Sunday, December 31, 2017


I have been dealing with tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis) the past couple weeks. It is a first for me, and it sure is a new sensation (I typically deal with leg pain with lipedema, arm pain is somewhat new to me).

I use my arms, and arm strength a lot in moving about my every day life, and I like feeling strong, so this has put a cramp in my activities as of late.

I think the injury was caused by a somewhat new movement for me, floor pulls. We started doing floor pulls as part of our WOD (workout of the day), and they are just what they sound like, you lay on the floor and using your core and arms (no legs), you pull yourself across the mats. My MOD (modification) for this movement is to do them on the doorway edge...

When I first started doing the floor pulls, I was only able to do a couple, but have since built up to incorporating them into my regular CrossFit warmup (in place of the pull-ups), and lately coach has been having us do "stations" where we have different movements and do them for a set period of time, as in the photo above - the pulls were one of four movements that day.

Injuries, What Are They Good For?

So here is where the title came from. In talking it over with coach, and after doing the floor pulls yesterday, and realizing if I bring my elbows in more, and engage my core more, the pain was greatly diminished.

Coach made a comment about all movement should start from the core and work it's way out. You get in to trouble when the outer extremities start to do the work that the core should do (or the core is not engaged when the extremities are working).

So don't treat your elbow like a shoulder, and don't treat your shoulder like your core.

The injury I had sustained reminded me that I was not using my core enough. That I was finding a way to move my body any way I could, instead of the proper way.

So in that regard, the injury is a good reminder of engaging my core, and probably will be for some time as it heals.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Handling the Holidays

We are one week away from Christmas, one week and a day from Boxing Day and the start of Kwanzaa, and there are still two days left in Chanukah. Whatever holiday(s) you might celebrate, if you celebrate, I wish you a very happy one.

But not everyone celebrates, or looks forward to the holidays. Some find them too painful, too stressful, too costly, too much pressure, anxiety and/or depression.

I love the holidays, but even I find them stressful at times, and stress is one of the worst things for those of us with Lipedema. 

For me stress causes my legs to swell up and become tight and painful. So what can we do? How do we handle the stress during the holidays?

Here are some ideas...

  • Physical activity, is one of the best things we can do for our bodies in general, but especially when dealing with stress. It not only gets our endorphins pumping, but it also gives us back some feeling of control, we feel stronger and less like a victim.
  • Stretching is also good, or a warm shower, even a nap, as they all help us to relax our muscles, which we tense up when stressed.
  • If you find you cannot steal away for some physical activity, to stretch, shower, or nap, maybe find a place you can be alone for five minutes (ten would be better) and do some deep breathing. Maybe you forgot the cranberry sauce (hint**hide the cans you actually bought a week ago) and take a quick trip to the store; or maybe you are missing those much needed candles and recall you had some in the attic or in the shed.
  • Acknowledge what is causing you stress, talk about it with someone, if not in person, hop on facebook or phone a friend who might also be having some "relative" stress. If you can keep it positive (think affirmations over memes), you can actually reduce it, but rehashing all that is going on to cause your stress in the first place might just send you deeper into it.
  • Be gentle on yourself, remind yourself it is for one hour, one day, one weekend, whatever duration it might be and plot out how you get through the moment you are in, not the entire duration.
  • And the best bit of strategy, if all of the above fail, is to do as Jerry Lundegaard did in Fargo, and simply flee the scene. Bail. Escape. Leave. We are our own protectors, we do not have to stay in a situation that is uncomfortable, causing us harm emotionally or physically, and we have every right to take ourselves out of the environment (or ask those in our home to leave). If you have to be polite about it, then fake an illness or an injury (yes, stub a toe if you have to), but do whatever you need to so that you can get away from the stressors.

Know you are not alone, and it will get better.

Take care of yourself first, you are top priority. If what I have touched upon is not helping, you feel it is beyond your ability to handle on your own, and you need help, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They have the tools you need.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

MODs for WODs

MODs (Modifications) for WODs (workouts of the day) are key, not only when you have lipedema, but for life in general.

Things happen in life to take us out of our fitness routines, an injury, or an illness, or maybe you are just starting a fitness routine. Whatever it is, at some point we will all need a modification, and there is nothing wrong with that, in fact MODs are a fantastic tool in our fitness arsenal.

When I first started taking back my fitness (after losing most of my mobility listening to the advice given to newly diagnosed lipedema patients), I learned first hand how important MODs are. 

Coach wanted me to start off doing body movements like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc.  But how does someone do a push-up or sit-up, let alone a pull-up, when they are just starting out? The answer is MODs.

Sink Push-ups (LEGO Style)
I am lucky, my coach (who is also my husband) is aces at MODs. He showed me how to use our kitchen counter for my push-ups, and pull-ups.

At first I was hesitant, I didn't think it would do anything for me, but five years later, and I am now able to do them on the floor.

Here is the progression of my push-up MODS:
  1. Kitchen counter (or a wall)
  2. Picnic table (a little lower than the counter)
  3. Chair, or park bench (a little lower than the last MOD)
  4. Stack of mats or heavy bag (once I progressed to getting down on the floor)
  5. Floor push-ups (hands and knees on the floor)
This year I have been working on planks, and I was excited when I held my first one. Now I incorporate 10 second planks before my push-ups; one day soon I hope to be able to do my floor push-ups on my toes, instead of on my knees.

But you know what? I still do counter push-ups, I love them. If I'm doing the dishes, I'll throw in a couple rounds of push-ups and pull-ups. With good form, these are still an excellent movement for me, even though I am able to get on the floor to do them now.

Recently, when I had a nasty cold and couldn't get to our regular workouts, I relied on the kitchen counter once again to keep me feeling strong(ish) - the cold still had me feeling pretty weak, but those few movements against the counter reminded me I could do something to feel stronger - to fight back against that weak feeling.

The emotional benefits of fighting back is huge, and MODs keep you inspired to try new movements, and gain new strength.