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on the road to full recovery, and then some

Michele Larocque

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Flash back to the end of May 2012, I've just completed my second Whole30, I'm feeling good, my clothes fit better than they have in years, allergy season was a joke, I'm a little more tired than I'd like, but overall my energy levels are consistent. I go off road for my birthday, just a little, and while I don't feel so hot the day after it's not so bad. I've planned to get right back on since I know I still have a ways, not to far mind you, but still a ways to go.

I never quite make it to Whole30 levels but I'm doing ok. In early July I join a gym for the first time in years, and once I'm past the awkward stage, I start working out on a regular basis. I love it.

Flash forward to early September. I wake up one morning with back pain, I go see my chiro, he works on me, says ice it for a few days and sends me on my way. So I avoid the gym, go to work, and put ice on my back at night. After a three of fours days the pain is gone and I figure I'm good to go. Back to the gym, a new weight training routine and I'm feeling fine. About a week later I'm at work and have to move a heavy cart full of shipment (I worked for a large natural foods retailer), I feel something pop in my lower back, but there's no pain so I think it's ok since popping in my back is nothing unusual.Two days later I'm working the evening shift and my back starts to feel tight, I mean drumhead tight, it's Saturday so I figure it's back the chiro Monday morning. Well yeah...

I wake up Sunday morning and can barely get out of bed, once I'm up, I can't straighten up for a good 15 minutes, this is bad...but I don't know how bad, and won't for a while...

flash forward several weeks...an mri reveals I have four herniated disks, four!

flash forward to now...I've been on medical leave for 6 months, my eating habits went sideways in a big way and I've been sedentary to a degree I haven't been in decades, if ever. I figure I've gained about 15 pounds, I don't own a scale and honestly I wouldn't get one one even if I did, I know myself too well. None of my clothes fit well, if at all. I've spent the last 6 months in yoga pants and t-shirts which did nothing for my self-image. And having had weight issues most of my life this isn't at all a good thing. I was already heavier than I needed to be before my back injury and for reasons I won't go into here because it would take up too much space, I had a pretty high body fat level for my height 5f 9.5in and weight (pre injury 153lbs ).

So, as of right this minute, though it's taken me a week or so to get here, my gym membership is reinstated, and I'm committed to doing a whole30 at least, though I'm sensing that 60 or 90 may be required and I'm fine with that. There was some unfinished business last time that never did get resolved.

I've been eating primarily paleo (80%ish) for the past few weeks just because beans, wheat and dairy and sugar do a number on my digestion. So the change for me is not as great as for others and I have done this before and seen excellent results.

But still there is that fear, the one so many of us get, that it might not work this time.

Ah the ego, the great derailer of plans and commitments.

Not this time baby.

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I just read the Day 28 message from Melissa and Dallas, which reminds us that a setback and a failure are not the same things. The ego wants what it wants, which seemingly includes harsh punishments when we get derailed. So take that fear out for a spin and see what you can do to it. I personally am inspired by both your story and your determination, and I wish you all good things as you start again.

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2nd day in, I'm tempted to count down from 30, which would mean 28 days to go. A friend of mine regularly does 40 days of.... It can be anything, 40 days of no alcohol, 40 days no sugar, 40 days no...you get the opicture. She has found that counting down from forty is much easier than counting up to 40. I've done this and it actually does make it easier to deal with...strange how the brain processes information.

I went to the gym yesterday, did a 5k loop on the treadmill, and then a couple of miles on a bike to round out an hour of intervals. When I was done, I was sweaty but happy.

I also got a scale while I was there...as much as I didn't want to in some ways, I also wanted to know exactly where I was starting.

At about 175, so a 20 lbs weight gain in 6 months of near sedentary living. It was a bit of a shock but not completely.

It's just a number. And I am a whole person. So much more than a number and a dress size.

Because of this injury my life has changed in remarkable ways it may not have had I not been laid up for months with little to do but reflect on what I've been doing, how satisfying and dissatisfying it was, and then invent a different vision of how my future can feel and what I will do with the years I have here on planet earth.

One thing i did was buy the Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte, one of the best and most far reaching $200 expenditures of my life.

For all of this, I am grateful.

For being here, now, in this moment full of potential, eyes wide open and looking past what used to contain me.

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Tuesday. Gym and work day. Way back in the day, I used to get up at the crack of dawn and go to the gym, work out for an hour and half and then get on with my day. Monday through Friday, no exceptions, or at least not many. I'm not sure about getting up and out the door at 6:30 these days, but the daily practice is something I'm considering. I still have a few sessions of physical therapy left, which at this point is an 45 minutes sweat inducing set of high intensity weight training (for me, at this time). As of next week I'm free from that, so my plan is to make those early morning gym sessions every other day to start with, and then see where it takes me. Fitness is a big part of this journey. Yes I do want to drop some pounds and feel better and not have to suffer too much during allergy season, and have good digestion. I also want to feel strong and energized which as 52 with a million creative, potentially globe spanning projects, it a big deal.

What have I been eating? This morning two home made salmon burgers (from the book) post-workout with a dab of cilantro pesto on top, lunch will be a salad with citrus and avocado, black olives and marinated artichokes and a few thin slices of london broil. For supper we'll have grilled center cut pork chops on a bed of mixed green vegetables and more of that thai infused cilantro pesto.

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Hunger woke me up this morning...but now I don't really feel like eating.

Black tea and coffee aren't so bad, I can live without the splash of whiteness.

When will the bloating go away...seriously? I realize that months of crazy carb heavy eating and wine have done a number on my intestinal environment, but still. it seems that everything, and I mean everything makes me poof up like a hot air balloon.

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I'm feeling impatient right now.

I want this to be further along.

I am so tired of my clothes not fitting, so incredibly tired of feeling bloated and sluggish.

I know that there are much worse things to be feeling, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity and the resources to make these changes I want to make.

And still, there are moments where I want to zip six months of whole9food/fitness down the road and feel the way i will feel when that day comes. I want to be able to get back into my favorite clothes and actually go out and buy new clothes that I feel good in, especially now that I'm leaving my job in retail and will have daytime options that don't involve an apron and name badge.

And I need a haircut, badly, which will happen Friday morning, that will help. And knowing that in a week or so there will be a shift in my body, that the ever present "poof" will fade into nothingness. That lingering cravings will soon be a thing of the past, that my clothes will begin to fit more comfortably.

so patience grasshopper...and practice being one moment at a time.

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what's for supper?

pork loin chops that I let sit for 30 minutes with a paste of olive oil, salt cumin and coriander then grilled until they reached a juicy perfection

with a side of green (dandelion and spinach) and mushrooms sautéed in coconut oil and and then quick braised in coconut milk and green curry paste, then finished with some cilantro cashew pesto I made the other night.

pretty darn tasty

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