Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rising Up from Rock Bottom

OK, so maybe I am being a little dramatic with my title today – did I really hit rock bottom last week? Not really. I'd say it was almost rock bottom when I first joined the gym back in the week after Christmas 2013. While my total effort didn't really start happening until May 2014, it was at that time I started working with a trainer and thinking about the things I needed to do to get out of where I had gotten myself to. I was really, really big and it was affecting my day to day life in bad ways.

However, I felt really down and low last week. I felt like I just couldn't do all this stuff anymore. I felt like I was never, ever going to get below the 270s. I was super afraid of heading back in the other direction, though, too, so I was between a rock and a hard place. The good news was that I while I did gain five pounds from one Saturday weigh-in to the next, I was still IN the 270s and it was definitely not too late to take corrective action (although, is it ever, really?)

As I talked about in the last post, last Friday was sort of my rock bottom day and it is the day that I decided to put dignity aside and I posted on Facebook a plea for help.

Never, ever be afraid to do that. It was the best thing I could have done at that point.

Here I am on Wednesday in the middle of day 4 of "post-crisis" and things have been going really well. I feel rejuvenated and focused again, and you can bet that I am treasuring every day that feels like this. I am also super happy that I am back down in what has felt like a "normal" zone of 273 as of this morning. Gotta keep it going! October may finally be the month that sees the 260s once and for all!

Though it took me a few days for it to sink in, my meeting with Mindy the nutritionist was so helpful. I have our conversation kind of running on a loop in the back of my mind. I am thinking more about balancing my meals and I actually LOVE not thinking about exercise calories anymore. I know that I have 1900 calories to work with every single day and I am enjoying piecing it all together to make it work – pretty easy, actually! Having all the wiggle room that those nebulous exercise calories gave me was clearly not working. Calorie counting is an inexact science enough on its own without trying to include what you'd like to think is the number of calories you're burning through exercise. Part psychology, part common sense. Either way, it is working for me now and that is what matters most. One day at a time.

I've come across a couple really great blog posts that I would like to share here, in case someone else might also benefit from them. The first is from the fabulous Leo at Zen Habits, and it talks about exactly what was going on with me, and how to recover from relapsed good habits. The other one just arrived in my inbox this morning and I love how Nia Shanks talks about how trying to do too much all at once might not be as good as doing less more thoughtful and focused activity. I couldn't help but feel that that email was a sign telling me, "Hey! It's OK to take a rest day! You should take a rest day!" Like, I know this intellectually, but sometimes I feel bad about it anyway, which is stupid. Big thanks to both of them and to the universe for sending me such timely messages.


I took the day off from exercise today because I had double stuff yesterday and I felt like I needed some extra rest in the form of sleeping in, not to mention giving my muscles a break. I'd been told to do PT exercises every day, so I've been trying to stick to that and may end up fitting at least some in throughout the day, or after dinner tonight. But can I tell you about yesterday? It was good. Most mornings I go to the gym and do PT plus either upper body strength or cardio, and sometimes both. Yesterday was PT and cardio. I upped my time on the dreaded elliptical to six (!) minutes, and did just over 20 minutes on the treadmill. (I totally get the "dreadmill" moniker now that I have been doing all my walking and running outdoors for the past eight months, by the way – ugh, I really need to get a new set of headphones to make it less drudgery.) I left the gym feeling sparkly and strong. My quads have totally been feeling that elliptical work, holy tamoly!

Then after work I had NoBo, for which I have been mentoring the WalkFit program. Only one person showed up for my group – the most dedicated and fierce Nancy, who has made a reputation for herself of being quite the fast walker. She is super awesome and can walk as fast as my good running pace! So I feel rather silly being the "mentor" when she is leaving me in the dust during the fast walk intervals. On the plus side, walking with someone like her is pushing me beyond my comfort zone in walking and so I end up getting quite the good workout when I'm with her. I just always tell her to go as fast as she needs to and that I will catch up, which usually is the case. We have a good rapport and so it's all fun and the 40 minutes we're at now goes by way faster than the 20 minutes on the treadmill. (Don't tell anyone, but I did a couple minutes of a slow jog during a couple intervals last night...)

Frankly I was a little worried about how I'd be feeling today after all that activity, especially my poor knee. Well, I don't know if it's the new exercises the doctor gave me or what, but much to my surprise most of the pain I have had lately was almost all gone from the knee!

I won't get too excited just yet, but was so happy that I finally feel some sort of progress.

By the way, in addition the bunch of other stuff I do for PT (fire hydrant, pointers, bridge and clamshell with the dread band, glute stretches, kicks, and more), the doctor has me doing what is basically a cobra pose with 3 second pauses x10, every two hours, as well as a simple back stretch that I also feel in my glutes that looks like the standing back bends show here. (I like that head press one, too! I'd like to be proactive in taking care of my spine as I get older.) That one I am supposed to do 10x every hour.

Isn't funny how our bodies are like dominoes? If one part isn't working optimally, it will affect another part somewhere down the line that you weren't expecting. This is often the case with runner's knee, as I have been learning.

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