This post is slightly more serious and in depth than my previous posts. Some of you may know that I suffer with a condition called Hypermobility Syndrome. In simple terms, my joints are too bendy and can pop out of place. It also causes chronic pain and fatigue, as well as a whole list of other things that I won’t get into right now.
Disclaimer: I’m in no way an expert. I suffer from this and so have experience, as well as a lot of research from others that suffer.
The vast majority of people find weightloss hard at the the best of times. When trying to lose weight and get fit with a disability of sorts, it can make it a lot harder.
Here are some of the reason why we struggle:
Due to the constant strain on our joints, most of us suffer with a degree of pain everyday. Somedays are worse than others but it’s like a nagging pain that you can’t seem to get rid of. For me personally, when I’m feeling like this, I just want to hibernate away from the world. I am rubbish at pacing myself so always push myself to do things then regret them the next day when I can barely walk or I’ve done my shoulder in. When you’re in pain, the last thing you want to do it exercise or eat healthily. I tend to comfort eat when I’m in pain which is such a bad habit to be in. Thankfully, we’ve gotten rid of all the tempting foods in the house so I can no longer grab the nearest sugary treat.
Which chronic pain comes a constant sense of fatigue. It’s tiring being in pain so much. Our joints move on average, 3 times that of a normal person. So when we walk one mile, it feels like you’ve walked three. It’s an endless cycle. A catch 22. Exercise is great for getting your energy levels up, but you’re too tired to exercise. Healthy foods are great for getting energy levels up and yet you find yourself eating utter crap to make you feel better in some way.
Medicine is a wonderful thing. It helps pain. It helps you sleep. Unfortunately, it also helps you gain weight and add to feeling utterly tired all the time. The side effects from the strong painkillers we’re prescribed can really bring down any efforts we’ve put in to losing weight. I came off of the painkillers I was on. Not only was I feeling constantly tired, but I didn’t want to be restrained to being on painkillers for the rest of my life. I wanted to do it alone and try to build up the strength of my joints. I am lucky that my pain isn’t as bad as some people that suffer so not everyone can live without them. I’ve been painkiller free (apart from the odd aspirin or ibuprofen) for about 2 years now I think, and I’m doing just okay, though now I can’t blame them for my weight gain or fatigue…
So what are ways that us bendies can exercise without risk of dislocating a shoulder or popping a hip out?
I took to a great Facebook support network for HMS (women’s only) to ask the lovely ladies what ideas they had, and what they found to work.
- The one suggestion that kept getting mentioned over and over was Pilates. Pilates can help to build your core and stabilise you. It’s also quite gentle and can take it at your own pace. I was recommended Blogilates on YouTube. With her extensive range of exercises that can be done in your own home, for free, it seemed too good to be true. With using YouTube, you can pause them, skip bits, or start all over again in your own time. No one is there to push you past what you’re capable of.
- Another suggestion was swimming. Swimming is a great way to build up the strength of your joints in a gentle way. The water supports you more than if you were exercising on land. Having done hydrotherapy in the past, there are many exercises to do in water that can really help stabilise you and build up the muscle around your joints.
Exercises to avoid are things that would put too much pressure on your joints, such as running or doing heavy weights.
A lot of the ladies said that they found groups such as slimming world useful as it provided a support network for them to lose weight, which kept them more motivated than if they were to do it alone.
It’s always easier to lose weight and keep focused if you’re losing weight with a friend or a group, so if you’re struggling, see if someone wants to get fit with you!
Hypermobility Syndrome is still quite an unknown illness and there’s still a lot more to learn about it. Everyone is different and has varying degrees of pain or dislocations. The best thing to do is find what works for you. Don’t push yourself too hard or you’ll just regret it (trust me, I’ve done that).
If you want more information about Hypermobility Syndrome, visit the HMSA website here.
If any of you suffer from conditions that make it harder to lose weight but have some suggestions on how to overcome it, let me know in the comments!
I hope this has been informative, or at least interesting for you guys! Remember, I’m in no way an expert, just have a experience of this and have done a lot of research!
Oodles of love…