Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reality Check

Sometimes, I find myself living in denial.  I'm sure that many can relate.  I can talk myself into the most outlandish beliefs; in fact, I'm really good at it.  Oh, I might have a lucid moment, say, while reading someone else's blog post, and I think, "Yeah, I can relate to that!  I should . . . "

Yet, it doesn't go much further than thinking on the topic at hand, into actual movement toward the change in behavior.  Eating less, exercising more, following through on improvement plans, being more organized,  keeping up with laundry . . . these are regular situations where I know I need to do something, but am easily swayed into taking the path of least resistance, as in, ignore it and maybe it will go away.  Right, like that's going to happen!

So, most everyone reading my blog has been living vicariously through my partial knee replacement recovery since late June.  But, I was determined to recover, and did everything I was supposed to do (not without a substantial amount of whining, I know) and I found myself gleefully recovered!  I was walking, and sort of hiking, and working, and doing just fine, or so I thought.

The past month, I've been distressed to discover that while my new joint is doing relatively well, I have an entirely new area of discomfort, as in the outside of the same knee, which used to work quite well.  It isn't anymore.  And I'm alternately angry about it, and frustrated, and, quite honestly, scared.  I do not want to go through another knee surgery, yet I've been faced with the thoughts that maybe I should have just had total knee replacement instead of partial.

In my full crazed denial, I fully believed that if I just kept forcing myself to move, walking, hiking, biking, I'd force my new aching part of my knee to improve.  And, I was half right.  All that movement is a good thing.  The problem was pointed out to me by my 22 year old daughter's best friend last Saturday night, who is studying to become a physical therapist, and whose mom is one.  I said, "Elisa, come over here and feel this knee. It didn't used to do this."  I was referring to the crinkling and crackling that I can feel on the inside and also when I place my hand on the outside part of my knee.

She massaged it for a few minutes, said it was a combination of scar tissue and something else I don't recall.  She asked, "How often are you icing?"

I had to sheepishly reply, "Never. I probably haven't iced for a month."

So I proceded to receive a lecture about how I should be icing as long as there is even a little discomfort, and that icing is also preventative, not just for managing pain.

I hate icing.  It's cold. I have to sit in one place.  I forget to do it. In all honesty, it really didn't seem to help much. But, not doing it isn't helping my recovery either. Rats!

This past week I've been a little better about icing, most of the time. I'm also back to riding the stationary bike for a minimum of 10 minutes before work. So far, I have seen or felt little improvement.  I'm still aching all night (both knees now) and more than a little disgruntled about what seems to have been a wasted summer in recovery. And, as I've definitely had worse pain since the ill-fated recent marathon hike, I'm truly regretting not icing after that!

I'm tired of being consumed by aching and fatigue.  But, this brings me back to the beginning of this post. I know that part of the reason I'm tired is that I'm hauling around extra weight, some of which I accumulated during the "summer of sitting around".  

Every single day this week I have begun with the intention of eating well and exercising. Oh, and icing! 

Every single night as I've lain in bed, I've silently lambasted myself for weakness in the presence of food.

I've read about others success in finding happiness with particular dietary changes, and I want that, I really do.  But, I'm petrified to begin another plan, and lose weight, as my MO is to simply gain the weight back after a year or so, and be worse off than I was before. I know this about myself.  I know I have an addictive nature, and I am scared. 

I've been on several plans in the past: Weight Watchers (I've been a "lifetime member" for 23 years, but only been at goal weight about 2 years of that time), Overeater's Anonymous (basically low carb, no sugar, nothing white) lost a considerable amount of weight, and most recently paid a horrendous amount of money for HMR (eat their food with your own fruits and veggies) and a million other spur of the moment attempts.  I've been highly successful losing the weight,  staying on some plans for well over a year, sometimes two years, but the minute I ate one bite of a forbidden morsel, I began the steady assent to weight gain. Each time I'm at a "new high" where I have to fight my way back, always believing I would "get back on track" but didn't.

I'm scared to try again.  The thought of being without my favorite foods makes me angry and resentful.  I am frustrated that I have become this fat person, as I wasn't a fat child or young adult.  

This morning, I am 21 pounds away from my all time high, and scared I'm not only going to reach it, but surpass it.  Three years ago, I lost 54 pounds and felt fantastic, then got sloppy and have gained back 33.

It's no wonder I'm scared!

It's been really hard to admit all this; in fact portions of this post have been percolating for months.  I'm appealing to my blogging friends, for any "experience, strength and hope"  or advice or even lectures! 

