Conundrum

I mentioned the other day that I had “pulled something” that made it difficult for me to stretch properly.  I wasn’t deliberately trying to be cryptic.  If you’ve read this blog very long than you know, I have no problem telling you that what I pulled was in my groin.  Heh, that sounds dirty.

Anyway, I was riding a stationary bike at the gym one day when I suddenly felt this sharp pain where my left leg meets up  with my pelvis, what I have learned is an abductor (?) muscle.  It only hurt for a second and didn’t prevent me from finishing my work out.  It doesn’t even hurt for the most part in my day-to-day activities, but I have found that certain movements, usually rotating outward, causes a twinge of pain and I am unable to do the classic stretching maneuver of sitting on the floor, placing the soles of my feet together and allowing my knees to naturally fall away from each other.

I wasn’t at all sure that this was contributing to my problems with Shin Splints, but when I realized it had been a good two months since the injury occurred and I was still having issues, it seemed wise to talk to a medical professional with the hopes of getting helpful advice how to speed things along in both the healing of this pain, and how to deal with (read: eliminate) the shin splints.  The Doctor didn’t really think there was much to be done for the groin thing, but agreed to send me to Physical Therapy anyway to make sure that there wasn’t anything they could do and to see if they can give me some advice about the shin splints.

I had the appointment with the physical therapist on Wednesday afternoon and after conducting a brief examination concurred with the doctor that there’s really nothing to be done.  She said, those kinds of pulls can take many months to heal and that I just have to wait it out.

She also showed me a couple stretches I can do that I haven’t been to help with my shins but her recommendation was to hold off the running for a while.  She asked me why I took up running and I told her: I know it’s good exercise, a good way to burn lots of calories and it’s something I’ve never been able to do before so I want to be able to.  She concurred that it is a good strategy, but she also suggested that I might want to wait until I’ve lost a bit more weight.  She wasn’t being unkind, as she acknowledged, I’m a big guy.  I’m 6’1″ and I have big bones, broad shoulders, and – in addition to being overweight – I have big muscles.  My calves are very big, my thighs are dense and tight.  Now if only those muscles were also lean, toned and defined.  *sigh*

Her feeling was that because I’m a big guy with a lot of bulk, that it may be too high impact for me at this point.  Interestingly, my knees do not hurt when I run, though they frequently hurt at other times.

She suggested that instead of running, I should try the elliptical machine, stating that it’s very similar to running as far as the movement and the calorie burn, but it is zero impact.  I told her, I can’t do the elliptical machine for very long and she said that I should just do what I can do (at most 5 minutes) and then build up.  She thinks that within three weeks I could do half an hour.  I have to admit, that’s hard for me to imagine at this moment, given that I know what it’s been like for me in the past, but then again, I never thought I’d be able to run for 3-5 minutes straight through either, and I was doing that at the beginning of this week.

But here’s my dilemma:  She did tell me that this was just a suggestion.  It’s up to me if I want to take her advice or not.  I’m not sure what to do.  I was into week four of the Couch to 5K (C25K) program and I don’t exactly want to throw that progress away.  On the other hand, she’s the expert; I am not.  I did, after all, go to see her for help with pain so I guess it would be dumb not to listen to her.  What she told me was that I should work on the elliptical machine and build up my endurance there and then when I get comfortable and can do half an hour or so on the elliptical machine then I can start adding back in some running.  It does seem like reasonable advice.  I’d follow it,no questions asked if I wasn’t nearly half way through the C25K thing but I hate to stop that after having made so much progress.

It seemed like a bit of a conundrum, but now that I’ve spelled it all out, I guess I know what I have to do.

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Finally!!

By this time, it should be no surprise to you that I’ve been fat my entire life, unless of course, you’ve never read this blog before, in which case… I’ve been fat my entire life.  This, by the way, is not going to be a self-pitying, feel sorry for me post.  The fact that I’ve been fat my entire life is just that, a statement of fact.

Anyway, over the years, I have tried on more than one occasion to lose the weight and be skinny and sexy.  Over the years, I have failed repeatedly.  I can blame this on any number of factors, but the basic factors are as follows:

A)  I lacked will power and eventually got tired of depriving myself of anything and everything good and I broke and gorged; and

2)  I was trying to get skinny and sexy.  Two things I may never be able to achieve.

It is also not news by now, unless this is still your first time to this site, that I’m making an effort to change my life and be healthier.  This time around I’m focusing on eating healthfully, but mostly being cognizant of what I’m eating when I’m eating.  In other words, I may still have a piece of cheesecake (or four) around my birthday (Oh wait, that’s a post I never wrote – it was my birthday last Saturday and the end result of that day was four pieces of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake coming home with me (I can never decide) and being eaten over the course of three days) but at least I’m paying attention to what I’m doing, I’m allowing myself the indulgence and I’m moving on.  Most of the time, I eat healthfully and therefor, I do not feel guilty when indulging in something less healthful.  Anyway, this time around I’m focusing on eating healthfully and getting regular exercise.

