By Richard Reed
If you read my post last week, you’ll know all about my battle with kidney disease. I had been suffering with FSGS for about five years. My weight was 270+ pounds, and to say that I felt tired and sick is a gross understatement. My doctor said changing my diet and getting some exercise might help. Exercise? That was an unfamiliar word that did not exist in my vocabulary. In my mind, exercise was reserved only for sports figures that I watched on television. It had NO part in my life. I was so tired that all I wanted to do was lay down.
After my diagnosis, my legs were so swollen and heavy that just walking was difficult. I did not have the energy to do anything but go to work, come home, and crash on the sofa. Then the day came when my doctor told me that he didn’t think I would live beyond my 30s. Talk about a turning point.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! The next morning, I came to the conclusion that I needed to either get busy living or get busy dying. I have always been a fighter and giving up was simply not an option. I chose LIFE!
I knew that my journey would not be an easy one—but neither was the dismal path that I was currently following. Slowly, I transformed my life from a sick, overweight, miserable shell of a person to a triathlete, full of life! I began by joining a local running group. Next thing I know, I was running a 5K—I didn’t even know what a 5K was when I began running! A few months later, I ran my first marathon. Next up, I began to bike and then I learned how to swim in order to compete in a triathlon.
I felt great and the best part is that my kidneys showed normal kidney function! We can all benefit from an active lifestyle. Start slow and don’t be afraid to push yourself a bit. Remember, the first step is the hardest. Below are my top tips that helped me along the way.
Richard’s Top 10 Tips
1. Become an expert on your disease and medications. Research and ask questions.
2. Picture yourself as you want to be. Strong, healthy, and unstoppable!
3. Before beginning an exercise regimen, consult with your doctor about your plans. Don’t be afraid to ask for second or third opinions.
4. Plan your journey. Set attainable goals (you may want to write them down). Raise the bar after each victory.
5. Join the local YMCA or gym and get out of the house! Go for a walk, making sure to add on each time. Talk to a trainer about designing a workout regimen tailored to you and your goals.
6. Try to mix it up. Go for a swim one day, a bike ride the next, a run the day after, etc.
7. Start eating and drinking healthy. Ease into this to ensure success. Swap juice and soda for water.
8. Read food labels and try to watch sodium and sugar intake.
9. Don’t get discouraged. Remember that great success is built on a foundation of failures. If you miss a workout or indulge in fatty food just start again the next day or at your next meal.
10. Find your inspiration, EVERYDAY! Believe in yourself, don’t give up, and keep the faith.