By Rebecca Drew
THIS inspirational woman lost nearly four-stone in just ten-months after muscular dystrophy left her wheelchair bound for life, seeing her pile on the pounds and left her needing two people to help her out of her chair.
Aspiring makeup artist, Kayleen Sabala (23) from Towanda, Kansas, USA was born with Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (UCMD) which can cause curvature or rigidity of the spine, bendiness and tightness of the limbs and also affects respiratory muscles. Kayleen was able to walk up until she was 11-years-old when she had surgery to help manage her curved spine and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.
The combination of being immobile and eating a diet of fast food, sugary drinks and potatoes saw her reach 10st 5lbs and a UK size 18-20. Kayleen was struggling to get around and decided to take action. Fast-forward 10-months and she’s a super svelte 6st 6lbs and dress size 4.
“My disease basically just means I am weaker than the average person. I was able to walk up until I was eleven-years-old but shortly after I turned eleven, I had to have back surgery because I was also born with scoliosis and walking was becoming too difficult,” she said.
“I had two stainless steel metal rods fused to my spine. I’ve been confined to my wheelchair ever since the surgery that I had in 2005.
“Becoming immobile and relying solely on my chair made me gain a lot of weight, also my diet was not very healthy.
“I wouldn’t say I had a super low self-esteem, I have always tried to love myself but I definitely had my days when I was sad or upset about the way I looked.
“I was also very shy and introverted because of my weight. It was getting to hard to move around too, I had gained about fifteen-pounds once I graduated high school and transferring out of my chair was becoming very difficult.
“At one point, I had to have two people help me to transfer.
“I researched online and found this Beyond Diet, it was created by Isabel De Los Rios. They had a two-week cleanse that really kick started my weight loss journey.
“I lost ten pounds after that cleanse. I then started to just incorporate what I had learned from her diet and what I was reading online.
“I found healthy recipes on the internet and also started doing my own water workout at my local YMCA.”
Kayleen now eats lots of fruit and vegetables and white meat. She swims, cycles at home on a stationary bike and does weights to try and stretch her muscles.
Since shedding the pounds, Kayleen has noticed a dramatic improvement in her confidence and health. Her lung capacity has increased by eight percent and found that her legs are much easier to move around. She said that resisting her favourite foods and drinks of Dr. Pepper and chicken strips was difficult to do at first.
“I am able to do a lot more, like travelling. I am able to move my legs around easier now since they are not as heavy from all that extra weight I had to carry around,” she added.
“My health has improved. Before my weight loss breathing was difficult but once I lost the weight my lung capacity actually increased by eight percent.
“Having the willpower to turn down some of my favourite foods, like chicken strips and Dr. Pepper. I used to have both of those at least three times a week. So, cutting that out cold turkey was pretty hard for me.
“I would tell people that the key to success is eighty percent what you eat and twenty percent working out. I am living proof of that.
“Also, don’t give up because you will have days where you just want to have that junk food or pop but stay strong. Have the willpower to turn it down because if you do that, I promise you it will pay off in the end.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/kayleensabala