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Changing the "I can't to I can!" and stepping outside the box.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Oh dear! My spark activity tracker is getting low on batteries. I was just thinking it is time to increase my goal from 1,000 steps to 5,000 again. A couple of times this week I got over 10,000 steps! Amazing, right? I have a cane, my walker and my crutches available but at times I feel like I could dance the walking is so easy. Mostly when I am barefoot and in the house. Although it only takes doing one step and suddenly I can't bear weight at all and that can last for hours. Despite that I did my first day in months of real housecleaning. DH moved the vaccum between levels but I did some vacuuming, dusting, wiping floors, cleaning bathrooms. Three hours in all (big house). It felt so good. Then I hit the pool and did my aquafit/water walking. THEN I went to meet my B&B guests on the Rideau trail and walked in a bit to guide them out to the parking lot. LOVED it. I felt like a human being. Still no surgery date for my knee replacement but at least things are better!

Today I think I want to talk about stepping outside the box. I appreciate all the comments that I'm not normal... hehehe....on my last blog. No, I agree, there is no "normal". But why is it that we can get stuck thinking that we can't participate because we can't do something perfectly? I can't bike because there is construction... I can't go to the gym because there is not time... I can't do situps because I'm too fat so I can't do core exercises.... I was browsing a bunch of blogs where "I can't" seemed to be the theme for the day.

I remember the "I can'ts" and the pity party. I am sure that my food dragon loved that mind set because innevitably it sent me to food and thinking "why not?".
-out of shape..
-not enough time..
-not enough money...
-no motivation
They were wonderful excuses to turn to sugar, stimulate my desire to bake and find comfort in cooking "for others". It was the all or nothing attitude. I felt like I had to go to gym for an hour or it wasn't worth it. I had to do something that would make me sweat. I had to look good while doing it and didn't want to ask for help or look ridiculous in a class. Plus I had the experiences of doing it all, too hard and too fast and injuring myself. I did't really understand the idea of warmups and cool downs and stretching. No wonder exercise did not excite me. It was boring... I felt incompetent and it resulted in pain. Even when it was a positive experience I rarely did it consistently and would end up back in my "rut".

Something changed in me just before I joined Spark People. I have shared on my spark page and in my spark people success story how my friend helped me get started walking. I was so derpressed I was suicidal. All my thoughts were "I can't".

I think... I wish... I could bottle or share how an attitude change can change everything... but for me it has. Today, with a knee injury I still am struggling but I try and brainstorm and problem solve. In the depths of my dispair I am sure I would have HATED me. I was a wall of resistance and excuses. But it was me who was suffering.

How DID I do it?????
I chose an impossible but meaningful goal. I still do that. My goal then was to decide to live and have pain and do things rather than spend the rest of my days in an electric lift chair watching TV. I chose walking from Ottawa to Kingston on the Rideau trail. Why? Still can't pinpoint it. But you have no idea how complicated a goal it was. It's not as though the trail runs along a road. It frequenlty is in wilderness near.. nothing. A road that can drop you at one section may have to drive around lakes and along dirt trails an hour to pick you up on the other side, a mere hour of walking. I say a mere hour but for a person who could only walk 25 steps at the start, an hour committment of walking was... unthinkable, unimaginable, and very very scary. I was just talking with B&B guests who are walking the trail and they were sharing some of their experiences and wow, I remember!
It requires brainstorming.
It requires asking for help.
It requires starting very very slowly with small goals.
It requires ... baby steps, one step at a time.

When I hurt my knee I didn't go back to my lift chair. I had to figure out how to get in and out of the pool because I could not do steps. Forget grace. I had be able to get down onto the ground into a sitting position and then be able to get back up... so that was my first goal and at first I always had to have people around me to help me. But I figured out how to use chairs. I had to adapt my normal pool walking routine and keep that leg straight. When I do stretching (think Whinney the Pooh does yoga) I grab an exercise ball to drape myself over instead of doing child pose because I can't kneel. I use my exercise ball for doing pushups or do situps on my bed. I went through spark people exercises to find ones that I could do when I realized I could not do my "usual ones". No, I can't walk a distance still... but I have my walking poles, my crutches and walker. I use what I need to. My pride... oh my goodness in some ways my pride got thrown out the window long ago. I don't CARE what I look like any longer. I am determined to keep going forward. I remember seeing Indy~Girl's video where she showed lying in her bed when she was immobilized because of her excessive weight... but she started dancing in bed. She moved her arms and shoulders and wiggled. And look at her now!

We all have choices. In the pity mode we think we don't. But we DO! I think it is safe inside our "box". It is what we know even when we hate it. Whether it is pride or fear we are willing to endure and tell ourselves that we are not able to change. I know that I used food and anger and controlling behaviour to deny and hide. I had diabetes. I was obese. I had bone on bone arthritis with terrible pain, high blood pressure, depression, and an eating disorder. I didn't set out to get rid of all those things. What I did do was stop dieting. Instead i started making choices towards getting out of that chair.

Here is the reality. My last knee surgery I lost mobility. I can't bend that knee even to 90 degrees which is what you need to be able to get your legs under you to get up from a chair, or the toilet, or do stairs. I depend on this injured knee - but possibly with the knee replacment I will lose mobility in it too. Right now I have it straight to walk on it so all that getting up from chairs I need things to grab onto and pull myself up. I COULD say "I'm injured" so I'll just wait until things get better..... stay in my box, but I have no idea what is ahead. There is no guarentee that I will be able to do any more than what I can do now. So this afternoon I am going kayaking. Surprised? We had to find a launch site that I could access. I had to find a "sit-upon" style that I didn't have to bend my leg to get in and out of. I need help to get out or I will be sitting in that kayak or rolling out into the water and have to problem solve how to get out of the water stepping on uneven rocks... which my knee won't do..... I have to limit my time on the water and just in case my knee gives out I'll have to have my crutches available to get back to the car. Lots of problems solving and thinking ahead... but I would not be doing any of this by saying "I can't". Instead asking myself "how CAN I?"

I know I used to be resistant. I would roll my eyes. Argue. Change the subject. I can imagine if you are sitting with a problem you are probably resistant to to the well meaning people tring to problem solve for you, whether it is a family member or doctor or therapist or friend. It may be looking at ways to eat so that you won't die of a heat attack... of ways to cut down your living expenses so that you can afford to retire.... or how you can practice getting up and down from the floor so that you can stay living in your own home unafraid of falling.... or how you can attend an event or get a job or just be more comfortable in your clothes or being in public or playing with your grandkids... but I hope you think about, today what small choice you CAN make.
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