Monday, April 6, 2015


Today I was in a class, where I was instructed to "run" from point A to point B. I made a half-hearted effort, but I think you all know how I feel about running. (I wish I could, but the knees. The feet. All of that.) The instructor told me to try again, and I did, in the same slow, hesitant manner. I apologized... "I can't run. I don't want to injure myself again." She said, "You have to believe. You just have to believe you can."

Pondering this at home, the conversation in my head goes

me: hey, maybe she is right. Maybe if I just try harder.
myself: no, dummy, you will hurt yourself!
me: I could probably do it, if I didn't THINK I can't...
myself: do you remember running, two and a half years ago, and hurting your feet? THAT is what caused your plantar fasciitis!
me: yeah, it did, that sucked.
myself: YES it sucked! You were in pain for two years because you did that! Believing didn't help you then!
me: I know, but maybe this would be different. Shouldn't I at least try?
myself: Two years. Don't you forget it. Don't you forget six weeks in a knee brace and another six weeks on crutches. Don't forget the painful therapies, the shots in your feet, the wishing you could go for a walk and not being able. Don't you dare forget how miserable it was to have to sit at home, to use a shower chair, to gain weight from inactivity.
me: You're right. I am not even going to try. It is so not worth it.

A good part of the battle I have with weight and fitness is mental. I argue myself into corners all the time. I convince myself of many things I am not capable of. But how to know when I am right? Is the instructor right? Would believing make it happen?

I am not going to run. I don't want to risk it. This is a fear-based decision: I cannot deal with daily pain and difficulty with mobility and feeling trapped like I did before. I want freedom, but can I be free if I don't take risks? Or are the risks in this case foolish?

Just thinking out loud. Because I don't want to be foolish, but I also don't want to be the person who wouldn't even try.


Deepa said...

Lyn I agree with you inner voice. I have been following your blog post all these years and trust me it's not worth it. it's better to be moving slow than not moving at all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn,

I've been reading your blog for some time - because I think you're witty and open and caring and I enjoy seeing every new post.

I'm not sure whether you get many comments from women who are struggling with anorexia - but I am. I recently have relapsed and am now at my lowest weight ever.

Seeing some of your diet posts about limiting certain food groups, counting calories, fastings, cravings and binges (although I know you overcame this) bears so much resemblance to my own illness at times (I know we struggle with entirely different things!)that it does make me wonder where the line is drawn between someone like me who is underweight and continues to see more weight I need to lose, opens and closes the pantry without taking anything and agonizes over an apple, and someone like you who is aiming for a certain body weight and health, but also sees negative things when she looks at her body.

Some days your "good" calorie days are my worst, yet I can still continue to lose weight rapidly, and again it makes me wonder the biology of certain people. I KNOW there are many anorexics that maintain healthy BMI's and even overweight or obese ones, because it is a MENTAL illness.

So many questions - and I suppose the one I will pose to you is, do you ever feel as though you have slipped into an anorexic mind set of wanting to eat but being unwilling because the foods around you aren't safe/right/good/too much?


Monique Noel said...

You don't have to run, but I think being active would help you a great deal. Some ideas:

a gentle, non-heated yoga practice
elliptical (low to no impact)
recumbent bicycle
tai chi
free weights

Also, I meant to comment where you wrote that when you were tracking you tended to eat less. That is not a throwaway comment, that should be an AHA! moment. If you know you'll eat less when you track, track daily!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jennifer said...

I've been reading your blog through the last year and wanted to comment.
I was 75 pounds overweight, I have COPD and
pulmonary fibrosis. I have spent years in and out of hospitals. There wasn't a chance in hell I could run and not injure myself. So I started walking and walking at a very fast pace as well as a diet change. I've lost all the weight and then some. I still don't run. However I didn't quit and am still maintaining at five pounds below my goal weight. You can do this! You just have to make a decision that you will not quit. If running doesn't work then do something else.

Betsey C. said...

"You just have to believe you can". UGH! I find that mindset to be so misguided and annoying. We do what we can within the bounds of our physical limitations. We listen to our bodies, and we try not to hurt ourselves. I have RA. Would I love to play tennis? Sure I would. Can I play if I "just believe I can?". Not without pain and injury, and that's just reality.

Anonymous said...

No, I think give this one a miss, or at the very least, talk it over with your knee/foot doctor about managing the risks. As someone with chronic illness & pain, I can definitely relate to your fears around re-injury and I think those are entirely justified!

Running is not the only form of exercise available to you. I see nothing wrong with opting to use safer options (cycling, hand weights, fast walks, etc.) rather than exposing yourself to increased risks of injury, pain, forced to be sedentary, etc.

Anonymous said...

