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Old 10-16-2011, 10:09 PM   #1
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Default Stupid Rookie Mistake - All for a sweatshirt

I have a lot of health issues and joint damage, so I have to be careful with exercise. I have to increase exercise gradually or it bites me in the butt with symptom flares and pain.

For the month of October, our YMCA is running a "passport to fitness" program. You're given a "passport" that lists 12 or 13 countries, and 3 or 4 exercises are listed under each country. To get your passport "stamped" you have to do 30 minutes of one of the listed exercises. You need to do 12 different exercises, on 12 different days, from at least 6 different countries.

Participants who complete the challenge get a sweatshirt. I really want that sweatshirt.


Until today, I had been choosing water exercises and treadmill work to get my stamps. Today I decided to try the elliptical machine (to get my Norway stamp).

I knew about 10 minutes in, that it was probably a mistake, but I didn't want to give up and have to do 30 minutes of a different activity, so I stuck with it. By 15 minutes, I was in real trouble, but if I gave up, I wasn't going to get "my stamp" (I was so tired already that I knew I had no hope of completing 30 minutes of another activity), so I slowed down, but kept going, deciding I was going to make those 30 minutes, come heck or high water.

I made my 30 minutes, but had to call for help (thankfully my husband had just gotten off the stationery bike in front of me). He had to help me get off the machine and walk to the lounge area. My legs were so weak, I didn't think they were going to hold me up.

Usually after exercise, we play around in the pool a bit and then go to the hot tub, instead we left the gym in our workout clothes and went straight home.

I'm STILL having trouble walking. It feels like my legs could give out at any time.


On one hand, I'm super proud that I did finish those 30 minutes (even if it felt like it was going to kill me).

On the other hand, I know it was an idiotic thing to do - especially if it keeps me from exercising tomorrow or Tuesday (the day after the day after always seems to be the worst).

What's even "dumber" is that towards the end, I was thinking of all those "Biggest Loser" style shows, and thinking "it won't kill me to keep going," even though I hate those shows for that very reason - I think a lot of people on those shows and those emulating what they see on those shows could get hurt.

I just never thought it would be me, because I thought I knew better (I DO know BETTER)!

... and if I'm willing to nearly kill myself, going against my better judgement for a darned sweatshirt, what would I do for a quarter of a million dollars?

And worst of all: I STILL WANT THAT DAMNED SWEATHSIRT!!!!!!!

(I do think I can get the sweatshirt without killing myself, but I am going to be more careful at the gym).
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:35 PM   #2
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I think a lot of us need reality checks from time to time.

I hope you get that sweatshirt!
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:18 PM   #3
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I think that sometimes it's good to push yourself! Just stick with it!!!!
This makes me want to join YMCA for a cool challenge like this! Things that keep you motivated are the best!
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:54 PM   #4
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I think it's great that you're pushing yourself so hard! I would've quit by then. Hooray for you! And maybe you should try eating more carbs or protein? That might give you more energy for those kinds of workouts?
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:55 PM   #5
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I think that sometimes it's good to push yourself! Just stick with it!!!!

I agree, but with my health issues, the line between pushing myself and hurting myself is very fine. So I have to be very vigilant.

With my fibromyalgia especially, my body doesn't deal well with drastic change, so every change has to be made very gradually to prevent a flare of the fibro. It's one of the reasons that I've had to take the weight loss very slowly. All changes have to be made gradually, because any sudden change in routine, whether it's diet, sleep, activity level, or even weather tends to throw me into a flare - One of the best ways to describe a severe fibro flare - is a combination of flu symptoms on top of having been beaten severely or having your joints all struck with a baseball bat and having not slept for a week (that drugged feeling that only severe sleep deprivation can cause, where your mind works at 1/10 normal speed and you couldn't think yourself out of a paper bag).

The improvements I've been able to make in the past seven years have been miraculous, but they've all been achieved "baby step" style.

By making changes very gradually, I've been able to reduce the severity and frequency of flares. Now I've got bed-bound flare days down to no more than a few per month, and rarely consecutive days. When I started, the very bad, worst-symptom days outnumbered good days by at least 10 to 1.

For the most part, now my flares are less severe overall, and tend to be either pain or fatigue/brain fog related - not all the symptoms rolled into one big horrible mess.


I'm not really afraid of the potential pain or mental-fogginess flare my indescretion today may cause, it's the effect on my husband. After all, the worst that can happen to me is a painful day or two in bed (and I'm hoping to avoid or minimize that by getting right back to my normal routine as quickly as possible), but hubby gets so incredibly upset when I miscalculate and end up in a bad flare. He tend to go into lecture or mother hen mode fussing and stressing over how I shouldn't do this to myself and need to take care of myself better...


