Medium Rare

Well helloooo, dear comrades. It looks like I’ve developed a once-a-week blogging pattern lately. Consequently this is going to be long. If you want, you could just read a paragraph each day, and pretend I’m a proper, dilligent blogger!

. . .

Oh the joy of lifting heavy objects! These week I’ve started upper body weights again, hurrah! I went a bit lighter, just to be on the safe side. But it felt brilliant to be sweaty and exhausted. And I’d missed the delicious smugness that comes after a good workout.

I’ve been wearing my pedometer too. What a wake-up call that was! I’d been overestimating how much I trot around. I assumed my work walks would easily take me up to the hallowed 10,000 but it’s more like 7000. D’oh! So I’ve been squeezing in some lunchtime and evening walks. I reckon I need more like 20,000 steps if it’s going to make up for the lack of Proper Cardio.

I’m still avoiding the scales, at least official weigh-ins. I hop on most mornings just to suss things out, and it’s been hovering around the same number, give or take a pound, for a few weeks now. My eating was swinging from angelic to diabolical for awhile there, but I’ve reformed now.

. . .

In other news, I bought a bunch of new tops from H&M last week… size Medium! After years of seeing multiple X’s on my labels, I was happy enough to graduate down to a solitary L. But an M! From a Normal Shoppe! That rules.

. . .

So… my injuries. I am sort of resigned to the fact that things may never be 100%. It’s not like you can pop a pill and be cured. Backs and knees and shoulders are tricky buggers. You can never completely rest them. You can stop your high impact sports, but there’s still all those other hours in the day where you still have to sit in chairs or sleep in a bed or walk to the shops. The body never stops working. All I can do is manage these injuries and do my best to work around them and not make things worse.

Knee Report: Cutting out all cardio seemed to help the pain and it’s a little less tender. The sports physio seemed to think this is progress, and wants to give it another week of rest, aside from the knee exercises. He says realistically, the grinding sound won’t go away. It’s just getting the knee to a point where I can exercise without pain. I am beginning to wonder if I’ll ever get to that point.

Shoulder Report: As I mentioned in the last entry, I had an assessment by an NHS Physio (NHS = National Health Service, ie long waiting lists but free). The NHS Physio seemed to think the problem orginates in my neck, not my shoulder. He actually said I had a neck DEFORMITY.

“Dude!” I squeaked, “Isn’t that a rather strong word?”

But the neck is weak, grasshopper. I can’t turn my head to the right half as far I can turn the left. He pointed out how crap my posture was; how I seemed to cock my head to the right when I talked to him. On reflection, this is something I have done for a long time. Like a TV journalist does when they are pretending to be in deeply interested in their interviewees. The Hmmmmm position.

I admit I tend to favour that side, like scrunching the cordless phone on my right shoulder or leaning on that side if I snooze on the train or writing with old fashioned pen and paper. The dude had a scientific name for it that I can’t recall, but basically it was something about some nerve being sort of squished on the right side of my neck, and this explained all the numbness and tingling in my neck, arm and hand. Not to mention the horrible headaches on that side of my noggin’.

He did a lot of tests, and my yelps of pan at various intervals convinced him this was indeed the cause. But why did it get suddenly worse? More hours at the computer, more shithouse posture. He didn’t use the word shithouse, just the word terrible. Which sounded more terrible than shithouse, methinks.

I had my second appointment yesterday and he performed some serious manipulations. I had been working diligently on my posture since the last visit, but he still noted my tendency to tilt my head forward and round my shoulders. What can I say? It’s the legacy of being obese, I’m always trying to take up less space!

So my posture is an ongoing project. I’ve found a weekly yoga class just ten minutes walk from my house! Once my knee is up to the bending, I’ll be cracking on with that. In the meantime I have oodles of neck exercises to do. And when I do my upper body weights, I’ve been watching my posture in the glass reflection of a painting in the living room, for lack of a mirror. It was a shock to see my rounded shoulders and lazy stomach! I haven’t exercised with mirrors since I left my Fancy Gym in February 2005 and it’s evident I’ve been slacking.

