Combining the Paddison Program with physical therapy, Nicole has been able to significantly reduce inflammation and recover range of motion in her wrists and knees.

We discuss in this interview:

  • How Nicole dramatically improved the Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms in her knees
  • How Nicole reversed the RA symptoms in her wrist completely
  • Diet and the elimination process
  • Drinking water
  • ‘Cheating’ the food we want to reintroduce
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Physical therapy for the knees
  • A workout routine for the lower body
  • How to get healthy new habits

Clint – Thank you, everyone, for joining us. Another success story coming your way. People with rheumatoid arthritis are often faced with so much challenge and bad news and pessimism all around them from the medical community as well as from others with the condition online, on free online forums and so on. And so I’m on a mission to share positivity, optimism and real results, to provide hope and clear direction to people with this condition and those with similar conditions, other inflammatory arthritis conditions. To join me today to continue to share that mission. With that objective is Nicole and she’s from Maryland in the USA. And we’re specifically today going to talk about the lower body and things that she’s done to improve her condition with rheumatoid arthritis. Nicole, thank you for coming on.

Nicole – Thank you so much for having me Clint. I’m very excited to meet you. So thank you.

Clint – Now let’s just get your sort of status update. We will give a little bit of a background with you in a moment, but just sort of where you’re at now compared to where you were, say, before you got into the lifestyle changes.

Nicole – So I was really bad. Like I was really having difficulty walking. At one point my knees were just that swollen and the range of motion was just not there. I started this maybe a year ago in October of last year, and since then it’s such a difference. Um, of course I’m still working on some things, but for the most part it is incredibly it’s like night and day and I am very thankful to have found the Paddison Program and as well as doing some work with my physical therapist to help balance this out, because it was a complete nightmare at one point, and I was just really concerned if this would turn around.

Clint – Where specifically do you have the greatest problems in your body? Which joints?

Nicole – My knee joints and a little bit in my hip joints. I did in the very, very beginning and we’ll get into that in a second. But in the very, very beginning I had a little bit in my wrist, so the range of motion is much better now. It used to be I can’t move it at all, now I can, you know, move it and twist it and things. But my knees in particular is where most of my rheumatoid sort of settled.

Clint – Now you and I just had a very brief chat before this, and I said that I’d like you to share everything to me fresh so I know very little other than we’re in for some good information. Why don’t we just explore how this came on briefly and like we agreed? Then let’s spend the bulk of our discussion talking about what you did and get into all the details. Because with knees particularly, sometimes they’re so challenging to turn around. They’re just they’re almost like they’re as stubborn as the most stubbornness little child ever, so we’ll get into that. Walk us through just the diagnosis and what you did leading up to beginning the Paddison Program.

Nicole – Okay. So just very briefly, I was diagnosed almost ten years ago to the day it was October 2013. I literally woke up one morning my knee was like the size of a grapefruit. I had no idea what had happened. I thought maybe I’d gotten stung by something because I had not had an injury or anything, I was I lived a perfect life. And then I woke up with this knee thing. So I went to an Orthopedic doctor on the advisement of my mom, and he drained my knee. And he did tell me then that the fluid in my knee looked a little cloudy. And so he determined from his expertise that this could either be lupus, Lyme disease or possible rheumatoid arthritis, but something probably autoimmune related. So he gave me a script, I went to a rheumatologist and straight away the rheumatologist had me tested, and he did say I had at the time I had a low level of rheumatoid and he wanted to start me off on methotrexate, I think it was 12mg at the time. So I’m going to be honest, I didn’t stay it on long because it was just the side effects were just so intense for me. The sleeplessness and the pain, it was just a lot of I can’t remember all of them because it was that long ago. But I remember unfortunately I did sort of titrate myself off without the doctor’s knowledge. Unfortunately, I should not have done that, but because I did it slowly, I didn’t have like side effects and things. But from there then, I think in combination of that and I had started a diet change around that time, I think I put myself in remission for quite some time. So I was in remission for quite some time, many years, and then I’d say 2018, 2017 was when it kind of started to hit again. And then soon thereafter, pandemic, the global pandemic, not being able to move it was really painful at that point. Unfortunately, with everything going on, I became very sedentary, which as you know, is like the kiss of death for arthritis. And so it just got progressively worse.

