Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Work Through the Pain

I learned something about myself yesterday.

I learned that I am capable of pushing through pain and doing what I am committed to doing. Oh, I knew I had determination and such, but like most people, I am not a fan of pain. I avoid it. In fact at the first sign of pain I generally give up whatever thing I am doing and go wallow. But not yesterday.

I am not kidding you when I say my physical therapy yesterday was the most physically painful thing I have experienced in awhile. I am not new to pain; I live with it every day. It is chronic in my joints because of severe degenerative arthritis and some old injuries and bone spurs that ought to be repaired. Well, that's my knees. Frankly I have no idea what's going on with my shoulders. Some days I cannot even raise them over my head. They get better and then worse again; I thought they had 'healed' and I had no shoulder pain when I saw the doctor last week so I didn't even bring it up. But the pain came back so I will have to go in and see what's up. Probably just more of the arthritis. It runs in the family and starts young. Right now, I cringe and wince every time I put on a shirt or a coat or a sweater. It hurts that bad. Anyway, I live with pain on a daily basis and I also get migraines (got a killer one yesterday) but they pale in comparison to the PT pain.

Those exercises did not hurt when I weighed 180. Not even the first time I did them in the PT office did they *hurt.* Uncomfortable, sure. Maybe a TEENY bit of hurt, but not actual pain. Now? PAIN. It is not the kind of pain that says "stop, you are hurting yourself." My therapist went over that with me, teaching me when to quit. This is more of a "wow you got soft, you have no strength, your legs are way heavier, and you are not used to moving" pain. I actually was in tears when I was lying on the floor doing the exercises. I was muttering to myself the whole time, and was not saying nice things, either. Okay, so you get the picture. Doing PT was very painful yesterday.

But I did it anyway. I forced myself to complete the reps and sets, to not give up and sit in a pile on the floor crying about how hard it is. I cussed under my breath and did it anyway. And I am no worse for it, either.

This is the first time in months that I have made it through ALL the PT exercises I am supposed to be doing. There is one... basically a modified one-footed squat... that he added after I had gotten fairly strong that I physically was unable to do yesterday. I tried but was not able. I will keep trying and eventually I will be strong enough to do it again.

It took me about 25 minutes to do all the exercises, including a 5 minute warm up on the bike. Later, I walked a mile with the dog. I intend to bike in 5-10 minutes sessions, once or twice every weekday, until I can build up to longer times without hurting myself. I also will be doing those PT exercises three times a week. I am strong enough. I can do this and I will not quit, pain or not.

My eating was okay.
Breakfast: 1 egg over easy, 1 slice bacon, 1 navel orange, 2 c coffee w/ 2 Tbsp half and half.
11:00, running errands: Medifast shake
1:00 lunch at home: nonfat Greek yogurt mixed with Barlean's fish oil, strawberries, blueberries, a few Marcona almonds and 3 pieces of dried coconut.
3:00 I was feeling a little *crazy* and starting to pace around looking for something to eat before going to get my little girl from school and take her to dance. I ate about 5 bites of rice pudding (homemade).
6:00 dinner: one braised short rib (grass fed beef), half cup of carrots that cooked with the ribs, 1/3 cup of steamed broccoli, and 2 big servings of salad (mixed greens/veggies, dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, Balsamic vinaigrette)

So after dinner I was uncomfortably stuffed. I ate way too much salad. It was so good.

Evenings have been the hard part of my day. After I get my daughter to bed around 7:30-8, I am TIRED. I can't go to bed until 10 at the earliest (kids/dogs) so that leaves me 2 hours to do *something*. I am usually too tired to do any cleaning or exercise at that point (although tonight I am going to try adding a 5-10 minute ride on the exercise bike at that time) and if I do not occupy myself, I tend to snack. I grab a few nuts, some fruit, some cheese, and heaven help me if there is junk food in the house because it is like my resolve is weakened and that is the time of day when I fight to say no. (Let me be clear that I am not *buying* any junk, but we have sort of a community kitchen with several adults contributing. We are re-addressing this issue right now). If there is no junk, I tend to want to eat a bunch of the healthier stuff or want to dive into higher calorie foods I keep on hand for my underweight/medical needs kids. I need to put together a more structured game plan for that time from 8 to 10 p.m. so that I am not thinking about food. I am always wishing I had more time in a day, so perhaps I can make better use of those two free hours.

