Less of Me: Week Four

Gimpy the Foot.

Less of Me is going to be a little unusual for a while.

There may be a blessing in this unusualness, since I’m being forced to search for ways to live healthy in a wheelchair. I know I’m not the only person who needs this information and if I figure out anything useful, I’m going to share. 

If you’ve followed this series, you know that I resolved to do more exercise and get healthy and promptly fell down and broke my foot and cracked my hip.

The first week was kind of lousy. But this week the pain backed off and I began to feel golden. I hefted myself up, kicked the wheelchair aside with my good foot and reached for the walker.

Now there are probably those among you who associate walkers with feeble, slow-pokey type locomoting. But you’ve got it all wrong. If you doubt that, I challenge you to spend a week or so trapped in the bottom floor of a two-story house in a wheelchair. Kicking that wheelchair aside was powerful.

I clomped around the house with the walker. I even went into the kitchen, whose entry is too narrow for the wheel chair. I was like a step-clomp-step-clomp bird let out of her cage. When my husband came home from work, I persuaded him to take me for a drive and I step-clomped my way to the car.

There is no Olympic Gold Medalist who is any happier with their athletic achievements than I was with that step-clomp walk to the car. I came home and started planning my new life of freedom.

The next day, I got up and noticed that the hardware in Gimpy the Foot was sticking up. It made an ugly bulge through the bandages. Didn’t hurt. Or at least not much. (I quit taking pain meds so I would know if I was hurting Gimpy when I used the walker.) But it wasn’t where it had been.

I called the doc and he said go to the er. Said they had my old x-rays, could take new ones and see what I’d done to myself. I didn’t do that. I just didn’t want to spend another half-day in the er. I think I also didn’t want to hear any bad news. I’ve got Gimpy propped up and am waiting for my doc’s appointment Tuesday. And I’m back in the wheelchair.

If I moved that hardware and they have to do anything over, I’m …. well, I’m gonna do it over. But, boy, I don’t want to.

The question remains: How does anybody get healthy in a wheelchair? Frankly, if I was going to do this permanently, the first thing I would do is get rid of this house. No more two-story. No more narrow doorways. No more high cabinets and steps up the front porch. (You haven’t lived until you’ve had your son and husband lift your overweight self, in your wheel chair, up the front steps just a few hours after surgery. It’s the scariest ride in town.)

I can tell you that the men I live with don’t cook. They also don’t like healthy take-out. They like junk food. I am scared to think how much weight I’m gaining, sitting here with Gimpy propped up and swilling down the junk.

I’ve started doing some upper body workouts that a reader (Thank you Theresa!) linked for me. They work great in a wheelchair. I’m also going to peruse Amazon for a wheelchair workout cd.

I’m going to send one of my girlfriends out with a list of things that I can eat that aren’t junk food. I’m sending a girlfriend because, if I sent my husband, I wouldn’t get any food. It wouldn’t matter how meticulously I wrote the list. It wouldn’t matter if I sat down and went over it with him before he left. He’d still come back with ice cream, chocolate bars, dip, chips, four liters of soda, and a fire starter for the charcoaler.

After thirty years of marriage, I know these things.

Whatever I ask my friend to buy for me, it’s got to be something I can prepare without going into the kitchen. That’s where you come in.

I’m not much of a domestic goddess, even when I have both my feet. How do I do this with a microwave and a refrigerator?

I’m calling on all you cooks out there for ideas. Send me good ones. If the doc says I’m stuck in this wheelchair for the duration, I’ve got to figure out how to do the wheelchair thing in health.

Less of Me: The Diet, Week Three

Gimpy the Foot

I skipped posting about The Diet last week. The only thing I could’ve said was “Ouch!”

I took a fall about a week ago. Broke my foot. Had surgery. Now, I’m wheelchair-bound for 8 or 9 weeks and then back to surgery. After that, it’s rehab for me and my gimpy foot. The doc says it will be about 5 months before my battered foot and I are healed and fully well again.

Nothing I had planned in terms of bettering my health — except, possibly, getting 8 hours sleep — seems do-able right now.

I never knew how much I liked my feet until I lost the use of one of them. They were just sort of there, at the end of my legs, doing their job. I didn’t think they were beautiful, but now I know that two uncomplaining feet are among the most beautiful things in the world.  I am a newly minted feet fan. Two of them. In working order. That’s better than chocolate.

I honestly think that if I wasn’t so overweight I might not have injured myself so badly. That’s my theory at least. My husband said, “How did you smash it like that?” and I told him, “I guess I dropped my whole weight on it.”

The nurse at the hospital told me to stop doing that to myself, that things just happen. Said it as they were wheeling me into surgery, “Honey you stop doin’ that to yourself. Things just happen. Don’t tell yourself stuff like that.”

