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MOBYCARP's Recent Blog Entries

Valentine's Day for a Single Guy

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'm divorced, and there is no romantic relationship in my life. Valentine's Day is not a particularly meaningful holiday to me. So when the email came in saying the VITA site where I volunteer was short of tax preparers for this evening, I registered to put in an extra shift. It wasn't terribly busy; I did two returns and three quality reviews, plus answered a few questions from first year tax preparers. The site would have functioned without me there, but perhaps the work went through more quickly with one more worker.

On the fitness front, the bad foot continues to dominate my life. Today I forgot to take my ibuprofen at 10 AM. I ended up taking it at 4 PM. I suppose it's good news that the foot didn't remind me earlier and more strongly that I should be taking it. I'm also walking a bit more quickly, or rather less slowly. This is probably progress, but it's slow.

The pedometer right now reads 7677 steps. I should finish the day under 8K. I hope that's few enough not to aggravate the foot and slow the healing. I expect tomorrow to be similar in terms of amount walked, even trying to be light on steps. So much for under 5K steps per day. It's really hard not to walk.

Exercise looks a lot like yesterday - partial TGUs without the lunge up/down, kettlebell snatches and windmills, pushups on the ball, and deadbugs. I did some extra KB swings and snatches while waiting for my oats to simmer.

The other miscellaneous note from today is breakfast. About a week ago, I bought some McCann's Irish Oatmeal under the mistaken assumption that this was steel cut oats. Well, it is and it isn't. It claims to be quick cooking steel cut oats, and it looks like steel cut oats cut into smaller pieces. The package instructions are similar to the steel cut oats instructions, only it claims it takes less time. Well, kind of.

Real steel cut oats I'd microwave on high 2 minutes, on 30% power for 15 mintues, stir, and 30% power for another 8 minutes. Two batches of this quick-cooking steel cut oats stuff, and it looks like microwave on high 2 minutes, 30% power 12 minutes, stir, and 30% power another 3 minutes. So it is ready 8 minutes faster than steel cut oats, but not really fast enough to be truly convenient. It tastes not quite like steel cut oats, and the texture is between steel cut oats and rolled oats.

I think I like real steel cut oats better. Between that, and the fact that this stuff actually costs more than steel cut oats, I don't think I'll be buying more of it. But it's good enough that I will use it up by putting it into the breakfast rotation.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 2/19/2012 3:39AM

    Wow, I never thought not walking much can be a goal, and how hard would it be not to walk. I also carry a pedometer, my target is 10000K per day, which is easy when I go out to run. When I don't run, it averages around 5-8K.
What type of pedometer do you have?

Valentines day is quite a recent addition in Central-Europe, was never celebrated here before. I guess it came with the globalization, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, the jeans. Many of the girls in my friend-hood don't even care about it.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 2/15/2012 8:54AM

    It's not very much fun, being reminded that you're single, is it? I was in Wegmans picking up some Greek yogurt yesterday and saw a lot of guys in there buying flowers and candy, and although I'm not very sentimental, I found myself thinking, "Well, none of those will be for me... Go figure."

What you did about it reminds me of how I spent one Thanksgiving teaching origami to the residents of a local Juvenile Hall. They were incarcerated without their families, and mine all live on the other side of the Continental Divide, so it worked out for all of us. I was kind of sad when one of the girls said, "but why would you want to come see US?!" I guess they'd had it drilled into their heads that no one liked them or enjoyed their company. I did.

About the oats, back when I was eating grains I used to get the steel cut ones in bulk from the local Mennonite store in Seneca Falls. Decent prices and the bag was clear so you could see what you were getting. Then I eventually moved over to uncut oats, which I decided I liked even more.

See if you can find steel cut oats in the bulk bin at your local health food store - or in the bulk section of the Pittsford Wegmans- they might be cheaper than McCann's (or Bob's Red Mill), anyway. If you get desperate for them I can check what the price is at the Mennonite place and bring you some; I go to Rochester most Sundays for a kayak pool practice at MCC.

Hang in there with that injury and don't push it. Good idea working on the strength training in the meantime. And yeah, adjusting calories is tricky.

For me the apparent calories burned have continued their wacko trend downward. It's almost like my metabolism got a sudden downshift during or after Costa Rica. I wonder if I just ate so much while there that I have a surplus stored that I need to burn off?

