How MG Changed My Relationship With Exercise and Weight

Michelle Gonzaba avatar

by Michelle Gonzaba |

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For most of my life, I’ve had a complicated relationship with my weight. I played sports in my early years, but because of my deep and abiding love for sugar and white bread, I was always a chubby kid. And while I wish I could get back to the svelteness I had as a toddler, my clothing size normally hovers around that of the average American woman. But as I’ve grown older, my thoughts about exercise and weight have become less superficial and more focused on physical health.

In the years before I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG), I’d describe my exercise routine as reluctant. I enjoyed moving around, but usually waited to exercise until I felt super disgusted with myself, such as after eating a ton of fried food.

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When Exercise Became More Than a Workout

MG created additional complications. At first, it caused me to lose weight. With muscle weakness affecting my ability to chew and swallow, I had a difficult time eating. And the less food I ate, the more weight I lost.

But because exercise was no longer an option, I eventually started to regain the weight. And once I started taking prednisone, my body immediately changed. My face and my stomach grew rounder, and the rest of my lost weight returned with a vengeance.

Another wrench was thrown into my complicated relationship with weight when others recommended that I lose a few pounds, in the hope that it would help me manage my illness. While studies have shown that exercise can help to reduce muscle fatigue, I wasn’t exactly in the mood to heed this advice.

Once I stopped taking prednisone, I lost about 20 pounds fairly quickly. At that point, my muscles were stable, and I could start exercising and moving around more. But after years of suffering from weakness, I was afraid to overexert myself and revert back to the worst of my MG. It took a while for me to feel comfortable doing anything more than walking around the neighborhood.

I now work out two to three times a week on my Peloton. I try to limit fried foods and sugary treats, but that will always be a work in progress. And now, when I think about weight, I focus on my insides rather than my outsides. When I choose a healthier food option, I’m intentionally caring for my heart, brain, and other organs. And when I hit “Start” on a workout, I feel happy and grateful that I can move at all.


Note: Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Comments

Theresa Goldstein avatar

Theresa Goldstein

Boy can I relate.
I went from being essentially mail nourished by medical reports , looking anorexic, to now being 10-15 pounds overweight for my age and height. I have learned to conserve my energy so well to do what I have to do in a day, I’m afraid to overdo and exercise, though I know I need to, because I can’t do what it have to.
It is a huge issue!
Plan it? Forget it because I never know when that extra energy exists!
Life gets really complicated,icated!

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Patrick K. Gillpatrick avatar

Patrick K. Gillpatrick

Thank you so much for the post!!! I am recently diagnosed with MG. Mine didn't manifest its self first in my ocular and facial nerves, but i didn't know until my treatments started,(last week) that i have had MG symptoms in the other parts of my body for several years now! Fatigue and muscle weakness problems have been present for several years now, but i attributed it to several other things, one being my weight problem.(over weight) I really hit a mental low after getting a positive clinical diagnoses of MG thinking now it will be even harder for me to exercise! Your post has given me new hope.I am removing the hanging clothes from the treadmill NOW!!! LOL Thanks you and God bless.

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Ron Giaier avatar

Ron Giaier

I am 73 years old. I was diagnosed with MG 18 months ago but neurologist mow thinks not. He does believe that I have episodic Ataxia.

I do have trouble swallowing and significant leg weakness. I have great difficulty walking for 15 minutes. Some days are better than others. I describe my leg issues as "My legs don't want to work." Anyone with MG have similar?

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2021 Myasthenia Gravis Survey Results

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Myasthenia Gravis News conducted a survey from Feb. 11-March 28 to gain greater insight into the characteristics of the MG community and disease management. Results of the survey have now been published. Click on the image to view the infographic, and click here to read the story.