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Gaining Strength Over Lupus with Pilates - Julianas' Story


In my past, I was not physically active at all. No sports either. I started riding horses in my teens and became an accomplished rider, but this was my only form of exercise. I am naturally thin...but so was my mom and grandmother. As a teenager I was incredibly skinny. I was 5'8 and 110lbs. I was always self conscious about being skinny, but always afraid of gaining weight. As I became an adult, I joined the gym. I was a staple in the aerobic classes. The weight rooms intimated me. About this time (my 20s) I was thin but not skinny. I didn't like it because I was always "soft". Even after I became brave enough to incorporated free weights.

At 29 I was diagnosed with SLE Lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It is basically your own body attacking itself. It predominately attacks my joints. I consider myself very fortunate as lupus can be much more sinister. It can attack your vital organs and it can be fatal. So far, I am very blessed and my lupus has stayed in my joints.

My very first rheumatologist had a great sit down with me. He told me to remain active. He told me not to have a pity party. He told me attitude is a big deal, and told me to be strong. His words resonated with me. Sometimes a great attitude is hard when you can't do basic tasks. Your body basically betrays you.

I will never forget one evening I did not have the strength to open a can of dog food with a basic can opener.

I know it's nothing serious, but I had never felt so defeated. I was crying. I was scared. I had two toddlers at home. Two hungry dogs. A firefighter husband that was not at home. I am a strong girl. I am not a delicate girl. But I could not open a can of dog food. There have been other moments like these. Too many to recall. 

I always thought Pilates was for the elite. I always wanted to try it but never thought it was something I could afford. I think I purchased five classes maybe in 2013 or 2014. I never stopped. I will never stop! It has made me so aware of my body. 

The more aggressive I became with my Pilates the STRONGER I became.

Stronger in every day life. For example, after maybe a year of Pilates I went to buy dog food. I was wearing very high slingback heels and a skirt. I immediately thought I was going to have to ask for help. But I tried anyway. I lifted that 35lb bag of kibble like it was nothing, NOTHING. Another moment I will never forget. Here is a braggadocious moment. I work for san Diego Fire as a 911 dispatcher. I sit for 12 hours. 12 long hours! I went to a social event with the firefighters. I had a sleeveless white turtleneck. I can't tell you how many compliments I received about my ARMS from the firefighters! Genuine compliments...I was taken back. In a totally good way! I have two boys, 20 and 21 years old. Every once in a while they also will give random compliments. It's ALL because of Pilates.

I would go on and on and on about my agility, my strength, my attitude my sex life. How I look in and out of my clothes. I will always, always, always do Pilates. It has challenged me to try new things. New things like "plankathons", thanks Stevie! It inspires me to be more brave in Pilates class and to trust my body. It inspires my husband. He is so proud and supportive of me. He enjoys having an attractive, active wife. We are going to Costa Rica in March to celebrate our mutual 54th birthdays. So excited to get in the studio and get STRONGER for our Birthdays!!

If I could buy Joseph Pilates a cocktail, I certainly would!

Xoxo, Juliana 

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