Saturday, January 15, 2011

P90X, Paleo Diet, and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Yesterday was day 90!  Steve and I completed the full 90 days of the P90X program (minus their diet plan and shakes).  I am SUPER proud of myself.

In October Steve mentioned that he was thinking about trying out the P90X program.  He would soon stop riding his bike to work due to temperatures dropping and felt he needed something different in his workout routine.  I was two and a half months into my use of Enbrel and felt my body needed to get back into a workout routine. After about a two and a half year break from any regular exercise or even much movement in general, my body felt really soft.  I felt like I wanted to work my body hard.

In all honesty, I was still having some flares when we started the P90X program and was also in physical therapy to work on mobility and strength in my fingers, wrists, and shoulder.  When I decided to join Steve in the program, I wasn't sure how much of it I would be able to do and told Steve if it was too much I would stop.  There was only one day in the first month that I wasn't able to workout due to a flare.  I think that is pretty amazing considering this time last year I was struggling to get in and out of the car. 

In the beginning, I did have to make some adjustments.  I started off with extremely low weights or no weights at all and always followed the modified moves.  But, as we continued waking up each and every morning, I felt my body gaining strength.  The pain and stiffness in my shoulder left.  The weakness in my wrists disappeared. After several weeks of doing the program, I was pleasantly surprised to realize I was no longer doing the push-ups on my knees and with time my body told me when it was ready to add more weight.  I am still working on getting those fingers to bend completely, but that will come with time.

This exercise program is the most difficult workout I have ever done on a regular basis. Before this more than two year flare hit me, I worked out regularly, but never like this.  This program changes daily and works every muscle group. Just when you think you can't take it any more there is a yoga day, a rest day, or a stretch day.   I am not sure that my body needs to be worked to this intensity on a daily basis, but it feels wonderful to know that I can do it and I DID DO IT!  

Along with doing P90X, I have continued following The Paleo Diet which I love!  I don't even think of it so much as a diet anymore, but a lifestyle that makes me feel good.  I have followed the no grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar at about 98%.  Instead of consuming these foods, I have been filling my body with tons of veggies, meats (fish, chicken, beef, lamb, and pork) and plenty of good fats.  Yesterday I was at an all day meeting where we were to be fed pizza.  I packed a lunch of meatball soup in a thermos, Applegate pepperoni wrapped around baby carrots, two clementines, a Larabar, water/tea, and beef jerky from Trader Joe's that I didn't need.  In the past I may have felt I was missing out on something while everyone else was eating pizza, but I didn't feel that way yesterday.  I had enough foods that I really enjoy that I felt content and nourished.   Plus, I didn't feel sick afterwards.

I frequently visit Sara Fragoso's site Everyday Paleo for meal ideas. She has recipes that work in portion sizes for a family of four.  Sometimes there are even leftovers for breakfast or lunch. Her meals are amazing and I feel like I am becoming more confident in the kitchen.  Last week I created my own meal idea and it was a huge success.  It is going to become a weekly regular.   Sara has a new book coming out and just started a podcast for Paleo moms.  I also spend many mornings listening to Robb Wolf and Andy Deas at the Paleo Solution as I walk Izzy.  They often answer questions that pertain more to the heavy duty athlete on their podcast  but still focus a lot on how foods affect autoimmune disease that really interests me.  Personally, I need to understand completely why I am making the food choices I do.  These podcasts provide a lot of that information while also being fun to listen to.

I feel like I have become physically active through P90X, walks with Izzy, lots of snow shoveling, and other activities.   I have found a way of eating that fits both my food politics and health beliefs and I have found a nice combination of drugs.  All together, I am happy with how all of these different things have come together so well.  I feel awesome.


  1. Congratulations! P90X is difficult without the added obstacle of RA. As an RA reader, you give me hope to keep on truckin' on my little elliptical!

  2. You're doing just great, Cathy! You always inspire me with your posts. Thanks!

  3. Wow, thats amazing Cathy ... I'm proud for you. I wished I were up to doing the P90X program. You have come a long way in a short time.

  4. Thanks Lisa, Wren and Terry for your encouragement. It keeps me going!

  5. Holy cow! You can shovel...color me jealous. I'm so glad to stop back in and find that you are doing so well! :)

  6. We do grain-free now, and I have heard a lot about the Paelo diet. Sophie's ezcema was never getting 100% better, and she regressed some. After we took all grains out of her diet (rice and corn), her skin now looks really good. This was recent. She has been off of grains for about a month now. But recently she ate a very small amount of coconut yogurt, that had rice starch. Her cheeks turned bright red within a few minutes and stayed that way for a few days!

  7. Heather, It amazes me how well my kids and I do without grains. My Sophia has stuck really well to a gluten free and mostly grain free diet. On a recent trip we ended up in a restaurant with only one gluten free option which didn't sound good to her at all. She had some gluten and the eczema hit the next morning. With grains in general, we both notice less bloating which is really nice.

  8. Its amazing and inspiring to know this info. It is helping me a lot. It became a life style for me know and am really enjoying it. thanks...