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My Hips Don’t Lie, They Are Just Misaligned

April 12, 2012

I feel you, Shakira [Also: almost 87 million views. Impressive.]. My hips don’t lie. My physical therapist saw right through their roundabout story. The story about how my hip hurts, my lower back hurts, and sometimes my heel is a little tingly.

The PT didn’t directly negate my primary care doc’s diagnosis of tendinitis, but early into her exam, she pointed out that my pelvis is misaligned. I’d had a hard time describing what was going on lately. Usually my descriptions involved something like: it feel like there’s lead in my right leg; my right ass cheek feels inflamed; when I drive, sometimes my right foot is tingly…that’s safe, right?

When I sit down or lay down, the right side of my pelvis seems to grind into the surface, and when I stand, my right heel seems to grind into the ground.

The PT did ultrasound treatment and massage on my SI joint, which was pretty painful. She thinks that’s where this is all stemming from. Then she adjusted my pelvis and the pain was magically gone. Sitting, laying, and standing all felt normal. It was amazing.

While it lasted.

This is going to take some work, but I’ve got a core and hip flexor strengthening regimen along with some stretches to ease tightness. I’ll go back in about two weeks, since I’m on vacation (all I ever wanted) next week. Not long after my appointment, it felt like my pelvis was out of alignment again. The strength exercises will help build stability so that I can correct the misalignment and feel like a normal person again.

The PT is optimistic that I’ll run again, although we didn’t venture into the realm of time frames yet. I’m glad that I went, and especially glad that the first thing out of her mouth wasn’t, “Let’s just shoot you up with steroids!”

Whew!

This is my fun new stretch. It feels so damn good. You know, after the tears.

IT Band stretch from Running Times.

The PT and I also discussed my running shoes. I knew I needed new ones, but our chat and examination was…revealing? Embarrassing? I’m going to go with embarrassing. I should have been paying better attention.

So here are my older pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires. They were my first pair of running store-fitted shoes, and I loved the hell out of them. They were retired to casual walks around the neighborhood. As you can see, I wore them down fairly evenly.

Love.

I loved those so much, I bought them again in another color. I loved the hell out of these, too, but I wasn’t very good at paying attention to the fact that I wasn’t wearing them evenly. And I was really good at ignoring some of the pain in my right hip, and thinking that if I foam rolled enough, I’d be OK. Wrong.

I hope it’s clear enough in the picture, but the left shoe was worn down more on the outside than the right. It actually tilts outward instead of sitting straight like the right shoe. My old pair didn’t do that…and it’s worth noting that I experienced no pain when I was running in that pair. The PT said it was clear that my left side was overcompensating for my right.

No love.

No love for these shoes any longer. I knew I needed new ones anyway, but they are officially the Shoes of Death now. I put them on for the PT appointment, and the pain got worse as I walked around in them. I have no idea how much of that was psychological, but any more pain or discomfort than I have anyway is too much. So…to the shoe graveyard they go.

Shoes of Death.

The good news from physical therapy? The PT doesn’t think I’ll have any problem moving from PT to the other PT. She also did a strength test of my legs, suspecting that my legs were weak. But ha! They are not! She told me that my legs are actually pretty strong.

It’s just the Jello Jiggler that sits on top of my legs that needs some work.

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That’s Therapy, Not Training

April 11, 2012

I told my mom that I was going to PT today, and, since we were a military family, she said, “PT? I thought you were injured.”

Exactly.

That’s Physical Therapy, not Training, ma.

After my hip X-ray revealed no bone issues, my doctor recommended PT and today is my initial evaluation. Because I’m ridiculous and a bit of a perfectionist (OK, a lot of a perfectionist), I’m nervous! Is that normal? Whenever I have to describe intensity or location of pain, I worry that I’m not providing an accurate or helpful picture. Or that I might not pass the test or something.

Or, really, that they’re going to say, “Oh? It hurts there? That can’t be right.”

Or, “Well, there’s not really anything wrong.”

Or, “There? Hmmm, that’s freaky.”

Or, “Oh, really? Well, you’ll probably be in PT for the next 8 years.”

OK, OK, I seriously doubt the last one, but I do get nervous that I’m not describing what’s going on thoroughly or accurately enough, and that that will somehow impact the treatment prescribed.

And that I’ll have a bum hip. Forevs.

