Ever since I lost 100 pounds and kept it off for a few years, I’ve been able to keep a pretty good handle on my depression and anxiety. Even this year, with the intense stress Michael and I have been under with his job loss, I still had a handle on it. I’ve used exercise as a “cure”…or is a bandaid?…whenever I was feeling the little nibbling feelings of depression or stress starting to get to me. Nothing cures a shitty mood like a REALLY GOOD RUN. Seriously. I cannot count how many times a run helped me get through something tough. Swimming is my home. It calms me, it relaxes me, it makes me marvel at how far I’ve come from the old me.
Whenever I have an injury that sidelines me, it’s so much harder to keep those moody feelings at bay. With my recent bout with runner’s knee, I’ve been limited in the things I can do. While I’ve been here before and survived it and even learned a valuable lesson from it, it’s very very hard to SEE the positive side when you’re right in the middle of it.
I feel helpless. I feel anxious. I feel achy and tired. I feel out of sorts. It’s easy to get wrapped up in my brain and focus entirely on my knees instead of seeing the world around me. Nope, I don’t see the beautiful changing leaves or the cute puppy running with it’s owner–instead I keep analyzing every ache and twinge in my knees, I have an internal debate (“will my knees hold up if I run for that bus or should I just wait for the next one?”) and I watching longingly at that runner wishing it was me.
The hard part is that people don’t really understand what it feels like. No one understands what that fear is–the fear of possibly gaining back all the weight I lost because of an injury. For the most part, I feel great about my body and my life and my maintenance. I don’t think about gaining the weight back. I don’t worry about being 100 pounds heavier because I KNOW I won’t let that happen. But right in the middle of this current injury? Yeah, I’m worried about it.
Michael is sweet. So is my mom and some of my friends. They tell me it will be okay, that it’s ok to take a break from intense exercise, that physical therapy will help me, that I won’t be injured forever (okay I can be a little dramatic when I’m not feeling well).But they just don’t understand. That fear.
I went to happy hour with a friend who has lost 60 pounds and is also currently dealing with an injury. She was in a car accident and got whip lash which has her crippled and barely able to move her neck. She was a cyclist too, and had to drop out of the Harvest Century a few weeks ago because of her injury. She listened to me whine about my injury and my knees and the fears I was having gushed out of me like a surging river. And she understood. She nodded and agreed and knew how I was feeling. She was feeling the same thing. She said that unless someone has spent a long period of time obese or overweight and then lost the weight, they really don’t understand that fear.
It was nice to hear that someone else felt the same way. It made me feel better. It gave me a little hope and made me feel stronger, determined, ready to tackle physical therapy and do whatever it takes to be healthy again. Will I be 100% better? Who knows. Probably not. Will I have to redefine what kind of physical activity makes me happy? Probably. Maybe I need to drop one intense workout day from my schedule and replace it with a yoga class. Every week. No matter what. Who knows. Only time will tell. What I don’t want to do is make it worse.
I bring this up because I do want to share my life with you guys. I realize that with my injury my blog has probably suffered a bit. I honestly have not been feeling inspired. I’ve opened up dozens of blank posts, ready to write, and then closed them because words just weren’t coming. Right now my brain feels foggy, my body hurts and I just don’t know what to say without being Debbie Downer.
I went to my first physical therapy appointment to get the verdict. After my thorough exam, I asked on a scale of 1-10 how bad was I compared to the really bad cases of Runner’s Knee? He said about a 5. I guess that’s good. I’m past the inflammation part and ready to start the physical therapy exercises to get better.
So what’s the verdict?
Both knees have a lateral tilt which means my knee cap is tilted. This condition is also what the IT Band is related to. So if there is inflammation in my IT Band, it can pull the knee cap and cause inflammation there. My left knee also has an internal rotation which then effects the lower leg bone positioning. Basically, I was born this way.
At least I now know why I’ve had knee issues with running and hiking. And now I have a nifty knee brace and a bunch of physical therapy exercises to work on. I will be doing them diligently every day. I want to see some progress when I go back in at the end of October.
In two weeks off from the bike and running, my leg muscles have already atrophied according to my physical therapist. He did say that my hamstrings were exceptionally strong, so that was kinda nice. According to him this condition is very common in women because of wide hips but that it is somewhat fixable. I’m crossing my fingers.
