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If It’s Physical, It’s Therapy December 12, 2010

This is the shirt that we physical therapy students wore back when I was an undergraduate. It was sort of meant to elicit snickers like, heh heh, physical, heh heh. Back in the Olivia Newton-John “let’s get physical” days. But I’ve been thinking about this shirt, and that saying, and my long-abandoned career that I only recently dusted off and removed from the mothballs.

I graduated with a physical therapy degree in 1982. When I had my first child in 1990, I turned to other things, mostly nonprofit work, then writing, then teaching writing. And even though I renewed my license every few years, I pretty much thought of it as something I had done once but never would again.

I went back to doing PT work this past April. It’s been tough – the learning curve of learning brand new skills as well as dredging up information I’d packed away in the deepest recesses of my brain has tested me like nothing else. It’s been a very hard road, but I have not wanted to give up because I have been hoping, that with time, it would get easier.

After six months, I think I can say that going to work is not the intense stress that it was during the first couple of months. I am more relaxed now, although with moments of anxiety that I don’t know enough, or can’t do it right. It’s beginning to feel smoother. I’m going to be attending a professional course in February that I am actually looking forward to.

But it occurred to me recently, like a bolt of lightning, that another (of many factors) reason that I stayed away from this profession for 18 years (!!) was that I felt unworthy of it, physically. If I was overweight and inactive, who was I to help or counsel others regarding their physical issues?

Maybe it’s no coincidence that even when I was practicing, decades ago, I most often worked with the most severely disabled or the very oldest (or youngest) people around. I helped people who needed to learn how to hold up their heads, or sit for 10 seconds at the side of a bed, or take ONE STEP. I remember feeling a sort of disdain for athletic trainers (and their patients) and thinking that that was a stupid use of professional skills and that athletes did not need or deserve any help, when there were so many people who couldn’t walk or stand up without help.

Ah, the arrogance of youth. But I also think there was something else going on. I was intimidated by athletes and athletic trainers. They made me feel lumpy and inadequate.

I realize now that for the first time in decades, I feel worthy of practicing as a physical therapist again, and as I am beefing up my brain-skills, the same is true for my physical skills. This week I was doing something called a POET evaluation – a post-offer employment test, which is something that employers are now requiring of some heavy duty physical jobs. These people are offered employment, but they are dependent on passing a set of physical tests to see that they can physically DO the jobs without getting injured. I have been trained to administer these tests using this ginormous machine and computer system. One of the tests involves lifting a crate up to a shelf with 10 to 60 pound weights. After every 10 lb crate is lifted, I have to add another 10 or 20 lbs to it. I also have to lift this 45-lb steel bar on and off the Big Machine and add attachments to it for various pushing and pulling tests.

On Friday, I noticed that my shoulders and upper back were aching like I’d done a serious workout. Then I remembered I’d done this POET test. It HAD been a serious workout! I do not think I could have easily done this 20 years ago.

This whole thing is such a big deal for me. I ran away from this profession for so many years because I never felt good enough, intellectually OR physically. But I’m learning now that maybe it’s not too late.

 

The World of Work and Working Out April 12, 2010

This is the first week in, oh, I don’t know, my MEMORY that I’m working a more-than-full time week. I’m working 3 days at my new job, 2 days at my previous job, and 2 evenings at Weight Watchers. And all of a sudden, today, I had this enormous hit-by-a-truck feeling of deep empathy for people who struggle with this all time. “This” being namely trying to find time to exercise when working full time and having a family.

It’s TOUGH, people. So let me take a moment of silence and awe to honor everyone who has managed to do this. Now it’s time for ME to figure it out for myself. Wow.

Today is pretty much shot. I think. I woke up super early. Took kid to school. Had breakfast in coffee shop next to train station but couldn’t take train because the parking lot was full-up. Duh. So I drove. (hello $10/day parking lot fee! Goodbye paycheck!) I reported in at 9am and clocked out at 5. In the middle, I learned all sorts of stuff about my new duties. Which still remain somewhat mysterious, but oh well. Tomorrrow I think it will begin to gel and get a bit more real. (don’t even ask me to describe it. please. because I can’t! I mean I’m incapable!)

My new boss/who is actually an old friend invited me to lunch. I was not about to say no. We had a nice lunch. Afterward we went back to the office and I almost re-enacted a scene from my solo performance piece in which I fall asleep at my desk. I think I was super tired from not much sleep last night, getting up early, getting super adrenalized from the New Situation and then lunch. Zzzzzzzz. I managed to deal with it. But I felt like a sack of bricks. I soldiered on through the afternoon and at 5pm went to pick up my kid. There was no way on EARTH I could think of cooking. We stopped and got some Indian food takeout. Came home and ate it. And now I am lying on my bed.

This is going to be a fast path to gaining about 35 lbs back, let me tell you!

I have got to strategize. I’ve got to strategize NOW. First thing I gotta do is start bringing my own lunch to work. That will help. Second thing is I think I am going to try and walk or run during my lunch break. Probably walk (better than nothing?). If I run I am going to be a stinky frizzy mess. There is no shower at work. OK, what else? I am going to have to figure out some sort of dinner plan wayyyyy ahead of time. Crockpot? What? OMG. I’m also going to have to figure out when I can work out. (walking does not count, that’s just staying sane and alive during the day)

I guess my choices are:

1. Before work

2. After work

Oh my GOD. It might have to be before. Because after…… I just can’t face it. I don’t think I can do it. I am so NOT a morning person but I think I am going to have to join Mr. McBody (who has been doing this for YEARS) at O Dark Hundred and bite the bullet and do it.