But the main mission is to improve my everyday posture. Which means careful use of computers! To balance work computering, blogging and frantic book writing with the need for REST! And sunlight and fresh air! It’s a challenge, I tells ya!

ARRGH the book. I am so behind schedule for this month. I will have to clear the calendar for this weekend and write like the clappers in between madly cleaning the house in readiness for the Mothership Visit on July 2! Woohoo!

Hope you are well and excuse the Dear Diaryness of this entry.

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23 thoughts on “Medium Rare

  1. Hey! I have back problems too and for the computer stuff I have been using a program called Workrave. It makes you take breaks and reminds you to do stretches. I think it’s made a big difference to me in only two weeks. Good luck with recovery!

  2. Dear Diet Girl,
    I have been reading you blog for a little over a month now, and let me say that you are sooo inspiring. I love your truthfulness and sarcasm, two things that would be in the “15 words or less I would use to describe myself”.
    Reading your beginning entries is like looking in a mirror (especially “Lowercase Sneezy Blues”. That entry took guts). It’s like someone screaming out loud all the things I’m too ashamed to say. Like letting your weight hold you back, like not wanting anyone to see you naked, feeling embarrassed when someone focuses on you (“buying running shoes” entry and “being weighed at the initial weight watchers meeting” in your first post).
    After seeing that you found success and that there are others who are going through the same thing, I’ve decided to get off my ass and stop complaining (along with posting a comment and burning 5 calories 🙂
    Today was actually my first day at the gym, and while it wasn’t a traumatic experience, it was a wakeup call none the less. I’m only a 19 year old girl and I weigh 269lbs!!
    I’ve always been overweight. But like you, my height has always masked just how heavy I am (I’m 5’8). But now the weight has caught up to me and I actually look like a 269lb girl.
    So I am officially at day one, with 109lbs to go thinking, “Will I ever get there?” “Am I just kidding myself?” But I’m just telling myself that in order for me to be able to say “I’ve lost over 100lbs damn I’m hot!!!!” I’ll have to have said “I still have over 100lbs to lose”
    So I’ll be reading your blog as long as you keep writing, which I hope will be a long time.
    Wish me luck, because I sure as hell need it.

  3. Ah, I love “the hmmmmmm position” and that wonderful noun “Diaryness”. How has our language survived without these? Your writing is so fresh and original. And how I recognise the phenomenon of trying to take up less space. Like trying to stand on something without putting one’s full weight on it.

  4. I, too, suffered the same symptoms as you with regard to my shoulders and started seeing a chiropractor. The relief was amazing and after about 5 sessions there was a noticeable improvement in how far I could turn my head. After a year and a half I’m finally able to go just once every two weeks so it took a looonnggg time to get to this point but, oh, the sweet relief from the constant pain, tingling, numbness and headaches.

  5. I realise that by coming in here and making a comment I am also opening myself up to the fact that I have been happily (and selfishly) enjoying your diary for a very long time for my own selfish needs of acquiring inspiration to tackle my own battle with weight and weight loss without ever giving anything back by way of a simple comment or word of encouragement. (gee, I sound like a monster) Today I read your post regarding your neck and knew that I just had to post a comment. I also have the neck issue going on and have experienced the discomfort, tingling, loss of feeling in the arm/fingers etc. I have tried every possible professional available to try and get myself ‘fixed’ to no available. Several weeks ago my sister suggested I try accupuncture as it had worked well with her. cont…

