I hurt my back back at the end of 2014 whilst at work. I was lifting heavy boxes in the archive. I used to do yoga between 3 to 5 times a week with a bit of running, Pilates and the odd movement class like ballet or boxing. I had never had back pain before and used to think it couldn’t possibly be that bad or be such a major impact on day to day things. I had recently completed a Foundation course in Yoga with the intention to train to be a yoga teacher as a personal passion. Alas the back issue totally torpedoed this.
It was excruciating. I used to cry trying to move around doing simple things like putting on trousers in the morning, sitting and standing up or moving around. I would get shooting pains up my back and down my leg. It was really tough. I thought it would go away with some rest and as my job was relatively new I didn’t qualify for sick pay other than statutory government sick pay I didn’t take any time off. Needless to say my back issues got worse before I bit the bullet and decided to go and see a recommended osteopath to look into my back pain.
This woman was a miracle worker. She assessed me and then got to work on figuring out what was going on with my body and how to realign me. It would take a few sessions to do with me doing exercises in between the sessions. It turns out that I had actually pulled a muscle on the front of my thigh/groin area. My body to compensate was trying to balance it out which was then impacting my back. By alleviating my back issues it meant I could focus on the damaged muscles.
The setback of not being able to exercise and the stresses of the role that I had meant that I neglected to take care of myself. It was a regret and with work being so crazy and long hours. I didn’t have time to do the exercise I should have been doing and just piled on weight. It got to the point where I was really upset about it and I knew that I would need to take some serious action steps towards getting back towards my previous weight and mindset. Well, I wasn’t quite there yet. I took a little time to wallow in self pity and just eat all kinds of things! I wasn’t quite there yet as my dearest friend pointed out. When I was ready she was sure I would bounce back and get on the journey to wellbeing and fitness.
It started as a slow progression. I had become so inflexible from stopping yoga. I had become so unfit with not doing running or any other form of cardio. It’s hard to start again. I decided to take baby steps. I would track and focus on what I was eating. I kept track of it and noticed my meals were healthy but my snacks in between weren’t! My snacks were the majority of my calories which came as a reality shock but a much needed one. It all accumulates this little bar of chocolate here, this little bag of nuts there or this little bag of popcorn here (who am I kidding I love popcorn it was a HUGE bag!). This was the first shift on what I consume. It wasn’t a diet or a serious overhaul. It was being mindful.
The next step was considering my work. It was hard working long hours and not feeling like I had the energy to exercise afterwards or before the day started. I decided to incorporate walking to and from work where possible or increasing the amount of time I spent on my two feet which meant getting off public transport sooner. It did mean that walking home it would take me longer than another mode but I would have the benefit of getting my heart pumping and feeling good about moving my body. Even if it was raining or super sunny I would still commit to walking where ever possible. It did mean in the mornings I would have to leave for work earlier.
This was my ground work and over a good few months some of the pounds I had packed on were slowly but surely coming off. As my darling sister put it even though I can tuck away pounds well and not look like I had gained as much as I had it was good that I was starting to feel better in my body and about myself.
My next step is to slowly increase the exercise regime and this in turn has impacted what I would like to eat and choose to eat. Oh, and leaving the job that was no longer a positive impact in my life has been such a lift to my wellbeing as well.
I am documenting my journey of getting back to a strong, balanced me. I know that this time round I am actually going to be stronger than I was before. Starting a fitness regime when you’re not fit is a challenge and one that I am sure others can relate to. It has already had highs and lows with many more to come.
‘Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.’
— Sir Winston Churchill