Nicole – So last year I just got fed up and I was like this can’t continue on, my quality of life is just horrendous. And then I thought back and I was like, I remember the Paddison Program. Maybe 15, 20 years ago when you first started this program, I think I found you in the very beginning from my mom’s RA when I was frantically researching for her. I still had the materials I bought them at the time, and I was like, you know what? Let me revisit this. And I also was overweight, I needed to lose a lot of weight. So I was like, this will be sort of like a double header. Um, so I started straight away following your program to the T, and I’d say within a month a lot of my inflammation started to lift a lot of the pain that I had, just the literal stiffness, like not being able to like do various things had started to lift. And so I felt like I was starting to get my quality of life back then I fell off with the diet a little bit. Then I came back, but I stuck to it from, I’d say March until now I’m still doing it. I’m still doing a lot of the baseline just because I am still trying to work with my knees and things like that. But it has been so I cannot express to you. That’s why when we were on our private conversation, I called you the rock star of RA. That’s why I said that. Because in my mind, I was thinking this person has helped me so much and he doesn’t know me from Adam, I was part of your forum, your lovely supporters were providing their insight. It was just really great to have a community that understood because even my mom, who has RA, she started taking medications and she had surgeries and stuff in the beginning, so she wasn’t experiencing a lot of the pain that I was and she couldn’t understand why I was continuing to suffer like this. And I was just really adamant that I think I can resolve this more of a natural way for me. I have no qualms about Dmards or anything like that, if you feel that’s best for you. But for me, I just really wanted to try this, a more natural approach. And when I started to get results from the Paddison Program it looked like a realistic goal, I decided to continue on in this way.

Clint – Wow, That’s awesome. Let’s now get into some specifics about these results that you’ve had. Which area of your body do you think you’ve seen the most improvements?

Nicole – So I’ve definitely have seen the improvements in my wrist. I didn’t have a lot in my wrist, but it was enough where it was difficult to open bottles and things like that. I have no issues at all with that now. Unless, if it’s a long day and I’ve been writing a lot or something to that effect, which I don’t do often, maybe it’ll be a little stiff or if I’m, you know, maybe if you work out a little bit, you know, you’re a little stiff. But other than that, my wrists have been perfect. My hands, nothing in my hands. Um, even my knee joints, even though I’m still working on them, I can tell the difference. Like I can get up out of a chair with little assistance now. Before I really had to hunker down to try to even get out of the chair. So even I feel like I can even put a little bit more weight on my knees. So like, let’s say I need to, I don’t know, lift something and it’s a little heavy. Before it was just impossible, I literally had to find someone to help me. Now I can bear the weight, it will be still heavy, but I’ll bear the weight, you know, so and. And it just feels like I can almost feel like the blood rushing to my knees again and things like that that were just. When they’re swollen and puffy, you can’t feel anything but inflammation.

Clint – We’ll get we’ll spend a lot of time talking about the knees and the hips. Let’s just close out the dietary side of things. We’ve covered this so much on other episodes, so we don’t need to go into it again. But for those who are new and this is their first episode, listening to watching this. So the program is a plant based diet with an elimination process so that we eliminate all the common triggers. Obviously the ones that are eliminated already from a plant based diet like dairy oils and meats. But we also go into elimination of things like wheat and in the early stages, gluten and even nightshade vegetables, which, you know, a little bit paranoid there without scientific evidence behind that. However, it’s there for the purposes of eliminating all of the common triggers. And then you work through a process, through that baseline phase and into a reintroduction phase. So within that paradigm, what would you say has been most effective for you so that those on the program can be reminded of things by yourself that really, really work, that are your non-negotiables?