I am a runner and I agree that it is a dangerous exercise. You could "try" but it is easy to get hurt. why not do elliptical, bike, or power walk?

JM said...

Why can t you walk fast? Doing a little jog in a class is not going to give you PF. Why not ask a physical therapist what exercises that you can do w/ o aggravating it? I think MORE exercise not less is best for preventing injury, as long as you go slow, and work up to it. Not saying to go for a quick jog on concrete, but a minute or 2? of running is not going to hurt you, for sure! How long was the distance they wanted you to run? And could you fast walk it instead until you are comfy running?

LHA said...

I don't think it is foolish to be cautious after being injured and very limited in mobility because of it. It seems reasonable to me that you would want to seek forms of exercise that carried a low risk of injury or joint damage, like swimming, weight training, stationary bike, etc. That's not being weak, it's being wise. Just my thoughts of course.......

Lyn said...

Anonymous (x)~

Your story touches my heart. I feel like I so relate to anyone with an ED... we are so alike, and I agree, anorexia and BED and bulimia are all mental illnesses... and the physical stuff just compounds everything.

I think I was in that mindset you speak of when I was on Medifast for awhile. I was almost afraid to eat some days. I remember wishing I didn't HAVE to eat. I had a fear that if I ate something that was not a shake or a Lean and Green meal I would flip out, lose control and regain. (And look, that pretty much happened). I sometimes do skip eating much because the foods offered aren't AIP, but I want them. I still want them and go home and eat something else.

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

I wouldn't run if my life depended on it. For all kinds of reasons. Some that we share. There are other types of exercise that I enjoy and can benefit me more. But mostly I don't run because I don't like running. And that's reason enough/

Lyn said...


very true, it is an aha moment :)


I did do a fast walk/jog and it was not fast enough. I was urged to speed it up, but I am just not willing to risk another injury. My tendinitis and plantar fasciitis happened after I started doing a bit of faster jogging outside while training my dog. Nothing long distance. I don't know why it happened, so that makes me a bit more nervous about pushing it.

Re: doing other exercises, as several commented~

yes, I am definitely focusing on "safer" exercises like swimming, biking, lifting ad walking. Those are not activities I am doing in this class though.

Lynne said...

You don't have to run, but you could spin - and if you spin wear the proper foot gear - a stiff bike shoe (not a running shoe). I have had many problems with my feet, and knees and hips but I take the steps necessary to prevent injury. I will not, however, sit out because it might happen again, and you shouldn't either. Would you not cross the street b/c you "could" get hit by a car? Find something that fits - there is much you can do and get your heart rate up... You CAN DO IT. Just stop talking to yourself! That's the good thing about taking a class like spin - All you have to do is decide to show up. Once there, it's your ride and with the right instructor you can find the motivation to move!!!

Josie said...

Yes try! No you can't run, that's not a fear based decision, that's a fact.

However, you can walk fast until you sweat and you can use your bike. THOSE EXERCISES WILL NOT HURT YOUR KNEES and they will aid in weight loss and increase of metabolism.

I commented last week when you posted about energy. My comment(s) were the ones about pushing yourself to walk and bike. Your response was definitely fear based and it shouldn't be. Yes you have to TRY.

I have zero cartilage in both of my knees and I used it as denial for a while, until I decided to listen to my doctor and bike. EVERY DAY.

Listen to an audio book while you walk - briskly, focusing only on you.

Deniz said...

The inner voice has it in my opinion.

You know better than anyone what your body will/will not stand for. Don't be bullied (sounds as though there was a little element of that, phrased as 'encouragement') into something which isn't right for you.

Lyn said...


My orthopedic surgeon specifically told me not to 'spin' (class) because I should "only" ride a recumbent bike, due to the angle, for my knees. That's why I bought a recumbent bike and ride it at home.

Also, re: some of the comments... this post isn't really about exercising or not exercising. I totally agree exercise is important and I am swimming, lifting, biking and walking this week and hope to continue. The request to run was in the context of a sprint, where a fast walk/slow jog won't suffice. It's not a class I have to take... just one I wanted to try. The request caused some internal dialogue and that's what I wanted to share.

Sometimes I want to do what people tell me I should do. Try to run. Try eating 2500 calories a day. Try Atkins. Try cutting out this or that food. I tend to wonder if other people are right. I think I need to learn to trust my gut and do what I think is best for me, regardless of others' opinions.

Blods said...

Hi Lyn,
Last night I was thinking of how debilitating the PF was for you before and was so pleased it has improved so much for you now. Please DON'T risk it, do some other gentler exercise, it really isn't worth the gamble. Just keep doing what you've been doing recently and building on your successes. After all slow and steady often wins the race. Take care Blods xx

Xani said...

