Many of you have read a great deal of this on Face Book. I am recreating it as a comprehensive diary because I am well on my way to my goal, and I need to have these details down for the benefit of sharing with others who are looking for paths in the future.
I was born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. One day, in the summer of 1981, when I was 19, I put down two Canadian Crutches that I had used to walk all my life, and began walking independently. There is a lot that went into how and why that was possible, but that is another story. From that day, I walked independently for 19 years, until I was 38 years old. I lost my ability to walk independently because I had not realized that as we age, we very gradually lose core muscle tone, unless we are working every day to keep it. I was at work one day (a reservations agent for an airline), when I got up to go on a break and could not walk on my right foot. My right arch had completely collapsed.
Some people are born flat-footed, as I was, but that is very different than having no arch. It is essentially a severe sprain, especially with respect to the healing process. I walked with the use of a cane on my right side, while my foot was healing for several weeks, and by the time I could use my right foot completely normally, I had become cane dependent on my right side.
I began taking steps right then to return to being able to walk independently. In the course of researching what exactly had happened, I began learning about how changes in hormones with aging can decrease the body’s natural maintenance of muscle tone, especially for people who sit eight hours a day. In addition to the loss of muscle, I had just as gradually gained a predictable amount of weight — about 20 pounds. While I had at first thought that with a little focused work in these areas, I would be back to walking without a cane, persistently, that did not happen. I was not doing quite enough.
Over the past 14 years, I have made numerous runs at independent walking. With each attempt I’ve learned more about what needs to be restored in my body, and what daily routines must be in place for me to maintain what I gain back. One key piece that I have known that I really needed, even long before I lost my right arch, is a body cycle–one of those tabletop cycles you can use peddling with your arms or your legs. This is true because the whole peddling motion is huge in support of the strengths and motions needed to walk. The hips, which bridge the back and the legs are a major area that require maintenance and strength training that the body cycle serves. Over the years, I have tried several ways to make cycling readily an option, to no avail. I never found the right fit, or the right place to do it.
For my birthday this year–I’m 52 now–that changed. I now have the perfect body cycle mounted on ply board in my living room that I can use every day with both my legs and my arms. Simultaneously, my relationship to food is continuing to adjust to exactly what I need to both enjoy eating and lose weight; the beauty of the is, I am losing weight today, as we speak. I have lost 2 1/2 pounds this week, and I know how and why. I is a combination of exercising in small segments throughout my day, combined with a living affirmation, which is: I choose to Be more than I Do, and I Do more than I Eat. (More In the Next Installment)