Nothing too bad.
Then, suddenly it hit me like a tonne of bricks. Pain that stabbed me in the middle of the night, numbness and tingling throughout the day. Being unable to grip the sheets on the bed first thing in the morning and a new development to add to the fun, the sensation of my hand being held in a slow-burning fire.
I immediately stopped training and did my best to rest the offending area and with this comes the most important realisation I've made in a long time. Possibly one of the top five realisations in the course of my life.
Over the past couple of weeks I've been stuck in a cycle of feeling very sorry for myself, with a "why does this shit always happen when I get going" mindset. "Why me?". "I'm NEVER going to lose this weight. It's pointless."
I felt like I was getting nowhere and it was all worthless, spiriling into a chasm of self-pity when I realised that I was getting nowhere because I'd simply stopped moving.
I have an all or nothing personality, which I have affectionately dubbed my "binary" personality. Either I work out 6 times a week, eat close to perfectly and become slightly obsessive or I sit around in my PJs eating chocolate watching TV. I'm either ON, or I am OFF. There is no scale.
I have next to no experience of being in an "in-between" state. My entire life has been ditacted by this characteristic. Either I WILL do something, or I won't. Sometimes this has served me very well - when I agree to do something, I do it. And I do it properly. I don't use the word "try". I wholeheartedly adopt Yoda's wisdom "do or do not, there is no try". I flinch when people tell me they will "try" to do something, and often they'll hear something like "well, will you or won't you?".
Sometimes this is a GREAT trait to have. Sometimes it makes me a bit of a jerk and sometimes it has lead me into a hodgepodge of bad decisions. Like everything it has it's pros and cons.
When it comes to being injured though.
"If I can't workout, why bother?".
Being injured sucks, but it doesn't have to mean everything comes to a screaming halt.
Fitness is like taking wedding vows: "in sickness and in health, I will love and honour you all of the days of my life".
My 'binary personality' has led me into a situation where I am only been able to cope with things when I am in health. 100% effort. Everything working, but this can't always be the case.
This is where my journey truely starts: learning how to give 100% when I'm not at 100%. I think this will be one of the largest challenges I ever face.
So how do you deal with a 'binary' personality?
I've been thinking, racking my brains trying to work out how to do this properly and here are FIVE things I have decided will be helpful following this epiphany:
- Set small DAILY goals, for example: "log your food today", "eat a vegetable", "hit 5000 steps". Work with the parts of yourself that are adaptive. My strengths are that when goal setting happens: goals get done. Without goals, I wander. Lost. In this case "she who wanders is definitely lost and looking for chocolate" and Give yourself reminders daily. If I'm not hauling ass trying to meet a goal, I will forget. Either I do something VERY routinely, or not at all and to add to this I have the memory span of an oxygen deprived goldfish. Possibly shorter. I have made good use of the calendar on my phone for this exact purpose "Wednesday, Friday, Sunday 6pm: work out for 30 minutes"
- Focus on giving 100% on a particular area of health and/or fitness. I've been a bit obsessed with trying to get EVERYTHING perfect, but that's not happening for now so instead of attempting to get all of my ducks in a line I'm aiming at getting at least one or two. For example: hit your macro target today, focus on making healthy food selections (rather than eating a packet of haribo, three cream eggs and a chocolate yoghurt for lunch ;)).
- Keep in mind a clear timeframe. For instance "I will not go to the gym, or increase my activity with any kind of fervour until I have my electromyography exam on Thursday".
- Make things easier for yourself. Plan your weekly food/exercise schedule ahead of time (this is generally good advice for anything in my opinion, after all "failing to prepare is preparing to fail!" ;)
- Don't be a complete bitch to yourself. No, you're not slacking. No, it's (probably) not your fault. Yes, it will improve. Yes, you CAN STILL DO THIS.
Overall: Work with yourself. Examine your strengths, understand the points in which you need development. Be kind, be gentle and celebrate your victories.
Have you been in a similar situation? What advice would you give people who are struggling through injury?