There is nothing like totally pigging out Thanksgiving weekend and then not being able to burn it off. Yes, that happened to me this week. I fell flat on my butt, on a concrete breezeway, Saturday night after Marley (my Great Dane) knocked me off my feet. I didn’t realize it, but I jarred my spine and hips so hard that I got out of alignment and, by midday Sunday, I could barely walk.
I had never experienced such crippling pain. I kept saying “this is ridiculous” every time it took me 5 minutes just to stand up – much less wait on me to walk across the house. I felt like Tim Conway on the Carol Burnett show. I went from 40 to 80 years old overnight! (for those of you young’ns who don’t know that character, here’s a skit to watch for giggles). 😉
Step One – A Step in the Right Direction
OK, so back to fitness! So, what’s a girl do who can’t stand, much less walk? I’ll tell you what she does. She listens to her wise husband, who says go to the doctor. So, I verrrrry reluctantly text my friend who is a chiropractor (Jennifer Stepanek at Total Health in Vero Beach) and told her what happened, and she told me to come in.
Before I go further, I need to tell you how I feel about my bones being popped. I am a scared little girl! Maybe it’s my control-freak self that struggles with letting someone manipulate my body – or maybe it’s just that the only time I ever go to the doctor is when I’m in pain (so you are naturally scared of more pain). BUT, what I do know is that Jennifer is gentle and conservative, so I sucked it up and went in.
As I hobbled in the door, she giggled with me (knowing that was SO not me to hobble so slowly and carefully), and she took me straight back to check me out. My hips were twisted and she could tell my fall had jarred me good. She did a few things to relax my back muscles and made 2 simple adjustments (on each side) to line me back up! Then she followed up with some soft tissue work. She encouraged me and said she sees that all the time and felt sure I’d get better and she was right.
I was probably 50% better by the end of the day, and I get a little better each day. But here was my thought: what if i didn’t get better? What if it prolonged? What can I do in this state? The truth is, even though I am definitely limited, I can do plenty.
SET-backs Don’t Have To Be STEPS Back
Many people suffer injuries, and it can be very depressing for people who are trying to work on their fitness and weight. I had high hopes of hitting 2-a-day cardios, taking kickboxing, weight training and working on my FitBit challenge for Shape Magazine – and going from 10,000 steps a day to less than 3,000 steps a day quickly got me discouraged. I was hurting my East Coast Team, and I wasn’t able to reel my body back in as fast as I planned. Then I realized, I needed encourage others who face the same roadblocks. Set backs don’t have to be steps back. I can still move toward my goal – it will be just a little slower. Here’s what needs to happen.
Look at the Facts
While exercise definitely helps burn calories, speeding up weight loss – it’s not required for success. You can still lose weight with just diet alone. Of matter of fact, diet is probably 80% of it. Here’s the facts. If I run 3 miles a day, that’s equal to about 300 calories burned. I can stay in the same caloric deficit by cutting 50 calories off every meal and snack.
Focus On Your Diet
For some backwards reason, we tend to eat even worse when we can’t workout. It’s a ridiculous self-sabotage mechanism most people do that makes things even worse. We dive into self-pity, want to curl up on the couch and be lazy, eat crappy food, and then complain about how fat we feel. How retarded is that?! If you want to feel good, EAT GOOD! Even though I’ve had some snacks at night, I basically have just been eating homemade soup since I got home from vacation. For 4 days straight, I have eaten soup every meal except one (when I had the Atkins pizza).
As I limit my food intake, my stomach is starting to get smaller and I’m feeling a little better every day. You have to remember, when you eat big portions (like on Thanksgiving), you have a lot more food in your gut than normal (making you feel stuffed, because you literally are!). This takes a few days to get through your system before you start thinning back out.
Drink a Lot of Water
Another issue we have when we come out of an eating frenzy is we tend to hold more water. Whether it’s from eating out and eating more processed foods, or it’s from being very sedentary and not allowing your body to opportunity to move water around – we feel even more fat and bloated simply because we are holding more water. This would be a great time to pound the water and flush your system.
Take Care of Your Body
Healing requires being proactive with your injury. See a doctor and make sure your own diagnosis is correct. Seek appropriate therapy, whether it’s with a professional or just taking action at home. Don’t just sit there and expect it to get better on it’s own. Oftentimes, a bulk of the pain is from inflammation. If you control inflammation, you control pain and increase mobility.
In addition, sitting still can actually make the problem worse. Your body stiffens up and can make it even harder to bounce back. Ice the affected area, take anti-inflammatories and keep moving, while still avoiding specific movements that cause pain. Ice after activity and get plenty of rest too.
Lastly, take baby steps. Don’t jump back into your fitness routine, full steam ahead. Test the waters first with light activity and light weights first. But nine times out of ten, doing nothing actually can make things worse, not better. CLICK HERE to learn how to make your own gel ice packs.
Do What You Can
This is a tricky one. We rarely want to do what we can. We want to do what we WANT to do, not what we CAN do. I normally run. I don’t want to walk. I want to run, but I can’t run right now so, today, I will walk – whether I want to or not. Since I’ve been down for a few days, I’m more lazy feeling than I normally am (which is already pretty lazy). So I have to fight the lazies even more.
Also, my pride gets me and I find it very hard to tame my workouts down when I’m hurt. As a result, sometimes I don’t even want to do anything at all. However, I know if I do SOMETHING, it’s better than NOTHING – and I’ll feel SO much better when I’m done. Even if I don’t burn a ton of calories, it will strengthen me mentally.
The fact of the matter is, it actually hurts more to sit and get up from sitting more than it hurts to walk now. Of course, at first I hardly could walk, but now I am able to walk Ok and just have trouble putting on my pants (lifting my legs), getting up off a chair or couch and a few other movements. While there is discomfort standing, it’s not painful – and staying moving will actually help me loosen back up even more.
So, while I probably won’t be lifting weights, or back to my normal routine, I do plan to start increasing my activity. I plan on going back to kickboxing soon if walking goes well. I just won’t be able to do burpees, jumping and some other moves, but I can tame the workout down to fit what I CAN do. I hate to be “that girl” – the crippled pathetic one in class, but maybe I have that all wrong. I can turn that into being “that girl!” – the one who is not letting a bad back get her down! Yeah, I want to be THAT girl! Don’t you? 🙂