Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Christine’s triumph: rebuilding a positive self-image

've belonged to numerous gyms and health clubs over the years and it never fails to amaze me that every "resolutionist" in town signs up for membership at MY gym in January. This year was no different. I showed up at my usual time and voil -- all the machines were in overdrive with bodies furiously pumping at each and every weight station. I should mention that my usual time is not exactly peak. Didn't matter. The whole gang was there.

And many of these resolutionists are so unschooled at working out it's scary. Excessive weights, pathetic posture on the Stairmaster and high-speed reps are all common infractions. But with a mindset of overcoming holiday splurging, poorly executed sit-ups and crunches are positively epidemic.

I have always known that form is all when it comes to these core workouts but never realized that sit-ups are absolutely off-limits for some people, until I read Unbreakable: A woman's triumph over osteoporosis, by Christine Thomas. I met Christine five years ago when she booked an image consultation. But she had embarked on her journey in 2001 as a 42-year old new mom who had just been diagnosed with osteoporosis. After fracturing her spine in five places, even the simple act of lifting her newborn daughter was too much for her fragile and compromised skeletal system.

I guess before I met Christine, like most people I thought of osteoporosis (if I thought of it, at all) as a disease of very old people. Not so. This year, an estimated 1.5 million Canadians over 40 years of age and older will be diagnosed with osteoporosis. Startling. And this is what makes Christine's book so important. Far more than the story of her personal evolution as she unraveled the challenges of osteoporosis, Unbreakable is a guide for anyone concerned about brittle bones -- from pain management to calcium supplements and their much needed additive, Vitamin D, to bone density tests and stretching techniques. It's all here, exercises to avoid -- the infamous sit-up -- and exercises to embrace: get in the pool! This is the ultimate resource on living with osteoporosis.

Here's an excerpt from Unbreakable that traces Christine's reasons for contacting me --and the happy outcome:

"Fractures affect the figure! The loss of height and curvature of my spine made me more compact and thickened my waist because the distance between my underarms and waist, and my waist to my hips was less than it used to be. Clothes that used to look lovely no longer fit very well and shopping was frustrating.

Diane Craig was kind and confident as she helped me build a wardrobe. We chose current fashions that fit my personal taste and flattered my new physique. Picking the right wardrobe helped me to accept what I cannot change about my body. It helped rebuild a positive self-image despite the consequences of my fractures. Through a figure and style analysis, I became more aware and more accepting of my body's proportions and learned secrets to enhance my overall appearance by selecting correct lines and designs. This was and continues to be one of my greatest investments in healing my emotional wounds and lifting my spirits."

Merci Christine. Bonne anne et bonne sant!

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