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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Needed: Role Model

I feel like a young child, giddy on Christmas Eve. I've been anticipating this event for several months. Now that it has arrived I keep looking at the clock which seems to be ticking slower. Finally, the fall TV shows have started, in particular, the newest season of The Biggest Loser.

It may seem strange to many people, but I love watching The Biggest Loser. I find it not only inspirational but also educational. In every episode I find another tidbit of information to help me on my journey to a healthy lifestyle.

I used to record the show on the DVR so that I could watch it while I'm riding the bicycle. I found that I rode harder and for longer periods when I was suffering with the contestants. Scott liked this schedule because it left the television free in the evening, convenient for assorted sporting events or for watching an odd man complete disgusting jobs (a show called "Dirty Jobs," something he can watch for endless hours).

Unfortunately, the cable has been disconnected downstairs in an effort to reduce our expenditures. Now instead of riding my bike while watching the show, I can walk on the treadmill. It may seem strange, but I always feel the compulsion to exercise when this show is on. It just feels wrong to chow down on ice cream and cake while watching morbidly obese individuals struggle to regain control of their lives.

The Biggest Loser helped to inspire my weight loss. To date, I have lost over 100 pounds. I continue to struggle to maintain my weight, but I remain vigilant about watching my caloric intake and exercising. It sounds cliche, but my weight loss has sparked a complete change in lifestyle.

Diets have a conclusion, a point at which one decides to resume "normal" eating. If I ate "normally" I wouldn't need to lose weight to begin with! Obviously I needed to redefine "normal" for myself and for my family.

The Biggest Loser and other diet related shows, including Ruby, feature individuals who are disabled by their own obesity. I certainly relate to many of the issues presented, including fatigue, depression and pain. To my dismay, there hasn't been anybody featured who lost weight despite a non-obesity related disability.

When I started my diet, I felt alone. I could relate to the contestants, but I continued to feel as if I had additional issues that were not addressed. In addition to my weight, I was limited by my amputation. Seeing another amputee, or anybody else with a non-obesity related disability, struggle with weight loss certainly would have helped me. I am confident that I am not alone with this complaint.

Being an amputee, I face a lot of hurdles. As an overweight woman, I faced a different set of hurdles. Combine the amputation with the obesity and I felt hopeless and lost. I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be overweight because I was disabled. After all, I only had one leg. I had the perfect excuse!

When I started my exercise program I was unsure how to proceed. I didn't know how to adapt the exercises, and I was without a role model to whom I could relate. I had to figure out issues along the way.

For example, my stump becomes sweaty inside my liner when I ride the bicycle. Sometimes, after a long ride, my stump will slide right out of the liner, leaving my limb exposed. After trial and error, I discovered that spraying my residual limb with anti-perspirant before exercising eliminated this issue. I also discovered that a deodorant/anti-perspirant spray should NEVER be used as this resulted in painful red bumps that lasted for days. Read the labels diligently when choosing an anti-perspirant spray because the deodorant combination will be a painful mistake.

I am glad that the newest season of The Biggest Loser has started. I am looking forward to watching the contestants transform their lives and rediscover their true selves. I continue to wait for a disabled person to be included. I wish that other amputees could be inspired to regain their independence and a healthy life in spite of their limb loss. Unfortunately, I am without clout so all I can do is hope and wait.

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