I’ll share all the rehab exercises I’m doing in another post for anyone interested.
I am so sorry you are going through this. I hurt my knee about 2 months ago, and it’s been off and on and now it’s more on. I am going to see a PT on Wednesday but it is just so worrisome since I hate having to limit my activity, now that I feel like I am on plan (again).
I hope the PT is effective! 🙂
Thank you, Cindy. I think I’m sort of making peace with it now that I’ve seen PT and have a plan. It’s still frustrating. I’m trying to live in denial and not think about it and just focus on PT and strengthening!
Good luck for your appointment. Let me know how it goes!
Get well soon is all I got:)
Marc recently posted..I’m Alive…so are You
Thanks Marc. I hope I do!
I am sorry you are in pain and can’t exercise and live in fear of regaining weight that is long gone. I hope physical therapy helps and you are soon back running and cycling again. I hope that you are open to finding other ways to meet your need to exercise too.
Thank you for continuing to share.
I hope it works too! I think I’ll find new ways of exercising.
Michelle @ Eat Move Balance
Hang in there. I can totally relate though . . . injuries suck! Period. It’s funny that you posted this, because I just came in from a run this morning that ended in a lot of knee pain. Brutal! Guess this means no running for a bit, until I figure out what’s going on and let it heal. 🙁
On the other hand, because I’ve suffered many over-use injuries over the years, I’ve learned of lots of ways to distract myself, and what I can do to keep moving. Depending on the injury, I’ll use an elliptical trainer or a bike. Sometimes I do lots of walking. But my two favorite things are strength training and yoga. I’ve really fallen in love with both!
Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..Calamari Stir-Fry
Thanks for the comment, Michelle. REST YOUR KNEES! Don’t be like me!!!
Yes, I’ve also found other things I enjoyed because of injuries. My love of weight lifting came about when I had to stop running for 2 months because of the IT Band. I think I’m going to try this restorative yoga class my friend keeps talking about. Maybe I’ll grow to love that, too.
I’m sorry to hear about that Lisa, but PT actually does this condition a lot good, so there is the bright side.
That fear? I totally get it. My rational mind knows that I won’t wake up 100 pounds heavier, but the irrational part still feels that way and that thought is always there peeking around the corners of my mind.
There also is surgical correction for this if it becomes a real problem. I think it is a lateral release, but don’t quote me – and a common surgery.
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I sincerely hope that PT DOES work. I am very committed to it. In fact, the nerd that I am, I made up flashcards with the PT exercises for easy use in the gym. Another commenter mentioned that she had the lateral release surgery and it worked great for her. I’m purposely not reading up on that because mentally I’m not ready to think about surgery. I want to do PT first and see if it works.
It’s nice to hear that you have that fear sometimes, too. I think it’s something never REALLY goes away when you lose such a big amount of weight. It’s funny because I rarely think about it when I’m healthy and active…it’s only when I am injured that the irrational fear strikes me!
I understand, I really do. I commented a few days ago about my pulled quad. Luckily for me it has healed quickly and I can get back to a nearly normal routine. But when I was first told to lay off anything leg related for 6 weeks or more? I cried. Exercise is my me time, my hobby, and my way of keeping my depression at bay. I had no idea how I would cope. I was so, so scared of gaining my 30lb back. I exercise a lot so that I can eat more, and I knew that with no exercise I would have to reduce my food intake, which I was not keen on.
So, in short, I understand what you are feeling. I wish you a very speedy recovery, and I hope you can find something that won’t hurt your knees! Does your gym have a boxing class? GREAT workout (you get to hit things, great stress relief) and easy on the knees.
I am SO glad to hear that your quad is better. That is a fast recovery, what a relief!
Yep, the gym is ME time too. It helps me stay healthy and balanced in mind and body. It’s an important part of my daily life. And yes, I admit, I do eat more calories on days I workout hard so with these lighter workouts, I’ve been tighten up on the calories. It just has to be done. It sucks, but it’s the way it is. At least for a little while.
I’m not sure if my gym has boxing. I know it has turbo kick, which I’ve tried and failed at. I could not keep up with the class. It was like everyone knew all the moves perfectly but me.
