Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Resolutions

It's that time to assess where I am and plan for the new year.  This year my resolutions center around (1) knitting (which you probably don't care about.  The gist is, stop buying yarn until a chunk of my stash has been knitted.), and (2) health and fitness.


My healthy ways have been completely disregarded as I continued to feel more and more depressed about my shoulder hurting.  I'm a little scared that I'll never swim again.  I still need to try acupuncture, and if that doesn't work, then I guess I'll consult with a surgeon and see if he or she has any thoughts.


However, I don't want to weigh 300 pounds eventually, so it's time to do something, anything, to be healthier.  So here's the plan for January, starting January 2 (Jason is making bread to go with tomorrow's black-eyed peas, so I'm going to have that as a last hurrah):


1) 30 days without the crap.  No caffeine, no sugar, no grains.  Last night Jason and I were talking about this and he said, Well, but you could have some occasional sourdough bread that I make...  Nope.  I need to do 30 real compliant days and get this stuff out of my system.  I've done it before, it's just been really hard for me to find the motivation to stick to it recently.  But I know I can do it.


2) Walk 10,000 steps 5 out of 7 days per week.  We took a trip in October and spent the first few days walking a bunch.  It was amazing how in just that short amount of time, I felt like my clothes were fitting a tad looser, and my attitude improved immensely.  Walking is about all I can do right now, so walking it is!  My fitbit just broke (sad!), but until I get a new one I know if I can walk the path near my house, that's about 8000 steps, and getting 2000 more during the day is a given.  If it snows, then I'll go to the gym and do the treadmill or elliptical. 


These aren't mind-blowing resolutions, but then it's only January.  2015 will be the year I get all of this under control again.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Cautiously Optimistic

Last night when Jason and I were driving home from pub trivia (1st!), I commented to him that right at that moment, my shoulder wasn't hurting.  That's kind of a big thing since most of the time there's at least a slight ache there.  This morning I woke up and it didn't hurt.


Now I'm sitting at my desk and my lousy ergonomic set up is causing it to ache again, but I'm paying attention and doing what I can to adjust my arm to the most painless position.  It's better.


I had planned to get up and start PiYo again this morning, since I figured out that my shoulder hurts whether I'm active or not, so I might as well be active.  Only since my shoulder didn't hurt, I thought, maybe it's getting better.  Maybe I shouldn't put it through a stressful workout with a bunch of down dog and such and see if it keeps getting better...


I don't know if that was the right choice, but it was my instinct in the moment.  I'm going for a walk later today, so I'll get some activity, but I'm going to cool it with the PiYo for now and maybe I can heal.  That's a novel thought.  Since my shoulder started hurting almost a year ago I don't think there has been a time when I took a few weeks off from everything like I've done lately.  Maybe that's what I needed.


I'll give it a week.  If it's still feeling better, I will cautiously try to do some exercise that uses my shoulder and see how it goes.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Results

And the MRI result is - there's no injury.  Wah wah.


I went to my PA on Friday and he told me that the MRI definitely shows inflammation, and some bursitis and tendonitis, but no tears anywhere.  Which to me just sounds like I have to learn to live with it.  He did say that there might be a surgical option where if there's some impingement they can go in arthroscopically and shave off some bone, and clean out the bursa, and that's helped some people.  He said surgeons usually like to see you've tried everything else, including more than one cortisone shot.


So I got another cortisone shot and promptly almost passed out.  I had a stomach ache Friday so I hadn't eaten lunch. Whoops.  It's actually been a few years since a needle has made me pass out, and that was when I got blood drawn.  The soreness from the shot is finally wearing off today and I can still feel that one painful pinpoint right in the front of my shoulder, which tells me the cortisone hasn't touched it.


I'm just not sure what else I can do.  I did PT for 4 months and have been on a prescription anti-inflammatory for 5 months. I've had 2 cortisone shots and now the MRI just shows vague "inflammation."  I guess the next step is to meet with a surgeon in a couple of months (after we take a trip in October) and see if that would be useful for me to consider.


In the meantime, I am so bummed out by my lack of activity.  I was so excited for PiYo, and I've had a couple of friends and teammates who worked the program for the 60 days and have seen incredible results.  Meanwhile I purposely did nothing last week just to see what happened and my shoulder is still sore.  I suppose that shows that I can work out some and as long as I ice my shoulder after, it doesn't really make it worse, so that's something.


I need to walk more, since I can do that.  I was going to wake up early this morning and do just that, but then I had a really restless night and couldn't pull myself out of bed at 6 AM.  Tomorrow!  Or maybe today after work, actually.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MRI

Had my MRI this morning.  Afterward I was wondering if experienced MRI techs know enough to read and interpret what's on the screen?  My tech was an older lady who seemed to know her way around the MRI machine, adjusting me and switching out coils to get the best image possible, and checking on me periodically to make sure I wasn't freaking out during the 40 minutes I had to lay super still while magnets grinded and ka-chunked in a huge plate about 3 inches from my forehead.  Thank goodness for open MRIs.  I can see how people get claustrophobic in the tubes.


Anyway, she casually chatted with me when I first got there about what happened to my shoulder.  Then after the MRI, she probed a little bit, asking about the trauma and the stress my shoulder has experienced to get me to this point.  It made me wonder if she saw an injury on the image.


I'll find out Friday when I see my doctor, but of course I'm impatient.  I think at this point I want there to be a discernible injury.  Something to assure me I'm not just crying wolf and that there's actually a problem.  But a fixable problem.  That's key.  I don't want swimming, kayaking, rowing, yoga, etc. to be things I just don't do anymore, because, you know, bum shoulder.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Atrophy

I saw my orthopedic PA this morning and we agreed that I should get an MRI.  He asked if it shows some fraying or tearing if I would be open to having surgery and I said, definitely.  It's not that I want surgery of course, but I do want to feel better and get back to my normal activity level.  I'm so pleased when I hear my PiYo teammates talk about their successes, but I'm also a little jealous that I'm not right there with them. 


So we're working on scheduling an MRI because insurance, pre-approvals, blah, blah, blah. 


I'm not going to lie - I'm struggling.  I have been really down and snippy with Jason and all I want to do is hole up and escape in knitting and cheesy TV shows (currently making my way through Buffy for the first time).


And the PA made a casual comment this morning about how he can visually see atrophy in one of my right shoulder muscles as compared to the left because I'm obviously babying it.  Super.


