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Moderation & Modification

Although I am challenged with Multiple Sclerosis and it slows me down physically, I have learned a lot about doing things in moderation and making modifications that have helped me lead a much happier life. I was born an overachiever and I have always set insurmountable goals for myself. Whether I made a list for the day or a list of New Year resolutions, it was always impossible to complete. I wouldn’t just focus on one thing; I would strive to achieve all of my goals at the same time and then I would get really overwhelmed and stressed out. Ultimately, I would become frustrated and would convince myself that eating chocolate would make me feel better. I can’t begin to tell you how many bags of M&Ms I ate in High School and College but I know it was a lot.

Having MS for 24 years, I have been forced to do things in moderation. I have a limited amount of energy per day so I have learned to prioritize. Even when I make myself a list, I understand that it is a work in progress and it may not get done that day. I am still working full time and one thing that never makes my “To Do” list is my job. After working from 8:30-4:30, I’m tired and have very little left to offer the world but I always try to get a few more things done even if I have to sit down or lay down and rest in between.

I have learned a lot about making modifications from taking yoga. Although the intention of the position might be to stand in “Warrior Pose”, I always modify it by sitting in a chair or leaning against a wall so I don’t fall over. Years ago, I would have felt self-conscious about being different but I have realized that it doesn’t matter anymore. Everyone is challenged with difficulties and/or limitations and we need to be more accepting of ourselves and others. When I go to class, I don’t compare myself to other people; I stay in the moment and focus on me.

Moderation and modifications are keys to success. We all have good days and bad days and we need to learn to adjust and adapt to different situations. In my case, I live life a minute at a time because I never know if my legs are going to cooperate or not. The days of setting unattainable goals are over, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. I do not gorge myself; nor, do I starve myself. I enjoy eating but I have modified my diet so that I only eat the bad stuff in moderation. In addition, I no longer overexert myself doing exercises. I have finally realized that a little bit of something goes a long way if you keep it up.

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