Elyse Reyes

Elyse Reyes

Favorite splurge food: Anything chocolate Go-to fitness routine: - Walking - 10-15 minutes each morning - Now leading a Walk with Ease (Arthritis Foundation program) for people with Lupus 3x a week - so walking a mile 3x a week in the evenings - Yoga 5-6 times a week either at home or at my favorite studio, YogaWorks Larchmont Village Favorite way to de-stress: Meditation, reading about yoga philosophy, reading in general, yoga, watching movies, swimming (I live in California so I can do this for most of the year), and catching up on sleep. Why I'm a greatist: I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythametosus in April 2007, and it changed my life. Prior to my diagnosis, I was fairly physically active - I biked, led canoe and kayak trips, and enjoyed being outdoors more than anything. Once the disease started attacking my body, everything changed. I was unable to do any of those activities, and for several years I got worse and worse. I was put on several medications - up to 20 different prescriptions a day at one point - and I became depressed, gained weight and lost all enthusiasm for the things I used to love. I have since been diagnosed with microvascular angina (same condition Toni Braxton has), fibromyalgia, Sjögren's syndrome, autonomic neuropathy and type to diabetes (onset caused by very high doses of the steroid prednisone). Between December 2011 and January 2012, I was in the ER 5 times for different lupus related issues. My husband and I were scared some nights if I would wake up the next morning. Thankfully, I switched doctors to someone who was able to get me on the right track, and once I tasted that first bit of health, I was addicted. It was like a revelation - yes, I have several diseases without a cure that were damaging my body, but I was doing just as much damage by being negligent in its care/not exercising and by eating poorly. I was so blown away by what it felt like to feel better that I got greedy and decided to do anything I could to keep that feeling going. The first thing I did was start walking my dog daily, which my husband previously did exclusively. I started with five minutes a day, building up to 30+ a day. I then took a serious look at my diet and decided that I wanted to nourish my body and comfort my soul, and food was not providing comfort. It was causing me shame and anxiety and I refused to live that way anymore I adopted clean eating as a habit, and lean towards a paleo diet, although I don't outright say I'm a devout paleo eater. I started taking yoga classes, meditating and recently joined a softball team. I've lost 42lbs since January and while my various diseases haven't gone away I am more in control of my life than I have ever been. Even more important, I love myself more and love life more than I ever have. Because I struggle daily with my various diseases and am STILL committed to a healthy lifestyle, because I want to show others who are like me that they can achieve some level of health, because I never want to give up on feeling this good, I AM A GREATIST!!!
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