Overcoming fibromyalgia through diet and exercise

Five years ago Melissa Newman was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. During that time, doctors had her on several different medications to combat her Fibromyalgia symptoms, which included chronic pain and muscle soreness all over, fatigue, stiff joints, intense migraines depression, anxiety, brain fog, restlessness while trying to sleep, and irritability.

“I found it extremely hard to leave the house, in fact I would sleep most of the days away just to cope with the symptoms,” Melissa said. “I tried several different prescription medications over the years, but they just numbed my body and mind to the point where I can’t even remember a 2 year span of my life.”

A little more than a year ago, her husband started a new job that offered a discount on a YMCA membership. “The doctors and my husband told me for years that exercise would help, but the pain was so unbearable that I just couldn’t imagine working out; I was scared to even try.  I had finally had enough of feeling the way I did, not to mention the amount of weight I was gaining.”

fibromyalgia patient motivated to work out
Melissa’s motivation came from her husband. Now, she shares her love for fitness and healthy living with her family. On the left, her husband and daughter pose for a picture in 2015. On the right, Melissa and her husband pose a year later having lost 20 and 60 pounds respectively.

Using exercise to fight Fibromyalgia

Melissa started slow with Pilates and then began to incorporate spin classes into her routine. It was then that she began to experience the benefits her doctors bragged about. Now, she participates in Insanity, Piyo, Spin, Strength & Endurance, BodyShred and, her new favorite: BodyPump.  She found that the strength classes really help her symptoms, which she still experiences on a regular basis.

“I still deal with the muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches, joint stiffness, and the most frustrating one – brain fog – all on a daily basis.  Due to my consistent exercise routines, the symptoms are much less intense now and are easier to handle,” she said.

Additionally, she said that her blood pressure and cholesterol have gone down. Her iron levels are under control and, her depression and anxiety is better. She also lost more than 20 pounds. Her dedication has paid off when it comes to fighting her Fibromyalgia.

“Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand.  However it took me a few months to realize this.  It wasn’t until I started to control my portions, reading labels, and truly understanding what I was putting in my body until I started to drop the weight.”

Melissa has been an inspiration to others – especially her family members. She said they are more active and even get along better than before. Her husband has lost 60 pounds through diet and exercise.