Recently someone wished me a happy birthday and said welcome to your 40’s, how are you enjoying it. I think my face said it all. She said 30’s is the new 40’s. I said it feels like my body started falling apart. It actually started at 38 instead of waiting until I was 40. I started needing more recovery time after workouts. I used to be able to jump on the bike in the spring and do 40 miles. All that talk about only increasing your miles 10% each week. In my 20’s I didn’t need to worry about that. Then once I hit 38 I started have back problems. It took a year and my back going out on my 3 times before i was diagnosed with a bulging disk. I am not sure where it came from. From 15 years doing pedicures or maybe from a back hammock fall. I’m sure the bike riding didn’t help.
But here I am, almost a year since I got stuck on the floor and couldn’t walk for 24 hours. Took 2 months to have any sort of normalcy in my movement. My understanding is I will have to be careful to not let it bulge again for the rest of my life. So no dead lifts and no lumbar flexion. Today for the first time I did a group yoga class. I have done 15 minutes of sun salutations on my own, which were very helpful in strengthening my core. When it comes to healing chronic issues it is important to have body awareness. I use that everyday to make sure my body is happy. Does it need to rest? Does it need Kinesio Tape? Does it need myofascial Release? There has been multiple studies that were done with back pain, that people who are currently have back pain are more likely to re-injure themselves. Is it the back pain itself that can cause more injuries. As we are in pain our bodies will eventually numb out to give us relief. Time doesn’t heal, it numbs. Or is it because of a reliance on pain medication.
Here is the fun part. Here at 40 I have to get to know my body all over again. I am sure you might have had this happen in your life. If nothing else it is something we all experience at puberty. As it turns out my days of 100 miles rides or even riding 4 days a week are gone. Bicycling has always been what I have used to get into shape. I have lowered my seat a 1mm which help relive some stress on my back. But now I realize I need to do more hiking. Started going to swallow cliff stairs once a week. Last year I was able to go kayaking which was surprisingly easier on my back than walking. Plus adding more yoga which has always done my body well even if I can’t do forward folds anymore. There is a part of me that is mourning the me in my 20s and 30s that had it so easy. But I am also remembering the woman who was in her 70s who passed me very easily when I was hiking the grand canyon in my 20’s. Hell that was the year I was at my skinniest and strongest.
The next subject is not easy to talk about. At least not when someone has had struggles with their weight since they were in high school like I was. Getting back on track means something different for everyone. It could be fitness, heath, pain management, or weight loss. I know there are many clients who have gotten off track with regular massages. For me I find it challenging to stay on track with my weight loss. Even when my fitness and health are thriving, I can still struggle with my weight. I am one of those people who can gain weight just by looking at a dessert.
A project I gave myself for my 40th birthday was to make video slideshows from my life. It really put the weight gain and loss in perspective. Here is a picture of me pre pandemic. And although I was is better shape in 2018 when training for Havasu falls, this is a good weight for me. Like most people 2020 became a very stressful year. So much uncertainty. Plus not having our social connections. No one to go on bike rides of hikes with. I had such a hard time getting exercise by myself. I would just think about everything going on in the world and what might happen. And I am a stress eater. I gained the Covid 19 pounds.
Then just as I had lost half of my covid weight, in august I through out my back. Plus my dog was diagnosed with bone cancer in February 2021. No more 5 mile hikes on the weekend. Then in December of 2021 cacao had the infected leg amputated and out walks went from 1 mile to a block. It was a tough year but at the end of it I am healthy, my dog is still with me and happy, my family and friends are all healthy… so a challenging but still a good year. Yet I was too scared to get on the scale. I spent March through June on my garden with a minimum of 2 to sometime 6 hours a day in the garden. Not only did I not loose weight but i could tell I was still gaining from the ways my clothes fit.
So this July I recommitted to my weight loss. Bought a new Garmin watch so I can see what my heart rate is doing to workouts. I haven’t worked out with a heart rate motor since my 20’s when my polar watch broke. Committed to keeping track of what I am eating on myfitnesspal. Because I know what it takes for me to loose weight. And no it is not weight training and bootcamp classes. I have done those and never lost a pound. Got to put in those long miles plus interval cardio during the week. And yes I did get on the scale. I am up 30 pounds from my pre pandemic weight and 40 pounds from my fittest weight. It can be hard to wrap my head around this, especially since i know how hard it was to loose that weight. It took years! I don’t even have a picture to show you since I have been avoiding the camera. I hope sharing my struggle with this last year can even help one person feel not so alone.