I finally reduced adductor muscle pain with a couple of basic stretches!

I have struggled with a painful adductor muscle for around 5 years, and it has, at times, been excruciating. Eventually, I visited the doctor, who sent me for a hip x-ray (no mention of the adductor muscle). Happily, there was nothing wrong with my hip and the situation was left there… although the pain continued.

I started taking Naproxen (an anti-inflammatory), and they actually helped, but the pain and discomfort continued to keep me awake at night, and my hip/groin area would often suddenly ‘lock’. I battled through it, walking the dog daily, and I even took up kickboxing – I was determined not to be held prisoner by this effing thing! Many times, after class, I could barely walk, and the condition definitely affected the height and power of my kicks (and to make matters worse, I have short legs!).

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It was my eldest daughter who explained that it wasn’t my hip, but the adductor muscle. She is a kickboxing instructor, and periodically experiences the same kind of pain; in fact, it is a very common injury for sporty people. I am pretty sure that mine first occurred when I was learning to ride my motorbike… I fell off a zillion times, having to drag the poor machine back into an upright position time after time!

I revisited the doctor, who referred me for some physiotherapy, but although the guy was very nice, he basically showed me the same stretching exercises we were doing during kickboxing classes and advised me to stick with it.

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Fast forward 6 months, I was still in pain and more often than not walking with a limp. My daughter kept telling me that the tightness was probably caused by the glute muscles, and I did my best to loosen them up! And then, after class one evening, she handed me a sponge snord and instructed me to put it on the floor and roll my bottom over it… and I felt a crunching in the offending cheek, which was actually quite pleasant, in a weird way!

I started to do something I used to do, many years ago: repeatedly and tightly squeezing and releasing my buttock cheeks… on the couch, in bed, whilst at my computer desk, etc. I also got into the habit of performing sets of hip-lifts, and stretching my legs whilst holding onto my toes (and watching TV!), and I began to notice an improvement in my groin – there was far less tightness and a lot less pain… plus no locking! I have been waiting to wake up one day and find that it was just a temporary improvement, and that the stiffness is still there – but, two weeks have passed, and I am still able to move around much better than I have been able to for years. I am not saying that I am completely pain-free, but probably about 85%. I still try to be careful with how I move, especially whilst turning over in bed, but it really seems that a couple of simple exercises have made a massive difference!

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Of course, my leg muscles are stronger than they were a year ago before I began kickboxing, and so that will definitely have helped. But, even so, the young students in their teens and twenties obviously have more natural flexibility than I do, at 61. However, I am quick on my feet whilst sparring, and am told by the instructor that I have very ‘fast hands’! One test is going to be when I next wear shoes with heels; although I used to almost live in heels, nowadays I am either wearing trainers or flip-flops or have bare feet. I noticed in the past that the pain would become more intense after I had changed my footwear for something a little loftier, even for just a few hours… and I am hoping that that will no longer be the case!   

Another of the areas I know I still need to work on is how I hold myself during pad-work and sparring; I am way too stiff, which admittedly, puts a bit of power behind a jab-cross, but is poor style! And of course, a more fluid approach is going to help me improve technique and speed, and avoid unnecessary muscle strain. It is so easy to throw yourself into it, shoulders stiff and scrunched, forgetting to ‘flow like water’!

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And, of course, good rotation is absolutely necessary where fluid movement is concerned; the three R’s have been drummed into us like a sacred mantra: reach, rotation, and retraction!

It is never too late to become more physically flexible, and reduce or even heal old injuries – and sometimes it isn’t even as difficult as we fear it might be. I am not saying that these simple and common-place stretches are the ultimate solution to all adductor issues – only that they have been working for me, and my particular problem. I was on the verge of angrily demanding further medical assessment, convinced that I would never be free of the wretched pain and stiffness… but I am hugely more hopeful now! 

 

  

Sadness leads to belly-fat-busting failure…

I have to admit folks, I fell off the belly-fat-busting wagon. I haven’t increased my weight since the last update, but neither have I lost any. I have continued to attend kickboxing classes 3/4 times a week… but as for diet, carbs have been the order of the day.

The reason (there’s always a reason, isn’t there?): our beloved dog became increasingly weak and poorly, at one point showing sudden improvement only to start dipping again. We were having to carry her upstairs, lift her onto the bed and the couch and into the car, and we knew the inevitable was coming… the thought of which sent a shock wave through my chest, taking my breath away. When it reached the point at which we were having to hover over her every time she needed to move or go out to the garden, we knew it was unfair to keep her hanging on, just because we couldn’t bear to lose her. She was 15, which the vet gently insisted, several times, was ‘old’… and the steroids were no longer having the magical effect they once did.

So, on a grey Wednesday morning, as she lay on the couch, we stroked her as the vet administered the dose that would release her from the stiffness and the reduced sight and hearing that had clearly been depressing her. I had started drinking before the vet arrived (unable to face saying goodbye sober), and continued for the rest of a day that would become nothing more than a blur. She was the friend I had walked with daily throughout the woods and along the beach, season in, season out. Last summer, I video’d one of our walks, and I am so glad that I did. Although those times have now come to an end, and a new chapter has begun, I can revisit whenever I want to.

