Returning to health and fitness – here I go

8 Oct

If you’ve been reading this blog (as sporadic as I’ve been at posting!) you know that 2012 was a seriously crappy year for me healthwise. Here’s the breakdown:

  • January  –  started 2 months of physical therapy for plantar fasciitis. At this point I could wear sneakers. The longest I could wear anything else is 2 hrs.
  • February  –  diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. Leading up to this was 2 years of chronic sinus infections and bronchitis, and crippling exhaustion.
  • March  –  increasing migraines. I went from 3 a year to 2-3 a month at first. By July I was having 20 a month.
  • April  –  finally have some energy, and iron levels good.
  • May  –  great trip to Uganda, but one of the worst migraines of my life.
  • June  – migraines increasing. Otherwise doing ok.
  • July  –  tested positive on a blood test for celiac disease. Can’t do a biopsy until August.  Also in July, I saw a neurologist and got meds for the migraines. Hallelujah.
  • August  –  have the endoscopic biopsy for celiac. 10 day wait to find out I don’t have it. Same day, I find out I have a “monster” cataract.
  • September  –  have cataract surgery. I can’t read for a week, they think I might have a retinal tear (I don’t) and it takes awhile for my eye to adjust.

Now, in light of this list, you might think it’s stupid for me to assume that this cataract saga is my last 2012 health issue. And you might be right, but I’m an optimist. I’m also just tired of the whole thing, so I’m going with the “I’m done with all that crap” approach to my life at this point. Fall is here. I can wear boots. I’ve been enjoying my gas stove for the first time today. Call me crazy, but I’m moving forward.

So what I discovered today is that this year has left me woefully out of shape. I knew it. I felt it. I’ve felt uncomfortable in my skin for some time, not because I’m “fat” but because I knew I was losing muscle and gaining fat, even while staying about the same size. I’m now cleared for exercise (2 weeks post op and things are going pretty well, thankfully!), so today was the day. Today, I started my “get back in shape” quest. And boy, was it depressing.

Not that long ago (2 1/2 years) I did Insanity. It sucked, but I did it. I’ve always been strong. Today I did the “Intro” workout on a Bob Harper workout DVD and learned a new fact: I’m really not very strong anymore. I’ve done the 1 hour workout on this DVD before, a couple of years ago. The whole one hour. It was hard, and I didn’t do every rep, but I did it. Today, the 20 min workout using 5lb weights was hard. No lie. I couldn’t do all the reps. 90%, but not all. And my heart was beating hard, and I was sweating. Not good.

Obviously, looking at the stupid list of ailments from the year of 2012, none of them were anything I could have prevented. (I eat an iron rich diet, I just don’t absorb it well – my kids have the same problem, we learned.) I haven’t sat around eating bon bons all the time. My calorie count was down from usual because I knew I was being sedentary, both because of the ailments and because I’ve spent this year writing. So I’m not mad at myself like I would be if I just “let myself go.”  That is not to say that I’m happy!

I’ve got a long row to hoe here. It’s going to suck, because, unlike the only other time in my adult life I was really out of shape (post baby, bed rest, etc), I’m not 31. I’m 47. I’m perimenopausal. My hormones are screwed up, my metabolism is in flux, and the things that always worked before aren’t going to work the same now as they used to. I’m in “mid life” now, and whether or not I feel it emotionally/mentally, it’s a reality in my body. I don’t want to look like the Crossfit competitors on Pinterest, I just want to feel well. I want to be strong enough to go to Uganda and get through long days of working and stress and not die. I want to enjoy my family and not have any physical complaints (wow, would that be awesome! Probably for everyone… It’s been a year of complaints, I guess.)

So this isn’t about “I’m going to be a fitness model in 90 days.” It’s not about jumping into P90X or Insanity or any other intense program. I’m going to work my way back to fitness with DVDs and walking, probably some gym time as it gets cold (I don’t like the gym much, I like “real” stuff). I’m tracking calories for a little while until I get my metabolism jump started (my daughter found a great app called MyFitnessPal, and I’m using that). I’m not obsessing (although if I can’t walk down the stairs in the morning, I may have a moment of magic words). I’m just trying to put the “year of ailments” behind me and embrace the other theme of 2012 – the year of God’s faithfulness.

Because ultimately, that’s what it’s been. Through all that crap (I tried to think of another word, but honestly, the others were worse!), I’ve written 4 novels and a screenplay, published 2 with another a week or so away, and will be doing NaNoWriMo next month. I’ve edited 4 books. I’ve had a hugely successful trip to Uganda. I’ve had great family memories. God has carried me through all these problems with, really, only about 3 short freak-outs. I think that’s pretty good! He is faithful. Always. And that will be my memory of 2012… God is faithful, always.

What will be the legacy of your 2012?

 

3 Responses to “Returning to health and fitness – here I go”

  1. Acceleration Physical Therapy October 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    How did everything go with physical therapy for your plantar fasciitis?

    • Jennings October 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

      It went well. I did PT for 2 mos, and we realized that my super tight calves were a huge contributing factor. Now, as long as I keep my calves stretched out, I’m good. I still wear the inserts in all shoes I can, but I can wear anything I want now, and, if my feet get sore, I can get it back to normal in a couple of days with exercises and stretching. MUCH better than last year!

      • Acceleration Physical Therapy October 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

        That is really nice to hear. I see quite a few people discuss participating in physical therapy for various injuries, but I rarely see the follow up of how everything worked out. Obviously, it is a process, and sometimes a never ending one, but nice to hear that you found a physical therapist who had a positive impact on your foot pain.

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