Exercise Is For Everyone

As I was leaving church the other day, my precious friend Darlene pulled me aside for a moment and shared some exciting new. She and her daughter Ronda have been reading the “Slim Down With Sandee”  Blog and Facebook Group posts and getting really motivated! In the month of January Darlene lost 10 lbs and Ronda lost an amazing 30 lbs. To what do they attribute their success? Small healthy lifestyle adjustments and a lot of peddling!

     These accomplishments in the weight-loss arena would be worth celebrating for anyone, but I’m especially proud of these two ladies. They are both battling their bodies in ways that would make many others simply say “Exercise isn’t for me.” Darlene suffers from painful Fibromyalgia and Ronda is battling Multiple Sclerosis.  Did either of them let that stop them? No way! They found an exercise that worked well for them and started from where they are. The peddling machine doesn’t require balance and allows them to sit while still getting that heart rate up and burning those calories! You go girls!!

The day after my conversation with Darlene I saw the picture at the top of this page. Here is a boy with no legs happily running a race. This made me think, how many people out there feel like they can’t “workout”  but simply haven’t been inspired to think outside of the box? If he can do that, and with such joy, what’s stopping you? I want to see everyone who thought “I can’t” smile like that as they scream “Yes I can!”

If there was ever someone who could turn your “I can’t” into an “I can” it’s my friend DeAnna. Through my love of Zumba I was very blessed to meet this lady who would become one of my fitness heros. Now I would like to introduce her to you.

Her name is DeAnna Weiss and she is a 10 year fitness industry veteran with a beautiful smile and a zest for life, but those aren’t the reasons I’m so impressed and inspired by her. What motivates me is her strength and determination. When I met DeAnna she was dancing like a Zumba Diva. Her moves and her spirit were hard to miss. I was already impressed but then someone leaned over and said to me, “Can you belive that? And they said she would never walk again?”  What???

DeAnna’s story is ever unfolding. Her process of recovery is not a simple one, but each step along the way she has captivated and inspired those who know her. With DeAnna’s permission I would like to share, in her  own words, the beginning of  her story as she shared it with me.

“The motorcycle accident left my right leg decimated. It was basically severed from the knee down and crushed. There was no supporting bone structure from the knee down. When I saw it, the bones were sticking out of the top of my knee, and my foot was turned around facing my rear. “

     “Once I was flown out to Charleston, WV to the trauma center, the orthopedic surgeon said he would do everything he could to save it. The initial diagnosis was I had the worst open compound tib/fib fracuture that the trauma team had ever seen.

     I spent 3 days in ICU and 7 more days in the step down unit before being released. I had 4 surgeries in 10 days. My 7th day there, I was told that I would never walk again, and if by chance I did, I would have to use crutches, a walker, or a cane. I would have to have assistance, and it would be at least a year.

     A month after the accident, I started physical therapy. It was unbelievable how one little body part could hurt so much and how weak my body had become from the trauma of the accident. That’s when I got mad…and that’s when I knew I would walk again, just because the doctor told me I couldn’t! The pain was excruciating and unbearable. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to make it through this.

     In therapy, I cried, cursed, puked, and laughed hysterically at times. At the end of the first week, I asked my therapist if I could stand in the parallel bars. She didn’t want me to at first, but I’m shall we say, persistent… and then I stood..by myself..one month after they said I never would. The end of the next week, I took my first step, without crutches, in the parallel bars. I did this 12 months before they said I would even be able to think about it! I took 3 months of intense physical therapy and in late December 2009, I walked unassisted around the physical therapy office.  I must say, there was not a dry eye in the place.

Even on crutches DeAnna couldn’t resist the urge to Dance.

As moving as that is, It’s only the beginning of what DeAnna was yet to prove. There is much more to DeAnna’s story and she has graciously agreed to share all with us in time, but the real thing I want you to take away from this piece is the POWER of  sheer will. DeAnna didn’t like being told she COULDN”T, so she DID! It’s time you decide “Yes I can!” and take the first step. It may be a baby step, it may be an assisted step, but take it! Can’t walk 15 minutes? Start with 5. Next week maybe it will be five more. Can’t run a 5k? Run the first 5 minutes and then walk the rest with gusto. Soon you will be running 15 and then 20 and before you know it you will have your first mile. Running not for you? Peddle, dance, box. Just move.

Exercise is so important, not just for weight loss but to overall health and emotional well-being , too. We tend to think of exercise in very formal terms. Training for a race, taking a Zumba Class, going to the Gym, but remember exercise can happen wherever you are and whatever your circumstances. There are folks with limited lower body ability who use proper “Punches” as cardio. Get in lots of quick little jabs and watch the pounds begin to come down. Don’t let an area of limitation stop you. Decide today that you are going to find a way to become a more fit you! Just take one step!

It’s time to take out your  Inspiration Journal and make plans. Are there obsticles that have stood in your way? Has your perception of your ability kept you from moving, or moving forward? Did someone along the way leave you with a false perception that you aren’t strong enough, aren’t good enough, can’t make a change?  It’s time to face those fears and put them to rest.

Write down what has halted your progress. Is it an inability or an inconfidence? Now spend some time talking with your future “Ideal Self”.  You know her (or him)! This is the confident, can do, fit and fabulous you at your best! Let Ideal Self tell you why those things aren’t going to stand in the way. You are strong enough, you are smart enough, you are good enough. Today is the day you take the step….believing.


Part two of the story is now available. Click her to read “DeAnna Danced“.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. findingmyworth
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 00:14:20

    AMEN AMEN and AMEN!!!! What an inspiration…thank you for sharing your friends story.


  2. slimdownwithsandee
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 17:20:17

    There’s a great video that I hope you will take a chance to view. It’s about an athlete with no legs who is training for his 18th marathon.


  3. slimdownwithsandee
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 17:23:02

    Check out Achilles International. Making it their mission to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self esteem, and lower barriers to living a fufilling life.



  4. slimdownwithsandee
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 17:23:49


  5. slimdownwithsandee
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 17:36:17


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