The graph is here:

Comment edited on: 2/15/2012 8:59:39 AM

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MILLERGIRL719 2/15/2012 6:41AM

    I make Bob's Oats once a week and put them in single serving containers (those ziploc cups w/lids) and microwave them for a minute in the morning! Works like a charm! Actually I make more than once a week worth of servings cause I cut the serving size down so I can eat an egg, too. Plus now my husband is eating them so I'm going to have to make more! Popular stuff. Just an idea. I add my cinnamon, vanilla, flax and raisins ahead, too. Microwave add almond milk, EAT, GO!

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MAGGIE101857 2/15/2012 6:38AM

    I love the McCann's but find they are much better on the stovetop. After a trip to Ireland many years ago, I wanted to try and match what I had over there. Not quite the same, but still enjoyable. But for my everyday quick fixes, I also love Bob's Red Mill products....quick, easy, tasty!!!

Glad to hear you are on the mend - it's very hard to stay off our feet and not move! I go nuts on my "rest day"...really have to force myself not to add another run day in!

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MOBYCARP 2/14/2012 9:11PM

    Win for you, lose for me; what I got came in a flimsy box. The faux steel cut oats now live in a plastic storage container. Meanwhile, the real steel cut oats come in a sturdier tubular cardboard box that's like a smaller version of the rolled oats box. I'd consider buying them in a bag for cheaper, but I haven't seen them available that way.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/14/2012 9:03PM

    I have a can from McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal that I keep refilling with Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats. Only bought them the once. Liked them fine. The good part was that paying the extra for the can was worth it, because it makes such a sturdy cannister!

I'm having a bingy day, myself... started with work crazy... ended with chocolate and chicken flavored boca soy patties. One day, right? Back on track tomorrow?

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Monday Whine

Monday, February 13, 2012

I just got an email from Daily Mile, reminding me to update my workouts. My last workout was 12 days ago, according to the email.

The sad thing is, that's right. The last time I ran was 12 days ago.

Today I did some pushups on the ball, and some kettlebell snatches and windmills, and some partial TGUs without the lunge to standing position. I experimented with the dead bug and clamshell that EMMANYC recommended; I can do the dead bug, but I don't think I figured out the clamshell. Or maybe I'm just not flexible enough for that one.

But I really miss running. Not running, and not being able to walk at a normal pace, is much more annoying than eating less to make up for less exercise.

Oh, well. It is what it is, and I need to keep doing what I need to do to be able to run again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 2/14/2012 2:20PM

    Whining or not, you are tough and you'll get through this.
Hopefully you'll develop wonderful chiseled chest, abdomen and thigh muscles as a side effect!

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/14/2012 10:56AM

    Whining's good for the soul! Whine again tomorrow if you need to : )

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RG_DFW 2/14/2012 9:13AM

    You'll get there

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WATERMELLEN 2/13/2012 9:10PM

    Sorry about your injury . . . hope that your progress towards complete healing is steady and sure.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/13/2012 9:05PM

    Sigh. I get it. Really I do. The missing being active. The finding substitutes that don't quite substitute. It's OK to whine. I've whined enough when it's been my turn!

Hang in. You will heal. And you shall run again!

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LADYJAKE1 2/13/2012 8:55PM

    I hear ya, I work very long hours and find it is not easy to work out too.

I just need to make myself get up and do it...

Good luck to you.

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Sunday Footnote

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest. It's normal for me to have to make a deliberate effort to get 10K steps in on a Sunday. So it's no surprise that Sunday is a day when it's pretty easy to meet a goal of getting less than 5K steps. As I write this, the pedometer says 3988 steps. I'll break 4K, but I won't come close to 5K.

Exercise that doesn't hurt the bad foot remains a bit of a puzzle. I did my pushups on the swiss ball. I re-evaluted Turkish get-ups, and came to the reluctant conclusion that they're out. But I can still do the kettlebell snatches, with hand to hand swings for a warmup; the feet are stationary during those moves.

This afternoon it occured to me that I can do windmills, I just can't get the KB to the top with a getup. So I did a clean and press to lift the 45 lb. KB, surprising myself that I was actually able to do the press on the left side. Did 10 windmills, then without thinking about it let the KB down in a snatch maneuver, switched hands, and did a right hand snatch as a mount for the 10 windmills on the right side. Maybe I'll lose the ability to do TGUs with 45 lbs, but but at least my obliques will stay in shape while the foot heals.

Later on it occurred to me that it's only the push off the back foot for the lunge rise to standing (and the reverse descending move) that bother the foot. I can do partial TGUs, through the press, crunch, situp, kick the leg through, and rise to a knee. So I did 5 of those on each side this evening. Maybe if I do these every day, I'll actually still be able to do 45 lb. full TGUs when the foot is better.

