Day #42: Thursdays Are Not My Favorite

They just aren’t.

I didn’t make it to class (again!) this morning, but I was so very good yesterday that it really doesn’t matter that much. I weighed in at 155.6 lbs when I got up today, and it’s really awesome. I’ve been eating lighter and exercising every day, sure, but overall it’s not like I’m working all THAT hard, and here I am almost 9 lbs lighter than I was a couple of months ago. The last time I steadily lost weight like this was a few years ago, when I dropped to 143 lbs by working out like a maniac and basically starving myself. I don’t want to do that ever again, so I’m happy to be losing gradually.

My body really doesn’t want to give up this weight, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to start working out even more and eating a lot less processed food. Neither of these things are bad, and I knew they probably had to happen. It’s just that I really don’t have time for cooking, and that doesn’t matter – I’m going to have to make the time somewhere. Just like I’m going to have to make the time to get these last few Bikram double down days out of the way, then start running every night, too. When I think about it too hard, I’m exhausted, but after I exercise I’m nothing but smiles. Just got to concentrate on how much better I’m feeling lately.

Talking about feeling better, my back didn’t hurt last night. For the first time in a couple of months, I could turn over in bed without having to gingerly lift my hips, then prepare for stabbing pains as I rolled over. I think it’s the 30 Day Bikram Challenge, finally just working my hips back into their correct placement. I’m definitely getting a much deeper stretch in my thighs, all around, and I think that as I limber up, it’s just going to get better. The chiropractor did tell me if I was going to fix my twisted hips for good, I would have to stretch a lot more. Think it’s finally working! With that in mind, I might extend this 30 day challenge into a 60 day one.

I’m also excited to see my muscles start to get more definition. My legs are looking so much better, and that in itself makes me happy. Back in college I had killer thighs – people used to compliment me on my legs all the time, in fact. Then as I got older, they didn’t necessarily look bad, just not great. I definitely wasn’t going to wear any short skirts or anything! But now with all this work I’m putting in, my cellulite is a lot less noticeable, and I’m starting to burn the fat off of my thighs little by little. It really gives me the strength to keep on going – I want Jennifer Aniston legs!

OK, time to get packing and go to work. I’m supposed to talk on the radio today to promote this event that my gallery is throwing on Saturday. It’s weird – I feel like I should wear something attractive to this, even though it’s the radio and no one is going to see me.  Guess I gotta go get that figured out.

Oh, yeah, so I found out yesterday that I can get my student loan payment reduced. If that happens, once I hit 150 lbs I’m going shopping for some new Fall clothes! Woohoo!


Banishing the Back Pain

I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about it on Compass & Quill, but I’ve been suffering from hip and lower back pain for over two years now. It started soon after I ran the Chicago Marathon in October of 2009, ending that insane race with general pain everywhere in my body, but especially in my knees and hips in relation to tight IT bands. I worked through that issue with lots of stretching and using a foam roller, then with Bikram, but a few months later while trying on a dress for Bestie’s wedding, I threw my back out. In the rest room at work. When I definitely wasn’t supposed to be taking a break to try on a dress. When my doctor was a 45 minute trek across Chicago via foot & public trans, in March (read: ice, slush, wearing 20 extra pounds of coat and snow boots). It was a NIGHTMARE.

For almost a week I could barely walk, couldn’t stand up straight, bend over any farther than I was already locked in, or lay down without considerable pain. It sucked, but eventually it healed and I got back to daily life. From that point on, though, I had daily back and hip pain. I went to several doctors, and every one told me the same thing – it would go away with stretching, pain killers and muscle relaxers. You guys know me well enough by now to know that I didn’t find that combination to be much of a solution. I kept stretching, but avoided the meds after a week on both only led to me sleeping a lot and not getting any better. I got deep tissue massages, went to Bikram, worked on my posture, and though everything helped a little, nothing was solving my problem. Two months ago, I discovered Tylenol PM, and have been taking them at least once a week to get more than a couple of hours sleep at a time. It’s not the best idea, but I was running out of ideas for how to deal with something that was essentially crippling my life as well as my body.

One day last week, like usual, everything I did hurt, except that the pain was more of a stabbing sensation than a dull ache. Riding my bike to work: pain. Sitting at my desk: pain. Standing up to go to the water cooler: pain. Walking around the block to limber up: pain. Bikram: more pain. Trying to go to sleep: impossible, the pain was even worse. By midway through the day I was close to tears, and by the second hour of no sleep later that night, I was sobbing. It was time to take action. The next morning I found a chiropractor and made an appointment for this morning. Why did I wait so long???

Today I met with Dr. Andy Abele of Velocity Sports Chiropractic at his office in uptown New Orleans. I had filled out new patient forms prior to arriving, and when I came in we spent a few minutes going over all the details of my pain levels, locations, when everything had started, and what I was hoping to get out of treatment. My request was simple – make it less painful to run, walk, bike, do yoga, get frisky with The Man, and help me get a better night’s sleep. I really didn’t care if all the pain went away; I just wanted some of it to disappear, enough to not feel like taking pain killers was a better option than living a semi-normal life.

He had me lay down on a table that looked a little like a massage table, but much lower to the ground, and with hand grips under the head rest. I held the hand grips while he worked his hands down my back, looking for things that were out of alignment. My T1 and T2 were out of alignment, and he worked with those and cracked that part of my back. It felt amazing, then all of a sudden the pain in my hips increased. He then worked out some other things lower in my back, and each time, the pain increased in my hips and lower back. I was starting to worry, but also be intrigued that obviously something was getting worked out. He had me turn over, then took a look at the length of my legs. Letting out a whistle, he announced that my right leg was almost an inch shorter than my left – indicating that my hips were out of alignment, which was where most of the pain was coming from.

He had me turn over on each side, and worked with my hips and legs there a bit, then had me lay down on my back, grasped my right leg and gave it a firm tug. There was a loud, deep “POP!” and I instinctively let out a little yelp, then a huge sigh of relief – the pain of over two years was cut in half almost immediately. Suddenly the stabbing, burning sensation was gone, leaving only a muscle ache – two perceptively different types of pain. I was able to sit up without pushing myself up with my hands, and was able to stand up without having to put my hands to my thighs for leverage/support. Walking out of the chiropractor’s office, I didn’t have a stab of pain with each step, and I felt taller. Later in the day I realized that I’ve been hunching over/leaning forward for the last year, and today I was standing straight for the first time in a long time. As the day progressed, my back hurt less and less. It’s still sore, but much less so. My follow-up appointment is on Monday, and I’m hoping that with a few more sessions, I’ll be a normal 30 year old with a healthy back and hips!