My Call to Adventure

Happy Monday Everyone!

In yesterday’s post, I committed to re-launching my healthy journey. Like most others who have to dedicate themselves specifically to improving their health, I’ve made some bad calls lately and it’s time to rectify those. Before I get too far into this, though, I think it’s important to explain my Call to Adventure.

If you remember, the Call to Adventure is the first part of the Healthy Hero’s Journey. It’s that moment where you realize that a change is required for you to attain your individual health goals. For me, that moment occurred this past Saturday.

To explain Saturday, I have to first explain the last few months. Back in June, I developed a stress fracture in my pelvis, which rendered me non-weight-bearing for 11 weeks. During that entire time, I managed to keep my weight within about 5 pounds of where I was when the injury first occurred. I considered that to be a win, of sorts, considering how difficult that particular timeframe was. But since then, my weight has continued to climb steadily until yesterday morning, when I weighed in at 12 pounds higher than my pre-injury weight of 140 pounds.

Saturday wasn’t even about my weight though – mostly because one of the habits I’ve fallen off of is weighing in daily. No, Saturday was about my injury. I can’t even explain it, except to say that my family had just gone home after the holiday and I found myself sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself because my leg (on the side my pelvis was injured on) had been bothering me. I didn’t do my normal physical therapy stretches and exercises on Thursday and Friday, because of the holiday, so my leg was bothering me more than normal.

I decided to head to the gym for some time on the treadmill. About 3 weeks ago, I was released to finally start using the treadmill. Not for anything crazy, mind you. I’m just allowed to work on speed walking – with my easy walk at a 3 and my speed walk at a 3.5. That still makes me laugh because 3.5 was my super easy walk before my injury!

At any rate, I was told to start off with 15 minutes of interval work on the treadmill then, after my first week, I was allowed to work my way up to 30 minutes. The problem is that I had a slight setback after that first week – with my muscles clenching and becoming too tight for me to do much at all – so that 30 minute goal has remained elusive. So Saturday, I set out to beat that.

Nine minutes into my walk, my muscles began to clench and strain again. I tried to push through it for a tiny bit but when everything started to feel “off” even with my easy walk, I knew I was done. I slapped the treadmill (ouch!) because I was so mad and, because I was alone in our apartment’s gym, I seriously contemplated throwing one of the workout room’s stability balls just because the bounce of the ball against the wall seemed like it’d be pretty darn satisfying.

But I didn’t. Instead, I went back home, had myself a small cry of frustration, and ate a leftover cinnamon roll from breakfast with my family. And then I had another cinnamon roll. And then, I made some chocolate chip cookies and ate those. And then I dove into some of the holiday candy we already have around the house. Seriously.

If that’s not stress eating, I don’t know what is. What I do know is that I only ate that way because my husband was at work. If he had been home I would have figured out a different way of working through my stress. Instead, I let myself indulge and then I cleaned up all the evidence of my transgression so that he’d never know or question it. And that is a major problem. I’ve always felt that unhealthy eating is an addiction, just as powerful as smoking or alcoholism and “hiding” my unhealthy eating or engaging in “secretive” unhealthy eating is always the first sign to me that I’ve slipped into a dark place.

My Call to Adventure

So that was my Call to Adventure moment. I’m not going to lie. I knew I was doing wrong even as I chomped down those chocolate chip cookies. But, right or wrong, I let myself have my sad, woe-is-me moment, and then I told myself that Sunday would be different.

And it was. Sunday (and so far today) all my food was either been healthy or at least healthily proportioned. In fact, yesterday I was under my calorie goal for the day, which is great! I did all my stretches and exercises, including finally hitting that elusive 30-minute goal on the treadmill. It wasn’t easy but I decided it was time and I just needed to push through until it was done. It’s a small triumph, but I know that a million small triumphs will eventually get me where I want to be. And, as frustrating as Saturday was, it’s nice to know that it was enough of a Call to Adventure to get me back on track so I can continue working toward my goals.