Nicole – So my definitely my non-negotiables are vegetables. One of the things I know I was not doing before, I was not eating enough vegetables. I definitely wasn’t drinking enough water. Water and vegetables have made the major difference. I noticed probably within a few days, when you start the program, you’re on this sort of juicing situation. So the juicing definitely helped it immediately within those 2 or 3 days, lifted a lot of the inflammation. I was also in the very, very beginning eating a lot of fruit because I was thinking, oh, it’s natural, you know, things like that. Oh my God, what a mistake. I think the sugar, my body doesn’t handle it very well. It was causing a lot of puffiness and I decided to just switch it up, go back to the vegetables, and it made a world of difference, literally, within a day I noticed the difference. So the vegetables definitely was only drinking a few cups of water a day. It’s kind of embarrassing, but now I drink close to a gallon as much as I can get in closer to a gallon. So at least two liters usually, um, even in the starches, I was unfortunately, I’m from the low carb era, in my 20s and stuff, I did all that, I’m in my 40s now and I just was afraid of carbs. I was just like, you know, they tell you like, oh, stay away from the carbs, eat all the meat and everything. I was afraid of the carbs, but the sweet potatoes I can handle no problem. Various forms of rice I can handle with no problem. I can handle beans. I can even handle oatmeal. I never had an issue with oatmeal. I know a lot of your clients have had some issues with oatmeal. I did take the advice of one of your past episodes of one of your past interviewers. She definitely said she used to have a green juice with her oatmeal and it helped her to handle it better. So straight away, when I wanted to try the oatmeal, that’s what I did as well. And now I don’t necessarily need the green juice with it. I know, but I still often have it either before or after the oatmeal.

Clint – Yeah. This is a strategy that I’ve used for a very long time. If you have something that is raw and rich in enzymes and rich in antioxidants, I call it cheating the food that you’re trying to get into your diet. So I used to eat French fries alongside a bag of raw spinach. Baby spinach. Oh, yeah. I could eat a whole bowl of French fries as long as I ate it with spinach.

Nicole – That’s interesting.

Clint – Yeah. Yeah. So there’s been studies on this, which I discovered years after I was actually doing that. And the studies show that we have a basically a net result of antioxidant status after a meal. It’s like a chemical experiment that we’re doing each time we eat where we’ve got a mixture of all these different chemicals going into a Bunsen burner or sorry, into like a test tube or something. And you’ve got all of these chemical interactions going on. And if there is an inadequate amount of antioxidants to counteract the free radicals that you’ve consumed, then you have a net amount of oxidative load afterwards. And this is certainly the case if we’re eating deep fried foods which are so potent with free radicals. So yeah, so yeah, they call it the postprandial net antioxidant status, postprandial meaning after you eat in scientific terms. Yeah. And so what you’ve found is that you’ve just applied some a different chemical constitution with your meal and the result was positive. So absolutely we eat some raw, enzyme rich, antioxidant rich foods or drink in your case with the meal that we’re trying to get in and it helps cheat it into our diet.

Nicole – That would explain why the I have veg at well I try to eat. I don’t necessarily follow the three meals a day thing because I do a little bit of intermittent fasting, but I do have at least two meals a day and with each one I definitely have like a salad or like a side salad or some type of veg or something. And I just have found that has been, like you said, the cheat code for me too. And that was not only to help me get more veg in which I also didn’t love the taste of veg at first. So that was sort of to help, you know, like when you have a little kid and you had the sort of you can have the French fries if you eat all your spinach, you know, type of thing. So I had to trick myself into that. I still use it on a regular basis so that has been the major thing and it helped me shed the weight I needed to lose. I’m still working on the weight I needed to lose. I had a massive amount of weight I needed to lose. I’ve lost 50lbs so far.

Clint – Congratulations. That’s fantastic.

Nicole – Thank you. Thank you. And so, as you know, having that amount of load off the knees in itself is a big deal.

Clint – Yeah, exactly. Well done. That’s tremendous. Before we close out the diet, because I know there’s going to be some final questions, uh, from people who are paying attention here. Which veg do you like the most? And can you eat the fruits now?

Nicole – Oh, okay sure. So the veg I like the most, I tend to stick to broccoli, cauliflower, and I’ll just, you know, either roast in the oven or sometimes I will chop up in my chopper and add that to the salad raw, so I’ll have that. I’m a big fan of spinach and kale. I usually get the spinach raw in a smoothie, though in the morning. I try to start off with like, a smoothie or juice. I’ve added a little bit to the juice now, so it used to just be celery and cucumber. Now it’s celery, cucumber, maybe kale or spinach, a little lemon and a little apple, you know, that type of thing.

