So, we’ve been doing some fitnessy things.
And then I hurt my knee.
That’s kind of the entire story, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the things we’ve been working on, tools we’ve used, and some pretty messed up things about our culture. As per the usual?
It started with my school friend Brittany who downloaded MyFitnessPal to track her eating and exercise and all that jazz. It sounded fun! We downloaded it about 2 months ago. I’ve used it every day, Jay has used it …. not every day. The point for me wasn’t necessarily to lose weight, rather, to see kind of what I’m eating and get a more realistic picture of the fact that boxed wine has a gazillion calories and I’d legit probably be SUPER skinny if I didn’t drink. Suspicions confirmed, but I’m not sure the app necessarily made me make any food changes. I’ve laid off the booze a bit, lost 3 pounds right away, and then nothing has changed for 4 weeks or so.
Not exactly progress, but awareness was what I was really going for. I actually really like the app, and will continue to use it for the time being. If nothing else, it’s made me more aware of what normal eating for the day looks like, and I’ve done things like measuring food and drink to just kind of get a feel for what things are really going into my person.
THEN, our friend Tony asked Jay to do a 5K with him in September. Tony wanted his wife Katie to do it too, and Jay informed him that I don’t run unless I’m being chased. Let’s repeat that: I don’t run unless I’m being chased. It’s the truth. I know what running does to muscles and joints and tendons, and I need mine to be in pretty tip top shape for my job. So. I don’t run. I know some people don’t agree with that, but the fact that running-sustained injuries are rampant in the US and we are one of the only species that runs for zero purpose (you’re not trying to get anywhere, you’re not being chased, you’re not hunting…) AND the fact that I really don’t like running make me not want to do it.
It’s fine if you like running. It’s fine if you’ve been a runner for 30 years and have great joints and flexibility and zero injuries.
It’s also fine for me to think the way I think. Go with it.
So, spoiler alert, I downloaded the effing running app and ran 5 times in two weeks. It was great! I felt alive! It’d been so long since I’d done anything but walking and yoga!
Until the second time, of course, when my knee seized up and I couldn’t straighten it. Then I ran three more times on the same knee, teaching yoga all the while, in absolute agony.
And then there was the dilemma and influx of information. Once you get stronger your bones will suddenly not hurt! Get braces! Ice! Ibuprofen! New shoes!
Listen, I’m plenty strong. I teach hard yoga in a very hot room and end up with 8-11 hours of the stuff under my belt each week. Running uses different muscles, YES, but my muscles weren’t sore. The problem was, I was buying into all of this. Do I need gear? Am I weak? Is yoga hurting me? Um, probably no to all of the above. This is also confounded by people not offering advice CONGRATULATING me on starting to run. Good for you! Such great cardio!
Cardio to me is code for weight loss. I don’t know if it is to the people that said those things to me, but let’s go back to the yoga: I do yoga while talking in a calm voice in a 104 degree room. If you think I’m not getting cardio please go take a running start and screw yourself. There are different kinds of cardio, kids. Mine just happens to involve music in Sanskrit. I know this to be true about weight loss: diet affects shiz way more than exercise does, and if I want to lose weight I need to lay off the booze and eat less cheese. Simple, and not something I’m particularly interested in at this point in my life. I’m not saying being overweight is cool, but I do believe that there is a reasonable window between anorexic and obese that folks can fall in. Is it ideal to only eat clean foods and not drink or smoke and sleep 8 hours a night and exercise 45 minutes per day? Duh.
It’s also good to bathe and pay your bills and work hard and be nice to people and walk your dogs and pay attention to your parents and work on your marriage and clean your baseboards BUT THAT’S A LONG LIST.
But back to the knee: if I knew running was going to hurt me, and I think I do plenty of cardio, why did I do it? It’s not a little thing – there’s some kind of hamstring pull happening and my knee is massive and puffy and I can’t even reach for my ankle on one side (pulling towards glute to stretch quad) because it’s so swollen. I think with all of those things anyone in their right mind would agree that running maybe isn’t my thing, but there’s still a little voice inside of me that screams fat, failure, excuses. I know in my big girl brain that it’s all bullshit, and I’d tell any client of mine the same thing. So WHAT is it about my insides that make me all twisty where I kind of want to be all runnery and tan and skinny but also it hurts my body and I have zero desire to make changes to accomplish those things?
I have a feeling it’s not just me, which is why I’m sharing all of this. We are HELL BENT that our way of being healthy is the right way, and it gets to everyone at some point, I think. I wish there weren’t even writings like this because our self esteem shouldn’t be determined by our ability to match other people, but somehow it still is.
So what do we do? Take it a day at a time? Try again tomorrow? Positive affirmations? Yes. Just like weight loss is for those who strongly desire it, I think that the path to REALLY loving yourself and REALLY making choices that are the best for you is a bumpy road. Nothing is a perfect solution to this short of erasing hundreds of years of people telling us that our worth is determined largely based on our looks and bank accounts, so we just sort of trudge along and tell people nice things and try to remember that we are nice, good, worthy, and lovable.
As for the cardio, screw it. I think it’s not worth it if it injures me, but I do still have the feeling of craving something other than yoga, just sometimes. Maybe biking? Maybe just walking? We’ll see.