At this point, I hope the MRI shows something because if it doesn't, I'm out of ideas.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Limiting Factors

My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.  Yesterday I did a PiYo workout called "Sweat", which, yes, that's what you do.  I felt fabulous doing it, as usual.  My balance and wrist strength are both improving a lot after only a few weeks of doing these exercises.  I still modify some things so as not to strain my shoulder too much (no burpees, no push ups, only plank), but I'm able to do a lot of it. Then Jason and I fixed a super healthy dinner (in which we both invented a dish and I determined that we are both brilliant cooks).


Every so often I get these glimpses into how I would  be doing it if I could.  I love that feeling when the pieces of my healthy living puzzle fall neatly into place.  I feel happy and inspired to continue.  I planned to get up early this morning and do PiYo Lower Body.


Only, I woke up to a sore and stiff right shoulder and I knew if I did another workout I would probably get a headache and I'm tired of plowing through my work days with a headache.  Instead I spent a little while laying on the heating pad before I got up for the day.  Since getting to work I keep pausing to do some stretching exercises to hopefully keep my muscles from getting too tight.


I have an ortho appointment next Thursday and I will be requesting an MRI.  I'm tired of this and sad about what I'm missing out on this summer - like swimming at the fancy Brown pool while the swim team isn't crowding out the lap swim schedule.


Like kayaking.  Tomorrow if the weather holds out Jason and two of our friends are going kayaking in our favorite spot with the Groupons we bought in May.  Me?  I'll be starting at the local town beach and walking down to meet them where the river flows into the ocean.  I love a nice beach walk, but I'd rather be paddling.


I know I'm being whiny, but these are the highs and lows of my summer.  I'm hopeful that by next summer I'll be able to enjoy normal again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Keep On Keeping On

So my shoulder is still wonky.  I started doing PiYo a few weeks ago and am really enjoying the short but intense workouts.  However, I've discovered that I can't double up on workouts and I can't do it 6 days a week like the schedule calls for.  Even with modifications, it's too much for my shoulder and if I push too hard I wind up with tingling and numbness, a massive headache, or both.  I've been feeling so discouraged.


I have an appointment with my PA next week and I'm going to insist I get an MRI to see if there is any real damage.  As everyone keeps telling me, if the rotator cuff or any tendons are damaged, they don't heal on their own and surgery is the only option.  I've been doing PT for over 3 months now and my therapist and I agree that I have plateaued and am not improving anymore.  I'm kind of to the point where if surgery is the key, then let's get in there and get it done!


Last week after working out too hard, I had a 2-day migraine.  Too hard = 2, 20-minute PiYo workouts.  I felt great while I was doing them, but the next day all of the muscles around my right shoulder blade and in the right side of my neck had completely seized up.  My boss suggested going to his chiropractor.  I am open to any and all suggestions at this point so I made an appointment and went yesterday. 


The chiropractor also wanted to see an MRI, but he said if there is damage, he might be able to help with some of the peripheral pain and stiffness.  And he did.  He tested the strength in both of my arms and it was obvious my right one was struggling to do some of the resistance tests.  He checked my alignment and told me my right clavicle was drooping.  He used this tool to push it back into place with a little *pop*.  Then he tested my resistance strength again using my shoulder muscle and suddenly I could resist without any pain.  Wow!  I actually said, "Wow!" which I think pleased him.


So I'm definitely going to keep going to him, get the MRI, see what's going on, and go from there.


In the meantime, Jason asked me yesterday if I was going to be able to use my kayaking Groupons.  Every summer we buy several Groupons from our favorite kayaking place when they pop up in May and I'm really sad to say, I don't think I'm going to be able to kayak this year.  The shoulder has now taken away swimming and kayaking, two of my very favorite things.  So.  Frustrating.


I just hope by next summer, my shoulder will be better, whether that means surgery or just time (though I think it might mean surgery).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

PiYo Highs and Lows

It's been bit more than a week since I started PiYo and I thought I would give a little update.  First of all, I'm really enjoying the program overall.   I like the combo of pilates and yoga a lot.  I've always enjoyed pilates (probably partly because it's something I can do with my strong swimmer's core), but have sometimes found straight yoga classes to be a little dull.  So sorry to my friends who are yoga devotees, but it's just not my thing.  The combination of the two and the constant movement is really appealing to me.  I feel challenged and I sweat, but PiYo doesn't have all of that plyometric stuff that other workouts do and that completely shred my shins.


I have had to adjust some things.  Instead of push-ups, I hold plank.  Push-ups are too unstable for my shoulder, but I've done plank in PT so I know it's approved.  I can't do anything that has me balancing a lot of weight on just my right arm, but fortunately there aren't too many exercises like that. 


I've noticed I'm a bit stronger and while down dog hurt a week ago, I now seem to have the muscle support around my rotator cuff to do it along with the DVD most of the time


Finally, and as I've just crowed about on Facebook, in less than 2 weeks I have lost an inch on my waist, half an inch on my hips, 3/4 inch on each thigh and 3/4 inch on my chest!  Batteries are dead on my scale so I couldn't weigh, but I think measurements are so much more telling.  Yesterday I noticed that I just felt a little different.  A little less wiggly maybe?  Turns out it wasn't my imagination.


So here's the down side.  My shoulder continues to be a struggle.  It's so frustrating.  On Tuesday night I did two of the PiYo workouts for a total of 42 minutes.  I had minimal pain while I was doing it, iced my shoulder afterward, and felt pretty great.  Then yesterday morning I woke up and discovered that all of the muscles around my right shoulder blade and in my neck had knotted up.  I took my prescription anti-inflammatory Tuesday morning, but I think I need to take it shortly before the workout so it's at maximum strength while I'm working out and right after.


Anyway, this morning, I'm just coming out of a migraine brought on by all of the muscles in the right side of my neck seizing up.  I've determined that the majority of the migraines I've had over the last couple of years have probably been shoulder-related.  This has probably been a problem for a lot longer than I realized.  Thanks a lot, shoulder.


It's really disheartening because PiYo is low impact and I have been modifying, and yet my shoulder is still a problem.  Working out has shoulder-related repercussions that can last for a couple of days.  It may be awhile before I can swim again.  I probably won't be able to kayak this summer.  All my favorite things are slipping through my fingers.