Last night around 8:30 I ate a few almonds, then a few strawberries, then a few bites of pudding, and then I said to myself "hey wait, you need to knock it off and if you will just control yourself for awhile you can have a Medifast brownie." So I did some reading, watched a little TV, brushed the dog, and then made myself a Medifast brownie. Then I was okay.

Okay, enough talk, I am off to fetch with my dog for a bit and then get on my bike. Catch you later.


Leslie said...

Hang in there, Lyn. You'll see results quickly in the strengthening with PT and daily walking and biking - with arthritis, movement absolutely is key to keeping joints mobile and lubricated.

One thing that struck me as familiar was when you said how at 3 p.m. you felt yourself getting a little crazy and pacing around looking for something to eat before picking up your daughter. My comment to you about this (and to myself as well, because I know just how that "craziness" feels) is to try and pause for a few minutes when you feel that craziness, breathe into it, and see where it might take you. I usually respond by eating something so quickly that I lose that entry into my heart, soul, mind - wherever the craziness is coming from. If I can stay with it for a bit, I gain an insight, or at least an opportunity to be gentle with myself and assure myself that I won't perish if I don't stuff something into my mouth. It feels desperate and scary, and I don't always make it. But I'm working hard on trying to sit through the "hunger" that really isn't hunger, to see what lies beneath.

This is tough stuff - I'm with you every step of the way.

Anonymous said...

Good to read that you are excersising. I hope the pain goes away as you get futher and get used to excersising agan. You have made good food choises. That's great !

Diana said...

Lyn, I'm so happy about you doing your PT exercises! I know how hard it is to get back into exercising after not doing it for a while and gaining weight. I'm experiencing that myself.

I read your comment this morning on my sad post from last night. It made me get dressed and get to the gym. Although it took me two hours to convince myself and I only had time for 30 minutes of cardio. I wasted two hours trying to tell myself why I should NOT go to the gym. Funny, I never use to think about it. Now it's this big deal in the morning, go or not go. Shouldn't even be an option to not go.

Thank you for your support. Lord knows I need a big push these days to do anything good for myself. :)

Anonymous said...

If your daughter is in bed, how old is the next youngest? The 4 older boys are all teenagers, right? Are you staying up because you want to monitor them, or because you think you should/need to? I'm only asking because if you are tired, you should sleep! I appreciate wanting to be there for your kids but it sounds like you give so so so much to them (just from what I've read on your blog over the past 3 years) and it seems like when it comes to your kids and schedules/times a lot of times you use "can't" when, honestly, it's not can't- it's a choice you're making. I'm just wondering- could you make a choice that has more self love?

As I said, I have no clue your reasons for needing to stay up for "teenagers/dogs" but my first thought was "make the teenagers take care of the dogs and go to bed!" :)

This just reminds me a lot of your previous post of sleep and the position of your bedroom, and how you "can't" do this or that because of this or that- if it's a priority (and sleep should be) maybe try to radically change things: from location to schedule to the expectations/routine your teenaged sons have of you. Sleep is crucial for weight loss, and if you don't get enough it can be a killer. I am a monster and a half when I don't get enough sleep, I don't know how you do it!

Human In Progress said...

Re: those two hours you are trying to fill at night? Try devoting part of it to meditation. There are so many varieties to experiment with and it can help with almost any problem that crops up during a typical day--problems like your reaction to physical pain, to hunger, to stress, to cravings and urges to eat in the absence of hunger. Meditation is a productive use of time because it can transform your entire life. Most routines are also physically undemanding or can be adapted to be so, making it a good thing to do when your body is tired.

Karin said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Start with Whole30, then reevaluate. I think this medifast regime is messing you up. Having said that, I'm not in your shoes, I don't know you, you don't know me, I'm no expert.....but seriously, if you want to get your food and eating under control, there's no magic solution...but there is a plan that will help, will heal your gut, will help with those frenzied moments of wanting to binge. You're an amazing person and you've inspired so many people, I hope you find your answer.