I can understand this fear! Mostly because I have regained some of the weight I lost, but not from an injury. From pure “I give up” and “this plateau is getting the best of me” type feelings. But that was my choice. I chose to coddle those feelings, rather than fight against them and not let them win. You won’t let this injury win. You will find new ways to exercise, you will find ways to eat that will let you still enjoy life without making you gain weight. You know what it takes to work within your situation and succeed, even overcome that. You were once obese and had a hard time moving around, right? But you found a way to do it & conquer it. You’ll find a way to conquer this too!
Jennifer recently posted..A Disease of the Mind
Thank you for the pep talk, Jennifer. You made me smile! Yes, I had a hard time moving around when I was obese but I found a way to exercise–swimming! And I have been doing that more lately. At the end of the month I go back to the physical therapist and I’m going to ask him about using the elliptical. It might be a no-no but it can’t hurt to ask.
I totally have that fear and I even have scenarios in my head of what would happen if I lost the ability to walk/hike or what would happen if I needed a medication adjustment ( thyroid) or a medical treatment that require steroid treatments or other treatments that could cause weight gain? Would someone advocate for me to help me keep grain free and recover if I needed help?
In the end I release and let it go, as hard as it is and know that as long as my brain is working okay, I’ll be able to make a plan and act as best I can with the situation. Easier said than done. I have nightmares that I start to eat foods and cannot stop. Doesn’t happen in real life, but it’s lurking in my sub -conscious.
Post as little or as much as you need. I have considered going back to a hypnotherapist who did a weight loss tape for me in a one time one time session. I think it was $90 at the time and I slept like a baby. I can’t say it helped with weight loss, but it did ease the stress , which was worth it right there.
Take care. This too will pass. Glad you have a friend in real life to talk to, that is very helpful. Karen P
Karen P recently posted..8 months weight maintenance -holding pattern
I think people like us will always have that fear because we worked so hard for the weight loss (AND to keep it off). I think it’s natural. I’m trying my best not to get obsessive about it and just go with the flow, continue counting my calories and being mindful but there’s always that little fear.
I suffer from insomnia pretty bad (I think it’s related to anxiety because I just lay awake *thinking*). Did the hypnosis help you with that long term?
Thanks for the kind words. It’s appreciated. 🙂
Yes. I was in a tough transition time and I would say that if I woke up. In the middle of the night worried, I could listen to the tape and go back to sleep. Eventually, I could guide myself back to sleep and push the stress away. The hypnosis was only 30 mins. The first 60 mins was like a counseling session. Hypnotherapist really understood what I was going trough, so the custom tape was very relaxing. Good non- medical way to deal.
Karen P recently posted..8 months weight maintenance -holding pattern
Interesting. I’ll look into it. Do you think those hypnosis tapes would work the same way?
Hi Lisa, so sorry to read about the ailments. Hope you get some good care and get back on your feet (literally and physically) and normal activity soon. Take care.
Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not
I’m sorry for what you’re going through but thank you for writing this! It’s hard for other people to relate to the intensity with which I count calories/exercise, but it’s the fear of gaining that drives all of it. For me, it doesn’t feel like anything but survival and holding on to the life I want to live. I love that I can always relate to your blog 🙂
I’m glad you “get it”, Jodi! It’s nice to hear that there are others out there with the same thoughts and feelings. I like the way you put it….it’s definitely a “I want to hold onto this life I’ve created” feeling.
I saw your bits on this on Twitter the other day, but wow. I hope the PT does make a difference and you can get back to doing your thing again!
Deb recently posted..FMM – Inside Your Home
Thanks for chatting with me on Twitter last week! It was nice to hear positive things from people.
Ali @ Peaches and Football
I’m only 1/3 of the way through my weight loss goals but I already feel a little panic at the thought of it all going away and being back where I started. I think it’s pretty natural that you’d feel that way too – especially when you view exercise as a means of controlling your weight AND your stress in a stressful time.
However, you are armed with a plan – you have physical therapy exercises – and I’d use those as your center right now. Any plan and direction is better than aimlessly floating, wondering, fearing how things will end up. You’ll weather this just fine, you know you will. Chin up, hang in there!!!!
Ali @ Peaches and Football recently posted..The end … is near?
Yes! When exercise is used to alleviate stress, but you’re stressed out because of an injury…it’s a vicious cycle!