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A Heavy Toll - the confessions of a wannabe jogger

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

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 emoticon , ride my bike emoticon , walk farther emoticon ...but I cannot do flying aerobic dance jumps emoticon , and I cannot run emoticon (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! emoticon ) 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!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BTINCHER2001
    Thanks for your post Erin! Yes, I can relate in many ways. But first and foremost, I'd like to know how you move from walking into jogging. I'm trying to do it, but I think I'm just going from a walk to faster walk. I'm not making the transition to running. This bugs me!
    From your status reports, I know you are doing a lot of physical exercise - walking, cycling. Good for you! And you have lost 70 lbs to show for it. That is really awesome. You are a role model for me.
    Keep up the good work! I'm rooting for you.
    2099 days ago
    I read somewhere at 1 point in time that for every 1 pound lost that is 4 pounds of pressure taken off of your knees. That is a big deal. Keep doing what you are doing, weight loss is so important to your joints and body, and just keep exercising in the manner that doesn't stress your body.
    2099 days ago
    I have the back and the knee. My back does not limit me too much - I'm lucky - but the knee has to be babied. I do run, but not two days in a row most of the time, and if I do, one must be on the treadmill. I tape. I strength train. I creak like an 80 year old. I can do the HMs, but I will probably never do a marathon unless I crawled the last 10 miles or so. Part of me wants to just to stick my tongue out, so to speak, at my body. But the sensible part knows that that's crazy, and the training itself would probably hurt too much.

    Running is appealing in the way that it tests you and really works you out, but there are other things that do too that may be better for you. Kick boxing, HIIT, cycling, etc. may provide the same challenge that you seek.
    2099 days ago
    Walking is the best! You can walk those races and be very proud! I have added jogging to my plan but it is very slow and I am not sure if my body can handle it. Will have to see. My biggest love is my long distance walking! Good audio book and I can walk for hours. Keep sparking your doing great!
    2099 days ago
    2099 days ago

    I would love to be able to go to the pool and swim laps doing the front crawl. I can't, never have been able to. Well, not without knocking out everyone swimming anywhere near me and swallowing gallons of water. We all can't be good at everything and sometimes we have to shrug our shoulders and go play in a different sandbox.

    2099 days ago
    My knees are really messed up so I completely understand not being able to run. I want to but it's not worth the pain it causes. emoticon We can do this even without running!!
    2100 days ago
    You are really doing so well, all the weight you lost, so many positives. I am happy I can move again, hiking and walking. I tried to jog and I did hurt myself, so I figured it was not worth it. So happy for the many things I can still do now.
    You really are doing a great job. So keep moving forward, We are all unique and with that, many ways to be healthy and happy, you are so right. emoticon emoticon
    2100 days ago
    I can really relate Erin. It is tough to accept there ARE limitations to the things we want to do. And you are very correct that there is more than one way to reach your goal. There is ALWAYS another way to reach your destination if you are smart, patient and creative! You, my dear, are exactly that. I admire that very much in you. Keep on going girl! You. Are. Awesome.
    2100 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.