Allison said...

Ok, I may be biased because I own a yarn shop, but find that knitting is the perfect way to keep my hands busy at night when I don't want to snack. It keeps me distracted, it's easy on the hands (there are even special knitting needles for those with arthritis) and it's easy to do while watching TV.

beerab said...

I will admit I still eat the MF brownies, with a bit of PB on top, it's like Heaven :)

Anonymous said...

Many of us have experienced yo-yo dieting, so we can understand what you're going through. My yo-yo fluctuations usually stay within a 20 pound range (220-240), not the huge extremes you're going through.

I know it's tough, and I hope you will be able to slow down the weight gain soon. I wish I had an answer. Frequent small low-carb meals seem to help me a little.

Best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lyn, I hope the PT pain has passed! (You earned your champ medal today.) Sometimes there can be some discomfort later in the day after PT, or the next day. Anyway, I sure hope you feel better!

May I ask for your input on something? I am wondering if you would do things differently, in hindsight. Of course, there are thousands of things I would change in my own life, looking back, but I wonder if--given the chance again-- you would be happy to maintain at 175-180 lbs., rather than pushing yourself to lose more (in light of the regain.)

I'm asking this for 2 reasons. First because it seems to reflect a common pattern among weight loss bloggers who get down to a "happy" weight (such as 175) but feel pressured to keep losing even when further loss, at that time, feels almost oppressive. Second, it's not just idle curiosity on my part. I've been maintaining in the mid 170s for about 18 months, and I feel great, but this weight is still considered a little high by BMI standards. (I'm a bit over 5'8".) Trying to lose more weight right now feels oppressive because I have to drop calories to a level where hunger becomes a burden, or start exercising (and risk worsening arthritis issues). Therefore, I've basically decided to make peace with my slightly higher than "normal" weight.

I feel great in size 10 jeans. (I used to wear 32s, or 5x). Maintenance seems routine and fairly easy most of the time. I guess I'm just thinking *out loud* here about the perils of pushing weight loss beyond the point where my body feels GREAT.

I wonder if this is an issue for other WL bloggers, too, and if it represents a potential source of self sabotage (risk for regain). For now, I feel that my body would protest and put up roadblocks (increase hunger hormones, for instance) if I foolishly--or stubbornly--tried to push it to a lower weight, mostly for vanity. Maybe after another few months, or even after another year of maintenance . But now? No. It would back fire, I suspect. Have you had similar thoughts? Thanks!


Lyn said...

Anonymous (hopefulandfree)~

Well, looking back, 175 seems downright skinny to me now. I would LOVE to be there now. I sure do wish I had stayed there rather than gaining. but I know at the time, I still felt huge in some ways. I could see the extra fat hanging off my body and knew it wasn't healthy. It wasn't about vanity much, though. I am in my 40's and vanity is not much on my mind. I was pushing to lose mroe on the advice of my doctors, mainly because of the knee/arthritis issue. Of course it would have been better for my knees had I stayed at 175 rather than gaining...

So, I think YOU know your limitations and your body best. If you are happy and comfortable and there's nothing medically pressing, why not stay at your happy weight? I would! It is better than the risk of going off the rails and regaining, IMO. Ideally we could all get to a "normal" BMI but we all have to know our limits and when to stop. And honestly I do not know what I will do when I get back to 175... stay, or keep working to get lower.

Jane said...

Good job on working through and doing your PT! I think your day of eating sounds good - I know what you mean about snacking at night. That is my problem too .. :/

jirons42 said...

Great resolve on doing your exercises! Have you thought about learning to knit, crochet or quilt by hand to keep your hands and mind busy during those evening hours?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your honest answer, Lyn! I appreciate your forthrightness. It gives me a lot to ponder. :)


timothy said...

that's great i too deal with uncomfortable pain all the time as i KNOW i have arthritus in my knees/joints even though it's undiagnosed (havent EVER had a physical when i was in school out in bfe bama unless you played sports it wasnt required. lolol so i do feel ya and that makes me so very proud that you pushed through. every time you do that you get stronger metally and physically! keep at it darlin you are doin great! xoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

May you be free of suffering.