I haven't figured out cardio with a bad foot yet. Bicycling would be a good thing to try, but not in the snow. Not to worry for today; I cleared snow from the driveway twice. But that doesn't answer the question of what can be done regularly.

Staying on track with the reduced food required mindfulness today. I was hungry part of the day, but preventing boredom eating was a bigger issue for me. If I'm honest with myself, I'm really not as hungry now as when I was running; but it took several days for me to see this.

I'll call today a success. The foot is not hurting, though it still shows signs that it will if I do anything to annoy it; that's good enough for today. Tomorrow it's back to work, and I'll have to see what I do to minimize foot aggravation during a workday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONEKIDSMOM 2/13/2012 7:54AM

    Well done with modifying exercise and insights about your relationship with food: boredom... a biggie... eating is "something to do". Finding "something else to do" is a solution, but knowing that you're heading to the cupboard because you're bored is the first step in that journey.

Life's good, even injured... Spark on! emoticon

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KRISZTA11 2/13/2012 3:14AM

It's great you are so good at tracking and calculating food!
The key is patience with the foot and ingenuity finding enjoyable exercises.

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EMMANYC 2/12/2012 8:50PM

    Here are some suggested strength exercises for a runner with a foot issue. Some focus on core (including hip flexors and glutes - very important for a runner) and some are upper body exercises from a sitting position.

- Bridges (probably best to them on both feet)
- Bicep curls, hammer curls, and lateral raises while sitting on a balance ball (sitting on the balance ball requires you to engage your abs, so it's a bonus exercise)
- Push-ups from your knees (probably easy for you so you'll have to do more)
- Dumbbell chest press and flies while lying along the length of a foam roller (engages your abs; you can also do it lying on your back)
- Clamshell (you will look as if you're doing a Jane Fonda workout but trust me, this is great for your glutes and hip flexors - I've described it in my blog from mid-summer on exercises for runners)
- Dead bug exercise (for core and quads; also in my blog from the summer)
- Marching (also in blog from summer; good for core; really good for stability when you run)

Good luck

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STUPID Motivational Tricks

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last July, I wrote a blog entry about SP's stupid motivational tricks:

I concluded that because the tricks work, they aren't so stupid after all.

This week I learned that sometimes the tricks really are stupid, precisely *because* they work.

The specific trick that showed this to me (with some help from the SP community) was the Spark Streak. Specifically, it was the streak of 10K steps per day. I'd had a streak of over 200 days of 10K steps until I broke it for my current foot injury. After 4 days of under 10K steps, and seeing the doctor to determine what to do about the foot, I started another 10K step streak. I got to 3 days of that streak yesterday. I was pleased that I was able to get my walking back up to 30 continual minutes, though still unsatisfied with my pace.

After my 30 minute walk, I saw a comment from EMMANYC on my blog from Thursday. She offered the advice that I shouldn't be walking so much, and supported that advice with some examples from her own history. That comment made me think about a couple of things differently.

First, my doctor had told me to walk slowly enough that it didn't hurt. That's a fuzzy instruction, as I'm never sure how strong a sensation needs to be before I consider it to be "hurting." So I'd kind of spaced it off. But if I think about it, walking a mile in 19 minutes (Wednesday) or a 18:36 (Thursday) really did produce a strong enough sensation in the foot that I probably shouldn't have done that.

Second, it made me reflect on how I felt when, and after, walking with the hurt foot. There is the knot in my right calf that needs to be stretched out. There's the way I get small aches in my knees from the messed up gait I walk with. It feels like the bad foot is changing my gait enough to potentially screw up other parts of my legs. Maybe the foot is bad in the first place from an altered gait caused by a strained calf that I had in January.

Viewed from that light, walking this much, this soon, is really dumb. And I was doing it because of that 10K streak. That's a really STUPID motivational trick.

These ruminations were reinforced when my foot indisputably hurt last night. I soaked up 9 hours of sleep (a sign that my body needs to heal), and the foot still hurt this morning. It hurt so bad that I didn't do my TGUs; a test with no weight showed that the foot would not let me do a TGU with the (imaginary) weight on the left side. That was scary. I resolved to get less than 5K steps today, and to really baby that bad foot.

So I did what I needed to do this morning, met daughter at McD for breakfast, and by noon I only had 2K steps. Afternoon was volunteer tax prep work; last week I got 6K steps on Saturday, and trying to hold the steps down ought to make 5K plausible.