Hi Lyn,

I definitely believe in this case you needed to listen to your body and make the choice not to run. That instructor doesn't know your history (I like to think that if they did, they would have been more understanding. In fact I think it was somewhat irresponsible for them to pressure you to run after you mentioned your history of injury!).

I get exercise-induced migraines, which are horrible, and can sometimes leave me incapacitated for several days at a time. Running (or other intense exercise) is a major trigger. I often have to remind myself that if I run at all, I am risking a headache. I walk TONS (about 15k steps a day) to keep myself active and prevent re-gaining weight, and sometimes I just want to get it done with it faster (aka running). I have to weigh the risk. If I overdo it (which sometimes means just jogging for 10 minutes, other times I can run 3+ miles and no headache, it's very hard to predict), I could be out for a few days. You are looking at being out of commission, in pain and miserable for MONTHS if you re-injure yourself. I totally respect your choice. I hope you can find other ways to add activity to your day. Big fan of walking and the FitBit, here. Good luck!!

Margaret said...

You know your own body and your own experience. You were right not to risk it.
I can't run, either. That is, I can run -- I can do a fast dash, or I can run for several minutes. But I don't do it because I know it will mean weeks or months of joint pain afterwards.
I've been encouraged to try running in a fitness class by the instructors –- they know me personally, and they think I'm afraid I'm not fit enough. They would say "little by little, just a bit today, and you'll get there eventually."
But they are young and their bodies are still on an upward path to improvement -- they don't take into account what it means to be older and have degenerating joints.

Catherine55 said...

You do not have to run to get in shape. Why not do the elliptical instead? Your feet will be in place and there is low impact -- much safer!

mog said...

With classes if you have a preexisting injury or condition the best approach is to tell your instructor before hand.

"Hey, I am recovering from a serious injury which had me debilitated for 2 years. I won't be doing any running in this class because of the risk of aggravating that condition. If there are running components could you give me an alternative exercise that is better suited for me?" or even a "Hey, I don't run due to injury, so when you say run I will be doing Burpees."

That means you don't have to try to explain in the moment, the instructor won't think you are just copping out (lots of people need and WANT to be pushed by their instructors, which is why they pay for classes) and by proactively asking for/providing an alternative you are going to get the most out of the workout physically and mentally.

Also, if your instructor can't come up with an alternative activity that is safe they are NOT someone you need to see again!

Amber said...

Any exercise is good. Some people enjoy running and others don't. I avoid running because after a minute my shins start to hurt. I used to enjoy it, though, and hope someday I can. My trainer explained that stride is important. He said not to land on the heel while running. He also mentioned that starting out on a treadmill with a very slight incline can help with the shins. My favourite exercise is weight lifting. That's what I do most of the week with a couple of cardio days sandwiched in between. For cardio I use an elliptical as well as the rowing machine at the gym.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Aqua Fit? I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! and very easy on the joints.

Josie M said...

The instructor was in the wrong to 'encourage' you to run after you informed her of your previous injuries. Your inner voice was correct, you shouldn't risk it. 'Believing' has nothing to do with it.

Vickie said...

I do not run either. One of my instructors and I came up with a good alternative. I march with very high knees. Very high. Like higher than my chest high, visualizing higher than my shoulders high. Works well.

Vickie said...

I wanted to clarify. I think you are talking about a class that does lots of things you can do. And the instructor interjects running as a cardio boost every once in a while in class. This is not a running class. You can do 90% + of class, just not the running.

I have knee, foot and lower back issues. I have taken those kind of classes for years. I was able to do 90% of class and just came up with good positioning substitutes for the 10%. Really effective.

I think it is important to ask for alternative ideas. Your instructor may never have worked with someone who modified. Truly most people drop out rather than modify because they are embarrassed. Or they get hurt and drop out.

I have seen instructors like the one you describe. They think they are honestly helping you. They do not understand that one wrong move might take years to recoup, if it is even possible to recoup. I have found it helpful to figure out a way to talk about alternatives, in class, without sounding like I am a slacker. Because they are reacting to what they see as slacker. And they do not want the slacker vibe to spread to the rest of the class.

Vickie said...

On the eating disordered comment. Yes, under eating and over eating are two sides of the same coin. People often go from one to the other. It is a lot of the same thinking. I think most all of us need a therapist. The right kind of therapist as you learned.

TBR/Committed Thoughts said...

Speed walking is better than jogging in every area. Regular paced walking is better than doing nothing. (Usually I prefer *nothing.* lolz)

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, disorders on the REDS (restrictive eating disorder spectrum) and BED are not really related, nor are they "two sides of the same coin."

As that article says, disorders on the REDS are the brain misidentifying food as a threat. That is not the case with BED. They are really two wholly different mechanisms at work.