As you know if you’ve been following along, I’ve been struggling with my health these past few months. I’ve lost weight and I haven’t been consistent with exercise since I got sick in December. This week I decided it was time to get back on the scale and back on the treadmill. It was time to see exactly what I was dealing with and start working my way back to “normal” again.
Well, sadly, it looks like in both areas I’m back to square one.Yes, square one. *Sigh. I have lost all of the 5-6 pounds I gained during “Operation Up Scale” last spring and summer. This is not terribly surprising. I need to consume more calories than the average person simply because I burn more calories breathing and talking and walking around because of the strain cystic fibrosis puts on my body. I also am unable to absorb all the nutrients in my food. Because of both of these factors, when I get sick (and I’ve had both a respiratory illness and the stomach flu these past two months), I am unable to come close to meeting my body’s calorie demands, and the weight falls off rather quickly.
When I stepped back on the treadmill, I found that I could only walk at 3.5 miles per hour for 25 minutes which totaled 1.5 miles. Right before I got sick in December, I was jogging 2 miles in 25 minutes (at about 4.7 miles per hour) thanks to “Operation Lace Up“. This big drop confirmed what I have been feeling, that my lungs are struggling. Even when I started my modified couch to 5K program last July, I was able to start running and walking at 4 miles per hour. Upon reflection, I realized that at that time, I had a much higher base level of fitness. With the nice spring and summer weather, I had spent several months outside playing with Lucas and had logged many miles of walking by pushing him in his stroller to the parks, to the bus stop, to Jaime’s office and the local museums. This time I’m getting off the couch for real. (Hmmm, the couch. So much more comfy than the treadmill.)
Now I’d like to tell you that these setbacks didn’t faze me but the truth is, I was pretty discouraged and upset at first, especially about the exercise. It took me several conversations with my husband, and several conversations with God to find peace with it. It’s hard when you work hard to achieve something and then have to start over due to circumstances outside of your control. On one hand, cystic fibrosis makes these falls harder and faster than they would otherwise be, and the journey back to health is longer and more difficult. But on the other hand, this is just life and these types of setbacks happen to everyone. So after about 18 hours of feeling disheartened and dealing with those negative voices telling me I’d probably never get back to my previous level of fitness and health, I screwed up my courage and got to work.
First I got back on MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories. I set my goal at 3200 calories again but cut myself a little bit of slack this week. I’m still not feeling 100% so my appetite is reduced. I did notice that I was able to get closer to my goal each day and yesterday I finally hit the target.
I got back on the treadmill the very next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. I was even able to push up my speed to 3.7 (baby steps). When I did Operation Lace Up last summer, I only worked out three times per week, but I think this time I’m going to try to walk almost every day. Because my activity level is so much lower due to this freezing cold and snowy winter, walking more is the only way I can get the base level of fitness I’m going to need if I want to try the running again. I’ve decided just to focus on walking for a few weeks and once that gets easier, I’ll try that modified couch to 5K again and hopefully work back up to running the two miles.
So! Here we are, Operation Up Scale and Operation Lace Up, take two. Hopefully the shock and dismay I felt at being back at square one will turn to joy…
when I meet these two goals again. (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…)