Gym, Parent, Laundry

I had an important realization the other day. I’d been feeling enormously frustrated about my weight because, for the last two months, I’ve been kicking absolute ass with eating well and exercising and have only lost five measly pounds to date. For someone with well over thirty five pounds to lose, five pounds in two months really sucks.

It’s been the weirdest thing. Longtime readers of this blog will remember I’ve lost this exact set of pounds twice before. I’m pretty good at it. It’s not like I’m a weight loss novice with no idea what she’s doing. My weight loss method is the same this time, but the results are not.

Strange, right?

'And one, and two, and three, and don't get discouraged Manatee, and four, and five...'Granted, what I have to remember is I’m still rehabbing my knee from the surgery I had back in May. My leg atrophied quite a bit from the years of pain and seven weeks of crutches, and now I’m getting stronger and muscle weighs more than fat and blah blah blah.

Still. SO FRUSTRATING.

Every morning I’d weigh myself and get profoundly dejected and frustrated. How could I be exercising so much and eating so little and still be so overweight?! IT SHOULD NOT BE PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE.

And yet, surprise surprise, getting upset about the whole thing wasn’t magically making me thinner. It wasn’t until two things happened that I stopped feeling the acidic caress of futility every morning:

One, Wes hid my scale. As much as it annoys me on occasion not to know whether I’m making progress, I’m for SURE a lot happier being in the dark about whatever lack of weight loss I’ve got going on.

Two, I realized while I was praying that I’ve been focusing on exactly the wrong thing. For years, I’ve been praying for a relief from my knee pain. For the freedom to move and exercise and even sleep without pain, and you know what? I can. And what am I doing? Complaining about the numbers on the scale.

I realized that the list of things my body can do FAR outweighs what it won’t do right now, and man, that’s significant. I’d be a fool to keep my focus on my weight when I can hug my kids, go for walks with my family, think clearly, hear, see, sing, and enjoy good health.

It’s amazing how a simple shift in perspective can make life much better!

Also, I’m now at the gym six times a week. I’m officially in danger of becoming one of those people who starts all her stories with, “I was at the gym the other day and…” because this is all I do now. Gym, Parent, Laundry. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?

Vacation Eating

There's no way I'm picking an apple for breakfast when these are just sitting on the counter in front of me. I mean, come on. What am I, a cyborg?

There’s no way I’m picking an apple for breakfast when these are just sitting on the counter in front of me. I mean, come on. What am I, a cyborg?

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume I am not the only one who falls so completely off the eating healthy wagon while on vacation that not only does the wagon hit her while it rumbles by, it backs up and promptly collapses on her, too.

What is it about vacation that brings out the competitive eating side of me? It’s like no sooner are we out the door than I’m like, “Hey Wes, you know what would be great? If we could find a bagel sandwich to tide us over until we can get our hands on some Frappuccinos and donuts!”

There’s just something about the relaxation, limited time window, and overabundance of junk food in my nearish proximity that converges into this perfect maelstrom of dietary apocalypse. I wouldn’t want to live like that forever (I like it when my pants fit), but man is it fun to not give a crap while you’re on vacation.

Then again, you have to deal with the post-vacation letdown when you get home. There’s just something dispiriting about sitting down with an afternoon snack of almonds and string cheese when you’ve spent the last week whiling away the afternoon with Hershey’s bars and hard apple cider. I don’t care who you are, getting back into healthy habits is kind of depressing. I mean, sure. Yeah. Vegetables are good, and I definitely like how I feel when I’m eating well, but in no way does chomping down on baby carrots compare with the irresponsible, negligent pleasure of eating Pringles and hot dogs for dinner.

For the record, though? My knee hurt worse on vacation than it has in months. My mouth was happy, but the rest of me? Pretty pissed.

Just goes to show you, no self-destructive deed goes unpunished.

Oh, on a related note: I’m feeling pretty repentant for my many and obvious dietary sins from last week, but can’t go to the gym this week because of Wes’s work hours, so I decided to do a ten-minute Pilates workout I streamed through Hulu. I ended up trying to do half the workout with my son glued to my side (because he wanted to do it too, but reeeeeeeally close to me) and my daughter darting under my upraised legs, squealing with mischievous glee¬†every time I had to dodge kicking her in the head.

Sigh. Welcome back indeed.

Good: 3 Bad: 1

I have good news and bad news and good news. I’ve decided to present them in convenient bullet-point form, because 1) I am lazy and 2) It’s convenient. Just because I’m lazy doesn’t mean I can’t be considerate.

