Thursday, October 29, 2009

The good, the bad, and the whiny

This will be a brief post today. Yesterday I went to the gym - and the visit brought good news and bad news:

Good: All my body composition numbers were improved. Not by huge margins, but improved nonetheless. Fat free mass up, fat % down, weight down (always different on their scale in the middle of the day from my home scale, of course), BMI 29.4 - which is the first time I have officially left the obese category and downsized into merely overweight. Also, my body measurements were all down slightly as well, with the biggest decrease being an inch off my hips and 1/2 inch off thigh. My true waist was the only thing that stayed the same...that's not what I think of as my waist, but rather about 2-3 inches above the belly button line. I'm not surprised it stayed the same given my new menopausally sculpted proportions that render me no longer a pear. I'm pleased about all this and relieved because of the decrease in my working out this month.

Bad: I did all of 13 minutes on the tradmill yesterday at 3.2 mph with an incline of 4, warming up for strength training after which I planned to do a full 30 minutes of cardio back on the TM. By the time I did 3 of my strength training exercises, my darn left knee was hurting. A lot. It continued to hurt all evening and is still achy and wrong today. Yesterday after I left the gym, I called the orthopedic doc I saw 6 weeks ago to have the knee checked (when it was x-rayed and the bones looked good, despite some arthritis). At that last knee visit, the doc suggested a few things, most of which I've incorporated, and the knee is clearly not responding. It starts to feel better and as soon as I do even a small amount of walking, it seizes up again. So time for an MRI. Fortunately, I was able to get it scheduled for this Saturday morning. We're leaving on our trip Monday at the crack of dawn, so I won't know results until I return (though I may try to call just to find out while away, if possible).

The recurrence of pain this time tells me I have to stop doing any exercise walking at all until I know what I'm dealing with. It seems I keep reaggravating it. Time to accept this injury and stop trying to push through it. It's driving me crazy, and as I sit here and type, I feel like crying because I'm so frustrated at how this is thwarting my exercise. I need exercise physically; but also mentally. I really love it, and this is depressing me. I know it's no big deal and in the general scheme of things a mere blip on the horizon. But my catastrophizer (that is, my mind) is fast forwarding to all kinds of unappealing outcomes.

This is the kind of frustration that makes me all the more vulnerable to overeating, bingeing, and hitting a mindset where I want to chuck it all and go back to my old ways. That's not going to happen. NOT. But I don't like sitting in uncertaintly and discomfort and not having a plan neatly laid out about how this will unfold. My mind obsesses, overthinks, and my thoughts get me depressed and anxious. I was thinking about emotional eating in these circumstances, and realized that for me, it's more emotionless eating. That is eating to stop feeling, to stop thinking, to stop striving to accept what is, to not ask God to give me patience and the acceptance required to live peacefully in each moment, regardless of circumstance. Bingeing just makes me numb. Mutes emotion. Puts me in a self constructed prison of oblivion. When I think a binge through (before the act itself), I know I don't want the emotional shutdown it brings.

I want to be able to hike mountains in the DR, walk beaches, and do whatever else comes along. I don't want my daughter and husband to think I'm a stick in the mud, not being at my usual activity level. I know they won't mind...they will want me to take care of myself and operate within reasonable parameters given my injury. I MIND. I hate it. Poor me.

After all that whining I just did, I want to mention that my mood is still pretty positive about things other than my knee. I'm getting more excited and anticipatory about the trip. Starting to pack, prepare, shop for a few things. And isn't it interesting to notice that I spent one paragraph on the "good", and 4 on the "bad". Time to reframe. Time to ask for help. Not time to plan a food storm. I've taken the steps to investigate what's up with the knee. In the meantime, I'm going to try and let the negative energy go. So much for me being brief.


  1. Perhaps being in the DR and with your daughter will keep your mind off the pain. I know sometimes when I enjoy something enough the pain doesn't bother me. However, I am sad with you because you've been doing great and have been such an encouragement to me. I hope you have a wonderful time in the DR!

  2. My MIL has osteo-arthritis and it affects nearly all her body. Like you, she keeps battling on and some days it just gets too much for her... :o( I hope your knee improves really soon.

    I kind of know how you're feeling right now... I've got tendonitis in both forearms and it really is very painful. Even something really simple like making up a bottle for Tabitha hurts... :o( I've been trying to 'ignore' it and carry on with my workouts, but not lifting as much weight as before. I've also tried modifying some of the moves so I don't have to lift and twist in the same movement... Trouble is, it's getting worse and the pain is keeping me awake at night. Like you, I could cry with frustration as, for the first time in my life, I'm really enjoying exercise. I've just got to do what's necessary to allow my arms to heal and recover. I am determined not to allow this to hinder my progress.

