Journey into a Healthy Lifestyle from Sedentary Surgery

Saying “YES” to Life.

My Journey of cultivating a new body by releasing the surgical sedentary habits from the last 4 years

It demands compassion, patience, and daily diligence, willpower, challenging old habits by planting new seeds, watering them, and celebrating the growth.

It can feel all encompassing breaking old comfortable habits.  I correct myself by clarifying  not comfortable habits but necessary ones I had to accept in the lack of movement and all the trimmings that come with recovery.  Choosing to slow my psyche down enough so I can accept staring out the window for 6 -8 weeks, resolved to the slow moving at the pace of a turtle and the inevitable gaining what I call “surgical fat”.  Not unlike a pregnant woman who knows it may take 2 years to rebound from the experience of creating a new life.  The outcome is worth it, it is perfect.

Where did I begin?

Choosing different is the first step.  Acknowledging that the slow way served me and now I am on the path of recovery and ready to cultivate the new rhythmns in me.

Breaking those thought patterns that were necessary in the slow mode of healing and recovery were a challenge.  To rise above an old way and experience the new exhilaration of my heart rapidly beating out of my chest, enjoying the” rain-on” sweat of the workout and sauna.  In this town, everyone takes their dog to the Dog Park.  I take my heart for a run at the gym.  This is something I tell myself.

Deadly Honest:  I asked myself how I envisioned this new process unfolding as I wanted it to be graceful and successful.  I knew if I went to fast I may scare myself away. So I started at an easy pace, always checking in to see if what I was doing was giving me the “Yes feeling”.  I started with buying a monthly membership at LifeWorks Gym in Canmore to use the infared sauna on a daily basis.  Checking in, that was a “Yes” Feeling.  According to my reading, I knew I my heart rate was up therefore increasing circulation, promoting tissue healing and great for a detox from the anesthetic and drugs.  I flushed my system with ample amounts of great water and silent Qi Gong. I made it a point to go everyday or 5 times a week.  Honestly, what else was I to do?

When I was felt stronger I climbed upstairs to where the familiarity of the weight machines beckoned me.  I integrated some repetitions of the pec deck, lat pull down and transverse press.  I felt right about doing 3 sets of 10 and then off to the hot sauna.  There was a period in my life where I spent hours in the gym “pumping up” before my daughter was born.  That  was over 20 years ago. My new perception: I was connecting with some old friends in a new way.

Every day, I walked by the elliptical machines to get to the change room.  When it moved me, I finally inquired how to use one.  I kept checking in daily and I knew the day would come where I would step onto one.  With low impact I felt like I was flying through space, effortlessly. My arms were engaged and I knew if my legs were tired that my trusty strong arms could take over the remaining time that was set at 15 minutes.  I would gently walk and increase my speed, if it felt right.  I knew 15 minutes would go by quickly and it did.

As weeks went by, I started to see results in strength and tone.  I increased the elliptical by 5 minutes and started doing some interval training where I walked for 30 seconds then went as fast as what left comfortable for 90 seconds. I definitely could feel the sweat roll down my back and face.  I was beginning to accept that this was a great feeling.  The panting of my breath was making me feel alive.

Some days were difficult to complete the allotted time.  I would tell myself it was only temporary that it would be over soon.  I started to meditate and do visualizations which added a new level to the workout.  I would process and balance frustrations or negative thought patterns that were haunting me.

Time passed and presently, I am up to 25 minutes which Dr. Mercola says is a optimum time to work out in this interval way.  Free weights for 20 minutes then off to the sauna.  I am devoted as a daily practice to show up 5 days a week.  This is a commitment I have made to myself for my physical and mental health.  It is a conscious decision.  The results are: I feel like I can fit back into my clothing, I am stronger physically so my energy is also reflective of that. I sleep the best ever and I am joyful.

When times are challenging, I am off for “Me Time” at the gym or a walk.  When I engage in physical activity it moves the energy of congestion, stagnation or frustration. Physically, if we get the flow happening then trust that on an emotional, mental level it will occur as well.  As a colleague of mine states, “We are a bag of hormones” and he is right.

I do practice the intermittent fasting Dr. Mercola refers to, fasting for 12-16 hours then eating between a 6-7 hour period.  Ideally, I work out in the a.m. preferably then eat by noon to 7 and challenge myself to stay away from the “carb pig out” at night.  A glass of water by the bed helps as many nights I reach out in hunger.  This is an old eating habit and if I fall off the wagon… oh, well tomorrow is another day…to get it right. My adopted philosophy; “Tomorrow is another day”.  Self forgiveness and self love, is the practice of compassion for the “oops” I choose to make in my life. That gives me permission to move forward.  Rather than the unhealthy decision to get into some self flogging and spin my proverbial self judging dialogue.   The “should a, would a, could a”, spin in my head.

Here is where I sit now…In reflection: Cultivating a new body is like tending a garden: planting the seeds with a vision, nurturing them with self love, compassion, patience, gentleness, trusting that one’s daily practice with will power will create a beautiful harvest.  There will be thunderstorms and drought but with forward positive movement it will give you the “Yes Feeling”.  Lovin’ the good stuff!

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    • Barbara on February 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Karen, you are an inspiration! May I share this post on the gym facebook page?

      • Karen on February 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Yes. Absolutely.

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