Clint – Awesome. Yeah.

Nicole – Thank you. I may even add a bead in sometimes for ladies. I feel like that’s really good for our blood and things like that. It just kind of depends on how I feel and that type of thing. But I usually try to get that in sometime in the day, usually in the morning, because I’m not that hungry in the morning and then I will move into the veg. So then the other types of veg I like, I like asparagus, like roasted asparagus. Um, so yeah, either stick to salads, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus. Oh, and Brussels sprouts. I’ll roast them in the air fryer.

Clint – Awesome.

Clint – Yeah, this is great. Oh, Brussels sprouts in the air fryer. They taste good.

Nicole – That’s so good.

Clint – They’re so good. Do you ever test nutritional yeast on any of your foods?

Nicole – I need to, I do need to. I’ve been slow to, but I’ve seen it, like in videos and things like that.

Clint – Yeah. It’s not going to change. It’s not like a breakthrough food where it has all of these benefits for the microbiome or anything, it’s just for flavor. So it’s a fairly neutral kind of addition. But if you can have it without adding any side effects, any symptoms, then it’s a nice way to stimulate more saliva and hunger because it’s a tasty.

Nicole – Yeah. It gives you like, the umami. Yeah. Okay, good. Yeah. So I’ll try that, I’ll definitely add that.

Clint – And how are you going with the fruits? Yeah, let’s talk about fruits because for people, just the big picture here is that fruits are actually, in terms of my perspective on all of this, if you take 100 people with RA and you want to take the average here. Then the fruits have more benefits to accelerate the positive impact of the microbiome, in my opinion, than the vegetables. Okay. So we might give one of them like a nine. Well, give the fruits a ten and the vegetables, a 9.9. Like there’s not much in it.Right? However, there are the polyphenols more present in the fruits and polyphenols have specific benefits to stimulate short chain, fatty acid production and different species of microbes in the gut. So I like those a little more and I like the fruits a little more. Also, just because we can eat such a vast variety of them and they’re normally water rich. You can sometimes eat them between meals. They’re a snack. Yeah. They’re just sort of, um, they’re versatile, they’re versatile and you don’t have to cook them. So there’s a lot of. I just wanted to put that part of the in the question. Right. So that everyone can get a position of like the science and my opinion on this before you then give us where you’re at with them.

Nicole – So with fruit I can tolerate it now, but I try to stick. I’m still a little nervous, I’m going to be honest. So I try to stick to including it with the veg somehow. Um, so I’ll have it, like I said in a drink, like a smoothie or a juice. Um. I will also have a bowl of fruit. So like, let’s say it’s end of summer here in the US. So I’ve been having watermelon and cantaloupe and apples and citrus fruit, but I tried to include them. So like the citrus fruit, I’ll probably add to the salad, the apples, I’ll cut them up and have them, but then right behind it, I’ll wait till dinner. So it’s like an appetizer for dinner. And I know I’m usually having a salad with dinner, so I’ll in sequence, I’ll have the bowl of fruit, maybe wait 30 minutes, have the salad, and then have the rest of any cooked meal I’m having. If I am having melon, I’ve heard that it’s not good to really combine melon with a lot of things, so I’ll try to eat that by itself. But again, I give it about half an hour, then I move into other things, but I try not to just have it just strictly alone. I am a little nervous to do so still. Um, I went on family vacation and I was eating apples at the beach and things like that by themselves. And I seem to be doing okay, but I was just nervous, you know, to just have them straight away.

Clint – We developed these paranoias and nervousness totally. And I’m always making small adjustments and experimenting years and years, 17 years after I was since I’ve been diagnosed. And what I’ve enjoyed recently is observing that food combining as long as you stay plant based, as long as you’re staying within the paradigm. Interestingly for me has no effect on digestion or the energy levels or the way I feel. And so I’m enjoying having like the Nicole approach, which is putting some chopped up pears or chopped up apples or mandarins, whatever, in the salad, and then eating that alongside a main meal. And even I have a few pistachios each day at my lunch, just for a little bit of bulk, a little bit more, they’re obviously a treat as well. So and I’m observing that all of that together combined. It just it feels effortless to digest and feels good. I kind of do what you’re doing as well. Um, all right, great. Well, double thumbs up there. Let’s now talk about knees. Let’s talk about how what they looked like and then what you did that began to improve them. We’ve talked about the diet, let’s talk about the physical therapy, the movement, what irritates them, and just the chronological journey of improvement with your knees.

