The Good Thing About Getting Stuck
Thursday, November 11, 2010
So, long story. . .
I was just getting back on track after my surgery in August--walking regularly, doing lots of cardio, but still overindulging on food. At least I was basically maintaining weight. When. . .
One Saturday afternoon I was at a friend's house. The kiddos were all jumping on the trampoline and I wasn't going to get my regular Saturday afternoon workout in, so I alternated getting my heart rate up by jumping on the trampoline with sitting back down with the grown-ups and visiting.
My third time up on the trampoline, I was jumping away when suddenly I landed wrong and my leg buckled underneath me. I couldn't walk, had to hobble into the house with help. My friend took me to the ER, where I was scolded by practically every health-care professional I saw. "Trampolines? Don't you know they're dangerous?"
Turns out I had an ACL/LCL strain. For those who don't know, the ACL is a stabilizing ligament that goes from your thigh bone to your leg bones in the middle of the knee. Without a tight ACL, I kept on having recurrences where my leg would buckle under me and I'd be in pain again.
The immediate emotion I had upon being injured was "Oh, no, I'm not going to be able to exercise." And sure enough, that leg injury kept me on crutches for a couple of weeks, with a leg brace for a few weeks more, when I finally was healed enough to start physical therapy. The challenge I had was that while you can control your weight simply through diet, THAT HAS NOT BEEN MY MAIN MEANS OF WEIGHT LOSS. All along, my weight loss has been mostly through exercise and SMALL dietary changes. To be unable to exercise was terrifying, because it meant weight GAIN.
I started PT at the end of October. I had a good session doing squats and stretches and step-ups and feeling like finally I was working on my muscle tone, if nothing else. Only a few sessions into PT, I had a pretty severe re-injury (while teaching the kid's class at church--crazy). I felt so overwhelmed, so frustrated. I had been back to walking/hiking. I had even gone to spin class and done my Jillian Michaels workout a couple of times.
That re-injury was about three weeks ago. Once again, I was getting stronger. I took it slower this time, just working on tiny muscle isolations--my hamstrings, my quads, my calves. PT took up several mornings a week when I would typically have gone to the gym, and I still haven't been back to the gym in probably 5-7 weeks.
Last Saturday I went on a good 3 mile hike. Felt strong. Sunday night I went to an activity at my son's school where I had to be down on the floor on my hands and knees pulling up duct tape from the carpeting. Monday when I went to PT my back was feeling a little bit off. By the time I was done with PT, I was having full-blown muscle spasms and could barely drive myself home, much less walk upright. I'm getting better, but slowly.
So here I am, having had three to four physical set-backs in the last four months. For a long time, I kept on eating as if I were still exercising 45 minutes 4-6 days a week. That meant I was up a good 10 pounds from my low of 189.8, and seeing 200+ if I was silly enough to step on a scale at night time. My new clothes were starting to feel tight, and I was frightened and desperate. Finally after these last two episodes, something clicked.
I realized--there are people in the world in wheelchairs. There are people with chronic pain disorders or other things that keep them from EVER being able to exercise. So what's my excuse? I started listening to my body and only feeding it when I was hungry. I started learning to stop immediately when I start to feel full. I started drinking water, and STOPPED eating my son's Halloween candy. And in a matter of two weeks, I'm down 5 pounds!
I also started the "Would you rather?" Diet. When I feel like eating something, I ask "Would you rather eat this? Or would you like to be cute?" (Right now, being cute seems to be winning out.)
So this is the good thing about getting stuck. I've had to figure out how to work around my new limited life. I'm realizing that if I can maintain/lose with very little exercise, I will be able to gradually add activity back as my knee and back allow. And in the meantime, I don't have to feel so "stuck" anymore. :)