It has been four months since I had hip surgery. My right hip is healing, slowly, much more slowly than I expected, nevertheless, it is time to try to begin exercising again. You can follow my efforts on YouTube and on this site; my continuing rehabilitation, eating clean, and exercise, all with the intention of getting myself fit enough to work. I’ve said it before, if I can’t walk, my type of photography is difficult at best. Note, I did not state I’ll train in boxing or practice Muay Thai. For now at least, those days are over. At first, all I’ll be doing is walking, stretching, and freehand exercises. Being capable of walking without pain is the first step.
Over the past few months, it’s become more apparent to me that if I need to do one thing, it is to take better care of myself. I have deteriorated over the course of the last decade, more so in the last four years. Although some of this can be attributed to injuries and aging, if I’m being honest with myself, I would be in much better shape if I took better care of myself. That means exercising, being careful about what foods I eat, and making certain to put my health above all else. That’s rarely been what I do, even when I was lean and extremely fit. I used to laugh because I could eat a pint of Haagen-Dazs and never gain an ounce. But I was exercising 3-4 hours a day, always active, and rarely ate after 6 PM.
After my hip surgery, I’ve been making an attempt to strengthen my hip flexor muscle, bit, for the most part, I’ve been sitting around on my rear end trying not to do too much. I could go on and on: there is a lack of motivation to be as healthy and strong as I can be, too many grilled cheese sandwiches, a love of good cheese, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, the love of pizza, gnocchi, and Italian food in general.
For the past two years, one of my New Year’s resolutions has been to get fit and lose weight. Hasn’t happened. So what’s the difference from then to now? Not much really, but the realization has set in that if I don’t take better care of myself, I may be physically incapable of going the places I want and doing what I want — which is taking photographs. Even worse, my life span might be shortened considerably. Money is always an obstacle in travel and in many cases, photography, but I have never let this get in my way. I cannot let my health get in the way of achieving my goals.
A month ago, I began having severe cramps in my left calf muscle. This is the opposite leg on which I had surgery. When I say severe, I mean to the point where I scream out in pain and I am brought to my knees. Overcompensating for the bad hip, perhaps a diet lacking in potassium or other minerals, and a lack of stretching probably have all played a factor. What I need is to get myself physically fit and put my body on the proper fuel. I have begun eating vegetables and planning my meals. In the near future, I will get a full physical, my first in three years. I’m not ready croak yet but the distance I’ve slid — from being fighting fit a decade ago to where I am now — frightens me. This is the only way I know how to put it.
People often say, “I’m getting old.” Or, “I’m getting fat, I need to lose weight.”
I wish I could say I am getting old. I know that’s the truth. Fifty-three is middle-aged, but I feel older than Moses. If I lose 30 pounds, I know I would feel better physically and mentally and will probably be more motivated. I want my youth and health back. The only way this is going to happen is if I change my approach towards food and exercise. I believe it’s called a lifestyle modification.
Having failed in past years in my quest to regain my fitness, it is easy to be pessimistic, There are times when I feel like a 39-year-old woman desperate to find a husband and start a family. But there is still a part of me that remembers what it feels like to train hard: lifting weights, running, swimming, bicycling, jumping rope and eating clean, unadulterated food.
Every ounce I lose and every bit of healthy food I put in my mouth is a step in the right direction. Food is fuel and exercise help stave off old age. Being healthy is more than a desire — it is a necessity. Today is day one on my journey.
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