When I was a teenager, I was in acting classes, dance lessons, singing lessons, the occasional school sports team (mostly gymnastics and volleyball), and I walked everywhere. I was in community theatre musical productions. I was 111lbs the day I auditioned for my acting university programs.
My formerly active lifestyle (I danced 75 min every morning in grade 13) dwindled in university to one or two physical movement classes per week, and some pilates in between. There I discovered booze, the city bus, convenience foods, and a raging hate of the gym. I tried to keep up with the dance, but the university group was too competitive, and the groups in town were inconvenient to my study/work hours. I went from 111lbs at my acting auditions to about 130lbs at graduation.
When I moved to Japan I ate better and got out a bit more, and got down to 120lbs. Then, in 2006, I was in a car accident. This left a crack in my tibular plateau, crushed cartilage and bone fragment in my right knee, and compensation injuries in my left knee to match within two years.
For six weeks in Japan, I laid on my back and watched Doctor Who. I went up to 140lbs. I moved back to Canada, enrolled in an MA program, had knee surgery, and recovered slowly.
Knowing that more weight on my knees would do them no help, I tried everything – Dr. Bernstein’s, vitamin B supplements, calorie counting. I walked for an hour every day. I tried to swim when I could fit it into my schedule. When I graduated I always took the stairs at work, drank pitchers and pitchers of water, and still, slowly, the needle on the scale went up and up, creeping onwards by a pound or two per month. I wasn’t physically fit enough for the high-impact activities recommended to lose weight, so focused on diet. I volunteered for an eating study for a university. I cut out hard liquor. I cut down on beer. I stopped buying cookies, ice cream, and donuts. I cut out sugary coffee drinks.
Then I was diagnosed with PCOS, one of the symptoms of which is increasing, stubborn weight gain. There’s no cure. You can only manage the symptoms with, you guessed it, diet and exercise.
But the thing was, between my dayjob and my writing job, when did I have time for those hour long walks? Those Saturday morning swims?
I traded a recumbent exercise bike for one of my ottomans, and set it in my living room with a TV tray across it. For three months, I edited documents on my laptop while peddling slowly. It wasn’t a lot of exercise, but it was better than none.
Then, In January 2015, fourteen and a half months ago, I slipped on an icy sidewalk. The result was a torn ankle, a wrenched knee, a partially herniated disk, a back full of microtears, and a vicious tear in the gooey stuff that cushions the place where my leg bone is cradled in the socket of my hip.
The pain was excruciating. I had great drugs, though, so I slept for most of February. I laid on my sofa while friends came over and we drank, and eat, and I did not get up and about at all, because it hurt way too much. The PCOS took hold. As of August, when I was walking again but wasn’t really able to do much of it, nor of anything else physical, I was 170lbs.
My hip hurt way too much to use the exercise bike, and when I moved home so my parents could help me with my recovery, we got rid of it. I spent the fall in physio, and have returned to community theatre to get active again (though there’s no dancing for me, not yet), and I have a yoga ball that I occasionally swap for my computer chair when I’m writing for long stretches and my hip and back hurt.
I am now off the cane full time, and am writing on average three or four hours per day (the rest being devoted to physio, attending to insurance paperwork, and the admin that comes with trying to make a name as a full-time professional writer.)
Finally, I am well enough to go on long walks again, and while my recumbent-bike-desk was okay, it wasn’t really functional. And my physiotherapist wants me to sit less, to not spend so much time putting pressure on my hip.
And so: I have decided, dear readers, that I am going to try one of those fancy -schamcy treadmill desks.
This Sunday, my friend’s father is dropping off her old, unloved treadmill. I have cleared a place for it in my office. I have begun researching treadmill desk adaptation options. My father and I will build something ergonomic for me.
I have a new novel that I need to start writing pretty much ASAP, so I will be tracking both my novel’s wordcount progress, my steps taken, and my weight loss (if there’s any. I have a feeling my PCOS will fight back.)
I might have to start slow, and I won’t be able to walk for hours every day. But at least I’m starting.
I have a treadmill desk. I have a food tracking app. I have nice sneakers. I have a book that needs writing.
Let’s do this thing.