Catching Up, Slimming Down and the Long Farewell to Sugar

Hiking Trail

Almaden Quicksilver Hiking Trail

The first Monday of the year rolled around and the house emptied out. My eldest son returned to college, his brother went back to high school and Mike headed in to the office. It seemed time for me to get off the couch and rejoin the world as well.

In late December I put on a pair of shoes for the first time in months. Then I went for a short, albeit painful walk around our local park. Meanwhile, my crutches, knee scooter and foot brace stayed home.

Though it will be awhile before I can hike on local trails, it felt good getting out for a stroll.

Then I saw my doctor on Monday.

She’s been pleased with my progress at every post-op appointment, but this time she looked concerned. Dr. Sheth said that I was doing too much, too soon, using polite phrases like “you’re an optimist” and a “go-getter” while telling me to slow down. The swelling I assumed was normal is actually my body’s way of telling me to please back off.

On the brighter side, she prescribed physical therapy to strengthen the foot and to reduce the edema. I’m going three days a week for treatment: heat and ice therapy, ultra sound, manipulation and exercises. Although the exercises are work, I feel pampered too. Drew and his team are a warm and caring group of folks. I’m learning how to get rid of my limp and I’ve also gained a better understanding of the healing process. Tendons do not have their own blood supply so they take longer to heal than a broken bone or an injured muscle. Who knew?

All this brings me to my word of the year: Health.

While I have many good habits, I have bad ones, too. Simply put, I’m a vegetarian who likes junk food. Shortbread cookies, rich chocolate of any kind, soft taffy and Red Vines. Raise your hand if you know what they all have in common.

Sugar.

I’ve been in a life-long, dysfunctional relationship with the sweet stuff. My height and rabbit-like metabolism kept me slim for many years, so I never gave it much thought. About a decade ago I started gaining weight and joined the ranks of dieters. I increased my exercise from four hours a week to seven. I lost fat, but I didn’t lose weight.

All roads lead to refined sugar. It’s a powerful drug, all dressed up in creamy chocolate, buttery cookies and chewy bites of candy. Swoon.

Sitting on the couch for the past eight weeks while recovering from surgery didn’t help. Extended couch-sitting during the “season of sweets” means I’ve started this new year ten pounds heavier. Add that to the extra fluff I’ve been struggling to lose and I’ve moved past slim to a weight that feels uncomfortable for my health and my self-image. Enough.

I want to focus my emotional energy this year on improving my health. Saying goodbye to sugar is at the top of the list. Some people can moderate their intake, but I’m not one of them. There are other areas I want to focus on this year.

  • I want to walk and hike pain-free
  • I want to return to Pilates two days a week
  • I want to add a yoga class
  • I want to return to my practice of Mindfulness

Hopefully those last two will help support the hardest of the goals: showing sugar the door.

Is there an area of your life that you struggle with despite your good intentions? What do you think about the idea of choosing a word for the year?