Amanda Dowd

Conquered MS and achieved her health and fitness goals!*

Tell us a little about your story so far?

Whilst growing up health and fitness had always been a priority in my family. I come from a swimming background where I used to swim around 10 sessions per week. Exercise was a constant in my life up until having kids, but life got busy after kids. I was exercising but without a goal or purpose, I was just going through the motions.

I started at Vision Brighton about 4 years ago, and loved it straight away. I had found my tribe; I was up training at 5:30am, 5 or 6 days a week doing a combination of PT and group training. I was doing all this whilst running my own business and raising 2 young children.

It was a few months into my Vision experience that the symptoms started. I began feeling very tired and fatigued even though I hadn't changed anything in my usual routine. I also started having issues with my balance. I would lose my balance after exercising hard on the treadmill or bike, which at the time I though was vertigo. (Later I worked out, that when I overheated while exercising, it brought on some of my MS symptoms)

In November 2014 I saw my GP and she sent me off to have an MRI, I was subsequently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

It would have been very easy to feel sorry for myself, and only focus on the negative in this situation, and for the first couple of months I did.   I hid away from family and friends and grieved for my health.

I was taking an oral medication every day and struggling with chronic fatigue. It was at this point that I decided to take 12 months off everything and become an expert in MS. I researched all I could about my condition and realised that I could continue to train and exercise using different methods.

I found exercise and endorphins helped my mental state as well as my physical state. I was introduced to the Overcoming MS Diet (OMS), which has been crucial in my recovery and stopping the progression of any new symptoms.

I now follow the OMS diet every day and my trainers have managed to incorporate this into my meal plans so that I am still able to achieve my health and fitness goals. I exercise 6 times per week doing a combination of weight training, walking and group fitness sessions at the studio.

Every morning I wake up with exercise as my first priority, as studies have shown it has a huge impact on keeping me well!

My favourite quote that I now live by is "Whatever it takes!"

 

What results have you achieved and why Vision PT?

Through changing my nutrition and focusing on a structured weight training program I have now been in remission for 2.5 years and my symptoms are now dormant. I have still managed to drop 6 - 8kgs (depending on how closely I follow the Vision Food App) in fat mass and increase my muscle mass. My bio age is also 6 years younger than my actual age, which is a great bonus!

Training with the team at Vision has been fantastic as they have been able to tailor my training and nutrition to work with my MS. I have a great circle of friends here. I'm surrounded by people who are supportive, aware and conscious of my limits and efforts.

Everybody knows my name! I'm not just a face or number. Every trainer, not just my own, has an interest in my goals and me. The trainers are all conscious of my condition but don't treat me any differently so I still feel as much a part of the team as anyone.

I still have to get on the scales regularly, which seems to keep my toast and honey and toasted fruit bun breaches in check!

 

What advice do you have for someone in a similar situation to yourself who is looking to make a change?

Now that I am coming from a place of being diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disorder, the first important thing to do is to become an expert on your condition.

Realise that you can make your own decisions about medication choices and build your own team of alternative health practitioners that can help keep you well.

There are so many non-drug ways to help yourself and improve your health and fitness. One thing I have come to understand is that just because you are on a drug that affects your weight, doesn't mean you cannot achieve the results you are after. It may be harder or take longer but you can do it.

This is something that I am consciously aware of so I don't continually make excuses for myself.  If I'm not feeling great, I still get out and go for a walk. My pace may not be great, but I set a goal to beat the "nannas" who are out walking that day.

And BUSY is not an excuse to eat badly and put your health last. Nothing else matters except your health and your family. The time I take to keep fit and healthy, means I can get on with life.

*Disclaimer: Individual results may vary based on their goals that we will help to define.

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