Off to work for a bit and then PT. Fingers crossed that PT gets me swiftly back into PT, the other kind. And that I get an A. I’d take a B, I guess. I hate failing exams.

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Yoga Pants Are Professional, Right?

April 9, 2012

I wish I had a job where I could wear yoga pants all day. Mind you, I’m not interested in being a yoga instructor. I just want to wear yoga pants every day.

The Gos feels me.

Especially as I’ve been losing weight and trying to piece together outfits without having to spend a lot of money, the urge to wear all things comfy and yoga has been strong. I promised myself that the big shopping spree will happen when I hit my goal and/or I hit one year since I decided to make a major lifestyle change.

Between grad school and part-time jobs or jobs where I could work from home, I haven’t had to wear professional clothes five days a week in almost three years. And even then, I could often get away with a more casual look. And not only were those pre-Casual-Monday-through-Friday days long ago enough that my old clothes are pretty beat up or shabby looking, but they were from 30 pounds ago. Nothing makes you feel amazeballs like frumpy, shabby clothes.

With the phone call that I’ve been offered a new job that requires a sharper look, I finally gave myself permission (sorry, first forthcoming pay check, looks like you’ve been spent!) to buy new clothes. So, not quite at my goal yet, but…I can’t go to work naked. It’s not that kind of office.

My previous experiences with suits weren’t very good. Imagine trying to shove yourself into clothes that were too big in some areas and too tight in others…yeah, it wasn’t pretty.

It's cute to wear ill-fitting clothes when you're 8, not so much when you're 30. And with boobs. And hips.

Because I’m an idiot a bad blogger, I didn’t get a picture of me in my new wardrobe (will do, will do!), but I have to say, unexpected bonus of weight loss #46859281: I felt confident and like my clothes fit the way they should. I actually found myself lamenting that I wouldn’t need to wear a suit/jacket every day…although that may be more because that’s pretty mindless when it comes to choosing an outfit. I like not having to think too much. Especially if that thinking comes pre-coffee.

Anyway, I felt really great, and I credit the weight loss. And the ability to buy suits in separate pieces. I think I’m pretty proportionate, but my jackets and skirts/pants are definitely not the same size…enough so that I wear a petite jacket! Petite! Me! I am not a petite person, but it works. I had these hazy visions of totally remaking my style (whatever that means), but necessity and a time crunch has me just picking up basic, classic pieces for now. I guess the remake is that I’m not constantly furrowing my brow or looking incredibly socially awkward because I feel like a chump.

I also decided to get rid of what was turning into hippie-in-the-wild hair (I miss it…a little), and get a more professional cut. Bonus for a cut that looks good straight, too…although let’s be quite honest: I am too lazy to straighten my hair.

And I almost lost my shit on a dude at one of those kiosks in the mall where they try to sell you hair straighteners. Normally I just blow it off, but when a blind to all that is good in the world guy selling straighteners told me that I “could look so pretty if [I] let [him] straighten [my] hair,” well…it was almost too much. Could look so pretty? Sucka, please. I do look so pretty. I love having curly hair.

But I digress. Onto a more professional look. And not rotating between one pair of ill-fitting cotton slacks and one pair of jeans with a jean I keep trying to re-attach. Yikes. New job…new me…but no yoga pants at work. Sad. panda.

I kind of miss the unkempt look. Kind of.

Oh. Oh, no. I'm lying to you. Kempt is a better look.

This will not happen again. And by that I mean, the hair. The beers will happen again.

Long story short: I’m happy I lost weight and feel better in my own skin…and the clothes that must cover said skin. I’m not happy that those clothes have to have shoes, though. Barefoot would be amazing.

I’m also really lazy: Exhibit A – I’d like to wear yoga pants all day; Exhibit B – if I can’t wear yoga pants all day, I’d rather wear a suit all day so I don’t have to think about what other clothes serve as the female equivalent to shirt and tie; Exhibit C – fancy pants straight hair is way too fancy to actually take the time to do. Even though it’s probably not.

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Five Things Friday: Funny S&*%!

April 6, 2012

Between a little anxiety about this job transition and being bummed about my leg (oh, aches and pains don’t get you down? Please, share your secret…), I’ll admit to being a little less chipper than usual. But some really funny shit went down this week, and I’m grateful for the comic relief.

Five Things Friday: Funny Shit edition.

