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Convalescent Musings

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The bad foot is getting better, slowly. Today it felt good enough in the morning without tape or shoes that I went to work without taping it. That turned out to be premature, but I had the foresight to have athletic tape with me just in case.

During the day, I found myself occasionally walking at an almost normal pace. Sometimes I didn't notice the foot hurting at all. Of course, at other times it was obvious and I had to be slower than normal; but being able to walk normally at all is progress.

There is still no question of trying to run on the bad foot. Three paces of testing are enough to make that obvious.

SparkPeople doesn't have much in the way of specific advice on how to deal with injuries, but I'm finding that some of the lessons from SP are helpful.

First, patience. Weight loss is supposed to be a long, slow process requiring ongoing effort in the face of not always making progress. I really didn't face that during my weight loss phase, but I'm facing it with the injury. I want it to be all better, right now! But that isn't reality. I need to keep doing the stuff that lets it heal, and trust that healing will happen.

One of the things that I need to do to let it heal is avoid aggravating the injury. That means no running, and limited walking. Here's a second lesson from SP, use a pedometer. In weight loss mode, I wanted to get 10K steps every day. In injured foot mode, that's too many. I've been getting 5K to 8K steps most days. Progress is better when I get fewer steps; but fewer than 5K is only going to happen on Sundays. This requires yet more patience.

Another thing I need to do is get enough rest. Here's a third lesson from SP, get enough sleep. That means enforcing a strict bedtime, and trying to get to bed even earlier when I need more sleep. That's a hard thing for a natural evening person to do, but it's easier than arranging to be able to sleep later in the morning. And progress is better when I get 9 hours of sleep than when I get 8.

Yet another SP lesson is, listen to my body. The fact that I *can* sleep for 9 hours tells me my body has healing to do. When I'm healthy and generally well rested, I can't sleep that longer than about 8 hours.

And of course, there's the obvious SP lesson: Control what I eat, and monitor what my weight does. That turns out to be one of the easier things to deal with. Right now my nutrition range is 400 calories per day lower than it was when I was running 4 days a week. That seems to be the right level to maintain, right now; but I know I will need to adjust that as things change. I hope the next change is an upward adjustment because I become more active; I fear the next change will be a downward adjustment because I rested so much I became less ft. But whichever way it shakes out, I'll deal with it.

Meanwhile, I've found that I can work up a light sweat in 15 minutes doing stuff that doesn't bother the foot, while I wait for steel cut oats to simmer in the morning. There's a bunch of small SP lessons in that - patience to cook steel cut oats, desire to be active, adapting to different exercises such as pushups on the ball, and small regular quantities of exercise being better than sitting on my butt feeling sorry for myself.

I will run again. It's not yet clear when, but it's going to happen. For right now, the plan is to do what I can to make the time when I can run happen sooner. Psychologically, this is not unlike losing weight; I need to do the routine things daily, and trust that the results will follow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 2/22/2012 8:16AM

    Patience will win out over the long haul... as hard as that may be.

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FIT2BETHIN 2/22/2012 5:38AM

    Wow! You've got it figured out! Good for you!

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KRISZTA11 2/22/2012 4:52AM

    Well written, great blog!
My favorite is "small regular quantities of exercise being better than sitting on my butt feeling sorry for myself".

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/22/2012 1:08AM

    What a great blog, MOBYCARP. I'm always in awe of your ability to analyze a situation and make the best of it.

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CAROLJEAN64 2/21/2012 10:06PM

    I love this blog, because it proves what I say to most new people when I welcome them. Spark People isn't a weight loss site, it's a healthy living site that happens to have weight loss as a side benefit if you need it.

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WATERMELLEN 2/21/2012 9:20PM

    Very thoughtful blog: and good review of rhe lessons all of us need to learn over and over again.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/21/2012 9:12PM

    Well said, brother. Time to heal. Patience to heal. Sleep to heal. Take care of you. One day at a time.

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Maintenance is not Steady State

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Since injuring the foot, I've adjusted my calorie range 3 times. First, I moved it down a little. Then I gained 3 pounds rather quickly, so I moved the range down a chunk. I lost back the 3 pounds, plus some; so I nudged the range up.

Upon reflection, what ought to happen is that as the foot slowly, every so slowly gets better I should be burning more calories. This mostly won't be in the form of exercise identified to the SP tracker, but in the form of walking more because it hurts less. That will probably create a need to adjust my calorie range repeatedly over the course of the year.