At the VITA site, I noticed my pedometer was missing. So I don't know how many steps I took today, total. But my foot feels much better now than it did this morning. I made an effort to remember to take my ibuprofen every 4 hours, and I sat down and elevated the bad foot when it was slow at the site.

I did shovel light snow twice today; both times I used the technique that doesn't register many steps on the pedometer. I reasoned that if the pedometer wasn't registering steps, this wouldn't be very hard on the foot. That turned out to be the case. Assuming the snow is still light overnight, I'll use the same technique tomorrow morning. I could wish for no snow at all, but I've really had it easy this winter with snow. At least there was no mound of snow to toss the new stuff over this morning. There will be a small mound to toss the next batch over tomorrow morning.

I'm leaving the goal of 10K steps per day active, so that streaks will be tracked. But for now, my real goal will be 5K or fewer steps per day until such time as I can walk with a normal gait first thing in the morning with bare feet. That may take a week, or it may take longer. I just have to live with that, and eat little enough that I don't add a pile of fat before I can get back to serious exercise.

Meanwhile, I'll keep looking for what I can do in the way of exercise that doesn't bother that foot. So far, I've found pushups on the swiss ball, and kettlebell flow drills. Both of those are more natural as strength training than cardio. I should try swimming and the elliptical machine; but those require getting into the gym, which is significant time overhead right when my time is pretty crunched for a variety of reasons.

Oh, well. I'll muddle through this. Eventually, I will run again; but if it isn't soon enough to run that half marathon I've signed up for, I'll have to pick up my packet and accept the fact that I bought an expensive technical shirt.

Oh, yeah. A huge emoticon to EMMANYC for telling me something that I didn't want to hear, but did *need* to hear.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BARBAELLEN 2/12/2012 2:41PM

    Pay attention to what everyone else is saying. If I could turn back the clock to the foot operation I had 20 years ago, I would. I was to stay off the foot for a couple of weeks, but it didn't feel too bad and I only had a few days to do my Christmas shopping. (Yes, I procrastinate.) So, I'm still living with my impatience with that healing process. LISTEN to the doc. You don't want a lifetime of cortisone shots in your foot.

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RG_DFW 2/12/2012 10:03AM

    very sensible

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FIT2BETHIN 2/12/2012 7:01AM

    Foot injuries are nothing to sneeze at. Our feet are our foundation and deserve attention! Hope your injury heals soon. As hard as it is to sit on the sidelines, so to speak, it's necessary. Good for you for finding healthy solutions!

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FROGGGY13 2/12/2012 2:31AM

    I agree with you about this. In this case, following the streak was completely counterproductive for you. Also, streaks can be a great tool, but perhaps more useful for starting Sparkers than for people who know what they're doing, and you are definitely one of them.
That said, I forgot to log in one day and messed up my streak. That made me inordinately sad, perhaps also because I'm afraid of letting it slide. I failed before and I'm afraid I'll do so again; but beofre I lost track of everything when I was offline,, and this time I'm very mindful, whether I forget to log in one day or not.

I second chair exercise. I did it for a while when my knee was hurt. It helped me maintain fitness without putting strain on the knee.

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EMMANYC 2/11/2012 9:33PM

    Thanks, MOBYCARP - and I'm cheering for this to resolve itself soon for you.

Have you thought of creating a new Sparkstreak or two that rewards you for remaining active but in a way that's safer for your foot? In some ways, it would be opposite of your 10,000 steps goal, where you used to find ways to increase your steps. Now you reward yourself for figuring out smart ways to decrease your steps while still remaining active (like maximizing nutrition and taste with the fewest calories). For example:

- Sparkstreak 1: Use a step-minimizing approach to an activity at least twice per day (e.g., your snow shovelling technique)
- Sparkstreak 2: Walk, but stop before foot hurts

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/11/2012 9:00PM

    One thing my current "side-line" time period has done for me, is I did allow myself to completely heal before going back to the gym. I felt a little guilty taking the last couple of days off... but I'm really glad I did!

I think you're taking a good, rational approach to healing. I wasn't joking about the chair exercise, if you really can't stand total rest!

Take care of yourself, brother... you're the only one I've got!

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Observations from the sidelines

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The bad foot still hurts, but it's easier to bear when I know it's not a stress fracture. Tape it up in the morning, get to work, do what I need to do. Today I managed to walk for 21 minutes at lunch. It mapped out to a slow 18:36 pace per mile, but that's faster than yesterday. I don't know if the foot is really better, or if I was just more gutsy on the early part of the walk today.

