View From My Wheelchair: Weighing Your Words




Seeing an aquaintance, I smile.  We have both been busy and have not had the opportunity to hug.  I am glad to see her.  She looks great.

“I like your haircut,” I say.  “It looks cute on you.”

“You need to stop losing weight,” she replies and touches my cheek.  “You don’t want to lose too much weight.  Your face will get too thin.”

“Is that a compliment?  Because I feel great.”

“Well, just stop losing weight because you don’t want to lose more.”

For most of my life, I was thin.  In fact, when I was 16 years old, I went on a weight-gaining regime.  With the research available at the time, I tried a 3,000 calorie/day diet.  It was crazy – peanut butter sandwiches and strawberry sundaes prevailed.  The result: a rash from too many strawberries and no significant weight gain.

After the failed experiment in trying to gain weight, I resigned myself to being angular, lanky, and thin.  As I matured, my metabolism slowed down, and I filled out.  Eventually, in my middle years, my weight was within a healthy range.

Muscular dystrophy changed everything, and the pendulum swung in the opposite direction. Even with a 1,300 calorie/day diet and regular exercise, I gained more than 20 pounds in two years.  I knew that my disease was making mush out of my muscles.  So, I resigned myself to the weight gain while I still adhered to counting calories.

Noticing the toll on my energy and mobility with each pound gained, I struggled to lift myself and walk short distances.  A new cycle was formed: less mobility – weight gain – fewer calories burned – weight gain – less energy – weight gain.

Then, one day, I decided to seek the advice of my friend, Beth, who adheres to an anti-inflammatory, gluten-free diet.  My motivation had nothing to do with weight.  Even though I was already adhering to a healthier food approach, I was interested in the gluten-free aspects of her lifestyle.  Armed with experience and knowledge, she filled me with delicious bites of information.  Venturing into the world of glycemic indices, food additives, and alternatives to refined sugar, I discovered new food combinations that are beneficial and nutritional.  I am glad that I decided to ask her for help.  My friend has been instrumental in guiding me on my personal journey to a new lifestyle and has been my recipe guru.

Quite the opposite of my failed experiments with calorie counting, the switch in my approach to my food intake has had positive results.  I feel better.  Just recently, I painted for two hours.  May not sound like much to you, but I was down to painting for 30 minutes at a time.  Even though my energy is still low, I do not feel fatigued all day long.

Another gain from the change in my diet is that I have lost 23 pounds in seven months.  Along with the nutritional benefits to my body, I am convinced that my weight loss is contributing to my increased energy levels.

I am happy.  More energy, less weight to lift, and feeling productive have all given me a boost.  The quality of my life has improved.

The encounter, I described at the beginning, with my acquaintance is not an isolated event.  Startingly, people feel free to make negative comments on my weight loss.  What gives?  According to my doctor, I am within the ideal weight range for my age, height, and gender.  Nevertheless, rather than complimenting me on losing weight, some people feel the compulsion to complain about it.  Funny, they don’t tell me I have lost too much weight; they tell me I might lose too much.  How do they know?  Do they realize that what they say hurts me?

As a disAbled person, I am forced to live in a world of neurotypical patterns and ableist attitudes.  Every day is a struggle.  Speaking for everyone who is facing tribulations: We are wounded warriors.  Please restrain from offering unsolicited advice on what we need to do or do not need to do.  The old adage: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all should be your mantra when engaging with a disAbled person.  Positive words are welcome.  Negative words are damaging.  Be an encourager.

Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24



Published by

Rose Wolfe (Living Free with disAbilities)

Let's get to the elephant first: I have myotonic dystrophy which defines my physical limitations, but it does not define me. Without the distraction of physical activities, I have found my passions: (1) Encouraging others to live more fully with fun, faith, and hope; (2) finding freedom in oil painting; (3) writing about my experiences; and (4) encouraging others to live more passionately. It is my belief that every person lives with at least one disability - for impairments are not limited to those with chronic illnesses. Many neurotypical people are psychological architects who have constructed enclosures in which they trap themselves. Mindsets, attitudes, and perceptions are fluid realities. Many of us have forgotten that it is possible how to live beyond our disabilities. Life may have challenges but faith and hope are within reach. I have made my choice: I am LivingFreeWithdisAbilities.

28 thoughts on “View From My Wheelchair: Weighing Your Words”

  1. Love this.  I am so proud of you.  I think you look wonderful.  sarah

    From: The rePurposed Life To: Sent: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 4:40 PM Subject: [New post] View From My Wheelchair: Weighing Your Words #yiv7498492939 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7498492939 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7498492939 a.yiv7498492939primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7498492939 a.yiv7498492939primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7498492939 a.yiv7498492939primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7498492939 a.yiv7498492939primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7498492939 | Rose Wolfe (Living Free with disAbilities) posted: ”  Seeing an aquaintance, I smile.  We have both been busy and have not had the opportunity to hug.  I am glad to see her.  She looks great.”I like your haircut,” I say.  “It looks cute on you.””You need to stop losing weight,” she repli” | |

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, a friendship of like minds 🙂
        O that’s brilliant! I’m glad you’re using the Rose 🌹 logo 😀 💚

        Sadly, my mum’s dog passed away yesterday. I’ve been driving her to the vet’s and accompanying her since Thursday.

        My Black Dog is ‘guarding’ me – his presence, bigger and meaner. There’s too much to cope with…I’m still having to fight for my blue badge, for one. I really hate the self seeking elitist government here 😦

        Love + hugs my friend 🐻 💛 🎨

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Rose.

        John doesn’t understand it either, he says I’d have no problem in Canada. (He says people who are just overweight, no disability, get them.) But then my doctors who failed to diagnose and who continue to inadequately treat me, are watching their backs (but they give me the strong pain killers). I’ve seen someone who lives locally who fights for medical negligence, no win, no fee. I just didn’t want to initiate proceedings and then have to give up because of not being able to cope.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree – too many social media formats. I just created a twitter account. If you look on the left side of my blog post, you should see a Verified Services menu (just above the Chronic Illness Bloggers link), the last icon is the link to my twitter account. My handle is Life_rePurposed. Thanks and hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I always find similarities in your words and this article touches on my own day to day diet wise. Always being tiny, thyroid problems and stopping smoking saw me gain unwanted pounds – like you ironically in my youth and beyond I always sought to gain weight, then becoming less mobile didn’t seem to change that until those two entities, so it is a slow wait but it is happening and sustainable with better frame of mind (most times) compared to. I am not gluten free, or vegan but eat whole foods and healthily but still enjoy what I enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. The more we realize that food has an impact on our entire bodies (mind, body, and spirit), the more we gain of ourselves. Making choices to enjoy food and eat a healthy diet are not on opposite sides of the equation, but it is still an unknown to many people. I am thrilled that we can connect in so many ways. Gluten free or not. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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