“I Am an Active, 50-Year-Old Woman Who Has Fought Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, and Obesity, and Won!”

“I Am an Active, 50-Year-Old Woman Who Has Fought Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, and Obesity, and Won!”

Meet Donna, age 50, from Salem, OR.
She entered The Beachbody Challenge and won $1,500!

Tell us about your life before you started the program. How did you feel about yourself and your body?
My life before was very, very sad. I have always been slightly overweight, but it wasn’t until about 12 years ago that I headed into the official diagnosis of obesity. In the 10 years before I started Beachbody programs, I had numerous medical problems. I was almost completely disabled for years with fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis. I had also just received a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. I had already been on thyroid medication for almost ten years, and had numerous episodes of severe clinical depression. I spent a lot of time in bed…and much too much time in doctors offices. I was (and still am) raising children with special needs and it was extremely difficult to function from day to day. Going to the grocery store was so exhausting, I couldn’t do anything else on the days that I went. Walking up a flight of stairs would make my heart race and cause me to struggle to breathe.

What inspired you to change your life and begin your transformation journey?
Truthfully, I wasn’t inspired to take care of myself – at least in the beginning. I started to change my (or more aptly, our) diet because my husband had some very disturbing bloodwork not long after his father suddenly – and unexpectedly – died at a young age due to heart disease. It scared me that my husband’s health seemed to be declining and in early 2012 I started us on a plant-based diet. Interestingly enough, I started to lose weight and feel much better. My own health issues were improving and I got brave enough to think I could start exercising again. My doctors had told me for years that one of the best ways to manage fibromyalgia was exercise (although I thought they were crazy!). After working out for a few months on my own, I saw a commercial for P90X. One of the men started the program at over 300 pounds and I thought, “If he can do it, I certainly can!”

What is the greatest challenge you faced before beginning the program? How did the program and Beachbody® help you overcome that challenge?
At first, the huge challenge I faced was trying to get healthy and fit with a chronic illness. It was a balance. I had to move and progress slowly. I had to learn to modify and not let my ego get in the way. I did not understanding how to effectively exercise. I didn’t understand how strength training worked. After a while of working P90X off and on (not really understanding the importance of the workout schedules), I began going to the gym and using an elliptical machine. At the gym, I wasn’t losing weight as fast anymore and started to get frustrated. I was still feeling better, and my life was changing, but I was stuck. I hit a weight loss plateau in October that lasted for months even though I was going to the gym and eating clean (I hadn’t pulled out P90X again at that point). Then I met my Beachbody Coach, Molly, and she introduced me to Shakeology and the rest of the Beachbody programs.

What in particular did you like about the program you chose?
I loved P90X, but working 60 to 90 minutes into my day for a workout was sometimes quite difficult. With P90X3, I could work out in the evening in 30 minutes; my husband even joined me! I like that is was still…well, Tony. It was still effective, but it was condensed into 30 minutes.

Describe the results you achieved with your Beachbody program. Which achievements are you proud of?
I am most proud of being able to do REAL push ups!! Even when I was young and in shape, I would not do push ups! During P90X3, I was finally able to work up to real push ups and not “girl” push ups (as they are sometimes called). The result I have achieved since starting with P90X, moving later to INSANITY, and then P90X3, are that I am officially down 87 pounds! (down 100 pounds total from my highest weight ever) And, at 50, I think I am in the best physical shape of my life. I owe most of that to Tony Horton!

How has your life changed since completing your Beachbody program?
In SO many ways! First of all, I no longer have to shop in the plus-sized department. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and have to do a double-take! I can fit into a chair without worrying that it will come up WITH me when I stand up! I flew on an airplane this summer and I even fit in the airline seat. But, more importantly, I am an active, 50 year old woman who has fought fibromyalgia, [type 2] diabetes, and class 3 obesity, and won! I was obese and sick for almost a decade. Now I am healthy, (getting) slim, and active. I have no longer resigned myself to growing old at a young age. I no longer have diabetes, I am off almost all prescription medication, and I have hope for the future, and living long enough to meet my great grandchildren!

How did participating in a Challenge Group help you reach your goals? How did your group support you and keep you accountable?
I loved my challenge group! All of us were doing the same program and we supported each other, commiserated, and held each other accountable. We shared recipes, modifications, and laughed together. Since I have started doing Beachbody programs, the most important things that keep me going are my coach and our challenge group. It is the thing that was always missing in the countless diets and programs I had tried before.

How did your Team Beachbody® Coach support you on your journey?
Molly helped me to see how much time (and money) Shakeology could save me. I was already starting to eat healthy, and had added green smoothies to my diet, but they required so much preparation and stress. Shakeology fit into my real life, with kids, career, and a busy schedule. Molly has helped me to choose the right programs to continue my fitness journey and helped direct me to where I need to go to learn about my nutritional needs. She has become a great friend, support, and mentor.

How did a Beachbody Supplement or Nutritional Product or Program (such as Shakeology® or Beachbody Ultimate Reset®) support your transformation? What are the greatest benefits you gained? Did you see benefits to your energy, sleep, mood/mental clarity, digestion/regularity?
I always knew that one of the biggest problems with my weight was food cravings. It is not that I was hungry all the time (so appetite suppressants never really worked for me); I was held hostage by terrible food cravings most all my life! They ruled my life. Nothing I could do would really make them ever go away. Until Shakeology! I still drink it every single day and I do not crave the things I used to. I think that my body was starved for nutrients, and Shakeology provided those.

Did you achieve any other measureable improvements with a Beachbody Supplement or Nutritional Product or Program? (e.g. Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, triglycerides, etc…)
I have stopped doing blood glucose readings as they are always in the 70s or 80s. I no longer have a diagnosis of type 2, or even prediabetes. My A1C levels are perfectly normal. My HDL has risen (is was too low previously). But I think the most amazing thing is that while I have been on thyroid medications for 11 years (and still am), the medication itself really never helped me have any sustained any weight loss. Recently, I finally saw an Endocrinologist for the first time and he told me that it looks like my thyroid has just shrunk and stopped working altogether (and possibly that is from an autoimmune disorder). So, considering that over the past three years I have lost 100 pounds while in menopause (now “post”), with a thyroid that isn’t working, by changing the way I ate, the way I moved, and drinking something as amazing as Shakeology every day — NO ONE can convince me that is nothing short of a full-on miracle!

You can change your life too. Take the Beachbody Challenge for the tools you need to Decide, Commit, and Succeed. Select any Beachbody program, and once you complete it, enter your results for a free shirt and a chance to win cash & prizes.