HELP ~ I'm trapped in my body and can't get out!


  1. All I can say is, "I can relate all to well with this post." I hear you. I have the same problem.

    I have also reached goal weight with Weight Watchers and have been a lifetime member since about 2003. I put the weight back on over the course of about three or four years after reaching goal. I never have had the determination to work the plan again.

    I am losing a bit a weight now by consistently watching what I eat, making good choices, and walking. The only thing that got my attention was a bad A1c test. I do not want to be a full-blown diabetic, so I am more careful now and it is working very slowly. I think we just have to take our determination to change habits one moment at a time. That is the only thing that really works for me.

    Hang in there. Don't beat yourself up.

  2. Well I know exactly what you are talking about Sandi. I do the same thing. Maybe we need to find healthy foods that we actually want to eat all of the time! My problem is the cost. I can't afford to eat healthy that often so I just try not to eat that much. I've maintained the same weight for three years now which is good but I am still 50 lbs overweight, middle aged and not motivated enough to exercise enough to lose weight!!!
    I don't have any answers because if we really don't want to do it, we won't. I guess small steps are better than none at all right?
    Maybe you should just have both of your knees replaced and get it over with? If that's not possible, well I will cheer you on to lose weight if you can kick me in the butt to lose weight too!! Let me know what we're doing o.k.?!! Love Di ♥

  3. Dear Sandi,
    Like you and Diana and "Retired School Teacher," I struggle with the yo-yo of weight gain and loss. I got down to my goal in Weight Watchers in 1995, but haven't been back there since and am now 30 pounds overweight. This is bad, I know, on my joints, my heart, and my back. But I can't seem to resist the call of carbohydrates. Nor can I convince myself anew each day to exercise.

    Then, when you add in the pain you are experiencing, this all becomes a muddle.

    The only suggestion I have is this: I've discovered that I can't try more than one new thing at a time or add more than one thing at a time to my life. I simply don't have the energy anymore to change everything at once. So I suggest that you choose the activity-to-do that is the most important right now. As I read your post today, I suspect that is the icing of your knee.

    Once the knee feels good again, I suggest that you then pick a second thing to work on: exercise or food management or whatever else is niggling you and saying, "Do me! I'm good for you!"

    One thing at a time. Do one.

    Hope this helps.


  4. Dear Sandi,

    One thing I'd like to add to my comment. A number of years ago I read a book about walking. The author said that whenever we introduce any neew activity into our lives, we must do it twenty times--mostly in a row--for it to become "habitual." Once it becomes habitual, it is part of our life and we mostly continue to do it.

    So if you choose one thing to do and do it twenty times say in a month, then it will become habitual and you can add another choice and work on it becoming habitual.

    That's it for now!

  5. have hit a nerve in many bloggers today I'm sure. We all struggle with different trials in our life. I too am overweight and like you was never that way as a child or young adult. I have lost and regained many times and I'm always yelling at myself! I don't have the answers for that as you can tell, but maybe you could changed the exercises you do to swimming instead of walking and hiking. I didn't realize you had a partial knee done. Those can be tricky and you have to have a really perfect storm, so to speak, for those to be successful and I think many people end up having a total later on. I hope I'm not making you feel worse..just trying to inform you better. I'm sorry you are having so much pain but you need to go back to your Doctor and talk to him about what you can do. He may have suggestions to help you out at this point. He needs to know your progress and your frustrations. That's why you hired him! People always forget that they hire the physician and he basically works for you and if you aren't happy with him, find another..ask people (preferably nurses) who they go too. Don't beat yourself up about the on the pain in the knee and get that under control. Small steps...the rest will follow when you decide to make it work. You've proven that from your past experiences! Hang in there!

  6. Weight loss has been a constant in my life. I have always felt fat, even if I wasn't. As I aged and went through menopause, it became even easier to gain the weight. Like you, I go to WW about every three years (each time for about 4 months) and am on it now. It is HARD, but I am uncomfortable being at this (all time high) weight. I know I can lose it, I know I can keep it off for at least a year and hopefully longer. I have lost 10 lbs in the last 6 weeks and hope to lose the other 10 by Christmas. I know I have to do this for life, in order to keep myself mentally and physically healthy.

    You can't think of yourself as a person who can't succeed. You must be positive about your strenghts and concentrate on that and not your weeknesses. I still do want all those forbidden foods, but have learned to substitute.

    I saw a sign outside a church that I go by and it said "If you can't make the decision to start, you have already finished. Since I am a procrastinator myself, that rang so true.