Nicole – So it was really bad. I had really I feel like the, um, my my physical therapist. What did she say? Oh, muscle atrophy. I really, unfortunately, had some muscle atrophy, so not some a lot of muscle atrophy. So when I first started going to my physical therapist earlier in the summer, so like May around my birthday. Like if I’m sitting here in a chair like this, I could barely lift my leg just straight out, it was just so inflamed and stiff. So working with her, she had me start literally on my bed don’t even try to get down on the floor or anything just on my bed. She gave me well, she suggested, like a band an exercise band. So I’d put it around my foot and I’d literally use that to help me lift my legs. I did that. I did pull ins. You know, if my legs were straight, I’d pull in with the band so little I literally had to start from the bare bones. I couldn’t even do calf raises at the time, they were just it was just too much weight on my body sorry on my ankles and feet and things like that. So I literally started on the bed doing clam the, the for your inner thighs and your and your hips and things because we also realize I didn’t know until I started to see her that I was never knock-kneed and it started to cave in where I was becoming knock-kneed and my hips were like getting weak. It was it was really bad. So she had me starting with, um, like I said, the quadricep lifts in the bed, the pull ins in the bed, and then side leg lifts with just my body weight, that type of thing. Just do that in the bed a few times a day. I work from home so I could literally leave my office, go to my bed, do those for a few minutes, come back. So that’s where I started in May.

Clint – Just hold there for a second. This is wonderful information because some people look at our lower body workout in our materials and they may be in a position like you and say, I don’t think I can do much of that because maybe I’m carrying a bit of extra weight or maybe my rheumatoid is so severe. So do you think that that was a good place to start for you and was that effective enough? And we’re talking about here using a band to pull one straight leg up and lower it back down again to pull your knee up towards your shoulder on the same side with the assistance of the band and then lowering it back down again and then doing, as you say, the clam shells or I think is it like the Jane Fonda leg lifting exercise videos from the past? Just to strengthen your side glutes. And so you started with that.

Nicole – Yes, exactly. And then she also told me to turn over onto my stomach, use the band to sort of help me pull and it gets a little you have to have a little bit of flexibility, but try to put the band on the bottom of your foot and pull use it to pull up because a lot of times you have in that case, you have weak gluteal muscles, you have weak hamstrings, weak quadriceps. You just literally sort of need to do everything. So yeah, all of that combined, I feel like someone that’s starting from the bare bones, they’re going to even be in pain doing that. But if they can just unfortunately you have to you have to recognize you’re going to be in pain because you haven’t been active, you know, So you’re just going to have to kind of wince through it at first. But honestly, I could be different. But I know for myself, within a week or so of doing it, it really started to loosen up enough where I felt like I don’t need the band assistance as much I could. My range of motion was increasing, so maybe before I could only lift my leg up just like a couple inches off the bed. Now I can really lift it up high. When I was pulling it in, I couldn’t go all the way back towards my hip. I could probably only get it like a little bit of halfway through, Um, I did that. I also was doing she calls them quad sets, so you literally just lay your legs out straight and flex your quadriceps muscles and release them. So hold for two seconds or so release. I think that that was very helpful because. Her main thing was, since I have bone on bone essentially in my knees. So I’m going to have to do even more to support the muscles around the knee to help stabilize them, you know? So we’re still kind of working on that. But such an improvement. I mean, getting out of the chair was like, oh, it was just so bad.

Clint – That little insight that you just said was beautiful. When we have a compromised knee, it’s harder to build the surrounding tissue and muscle mass. However, we actually need more of it than the average person to take the load off the compromised joint. So we have a steep mountain to climb to get there, and then we have to find another level above that to avoid the ongoing pain and discomfort that’s there. So your physical therapist sounds tremendous.