I’m going to get up early tomorrow and give it a go. Which should not be a problem since it is 7:30pm and I am ready for bed NOW.

Again. One more moment of silence for people who manage to do this 52 weeks out of the year, make it a priority and make it work.

I feel like one of those people who don’t have kids and then they babysit their friend’s baby for like 3 hours and then they go collapse or have a nervous breakdown.

 

It’s Official!! I’m a WW Leader! November 6, 2009

Whewwwwww… what a DAY.

Got up super early because I couldn’t sleep. I think I was rehearsing/muttering my meeting points all night in my sleep. Showered, got dressed. (same dress/sweater combo as training weekend) Drove to meeting, got there about an hour early. Clipped up my flip-chart pages and then stood around and twiddled thumbs. Went to the bathroom. Paced the meeting room to and fro, loitered at receptionist desk, etc etc etc.  Finally the members began trickling in and the room filled up.  A few of my friends came in and I was so happy to see them: two who are already WW members, and one who decided to join TODAY. Yay! Then it was time to start. SHOW TIME.

All I can say is that it went well. I felt good. I was happy to have an eye on the clock so I was able to pace myself. I got everything in that I had wanted to.  People connected with the topic and with each OTHER, which is a key thing.  One of the things they did at training one day was to have us all stand in a circle and pass this ball of yarn back and forth; eventually it made this big criss-crossy web. Which was to demonstrate what we are supposed to be doing with our members, creating a web of connection between them. I felt like I could visualize this happening throughout the meeting time and it was way cool!

After the meeting, the leaders/manager sat down to give me Feedback. Overall, it was reallllllly positive. They had been taking notes (which they gave me) which said: “Very comfortable in leader role. Warm, enthusiastic, natural smile. Professional demeanor. Excellent approach to meeting topic, well prepared.” YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!

Then they told me a few little “areas of improvement” which I totally agreed with and which were very helpful. But they were teeny tiny and just fine tuning. THEN they said, “So, how’d you like to lead an at-work meeting?” I said, “Sure, that would be great,” and then they said, “Starting today! In an hour?”

WOW. So I zipped out of there, did a quick errand I need to do at home, and zipped over to the office building where the At-Work meeting was. The reason for this incredibly rapid succession of events is that my leader was promoted to Territory Manager LAST NIGHT and now needs to find leadership for his 7 (!!) meetings. This was the first one. Now it’s mine!! So I led the meeting AGAIN, and he introduced me and basically turned it over to me.  It’s a small group and I really liked the people there.  That meeting had a totally different feel but I think it went well.

Then I came home and collapsed. Woweeeee!!!!!!!

I want to thank everyone for the great support you’ve shown me since I began this process. I feel like I’ve been so incredibly buoyed by everyone here and at Twitter. THANK YOU.

 

The Company Party October 24, 2009

Yesterday was WW’s local “Celebrations” party in which staff were given awards for various things, people got to meet and mingle, and there was some delicious food with nice little signs that detailed the ingredients and points-values. How considerate!! There was a nice spinach salad with dressing on the side, and a variety of wrap sandwiches, and some trays of 1-and-2- point cookies that had been custom baked. Wouldn’t it be nice if ALL restaurants and parties did this… gave you all the information you needed to make great choices?

Anyway, it was fun. I’ve actually never worked for a large company before, so it was all new to me. People got awards for working for 5, 10, 15, 20, and (really!!) 25 years! Which was pretty amazing. There were also awards given for Diamond Leaders, who are in the top 20% of leaders nationwide as far as having their members lose weight and sticking with the program until they reach Lifetime. Then they gave out awards for people who had helped members lose 100 lbs or more. Leaders told some very moving stories; one woman lost over 200 lbs this year. Then everyone (including me!) got gift certificates from Lands End, which was pretty nifty! I had no idea that was coming, so it was nice.

After the party I zipped over to the airport, but I didn’t really need to zip, because my flight was delayed over an hour. I’m accompanying my spouse while he’s at a conference.  At the airport, I was sooo tired and sleepy and bored, and I realllllly wanted a Starbucks hot chocolate for some reason, but thanks to Twitter, I got talked down and made it onto the flight without doing anything regretful.

I have set up a new Twitter account (not my Foodie one) that I’m going to use when I start leading meetings. I am toying with the idea of using Twitter to support my members. I can’t even express how much my Twitter friends have helped me stay accountable, and feel supported, over and over again. (case in point last night)

Coincidentally, I received a very long and detailed email from the Powers That Be over at WW this morning, explaining what we can and cannot say or do regarding WW online. I guess that includes this blog. OK, it DOES include this blog.

So, according to rules, I am stating for the record,

“I am a Weight Watchers employee writing about my personal experience on plan. The views expressed are my own and do not reflect the views of Weight Watchers.”

I hope I’m not being desrespectful when I say that this additional statement from the memo made me laugh out loud: if you choose to write a blog posting about how much you enjoy shopping with your daughter, your relationship with Weight Watchers would be irrelevant and you would not need to disclose it to the community.

Ha! But seriously, it was good that they clarified their stance. Which makes it easier for me.

SO. This hotel has a very very nice fitness center. I was all set to roll on down there this morning. I have my sneakers, my socks, my ankle brace, my iPod and armband, and my sports bra. And that’s IT. I forgot my workout clothes!! I knew I was in too much of a hurry yesterday. So I am going to have to take a walk over to the mall (20 minutes each way, yay) and pick up some exercise duds. I really wanted to workout before breakfast, but that unfortunately did not happen since the mall does not open until 10. I had a beautiful healthy breakfast! And now it’s 9:40, time to head out! Have a great weekend, people!

 

 
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