I have to admit, I'm a bit down about that.  But I'm encouraged by the inches lost and the fact that I can do PiYo, so long as I'm careful.  No more doubling up on workouts.  I think what I'm going to do is shoot for doing PiYo every other day, and walking on the days when I don't do PiYo (and maybe on the days that I do too).  At least I can still walk.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Starting A Challenge and Office Improvements

No, the improvement isn't that there's less junk food in the office.  However, today I got an office again!  I figured since I moaned about not having an office on here a little bit ago, I should talk about the exciting development that is having an office again!


The people in charge have finally accepted that we're not going to be out of this temporary space by September and something needed be done about the cramped environs.  For instance, I was in a cubicle and 3 other people were all sitting in a large conference room together.  Cozy!  So the landlord rented us some space on the second floor, which means all the lawyers actually have offices now.  Hurrah!


The benefits so far are: (1) I have an office;  (2) people will no longer be sneaking up behind me and opening a file cabinet, scaring the crap out of me; (3) I can close my door and have a private phone conversation; (4) unlike the first floor, the AC seems to work pretty well up here; (5) since we still don't have bathroom keys on the second floor, every trip to the bathroom means taking the stairs so bonus steps and floors for the Fitbit.  (I could take the elevator, but it's the slowest elevator in the world.  And it's one floor.)


As an extra bonus, I also now have a parking spot.  It came with the additional office space we rented.  I've been resisting getting a parking spot because I don't usually mind taking the bus, but I've needed my car a lot lately, and the bus routes and schedules just changed significantly, so what better time to just admit that I'm part of the problem and drive my car to work every day?


In other news, I started PiYo officially yesterday as part of the PiYo Facebook challenge I'm doing.  I've done two workouts, and have had to tweak some things for my shoulder, but so far it's not so bad.  Tomorrow's workout is called "Sweat", so I may change my tune.


As part of the challenge I post pictures of my meals, which means they better be healthy or I get no points.  Points are excellent motivation for me.


It's like when the teachers on The Simpsons are on strike and Lisa pleads with Marge, "Grade me!  Grade me!"  I always thought  Lisa was my nerdy, bookworm soulmate.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Struggle At the Office

Our office used to consist of me, my boss and our assistant.  We also had a junior associate periodically.  So there were 3 or 4 of us and we had an unspoken arrangement that we would not be bringing junk food into the office.  I swim, my boss bikes, our assistant walks and does P90X.  Office snacks available for general consumption consisted of trail mix and granola bars.  We got birthday cake at the appropriate time, but since the assistant's and my birthdays are 3 days apart, cake happened twice a year.


Then the office grew.  We now have 9 people, but we knew we were in trouble when numbers 5 and 6 joined us at the beginning of March.  Within a week, number 5 had brought in donuts, cookies and cupcakes to share with everyone.  We also learned that number 6, probably one of the skinniest women I have ever seen in my life, lives on chocolate and pizza.


Now, in addition to trail mix, our office kitchen is also stocked with Nutter Butters (my personal kryptonite), those crappy crackers with cheese or peanut butter that are full of trans fats, and chocolate chip cookies.


I really miss the unspoken arrangement of no junk food.  It made it much, much easier to stick to my food plan.  Now I have to exercise actual willpower and not pick up that package of Nutter Butters.  It's hard, y'all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PiYo

Yesterday, I ordered PiYo from beachbody.com, fine purveyors of such products as P90X and Insanity. 




One of my online knitter friends is a beachbody coach (pretty sure this means she gets a kickback any time one of her people orders a product through her link, which is fine with me).  I've been whining about my shoulder and my inability to do anything with any sort of impact and she suggested PiYo.  It's a combination of pilates and yoga and is low impact.  Sounds ideal, right?




I have lots of friends who have done various beachbody workouts with success, so I know this is a tried and true company.  So I ordered PiYo.




Now my friend has hooked me up with a couple of Facebook challenge groups, and the main PiYo challenge starts July 1.  From what I've read, the PiYo workouts vary from 18-35 minutes, and there are lots of modifications you can do if you have issues.  I've already been reading some comments from people in the Facebook group and there are so many people there who have knee, hip, or just general joint issues and they're loving this workout.  I'm excited!



In the meantime, I still have pain in that one little pinpoint on my shoulder and I notice if I even walk for a long time, my shoulder aches.  For real, shoulder?  You're not even going to let me walk? 



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

State of the Shoulder

I won't lie, I'm a little down.  I joined a 3-week challenge that started last week, and despite the allure of points and knitting-related prizes, I haven't been doing that great.  Mainly because I haven't been working out.  Part of it is because I haven't been sleeping that well (which is odd) and of part of it is because I've been down about my shoulder.


With physical therapy, I've been doing a bit better.  My range of motion has improved and I've strengthened the muscles around my shoulder to stabilize it better.  Last Wednesday I went to Masters swimming for the first time in a few months.  It was so great to be back in the pool, but I paid for it.  I swam in the slower lane, and swam last so I could take my time.  I got out of the pool early, but I still did too much, I guess.  All day, my shoulder was stiff and sore, and I wound up with a really bad headache as the soreness crawled up my neck and into my head.


The next morning I went to pt and my therapist spent about a half hour working on my super tight traps and neck muscles to try to get them to release.  By the time I left, my headache was finally going away, but I was still miserable at my failed swimming experiment.  Later that day, I met with the orthopedic PA and he gave me a cortisone shot.


The idea of a cortisone shot scared me to death.  I mean, doesn't the idea of a shot in your joint sound horrifying?  But it was seriously no big deal.  Over the weekend I felt a bit sore at the injection site, but I gradually realized my regular pain had lessened.  Except for this one pinpoint on the front of my shoulder.  I went to physical therapy yesterday and my therapist poked around the sore spot and explained that it's the convergence of a muscle and a tendon and sometimes that tendon can get frayed or ripped. If that’s the case, tendons don't heal on their own and surgery is the only option.


Yesterday I was sore from the piddly little weight exercises they have me do at pt.  So I skipped Masters this morning because I didn't want to aggravate my shoulder any further and have a repeat of last week.


I'm seeing the PA again in about 2 weeks.  If I'm not seeing significant improvement, the next step is an MRI to see if there is a tear.


I’m trying not to think too much about surgery until it's an actual possibility.  Apparently it can take 6-12 months for full recovery.


I'm just really sad.  Swimming has always been the one thing I’ve loved and never got tired of. 


