Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Inevitable?

Thirty four years ago I was out to lunch with the girls I worked with. We were walking into a restaurant and one of the men whistled and said, "Nice ___." Looking around to see who he was whistling at, I was shocked to realize it was M.E.! I still remember that day - I had on red polyester pants I'd sewn (remember polyester pants?!) and was absolutely THRILLED because I was all of 21 and had a one year old toddler.

That hasn't happened since. I don't wear polyester pants anymore and I don't get whistles. I thought it was inevitable. As the years passed I'd pack on a pound here and there, my joints would get a bit creaky, I'd lose some flexibility. And up til now that's been the case for me.  It seems every ten years since I was 20 I've packed on 10 lbs and who notices a lb a year? There's the excuse that I was really skinny in high school too, and as I get older I need some softness draping around my bones.

Malarky!

Who knew? Malarky!

We just got back from spending Christmas in Idaho. The reservations were made 4 months ahead, and we were all so excited; plans were made for baking cookies and reading Christmas stories to our 5 year old grandson, Christmas Eve service, driving to see the lights, etc. etc. etc.  The day after we arrived I leaned over the sofa, not even all the way but just barely, and the jolt that went across my lower back broke my heart. I knew I was going to be down for the count for days, and I was. Thank the Lord my dear doctor phoned in two prescriptions for me. By Christmas I was able to stand up somewhat for a bit of time, but I missed church services. No cookies were baked, and I was in pain for most of the trip. Except for the time when I was completely knocked out from muscle relaxers. Not really the recipe for a perfect holiday.

Wondering what causes lower back pain, I used my sitting around time to do some google searching. I really thought somehow I'd just developed a 'bad back'; some people have them, some don't. I seriously was surprised to find out lower back pain is the #1 reason people go to the emergency room.

I found out, through digging, that what I had was a pulled muscle. I'm thankful it wasn't a pinched nerve or a slipped or bulging disc, all more serious and not as easily repaired. It was pulled because I'm out of shape. Extra weight and 35 years worth of not working out, of becoming mostly sedentary, of kidding myself that having a set of stairs in my house is enough.

It isn't.

I found out my back muscles and my abdominable muscles are the core of what keeps me going, and if I want to do exactly that I'm going to have to get busy. The good news is that it's not rocket science - just simple walking 30 minutes a day, most days, and some simple exercises, or doing some yoga or pilates will do the trick.

Has everyone else heard of Dr. Oz? Okay, I've heard of him, but I honestly thought he was some strange over-the-top guy that expected me to drink green smoothies for breakfast. I went to this website, and found out I'm actually 3 years younger than my age but that's only because I don't smoke, eat breakfast, am happily married and have friends. It's not because of the shape I'm in.

So, you CAN teach an old(ish) dog new tricks! So far, and it's not much, but so far I've walked for 30 minutes three days in a row. I've started watching what I'm eating to shed some of those extra pounds that have oh so easily snuck on my backside and hips and stomach.

There's a verse that goes something like: "whom the Lord loves, he chastizes." If my back hadn't gone out, again, I would have just kept on going like I was. I wouldn't have been frustrated enough to make the changes I need to make. So thank you, Lord, for a painful experience that will be a blessing in the end.

I'm here to encourage you - it's NOT inevitable. Crinkles around the eyes isn't a big deal, but not being able to live life to the fullest - that's another story. Our neighborhood has a walking group starting up this Saturday and I'll be there, rain or shine because life is way too precious to sit on the sidelines. Who knows, you may even catch me slurping down green stuff early in the morning. I'm not looking for whistles anynore, just being able to enjoy life to its fullest and if my husband lets out a wolf call a few months from now I can live with that.

P.S. I've never been a big fan of Oprah - but if I'd ever watched her I probably would have seen Dr. Oz. I'm off to the library today to pick up my reserved copy of 'You - on a Diet: Waist Management', in keeping with my resolve to not buy a single book in 2012. Did I tell you that? Don't think so - makes me twitch to even think about it, but probably makes Don giddy to think of how much money we won't be spending. Public library = free :-) 

7 comments:

Kelly said...

Yay! I can comment again for the first time in mnonths:-) Have been reading, just having a computer issue apparently...as is often the case in my very limited techno world:-)

Love this reminder that we can help ourselves. Living life to the fullest- that is exactly what I want, too, no sidelines!

Happy New Year!

Miss Lola said...

Thank you so much for this! I have been so frustrated lately about not being able to do all the things I want because my body won't cooperate. No major health issues, just weight gain and lack of exercise over many years. My goal this year is to do something every day to improve my health.

It is nice to know that I am not on this journey alone.

Bless you!

Bev said...

Miss Lola, first I LOVE your name! So cute. Blessed to know I can be an encouragement to you. My 57th birthday is in June and I plan to be pretty fabulous by then - here's to the journey getting there!

Gretchen said...

Me, too! Two months till 43. I dont have to be a model, but I do have to live life to the full & honor what I've been given. Been frustrated b/c of a hip injury, & now a back injury which sounds a lot like yours. Keeping on tho...Need to think young for our adoption of a wee one from Ethiopia (soon, please God). I still have a number of games of duck, duck, goose & tag ahead of me.

Bev said...

Gretchen! I did not know you were in the process of adopting! How fabulous is that? Dave Ramsey says (and maybe he's quoting someone else) "the best time to plant an oak tree is 100 years ago; the second best time is today." Just got back from a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood, praise music in my earphones and eyes catching pileated woodpeckers, bluebirds, jets flying high overhead - I'm pumped!

Gretchen said...

It's definitely a sloooow process, but we're excited. Hope to have a little 0-5 year old sweet sister sometime this year. She'll have a 6'5" gentle bear brother and a 2nd mom who looks kinda like me. We're set. Now, if the government in Ethiopia would just move along. We're tired of waiting. :) Went to PT and feel better, so gonna try to go to the pool tomorrow. Keep swimming... :)

Becky said...

Oh, Bev, I am SO SORRY for your nasty back thing at Christmas. But the bad that happened seems to have driven you forward toward very very good habits. This reminds me that I have a post to write. Goodness, how I've been lazy.

I am anxious to watch the process of healthy living take you by storm. You can do it. You ARE doing it. Keep up the good work!