The Road to Recovery

It feels like I have been on this road for longer than I actually have and I don’t know when it will end.  That is the most frustrating part of it all.

I can tell you that rest has not been a part of this journey.  I guess I should be able to say that I have “rested” from running, but that isn’t completely accurate.  Every couple of days I make an attempt to run.  It usually ends in failure.  Yesterday was one of those days, but I was able to do more than I expected.  I walked mostly, but jogged some.  I managed to go for 6 miles using that walk/run method that I so much despised before all of this happened.  Now it is a blessing.  I feel a sense of success when I am moving through the “run” (okay, let’s call it a jog) phase of the method.  A car passes by and I know they are thinking “look at that runner, I wish I was running right now.”  The pleasant feeling only lasts about a tenth of a mile before I back off and start walking again.  I know that when I feel any pain that I must stop.  If I feel pain in my leg then that means my disc is pushing against my nerve.  That means that I am not helping the heeling process.  I am probably part of the reason why this road seems to continue on forever.

When I don’t feel pain I am unstoppable.  I will squat, lunge, chest press, curl, etc.  If my physical therapist tells me not to use a bar on my back for squats, then I use the same amount of weight in dumbbells along my side.  If my physical therapist demonstrates strengthening exercises, then I do those exercises every day.  Of course, when they give me more, I add it to my routine.  When I am told to use the ARC machine at the gym (something similar to a cross between an elliptical and a stair climber) I make sure I am sweating bullets by the time I get off.  If I am not told to do something, then I do it.  Maybe they don’t realize that they need to give me a list of every activity, movement and exercise I shouldn’t be doing…

So, is this helping or hurting?  Not sure.  Some days I feel so great that I think I could run 3 miles without walking.  Funny enough, these are usually the days after I have exercised in the morning.  Other days I feel like I am hurting just when I walk around the house.  And yes, these days usually happen after a period of minimal activity.  I don’t know what it means, but I am thinking that it is better to exercise than to sit around and wait.  Not only can I not bear the thought of sitting around, but I would undoubtedly fall into a state of depression that can only be cured through exercise (I know this to be a fact).

And they appear to think that part of my problem is a lack of strength in my core and glutes (it seems ironic that a fitness enthusiast would be told that she doesn’t exercise enough).  So, I have been burning my butt muscles on a daily basis.  And wouldn’t you know it, I can actually feel a tightening in my tummy.  I nearly have total confidence when wearing a 2-piece bathing suit (just the damn stretch marks I can’t get rid of).  Is it helping my back?  Not sure, but at least I am getting more fit trying!

Okay body.  So if I can’t run, then I won’t run.  I have pretty much excepted that.  I won’t give up, but I will keep myself entertained in other ways.  The day will come when this road will end and a new one will begin.

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The Veggie Experience

So, today is day 8 of our vegetarian crusade.  Well, I suppose it is not really a crusade.  We are not animal rights activists (but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the welfare of animals).  We are just looking for ways to live a healthier life and the vegetarian option sounded like it might keep us on the right track.  I will tell you that it is so much easier to talk about it… actually doing it is not so easy.

I can read all the hype in magazines, on blogs and facebook pages.  These people say this and those people say that.  It all comes down to what I want to do and what is right for MY body.  No two bodies are the same.  My husband and I ran into an old friend of ours a few weeks ago and she discussed her new raw vegan diet.  I was a bit perplexed about the concept, but I have always been very open-minded.  More power to her for doing that because it must take a lot of time and dedication in order to do it right.  Some people will say that it is not healthy, but others will argue differently.  It all comes down to knowing your own body and finding out through trial and error what works and what doesn’t work.  Of course my husband argued with our friend and told her that humans were meant to eat meat.  He is a big time meat-eater.  Actually, he wasn’t always so fond of my turkey substitutions.  I have never been a big fan of beef or pork.

Then, one day my husband surprised me by saying that he would be willing to try the raw vegan cleanse (lasting 10 days).  However, that just wasn’t very plausible and I honestly didn’t even think I could do it.  I talked him into a vegetarian cleanse instead.  We needed to take one step at a time.  The idea was to do it for 10 days to find out whether or not it suited us.

I must admit that it hasn’t been an easy journey so far, especially with 3 children.  As you know, most children are picky.  We knew that we couldn’t expect them to refrain from meat completely, so instead, we just require them to try our new vegetarian dishes during dinners.  Just the other day our oldest daughter returned home from her weekend Girl Scout camping trip and she talked about the pulled pork sandwiches she had for dinner one night (one of my husband’s favorites).  However, they seemed to enjoy the eggplant parmesan (actually more than my husband and I did) and they absolutely love tofu.

After the first few days we started thinking about how to better diversify our menu.  I know that I couldn’t just live off of tofu and vegetables.  We tried quinoa for the first time which is a grain with a lot of protein packed into it.  The whole family enjoyed that!  I know that I could survive by eating black beans every day (not a problem when I went to Central America and ate rice & beans every day), but our oldest daughter does not eat any type of bean.  My husband seems to have fallen in love with the tofu burritos at Moe’s.

Eating out… now that is another challenge.  Fortunately, being vegetarian kind of helps us save money (and calories) because there are not very many options when you go out.  It’s not like I am going to go to Chick-fil-A and order a chicken sandwich without the chicken.  Last weekend we planned a day trip to St. Augustine.  As part of that plan we were going to eat lunch somewhere in town.  I actually had to go on the internet and research restaurants.  I found one that offered a bit a variety, but when we got into town we actually came across a regular restaurant with a big sign that read “Burger of the Month: Chipotle Black Bean Burger.”  That was easier than we expected!  Of course we didn’t even bother to look at the menu and I was thankful that I didn’t have to refrain from eating fries with my “burger” (which was way more delicious than any real burger I have ever eaten).

However, there are the tummy issues.  We are all of a sudden incorporating more fiber into our diet and most of you probably know what that means… a lot of regularity.  I guess we are really being “cleansed” in some way.

So, now we have decided to invite our neighbors over for dinner.  It is a very regular gathering so we didn’t think twice about what we would actually eat.  I asked my friend if she had ever had a black bean burger and she said no.  So that is what’s on the menu for tonight!