just random stuff, life

A new year, a new hope…

They say new year, new… lots of things, right? Well, in my case it’s going to be more of the same with maybe some improvement.

It’s been about two months since the last time I published anything, and with some sort of good reason, I guess. I believe the last post was about Supergirl, which is not completely bad, to be honest. However, I wasn’t feeling very super… at all.

The main problem I’ve had, health (or lack thereof) has had me a bit down lately.

First, I still have the knee injury that I don’t seem to shake off, and it’s bothering me a lot. I haven’t run since the Nike 10k run back in May (and cause of injury) and I feel that it’s affecting my overall mood.

I decided to ride it out and rest and not do anything too bad on the knee/legs and so I didn’t work out for a while. When I started back again, just after one session (and a fit test at that!), my knee was on fire, and not in a good way! Again, a few days of pain and painkillers, and finally getting a physio appointment. I’ve been told there’s nothing wrong with my knee per se, but that it’s a functional problem. Basically, everything else is wrong, so it’s affecting my knee. OK, not entirely true. Everything is as it should, but I’m not using my assets correctly (story of my life, huh?). I have poor core stability, I have problems with my back, and a long etcetera, so it hurts my knee. Kids, take care of your knees because they’re one (two) of the most important parts of your bodies! They’re quite strong, yet quite fragile at the same time, they support your whole body weight, and they’re easy to damage, so when they hurt, they pretty much mess you up completely.

Since I have poor core stability, my knees turn inwards (is that a thing?) when I run. Not a major problem for short distances, it seems, since my body has learnt how to counteract my lazy core, but for longer distances, my knees get a lot of pressure whilst in the wrong position when my feet hit the ground, recipe for disaster!

So… the physio pointed out all my faults (most of which I knew already, so I’m not entirely hopeless) and gave me some tips and exercises to try at home (quite a few I already knew, so I’m definitely not entirely hopeless!). I have started recently, I call it my Granny Workout.

The Granny Workout

What does it involve? Well, first and foremost, lots of stretching. Yup, let’s stretch those old muscles, because, you know, if they’re not flexible enough, they break and they’re stiff, and they won’t move properly. I have to stretch my quads, calves and hamstrings, 30 seconds each side. It’s tedious, but I guess worth it. I don’t know, we’ll see.

After that, he told me I need to get that core working. When Ian (that’s the physio’s name, by the way) asked me to stand on just one leg (and then the other), and to bend my knee (and then the other), I was embarrassed. I mean, I’ve never had the best balance, but I looked like a startled seagull flapping my arms around trying not to fall face first on the floor. Shame.

When I used to do Pilates and yoga, I became much better at it, but I guess I lost it all… Where’s my missing balance? Why did my core leave me?

He told me to do core stability exercises lying down and that after I mastered those, maybe I could graduate to do similar exercises sitting, or maybe standing up. Yep, he thought that given how poor and weak my core was, he didn’t want to risk me falling off my feet. After all, I can’t fall from lying down on the floor, right? He agreed I should start Pilates again, and I dug up some exercises that I can practise. However, it’s again tedious when what I want is to work out properly. OK, he said I could do some core stuff and upper body workouts, but come on, I’m even almost missing burpees! And that’s not entirely a lie…

The other main health concern at the moment is my hip (my granny hip?). On an x-ray, they saw something strange on my hip (and something else on one of the lumbar vertebrae), which of course sent my mind racing as to what it could be. I’m quite good at doing an Internet search and see a variety of possible causes, ranging from terrible to nothing-to-worry-about, and think I’m good and not dying (you know, just allergies or something). I was confident this time it would be similar. I was wrong. I searched, and pretty much closed the browser (and my laptop, and almost threw it out of the window! Now, that’s not true, it’s a Mac, people, this stuff is expensive!). Looking at the first page of results and seeing that everything was bad, I resolved to ignore the Internet search.