    You're right to 'let it go'. :o)

    Patsy x

  3. I had some major knee pain recently. After declining the MRI (due to $$) he gave me a cortisone shot. It was like magic and I can run pain free.

    I'm not saying that's what you need - just sharing my little story!

    I hope they find out what it is and that it can be easily remedied. I also want to encourage you to stay strong and not to let this knee problem get you off your path. It is possible to lose weight without exercise. I know that's not your goal - but keep that in mind!!

    Take care of yourself,

  4. Leslie, I'm so sorry about your knee pain! Ironically, mine has been hurting really badly, too, and yesterday it began to interfere with my ability to walk, so I guess I'm going to have to give in and go to the doctor! Now that you've expressed your fears and annoyance with your knee, try to let it go. It is what it is, you are taking steps to remedy it, and you will have a good time on your trip regardless. I know that's easier said than done (not obsessing) but I hope you are able to concentrate more on the anticipation and maybe smooth over some of the anxieties! *Hugs*

  5. Being side tracked with knee pain when you are in a groove is no fun. I feel your angst and totally share it. I do hope a pain free solution will be found for you and soon.

    And, as it has been pointed out already, it is possible to lose the weight even without strenuous exercise, just keep being careful with those calories.:-) All that being said, there are non-knee bearing exercise possibilities. Sit ups, weights, hula hooping......wait, that might bother your knee, I'm not sure. Best proceed with caution on that one!
    Anyway, best of luck with it all.
    Take care-

  6. You are a nurse, so you know you have to stop aggravating the knee. I am glad you can get an MRI so quickly.
    I understand that you want exercise not just for the weight loss effect, but for the mental effect. You may have to start thinking about a new form you can do that will be easy for your knee. It's hard when things are going so well and a monkey wrench gets thrown in.
    Have a wonderful safe trip to the DR. I hope to hear the results of your test when I get back. And for goodness sakes, Leslie, if you get there and your knee is still hurting, go slow on it. Take care.

  7. When I have had injuries, I always remind myself of the people I know who have lost large amounts of weight without any exercise, and even the expert information that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. If you don't give in to the mind game, you can just consider it a vacation from exercise, and a chance to concentrate more on what you are eating!

  8. Hey, good job on the body composition stuff! I'm sorry that your knee is giving you so much trouble and preventing you from doing what you want, but you are wise to not overuse it as to injure it any further.

  9. Hi Leslie. So sorry to hear about your knee. At first I thought, well a good thing that you can laze around on holiday and hopefully it'll be feeling a bit better after that, but I didn't realise you were planning on being so active on holiday. Will it be OK to move the knee while swimming? If so, you can spend plenty of time in that new swimming costume! Is there a possibility of getting an injection into the knee to tide you over until you get back from holiday? It would be awful to spend your holiday in pain.

    I'm sure there will be a long term solution to this problem for you. And you're lucky that you're covered healthwise - I've read on so many (American) blogs about people not being able to afford the treatment they need.

    Yes, self medication with food or alcohol is about getting to oblivian. It's great that you're not choosing that route now.

    Feeling your feelings is tough. But the feelings pass once they have been felt and acknowledged. Sometimes it takes a great deal of bravery to feel them though.

    Hope you've keeping positive,
    Bearfriend xx

  10. I have some sort of a twinge in my lower right calf, I exercised to day but am alittle worried as well. I get thrown if I don't exercise. I have come along way and just don't want that to happen. I know just how you feel. Think of it as first do no harm. find out how many calories you need to maintain and then maybe find out how many calories you could burn doing some lifting and whatnot. upper body stuff. That might keep you more on track. I am glad you are feeling more excited about the trip. I hope your knee feels better before you go. Keep your head up.

  11. when you get back - do you have access to a POOL??? (you now have a swimming suit!!!)

    And did he send you for actual physical therapy when you were there before (or just gave you a few moves to do at home)?

  12. Hi Vickie,

    No physical therapy was ordered because at the time I was there, I was relatively pain free. (the issue was intermittent at the time) I'm totally open to PT - my only beef is that my co-pay for each PT session is $40. I went for an elbow/shoulder issue and found that out, so I haven't returned, but have just done the exercises at home (and am better). For the knee, I think I'd want more guidance.

