People love a good weight loss success story. They love to read about a magic diet or pill or surgery accompanied by a knock out before and after photo.
The first thing they ask is “how did you do it?” And what they actually want to hear is something simple like “I just increased my donut intake and all the weight magically fell off!”
Success stories from the MS community are harder to come by. Mainly because MS is what we refer to as a “snowflake disease”, meaning it is never the same for any two people–we all suffer differently and at varying severity.
Take my friend Cheryl Hile.
She just finished her 61st marathon a few weeks ago. She was the first person with MS to run a marathon on all 7 continents (8 if you include New Zealand) in under a year. A feat they call the 7-on-7-in-12 or World Marathon. I can’t find statistics on how many people have managed to complete this challenge, but if we know less than .5% of people run a marathon, the group of World Marathoners must be pretty tiny.
People look at Cheryl and might see the adorable smile and tiny Runner’s body and assume it all must come so easy to her. They don’t see the hours and hours and hours of training she puts in. They don’t see the multiple AFOs (Ankle-foot orthosis) that she’s had to try and tweak to find the best ones to keep her foot from dropping while running and also not cause her considerable rubbing and blisters and bleeding. Cheryl could have easily quit when she received her diagnosis. No one would have thought any less of her if she gave up running and surrendered to this disease… but her motto continues to be “I do what I can and I don’t give up.”
Speaking of Cheryl, her new mission is to build up our Run a Myelin in My Shoes team as much as possible! If you want more information on how you can support National MS Society and join a team of MS Runners and supporters (running/walking a variety of distances), please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
People want to hear that a magic wand was waved and things got miraculously better on their own. They don’t want to hear the truth…
The secret to my success is sacrifice, discipline, and obedience.
I’ll give you a minute to pull your jaw from the floor.
In the moments after my diagnosis, when the words still hung fresh in the air and my cheeks were stained with tears, I begged God to take this and use it for His glory. I gave this disease, my life, every decision that was to come over to Him and told Him he had my “yes” to whatever He would call me to do. I had no idea He was going to call me to sacrifice my beloved foods. To give up my routines, my day-to-day diet for a new way of thinking and eating. But that’s exactly what He did. It was not easy. It’s still not easy. Every single get-together, birthday, holiday, work potluck, etc is a reminder that I’m different and I choose to eat different and I have to order my foods special and bring my own sack lunch or snacks to most places. It’s something I’ve become comfortable with now, but it was really tough in the beginning. But every time it felt tough… every time my body ached with sugar withdraws… I realized I had built up a food idol and worshiped it over God for far too many years. I was sacrificing that false comfort for something much greater and God blessed me greatly for that sacrifice.
We live in a society of rule breakers. We drive above the speed limit. We ignore advice from our doctors. And we cheat on our diets. It seems easy for us to jump on this bandwagon or that diet and follow it for a day or two, but it takes discipline to stick with it for the long haul. My goal with my lifestyle/diet change was not weight loss. That was actually the last thing on my mind for probably the first time in my life. I wanted to follow God’s leading and make my body the healthiest it could be so that MS would have a hard time thriving in me. I wanted to have the most anti-inflammatory body in the nation :). Having that goal in mind made it so much easier to say “no” to temptations. It’s why I tell people beginning their own Whole30 or switching to paleo that you absolutely cannot go into it with weight loss as the goal. If you do, it will be much more tempting to cheat. We should want to do things because they are the right thing to do. God wants us to treat our bodies as temples. There are several scriptures to back that up. And that leads me into my next secret of success…
James 4:17 tells us, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Guys, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we ought to eat more whole foods and stay away from sugar and processed foods. We all know we should be more active and move more than we sit around. It doesn’t take much digging to discover a donut has no nutritional value and an apple is good for you. We know we should eat better. And God flat out tells us it’s a sin for us to ignore what we ought to do! People often tell me they could never do what I’ve done… and I just want to say, “I haven’t done anything but be obedient to God!” Folks, I’m telling you, the Bible is real. We’re born sinful people. All of us, even the churchgoers, struggle with sin. And Satan loves to use seemingly innocent things to separate us from God. If God showed up in your living room right now and asked you to do something, would you hesitate? Would you say something like, “I just can’t make that commitment right now.” I really hope you’d respond quickly and emphatically “yes” to whatever He asked of you!
Guys, please don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not saying whole30 or paleo are the answers to any and all of your problems. For me, it was the path God led me to and I believe it has dramatically helped with my disease and my overall health. I have dear friends who have had success with vegetarianism, veganism, raw veganism, keto, clean eating and portion control. I think our bodies are different and what may be wildly successful for one, may not work for the other. The one common thread in all of those were more fruits and veggies that God created for us to enjoy and less processed garbage we’ve invented and reformulated a million times over. Everyone should take time to evaluate their lives and pray for God to show them the idols they worship over Him. None of us are perfect, and we know we are never going to be on this side of Heaven. The Lord knows I certainly am NOT perfect. But, we need to strive daily to be more like Him and to do the things He’s calling us to do.
Here are some more scriptures for you to ponder as you pray and consider what it is God is calling you to do to have your own success story:
“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Romans 6:13
“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”” John 5:6
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
***DISCLAIMER*** I’m not a doctor. I am not any kind of replacement for your doctor’s advice. This is my personal experience and hopefully by reading it, you will know what questions to ask your doctor. Whatever you do, get a doctor you TRUST and ask all the questions you want. Their expertise is invaluable. Also, this is NOT SPONSORED. This is my true and honest experience.