If and when I can get back to running 4 days a week, it should go back up to where it came from. If training for a half marathon (which sounds like fantasy land right now) ends up getting me to run more than I was running, I might even have a higher calorie range than where I was.

This is not what I envisioned when I achieved my initial goal weight. I envisioned figuring out how many calories I needed to eat to maintain, then settling down to eat that many. I envisioned eventually getting a feel for how much food that is and being able to stop tracking.

That's not going to happen. Real life is that how many calories I burn will change over time as I change what I do. Even without a foot injury, it was inevitable that there would be times I'd run more or run less, by enough to affect how much I need to eat to maintain weight.

So I come back to the very first thing I learned from SparkPeople: Track. Everything. I. Eat. I need to do this, because if I don't know what I'm eating I can't tell how to make changes when the weight moves somewhere it shouldn't.

Yeah, I understand that the theory is to learn natural hunger signals, eat when you're hungry, and let your body tell you when to stop. My body isn't very good at that, or I'm not very good at listening. I am less hungry now on less food than I was when I was running; but the reduction in hunger lagged the need to reduce what I eat. So my personal answer is, I need to track everything and control calories, carbs, fat, and protein. So far, I haven't felt the need to track anything else, such as sodium or fiber; but if the day comes when I need to do that, at least it will fit into the system I use.

This may be a major reason why maintenance is so hard. It's not like parking a car in the garage; it's more like trying to keep a boat in one spot in the middle of a lake with variable currents and winds. It can be done, but it requires me to pay attention and make adjustments in response to changing circumstances.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AALLEY2 5/9/2014 8:30AM

    emoticon I love how you compare maintenance to a boat on a lake. I totally agree with that! emoticon

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BOPPY_ 4/2/2014 4:07AM

    Well done.

Actually, in your case, it is steady state -- through your intervention. Or, as close as us hooman beans ever get.

Lee emoticon

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PRESBESS 8/22/2012 12:24PM

    Excellent blog! That last paragraph sums "maintenance" up so truthfully. I'll have to hang on to your analogy and use it from time to time. I see your blog was back in February. I hope you are back to running now.

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KANOE10 8/22/2012 8:11AM

    Hope your foot feels better. You are correct about maintenance. It requires daily focus, attention and adjustment.


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WINDSURFNERD 8/16/2012 11:42AM

    You put it well! I am currently training for my first HM (scary!) but doing it partly to claw my way back to "maintenance weight" after losing 20# and gaining 10 back. Your post gave me insight that "static thinking" is how I gained in the first (and 2nd) place...

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HOUNDLOVER1 8/16/2012 1:49AM

    Interesting perspective. I guess maintenance is different for everyone. For me the intuitive eating works well at this point. My weight does not stay exactly the same but close. But we are all different and have different goals. I like when my weight goes up because I gain muscle.
The analogy of the boat in the lake makes sense!

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HAKAPES 2/21/2012 6:38PM

    I also find that when I am consistent in tracking my nutrition, and exercise, my weight goes the way I want (either up or down). When I start guessing, it usually goes up fast.

Otherwise, walking is one of the most economic forms of movement, I myself need a lot of walking (hours) to make really a calorie difference vs. non-walking.

As for the tracking, I see that if I organize it in a way that it is easy and fast to do, it happens. When it is slow and complicated, then it often gets skipped.

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BOBCATGIRL76 2/21/2012 10:05AM

    That is such a good way of looking at it. And I completely agree. I always find that when I don't track is when I don't like my results. I just need to stop acting like it's so time consuming to track. Especially when I have the app right on my phone now. Hope your foot starts feeling better.

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FIT2BETHIN 2/20/2012 4:41PM

    It's always good to reflect and re-group. You'll get there! Hope the foot heals soon!

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RG_DFW 2/20/2012 8:22AM

    That's a great analogy for maintenance... I may use it somewhere

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KRISZTA11 2/20/2012 2:57AM

    It is a great blog, I love the way you compared maintenance to keeping a boat in the middle of the lake.
This is the way I feel too.
I know there is a small but happy minority who maintain their healthy weight without an effort, just listening to their body.
But I haven't become one of them - maybe it will take years, maybe it will not happen. Until then, I'm with you in tracking everything.

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ONEWEIGH 2/19/2012 11:02PM

    Well put!

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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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