Nicole – I mean, even she was shocked a little bit at first, um, how much work we had to do and not shocked and judging me or anything like that. But she was just like, gosh, like, okay, like every time we she thought she was starting from the basics, we had to go down even a level. So I do appreciate that she was willing to understand that this is an inflammatory arthritis. We need to start from the bare bones and even what you consider the bare bones, come on down. And I’m 45, so I think it was a little shocking that I’m pretty young, you know, to have to do this, because I think people assume you’re elderly or disabled or something like that. But, you know, once you move past the embarrassment and everything and you have a good physical therapist that is willing to work with you, I think it makes such a difference.

Clint – And the embarrassment goes away really quickly when you find a set of exercises that are working for you, no matter how simple they are. It gets replaced with I’ve got this and this is actually a path forward. And it’s very exciting, isn’t it?

Nicole – It’s very exciting. And to be honest with you, I did not know this is where how I got here, because I was I was thinking, I’m in so much pain, don’t stress the muscle, don’t stress your joints do all this. And honestly, I learned from you as well as a physical therapist, like, sorry, that was poor advice for yourself. And actually the way to have less pain and have increased quality of life and range of motion and all that kind of stuff, you have to exercise the joint. And her motto is Motion is lotion. So she’s like, you know, don’t forget motion is lotion when I leave the office, you know?

Clint – I love her.

Nicole – She’s also in the Nicole. She’s. I call her Dr. Nicole.

Clint – Nicole as well. Okay. Yeah. Awesome. Okay, great. Now, so you’ve started on the bed, you’ve done the band exercises. You mentioned a moment ago that it took about a week and then you’re starting to realize some of them I don’t need the band anymore. And then you’ve thought to yourself, okay, what’s next? And what was your progression through this?

Nicole – So then from there, like I said, I didn’t really need the band for some of the exercises, so then I’m still in the bed doing them because I’m not confident enough to get on the floor yet. I can get on the floor, but I’m not confident getting up from the floor. So I’m still on the bed and I just started to do the exercises without the bands. And then from there I moved to YouTube. YouTube has a lot of senior workouts, chair workouts, that type of thing. So I started with the chair workouts in between my I only saw the physical therapist once a week, so she would give me rehab exercises, which were things like various stretches. All the exercises I mentioned were her exercises also now I can do calf raises. The calf raises actually made a lot of a difference because I think I was really weak in my ankles and I also have a flat foot. So trying to work on the mechanics of my foot, doing a lot of doming with my feet, the ankle circles sitting down in the bed doing some stretches, the calf raises. The calf raises surprisingly, I don’t know as soon as like to wake up the leg a lot. I don’t know why, but it seems to wake up the leg a lot. So I do that. I have not gotten to the gym yet. I still just work with bands. Um, I do dumbbells, I work with dumbbells for upper body sometimes and then even for lower body assistance. So like if I’m doing like a single deadlift or something now, it’s I don’t go down very, very low or anything. I’m doing them very short and compressed, but I can do them a little bit and I’ll use like hand weights in my hands to kind of help, you know. So I have progressed up to, I’d say, level two now. Yeah.

Clint – Beautiful. And for anyone wondering what is a deadlift, what you’re doing is you are standing with your feet parallel to your shoulders, hip-width apart, and then you only have a slight bend in the knee. And then you pivot at the hips with a sort of an engaged core and you sort of bend over at the hip joint and reach down to about your shin level and then basically just raise back up again. Almost as if you were a robot picking up a box that was resting against your shins. So that you’re keeping your arms close to your body rather than out in front of you. You can Google it if you want to see a deadlift. And you’re doing it with little weights at home so you don’t have to go to the gym, as you said. And yeah, that’s really good for the hamstrings and the glutes, the deadlifts. Again, these exercises, they’re pretty safe, they’re very functional, you know, things that we would do evolutionarily. What does your routine look like now then? So what’s the Nicole workout now for the lower body?

