It’s been a little over a year since I began working out heavily and eating healthier. I’m also now 8 weeks into my 6 month vegan bodybuilding program. I’m down 40lbs or so from where I began, probably a couple of sizes, and definitely a lot of inches. I can honestly say that my life is almost unrecognizable from what it was like before. I don’t feel the same and I don’t think I look the same, but even deeper, I don’t view the world the same. I’m more optimistic and more able to take risks. My work isn’t any less hectic or crazy, but I don’t feel the stress in the same way I did. I’m more patient with a much longer fuse than I had before I began.
Apparently, I’ve also been walking wrong this entire time, too.
Now, I met the milestone to learn to walk pretty much on time and I thought I had this all figured out. No one has ever mentioned that I walked wrong. I’ve even been evaluated at a running store for running shoes and I was told all I needed was neutral cushioning shoes because I ran just fine without support. Last week, I learned that was pretty much all wrong.
I’ve had foot pain most of my life and I’ve always had trouble finding shoes that were comfortable. As I increased my steps for my bodybuilding program, my feet began to hurt more and my teenaged daughter who is wise far beyond her years finally convinced me to go see a podiatrist. Ok, she patiently nagged me into it. I’ve never wanted anyone to mess with my feet and I’ve always been a little afraid that if I went to see a podiatrist they’d want to do surgery to correct a problem with my toes from a childhood accident. My whole life, I’d assumed my foot pain was due to some “funky” toes that I’d broken while very young and I really would rather have limped along than let someone hurt them again to make them better.
But…teens can be pretty persistent, so eventually it was worth it just to go get the x-rays and get my feet looked at.
It turns out my funky toes weren’t the problem at all, but there are some pretty serious issues with my feet that if I had NOT gone to see a podiatrist might have led to me needing surgery. Thankfully, because I went in, the problems are still easily treatable with new shoes, orthotics, and something called a “metatarsal pillow.” Basically, all these things force my foot to move in the way it was meant to move rather than the way I’d adapted to move it due to some weird anatomical issues I have probably always had. I spent over 40 years walking wrong and as a result, my feet became more and more adapted to walking wrong and now I have to learn to walk right with all these additional supports in my shoes and physical therapy.
At first, it felt really strange having all this under my feet when I walked. It’s like there’s something in my shoe, just behind the ball of my foot…because there is something in my shoe right there. This forces me to use my big toe more, which it turns out I’ve never really used to walk. It’s uncomfortable, but I quickly found that the pain I’d been feeling…disappeared! Since discomfort is better than pain, I am sticking with it.
This does mean that I can’t go barefoot unless I’m on my yoga mat or swimming and I probably will be limited in what kinds of dress shoes I can wear…in the short term, I may just rock the dress clothes and sneakers look since each pair of shoes will need orthotics and such.
It got me to thinking how I assume I know what I’m doing in other parts of my life. If I was wrong when I thought I knew how to walk, what other basics might I be getting wrong? In what other ways have I adapted to doing things in a way that really isn’t good or natural for me? I certainly see this play out in my old eating patterns, where food was comfort from stress as well as celebration or reward.
Change is uncomfortable, especially at first, but often its the only way to move in a direction that eases pain.