So in the meantime, I think what I need to do right now is focus on strength training.  My gym has all of the weight machines, and thanks to pt, I’m pretty aware of what my shoulder can and can’t handle. At least I can lift heavy with my legs.  I don't love it, and it doesn't give me the endorphin buzz like swimming, but it's what I can handle right now.


Also, I need to walk.  If I could walk 3 miles a day, or most days, that might get rid of some of this excess energy I have balled up inside of me that's keeping me from getting to sleep at a decent hour.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Second Place!

First of all, we're back from St. John and I'm a little depressed about that just generally.  Although I am happy my eyes are getting back to normal.  I always forget, but every time we go to St. John I have an allergic reaction to something and the skin around my eyes puffs up and itches like crazy.   This is the 4th year now.  Every year I think, "Maybe it's such-and-such that's causing this," and every year we rule out one thing or another. 


I have absolutely no seasonal allergies of any sort anywhere else in the world, but there is something in St. John that the skin around my eyes doesn't like.  My eyes are fine - they don't get red or teary.  I don't get stuffed up or cough or sneeze.  I don't get skin irritation anywhere else.  Just the very delicate skin around my eyes for whatever reason.  It's bizarre.


Anyway, once I got past my self-consciousness about looking a little freakish with my puffy eyes and just wore my sunglasses everywhere, we had a great time.  I wasn't going to let puffy eyes stop me from enjoying paradise.  We snorkeled and swam in the ocean every day.


But the important part is, we got 2nd place in our relay!  Only 2 seconds away from 1st!  It was a race to the finish for Tad and the other team's anchor.  However, I think it's important to point out that the 2 guys on the other team were both free divers and had fins that were, like, 4 feet long.  I'm convinced if we had had 4 foot long fins, we would have smoked them.   I'm proud of us!


My shoulder was great.  Earlier in the week I took one little swim around a little island in the middle of one of the swimming beaches, just to get the kinks out and see how I felt swimming with my snorkeling fins.  My shoulder started aching a teeny bit by the end of that swim, but nothing too bad.


After my leg of the relay, I iced my shoulder for about 10 minutes and I was fine.  Actually, I had little to no shoulder pain the entire time we were on vacation.


Since I got back, though...  I've realized that sitting at my desk all day, even while consciously pulling my shoulder blades together and sitting up super straight makes my shoulder ache.  My sedentary lawyer job has injured me, which is probably the lamest way ever to get injured.


However, this morning I got clearance from my physical therapist to swim again since I did so well in St. John!  She also tested my strength and range of motion and determined that I am much improved since I started with her a couple months ago.  Saturday morning, I'm hitting the pool!  I was reflecting to Jason yesterday how when it's my idea to not swim (for example, in the middle of a brutally cold dark winter), I can handle it, but being forced not to swim, especially as the mornings are brighter and I'm waking up early anyway because it's light out, has been wretched.  I'm looking forward to getting back in the pool!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

All Hail Prescription Drugs!

When an orthopedist (or orthopedic PA, in my case) tells you to take an anti-inflammatory, it's a good idea to do it.  The problem is, we're still trying to have a baby, right?  And the particular anti-inflammatory I've been prescribed (or really any anti-inflammatory) isn't good for an embryo.  So I haven't been taking my pain pills for a couple of weeks. 

Which is when I did too much helping with set up at the Arthritis Foundation walk, and my back muscles knotted up and I had two weekends in a row ending with severe shoulder pain plus a migraine at the end of one of those weekends.

I started taking my pills again yesterday and it's like night and day.  Yes, I still have a dull ache in my shoulder, but it's just a mild humming in the background rather than shouting in my face (and crawling up my neck and down my back).  What I have learned is that up until a month ago, my shoulder hurt really bad, but I was just Dealing With It.*  Then I had a couple of weeks of less pain, so I really, really noticed it when suddenly that pain wasn't being stifled anymore.

The point is, I'm feeling better and my perspective is a lot more cheery today.



*I have a history of breaking bones and not realizing it for a few days.  A high pain tolerance can be dangerous.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Radio Silence

Things have been quiet around here.  I just haven't felt like writing.  I'm kind of down, if you must know.

Next week we're going to St. John.  I'm excited, but it's tempered by my lack of working out over the past couple of months because of my shoulder.  Yeah, I know these things take time, but I haven't been able to train at all for our swim.  The good thing is, this time the swim is at the end of our trip so we will have been snorkeling for several days leading up to it so my legs will be good to go.  Also, we're using fins, and I'm so glad we decided to do that.  At the time we felt a little lame, but I know I couldn't do this swim without the fins right now.  Well, okay, I could, but I would be in a lot of pain at the end of it.

As it is, I have a feeling I'm going to be in pain for a few days afterward.  My physical therapist has recommended a couple of things for me to do following the swim to try to mitigate the repercussions. 

Also, I'm just kind of bummed that I'm going to St. John as heavy as I am right now.  I know I'll probably forget about it once I'm in my swimsuit for a couple of days, but right now I'm feeling extremely self-conscious and there's nothing I can do about it.

Also, my work environment has been significantly downgraded in the last month and a half and it's getting to me.  I went from having an office for 6 years to now having a cubicle with no privacy at all.  We've added some new people to our firm and we're in interim space until our new fancy space is built out.  Only, the last I heard we still hadn't signed the lease on the new space.  Originally they said we would move in September.  At the rate things are going, I'm guessing we're going to be here for at least a year. 

I share a cubicle with the filing cabinets, which means the admins and paralegals are constantly buzzing in and out of my space.  I can hear everyone and they can hear me, which sometimes makes client calls a little awkward.  There are two partners who have offices, with doors that close and windows, and the rest of us are out in a common area together.  It's extremely stuffy and most everyone has a fan going at all times, which adds to the overall din.

I know I'm being entitled but, Office.  For 6 years.  Every other lawyer who I tell this story to is horrified.  Because we're all very entitled, I suppose.

But this time next week I'll be in St. John, so I guess I can't be too down.  I have a lot to do before then, though, so, back to work.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Verdict on the Shoulder

Well, swimming is going to have to go on the shelf for at least a month or so.  I saw an orthopedic PA this morning and he said it's most likely a torn or inflamed labrum.  I had no idea what that was until a couple of hours ago.  Apparently it's the tissue surrounding the shoulder socket.  According to the internets, tears are often caused by repetitive motions or a sudden pull, such as when lifting a heavy object. 