What's ironic is that I've been more successful losing weight with all these extra obstacles than I did when pushing myself was an option every day.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:14 AM   #6
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I think it's great that you're pushing yourself so hard! I would've quit by then. Hooray for you! And maybe you should try eating more carbs or protein? That might give you more energy for those kinds of workouts?

Good suggestions. I follow a higher-protein, lower-carb exchange plan - and I do tend to spend my carbohydrate exchanges before workouts, for that very reason.

Although, energy really wasn't the problem, it was muscle strength and using muscles I'm not used to using (especially my hips and upper thighs), and doing far more than I should have if I want to avoid a flare of the fibro (which I very much want to do, because bad flares can disrupt my routine so easily). If I hurt badly enough to take my stronger pain meds, I'm usually also in too much pain to want to go to the gym.

I don't think my health issues set a ceiling on what I can do, just in how I go about getting there. Pushing myself to do a little more than the last time, makes sense. But doubling my effort inevitably sets me back.

When I went to my first fibromyalgia support group, I met a girl who ran marathons, and I thought "how can someone with fibromyalgia run a marathon?" She was one of the first people who told me that a consistent routine was vital to fibromyalgia and that "adapting to change" especially those you can't control was one of the biggest challenges of the disease, and that making gradual changes was the way to prevent flares. When she started she was also in bed more than she was out of it, so she's always been my role model for dealing with the disease.

Doctors told me essentially the same thing when I asked "how can I exercise regularly when exercising causes so much pain?" They said I had to start small and make changes gradually. And that's been working fantastically.

The "no pain, no gain, Biggest-Loser, almost-dropping dead" style workouts aren't going to work for me in the long run. I might be able to work up to them, but getting there has to be gradual (at least so long as the fibro is active rather than in remission)..
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:32 AM   #7
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Come on, you know better than to overdo it like that! Though I know how incredibly frustrating this illness is, we all do stupid things from time to time. But you really can't treat yourself as if you're a healthy person and take on the same challenges, or at least all of the same challenges. On the other hand, if you consider the level of exercise you've already accomplished relative to your level of disability, I'd say that you have easily outperformed all of the people who claim that silly sweatshirt several times over. It's a pity we don't get gold stars for disability-hindered fitness achievements, eh. Although in our cases, we should also be getting gold stars for resisting the urge to overdo it! Right now, don't even think about exercising tomorrow, go and rest for all you're worth. Pushing past your limits like that is going to have one h*ll of a kickback.

To the people encouraging Kaplods to complete this challenge: please go back and reread her post. She has one of the most disabling medical conditions in existence, one that is specifically worsened by overexertion (and at some stages of the illness, "overexertion" means having a shower or even less), and she described in detail how this level of overexertion makes her worse for days on end. I've got the same condition. Well, I've got CFIDS/ME and have newly been told that I probably have fibromyalgia, and Kaplods has fibro and I think also CFIDS (memory's shot, I'm afraid); the conditions overlap widely and are almost certainly related.

Believe me, we are both raring to go and would dearly love to be able to exercise more. We have also both had years of people encouraging us to overdo it, and in my case, the case of every single person with CFIDS that I've talked to, and as far as I remember in Kaplods' case as well (apologies if I'm misremembering or speaking out of turn, hon), we've made ourselves a great deal worse through years of overdoing it. The severity of CFIDS (not sure about fibro) runs all the way through minor disability, then not being able to work, not being able to leave your house, not being able to get out of bed, up to death in the worst cases, so this is a serious matter. I do realise you meant well, it just happened not to be the right approach.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:15 AM   #8
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I'm the same way. I KNOW my knees are bad and my lower back tends to get hurt easily. However, there are just some exercises that I want to do at the gym! I shouldn't do squats at all until I see a doctor but sometimes I still do and always regret it later.

It's also hard because I can remember my younger body that would allow me to push myself to my very limits. I don't have that body anymore and the extra weight that I was carrying in the meantime didn't help things either.

I'm also trying to stick to pool exercises at the moment. Even walking on the treadmill hasn't been the best for my knees and I know my back needs a rest from lifting for a bit but it's hard to stay away. I enjoy those activities quite a bit, they make me feel strong, like I'm getting something done. Something that I just don't feel after a swim.

