Muscle Memory

A week after that epic hill expedition my legs are finally functioning normally again. Woohoo!

Last Friday was a different story. My knees decided to stop working. I never realised how useful knees were in the Art of Walking. They just wouldn’t bloody bend properly, and furthermore my calves and quads and glutes were throbbing. The overall effect was stiff and straight scissor-like gait, like an Aussie pedestrian crossing sign!


That evening Dr G and I were heading over to Edinburgh for a movie and a birthday curry. Most times when I catch the train to Edinburgh it involves me looking at the living room clock in my underwear about half an hour before the train is due and shrieking "FARK!" Then I spin around in circles, chuck on some clothes, almost gouge an eyeball with a mascara wand, run out the door, then speedwalk or jog the 20 minutes to the station, then bolt across the station carpark coz the train is always arriving just as I do.

But Friday was a wee bit different. I started getting ready two hours early, because all movements were difficult – getting in and out of the bath, bending to fetch things from the wardobe, putting on my shoes. Then I decided I couldn’t face the walk to the station with my current, painful zombie-like pace so convinced Dr G to drive us to the station.

And of course as soon as we parked the car I heard the train coming. I couldn’t make a run for it; I hadn’t even manouvered out of the vehicle yet. So the train sailed on without us. In a huff, I sent Dr G to buy the tickets so I could take my time doing my cross-country ski-walk to the platform.

Once in Edinburgh there were even more obstacles to avoid – the gruelling Waverly Steps, stairs at the cinema, stairs at the restaurant. Even little things were impossible, like crossing the street as the lights started to flash, because I knew I’d be mowed down by a double decker bus before I could hobble across. All my post-hillwalk smugness was replaced by crankiness and frustration.

Then I felt a strange little bittersweetness in my belly, remembering that this was how my life used to be all the time. The Dietgirl Logistics Department worked overtime, fretting over every move, plotting the less-strenuous route; making sure I left the house ultra early so I’d arrive somewhere before my friends so they’d never see me breathless.

Out of all the ways my life has changed from the 351lb Days I’d have to say the very best thing is Moving Without Thinking. My body automatically moves how and when I want it to (albeit accompanied by bitching and/or clumsiness). I can just enjoy the moment instead of worrying if my body can cope with the moment without sweating or chafing.

Sometimes I take that ease and freedom for granted; because everything changed so slowly that I forget how different it used to be. I’m also always trying to charge forward – not lingering on the past; busy figuring out what to do next. But those aching muscles made me appreciate that after all those years of obsessing about scale readings and clothing labels, the real joy is just moving through the day.

31 thoughts on “Muscle Memory

  1. Thanks for commenting about your curvy yoga instructor. It gives one hope! As for your post today, it helped remind me that even though I’m at a standstill with my weight loss, I’m running. RUNNING! Something I couldn’t do when I started my blog 30 pounds ago. Hope you have a great day!

  2. Hi DG,
    I’ve been reading you blog for a few weeks now and today I’ve been doing some serious stalking and going through the archives! Thanks so much for being so open and honest with your entries, it motivates me knowing that I am not alone, that someone else has done it before me! πŸ™‚ Sorry if this comment sounds all wanky, but I did just want to say.. you rock! πŸ™‚ (yep, I’m wanky)

  3. I remember years ago when I lost my record breaking ( for me) 185 lbs how Id discover new things I could do and be so excited. I remember one day sitting down in a chair at my parents house and crossing my legs…just as a natural as anyone does every day, only Id never done it before…ever. That was a moment I will never forget, espeshally now that I have gained back 85 of those pounds and can no longer cross my legs again.
    Im working on it though! 25 lbs down again from the weight gain…..a million to go!

  4. Isn’t it so much better when you have trouble moving because of a solid workout rather than because you have to heave yourself around.

    I really noticed the difference flying back from Sydney – planes always make me realise how much less space I take up now. It’s a great feeling πŸ˜€

  5. I can’t wait until my thighs stop rubbing together so much when I wear skirts and dresses. Then I can wear more dresses!!!

  6. How wonderful it must be to be able to move! Give yourself a pat on the back. I will be doing “logistics” for years to come. I can’t wait until I can just GO without planning.

  7. Well done! I don’t think I ever take for granted how easy it is to move now. I remember too well when, if I dropped a coin on the floor, it was goodbye money, because there’s no way I was going to try to pick that up.

    Even so, just wait until you are as old as I am. After a hard workout, there are so many places on my body I have to ice, I might as well just sit in the freezer like a popsicle.

  8. The way you gradually got the ability to move back is the way a lot of people gradually lose it as they gain weight. I bet you’ll never take it for granted again. It’s nice to be able to move easily, isn’t it?

