Camila Pedrosa de Almeida was already overweight when she discovered she had lupus, and gained even more weight when she started taking medication to control the disease. At 90 kg, suffering from hair loss and very swollen, her self-esteem was very low and the situation got worse when people started to think she was pregnant, because of the size of her belly. The carioca, then, decided to adopt a healthier style. Below, she tells how she reached 58 kg in seven months:
“I started having weight problems in my second pregnancy, at age 31. Later, I started to feel pain in my joints and I went to an orthopedist. The doctor suspected that I had chikungunya and referred me to a rheumatologist.
At the appointment I found the correct diagnosis: I had lupus—an autoimmune inflammatory disease (in which the body’s defense cells attack the body itself). That was January 2020 and my world fell apart. Even though I knew I had the disease, it took me a while to start taking care of myself.
When I started using steroids, I gained weight and soon reached 90 kg. I was losing hair because of the inflammation in my scalp and developed a bad relationship with my body. My emotional was shaken and my self-esteem went downhill from there.
Red spots started to appear on my face and I started to avoid the sun. Just me who love a beach. I was very swollen, especially in my belly, and people started to think I was pregnant. This made me even more grumpy and affected my relationship with family and friends.
I knew I needed to change habits, not only thinking about losing weight, but also to take care of my health. The problem is that I didn’t find a solution or motivation for it. One day, I took a picture of myself and I was not at all happy with what I saw. A few days later, I got on the subway and a woman gave me a place to sit because she thought I was pregnant. Get out of there badly and decide to put a stop to the situation.
After a while, talking to a neighbor, I commented that I would like to do physical activities and lose weight, but I couldn’t. She suggested that I try following an online training program called Burn Daily. At the time, I thought it wouldn’t work, but I decided to give it a try.
Anyone with lupus should exercise carefully. The doctor allowed me to do the training at home and suggested that I also climb a few flights of stairs in the building where I live. At first I felt exhausted and had pain in my joints, but over time I got used to it. I did at least 30 minutes a day of exercises that focused on aerobic work.
I also sought help from a nutritionologist to improve my diet. I consumed a lot of junk. I loved fast food, French fries and sweets, foods considered inflammatory — and lupus is an inflammatory disease, that is, a bad diet can further impair the quality of life of those who have the condition. I had no control and needed to improve my relationship with food and re-educate myself. Before, if I had a whole cake in the fridge, I would finish it myself.
I started to eat more natural things: eggs, milk, cheese and fruit for breakfast; and vegetables, salad, brown rice and beef, chicken or egg for lunch and dinner.
After seven months of habit changes, I lost 32 kg. Speaking like that may sound easy, but it was a tough process that required a lot of control. For this, it was very important to have the support of my family, who encouraged me and also gave up eating certain things that were not healthy, so as not to make me feel like it.
Losing weight wasn’t just a matter of aesthetics, I feel that I’ve ‘rejuvenated’: I’m more willing, happy, with self-esteem and I’m living much better. Healthy habits and weight loss allowed me to reduce the use of steroids. My hope now is that one day I will be able to fully control the disease — there is no cure for lupus — and be able to go back to work.
Hearing people’s praise about how much I’ve changed is a great thing, as is being able to use my story to inspire and help people in situations similar to mine.
Do you want to lose weight? Receive a free training and diet plan in your email
Do you want to change habits, start exercising, eat healthier and lose weight? O Live well prepared a series of newsletters with a training program and a diet to lose weight (this link has the box for you to register to receive them). By subscribing to the newsletter of #VivaBem Project, you will receive in your email, over 12 weeks, a complete and free plan with exercises, menus and tips to change your lifestyle, which will help you reach the goal of eliminating body fat, gaining muscle and, above all, adopting healthier habits. Follow our program and share your new healthier daily life and your results on social media with #ProjetoVivabem.