Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Work in Progress

Workin' it Out
It's taking time, but the time is worth spending.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Injury Update

The news at the doctor's office wasn't as good as I had hoped. I'm still trying to process it all. The basic diagnosis is that I have a partially torn cartilage in my wrist. The good news is that it is only a partial tear. The bad news is that it's there in the first place!

Without going into too much detail right now, the basic thing is -- no lifting, grappling, pulling/pushing, any pressure and very limited movement for at least a month.

There were other more invasive treatment options available, but for right now this is what I want to do. I don't feel ready to try anything else. I'm going to stay off my wrist for a month and then reevaluate my situation.

Upon leaving the doctor's office, I felt a massive wave of panic. One month? What am I going to do? Sure I could walk/run, but what else? I need to do more! What about my MMA training? No grappling or contact - are you kidding me? That type of scenario just doesn't fit in my reality at the moment.

Eventually I calmed down and thought -- I'm going to see this as a challenge. This is the perfect opportunity to put myself to the test and see what kind of fitness plan I would recommend if I had a client who was in my situation. I've got to take that advice and apply it to myself.

The two key things -- keep moving and watch my nutrition.

I'm hoping to keep staying positive and see this as an exploration/an adventure into what else I can do. I thought a lot about Leigh and how she got through her recovery when she had her broken ankle. I think at the beginning of an injury it seems like the day you're fully back to the activities you love seems like an eternity away --- but it's not. The day does come. I just need to be patient until I get there!

Wish me luck! I have a feeling I'm going to need it!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A New Identity

I was so happy to receive this email yesterday morning:

I passed my Fitness Trainer final exam with a 91%. I had really worked hard on the exam; I'm so pleased with how I did -- and I'm super happy to have been able to turn my life around to such an extent that not only have I been learning how to cook and eat healthy and been working out regularly, but also that it has become an integral part of my life -- and of who I am.

It's a great feeling!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holding Still

The semester is winding down, so the next week and a half is going to be spent focusing on getting my students ready for their final exam.

Speaking of final exams -- I just submitted my Personal Trainer Certification final exam. I'm so nervous!! The last two sections of the exam were really challenging. I know I did my best, but the paranoid student in me is continuously second guessing myself. My main concern is - did I put enough detail?

Oh well. It's done now (yay!). All I have to do now is wait for the results.

In the meantime, there's much to be done!

The final exam was on my mind all day today. Even though I was stressed about it, I went to see an orthopedic surgeon about my wrist.

I thought the appointment would only take half an hour. Given that my appointment was at 11:30 a.m., I thought I'd be home by 12:30 p.m. or 1 at the latest.

That didn't happen.

He saw me at 11:30. After checking me he said that he wanted an MRI done. The fact that it's still hurting after 6 weeks (and of those six weeks 3 have been with rest, physiotherapy, and no strain) worried him. So I went for an MRI. I was in the MRI machine at 12:30 ... and I emerged at 1:15!! OMG. I'm not claustrophobic, but let me tell you, it was NOT FUN being in there for 45 minutes! The sound was so loud, and holding still for that long was a nightmare!

Anyway. I got it done. Results and a follow-up appointment tomorrow.

Time to go home -- shouldn't be more than 20 minutes.

How wrong I was! Apparently there was some sort of international conference in Kuwait today and many of the major highways were blocked off (so that the diplomats could have clear roads). It took me 1.5 hours to get home!!! I was at my wits end by the time I got here.

I don't mind the day passing by quickly and me being productive - but being stuck in traffic ... so not fun at all!

I had just enough time to eat a bit of lunch, do some work, and then get ready for jiujitsu class. Then it was back home to finish off my last bit of editing and submit the exam.

I'm so glad it's over!!!

I'm looking forward to staring a new day with that pressure off my back.

I'll leave you with a couple of pix from last night which is when I held my annual Secret Santa gathering. It was a lot of fun - a much needed break from everything else that's been going on!

I love the glow in the house during Christmas time! From the Christmas tree lights to the candles to the red and white all over the house - the house was definitely filled with holiday cheer :)

The gals and I in full Christmas spirit :)

Monday, December 9, 2013


I feel like I have no control over my time. I have no schedule, and I'm so busy with finishing up the last portion of my Personal Trainer Certification final exam that I have no desire to even sit down and come up with a schedule. I just want everything else to stop so that I can get my exam done and get on with my life.