In fact, I don’t even feel like it’s right to say, “this time around” because this isn’t a temporary situation.  I’ve made the decision to live my life in a more healthy manner and this is something I’ll be doing for the rest of my days.  I’m not worrying about what I look like (not that I don’t have a secret desire) or how much I weigh (although, as a fat person, losing weight has been and will continue to be a side effect of being more healthy) I’m just working to live a healthier lifestyle and let the chips fall where they may.

I’m getting a little off track.  Course correction now engaged…

I’ve been seeing the same doctor for at least five years now, probably longer.  My doctor is pretty cool for the most part.  I mean he’s a Doctor and I’m not looking to go out for drinks after our appointment or anything like that, but as far as Doctors go, he doesn’t scare me or make me feel anxious and that’s really saying something because I’ve always hated going to the doctor.  The biggest complaint I have about my Doctor is that every time I would go in to see him he’d ask me about my weight and why it was so high.  I’d give him some kind of answer to placate him and try to avoid really discussing it with him because I wasn’t really ready to do anything about it, let alone do the right thing about it.  Even though I didn’t dislike my Doctor like I have  disliked most Doctors over the years, I still always sort of dreaded going to see him because I knew this conversation was unavoidable.

About four years ago, I started The Abs Diet and lost 30-40 pounds.  I went out of town for nearly two weeks to visit my Aunt and Uncle and help plan and execute my Grandfather’s 90th birthday party.  During that time, I managed to eat fairly healthfully, but I didn’t exercise once the entire time.  I had an appointment with my Doctor right after I got back, though now I have no recollection of the reason why.  I sat on the table in the exam room waiting for him to come in, and feeling somewhat enthusiastic because I just knew my Doctor was going to come in and comment on the fact that I’ve lost weight and encourage me to keep it up.

When he finally did enter the exam room, he was all business (which he always is) and went straight to work addressing whatever my issue was at the time .  The good news is, he didn’t say anything about my weight.  The bad news is, he didn’t say anything about my weight.  Anything. I was so disappointed and while it would be inaccurate to say that “it’s his fault I gained it all back”, that’s how I felt for a long time.  I had done the diet, in part, to satisfy him and he didn’t even seem to notice.  (This, by the way, was an entirely wrong reason to do the diet.)  After that  I never got back to the gym and my dedication to the diet waned greatly to the point of hardly following it at all.  Eventually, I canceled my account because it was stupid to be paying for access to something I wasn’t even using.

Over the three or more years that followed, I gained back every pound I had lost and then some, culminating in the condition I was in when I started this blog, weighing 309 pounds, never exercising and being in a lot of denial about what I looked like and what my condition really was.

About a year ago, I decided that I wasn’t happy being so over weight.  I decided I needed to do something about it.  I wasn’t fully convinced yet, but I was working on it.  I started paying attention to what I was eating.  A lot of that time was spent paying attention to how bad the things I was eating were, while I continued to eat them, but I firmly believe that’s an important first step.  If you’re not being honest with yourself about your eating you won’t be able to change it.  OK, I’m getting off track again.

Anyway, a few months later, I began seriously considering a career change.  I’m still considering it and I don’t know if it’s going to be realistically feasible or not.  But I’m thinking of becoming an EMT.  (Clearly this part of this post is for you newbies who have never read this blog before – and my guess is there aren’t any of you reading this.  Oh well.)  I realized that I couldn’t physically do the job and that if I was serious about becoming an EMT I was going to have to make some serious changes in my life to be able to physically do the job.  What I realize now is, whether I change careers or not, whether I become an EMT or not, I don’t ever want to be held back by my physical ability again.

When I started, a year ago, just being cognizant of what I was eating, I lost 10-15 pounds.  When I went to take care of my mother, for two weeks, after her by-pass surgery and ate many of my meals (healthy ones) with her, (but still sometimes eating junk when not with her) I lost another 10 pounds, all from paying attention to what I was eating.  But by then I was beginning to be more thoughtful of my choices and deliberately choosing healthier fare.  Once I made up my mind that I wanted to be healthier physically, I joined a gym and I began really trying to plan my meals and eat better.

I am now, once again using The Abs Diet but not because I’m “on a diet”.  I’m using it because for a relatively nominal fee, I get a preplanned menu with good food (and the ability to swap out anything I don’t want), a prepared shopping list for that menu, a preplanned work-out routine for the gym and a mechanism for tracking my progress.  It takes all the guesswork out of it for me and I like that!  Using this program for guidance, but not adhering religiously to the letter of the law on it, I am, as of this morning, down to 255 pounds – which, by the way, is just one pound over what I weighed the day I sat in the Doctors office waiting for him to congratulate me only to have him not say a word.

What’s the point of all this?  Well, I’ll tell you.  I had a Doctors appointment this morning.  Nothing major.  I pulled something several weeks ago, while on the stationary bike at the gym.  I thought it would go away on it’s own, but it hasn’t and it’s preventing me from being able to stretch properly, which in turn is making it harder for me to follow through on my running endeavor.

I sat on the bed in the exam room for just a couple short minutes while I waited for the Doctor to come in and the minute he walked in the door, the very first words out of his mouth were, “Well, you’ve lost a significant amount of weight!”

Yes!  Yes, I have!  It’s about damn time you noticed!!!