Which basically confirms to me that I hurt it when I took that surfing lesson last September.  It started hurting the next day.  The instructor gave me a GIANT surfboard and I vividly remember several times when my arms were jerked as the waves pulled the surfboard out of my arms.  Although I'm heavy, I'm not super tall and I think that board was too much for me to handle.  Ever since then I've just been exacerbating the problem when I went to the pool and swam laps.
 
I have a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and start physical therapy in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully I will have improved enough to not reinjure myself when I do the St. John swim at the end of May.  Because there's no way I'm skipping that.  However, this makes me really glad we decided to do the swim with fins.  I definitely know I can swim 1 1/4 miles with fins, even if I don't train between now and then.

My fingers are crossed that we can get this fixed and it won't hamper my swimming long-term.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Getting Fit Part 2

Well, I didn't win the entire March Knit and Get Fit challenge, but I did pretty well, and I won a prize (a fancy hank of yarn)!  Here's what I most liked about this challenge.  First, getting points for workouts means I actually made an effort to get to the gym and work out.  I started Masters swimming again, regularly attended the morning strength class at the Y, and even did some walking and strength circuits on my own.

It was kind of gratifying when Jason joined me in those circuits one day and after one set, when I announced "Only 3 more rounds!", he looked traumatized.  But he did them all with me.  He's doing really great, actually, and lost seven pounds in March!

Second, we got points for posting pictures of the healthy meals we were eating, which is incredible motivation for actually eating healthy meals.  March wasn't perfect, food-wise, but it was pretty darn good.

By the end of the month, I hadn't lost any weight, but I had lost an inch on my waist and hips, and a couple of inches on my chest.  I was hoping for more, but the challenge was a really good jumpstart for me.

Now here's the bad part - I'm having a really hard time with my shoulder.  Push ups and shoulder exercises in strength training class are bad.  Swimming is bad.  I went swimming on Saturday with Rebecca and even though we did half of the workout kicking, we did enough with our arms that by Saturday night my shoulder and head were hurting.  Yesterday I realized the right side of my neck hurt.  It's the end of the work day on Monday and my shoulder and the right sides of my neck and head are still hurting. 

So today I made an appointment with an orthopedist. 

I know I can do the 1.25-mile St. John swim right this second, and snorkeling doesn't really involve the arms, so no matter what, our vacation at the end of May is intact.  However, I've skipped the last 2 weeks of Master's swimming because I don't want to aggravate the shoulder anymore than I already have.

So I've been walking.  A lot.  Since I seem to be useless for much else right now, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps per day in April.  Saturday I got 7000 steps, but I swam, so I called it good.  Every other day in April so far, I've walked at least 10,000 steps. 

I have a feeling I'll also be adding physical therapy to the routine in the near future.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Getting Fit

Unlike all the other times I don't post for almost a week, I'm actually doing really well this time.  The Knit & Get Fit group is off and running and so far (4 days in), I'm killing it!

Not to toot my own horn.  But I did win a prize today for being in the top 3, so...  Toot!

It's been interesting because the only person I know in the group is the organizer (and I only know her through Ravelry and Yarnbox) and everyone is at completely different levels with their fitness and nutrition knowledge.  We're all encouraging each other and the fact that I get points and am accountable to a group makes it that much easier to get up early and go to the gym.

Since it's Facebook-based, a lot of the points hinge on photos.  We get a point for taking a picture of each of our meals, for taking a sweaty picture of ourselves post-workout, for taking a picture of our latest knitting project.  We also get a point for posting a motivational quote, and it's been fun to find them and to read everyone else's.

This morning the organizer announced a mini prize.  The top 3 of us are going to get a copy of a knitting pattern on our Ravelry wishlist.  Nice!  She told us that she'll be doing mini prizes like this all month, so that's fun.

The grand prize will be a set of interchangeable knitting needles, yarn handspun by the organizer  (I've seen her stuff; it's gorgeous), stitch markers and some buttons.  I understand none of this has any appeal to someone who doesn't knit, but the idea of winning makes me clap my hands with glee.

And now the reason you're really here: how are those workouts going, Kelly?

Pretty well, actually.

Monday: strength training
Tuesday: swimming
Wednesday: Masters swimming
Thursday: rest (I need it.  I did both of those swims still hurting from strength training.  I'm not sure what exercise we did, but my calves have been killing me.)

Tomorrow I'll go to strength training again and Saturday I have another swim planned.

I need to get used to this schedule again.  First of all, I'm sleepy by 8:30 or so and basically out cold by 10 lately.  Second, swimming two days in a row this week made me HUNGRY.  I've been doing pretty well with the low-carb/Paleo approach, I just need to eat a bit more until I get used to being so active again.

It's amazing how quickly I get back into this pattern.  Last week I was a lump on the couch.  This week I'm feeling guilty for not working out this morning.  Just got to keep it up.  As the Nike motivation I posted yesterday for motivation says: Just do it.  Then do it again.

Friday, February 28, 2014

More Goals, Always With the Goals

But this time, I really mean it with the goals!

March is going to be awesome, just you wait and see.  First of all, I've joined a get fit group headed up by a woman who works for Yarnbox.  She mentioned on one of the Ravelry threads that she was organizing a Knit & Get Fit group and asked if anyone else would like to join.  There are points involved and knitting-related prizes.  She pretty much had me at "points", but prizes?  Yes, please!

I had already started setting myself up for March to be the month it all comes together.  I rejoined Masters swimming.  It starts Wednesday.  I'm a little nervous.  When last I swam with Masters, there was a slow lane, a moderate lane, a pretty fast lane and a super fast lane.  I started in moderate, but eventually moved up to pretty fast and held my own.  Especially with kicking.  (Kicking is where I am a Viking.)  I don't ever think I'll be in the super fast lane, and that's okay because they are SUPER fast, but I'm pretty sure at this point I'm also no longer in the pretty fast lane.  Back to moderate I'll go and just hope I can keep up.

The good news is, I roped my friend Rebecca into Masters with me this time, and I know she has been swimming as little as I have over the past several months so at least I won't suffer alone.

So for March my plan is to get my eating dialed in for reals (low-carb/Paleo), to swim 2 times a week and to go to strength training 2 times a week. The light is already better in the mornings and the evenings and (despite the storm forecast for Monday) I'm hoping overall March will let up with the snow already.

