How My Daughter with Down Syndrome Ran Off 80 Pounds — Run to Lose Weight – runnersworld.com

How My Daughter with Down Syndrome Ran Off 80 Pounds — Run to Lose Weight  runnersworld.com

My daughter Kayleigh, and I were about the same weight when my mother had her second stroke in 2012. At the time, our lifestyles were not good. Being a single mom to a daughter with Down syndrome and caregiver for my mother in Austin, Texas, I usually chose what was convenient: fast food for dinner, Diet Dr. Pepper—stuff we tell ourselves is so inexpensive, but at what cost.

If you love running, you’ll love RW+

I remember sitting next my mother’s bed in tears. We knew then she was permanently disabled, and . This hit close with Kayleigh too; people with Down syndrome have a 90-percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s. Hearing this and seeing my daughter at 215 pounds with a host of conditions like pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, a rare blood platelet condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), and hyperthyroidism that led to Graves’ disease, it was our turning point.

I never wanted to have my daughter laying in a hospital bed where I had to say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t implement these changes, and this is where we ended up.” It was time for a change.

Like many parents in my position, it’s tough to start a journey like this. In the beginning you’ll say, “My kid can’t do this,” but really, the parent doesn’t see themselves doing it, and they can project that on the child. I’ve been told the worst-case scenarios with Kayleigh since she was born. My approach with Kayleigh has always been you don’t allow somebody to put a cap on you.

We’ve all got limits, what we can do and what we can’t do, but we work really hard to knock what we can do out of the park. What we can’t do, we celebrate that too, and just say that’s somebody else’s thing to do.

For Kayleigh and I, we started our weight loss with WW. Using the points system, we took out artificial sweeteners and processed foods, and we began going to the farmer’s market on Saturdays to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

Using the WW app gave Kayleigh control over what she was eating, and that worked best for us. She knows how to scan her foods. She knows if she eats a banana, that’s going to be a better choice than going in there and eating cookies because those are probably going to cost her five points.

Simultaneously, Kayleigh’s changes also benefit me. If she doesn’t drink soda waters, I don’t drink soda waters. I look at this lifestyle change as something for the whole household. I do think that that is a critical point—she’s going to do what she sees the household doing.

What also helped us along the way was running together early on. I had started running in 2012, and Kayleigh started joining me in 2013. I often felt like I was the mother from hell during those early runs—it was not easy. We would get in the middle of a race and she would slow down on me. That was her way of controlling it. I would be telling her you’ve got to go faster; we’ve got deadlines.

Finally, as a mom, I realized I had to take a chill pill and step back. Generally in races, we are always dead last, and we’re good with that. But we’re getting better the more miles we put in. One thing that has helped is Kayleigh knowing she has to earn her right to put her toes on the starting line.

We do the Austin Distance Challenge, which is a series of five to six races that progress in distance from 5K to half marathon or marathon over a year. Each time, we have to finish in an allotted time. Her first 10-miler, which was the third race of the series, took us almost five hours—which exceeded the allotted time. That meant Kayleigh lost her right to toe the line for the next race.

We kept working at it, and she finally ran the 10-miler in the allotted time in her third year. Kayleigh was so excited to go onto the half marathon, which she did in February 2017 in 6:22 at the Austin Half Marathon. Finally, she did the Austin Half in 2017, finishing the race in time and completing the distance challenge. Organizers were waiting at the finish line with her distance challenge jacket to put it on her. It’s a moment she and I will never forget.

I’m not going to kid anybody; it has been a battle. But to me, it’s no different then when you battle to get them to take prescriptions. The only difference is this one to me has a better result. Kayleigh is healthy. She has lost 80 pounds, which she maintains today.

Not only that, Kayleigh’s ITP went into remission. Her sleep apnea is gone. Her Graves’ disease went into remission and has been for four years. Normally, individuals with Down syndrome at her age, 30, have more autoimmune disorders being diagnosed. Kayleigh even . She has a whole new life, and that’s because we committed to this lifestyle change.

“It’s Cool To Be Me“ by Kayleigh Williamson

amazon.com

$15.00

Eight years after beginning this journey, we’re still doing half marathons, and we’re even working toward her first marathon.

If I had a message or advice for anyone out there who might be in a similar situation or wants a similar life for their child, you have to follow what you know is right and healthy for your child. You’re the one that’s there. You’re the one that’s supporting them. I did have some doctors say that half marathons are too much for her at first. Now, that’s not what they say. There’s going to be people that have to give you the worst-case scenario sometimes in the medical community.

But don’t allow that to cap who your child can become. To give them that support, you’ve got to be there, hand-in-hand, with them. You can’t just drop them off at a dance studio and say, okay, here’s your hour of dancing and I’ll come back and pick you up. You actually to be in there dancing with them. You actually have to be out there running with them. It’s a commitment for them, but it’s a commitment for you, too. They’re only going to go as far as you give them wings to go and as much as you help carry them as well.


You can follow Kayleigh’s running journey on Instagram at .

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io