The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Eating and Moving and the Fear of Knee Pain.

I am committed to making this work. But I am afraid that my knee pain will kick in and make this activity a living Hell.

My new relationship with fitness is a month old. If this was a love affair I would be cautious. I wouldn’t call it a “real relationship” yet. I would wait until three months to see if it had legs. Will my knees hold up and let me stay with it? Is it a committed relationship, or am I just having a casual fling?

There is no choice in the matter. I’m in it for the long haul.

I have already seen results. I have energy. I wake up early on my workout days and make a good breakfast so I don’t get dizzy during the session. I can walk up my stairs without panting like some overheated animal. I can walk to the bus stop, I can walk around the supermarket to buy whole foods for my meals. Recently, I sang and danced on stage with minimal sitting. And I wasn’t completely drained after my performance! I haven’t been able to do any of these things in years. My knee pain and lack of conditioning prevented this.

Last week my left knee started to burn again. Last week it hurt enough to make me doubt that I could keep this up. How can I work out if walking down the hall to the fitness center is so painful? I became slightly depressed. Trainer Jeremy notices my sadness. I explain that I am starting to feel pain when I walk or get up out of a chair. I recognize the sensation and I know where it will lead. He gives me a new way to think when I maneuver my knee.

Move from the hip. Squeeze the glutes, activate your abs, stepped down through the heel, let your bigger muscles do the work.

It works! It really works.

What kind of activity should I do on my off days?

The key is to keep moving. Just walk down your hall at least 30 minutes a day using the muscle groups, step heel first.

The funny thing is that a couple of years ago, my veterinarian had suggested I do the same thing – for my cat! She is also very fat. I laughed when he told me this.

HA! I need to walk up and down the hall 30 minutes a day!

I tried it, but kitty wouldn’t follow me. She went halfway, then went to her favorite spot, curled up and went to sleep. I gave up.

But this time, – minus the cat – I took Jeremy’s advice, it was awkward at first trying to walk and sit and stand via these visualization steps but it worked. And my cat followed me back and forth throughout the house. It was amazing! I just kept moving and after a few days of rain and pain, it got better. I am still walking towards fitness.

And with 10 pounds off my frame I know that I have rid myself of forty pounds of pressure on my joints. I know that I will feel better if I develop and strengthen my muscles that support the knee – that, in combination with weight loss – might help relieve this wretched knee pain.

We proceed very cautiously with any activity that involves my knees. I did slight bench presses and I was sore – so sore. But I recovered. These knees are tricky because they don’t hurt when I do the exercises. I pay the price afterwards. We never overdo it. I go home, I ice my knees. I recover. So far, so good.

This whole fitness thing has made me watch my food intake – naturally. I have a fridge full of lean meats, tofu, fresh fruits and veggies. I make smoothies with the fruit, a bit of fresh unsweetened fruit juice and ice. I realize that a huge part of the problem is that I never prepared my food. My cupboards were bare. I was at a Starbucks recently and stopped myself in mid-order: “Venti caramel .. oh wait! Just a grande regular coffee please.” The good thing about Starbucks is that they offer healthy food options. I forego the dessert breads at 490 calories and opt for a 230 calorie breakfast sandwich, it has egg whites and turkey bacon. I hadn’t eaten lunch and this little sandwich was quite satisfying. I had a nice salad waiting at home. I am trying to avoid processed foods whenever possible, I make sure I read labels to check for sodium and calories from fat. I am drinking water often. All of the tricks and hints I used when I changed my lifestyle ten years ago come flooding back to me. I feel hopeful. I feel good. I am not making any grande declarations. I am just doing what I need to do, day by day, food urge by food urge. I just stay cognizant so I can make good choices. Nothing drastic. I’m making a gradual change towards wholesome, healthy eating.

Got to keep my mantra: moderation and consideration.

And I stay active. Got to keep these knees moving. Got to stay ahead of the pain.

I’ve got to keep moving!

My life depends on it!

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