No schedule = not feeling in control = general listlessness

I just don't feel like myself at all. I'm going through the motions of everything else except my studies right now. It's the only thing I'm concentrating on. My deadline is approaching, and although I finished a big portion of my exam a while ago, I left 2 sections for the end thinking that they wouldn't take too much time. How wrong was I?! Part of it is because I'm obsessing over details. I want to make sure I'm answering correctly and thoroughly. The paranoid student in me comes out -- and all those haunting memories of writing my PhD thesis and fretting over details are coming back.

It sucks.

The only training I've done is when I've left the house to go to a class. I'm so distracted that I have just been submitting myself to the orders of someone else. It's been helpful. At least I'm getting in a workout  plus relieving some stress.

However, a big part of me just hasn't been in the mood. When I was at my HIIT training on Friday, part of me kept thinking - You really should be at your desk studying.

Of course this stupid wrist pain is also bringing me down. No improvement. All this typing and sitting at my computer is not helping. I just want it to be fixed. The physio/IMS treatments are spaced out way too much, so I think that I'm getting as much benefit from them as I should be. Tomorrow I'm schedule to see an orthopedist - let's see what he says.

Yesterday during Kajukenbo class I was in a bad mood. I did not want to be there. I mean, I wanted to be in class, but I just wanted to do the work and go home - not talk or anything. There was one portion in the class when our coach was punching us in the stomach. Repeated punches with moderate intensity, then some single powerful punches, and then dropping tires on our stomachs when we were lying on the ground.

It hurt. Kind of. I was so focused on being in a bad mood and not wanting to be there that I just started straight ahead and took it all.

I guess the good thing is that I know that I can block out the pain if I want to.

Anyway - enough complaining and whining. A few photos of cheerier things that have been happening.

Qout market is something that started last month. It's promotes local produce and organic/healthy goods. This month's event was so lovely. I took a 1 hour study break to go check it out:

 I picked up some kale chips and a nutrition fact -- such a cute idea!

A self snapshot of my brother and I on our morning drive to work

A glimpse of an overcast morning in Kuwait - water towers, mosque, and date palms

The Christmas tree is up! Aside from my gloomy mood, it feels quite festive in the house!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I'm taking it slightly easy on the exercise front while my hand heals. I'm using the time to focus on finishing up my Personal Trainer certification. The deadline is approaching and I still have some essay questions to complete. The thing that sucks is that I've been sitting at my desk for the past 9 hours and not only is it annoying my back, but it is also aggravating my arm/wrist. It's time to get up and do some stretches.

I spent most of today researching medical articles that looked at the link between cancer and exercise. It's been really interesting. It hasn't been proven that exercise can prevent cancer, though there are some studies that have found that it lowers the risk of suffering from cancer (often because exercise is associated with other good habits such as eating right and not smoking). What they have found is that participating in exercise reduces stress and increases strength, both of which contribute to a better quality of life as well as improved recovery in general.

I know that when I went through my second surgery, my recovery process was greatly facilitated by the fact that I had been exercising and that I had developed so much more strength. The recovery was still painful, but I was up and about a lot sooner than my first surgery.

Exercise -- there really aren't any disadvantages!

Another crockpot meal tonight - garlic lemon chicken. It was alright. Not picture-worthy though.

Wish me luck on my final exam!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Training with an Injury

Injuries suck.

I'm feeling so grumpy about it. I mean, I know that complaining isn't going to do me any good, but what can I say? I'm grumpy! All I want to do is hit the gym and lift some heavy weights. However, I'm trying to be sensible about it.

The weather in Kuwait is stunning at the moment. Cool mornings and evenings, warm afternoons, bright sunny skies -- really, really lovely.

Since I couldn't really do anything intense in terms of exercise, I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and head outside for a walk/run. I had to even be cautious running because I was supposed to keep my arm as still/straight as possible. I'm sure I looked weird on the track having one arm dangling beside me -- but in any case, I went. I half walked half ran, worked up a good sweat and at least felt a bit less grumpy having gotten in some form of a workout.

Today I went into Jiujitsu class. I haven't been in a BJJ class since the end of September. I was SO HAPPY to be back!! My instructor already knew about my injury so I just took it easy and did what I could. I wrapped up my hand really, really well so that my wrist remained stabilized. I made sure not to fall or be grabbed by my right wrist. I did what I could to take the proper precautions and train safe while still being as focused on the moves as possible.

There were 2 other girls in class. They were new. One of them said she had come to Kajukenbo to watch a class and had seen me train before. Small world!

