Saturday, August 18, 2012

No Pain, No Gain?

You know what they say: No pain, no gain.

Maybe it’s true to a certain extent, but not in the way most people use it today. It’s code for “suck it up, you wimp.” Especially when it comes to pushing your body to new levels, fitness fanatics seem to advocate pushing through the pain.

But I’ve learned the hard way that, more often, pain = loss. It’s obvious to me now that, if I’d taken a break from running last summer, when my plantar fasciitis flared up, none of this would ever have happened. I wouldn’t be able to predict the weather by my left heel, I wouldn’t have two walking boots and a pair of crutches in the closet, and Sydney wouldn’t be the Goodyear blimp. I wouldn’t be sitting here, cursing myself for running today because now my back hurts. I wouldn’t feel like I’m falling apart at the seams.

On the other hand, in all probability, I wouldn’t give a shit about nutrition. I would still be mired in my destructive eating habits.

I know I will never go back to that. I am so much happier now. But at times I almost miss those days. I was always ping-ponging between two extremes, ever-hungry or stuffed to the brim, never simply satisfied. But there was some kind of thrill in overloading on food (mainly ice cream) during the weekend, conveniently ignoring the calories, fat, etc.; then watching as, during my restrictive weekdays, my body slowly but surely shrank back to its original size; and then the anticipation as, stomach rumbling, I would think about everything I could eat this weekend....

I realize this is perverted, and the nostalgia really only lasts for a moment. But it was a time when I had a routine, I was comfortable, and things were predictable. It was how I defined who I was--I identified myself so much by what I ate and my exercise, and then suddenly everything changed and now--who am I? Maybe I don’t know exactly, but I do know that I’m better off. I was in denial, and it wasn’t until I broke both of my heels simply by running that I decided something had to change.

I am still not perfect. Case in point, I ran today even though I was afraid of how my pelvis would take the extra hills in my neighborhood. And now it hurts. But this time I’m listening. Because in this case, NO pain = gain. I am determined to start the fall semester able to walk without assistance. It would be more than I can say for the last two.
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