That was nice of her, but I still think that the amount of weight your bring down on your bones is bound to affect how much torque you put them through. Just guessing. But it does seem logical.

I’m not talking about beating myself up here. If my love affair with junk food and the resulting heft I brought to the fall made the injury worse, then I’m the one who’s paying the price. My overeating. My injury. My payment.

But I have come to the conclusion that this is a price I don’t want to pay again. There’s no doubt that my weight has made things tougher on my husband and kids as they’ve had to shove my wheelchair around. I also know that it makes it harder for me to paddle along with the wheelchair myself.

All this gives seeing Less of Me a whole other level of incentive.

There are real limits to what I can do now. My first job is to take care of my sore baby and get well enough to be more active. But I’m already thinking ahead to the days when I’m quasi mobile and can at least do some things.

We have a women’s health spa/workout place not far from our house called Mademoiselle Ladies Fitness. They have the full set up of weight machines, ellipticals, bikes and pool. But what I’m aiming for at first are the passive work-out tables. I have a friend who used these a few years ago because her condition wouldn’t allow her to do the more strenuous things and she says they actually do work.

The set up looks like this:

The exercises you can do with them look like this:

 

Whaddaya think? Would this work with Gimpy the Foot?

I also cracked my hip bone. Even though it is going to heal on its own with no intervention, it’s still sore. Maybe I should say, Gimpy the Leg. I dunno. All I know is that this little event has made me realize what a wonderful thing a healthy, pain-free body is. It’s also brought home how very fortunate I am that I don’t have diabetes to complicate all this, and how much I don’t want to spend any more days at the hospital being a patient.

How do I work toward the goal of a healthier me from this wheelchair? 

Ideas? Thoughts? And a little encouragement, please. Tell me what you think. 

 

Less of Me: The Diet, Week Two

So much for great plans and good intentions. 

One of the good people who offered advice about my impending diet last Saturday told me to be gentle with myself when I failed to do what I had planned. That was excellent advice, especially since I didn’t succeed consistently on anything  I planned.

First the good news. When I weighed this morning, I found to my surprise that I had actually lost 2.3 pounds. Why? I dunno. I made no effort to eat less or even to eat differently. I was more aware of what I ate just because I had weighed and then written about it here.

Now, to the long list of failures. My objectives and the results were:

1. Start getting 8 hours sleep every night. It turns out that the only easy thing about this was writing the sentence. I managed to make myself go to bed by 1 am almost every night. I did not pull an all-nighter all week. But I couldn’t sleep once I got there. I tossed. Turned. Tossed some more. To top it off, my elderly mother got me up at 4 a couple of mornings; not because she was sick, but just … well … because. So the first objective gets 14 for effort and zero for success. I will keep trying and would appreciate any and all ideas as to how to succeed. I. Am. So. Tired. I need the sleep!

2. Exercise every day. I managed to do this 3 times rather than the 7 I hoped for. I rode my recumbent bike for 30 minutes instead of the planned 15 simply because it was easy to peddle and read. The challenge here is making myself go do it. I’m going to run at it again this week. I think that three times is a big improvement over none, btw. My score for this is 7 for effort and 7 for success. Halfway there.

3. Don’t do so much. I was a TOTAL flop at this! In fact, instead of clearing the decks, I took on two additional projects; one for a volunteer position I hold and another for my family. The score here is zip and zip; the big zero.

4. Drink more water. I drank more water, but not what I had planned. I’ll work on it. I would score this 10 for effort and 7 for success.

5. Weigh. Every Saturday. I am 14 for 14 on this! I finally have something where I accomplished what I planned, even if it is just stepping on a scale and looking down. Yeah!

6. Blog about it here every Saturday. I am doing that now. So again, 14 for effort and 14 for success.

7. Pray about it. I (blush) didn’t do this at all. It is so hard for me to pray about this. I have no idea why.

So there you have it. The bottom line is that I need a lot of work just to get to the beginning of living a healthy life. The odd thing is the weight loss. I think it is most likely a result of the self-awareness I gained from talking about all this here. I think that may actually be the most helpful thing I’ve tried.

I hope you guys have some ideas about sleep. I think that’s the single most important thing I need to do for myself right now. Please feel free to chime in with any ideas, thoughts, prayers you have for me. I need all of it.

Thank you again for all the help you’ve given me so far. As I said, it seems to be doing me good, almost without my knowing it.

Now, I’m off to put a roast in the oven and then go to mass.

 

 

 

Less of Me: The Diet, Week One

 

Well, I did it. 

I drug the scale from under the counter, stood on the thing and looked down. It was bad. I weigh more than I ever have. No wonder I feel so lousy.

