up and threatening to catch up with me in later years, leaving my children with a debilitated or, worse yet, dead mother. Feeling sick and lethargic all the time became my way of life, but I considered it a small price to pay because I could fit into my jeans and look good. I simply increased my coffee intakesome days to as many as three pots! Never mind that I felt absolutely horrible. It's all about looking good!
Power 90 came into my life at just the right time. I was a mess: thin on the outside, but basically rotting away on the inside. I needed to do something, but previous attempts to get myself under control had failed miserably. When I decided to get on the program, it wasn't with much confidence. I doubted I could overcome my lack of self-discipline. I thought of the trip to Hawaii as an added bonus to try and stick with it longer than just a few days. Little did I know what a dramatic effect Power 90 would have on every aspect of my life!
Although I was athletic in my pre-childbirth days, I had not been physically active for some time and was badly out of shape. Well, actually I had a shape, but it wasn't even close to the one I wanted! The first weeks were humbling, to say the least. Cursing Tony all the while (sorry, Tony), I reluctantly dragged my starving, not-a-morning-person self out of bed and exercised before the sun was up. Initially, I had to stop and rest after every two moves. I was so sore I could barely walk, and I was having coffee and M&M withdrawals. I ate my morning oatmeal with all the enthusiasm of a condemned woman, certain that eating healthy food would, in fact, be the death of me. Over time, I went from tolerating my oatmeal (and Tony's humor) to actually craving oatmeal and thinking Tony was pretty funny! I began to appreciateand then, to absolutely delight inthe solitude found in the wee morning hours before the kids would wake up and chaos would engulf me. Amazingly, the whopping two push-ups that used to be a struggle soon became 10, 15, and then 20. Through consistent hard work, I began to see my newly developed muscles, as the layer of fat over them melted away. When I got hungry I would remind myself, "I'm a fat-burning machine!" My endurance and stamina continued to increase as my dress size decreased. Not only did I notice, but others around me began to notice too. The biggest and most monumental benefit of Power 90, however, was not necessarily the way I looked, but the way I started to consistently feel strong and energetic due to the fact that my blood sugars were basically within normal range.
Unfortunately, during my last 30 days of the program, I crashed on my dirt bike and bulged three discs into my spinal canal, leaving the posterior and lateral aspects of my left leg entirely numb. I attempted to work out, but kept falling over to my left side, as I had no strength or sensation in that leg. Days turned into weeks and then months, as I tried various medications and therapies to decrease the swelling in my discs. I immediately put on 10 pounds through two rounds of steroids (which, by the way, wreak havoc on blood sugars). So much for the 14 pounds I had lost! I also lost a whole inch in my left calf. I engaged in some feeling-sorry-for-myself eating, but tried to keep it to a minimum and focus on maintaining the health benefits I had worked so hard to achieve. Tony's encouragement really helped me overcome the frustration I was feeling over the battle with my leg, and inspired me to Keep Pushing Play in spite of it. It is very hard, if not impossible, to move a muscle that is not getting the signal to do so from the brain. Sheer willpower alone will not do it. However, with time and persistence, my strength and sensation have improved. It has only been within the last month or two that I can once again hang tough with Tony and the kids. Had it not been for Power 90, I don't think I would've regained the use of my leg as quickly, nor recovered the same degree of strength (about 90 percent).
For the first time in over nine years, I am back in control of my eating habits, blood sugars, and energy level. The ability to play with my kids on the trampoline, go water skiing, and motorcycle riding with my husband, and give that extra something special to my patients at work are just a few of practical blessings that Power 90 has bestowed upon my life. Not only am I making better health choices for myself, but I'm giving my kids and husband healthier meals, encouraging more family activity, and being a much more pleasant and energetic person in general. That I look much better on the outside is, as they say, "icing on the cake"er, I mean, "tofu on the eggplant!"
To those thinking about taking on the challenge of Power 90, I say, "Go for it!" The big picture or ultimate goal may seem overwhelming as you are starting, but just take it one day at a time. You will be amazed at what you can do, and do without, for just one day. You don't need to think about going without doughnuts or M&M's forever, but for today you can make a healthier choice. God only gave you one moment to live, and this is it. Don't worry about what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future. All you have control over is this one moment. Choose well. Enjoy it. You will so appreciate the rewards of your efforts; the payoff is huge. Your life will not be the same after doing Power 90!