I went to the GP, who had me get another x-ray (pretty much straightaway, which didn’t help in calming down my paranoia, by the way), and then referred me to an osteopath. Now, you know how it’s called healthcare, right? Well, that dude didn’t care at all. I arrived, went in, said hi, and he didn’t reply and kept on taking notes. He then abruptly asked me my age, which I told him, and then asked me why I was there. OK, let’s assume you haven’t looked at the notes and at the x-ray you have on your screen and that I can see. I explained the situation, and he proceeded to ask me questions about why I had the x-ray in the first place. Anyway, he then asked very sharply if you don’t have pain, then why are you here? At that point I was already very uncomfortable and not feeling the love at all. He told me to stand up to check my hip, which he just touched a bit over the trousers, and told me you have nothing, it’s fine. I glanced at the screen and still saw how my left hip (the one we’re discussing here) looked completely different from my right one. He grabbed his recorder and started dictating the letter/report. I asked if we were done, and the nurse said yes, that I could go, while the guy didn’t say bye or even looked at me. I could see the nurse was feeling very apologetic while she explained to me he was drafting the letter to be sent to my GP, but as soon as I walked out, and feeling a bit like I wanted to cry, I decided I wanted a second opinion. I’ll be happy with having nothing to worry about, once someone who acts like they’ve actually looked at it and who pretends to care about my health tells me so. I don’t want to find out down the line it was actually something to worry about and this specialist didn’t care enough to notice.

Anyway, so you might be wondering what my biggest goal for this year is. I’ll give you a hint, read all of the above again! Of course, there’s not much I can do about health, other than try my best to eat healthy and to exercise, and have a positive demeanour, but my main focus for 2016 is going to be my health.

After doing Whole30 a couple of times, I’ve realised it really works. I feel much better, I lose weight like I lose spare change, and it makes me feel like I’m working towards a better, healthier me. I’ve also realised exceptions are the devil incarnate. As my latest TV obsession (and original novel character, of course) says,

“I never make exceptions. An exception disproves the rule.” Sherlock Holmes

There’s only half a step between an exception and a train wreck, and don’t I know it. I did a few exceptions when I went to Paris at the beginning of December, and it’s gone from bad to worse since then! Now I feel unhealthy, I’ve put on weight again… You know the drill.

There’s the whole never miss a Monday thing, and I must admit I’ve missed a couple or two. This year has to be the year of not giving up. No excuses and all that.

Exhibit A below. On the left, you can see me two years ago. Look at my hip/waist/chest ratio… Look at my cheeks! The pictures on the right are after Whole30, where I actually have a waist, and you can see my jaw nicely defined (pouting is not a direct result of Whole30, but optional!)
Before and after Whole30
No, I’m not sad because I’m not eating junk food, quite the opposite! I feel so good that I’m attempting to look sexy in that selfie! Ha-ha!

There’s also a bigger sort of news happening this year, hopefully in the first quarter (and fingers crossed it’ll be the first half of the first quarter!), I am moving home.

Your home is supposed to be your castle, your shelter, the place where you feel comfortable and safe, where you can recharge your batteries after a hard day at work. My current flat (can I really call it a home if it doesn’t feel like one?) isn’t any of that.

Between the state of the flat, which is falling apart and the lack of care from the agency (and the unwillingness from the landlords to spend any money on it), and the upstairs neighbours, who never stop making noise and are rather annoying in general, I get home and I feel wired. As soon as I walk through the door, my mood drops to the floor and the only thing I want to do is go to bed and sleep. I never used to be like that. Now, I would rather work late in the office than spend the whole evening at home.

I’m not buying a house, I can’t afford that sort of thing, but I’ll be moving to kind of my dream home. My friend is moving out and she wants to rent her place, so when she suggested I moved to her place, she didn’t have to ask me twice! I’ve only spent a couple of nights here and there at her place, and it already feels more like home than my current flat.

We’ve been waiting for everything to happen, but buying flats and moving out and all that sort of thing takes time. Hopefully she’ll move out by the end of January, and I can’t wait for her to confirm dates with me so I can give my notice to my agents and GTFO of my current situation.

I dream of walking around a flat without having to take care not to hit myself against the wall when trying to avoid a table (or walking sideways between my bed and the wall, and my hips aren’t that wide). I dream of reaching my bed from both sides when making it! Yes, both! I dream of light during the day, and darkness during the night. I dream of relatively quiet upstairs neighbours, you know, the kind that are professional and get up early in the mornings, so they don’t have parties almost every night, inviting all their friends and stomping around like a bull in a china shop.

Those are the key focus for this year. I think they’re quite reachable, don’t you?

To be honest, I think the house is the way to get to where I want to be. Once I have a place where I can recharge myself and feel at home, everything else will follow, health and all.

In the meantime, I’ll keep with my Granny Workout and will let you know how it goes!