  9. Aww, poor you! Just thatke comfort in the knowledge that it’s the sign of a super-good workout! Your muscles are busy repairing themselves and growing stronger.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s related to fitness or lack thereof either, I could barely hobble for 3 days after my last leg workout. And getting in and out of chairs – ouch! You have my sympathy. πŸ™‚

  10. what a lovely post πŸ™‚
    Being just out of my cast I’m in a very ‘appreciating things’ mood too – makes life nicer, doesn’t it?

  11. Hi Hi Hi
    Love your blog… have nee reading for a littell while and not sure if I have commented before..
    In reagrd to soreness.. it is a nice soreness through! You now that your body will recover and will be better off for it (well most of the time!!)

  12. This is absolutely the problem with exercise. When you do a new, intense, “good for you” routine you can’t work out for who knows how long because you’re in pain! Just started taking some really fun classes at my new gym but some of these fitness instructors are CRAZY nazi types and seem to enjoy making us weep while sweat is pouring down our brows. In any case, you’ll be less sore after any future major hill expeditions and any minor hill expedition will definitely feel like a breeze!

  13. You’re so right – moving without thinking is a wonderful thing! I missed out on so many things because they involved exertion beyond my capability. But, no, losing weight does not remove clumsiness. I still walk into walls, gouge my thighs on desk corners and (new one this) carry bruises on my shins from gym machines!

  14. Still so inspiring. My weight loss has been a slow struggle too … in fact I still haven’t lost the first twenty yet. And there are about 95 to go … So thanks for posting here, and for talking about all the things you realize now that you didn’t have back then. It makes me want to try that much harder.

  15. Hope you’re beginning to feel a bit more human!

    Going uphill feels like the worst until you start going downhill. It’s just one more of life’s little ironies.

  16. How right you are Shauna. It is good to have that sort of pain, to make you realise how far you have come and what you are able to do now in your life. I applaud you for soldiering on! You little Aussie battler… hehe! πŸ™‚

  17. Yup yup yup – I’ve just been to the first football match of the season and it was a totally different experience this season minus 115lbs! I virtually ran down the road to the Stadium and trotted happily up the stair, didn’t have to squash myself to avoid pressing my thigh against my neighbours – just totally different.


    Lesley x

  18. “The Dietgirl Logistics Department worked overtime, fretting over every move, plotting the less-strenuous route; making sure I left the house ultra early so I’d arrive somewhere before my friends so they’d never see me breathless.”

    My favourite thing about bloggers – finding out a whole bunch of stuff you thought no one else did!

  19. I was thinking about this today too. I did my first race and I was thinking ‘wow, this is how I’m supposed to move my body’ and ‘i can be an athlete again, though a bigger one’. Somewhere along the line I had forgot the joy in just getting out and moving. Nice post.

  20. I am sad for your current pain but also glad that it was a timely reminder of what life used to be like. It’s funny, at the time you don’t even really notice the aches and pains so much as they are just part of everyday life, but once they have gone you definitely notice them if they come back. Good reminder that you never want to be there again.

    I’m the queen of late.

  21. Hi DG. A great post about the real reasons we need to be fit and healthy (but not necessarily scrawny and stick-like).
    I just noticed that under your `fat stats`the amount lost and current weight are the same. Some weird cosmic cooincidence?

  22. I really do hope you are feeling better. I hurt my knee and it was so frustrating to go from being active to being, well, really really slow and painful. Like you said, it’s a reminder of how I used to be before I lost weight.

    I’m hope that I can go back to that freedom from my body but you’re absolutely right that is the most important thing. Thanks for a lovely post.

  23. Shauna mou!!!!

    You are JUST so right!!!!

    Now that Im totally pain free and back to total motion…I just feel SO happy only because I can move the way I feel and want to!!!!

    among other things that is πŸ˜‰

  24. Hi DG

    Just discovered your blog this week after starting my last diet 5 days ago. I have read through the first 4 years of your blog and am finding it totally inspirational. Over the past 20 or so years, I have started literally hundreds of diets. Some last only until breakfast, others a few weeks, but this time it finally feels different. Your stories from 2001 and 2002 are so familiar, some of it brought me to tears. You have proven to me that I can be successful. Like yourself, there are so many things that I have missed out on due to being fat, but no more. Like you said, I have finally taken responsibility for my situation. Thank you for taking the time to write your blog. You are a hero to me.
    Kind regards

    Aussie Dave

  25. thanks very much for your comment Aussie Dave, i wish you had an email/link so I could tell you ‘in person’ but hopefully you will see this πŸ™‚

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