Thankfully, DH is pretty good at calling me out when I go overboard or push myself too hard. He reminds me to step back and look at things in the big picture. Maybe your husband could do the same for you? Especially with that sweatshirt in the balance.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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We should start an exercise thread in the Dieting With Obstacles forum. That way we can chat with other people who are having these sorts of difficulties, and not always be feeling that we have to measure ourselves against healthy people who have completely different abilities and limits.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:45 AM   #10
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Eek! Kaplods, I hope that your body doesn't punish you much for the overexertion

But, I AM routing for you to get that sweatshirt!
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:52 AM   #11
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Sometimes that carrot dangling out in front of you is too much. I wonder what it is about some sort of incentive that drives us to push ourselves so hard. We KNOW it isn't worth it but I assume we receive some sort of validation from getting a prize.

The fact of the matter is you did push yourself. You can't undo it, but you now have a learning experience to look back on. Maybe pushing yourself like this and having this stored in your head will stop you from pushing yourself another time where perhaps you might have done some serious damage. You might find yourself in a similar situation, but THIS experience will probably cause you to go "Hey, not a good idea."

I've been there. I don't have a disability, but I do have a set of lungs that attract just about every pathogen if I'm not careful. I've pushed myself and both ended up in the hospital and nearly ended up in the hospital because of it. It took me several times to learn not to push myself when I felt something in my lungs, but only until I actually passed out and wound up in the hospital did I learn that I should really watch myself. I'm now quite a bit more careful and I probably really should go get a flu shot because that can turn into something serious if I'm not careful (see! I'm still not learning! ack!).

Basically, don't beat yourself up for it. You know it was a mistake, you know you shouldn't have done it. Chalk it up to an unpleasant learning experience and vow to not get yourself down this path again.

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Old 10-17-2011, 11:16 AM   #12
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I've been there. I don't have a disability, but I do have a set of lungs that attract just about every pathogen if I'm not careful. I've pushed myself and both ended up in the hospital and nearly ended up in the hospital because of it. It took me several times to learn not to push myself when I felt something in my lungs, but only until I actually passed out and wound up in the hospital did I learn that I should really watch myself. I'm now quite a bit more careful and I probably really should go get a flu shot because that can turn into something serious if I'm not careful (see! I'm still not learning! ack!).

Basically, don't beat yourself up for it. You know it was a mistake, you know you shouldn't have done it. Chalk it up to an unpleasant learning experience and vow to not get yourself down this path again.
Yes! Please be careful. DH as some pretty severe allergies+asthma. He's really struggled finding the right balance between pushing himself and listening to his body. We've been to the hospital more than once for it and it's not something to take lightly. I hope you figure out what works for you. We have to be super vigilant about keeping the house clean and keeping him away from animals. The good news is, is that between him watching what he eats and running at least 3x per week he no longer has to take daily meds and just keeps around an emergency inhaler. I hope things look up for you and you figure out what works.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:20 PM   #13
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Kaplods, look at all that weight you lost!! Wowee! Big pat on the back.

I'm sure the Y doesn't want you hurt...and they also are offering that sweatshirt as impetus for people to exercise daily. I mean, someone who's lost 100 lbs is going to be their poster child!!!! Could you talk to someone in control of the "Passport" program and explain the situation?

I'm sure they can work out a personal "world tour" for their star member that's perfect for you, will challenge you, and keep you healthy and exercising -- and earn the sweatshirt that way. By this, I mean finding a trainer or such, working out exercises that will work for you right now, and pick some new countries that fit those exercises (that might not be on the list -- but you're an adventurer, right? You did this already!) I'm 100% sure they'll be thrilled to have someone coming in who passionately wants to accomplish that goal, in fact, bet they'll be thrilled. Perhaps they can even personalize it with your impressive weight loss. You can be a role model and inspiration for others.

If the person you approach is uncooperative, don't be discouraged. Lots of dweebs in the world, so keep asking til you get what you want.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:50 PM   #14
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Come on, you know better than to overdo it like that! Though I know how incredibly frustrating this illness is, we all do stupid things from time to time. But you really can't treat yourself as if you're a healthy person and take on the same challenges, or at least all of the same challenges. On the other hand, if you consider the level of exercise you've already accomplished relative to your level of disability, I'd say that you have easily outperformed all of the people who claim that silly sweatshirt several times over. It's a pity we don't get gold stars for disability-hindered fitness achievements, eh. Although in our cases, we should also be getting gold stars for resisting the urge to overdo it! Right now, don't even think about exercising tomorrow, go and rest for all you're worth. Pushing past your limits like that is going to have one h*ll of a kickback.