  • Good news: My days of having a bad knee may be coming to an end! I saw an incredible physical therapist on Friday who figured out that the reason my knee keeps shredding meniscus and hurting all the time is because there’s something wrong with my….FEET! Turns out my problem is simple biomechanics (my feet prolapse, which tweaks my lower leg, which tweaks my knee, which shreds my meniscus). It’s a simple fix: Custom orthotics and physical therapy. Bam. I may just have my life back. I can’t even begin to tell you what a heady, hopeful feeling that is.
  • Bad news: Bai Tide did not make the cut for the PNWA Literary Contest. Yes, I’m disappointed, however…
  • Good news: …I’ve made peace with rejection! My first rejection broke my heart, but in the years since I’ve been doing this whole writer gig I’ve learned that rejection is just a part of life. Like changing dirty diapers when you have a baby or performance reviews when you have a day job. I was definitely sad to not make the cut, but rather than discourage me, I was able to shrug it off by reasoning that my book just wasn’t to the judges’ taste. And that’s okay. Not every will like my stuff, and that’s okay.
  • Bonus good news: I heard back from the Seattle shipyard that they’re going to let me come take a tour! I set a large portion of one of my books in a shipyard and on a cargo ship, and it’ll be completely invaluable to be able to get real-life experience. It’ll make those scenes come to life and also make me look like I know what I’m talking about. Bonus!

It was a challenging week, but not without good news. Any week you can outnumber the bad points with the good is a good week, by my reckoning.

W-Knee-40

Long-time readers of my blog (and/or people who traffic me in real life) know that my left knee is kind of a wreck. I mean, from the outside, it’s fine enough I suppose as long as you don’t mind the small arthroscopic scars from the surgery I had last year. On the inside, though? It’s a bigger wreck than any wreck that has ever wrecked.

What’s wrong with it? Well, that was the question, wasn’t it?

When I first injured it, I went to an orthopedic surgeon who shrugged and said it sounded like a meniscus tear, but that I was too young for a meniscus tear so I should try physical therapy. When the PT didn’t work, I went back and he ordered an MRI and lo and behold, meniscus tear! I rogue one, apparently, that didn’t care how old I was.

We blamed it on my hips being messed up after wearing a boot for a broken toe. I went to a chiropractor, got surgery to remove the rogue meniscus troublemaker, and did my PT. My knee felt great!

That is, until I was carrying laundry up the stairs one day and BAM! Another meniscus tear, this time confirmed by an MRI with contrast right away. My surgeon’s prognosis? My knee is messed up, just keep up the PT, don’t do anything more strenuous than walking, and if it hurts more we’ll do more surgery.

Big. Fat. Bummer. My knee hurt. All the time. A lot. And I didn’t want more surgery if we had no idea why my knee was shredding meniscus like Swiss cheese.

My, waiting in the exam room for someone to jam a needle into my knee.

Me, waiting in the exam room for someone to jam a needle into my knee.

At the urging of my friend Jennifer (who is hilarious and has a Tumblr I very much enjoy) I got a second opinion. And you know what? It turns out I’m not doomed to a lifetime of pain and barely being able to walk at the tender age of 28! I just need some injections of synthetic joint fluid and orthotics to correct my legs, which are slightly knock-kneed. That’s been the culprit all along!

Celebration!

Well, except the injections. I got the first one last Thursday and, let me tell you, it’s several different kinds of squicky and uncomfortable. But. BUT! My knee feels SO GOOD. I had COMPLETELY forgotten how good a knee can feel. It’s like someone sprayed WD-40 in my joint and life is smoooooooooooooth.

Let this be a lesson to you: If a doctor doesn’t seem to have a good grasp of what’s going on with you, even if he/she’s great on paper, high thee to a different doctor. STAT. It makes a world of difference!

Weight Loss Progress: Nil

Me at the end of December. Not much has changed since then.

Me at the end of December. Not much has changed since then.

Because I know you’ve all been frothing at the mouth for a typing progress report, I’ll sum the process up as such: It’s a long, laborious process, but I’m getting better every day. Impatient all the time, but better.

In other news, I haven’t posted anything about weight loss lately and that’s because there hasn’t been any since I re-tore my meniscus in December. I’ve managed to maintain my weight somewhat (give or take a few pounds) but no weight loss.

I’m still tracking my calories, and I walk for at least twenty minutes every day, but my weight isn’t budging. I suppose I should be happy I’m maintaining my weight, but it’s meager comfort. I’m happy with how I look and feel, but still technically overweight. Also, I miss working out. I really do.

I mean, yes, theoretically I could still go to the gym to do weight training for my arms and abs, but without cardio to balance it out I’ll never keep that regimen up. I loved the endorphine rush from a good session on the treadmill or elliptical, and I miss it all the time.

My only hope is to someday have access to a swimming pool that’s close by and affordable. I’ve tried swimming a few times and my knee seems to put up with it ok, but the pool is murder on my hair color.

Wes is optimistic that medical technology will advance to the point someday that a doctor will be able to inject stem cells into my knee and those stem cells will regenerate my meniscus. I’d be so happy. I’d be able to wear high heels again, play tennis, dance, and go up and down the stairs without pain or mortal fear of another injury.

Until then, I’ll just have to keep munching down on carrot sticks, walking, writing characters who run so I can still pretend to be a runner, and trying like crazy to avoid all the junk foods that instantly start their siren calls again as soon as I stop exercising.