I've been having a really hard time this winter, and I'm not the only one.  The snow just keeps coming, it's been very gray and it's been COLD.  I think the entire northern US is over this winter.  There is much grumbling going on.  Usually in New England, we get cold and snow, but at least it's relatively sunny.  I thought I was just being oversensitive this year until our farm share people apologized because their greens supplier couldn't get us the usual amount of greens.  In the winter they grow greens in greenhouses, but this year it's been so gray and dreary that their crop isn't growing as well as usual.  It's not just me!  I think next year I need to invest in a winter light box.

I'm pretty excited for March and to be involved with a challenge group again.  I'm feeling optimistic and excited to get going.    And I already have plans to swim laps tomorrow morning, to welcome in the month.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Excuses - I Have Many

I went swimming Monday!  Yes I did.  Swim buddy Rebecca psyched me up via text on Sunday afternoon and Monday at 6:30 we were in the pool!

The good thing about swimming in New England in February is that chances are, you'll get your own lane.

The bad thing about swimming in New England in February is that it's still very, very cold and dark in the morning.  Although on Monday the cold wasn't so bad, so it wasn't too painful.

Tuesday was Masters swimming and I didn't join this session, so I couldn't swim.  I thought ok, Wednesday I'll go to strength training and Thursday I'll swim again.

Then Tuesday night into Wednesday we had a snowstorm.

Then this morning I couldn't take my car because Jason wanted to use it and given that he is the one who shoveled our walk and my car out, I wasn't going to take my car and make him dig out HIS car too.  That would qualify me as Worst Wife Ever, I think.

My next plan is to swim on Saturday.

In diet news, I baked bread yesterday in the bread machine. I woke up with my alarm at 6:30, and after realizing it was going to be a snow day, I padded downstairs in my slippers and thought, "I should make some bread."  I don't know why.  I haven't made bread in months.  For some reason, it seemed like a fantastic idea.  When Jason came downstairs a couple of hours later and realized there was bread baking he was thrilled and told me that the night before he had thought how nice it would be to have some hot bread and butter* on our snow day.    I think being psychically tuned into my husband's culinary desires might qualify me as Best Wife Ever.

The bread was really good and we ate most of the loaf yesterday.  In case you forgot, bread is Not Paleo.

So, you know, this week hasn't been awesome in the healthy living department.  But I'll keep trying.


*What he actually said was "hot b with butter" which is what our niece used to request to eat when she was 2 and it's a phrase we use a lot.  Also useful as an exclamation: "Hot B With Butter!"

Friday, January 31, 2014

Day 28 - Getting Psyched for February

A month ago I set a goal to start swimming again in February.  I don't know if you know, but February is tomorrow.  It's not any lighter in the morning than it was when I set that goal.  It's not any warmer - if anything, it's been colder.

Regardless, Monday morning I will be at the pool!

(With my awesome new swim bag.)

My SparkPeople swimming group will be doing a February challenge where we set goals every day and come back at the end of the day to report on how we did.  The goals can be about food and exercise, but also about other things that we want to accomplish in February.  Per usual, I am aiming for doing better with my diet and truly implementing my Paleo/Primal eating plan with ONE splurge day at the end of the month. I will start swimming Monday, and next week I'll plan to go to strength training Wednesday and Friday.

Over the next month, I also plan to list and check off some of the home organization goals that Jason and I have.  We are determined to wrangle our clutter into shape before it gets warm again and we're out of the house every weekend.

I may include my knitting projects.  I love checking things off of to-do lists.  Sometimes I add things to my lists at work after I've finished them just to mark them complete.  So satisfying!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 25 - Sick/Not Sick

I'm really irritated at my body right now because it can't seem to make up its mind about whether it's going to get sick.  For the past week and a half I've been waking up with a scratchy, pre-cold throat, that usually dissipates a little during the day, but is constantly there in the background.  Last week I didn't work out because I let myself sleep in, hoping that whatever sickness was threatening me would just move on by.  I've also been sucking on zinc lozenges because they've really helped me in the past with either bypassing sickness altogether, or shortening what is usually a 2-week cold followed by at least a month of lung-wrenching coughs (I had bronchitis a lot as a kid so pretty much every illness I have winds up with a month of lung-wrenching coughs). 

But seriously, zinc is awesome.

The problem is, this time I feel like I'm just kind of holding the cold/flu/plague at bay so I keep feeling not great, tired and achy with a slight sore throat.  I slept for 9 hours last night!  I never do that.

I don't know what's going on, but I wish I would just sink into sickness, or get over it already.

Suffice it to say, I have not been working out while I've been feeling sort of sick.  It's annoying.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 21 - Reasons to Swim

This is Day 21, right?  I confess, I haven't been as stringent as I might have hoped with my diet so I can't really call this a Whole30, if we're being technical. However, it's been a Whole Heck of A Lot Better Than the Preceding 30 Days.  I know for a fact that my torso circumference has decreased by an inch and a half in the last 21 days, so that's something.  I'm not officially weighing and measuring until the end of the month, but I did a little sneak peek the other day and I'm relatively pleased.  The tape measure is moving in the right direction.

Anyway, swimming.  February is the benchmark I have set for getting back in the pool.  And I have two good reasons.

First of all, I bought this:

(FYI, it's still on sale at Swim Outlet for half price.)

In one of those moments when the internet ad people prove they know me well, this beauty popped up in my sidebar last week.  In these colors.  Not only do the ads know what I like to do, but they know what colors will hook me.  It's a little unsettling.

Right now I'm taking two bags to the gym when I swim: my gym bag, which holds a towel and all my swimming gear, and my other bag, which holds toiletries and clothes and all the stuff I need to get ready for work.  According to the reviews I read, this Speedo backpack is perfect for holding ALL the things.  Women just like me all over the country are taking this bag to the pool and then getting ready for work.  It has a separate pocket for wet things, which is key, since my Y is still in the dark ages and doesn't have a suit spinner. 

I'm excited to use my awesome new backpack!

Second, we're doing the St. John swim again!

!!!

Right this second it's 17 degrees outside with a windchill of 4.  To say I've been daydreaming about this trip even though it's not for 4 months is an understatement

I'm not sure if we're going to do the relay again or if we're going to do the intermediate, 2.25 mile swim.  The one thing I do know is that this year we're using fins.  It's not as hardcore, but hardcore is overrated (and it's still a little hardcore).  I love swimming with fins!  It's like flying through the water.