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A New Journey

Around June of last year I rebranded my blog “Healthy Rewrite” because I wanted to explore the concept of how the average person’s struggle to become healthy was similar to that of the epic hero’s journey in a story. That was after about a year of success in getting healthy myself.

As often happens in situations like that, shortly after I rebranded I started to fall off on posting. Now, this year, I’ve fallen off the healthy habits I worked so hard to build. As I sit back and think through what happened I know that part of my recent drop off is due to very real obstacles that have risen up against me this year. But a very large part of it is that I also stopped holding myself accountable through this blog.

So, I’m back. And I’m back for good. Because I need the accountability and because blogging about it helps me maintain that while also supporting others through the same struggles.

So how does all this relate to my own Healthy Hero’s Journey? Well, for the sake of really re-engaging in this blog, let’s refresh. The Healthy Hero’s Journey is made up of very distinct parts:

  • The Call to Adventure. That moment where you realize your journey is no longer an option but has become an action necessary for your own life and happiness.
  • Discovery of Resources. Taking inventory of the resources that will help you on the road to success. This step may also involve the search for new tools and resources.
  • Trial & Error. Putting those resources to work for you until you find the magic formula that meets your individual needs.
  • Reaching the Reward. The final, beautiful step, where you actually reach your goals. This is your moment of triumph!

Many of us, including myself, start the cycle of this journey over and over in our lives without ever Reaching the Reward. Or, in just as many cases, we actually to reach the final level and then fall off entirely and have to start over.

I can be honest and say that I never reached my reward. I got very close to it and had a lot of success but I never reached my primary weight loss objectives. I would have been happy to linger in the Trial & Error part of my story for a while longer but, alas, I have fallen all the way back to the Call to Adventure step.

Why is that? Because I came across an obstacle this last year, while in the Trial & Error part of my journey, which proved to be too big. It beat me down and I’m still struggling to overcome it. What was it?

A pelvic stress fracture.

Of all the injuries I thought I’d face as a runner that was the least of my worries. And let me tell you, you don’t realize how much all of your bones and muscles work together until the biggest bone right in the middle of your body suddenly has a giant (“rather nasty” as my doctor’s called it) crack in it.

I spent 11 weeks on crutches and in a wheelchair. Now I’ve gone through 8 weeks of physical therapy and the orthopedist is telling me I still need to wait 3 more months before I start running. Prior to this injury I was running 2-3 half marathons per year and had just signed up for my first full marathon so another 3 months of no running feels like pure torture. But I guess I can see their point since I haven’t been able to work up to more than 15 minutes of interval speed walking on a treadmill.

More important than all that is the impact this stress fracture has had on my healthy habits. In the last 5 months, I’ve:

  • Gone back to stress eating
  • Gotten in way less activity (obviously)
  • Fallen off of eating my fruits and veggies
  • Stopped tracking my caloric intake
  • Stopped watching my portions
  • Gone back to eating whatever “sounds good”

As a result, I’ve noticed many of my clothes fitting tighter and I’ve gained back 12 of the total 34 pounds I’d previously lost. Not a place I thought I’d be again.

Looking back now, I think a lot of this has happened because I kept seeing each piece of my injury as being a small portion of time. It was okay to eat differently because I just needed to get through the non-bearing piece of my recovery. After that, I’d be back to running in no time. After I got released to start walking again than it was just that I needed to get through my physical therapy (because it was only supposed to last 8 weeks and then I’d be “back to normal”). Now that the 8 weeks has ended and it looks like normal still isn’t going to happen any time soon, I’m waking up to reality.

A New Journey

The reality is that I need to follow the Healthy Hero’s Journey I started talking about more than a year ago. I need to accept this new Call to Adventure, take the time to Discover New Resources, and work through an all new type of Trial & Error before I’m going to Reach my Reward.

This post is my commitment to this new journey. I hope you’ll come along with me as I start to explore the facets of this adventure from a whole new angle. I look forward to sharing my story!