Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Any Movement Is Still Movement

One of the biggest reasons, other than just overall health and well-being, that I've decided to finally have surgery is that I really want to be active. I no longer want to live in fear of movement, I want to embrace it. I want to wander and explore and try new things. I don't want to be stifled by my crippling size-related fears. I am sick of skipping things because I may not have the cardiovascular capacity to do them. I want to experience all of the things that interest me without fear!

With this goal in mind, I knew I'd need to start moving much more than I currently was. Granted - this wouldn't be a tough thing to do - I've basically been sitting for the last 4 years. Seriously. It's somewhat shocking and admittedly pathetic how much time I spent being absolutely still. I was caught in a motionless cycle. I weighed so much that movement hurt, or at a minimum was uncomfortable. Not moving just made my weight grow. As my weight grew, so did the hurt and level of discomfort...and so on...and so on. So years later, I was damn near immobile - not to mention I'd get winded from walking 6 steps. Surgery is hopefully going to remove one of those obstacles - - the excessive amount of extra weight I'm carrying around - - which should, in theory make it easier to move my ass around.

In a very un-Natalie-like move, I decided I didn't want to wait until I'd gotten the bulk of the weight off to get started. I wanted to start now. I've worked with personal trainers in the past, and have had great success while I've worked with them. The truth of the matter is - I require accountability. Left to my own devices, I'm not going to push myself. I'm not going to make myself do things that are uncomfortable, and I'm certainly not going to do things that hurt. I need someone to help motivate me to do such things. I don't need someone screaming in my face (the Biggest Loser trainers give me a headache). I simply need someone to tell me what to do, and make sure I do it. So the search for a personal trainer began. I have belonged to one of the larger gym chains here in the twin cities - but knew I could never afford the membership fee + personal training sessions. (seriously - their fees are outrageous) And since YC has refused to move to MN to train me, I had to find another option. Enter Scott Sutherlin and Scott Sutherlin Fitness.

My sister's sister-in-law has attended his boot camps for quite some time now - so I asked her is she liked him. She's a bit of a no nonsense type of gal, like myself - so I figured if she liked him, there was a very good chance I would as well. She had really great things to say about him, and even brokered an introduction for me. Scott and I communicated a bit over text message - I wanted to make sure he knew what he was getting into (morbidly obese, morbidly sedentary - my new term, at a negative cardiovascular level). He had dealt with people who weren't as overweight as I am, but had helped many people lose large amounts of weight - even dealt with post-surgery folks. It seemed like a fit on paper - so we met.

At our initial meeting he made me stand the entire time. I stood for 45 minutes just chatting. I was miserable. He admitted he was doing it on purpose. I started to sweat. My knees were killing me. My hips hurt. But I did it. I don't remember the last time I stood for that long. And we seemed to have compatible personalities. I liked him immediately. So we set another meeting - this one he allowed me to sit - and we went over my short-term goals. I told him I needed to lose weight pre-surgery in order to get my appointment with the surgeon. Told him about the liquid diet, etc. We decided to contact the doc and see how much I need to lose in order to do the minimum amount of days of a liquid diet. I spoke to the nurse and they seemed very on board with me losing 50 pounds and then I only have to do 10 days of liquid before the big day.

It was the week of Thanksgiving - so Scott requested I meet at 5am on Friday morning after the holiday. I work an odd schedule - I'm a bit of a night owl - so I don't remember the last time I saw 5am, but I agreed. If you're going to do something life-changing, you might as well go all the way, right? So I arrived in what felt like the middle of the night for my first session. Excited to get moving in the right direction, but also completely panic-stricken. He simply told me to start walking. His gym is not a room filled with treadmills and elliptical machines. His gym is a room filled with free weights and squat racks and weighted bags and tires and ropes. So I started walking around the room. There were a couple of other people there - but they just went about their business. Everyone visiting while working out. A very cool vibe. I walked...slowly.... He had me change directions a couple of times. I felt like my heart was going to explode, and my knees were screaming - - but I kept moving. I walked for 15 minutes. Consecutively. This is not anything the average person would even remotely call a victory, but for me it was a total win. I hadn't walked for 15 minutes in....I couldn't even tell you the last time I did. And that was it. He is easing me into activity. He's not going to try and throw a ton of crap at me to make me miserable - he's going to work with me, and my limitations. He's got a plan to push me out of my discomfort zone, and become a mobile person.

I'm a week and a half in at this point. I've walked all but one "free" day I was granted by Scott. I've done the ropes (which I lovingly refer to as the ropes of death) a couple of times. I've carried 3 pound weights around with me a couple of times. I've started increasing my walks from a flat time to a "step count" on my FitBit. Gradually increasing so it doesn't make me panic and run. And I'm doing it. I've had a couple of days - one in particular - where I seriously contemplated skipping, but I haven't. I'm held accountable now. And I think Scott and I are just getting started on what will be a long, sometimes love-hate, relationship.

I'm hopeful that by starting to move now, it will make recovery better/faster/easier. I'm hopeful that by proving to myself that I can still do things when I'm at my worst, it will instill in me the belief that I can certainly do anything I put my mind to when I get some of these lbs. off. As much as my internal dialogue during most of walks started out being me chastising myself for allowing my bod to get to this ridiculous state, it is gradually changing. Rather than dwelling on what I did (or didn't do) to get myself to the immobile mass that I was, I'm focusing on what I'm going to be able to do. And I'm starting to suspect I might be kicking ass before we know it.