An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another. – Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
I am very angry.
I’d say I’m hopping mad but I’d probably hurt myself if I hopped. My body is rebelling against me and I don’t know what to do about it.
I have not walked for exercise without severe pain in my lower left leg since Monday. Last Sunday morning’s three-mile walk was marred by this pain but whatever it is subsided for me to walk another three miles in the afternoon.
I’m no doctor, I’m no athlete and I don’t know what is causing this pain. I have looked it up, I have read several things. I know I am not the only person on the planet who has ever had this issue. It could be shin splints, it could be muscle strain, it could be tendonitis, it could be that I’m old and fat. I’ve even read that this could be related to lack of core strength.
I get about a quarter of a mile into a walk and the tightness comes. Half a mile in the debilitating pain comes. It starts about eight inches below my left knee on the outside of the shin. If I press on the area electricity shoots into my toes. I’ve had tendonitis before in my right foot…spent two weeks in a walking boot.
I struggled to get three-mile walks accomplished Tuesday and Wednesday. I limped 1.89 miles Thursday and 1.03 miles yesterday. The more I limp, the more the right leg starts to hurt.
I have regained a couple of pounds. I had found a balance between calorie consumption and burning that has enabled me to maintain the weight loss I have already achieved. Aborted walks have created an imbalance. I realize that weight can fluctuate and I am still not at a point where anything I am doing is stable.
I have been down to 226.8 and now back up to 230. The elliptical is out of stock and won’t be here until next week. My doctor says to walk. It hurts to walk. I was enjoying my walks. I rediscovered some of my favorite music, the weather has been amazing and I am starting to sleep better. I enjoy the solitude. I enjoy being alone with my thoughts. I’ve figured out why my hip hurts during my walks and I corrected that issue. I wear quality athletic shoes and my gait is not a candidate for submission to the Ministry of Silly Walks.
It just seems like every time I start something I have a setback. I needed to see immediate results and I have. I am so angry right now. Is this the penance I have to pay for letting myself go?
When I was a kid we played outside all day. We just ran outside and kept running until it got dark. We played everything – basketball, baseball, football, whiffle ball, wall ball, Frisbee, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians (not politically correct, but that’s what we called it), freeze tag, we rode our bikes everywhere – you name it, we played it. Sure there were bumps and bruises and the occasional emergency room visit. We played organized sports in the local neighborhood leagues, we played high school and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) sports. I ran cross-country and played basketball and baseball.
In my late teens and early 20s, I played intramural everything in the Navy. Yeah, I was a pack a day smoker and I still played everything – softball, basketball, flag football, volleyball, bowling. We had physical fitness training and we had to pass physical fitness tests. Even at my worst, I didn’t struggle to pass these tests. The worst thing I ever did to myself was a severely sprained ankle suffered during a game of pick-up basketball.
From age 30-38 I didn’t exercise much. I didn’t really start again in earnest until I was about 40. I exercised four days a week minimum. I did at least 30 minutes a day on the elliptical and a weight lifting program designed for pro football players. I was getting stronger, my shape changed for the better, my flexibility came back and I didn’t throw my back out for two years.
I don’t know what my starting weight was at the time, but I got down to 200 pounds. I started to creep back up and then due to unforeseen circumstances my opportunity to continue that exercise program ended. Then, seemingly overnight, I hit 236.6.
In two short years I ballooned up to 236 pounds. My Wednesday weigh-in had me at 228. But, I can’t stay off the scale and it read 230 today.
I have radically altered my diet and I am consuming well under 2,000 calories per day of much healthier food. If I cannot exercise I will balloon right back up again. I lost six pounds doing nothing but changing my diet after surgery.
I exercised for three days before I blew out hemorrhoids, which required that surgery. Since January 31 I have engaged in 15 walks of three miles or more. Two of those walks were completed in excruciating pain. I have walked 50 miles in the month of February. Yesterday I struggled to walk a mile because of this pain in my leg.
If my body continues to rebel against me I will quit. I am inherently lazy. I would just as soon become one with the couch. I don’t think I’ll go back to unhealthy food, I’ve learned my lesson there. But I’m used to carrying 230 pounds around.
I get frustrated easily. I am quick to anger. And frankly I am pissed off. I don’t expect exercise to be easy. I have done this before. This isn’t just a little ache I can power through, it is debilitating.
I’m not stupid enough to think that anything other than diet and exercise is going to melt these pounds away. There is no magic pill or food additive that is going to do this for me. I am not so far gone that radical surgery is needed.
I know the difference between pain and injury and this feels like injury.
If you are reading this and you have had experience with this kind of leg pain, maybe you can drop me a suggestion on how to deal with it. I have read heat, ice, stretching, rest, and every combination of those things.
I need to ask my doctor when I can ratchet up my exercise and do more than walk. I keep forgetting to call her.
I know this isn’t going to happen overnight. I didn’t expect it to. But I also didn’t realize just getting started was going to be so damn difficult.
Bottom line folks – don’t get out of shape. Don’t be like me and let yourself go. Yes, I know life gets in the way. But, if you are in your 20s or 30s and in fairly decent shape – stay that way. A pack a day cigarette habit kept my weight down for years. Getting out of shape is so easy, getting back in shape is HARD.
Until next time…