I have written this in the hope it helps someone. Even just one person. Hoping it helps to show people that things can be better. Things can improve. It is possible to improve your life, even if it’s only a bit. Maybes its just enough to make things more comfortable, bearable and easier for you.
How I got back problems in the first place.
When I was about 21 ( about 1989 ), I was very slim and tall, and enjoyed playing football ( soccer to you Yanks ) and going out for a few beers now and then. I was a bus driver. A job I really enjoyed. I got to drive around all day and meet people and have good conversations with some of them. Now, some of the busses had drivers seats that were twisted. Not loads, but enough so after driving in it for 3 or 4 hours, you could feel it. As this was a daily thing, over time, it started giving me pains in the lower back. Yeah, there were reports submitted and seats changed, but some drivers were, how can I say this nicely, rather large, and used to just drop themselves into the seats, which resulted in them getting damaged. This treatment on my back over the years left me with a bit of a weak back, which was susceptible to back pain and aches. Moving forward a good few years to about 12-15 years ago, I was coming down stairs at home with socks on my feet, and slipped. I ended up bouncing down the stairs on my heels, which jarred my back really bad. This is the point where I did the damage and I got my prolapsed disk in my back.
Being a new starter to using Myfitnesspal in a serious way, I thought I would tell you about my experience so far.
Last November I had yet another flare up in my back. I suffer from an inoperable back condition which, over time, is getting worse. This is not helped in the slightest by me not bothering to look after my body and just basically eating anything I want and at whatever time I want, even if its 2am when I’m sitting up watching T.V while on yet another period of sickness from work.
At the beginning of December 2014,after the last major flare up in my back which left me screaming the house down in pain and bed ridden for about 6 weeks, and after that, pretty much struggling to even walk any distance, I decided enough is enough. I decided I had wasted enough time wallowing in pain and walking around, stooped over like an old man. I’m only 46. I shouldn’t be in this state. Life shouldn’t be as bad as this. I decided, thats it, I AM GOING TO CHANGE THIS. The only way I can describe it is like a switch being flicked in my head which suddenly changed my attitude. I went from being miserable, depressive, and wallowing in self pity, doubt and worry, to I can do this, the only person who can help me is me, and I don’t want to end up in a wheelchair ( which is the way it looks like my body is heading in reality ) I need to sort my stuff out and refocus and look ahead with a positive mindset and take charge of my own wellbeing and life.
I have never, ever had such a strong feeling of positiveness before. I have no idea why it hit me so hard like a bolt out of the blue like it did. Sure, I was sick of the pain, depressive feelings. Sick of being a useless invalid, and not being able to do normal Dad stuff with my daughter, like run around, play, all the normal stuff most people take for granted. I couldn’t do anything for the fear that my back could go so daily. Theres no two ways about it, the fear and pain, ran ( and ruined ) my life
I already had a Fitbit One sitting in a drawer doing nothing so I searched it out, found the charge cable and sleep wristband then went about logging into my Myfitnesspal account that I opened a couple of years back but didn’t bother using it. I read posts and blogs about peoples successes and stories. Many of which have been really inspiring, and I recommend anyone to go to the blogs if they are feeling a bit down about their progress. I set about adding friends on Myfitnesspal. People who, when reading their statuses, their bio’s and blog posts, really inspired me, or people who have health issues like myself and have done massively well. The more I read Myfitnesspal and got interacting with the new friends I have made, the more positive I was feeling. Its like having a virtual extended family, who’s sole goal is all the same. To lose weight, become fitter and healthier.
I have to tell you, when you have gone years of being totally unfit, not being able to see a bright future and feeling a total burden on your family, to suddenly having this massive burst of enthusiasm and hope, and then your extended virtual family on Myfitnesspal show you so much love and support, gee you on, pick you up, give you good advice and re-motivate when you have a bad day, the feeling is so so good. You get to realise, you are no longer alone. There are others out there, who are approachable and friendly who can help you in your times of need.
One of the other great things about Myfitnesspal is the food diary section. This shows the nutritional content of almost everything I eat or drink. I can see at a glance how many calories I have left for that day and also plan ahead for meals or treats if I want one.
I have done slimming clubs a few times before but only been successful once and lost 3 stone (42lbs), but put it all back on a lot quicker that I lost it. Over the years, I have started to view slimming clubs as nothing more than money making machines, that feed on peoples guilt and insecurities. I really have a problem with paying for the privilege of being put under pressure to conform to the clubs diet rules of what you can eat and what you cannot and heaven forbid you gain a pound. You near enough get made to explain in front of the class the reason you gained.
On MFP I am so much happier. I have so much more freedom to eat basically what I want to eat, as long as I plan my food and keep within the nutritional goal I have set. So far in the 6 weeks I have been managing my own intake and exercise, I have only gained twice. Bear in mind, I now weigh myself every day so that I can track my weight over a period of time and see if any times show where I might gain weight. Also just out of keen interest to watch my weight change. I feel so in control of my own destiny using Myfitnesspal. If I gain weight, I know exactly why I have and I know the next day is a new day. I don’t have to be made to feel guilty in a class of people. I have seen loads of people, including myself, offering encouragement to others on Myfitnesspal, when they have had a day where they went over their calories etc. Like I said, we are all in this together for all the same reasons. Families ( even virtual ) need to stick together.
I have learned so much already about the foods I eat, and the rubbish I used to pile into my body.
Add to that, my Fitbit. It is one of those little pedometers that measure your steps, distance, floors climbed etc, sleep quality and duration and even wake you in the morning with a silent alarm if need be. I have since moved to a Fitbit Charge wristband which I prefer as I can wear it on my wrist so that I can see it better, rather than the One, which clips to your waistband ( or bra if you are a woman ). The fitbit monitors all the activities you do during the day and syncs it automatically to the Fitbit website. One there you can set yourself daily goals to reach, and try and beat each day. There are also challenges you can do and invite your Fitbit friends to join in with and compete against for the pure fun of it. Again, I have found most of the Fitbit users I have come across are really friendly. I have a few who I am friends with on Fitbit and Myfitnesspal at the same time so we can support each other in all aspects of our health journey, whether it be the fitness side of Fitbit or the nutritional side on Myfitnesspal.
Its now the 18th January 2014. Nearly 6 weeks into this, and I have lost 21 pound already. I would recommend anyone, to try doing this. Just get yourself a fitness tracker like a Fitbit for example, and join the Myfitnesspal family
All in all, having the support of my virtual families on Myfitnesspal and Fitbit, I have come along on this journey and not felt alone at all. My enthusiasm has paid off as my wife and daughter have also decided to join me on this journey to discover our new slimmer, fitter selves. This is a journey I know I will succeed in. I look forward to reaching the finishing line and shaking hands with the new smiling, healthier me.