  6. ok, I’m back. I wasn’t sure how many words I was allowed so thought I would break this mammoth post in two. Anyway, as I was saying, as a last resort (people in pain can get very desparate) I dragged my sorry behind off to an accupuncturist. I am probably the Queen of ‘needle fear’ so this was certainly no easy task for me. Initally I think I almost hyperventilated as the needles were going in, and I lay petrified for 40mins wondering how I was ever going to calm down enough to complete the eight sessions I was told I would need to fix me. Fortunately for me I realised that I had to give this alternative practice a real try as I had run out of conventional options and was not prepared to live my life in such discomfort. (my tingling was occuring frequently throughout the day and night, along with soreness in my elbow that was quite dibilitating) Anyway, I have now completed four out of the eight sessions and have been pain/discomfort free since my third session. I started going every third day and have now dropped to every fourth day. Speaking from experience I know how awful this whole shouldner neck problem is and after reading todays post I knew I had to write and let you know how accupuncture has helped me.
    Well that is enough waffle for one post, except to say that I love reading your journal, you certainly have a great talent for writing and your posts are always insightful, witty and your writing skills always shine through.
    I had better get myself to work. Bye for now.
    Lynise, (Auckland, New Zealand)

  7. I had a thought…I have heard those big blow up exercise balls are good to sit on at the computer if you want to improve your posture (for what time you do sit at it). Thought you might want to check on it and see. I have thought of doing that with mine but haven’t got around to it yet.

  8. Why is it that losing weight brings up all these issues? Or maybe it’s not losing the weight but the hardcore exercise? I’ve had a whole bunch of weirdarsed shit about my body come to light lately.

    What you need is a secretary – then you could just walk around with your dictaphone and get her to transcribe your words 🙂 Would be awfully nice, wouldn’t it.

  9. Hey DG,
    I also started going to a physical therapist for back and shoulder problems. I’ve only seen him twice but he’s already warned me of the long road I have ahead of me. Don’t expect things to change overnight, but do keep at the exercises. I’ve seen some improvement in my shoulders (right side used to droop more) – still waiting on the hips and back. Part of my problem is that I’m TOO flexible, so everything just relaxes instead of staying in place. Patience – like years of patience – is the answer.

  10. I have had pain in my neck, shoulders and upper back for about 4 years now – though I’m terrified of going and getting it checked out because I’m afraid of getting one of the two responses. The first, “Lose weight and you’ll be right.” The second, “Stop exercising for a while and you’ll be right.”

    Believe it or not, the pain has probably subsided a bit because I am sitting at a computer, what the heck? In school I used to be hunched over a desk trying to get my face as close to the design drawing I was trying to complete – everything had to be to scale down to the last half millimetre, so you can imagine if I worked on a regular desk, that back certainly was under a lot of stress! Staring at a vertical screen as opposed to a flat sheet has helped, but its probably not going to be the next big thing to fixing the shoddy posture of the Playstation Generation.

    Great to hear that you’re back into the weights, Shauna! Though don’t go overboard with the walking, I have visions of you walking around Scotland at 11:45pm muttering to yourself “Must… get… to… 20,000…” o_0

  11. I’ll second Annie’s suggestion to use an exercise ball as a desk chair. Make sure you get one that is the correct height. It’s made a huge difference for me, and not just in how I sit. Of course, ask your physio folks if it might cause more harm than good, but I seriously don’t see how it could hurt you. Love your blog, good to see a new, fresh, funny post!

  12. Good luck with the yoga. I haven’t been for a couple of weeks and have really missed it. Will go this Friday even though I’m meeting the ‘girls’ for dinner! I can’t do half the stuff the others can do but the teacher is really good and always comes to show me an alternative.

    I think the neck problems are really common. I used to have almost daily migraines in my teens and when I finally got around to look into it once I started working, (at school I could go to the nurse anytime I wanted) it was one of those posture things that caused them. The osteopath said it was quite common – I jutted my head forward. I like to think of it as the stance of one of Homer’s buddies on the Simpsons (can’t remember his name – the alcy one) and I do try to remember to hold my head back. (I’m doing this now as I type!)
    Mind you, the guy said I was a real pain because I also sleep on my tummy with my neck twisted one way or other to breathe. Apparently this is really bad too but how can you change the way you sleep?