    There is a pool at my gym. Wearing a bathing suit in a foreign country sounds more palatable than wearing one at my gym, but desperate times may call for desperate measures.

  13. ONCE YOU ARE IN THE WATER AND MOVING - it is not a runway model situation!!! So you just get in quick (but not so quick that you do more damage to your knee)!

    I did PT at $20 a pop three times a week for almost three months - so I hear you on expense - but it was the smartest $$$ I ever spent.

    And as the weight comes off - it will continue to help your knee. So let the pain motivate you.

    Might sound odd to say - but if you are truly trying to stop binge-ing and not able to do it - you may need to work with an eating disorder therapist. I worked with one for two years and shortly after starting - she had me see a psychiatrist too. This was also one of the smartest things I ever did.

    People who seek help are not 'damaged' or 'ill' they are SMART.

    and thanks for leaving me a note - I am not a big reply reader person on OTHER people's blogs - so if you don't leave me a note telling me to come back here and look - I will NOT always see your reply to my comment.

  14. AND - when I started PT I asked her to treat me like she would an athlete that was working to get back to FULL conditioning. So for me it was knees and lower back - but she worked with me on how to use my whole body around my challenges. And she taught me well. I really understand and can apply.

    I think this is important - because many physical therapists are only concerned about mobility and strength and range of motion - as it applies to normal daily life (in and out of car, on and off toilet, stairs, etc). How they work with ATHLETES is different. And no - I did not particularly look like an athlete - and that is why explaining was REALLY important.

    And - if you and your doc can dream up anything else that is wrong with you - add it to the PT list - because often it is one copay - no matter how long the visit - so if you have more things on your list - you get longer time for the same copay (check to see if this is the case).

  15. seriously - with the knee and needing to exercise - get thyself to the pool - even without the knee situation - it is cross training! very effective to switch things up. And laps are a great workout. Is there conditioning (that is actually PT in some form) through the pool?

  16. I hope your knee starts feeling better soon. Your numbers are looking great though!!
    Have a great weekend :)

  17. Leslie! So proud of you! What great news to get. The work is paying off!

    About your knee, it is awful when you feel you are in a groove and then it has to halt. But you can do other things! There are a bunch of floor exercises you can start doing instead of walking until you find out exactly what is up with your knee.

    Please don't get discouraged. Look at it as another way to find new and different exercises. They are out there!

    Delight in your accomplishments and the knee will NOT hold you back...nope...uh uh...

  18. I found you via Vickie. And let me tell you I can completely sympathize with you via the knee pain. I have been dealing with knee pain for seven months. I have to curtail all exercise after being in a wonderful groove. This has been extremely frustrating and challenging for me. I have had physical therapy with minimal improvements, I had an MRI (I have serious cartilage damage--patellofemoral syndrome), and I had Euflexxa injections, which seem to have done little. The last option is surgery, which does not seem helpful. So I get it! And I take prednisone so I need to exercise to lose weight.

    I hope you get this resolved, but I understand and know all too well your frustrations.

  19. To Ali - Thanks for stopping by my blog! I really appreciate your comment, and hope that your knee begins to respond to the treatment. Prior to mine flaring up so badly in the last 2 weeks, my doc said I mainly had arthritis, and in a reasonable amount that shouldn't curtail my activity too much. That's why I'm sure I've done something new to aggravate it. He mentioned during that first visit that if it got messed up enough, we could try Synvisc or some other injectable. Is that the equivalent of what you're getting? I'll google it later, but no time now. Anyway, I tried to find your blog and see you don't have one? Yet? Maybe soon? Good luck and keep us posted on your knee.

  20. Good job on your measurements. The waist is the hardest to lose I bet.You will notice inch's falling off there soon.With all your hard work.
    I hope you get all the rest you need while on vacation.The knee is ready for a vacation too. Lay on the beach and soak up the sun. Have a great time.

  21. Hey Leslie, thanks for stopping my blog yesterday and dropping your comment. I really appreciated all that you had to say. I love this blogging world so much because of the support from so many people that understand.

    Good news for you on our fat reduction and exercise. Sorry to read about your knee. Don't get sad because of the setback just find new ways of working out other parts of your body without your knee. Maybe you can find time to do more sit-ups or bicep curls. I can totally relate to your fears about binging but remember that it is only a distraction and binging will make the problem 10's worse. It will all workout and I will be back to check on you. Have a wonderful weekend.