1. Here is a collection of funny Hunger Games-themed memes, and I almost wet myself when I saw the second one. They are all pretty good, but the second one…well, you can run and tell that. (Yeah, yeah, it did not come out this week…forgive me for being over the age of 18 and not discovering stuff instantly.)

Here’s one that’s funny because it’s true…

Totally.

2. I went to the hospital to get an x-ray of my hip. Radiology receptionist = most amazing person I’ve met recently. She asked about my insurance and how I liked it. We commiserated over how, if it were employer-sponsored, they’d be glad to have me because I’m so healthy and don’t drive up their costs. But because I buy it myself, I’m treated like crap.

Then she asked about my hip. I told her about it. Then she told me about her knee problems.

Now, I want you to envision an older native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander who has the wit and spunk of Betty White.

Ready?

So I say, “What did they do for your knees?”

She says, “Oh, honey, they told me they could put in some PLASTIC in my knees. Like, Tupperware! Plastic! I told that doctor, you’d better send me to freakin’ rehab.”

[I’m assuming Hawaiian Betty White would say: yes, yes, yes.]

3. Oh, I guess this is a theme now, but here’s something else that isn’t new this week, but WAS new-to-me this week! Enthusiastic Runner’s post about things she’s not loving right now. I die. Number 10. Yes. Whyyyy do people like those trashy shoes?? [TWO THEMES! Her post is also funny because it’s true.]

4. I can’t decide if my mom is ingenious or ridiculous. But she and I are playing Draw Something (awww…connecting across the miles! Wait! Why aren’t there directions?? Google Maps! Get on it!) and I’m a little jealous because she plays on her iPad and uses a Stylus. So, obviously, her drawings are going to be significantly superior to mine, right?

Here’s a repro of one she sent:

Ale Box? Porn Square? What?

Then she erased that one and quickly drew this: (I waited a good 30 seconds before I realized that’s all I was getting…)

Ohhhh...I get it. The box and/or square BELONGS to X! Wait...what??

So, you don’t have benefit of seeing my letter choices, but I will tell you that the final word is 7 letters.

I used a bomb and with the remaining letters figured out that the word could ONLY be “newyork.” I had to email to figure out what the picture was. I will let you guess.

I suppose it makes sense…if you can figure out what the picture is supposed to be.

5. And…super awkward humor. Maybe it’s not even funny. I guess it’s more like – wow! Life happens! People are human!

The furry roommate has had some issues lately and needed a trip to the vet. He’s always really excited to go to the vet.

Please, someone, make this a meme.

So we’re in the exam room. The vet got sick and puked in front of me. I felt really terribly for her.

But that wasn’t the awkward part.

The awkward part was that she went into the hallway connecting the exam rooms, and fellow vets were trying to help her (she thinks she ate something bad). And I could hear everything they were saying. Including my vet talking about how she was embarrassed because she needed to come back and finish the exam, but she thought I’d be really offended and maybe even have left already, or complain to someone, and she was FLIPPING out about my reaction. I REALLY wanted to just go back there and give her a hug and tell her it was no big deal, but then they’d know…that I heard everything.

So….ha ha! Life happens!

OK, right, so that wasn’t necessarily super funny (what would be funnier is if I’d gotten a picture of my cat observing her as she crawled out of the room…such a look of concern on his face!).

Here’s a re-do for #5:

There’s a damn good deal out right now for Busted Tees.

Don’t know about Busted Tees? So many giggles and snickers…but here are some of my favorites:

Happy Friday, and happy new wardrobe!
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Taking Stock: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

April 2, 2012

My brain’s been on overdrive lately, and it occurred to me that I could probably classify a lot of these random thoughts as the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (warning: some brooding ahead! Perhaps not in number, but the Good indeed outweighs the Bad/Ugly). (And how can you not dig that theme song? They don’t write ’em like they used to.)

THE GOOD

It’s damn nice in DC these days. Friday was a little dreary, but I took a friend to Ellicott City for some antiquing and cool-little-old-railroad-town-adventuring. Sunday was lovely and my first trip to the National Arboretum lovelier. Seriously – what a gem! I’m embarrassed that I’ve lived in the area for almost six years and only now made it out there.

Some of the azaleas are in bloom out at the arboretum. Judging by the number and size of the plants out there, when the entire azalea garden is in bloom, it's like a 5-year old's tea party exploded in the woods.

It’s good, damn good, to adventure locally.