It's day 2 of my reduced calorie limit. At the end of the day, I have consumed 2332 calories and I'm satisfied. It's a bit of a surprise to have adapted so quickly, considering that a week ago my minimum was 2800 calories!

Observation: Even when tracking, much of eating is habit. Today I had to pay attention and stop some of the habitual eating while changing the timing of other habitual eating.

Observation: Scarcity makes things more precious. This evening, I enjoyed my greek yogurt more than I did when I was maintaining on 3000 calories per day.

Observation: Food choices are more meaningful with lower calorie limits. It's no longer a case of deciding that I need another 150 calories of anything so I may as well have those Doritos; now it's a case of deliberately refraining from snacking on the craisins I took to work so I can have a banana in the evening.

Observation: This comes back to one of the first lessons I learned on SparkPeople. I must track. everything. I. eat.

I can do this on the nutrition side. The exercise side is still pretty frustrating, but that is going to get better. Meanwhile, I will do what I need to do to stay in the game with the Springiest Maintainer challenge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 2/10/2012 8:53AM

    Sensible.. way to stay in the game

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EMMANYC 2/10/2012 8:36AM

    As someone who has dealt with stress fractures more than once, may I please give you some advice and ask you to stop walking so much? The doctor's office might not have seen a stress fracture now but that doesn't mean it's not there. And if you keep walking on it, you could very well create a stress fracture that wasn't there in the first place. If you don't let your foot heal, you're just going to delay - and delay - and delay healing for months and months and months.

When I had a stress fracture in my leg in 2010, it took five months to really heal - but that's because I kept trying to exercise every few weeks. I walked to and from work every day (15 minutes in each direction), and I really should have just cut that out for at least a month, too. I think that if I'd cut out the walks to and from work for 4-6 weeks, I would have healed a lot faster and might have been back to walking and running in eight weeks (instead of 20).

I know how frustrating it can be not to be able to do the exercise you love, especially when you're trying to maintain your weight or lose. But trust me, giving your foot a true rest now (e.g., a month off) will enable you to heal and get moving again sooner than if you try to keep up with a walking routine.'

There are other exercise options - strength training, deep water running etc.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 2/10/2012 7:59AM

    It has been a life long dream of mine to be a runner! As a kid and in my 20's I ran like the wind but it got away from me with the pounds! You are an inspiration! thank you!
linda emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

ps I nominated you for a motivator!!!...Inspirational Story!!!

Comment edited on: 2/10/2012 8:02:07 AM

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WATERMELLEN 2/10/2012 7:55AM

    Using your brains to make your life work: yeah.

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ARLENE_MOVES 2/10/2012 7:41AM

    Learn something everytime I read your blogs. Thanks!

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/10/2012 6:50AM

    Excellent observations! You are so "logical", Spock, old buddy! And gotta say I'm jealous of your 2332 while I'm living between 1200 and 1500! Still, I totally agree with those trade-off decisions: give up the handful of this at 10 a.m. so I can have my fruit when I walk in the door at 5 is so reasonable.

Hang in... injuries heal. Just too slowly for most of us, who would really like that hypo-thingy from Star Trek!


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BD3269PM 2/10/2012 6:35AM

    Thanks for sharing. You are doing great. Tracking food intake is so important. It really helps to see where we need improvement. I track my exercise too. It helps me to remain consistent and feel a committmetn to do it almost every day. You can do this!!! emoticon emoticon

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KRISZTA11 2/10/2012 4:21AM

    Great blog, thank you for sharing!
Thanks to tracking you became a master of our metabolism.

I like to track my food too, and looking back to pre-Spark time I'm not surprized I was so helpless facing weight gain again and again as I had no idea what I ate.

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/10/2012 12:05AM

    MOBYCARP, you're such a pragmatist! With your approach to both trials and triumphs, you're an inspiration all the way : )

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MSLZZY 2/9/2012 11:12PM

    Once that foot heals, activity will no longer
be a problem. It takes patience and we humans
are not known for being patient. In time, it
will get better. Hang in there!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 2/9/2012 10:14PM

    I went through something like that during my 6-month shoulder rehab.

While I mostly managed to maintain my weight, it was frustrating to watch my muscle melt away.

It did come back though. And it was good not to have a whole lot of fat to get rid on top of everything else, which is what would have happened if I'd continued eating my original amounts.

Hang in there. Injuries suck.


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