We learned a form of defense against a headlock. It was really cool. I love how the instructor breaks down the move and the builds it up. It's so interesting -- plus it's fun to do! I was totally beaming after class! (Plus I came out totally injury free; no swelling or pain - yay!)

Tomorrow I'm supposed to do weights, but I know that my routine (deadlifts, rows, bench presses) is totally out of the question. I'm thinking of maybe another run and/or some stability exercises (with a Swiss ball or Bosu ball). We'll see.

I had a big shop today. It's nice to have my normal foods back in the house again. Tonight I'm trying out a chicken dish in my crockpot. I'm still not 100% convinced about the effectiveness/efficiency of a slow cooker. I mean, yes, the meat becomes tender, but it still takes time to prep everything before putting it in the pot. If I could literally just throw in the protein and vegetables (without sauteing/browning or whatever) then I may be more convinced. For right now, I'm still trying to make up my mind.

tonight's dinner - slow cooked chicken drumsticks in tomato and onion sauce 

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Wrist

I had an excruciatingly painful session with my physiotherapist today. Tears sprung to my eyes more than once. There were definitely points during the session when I thought, 'Screw this, I'll just deal with the injury; the treatment is too painful.'

this is how my hand/wrist looked on Friday 

Part of my physiotherapy involves undergoing IMS - intramuscular stimulation (this is a great article explaining the basics of how it works). Basically needles are used to release tension/tightness in the muscles. By loosening the muscles in my forearm (and even upper arm), enough space should be created so that my wrist can be relocated in its proper place.

I had my 3rd IMS/physiotherapy treatment today, and it was really brutal. Tears sprung to my eyes, but I just grit my teeth and kept telling myself - if you want to continue MMA training, then you're going to have to deal with a lot more pain than this!

some of the needles in my forearm

So, my recovery seems to be taking a long time. I am not allowed to lift heavy things or do any pushing/pulling movements, so grappling practice and weight lifting have been ruled out for a while.

I'm not taking that news well at all!

Still, I know that I need to give my wrist a chance to recover. I'll be trying to do what I can to make sure I keep as active as possible.

In the meantime, I'm rocking a brace both day and night to help stabilize my wrist. I guess there will be a lot of cardio and core work in the upcoming weeks!

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I remember back in college when one of my friends was getting ready to go on her first date ever. She was nervous and excited. When I asked her if she needed anything, she replied, "Yes. A way to lose 20 pounds in the next 3 hours!"

We chuckled about it, but that statement has stuck with me.

Whenever I have an event approaching - my birthday, a party, someone's wedding, I usually know well in advance that it's coming (especially if it's an annual event like a birthday). Knowing in advance means that I have the advantage of actually being able to plan and prepare for whatever I need to achieve before that date. Whether it's writing a paper for a conference, buying a present for a birthday, or losing some weight to fit into a particular dress for an event ... I have opportunities to work in a systematic way so that I am not frantically rushing to get things done at the last minute.

That's at least ideally how it should be.

However, procrastination is more my reality -- although I am getting better at not waiting to get things done until the last minute.

Up until last year, I was really was a big time procrastinator. I'd spend so much more time thinking and planning than actually doing. That would always leave me rushing to get things done at the last minute. An event would be coming up and inevitably the night before/the night of, I'd be upset that I hadn't worked harder to lose weight so that I would feel good about myself that night.

Although knowing the 'deadline date' in advance does give you time to work towards your goal, I think you can get sidetracked by the 'one won't hurt' mentality. Taking one day off from writing won't hurt, waiting one more day won't hurt, eating one piece won't hurt ...

If it truly is 'one', then sure, it won't hurt, but what I've seen is that one often turns to two which turns to three and so on.

I feel like over the past 18 months, I've been much more consistent in my good habits. I've been doing more than thinking/planning. Things haven't been perfect, but I've had many, many more good days than bad. I'm happy with the habits I've developed, and I feel positive about the things I have to still work on. Sometimes it does get overwhelming, but not to the point where I feel like I can't push forward and accomplish my goals.

This positivity is something new for me, and it's a feeling I'm really enjoying.

For the first time in ages I'm not approaching the end of the year thinking - what have I been doing? Why haven't I worked harder? Why am I so far away from my goals?

Shedding that negativity and dread is helping me stay focused and will hopefully help me end this year on a high note.

I started off this month with a great morning workout -- weights (whatever I could manage with my wrist) + HIIT. In the evening I had Kajukenbo where we started learning new things for the purple belt -- exciting!

back at the gym