I get to adventure not-so-locally soon, too! In two weeks I’ll be in Columbus, MS. It’s not near anything and apparently the town could stand some more attractions, but I have friends in the Air Force who are stationed there, and I’m excited to have a random week off to visit them. Looking forward to a week of relaxing, hanging out with my friends’ awesome baby, and heading up to Memphis. I’d like to, nay, neeto go to Graceland.

Why the random week off?

I start a new job in three weeks. This is a good move, but there’s a little bad involved, too. I’m trying to embrace the uncertainty inherent in transition and roll with the punches. It’s an incredible opportunity, but there are some challenges…

THE BAD

I’m going to be exhausted for the foreseeable future. This new opportunity is awesome, but pretty intense. Having recently finished grad school where I worked some crazy hours while trying to do school, too, I’m OK with intense. I’d feel more comfortable if the following weren’t also true:

My physical health is crap right now. The hip/knee/ass pain/crap/bah is bad right now. I know I shouldn’t run, so I haven’t been, and it’s starting to make me a little twitchy. Not because I think I’m some amazing, super runner girl or something, but because I’m a little stressed finishing up my current job and getting ready to start a new one. Running relives my stress. Much better than my historic alternative:

Hello, gorgeous. My mouth waters just thinking about you.

When the going gets tough, I get going in the direction of dark chocolate-covered almonds and cupcakes. Until recently, when I went in the direction of my running shoes and a nice trail.

I went for a walk with a friend today at lunch, and I was lamenting my current limited activity and pending maelstrom of life changes (oh, did I mention? In addition to changing jobs, I’ll need to move, too! Just a local move, but one more layer of things to think about). I told her that I was upset that I’d come so far (lost 30 pounds, gained ability to run double-digit miles), and I didn’t want to regress. Her response? “You’re not the same person now that you were 30 pounds ago.”

Trying to keep that in mind…not interested in growing backwards with time (excellent song; not an excellent direction for my waistline). In the past, I haven’t always managed transitions well, slipping back into old (bad) habits. It bothers me that I feel like crap. I’m a little anxious about diving into this new adventure when I don’t feel so great physically. Trying not to let the physical blah turn into a mental blah.

THE UGLY

I’m struggling to alleviate the pain. This is my only ugly, but it’s a big one. I’ve never had pain that I couldn’t alleviate. I can lay down or apply ice and feel better for a bit, but since going off of the prednisone, I think the pain is worse. I called my doctor today, and she’s out of town. So while I wait for her to come back, I’m to have my hip x-rayed. And…wait, I guess. I’ll try more foam rolling, stretching, etc., but nothing seems to make the discomfort go away. Sometimes it’s not quite pain, and I’m grateful for those times. Other times I wake up at night because it just freaking hurts.

To throw a small wrench into the problem (small because I’m grateful I have insurance at all), right now I have health insurance that I buy…and I haven’t made my deductible yet. So treatment is potentially quite costly. I’ll have new health insurance with the new job, but I’m not sure yet when that will start…and I hope that if I start in on a treatment that seems to be working, I won’t have to interrupt it because my insurance changes.

I’m a problem solver, a fixer, and not knowing what to do to ease what’s going on has me stumped.

[That crush on Eddie Vedder from 1994? Yeah, I still got it.]

I don’t know what I did, but I wish I could undo it. Ctrl-Z, Ctrl-Z!!

Except for the "good" things. Keep those!

Sorry for a somewhat Debbie Downer post. In general, I’m optimistic, and I keep reminding myself that I can choose my reaction, it will all work out in the end, blah blah blah [insert trite motivationalspeak].

Bitching won’t help. Really, I just want a gin and tonic, a damn chocolate chip cookie, an uninflamed leg/hip/body part, and the knowledge that if I go pick up a new pair of running shoes, they won’t just as soon end up back on the shelf. I’ll settle for just trying to keep my head up and enjoying these damn fine days, one day at a time.

Would happily accept gifts of gin and cookies, though.

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I Broke the Scale

March 30, 2012

I knew it might happen. It’s a worry every person who’d like to shed some pounds has: am I going to break the scale?

 

Well.

 

I did.

 

So many little pieces...it's like someone threw a glitter party in my bathroom!

I’d blame it on the ‘roid rage, but Wednesday was my last day on prednisone.

