2006 was a bad year for our family. In February, I was tossed by a horse and seriously injured. To be honest, if I’d skipped the riding helmet that day, I’d be dead. As it was, I ended with damage to my lower back.
If that had been the only injury I had that year, it would have been bad enough, but in August I shattered my left knee. Let me tell you, there is pain worse than labor. I’ve had both, and I’d pick labor, thank you.
All of this has left me with permanent problems. In fact, there are those who are surprised I can walk, and even more surprising that I don’t limp. This makes me a poster child for the exercise challenged.
There are two things that I will be doing in 2011 that will help me finish my interrupted weight loss program. The generic terms are diet and exercise, but what I need to do has to be more specific; I can’t run on a treadmill, go for a hike or take a long bike ride. I need to do specialized cardio so my body can handle it and build up strength lost during my recovery period.
Exercise is being tackled two ways. Most of what I’ll be doing is in a lap pool. This reduces impact and adds resistence, both of which are needed. However, I won’t be swimming. I don’t know how, and it wouldn’t be as good a solution.
Instead, I will be walking through the water. The physical therapist I saw gave me specific exercises. These include walking forward, backward and side to side. Kicking each leg up frontwards, backwards and to the side are also recommended.
There are styrofoam “weights” available for water use, as well. Once under water, they act more like the heavy stuff in the gym proper. The hardest exercise here for me is turning from side to side. I didn’t realize how much range of motion had been lost until I did that one the first time.
Over time, I will be adding the stationary bike into the picture. To begin with, I’ll only be able to use it for three minutes, but as my strength comes back I may be able to increase it. Like the water, the impact is greatly reduced on the bike, so I can concentrate on range of motion and strength increase.
Diet will be another challenge. I’m a good cook, and I like to work with some very rich ingredients. Unfortunately, they’re all on the “banned” list. Bacon, butter and heavy whipping cream are pretty much out of the picture. Olive oil, fish, chicken and turkey are in. Occasionally, we can have lean beef and pork, but it is a treat and not a regular visitor to our dinner table. Believe me, after a couple of years of that sort of diet, it’s going to take a lot of work for me to find ways of disguising it. We’ve had enough chicken, we feel like clucking sometimes.
My goal, diet wise, for 2011 is to continue to find ways to work around these restrictions. No diet is going to be sustainable if the food is always the same, bland or otherwise a negative. There are tools that can help in this effort.
The three safe ways of cooking involve water, a grill or your oven. This allows the fat to drip away from the food, making it leaner when you bring it to the table. The grill and the oven are my favored methods, especially now that I have an open roasting pan with a rack. I’ve come up with a simple recipe involving said rack, and it is tasty.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Get a whole chicken. Remove the innards and toss or keep as you see fit. We toss them, as they can cause gout flare ups (and we don’t like them). Then, mix some of your favorite herbs and spices with a little seasoned salt. Add enough olive oil to make a paste.
This next part is a little tricky, but worth the effort. Run your hand under the skin and loosen the connective tissue as far around the bird as you can. Then, take the paste you just made and spread it between skin and breast. Place on the rack and put the pan in the middle of the oven and roast until done. It should be about twenty minutes a pound, but don’t go by time. Insert a meat thermometer in the thigh. When the internal temperature reaches 165, your bird is done.
This is an example of what I will be doing all year, diet wise. I want to find fun, healthy recipes that will make eating a pleasure and not a chore. It may be difficult, but I am up for the challenge.