    As Yaya said, baby steps first. First get your mind around the fact that you are a wonderful person and a winner and the rest will come.

  7. I'm right there with your sister! I wish I had the magic wand for that problem. If I event it, I'll give it to you for free... ;0)

    Do what is best for you at the time. Pick yourself up and start again, when you're ready.

    Don't forget to look at yourself for what you are good at too. Make sure you have a balance. Depression spirals are hard to get out of.

  8. I was successful in losing the weight I gained last winter by going over to a website called and beginning the regimen of counting every calorie I put into my body. I did this for about three months before realizing that I had forgotten how easy it is to eat a little bit more here and there and how quickly it goes on and how hard it is to get off!

    It helped me because I had actually no idea how many calories I was eating every day. I decided to do it gradually and ate 1500 calories every day and slowly the weight came off. I'm hoping to avoid gaining them back so I've given up wheat and all added sugars for the time being.

    I do think it would help your knee to get some of the weight off, but perhaps a visit to the doctor is in order?

  9. Djan has a good point. I also sit a lot and have found that I had to stop sugary items. I know drink very little juice and eat fruits in small amounts. Then I cut bread and similar baked goes way down. I added a lot of greens to get filled and that sure helped. I cut out big servings of meat too. At first I felt hungry but I retrained my thinking. Now I am happier all around.
    By the way sometimes craving occur because of sensitivities and getting those food sour of the way is tough but so worth it.

  10. What I do know for certain is that once we make an issue out of something and start berating ourselves for it, the problem spirals out of control rather than improves. It all comes down to us becoming what we think. If you tell yourself you're a procrastinator or weak-willed, for sure that will become your reality. The best solution is to stop focussing on what you think you ought to be doing in favour of not doing. That immediately releases the pent up guilt you carry around. Next, you just allow yourself to start slowly, as Dee has said, with one thing at a time. For now, it definitely seems to be icing your knee, but rather than doing it in a negative, 'I hate this' way, tell yourself, gently and compassionately, that it will help and then believe it. Also, to help with your weighty problem, begin by drinking a small glass of water each time you feel the need to eat something. Then, wait at least 10 minutes before giving in to the urge. You may find that you no longer need to eat, but if you do, eat a smaller portion and chew it slowly. Just do these two things for now and forget about all the other concerns.

  11. I'm so proud of you for your willingness to put all of this out there for the world to see. I hope you'll be able to truly absorb what good company you're in. For me, as you know, it was pain that drove me to make what feels this time like a real and permanent change. I think, too, there's something about being older that seems to make this a bit easier. You are in my prayers, and I'm here for support in any way that would be helpful to you.

  12. I have been gone for so long from your blog! I desperately need to catch up, but before I do, I wanted to respond to this post. I am sad that you are struggling so much right now, all the while being able to relate to your frustration. While there are a multitude of sources from whom to get advice and tips, I would like to pass on something that has helped me immensely that has nothing to do with diet or exercise. It is, simply, gratitude to my body. If I think about what motivates me, it has nothing to do with berating myself or comparing my physique (or relative intelligence or physical beauty) to that of others. I have discovered that comparisons only make me feel badly about myself.

    That said, once I was able to look at my body in light of the things it does for me (regulate temperature, fight off viruses and bacteria, continue breathing without my effort, divide cells to repair itself, take orders about how and where to move different parts, etc) I was astonished at how much I take it for granted. And so I resolved to begin every day by recognizing how hard it works with such little input or acknowledgement and consciously thank my body for all of the things it does. It didn't make me lose weight or gain the ability to run a 5K without passing out, but it did help me to realize how much I ask it to do and how efficient it is at its job. I have become more able to feel grateful for what my body does and focus less on how it looks and that feels really good. Acceptance without judgement.

    Love and light.

  13. My sympathy about the knew, Sandi. Mine are starting to bother me, particularly the right one and I can foresee problems ahead.

    Threatened with the possibility of medication for high blood pressure, I decided to try to lose weight instead. It took me nearly 2 years to lose 30lbs, but I managed to maintain the new weight until last Christmas. Since then 10lbs have gradually crept back on and I'm now trying to shed them.

    I never try to give anything up completely, even chocolate, or I crave it. I go for a lot of fruit, salad and vegetables, without much dressing, much less meat and cheese than I used to eat, but more fish and pulses and just one of things like slices of bread, cake or biscuits.

    Slow weight loss is much better than fast and don't try to get back to a youthful weight. Post-menopause a little overweight is actually good for women.


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