Nicole – So I split it up into two parts. That’s mainly because of my job, I don’t have a lot of time in the morning. I’m not a morning person. So waking up hours before work is not going to work for me. I tried it, so usually in the morning I will get up, I will do like some mobility exercises, just to kind of loosen up the body. I found this on YouTube, so I just follow that. It’s a ten minute video, nothing extreme, lots of stretches and things like that. Then I do like the foot and ankle sort of exercises. So I do various point and flex ankle turns, calf raises, that type of thing. I do like a sequence of it takes about 15 minutes in the morning for me to do that. That wakes up the body. And because, like I said, my mechanics were off a bit too, because of my flat feet. I feel like I need to do a lot of foot work and ankle work then probably more than the average person. So that just kind of helps get me started then I come to work. Then in the evening, just recently, I’d say in the last month or so, I started adding in an evening workout. It’s getting cooler now, the summer is coming to a close. I still can’t go for a walk around the block or anything, but I can walk to my mailbox so I may walk to the mailbox once or twice and then I would do just some basic lower body. Well, I’ll switch, so one day I’ll do lower body toning and one day I’ll do upper body toning and I’ll just toggle back and forth through the week for about six days. The lower body exercises are very basic mean I can’t do squats and lunges yet, so I’m still, like I said, I’m just doing the rehab exercises that she gave me. I’m trying to do squat so I can I’ll try to go down as low as I can every week. I’m trying to challenge myself to try to build up more strength and momentum. So this week I started to try to do a little bit more squats in the little bit that I can do. Um, I also have a step from the 80’s, I don’t know if you remember like step aerobics I have that. So I’m trying to do some like hip things like step up and down on that. Just it’s very, very basic moves but they seem to be helping when you do them consistently. So, um, and then one other thing I wanted to mention when back in the day when I kind of reached remission, I tried Bikram yoga at the time and it was very effective, but unfortunately I declined significantly since then. So I am looking forward to going back to Bikram, but I just want to build up a little bit more strength at the house and then I would like to start rejoining the Bikram classes.

Clint – For me, it feels like, you know, if we looked at looked at it at a spectrum of where you were to the potential of where you can go to and we’ll say where you were, let’s call it a zero, like almost immobile, 50lbs heavier than where you are now, only able to exercise on the bed. And let’s say you’ve gone from that zero position, let’s say where I believe you can get to is a ten. Okay. I think you’re still only at like the three.

Nicole – I know.

Clint – Yeah. So and yet that 0 to 3 is life-changing.

Nicole – It’s like forever. It was life changing.

Clint – But what I’m trying to say here is, is words of massive encouragement, which is your, you have got so much more potential ahead of you here, so much, many months of exciting progress here because once you can lose a little more weight and build a little more strength, you’ll see that the inflammation goes down further in those knees, that your range of motion increases, which by the way, only increases with strength. You don’t get range of motion by stretching, you must build strength. And what happens is then the connective tissue becomes less inflamed and the joint allows more range of motion. It’s like the joint has a built in protective mechanism and it will only allow this increased range of motion once there is supportive structure around it. Otherwise all the stretching in your life won’t increase that range of motion until the joint feels safe.

Nicole – Okay.

Clint – So you can go from three to a ten and if you strive for a ten and hit an eight, and then what you’re doing is you’re at a gym or you’re at Bikram, you’re doing a lot of the postures to the limit of your own expression, whatever that looks like. But you’re in them, you’re in the game, you’re building strength and mobility like the future is very, very bright.

Nicole – Okay. Thank you. I’m happy to hear that because, you know, I do feel that now, but it was so daunting and it just seemed like this would never. My mom was really concerned that I was going to end up like in a wheelchair or something to that effect because it just seemed like nothing was working, you know? But if I was completely honest with her, she doesn’t live in the same state that I live in. I was not exercising like I should have, as we know now. So if I had been exercising to the level that I should have been, maybe I would have seen a quicker turnaround in terms of my knees. Besides, the first thing I really just really was passionate about was getting this inflammation down because I felt like if I can’t control this inflammation, I can do all the exercise in the world. It just didn’t seem like it was going to be that effective because it was just so inflamed, you know? So thankfully, diet in the little bit that I have done has gotten the inflammation to a very low. I haven’t been to my updated doctor’s appointment yet to determine where we are but I can feel when I get out of bed, I don’t have to sit there on the edge of the bed and psych myself up. I can get down, walk right into the bathroom or whatever, you know? So little things like that are improvement. I remember you said once before, even 1% is improvement and it just feels like these one percents are adding up.