The point is, we need to train, and we need to start soon.  I haven't been to the pool since October and my swimming muscles are definitely out of shape.  First Monday of February, I'm back in the pool!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 12 - Bookish

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts on my lunch walk today* and it was all about resolutions and the panelists' success, or lack thereof (mainly lack thereof), with their 2013 resolutions.  It occurred to me that for years my resolutions have been all about health and fitness, which is fine, but maybe I should be resolving to do something to better myself in a more cerebral way.

So here's my second resolution of 2014: I resolve to read one book per month.

If my grandma just read that she is shocked and appalled.  Yes, I am still the same person who used to come visit her for a few weeks every summer with a bag that weighed 100 pounds because it was filled with all the books I would read on vacation.  And I usually bought a couple more while I was there.

For some reason, I have fallen out of the habit of reading books.  I still buy books and start many, but I'm not sticking to them.  Except for Unbroken.  That was a page-turner that I could not put down.

I have a stack of books on my shelves to get through, and a couple of new books on my Kindle that are unread.  I'm in the middle of two books right now and I'm really enjoying them both, but I'm not taking the time to actually finish them.  So right off the bat, I resolve to finish at least one of them by January 31.  Even if I just read a couple of pages a night before I drift off to sleep, books will be read!

That will mean that my Nexus tablet will be turned off long before I turn off my bedside lamp.  No more last-minute Facebook discussions and Scramble games.  I will be improving my brain!



* Did you notice how I slipped that in?  The lunch walks are back!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 10 - Strength and Carbs

I'm pleased that on the day I returned to strength training class after a very, very long absence, the teacher decided to tailor it just for me.  Seriously, today was my ideal class.  Lots of abs, some triceps and biceps, some quads and glutes.  I am a rock star when it comes to ab exercises, for which I credit swimming for many years.  Except for plank, that is.  We did 3, 1 minute 20 second planks and I couldn't hold them for very long.  However, I blame the slippery floor (toes sliding out from under me) and my weak elbows for that, rather than my core.  I assume as I lose weight, it won't hurt my elbows quite so much to hold plank.

Hopefully I won't be too sore and can elliptical tomorrow.  I should probably elliptical anyway since I'm sure it will help work out some of the muscle soreness.  My plan is to elliptical 3 times this week and go back for more strength class on Friday.

On Saturday I had a planned diet deviation and I really suffered for it.  We went up to Cambridge for a music festival all day Saturday and it's tradition every year to go to a Mexican place there with friends.  My entrĂ©e was ok on the carbs, but I planned to, and I did, indulge in the chips and salsa. I've always said that I don't react strongly to corn, but I think I might have been overly optimistic.

By the time we left the restaurant, I was starting to feel bloated.  We went to the festival's closing concert and two hours later when we left for home, I felt like my whole body had puffed up to double its size.  Not only that, but an hour into the closing concert I suddenly felt insanely tired.  Even with all the noise, I could have fallen asleep right there.  The next morning it was so hard to get up.

I know I've written about these experiences before, but I keep writing them down in the hopes that they will sink in, and also act as evidence to myself that I really do have extreme reactions to grains.

Yesterday was a stellar food day and today is on track so far as well.  I just feel so much better eating this way!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 7 - Back to the Gym

That's right, I finally made it to the gym this morning, only 4 days after I originally planned.  Not only that, but when I walked outside I realized it was snowing pretty hard.  The snow had just started so the road was fairly slick, but by the time I finished my workout, there was about an inch and a half of snow on the ground and not a plow to be seen.  That was a tricky drive home...

I think I should get extra points for that.

I ellipticaled for 30 minutes, which isn't much, but it's a start.  I sweated a little and breathed heavily and realized I have a long way to go to get back in shape.

The bad part about becoming a regular at the Y is that if you disappear for a few months, they notice.  I felt kind of sheepish when the women at the front desk greeted me with a cheery, "Welcome back!"

I'm determined not to disappear again!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Eggs!

I love eggs. Sometimes I get tired of them, but generally speaking I eat them pretty reliably for breakfast almost every day.  Just this morning I had 2 eggs scrambled in some butter with a couple ounces of leftover chicken breast and a bit of feta cheese on top.  Delicious!

Now that we get eggs in our weekly farm share, I enjoy them even more.  Fresh eggs are fantastic.

A couple of years ago when I went to a nutritionist to try to figure out why I wasn't losing any weight (Spoiler: she didn't help) she looked horrified that I might eat 3-4 eggs per morning when I was swimming 2500-3000 yards before breakfast.  I never could quite figure out why, other than a lingering fear that dietary cholesterol has anything to do with blood cholesterol.  (She had other ideas that didn't quite add up in my mind.)

Well, I have news for that nutritionist.  I had some blood work done recently and despite the whole needing to lose weight thing, all of my numbers are pretty great.  Cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar - all good.  If anyone has eaten enough eggs to impact cholesterol, it would be me over the last couple of years.  So after my own unofficial n=1 experiment, I feel pretty safe in continuing to eat my eggs.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Day 4 - How It's Going

It's going pretty okay actually.  Not perfect.  Yesterday I had a meeting after work that happens every month and sometimes lasts until past 9 PM and is usually very, very dull.  So I ordered a Diet Coke as soon as I got there.  I also ate some mashed potatoes and berries because that's what we were served (and chicken and broccoli.  I did not eat the roll.  Victory!).

My sugar/grain/caffeine withdrawal has not been as extreme as in the past.  I chalk that up to me eating pretty healthy during the fall.  It's amazing how thinking there's another person depending on the nutrients in your body makes you clean up your dietary act pretty quickly.  As of the end of November, though, all bets were off and I descended into a caffeine and sugar-fueled spree.  Still, having only a month to detox from versus several months or a year has made this pretty painless.  I had a brief headache Saturday evening and just wanted to fall asleep by about 6 PM, and I've felt pretty drowsy for the past 3 days, but today I've reached the magical Day 4.

Day 4 is always my day for feeling great when I do one of these detoxes.

Exercise is not going so well.  The past 2 nights I have diligently prepared my bag so that I could get ready for work at the gym, laid out my workout clothes so I could grab them in the dark, and set everything I would need for the day by the front door, ready to go.  And the past 2 mornings I haven't made it to the gym.  Yesterday, I woke up at 4 AM, stayed awake for an hour and a half, and then fell back to sleep just in time for my 5:45 alarm to go off.  Then I realized it was pouring rain outside.  Never mind, it's only Monday.  I still have 5 more days in this week.