To the people encouraging Kaplods to complete this challenge: please go back and reread her post. She has one of the most disabling medical conditions in existence, one that is specifically worsened by overexertion (and at some stages of the illness, "overexertion" means having a shower or even less), and she described in detail how this level of overexertion makes her worse for days on end. I've got the same condition. Well, I've got CFIDS/ME and have newly been told that I probably have fibromyalgia, and Kaplods has fibro and I think also CFIDS (memory's shot, I'm afraid); the conditions overlap widely and are almost certainly related.

Believe me, we are both raring to go and would dearly love to be able to exercise more. We have also both had years of people encouraging us to overdo it, and in my case, the case of every single person with CFIDS that I've talked to, and as far as I remember in Kaplods' case as well (apologies if I'm misremembering or speaking out of turn, hon), we've made ourselves a great deal worse through years of overdoing it. The severity of CFIDS (not sure about fibro) runs all the way through minor disability, then not being able to work, not being able to leave your house, not being able to get out of bed, up to death in the worst cases, so this is a serious matter. I do realise you meant well, it just happened not to be the right approach.

I so agree, and am really glad you reminded me of all the things I "know" but sometimes have a hard time "feeling."

There's so much social pressure to succeed, especially at weight loss and fitness by intense, back-breaking effort that even when I "know better" there's that little voice in the back of my head saying "you're fat and sick because you're just lazy."

I know I'm not, and I know that one of the factors contributing to my illness was burning the candle at both ends by working crazy hours and sacrificing sleep to "prove" to the world that I might be fat, but I damned well wasn't lazy.

I've had a lot of practice at refusing to meet other people's unreasonable expectations of me, but I forget that I have to refuse to meet MY unreasonable expectations of me.

Unfortunately I now realize (boy, what an AHA moment), this is what my husband has been nagging me about for the past several years and has been the recent subject of some intense arguments - because I thought he was mostly nuts. I thought that I "knew my own limits" and that he should shut up and let me decide what I should and shouldn't do.

Boy is he going to gloat when I tell him that I not only understand what he was saying, that I agree with it.

It felt like he was "holding me back," but I realize that he sometimes knows my limitations better than I do (he gave me a bit of a lecture as to what would have happened if he had gone to the pool before I was done with the elyptical - because I'm so stubborn I probably wouldn't have asked a stranger for help off of the machine).

In my mind, I thought well I would have fallen and would have had to crawl to the lounge - still "no big deal." (See how crazy I am).

It all boils down to my impatience with the progress I've made. I love that I've come this far (it sure beats being confined to bed most of the year), but I hate that it's taken seven years. When I started, my expectations were that my improvements would "snowball" and I'd be able to do more, faster. And while that's been slightly true, I have to acknowledge that I don't get to decide the speed, and if I try to, I'm just going to hurt myself and set back my progress).


As for the gym, we are going today, but I'm not going to be any actual exercising. I still have an "open swim" to use for my requirements. I was saving it for just this occasion (well not just this occasion, because I didn't intend to do this to myself), but I was saving it to use as a "get out of jail free" non-exercise, exercise. My intention is to just float (treading water without much treading).

I really can get the sweathshirt without hurting myself. There are are enough low-intensity, low-impact options on the list, that choosing the elyptical was insane. I was just getting cocky and wanting to "impress myself." I should have stuck with the walking options or chosen to take one of the modified exercise classes (intended for elderly and disabled folks - so why didn't I choose those - plain hubris).
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:07 PM   #15
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YOU ARE NOT LAZY.

I've had a lot of practice at refusing to meet other people's unreasonable expectations of me, but I forget that I have to refuse to meet MY unreasonable expectations of me.

The difficulty, I find, is when you start internalising those expectations from other people. A lot of my unreasonable expectations of myself are built on those, although I can cook up plenty on my own as well.

As for the modified exercise classes intended for elderly and disabled people, those almost always mean just elderly, and no one wants to think of themselves as elderly when they really are, let alone at our age, so no wonder you didn't join them. But you're right, it would probably be a better option.

I get cocky as well, we all do. How do you think I set off this blasted RSI (which is nearly better, by the way, thanks proper rest and getting rid of the mouse)? I found a nice new quilting technique, a fairly easy one which produces fast results, and went a bit mad with it. This was over two months ago, and I haven't been able to pick up a needle since. I am, as my beloved trenchantly observes, a proper daftie. It's a good thing we have fabulous partners to help keep us from dashing over the metaphorical cliff, isn't it.

I started an "exercising with obstacles" thread as threatened in the Dieting With Obstacles forum. Hop over and we can cheer each other on for staying within our limits? And meanwhile, REST, woman! I am rather suspicious of this airy plan to go swimming tomorrow. Promise me that if you wake up feeling like crap, you'll stay at home?
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