Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Overdoing it . . . not once, but twice

195 pounds
In my last post, I talked about the fact that my recent increase in exercise had helped me to break through my plateau. I was thrilled by this development and dedicated to continue exercising two to three times a day. 

But only a few hours after that post, I injured my knee and have been laid up ever since. I had an MRI yesterday and found out that I have a torn meniscus, and tomorrow I'll meet with the orthopedic surgeon to talk about my rehab. 

I suppose that more than anything my experience should serve as a warning to all of us not to overdo it. I really, really, really wanted to lose weight, and as a result, I went a little bit crazy. 

I'm not saying that I don't still believe that we all need to exercise more often and in ways that we find enjoyable (as I discussed in the Returning to Childhood post), but I am saying that maybe we shouldn't try to make these changes too quickly. 

I had been working out for an hour a day since March, and then almost overnight I went from exercising for sixty minutes once a day to working out three different times every day. Clearly, I needed to make a slower transition.

This is the third time I've injured my knee. The initial injury occurred during a skiing accident in 1996, and during my recovery from that accident, my weight shot up for the first time in my life. It wasn't as significant as the pre-wedding weight gain I mentioned in my What is a Diet post, but it was still the first time I really felt like I had completely lost control of the numbers on the scale. Before my skiing accident, my weight had fluctuated between 155 and 165 pounds all of my adult life, and after the skiing accident, I went up to 179 pounds and never again weighed less than 167 (which was the number I bottomed out at just before my wedding).  

My second knee injury happened less than a year after I was married in the spring of 1999, and ironically it happened the same way it did last week: I was trying to lose the weight I had gained in the six months after the wedding and overdid it by exercising too much too fast. You would think that I would have learned from that experience, but if you read my posts last week, you probably already know how invincible and on top of the world I was feeling. If you had told me then that I was on the verge of a major injury, I might not have believed you and would definitely have kept on going.

I guess this makes me fallible, which is always a good thing for us to remember, but knowing that I'm not invincible is not making my injury any easier to deal with.  In fact, it feels like an uphill battle already.

I went to my regular doctor Friday morning—bound and determined to stay positive about what had happened to my body, something I had been completely unable to do the first two times I injured my knee when I wallowed on the couch for my entire recovery (except for the days I was forced to go to physical therapy). No, I wasn't going to allow myself to wallow again. And in order to make sure this didn't happen, I told myself that I'm a different person now than I was then—more confident and more determined than ever and that even if I can't run or walk, I can still stay active. 

It was a valiant effort, but by late Friday afternoon, I was in the midst of a complete meltdown. Despite my desire to stay positive, it started to hit me that I was going to be off my feet for quite some time, making my attempts to lose weight a zillion times more challenging than it is when I am mobile, which is hard enough as it is. Though I was able to logically convince myself that I needed to be optimistic about the situation, I was unable to do so on an unconscious level and quickly became very depressed.

Like most people, I have often turn to food when I become depressed, but miraculously I avoided that pitfall on Friday night. (I really think that it was this blog and my very public chronicling of my attempts to lose weight that kept me from giving into that temptation.) Instead Dave and I headed to the movies and saw Year One, a silly but entertaining movie that took my mind off my troubles for a few hours. (You'll never convince me that Cinema Therapy isn't real!) 

Since Friday, I have gone back and forth between energetic optimism and sudden depression. I'm as up and down as the teeter totter at the park I was hitting only a week ago, and as a result, I can't imagine I'm any fun to be around. 

Still, I haven't allowed my desire to lose weight to fall to the wayside, and I'm continuing to try my best to be active any way possible. So far that has meant doing exercises on the floor—sit-ups, hand weights, and stretches—but I'm going to ask the doctor tomorrow if I can add swimming to my workout regime. Who knows? Maybe I'll have a killer upper body when this is all over. 

It's difficult for me to admit this failure here, but I feel it's more important to be honest about it than it is to hide behind my shame. And maybe—just maybe—you can learn from my mistake.  

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