This morning I woke up just before my alarm and it was 9 degrees out, with a wind chill of -5.  I could hear the wind whistling around the house.  It was still pitch black out.  Yeah, no.  I still have 4 more days in this week.

When I woke up for real I remembered I have an early meeting in Boston on Friday, so really only 3 days left in the week.  Still, I can walk the mile from the train station to the office in Boston, right?  That will count for something.

So I'm basically to the point where tomorrow it is mandatory that I go to the gym.  I think it's supposed to be a bit warmer tomorrow morning (though still pitch black), which will help a little.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Obligatory Resolutions Post

Like everyone else in the world, I'm making some resolutions for the new year.  I'm usually pretty good with sticking to resolutions and challenges, at least in the short term.  It helps to have goals and end points and rewards here and there so that I have a defined structure, rather than this vague idea of "This is how I'm living my life forever starting today!!!!"  Which is all well and good, but for me winds up being an unrealistic way to frame things in my head.

These past few months have been a bit of a roller coaster, emotionally and physically.  For those who didn't see my last couple of posts, I had a miscarriage at the beginning of December.  I had just passed 12 weeks, but we had known since 9 1/2 weeks that the pregnancy wasn't viable.  I had grand plans to keep being active and at least go for a walk most days during the first trimester, but the nausea and fatigue quickly made that just a pipe dream.  Then I was sad and just didn't feel like doing much while I healed.  I still feel sad at times, but it's getting better. Now, a month later, I finally feel relatively normal again.

So I'm ready to set some goals and get going.  I'm really frustrated with how I look (double chin) and feel (uncomfortable in my own skin) right now.  I've never been a picture avoider, but while we were in Utah with the in-laws for Christmas, I realized that I really don't want any documentation of how I look right now.  Sad, right?  I've gained back all the weight I lost several years ago, plus about 10 more pounds for good measure.  I have truly accepted that because of my build, I'll never be skinny, but I don't want to be obese either.  I love when I feel strong, and have defined muscles in my arms and legs and back.  I want to get back to feeling sort of like an athlete again.

So here's the plan.

Food
Step 1 - Sugar detox.  I am so over-sugared right now, thanks to the holidays.  One good side effect of the nausea/pregnancy hormones was that I had zero sweet tooth.  It was kind of remarkable.  Jason and I went apple picking and he made a few apple pies over the next few weeks and then wound up eating most of them himself because I just didn't want more than a piece here or there.  At the same time, I could not get enough salt.  Like, I probably would have been happy if Jason had bought me a salt lick.  Anyway, last month my sweet tooth came back with a vengeance.  Coupled with crazy hormones, a tiny bit of depression and the holiday free for all, I'm pretty sure my pants are tighter now than they were a month ago. 

So starting tomorrow (Saturday), I'm cutting out the carbs - no sugar, no grains.  If we get invited to someone's house for dinner, I'm not going to turn up my nose at something they make, but my goal is to eat protein, fat and vegetables.  I'm going to do the first 2 weeks as a super low carb start, like Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, which I've done several times before.  Saturday is a good day to start in case I have withdrawal headaches or just generally feel yucky.

Step 2 - Maintain Paleo/Primal diet.  After the first 2 weeks, I'll work some sweet potatoes and other root vegetables back in.  It is winter, after all, and we'll have a winter farm share starting up soon that will be giving us lots of roots (and probably some greenhouse greens).  I haven't noticed a dairy sensitivity, so I'll keep dairy in my diet.  However, if I find I don't lose weight (which has been a problem for the last few years), I'll experiment with cutting out dairy.

Step 3 - Institute a once a month Cheat Day.  Many people have opined on the Cheat Day and whether it's a good practice or not.  All I know is that when I know there's a Cheat Day coming, it's much easier for me to forego a treat when it's staring me in the face.  I say to myself, "I won't eat it now, but when Cheat Day comes, I can have it."  As the months pass, not only does it become easier for me to not eat the crap, but I find I want much less of it on Cheat Day.  For instance, in the past, I have devoured a pint of Ben and Jerry's on my first Cheat Day, but by month 5, I couldn't eat more than half a pint without feeling ill.  It's totally a crutch, and I embrace that.

Exercise
(At this point, I've been so inactive for so long that I'm a little scared about how much it's going to hurt when I start exercising again.  But it's a good pain, right?)

Step 1 -  I am declaring for all the world that exercise begins Monday with a gradual cardio increase.  Yeah, it's freaking cold outside (although it's supposed to be warmer on Sunday), but this is the time that I need to start getting in shape for beach/kayak/open water swim times in the Summer.  So I'm hitting the elliptical next week.  I'm going to shoot for 4 days of ellipticaling next week.  Long-term I will aim for 3-4 days of cardio per week.

Step 2 - Strength training.  Time to go back to the MWF strength training class at the Y, starting Monday after next (the 13th).  Long-term I will aim for at least 2 days of strength training per week.

Step 3 - Swimming.  To be implemented in February when it will still be freaking cold but maybe won't be quite so freaking dark in the mornings.  I'm still having pain in my right shoulder, which is baffling considering how little it has been doing lately.  I have to confess that I'm a bit terrified that it's a chronic issue and is going to seriously inhibit how much I can swim for the rest of my life.  My mom has severe rheumatoid arthritis and I would be lying if I said that the idea of this pain being the beginning of something like that hasn't crossed my mind.  So I will elliptical and I will strength train and if the shoulder still hurts by the end of January, I will go to the doctor and try to figure out what's going on. 

Step 4 - Walking.  I joined a 10,000 steps per day challenge several months ago and until I got sidelined by an illness, it was amazing the machinations I went through to ensure I got 10,000 steps per day.  One night I got home from a meeting and was still severely short, so I went for a 3 mile walk at 9 PM.  I'd like to challenge myself like that again in the next couple of months, but it's difficult when there's snow and ice on the ground to get it done reliably.  I'll save the challenge for, say, March, but in the meantime, I'll take advantage of the warmer Winter days and head outside for a walk as much as possible.

All of my goals are perfectly reasonable and doable.  I'm trying to not be too crazy and just work on getting myself more healthy and gradually losing weight.  Let's do this!