Clint – Exactly. Um, yep. So some common sense and appropriate actions would be go and schedule that appointment, get a blood test, see what you C-reactive protein and SED rate look like. Okay. I still check mine on a somewhat regular basis just to keep an eye on these numbers. And keep in mind, though, when you are checking them, that there are a lot of other factors other than synovitis which can bump up C-reactive protein, especially like tendonitis, which is like if you’ve got if you press around the joint, not in the joint capsule, but above the knee on just around the sort of the top around the kneecap. If there is some tenderness there and some sensitivity there, that is not syniovits or it very well may not be synovitis, but that’s going to throw up the markers as well. But that’s the stuff that can be completely eliminated. If I’m bold enough to say that with the right lifestyle approaches. Okay. So that stuff that isn’t the autoimmune disease driven inflammation.

Nicole – Okay.

Clint – And the question often comes up, well, how do you tell which one’s which? Well, it is difficult to tell, and this sounds overly simplistic, but if you’re pressing into an area that isn’t the joint and it’s connective tissue, well, that’s tendinitis.

Nicole – Okay. Yeah, that makes sense.

Clint – Um, right. What else did I want to ask you? Have you explored having a bike at home? A stationary bike that you can sit on.

Nicole – I forgot I do, I have one downstairs. Yeah, I bought one. I wasn’t using it that much, but I was just thinking literally so we’re on the same wavelength this week. I’m going to start getting back on it. I feel like in the very beginning when I was really just not well, I could barely turn those pedals. I feel very confident now that I have no problem turning the pedals and I can probably even do a 20 minute, 30 minute, I’d say a 20 minute bike ride I think I can handle. So I was thinking about incorporating that in the coming week.

Clint – Wonderful. I’ll tell you how I trick myself into getting new habits into my life that I know are good for me. So what I would do is I would get a fresh sheet of paper and then I would write day at the top like a basic little table. And I would put day one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, to 30 at the bottom. Just with pen right, it will take two minutes. And then I would write next to it. I would write stationary bike time, and then I would write one minute and then the next day I’d write two minutes. So literally you get on and after one minute you have to get off.

Nicole – Okay.

Clint – And you actually think that’s a joke, like it’s only a minute. But the thing is, it actually makes you want to get on there because who can’t do something for a minute and then the next day you do it for two minutes and then three minutes and then four minutes and even five, six minutes still feels pretty easy. And by the seventh or eighth day, you’ve built a habit and then you’re in you’re in the habit because it’s just so simple to get started.

Nicole – That makes so much sense. I will absolutely try that this week.

Clint – You may actually want to even back it off a little bit. And once you get to day seven, make it seven point, you know, even like start the increments to be less because we start once you get to ten minutes, it actually becomes kind of it’s kind of challenging after ten minutes if the if the resistance is kind of high.

Nicole – Okay. Okay. That makes sense. Okay. I will try it that way because I operate very much in that way with other parts of my life when I’m trying to make a habit. So that makes sense. I didn’t even think about that. So I will try it.

Clint – And you’ll know straight away if you hop off after one two minutes on day 2 or 3, whatever. And you think now you talked before about feeling the blood through the knee. You know that feeling of I’m getting some activity through the knee that feels nurturing.

Nicole – Yeah. Yes, exactly.

Clint – That’s what the bike is so good at.

Nicole – Okay. I’m excited. Yeah, I’m excited about it.

Speaker3 – Awesome. Nicole, I might wrap it up there because I think that’s a lovely place to end and I’m really, really excited for where you can take this. And it’s so valuable for you to share your experience, which is starting from a really challenging position and getting to that sort of state where your quality of life is much better. The inflammation in your knees is way down, your wrists are now moving freely without pain. And just knowing that this moment, just this stake in the ground of your life has so much potential and hope and chance of further improvement. That’s a wonderful time to have a conversation like this. So I really want to thank you for all you’ve done and what you’ve shared.

Nicole – Thank you so much for having me and for your valuable advice. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time.


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