After reading all the helpful (And I do mean helpful. Thank you!) comments on my first post about this, Picking My Prison: Which Diet Program for Me?  I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a health habits problem as much as it is an over-eating problem.

Not, mind you, that I don’t over eat. Nobody sees what I saw on the scale this morning without over-eating a lot and overeating often. However, there’s a lot more to this than over-eating. I am also exhausted. And totally out of shape. Not to mention stressed.

There are a lot of reasons for this, some of which I can change and others which I can not. I’ll talk about them in more detail in later posts. For now, I want to focus on what I’ve decided to try to do about this in the next seven days. The changes I want to try to make this week are:

1. Start getting eight hours sleep every night. This is my number one priority. I decided on this because I think it is the one thing that will give me the most immediate help in lowering my blood pressure and just generally feeling better. I go to bed at 3 or 4 (or later) in the morning then get back up at 7 or 8. I do that every day. Changing my sleep habits isn’t as simple as just crawling between the sheets at a more reasonable hour. I’ve become so habituated to my hamster-in-a-cage lifestyle that I can’t sleep, even if I do go to bed. I’m just too jazzed. So, my second goal for this week is

2. Exercise every day. I’m not talking marathon here. Fifteen minutes on the recumbent bike is a good start. I’m hoping it will help me sleep. I’m not sure what time of the day I should do it to get the most relaxation/sleep inducing benefits. I’m just hoping it works.

3. Don’t do so much. I can’t get everything done if I sleep 8 hours. I just can’t. So, I’m going to have to clean out my life the way I would an over-stuffed closet. This one may take a while, and it will almost certainly involve saying “no” to some things. But it’s gotta be done.

4. Drink more water. I’m going to fill a 26 oz thermos I have with ice and water and drink it every day. This one’s easy.

5. Weigh. Every Saturday.

6. Blog about it here every Saturday. I’m hoping you can be my support group with this. You’ve been so much help so far it’s unbelievable.

7. Pray about it. For some reason, I have a reluctance to pray about my own health. It’s as if I think it’s something I should handle without God. So, I’ll add this my my daily prayers.

That’s my plan for this week. How does it sound to you?

Picking My Prison: Which Diet Program for Me?

I’ve got to lose weight. 

I will not tell you how much I weigh. I will admit that my blood pressure is edging up and my energy level is dropping down. It’s time to stop buying bigger clothes. Time to stop hiding from mirrors. Time to quit avoiding the scale and “forgetting” to go get those blood tests the doctor ordered.

It’s time for me to drop a pound or 50. 

The trouble is, I don’t want to. Eat less, I mean.

If you could wave that proverbial wand and painlessly shave off this bulk, I’d be all for that. But watching every single bite I eat and not eating anything I like and never feeling full sounds like a punishment we should give to the worst criminals.

I’ve considered ways to do this. I hear Weight Watchers is having a join-for-free special right now. SparkPeople costs nothing and seems to work for a lot of folks.

All these programs work. If you do them. They even work for me. If I do them. Truth told, I have no trouble losing weight. I can lose on any “program.” What I can’t do is keep it up.

These “programs” feel like whole-life straight jackets to me.  I can lose weight. All I have to do is watch every bite I eat with an obsessive exactness that often involves weighing my food and measuring it out at every meal as if I was building a bomb instead of sitting down to eat. No spontaneous bite may cross my lips.

I become both my own jailer and my own prisoner, locked in my own gastronomic maximum security prison; caught in a war I can not win because it’s between me … and me. Keeping weight off is sentencing myself to this prison for life without parole. If I relax for a day, I stop losing. If I relax for several days, I gain.

So. I have to keep tabs of every bite I eat. Every. Single. Bite. Every nibble. Every sniff and whiff of food cooking in the kitchen as I walk by. I have to write it down, tally it up and “track it.”

I also have to monitor myself keeping tabs on myself to make sure that I don’t forget to keep tabs on myself and start gaining weight again.

If that isn’t a self-made hell, what is?

I’d forget about it. Again. And buy bigger clothes. Again.

But there’s that blood pressure, creeping up, and that constant tiredness that’s become my new normal. I’m willing to be ugly for food. But am I willing to die for it?  I don’t want to stand before God and have Him thump me on the head and say, “You threw away 20 great years I gave you because of chicken fried steak?”

I need to give up avoiding mirrors and bathroom scales and pick a program. I’ve been going to “do that tomorrow” for a couple of weeks now. I’m “going to do that tomorrow” again. I’ll let you know this weekend if I do any better this week than I have in the ones before. Maybe talking to you about it will help me go ahead and take the plunge. I’m hoping it will.

Now let’s see … Weight Watchers or SparkPeople … or maybe something else … Which prison will I pick?


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