Laura had to postpone her wedding due to the pandemic, which caused panic and anxiety. She was stress eating, gained weight, and was desperate to get back in shape again. She did try all sorts of diets, lost about 20 lbs, and kept at it for a couple of months but then lost it. And when she wasn’t getting the results she wanted, she knew it was time to get some help.
Entrapment and Compartment Syndrome
To get in shape for her wedding, Laura also brought along some physical conditions that have been troubling her for as long as she can remember. According to mayoclinic.org, popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES) is an uncommon condition in which an abnormally positioned or enlarged calf muscle presses on the main artery behind the knee (popliteal artery). The artery becomes trapped, making it harder for blood to flow to the lower leg and foot. Another is compartment syndrome, a painful condition that occurs when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels. This pressure can decrease blood flow, preventing nourishment and oxygen from reaching nerve and muscle cells.
Since middle school, Laura had dealt with these conditions when she tried out for cross country running and just ran through it. The doctors didn’t know the disease at the time, perhaps because of the combination; the entrapment syndrome was behind her knee in which the muscle was pushing on the artery, and compartment syndrome being on the side of her legs, by the knee down to the ankle. Laura didn’t mind these until just a few years ago, during a business trip, her right foot just swelled up.
She went to several doctors who thought it could be vein issues. When they found out it was compartment syndrome, the doctors suggested that she get surgery, basically making minor cuts in the tendons to open up the compartment to release the pressure. But having to go through the surgery may be more than once; Laura opted for the vein surgery, thinking it was more of a blood flow issue. She had three vein ablations – getting into the vein and then using heat from the laser to damage and close off the vein. However, the surgeries did nothing for the swelling and did nothing for the pain.
The doctors also found the entrapment condition behind her knee with the muscle pushing on it. A surgery was done to take off the scar tissue and cut some of the muscles so that the artery could freely move again. And it did, but the swelling was still there. And they had concluded that it probably was lymphedema.
Given these physical conditions, Laura did her research, she reached out to personal trainers, checked out gyms in the neighborhood, and told them about the issues, but most of them didn’t seem to have much idea about what they were. Then she finally found Bent On Better, whose trainers were willing to find out and help her with her condition. Everyone was positive about it, giving her hope that these guys could help her.
Joining the Bent On Better Family
During the first few months of working out, Laura had her share of struggles, especially with tracking her food consumption. Laura was resistant at first and didn’t want to do it, but she did eventually and had been doing it for months already – the longest she has ever done consistently. Laura has made it her habit to track the calories that she’s trying to consume that she can practically do it in her head now like it’s just natural for her. Even her fiance had lost weight too!
Physically, she noticed that her hair, nails, and skin were looking better, her sleep was better, and her clothes fit better. She had lost 18.1 lbs of body fat while maintaining her lean body mass. She also feels so much energy after work and gets through her day without being exhausted all the time.
Coming into the Bent On Better gym has been a positive experience for Laura.
“It was always very comfortable and it never felt awkward, and so I just kept coming… No one is competing with everyone else and I saw a lot of that in other gyms. Here, everyone is doing their own thing, everyone is friendly, and the conversation is never around “what’s your goal here?”, but more about “how’s your day?”. There was never anything that I couldn’t do in the workouts because I could do it with a modification. Other people were doing modifications, and it made me feel really good. My legs are all messed up, but there’s also someone next to me who’s also got a knee issue and also doing modifications, and it made me feel like, okay, that I’m not the only one that has something going on..” – Laura
“We all have things going on and to be able to understand that you’re not alone in it and that you can do your own thing in your own time, but in a shared space, that’s really powerful.” – Matt April
Some Final Thoughts:
Aside from losing weight, Laura also gained some non-scale values throughout her fitness journey, such as learning about patience, especially developing a habit and keeping consistent with it. There may be off days or a few distractions, but the most important thing is to get right back to it. Progress is never a straight line.
“There are days when I can’t lift the weight that I lifted two weeks ago, and I get really discouraged, but you just have to realize that your path is all over the place. It’s not just constant progress which is tough to learn, but I learned that here.” – Laura
Laura also learned that diet culture is a lie. It took her some time to believe this, but she understood that this diet alone would not achieve her desired results. The numbers on the scale don’t always mean one is healthy.
Finally, coming into the Bent On Better gym, Laura encourages everyone to learn along the way and believes you’ll see it happen for yourself.
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