Eve Humphrey, 35, was disabled at 12 and on pain medication for years before discovering the transformational powers of exercise
Coming home from school one day aged 12,1 was hit by a car and very nearly died. My leg was badly broken and pins, a plate and a bone graft were needed to repair the damage. After five months in hospital, I had to learn to walk again. I was devastated: I’d always been very active, but I was told not to do sports in case my leg shattered. I coped with ongoing discomfort until, in 2007, when I was 24, I tripped and hurt my knee. The pain was awful – some of the worst I’d ever extreme lethargy – I couldn’t lift my arms up because they felt like lead. I learnt that fibromyalgia may be linked to childhood trauma, both physical and emotional. The year I got hit by a car, I also grappled with my dad’s death, which I’d never had any closure on.
MY EXERCISE JOURNEY
‘I stumbled across an old school friend on Facebook who had taken up Beachbody On Demand’s (beachbodyondemand.com) at-home workout plan P90X. I thought she was crazy because it was so hard, but she exercise – and I realised that working out decreased my pain. A year later, I was able to try 21 Day Fix, a programme with a mixture of cardio and weight lifting plus an eating plan. By modifying the workouts and following the portion-fix eating system for six months, I lost 13kg. I then moved onto PiYo – a mixture of Pilates and Yoga with active movement. I set myself a challenge then go to bed; I couldn’t do anything else. Alcohol was the only thing that helped me cope with the pain, so I would drink far too much. Over the years, the doses and quantity of drugs I took increased, as did my weight, which shot up after I turned 30. I went from a size 10 to an 18 and weighed around 90kg. Having to use a walking stick more often than not and struggling to climb stairs, I was miserable, foreseeing a life of hospital appointments, medication and limitation.’
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WORDS: Gabrielle Nathan
A HELPFUL DIAGNOSIS ‘When, in 2014, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition where no physical cause of the pain can be found, the pieces of the puzzle fell info place. My brain was felling me I was in agony when I wasn’t. The accompanying ‘fibro-fog’ or poor cognitive functioning, made me forget words or mix up sentences. Fibromyalgia also caused me digestive issues and looked really happy and had lost a load of weight. I researched the company, found an inspiring coach and fried Focus T25 -25-minufe workouts led by trainer Shaun T, famed for I’ve been off my pain meds for a year and can run for a bus and go for long walks’ his Insanity interval workouts.
I had to modify the modified version of the exercises but, in just a few weeks, I felt better and lost weight. Sadly, though, it didn’t last long as I went to Glastonbury, then got out of the habit.
‘Soon Gize, a dancebased programme, was released by the same company. I fell in love with it – the workout was so much fun, if didn’t feel like to become fit enough to be a PiYo instructor, and have now certified as a coach and mentor with Beachbody.’
EVE’S TOP TIPS
THINK POSITIVE ‘Change your attitude. Tell yourself “I’m going to be happy; I’m not going to sit around feeling sorry for myself.”’
START AT HOME ‘If you don’t want to leave the house to exercise, try an online workout that offers additional support of some kind.’
BE MINDFUL ‘Mindfulness helps me dissociate from the pain.
Instead of focusing on the pain in my knee, I focus on my arm, which doesn’t hurt.’
THE NEW ME ‘Today, I’m nearly 20kg lighter and a dress size 10-12. I’ve been off all my pain meds for a year and haven’t used my walking stick in 18 months. I can play with my young nieces, run for a bus, go for long walks and the stairs aren’t a struggle. I’m wearing jeans I haven’t worn in a decade, can wear high heels again and I feel amazing. Exercise hasn’t just given me my body back; it’s given me my life back. My future isn’t all limitations and struggles; it’s whatever I want it to be. I’m mobile, active, healthy and happy.’
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