And then I’d blame it on karma telling me that I should only weigh myself once a week and not be obsessed with the scale…but I wasn’t even trying to weigh myself! I was just moving it so that I could clean my bathroom. I picked it up, and only an inch or two off of the tile, it slipped and shattered into a sparkly mess.

Now I can say I broke the scale. Like, actually broke the damn thing.

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Getting Back on Track

March 27, 2012

It’s time to get back on track…the Weight Watchers track. For the week before the half marathon and the week after, I didn’t track anything except my weight. Four weeks ago, I weighed the same amount that I did this morning. In the grand scheme of the number of cupcakes I ate before the half (2.5), among other mindless eating choices, that’s not so bad.

But now I’m not training for a half marathon, and I’m also not trying to maintain my current weight…

It’s been ridiculously easy to slip back into some old habits. Fortunately not every old habit, but I know I’m not eating as well as I should. The obvious answer to regaining control is to just start tracking again, which I’m doing, but I also wanted to reflect on the things that worked well during the first 25 pounds that I lost, and get myself excited about eating well to lose more.

Things that worked

  • Less alcohol. No big secret here. I just drank less. It helped that I was also training for two races: I usually skipped drinking the night before my weekend long run. When I went out with friends, I drank fewer drinks, better quality.
  • Less cheese. Not necessarily less dairy; Greek yogurt and I have a fantastic relationship. But less cheese, and better cheese. The more flavorful, the less you need to make an impact.
  • I nixed French fries for the most part. They are truly a rarity in my diet now.
  • Less animal meat, more other protein. Lentils, lentils, lentils.
  • Small substitutions. Make an omelet with one egg and one egg white instead of two eggs.
  • Giving myself permission to eat a s***-ton of fruits and vegetables. I’m not sure why I ever saw them as luxury, but I used to see fresh fruit and vegetables as such…and as too expensive. I’m glad it dawned on me that it was costlier in the end to see them as a luxury.
  • One-pot meals. If I can just toss everything into one-pot, I’m much more likely to eat a balanced meal. Left to cook veggies separately, I usually get away with a salad, maybe some carrot sticks. Sometimes all that ends up in my mouth if I don’t cook everything together is whatever carb/protein I’m eating. But if I can make some sort of stew or frittata or other dish where you can really pack in the vegetables? I eat well, friends. So well.
Remembering the proper care and feeding of me
So the next step is to remember what got me here (not too far off from how I’ve been eating lately…just need to remind myself when I get off course), and then to remember that I enjoy cooking, I know how to cook, and there are fun things to make that don’t have to break the Weight Watchers bank.

Need a quick meal? Lentils. Vegetable broth or water. Onion and garlic if you have it. Canned tomatoes. Any green. Any other random vegetables you have around. Any ratio, really. Had it on the table and portioned out into work lunches in less than 30. This version was 3 WW PointsPlus per serving.

A go-to for me is any kind of lentil soup. I think I was originally inspired by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks and her recipe for Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup, but in the last few years, I make it with whatever random vegetables I have around. Last night I had kale and sweet potatoes from the farmers market and pre-chopped garlic, shallots, and onions from Trader Joe’s (amazing. Less than $2, ready to go). In the fridge? Random amount of vegetable broth. The cupboard? Random quantity of lentils. I’ve put together similar soups for anywhere from 3-5 WW PointsPlus.

It was good to poke my head around the farmers market and get inspired again. I picked up a small loaf of sunflower flax bread from a Baltimore-based (but they sell all over the DC area!) bakery that I love.

But this brings me to one of the things I really don’t like about Weight Watchers (and yet have a solution to, other than to guesstimate): how you track things that don’t have a barcode, you didn’t make yourself, or weren’t made by a huge chain store. If I want to accurately track bread, I’d have to: buy something with a nutritional label; bake a loaf myself; or go to a chain restaurant whose items have been included in the WW database. Not much room for accurately tracking the little guy… (Although, good news: Atwater’s actually does include their nutrition information on their website, but many places don’t have that information readily available.)

I suppose it’s just a reminder that what’s easy or convenient isn’t always better. I’ll continue to figure out ways to track the “good” stuff, it just takes a little more effort.

And now for my new favorite “splurge” item (OK, not really a huge splurge – it’s just 1 WW PointsPlus for 1 Tbsp.):

OH NO THEY DIDN'T! They did! And it's so good!

You could do a lot worse, folks.