There are certainly countless Sparkers out there who can relate to this... Being as heavy as I was for as long as I was really took its toll on my back. For many others it is knees, or hips, or (fill in the blank). For me, it is primarily one pesky disk in my lower back.
When I experienced my initial "injury," my doctor told me that the three best things I could do for my back were to:
1. To not smoke.
2. To be as active as possible.
3. To be as light as possible.
Number 1 was easy - I was not a smoker. Numbers 2 & 3 presented more of a challenge. As anyone with back pain (or probably any kind of pain) can attest...sometimes the last thing you want to do is MOVE. Moving can hurt.
But, I had to get moving to lose weight...so I did. I lost about 40 lbs, but then lost my way (also something most Sparkers can relate to). It took a while, but eventually I found myself back at my highest weight, having regular relapses of back pain. I took steroids two times a year for three years. It was just 3 weeks after joining SparkPeople that I had a WHOPPER of a back attack and ended up in Physical Therapy for months.
Though disappointing and debilitating, that pain was a great reminder to me that I owed it to myself to handle the biggest problem that faced my life and my back - all the extra weight.
Fast forward - I have lost nearly 70 lbs (and when I pick up my dog's 38.5 lb bag of food, I am reminded just how significant that is - I have lost the equivalent of that bag AND the dog herself!)
My back is MUCH healthier. I won't ever be able to undo the disk rupture I have experienced...but I have strengthened my core, as well as nourished and hydrated my body... I have experienced one re-injury...but I healed MUCH more quickly, and without the need for steroids or long-term anti-inflammatory meds.
This is part of my story, and something I have to keep in mind to try and avoid further damage...so WHY do I keep trying to JOG? High impact jarring on a formerly ruptured disk that is prone to bulging, nerve impingement and potentially further rupture is NOT A GOOD IDEA.
I cut myself a little slack by knowing that I try this JOGGING thing periodically because I am proud of the fitness level I have achieved, and I want to push myself. But I, ERIN, need to push myself in different ways. I need to get in the pool
, ride my bike
, walk farther
...but I cannot do flying aerobic dance jumps
, and I cannot run
(unless there is an emergency - and even then, my back won't know the difference!) And, I do pay - almost immediately...and the discomfort can last for days... from just one short burst of enthusiastic over-pacing.
Every time I break into a jog while out on my regular walks, there is a very smart and sensible voice that says, "Stop, you will pay for this, and not in a good way..." But I have a tendency to shush that voice and reply..."but I am not even winded...isn't that cool?!?"
There are MANY ways to reach our goals. There is NO one size fits all solution. We know that. We read so many inspirational stories here that we want to try things that may not fit for us. I will never be able to post that I just RAN MY FIRST 5K, 10K, Half Marathon... (and by the way, KUDOS to all of you who can, and will - Spark On!
) But, I will be able to share all the amazing things I have discovered about myself, about what this journey has meant to me, and what fitness without running can look like.
I am not perfect (no one is), sometimes I make really lame decisions (everyone does). But I AM CREATIVE...and I am going to use that to my advantage in this next phase of my journey.
I do admit though, there will always be a part of me that wishes I could be a runner. C'est la vie!