  13. The Mothership is coming! yayayayayay!!!!!

    Good luck with the knee/shoulder/neck issues. Physio, and whatever else works for you (acupuncture, chiropractics, etc) should definitely help.

    I’ve had knee and ankle issues for a long time, and physio has helped enormously (that, and excellent running shoes and orthodics).

    Don’t give up!

    Cheers, Wilma

  14. omg a M!!! how does it feel?? 😉 i’ll be there soon!!! mark my words i will i will!!!
    Keep working on that posture (although I shouldn’t talk). Hope you start feeling better very soon.

  15. The progress in your photos is amazing!
    You are beautiful!!!
    Don’t lose sight of your goal.
    I’ll be back to read more.
    ~S

  16. Hullo! My knee also jiggered, jogging, cycling and everything out until they know what’s up – they may have to drain it, which sounds exciting. Alas, sitting round gaining weight is not.
    I had a while of back and neck problems – couldn’t turn my neck much at all (problematic when you are cycling everywhere and live in a city, a sort of ‘use the force’ method of navigating the traffic). Don’t know if you are using your bike at the moment, but if you are, make sure the beast’s saddle and handlebars are correct – that seriously messed with me, along with the shocks that travelled along my arms and up to the shoulders – it is amazing the difference a pair of padded gloves make.
    Just trying to find something I can do – want to do boxing or its ilk, but think gym or canoeing might be the way. *sigh*. Knees. Pah.

  17. I have been seeing a chiropractor about my neck and shoulder and hip. The relief is amazing, and no more pain killers.

    My personal thought is that those of us who have been bigger jut out our chins (lengthen our necks forward like a diplodocus) to avoid double chins, and then give ourselves back and shoulder trouble.

    Chiropractors rule!

  18. I’m also a chiropractor convert. I’ve got mild scoliosis arthritis and generally have some kind of back and/or neck pain. I swear by my tiny little blonde chiropractor! She looks so sweet and innocent and then she pops me like a cork! When I’m having a flare-up she gets me walking upright again within a couple of visits. Best of luck with the rehab! I know how miserable it can feel. It’s bad enough that you have the pain to deal with, but I am always ticked off that it has derailed my exercise program. I always feel so betrayed by my own body! Irrational, I know, but that’s how it feels.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  19. Hey dude – glad there is some progress on the healing front and I hope the neck/shoulder and knee begin cooperating soon. Good luck with the pre-mothership clean up!

  20. Hey there – I had the same symptoms and have been struggling with it for three years. I’m limited in what I can do while under the evil powers of the workers compensation board. I can’t jump without asking them how high I can go 🙂

    good luck with everything!

  21. Hi, I came across your blog a couple weeks ago so it feels weird to be finally commenting after reading so many archived posts! Great read!

    Anywho, you were SO describing me with the neck thing – I tilt my head to the right too and have bad posture (I think it’s also a “it’s cool to be slouched over with your backpack in highschool” thing too). The thing is I didn’t have neck issues till I started working part time staring at a computer screen in January (I can crack my neck really loudly now) as opposed to my old job as a checkout chick which was a bit more active. Then again I have bad posture on the computer too and I sit crosslegged all the time.

    I was actually using an exercise ball for a computer chair a couple days ago as my desk chair broke.. unfortunately with my liking to sit cross legged I somehow managed to on the ball while holding onto the desk. Every now and then I’d nearly fall off as my boyfriend lightly pushed the ball and giggled, arghh! But if you don’t sit cross legged and if SC isn’t childishly amused like my bf then they are a good seat for posture ;p

    P.S. A doctor told me I had a deformity too – he said my ears were a weird shape! THEY AREN’T! They don’t stick out or look weird at all! I figured I had to ignore him because I’m happy with them and I obsess over enough things already! *puts hands over ears*