Sunday, March 11, 2012

A New Wrinkle in the Recovery


What is the fastest you have ever gotten into shape?

This whole back/hip saga has been a VERY long adventure--especially for someone A) impatient, and B) seemingly kind of stupid.  I just don't understand "gradual" or that things might take longer than I think they would, so I have caused myself all sorts of set-backs.  Since being able to add the gym to my therapy in an effort to "rebuild," I have dealt with my frustration by exercising for a minimum of 60 minutes.  Because everything had to be "slow" and "gradual" (and because I had been reprimanded twice for doing the complete opposite), it made me feel better to do slow & gradual for long enough to feel like I might really be strengthening my hip.  Since for a while I could only do the pool, I have been wrinkly and itchy most of 2012 so far, but it seemed to help, and I have been able to add recumbent bike and elliptical, combining them to get to 60 minutes.  Then I added weights after that, and decided since I was doing this anyway, I should do a complete weight workout--not just for my leg.  If stretching and strength can prevent ONE problem, it must be able to prevent a bunch of them, right?  So, gym visits have crept to 2 - 2 and a half hours.  

Since the hip itself is still pretty fragile, it really just didn't occur to me that any of this was really making any changes yet.  I still can't do the treadmill, still can't walk on uneven ground, still have to be pretty gentle with impact.   So I didn't notice when I could do the elliptical a little bit faster.  I didn't think about it as muscles became more defined.  I am still in "recovery," so I just kept assuming that I was barely getting a workout--even in 2 hour gym visits.  It was all still "easy" stuff!  So I was actually genuinely surprised this week to find myself struggling most of the week with low blood sugar.  I do not have diabetes, but most people will experience feelings of shakiness and dizziness after strenuous exercise if they haven't eaten correctly or had frequent snacks, and I know this and have usually been on top of it when I have exercised regularly.  I just hadn't anticipated getting to that level so quickly and while I still feel like I'm doing therapy rather than exercising.  TWICE I have had to cut the weight lifting short because I was getting dizzy and was worried about driving home.  (Wouldn't you think I would have learned after the first time?)  Suddenly I'm trying to shake the habits I've obviously developed while on the pain pills that caused loss of appetite and do a complete 180-turn to the "small, frequent meal" program to try to cope with a drastic change in metabolism, and it's driving me crazy.  It's like suddenly having a small child around who is ALWAYS hungry, and mentally I just can't make the switch that fast.  Andy has even overheard me arguing with myself, saying "you can NOT be hungry already.  We just ate!"  I have been in much better shape at points in my life, but never have I gone from mostly inactive 60 days ago to pretty seriously fit now, and it's very confusing and actually annoying.  For the first time in my life, I think I really might hate food.  I did NOT believe that would ever happen.

1 comment:

Abby said...

My two-cents worth: You might be eating too many carbs (which can mess with your blood sugar, especially refined sugar) and not enough protein. Also, alternate weight-lifting days with rest days, to give your muscles a chance to rebuild. Not enough fluids may cause dizziness as well - stay hydrated. I find that although I have successfully completed PT for my back, I still have days when it feels fragile. Find a level of exercise that you can do for the long haul because you will need to keep at it FOREVER. Good luck!

The Look

Anyone who thinks cats can't learn things hasn't lived with one. It took Theo maybe a month into his diet to figure out that I can...