Anyway, I was back at kickboxing two days later, and it was a welcome distraction. Sensei has announced more than once that I am the fastest in class when it comes to jab/cross, and I am quick on my feet whilst sparring, and I am definitely not the first to be heaving and gasping during fitness routines… not bad for an old bird. But it is time (again) to address this tractor tyre that has taken up residence around my middle; I will feel, and look, so much better without it. And it is time to start writing again, as this is the first thing I have penned in weeks. I buried myself in working with my customers, going to kickboxing and reading; I hit the John Grisham’s with a vengeance until I could no longer stomach another lawyer-mafia-murderer story. Time to let the light in again.

 

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4 lbs lost last week… but I couldn’t stomach a high fat/low carb diet!

I lost 4 lbs last week, starting off on April 1st, following a high-fat, low-carb diet. I published a blog announcing my intentions, and included pics of how I look now, how I used to look, and the scales registering at 10 st 4 lb (144 lbs).

https://fabfit40plus.com/2019/04/01/pounds-of-belly-fat-to-lose-i-am-counting-calories-carbs-protein-and-fat/

However, I couldn’t hack it… which came as no surprise to me! I am a long-term calorie counter and had decided that I wouldn’t change that – but that I would also count carbs, fat, and protein. By the third day, I was struggling and yearned for more carbs. I was tired, my gums were sensitive (from eating more meat, I think), and I felt a bit flat. I understand that perseverance is required with a high-fat way of eating, but I wasn’t committed enough to put up with the discomfort!

So, back it was to straightforward calorie counting and selected carbs… and, as I say, I lost 4 lbs. I also attended 4 kickboxing classes and did some brisk walking (I have to say though, that by the end of the final class – last Friday evening – I was ready to drop!). I also repetitively used 2 x 1 kg weights whilst sitting on the couch watching TV, in an attempt to strengthen my arms and develop ‘muscle memory’ (as my instructor, who also happens to be my eldest daughter, calls it!). Punching outwards as fast as I can is more tiring than it sounds!

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I decided to lose weight steadily rather than trying to do it in a big rush, aiming at 8 st 12 lb (132 lbs) by mid-June for my 4th kickboxing grading, so have been having 1600 calories a day. I will probably have to reduce this periodically, in order to consistently keep losing. It takes effort but I am determined to give it my best shot!

So, what does an average day’s diet consist of?

Breakfast: cottage cheese or natural yoghurt.

Lunch: A large salad and a baked chicken breast, with low-fat mayo

Or low-fat cream cheese (with salmon or sweet chill) with low-calorie crackers.

Dinner: Fish or chicken or a pork chop, with veg.

Supper: Lemon or chocolate mousse, sometimes with a handful of grapes and berries.

I drink tea with a splash of skimmed milk (no change there, this is just how I take my tea), and green tea. I drink water whilst training, and always have some by the bed for during the night.

AND, I drank a bottle of red wine over the weekend (calorie-counted!).

I am not a nutritionist, and I don’t want to get into anything too complex or demanding; I just want to lose the spare tractor tyre that has taken up residence around my middle, have plenty of energy, and feel reasonably full. I am also not seeing this as a diet but as a permanently revised way of eating. It worked for me in the past, keeping the excess weight off for years until I allowed things to get out of hand. Sadly, I have found that the older you get the weirder fat behaves, choosing to hang around in the least desirable areas… and that metabolism stubbornly drags its heels. So be it. I just have to work harder than I used to… damn it! And yes, I know that most of my 4 lbs lost is probably water (I have been up in the night weeing more than usual), but who cares? It’s better off being flushed away than slopping around my belly and bum!

 

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Pounds of belly fat to lose: I am counting calories, carbs, protein and fat!

I am notably fatter than I was, and here is the proof.

This is how I look now:

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And this is how I used to look, not too many years back:

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And this is me today, 1st April, on my aged bathroom scales… 10st 4 lb. I was 10st for the longest time, no matter what I ate, becoming unhappily complacent… until I recently gained another 4 lb. It really is time to get to grips with this, and right now!

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I am 5ft 2” (I used to be 5ft 3”, so have shrunk a little!), am 61, and more than 28 lbs heavier than at my happiest weight.

I do NOT buy into something that I have heard too many times from middle-aged folk: “well, at our age we need a bit more padding”. Why? Have we suddenly started falling over every five minutes? The truth is, NO, we don’t need extra padding! What I do agree with though is that for various biological reasons, our fat settles itself on different parts of our body than it did when we were younger. 75% of my fat has taken up residence around my waist, the rest on my face, upper thighs and bottom. I look as if I am wearing an overstuffed bumbag around my middle. And although I am definitely fitter and stronger than I was, thanks to 3-4 kickboxing classes per week, I am still eating too much of the wrong kind of foods… and indulging in too much alcohol. And again, to those who say, “if you exercise regularly you can eat as much as you like without gaining weight” – NO, you can’t!

So, I have been a long-term calorie counter, and in the past it worked very well for me. I have lost a reasonable amount of weight twice in my life, keeping it off for years, courtesy of calorie counting – but I feel that it is no longer the magic wand it used to be, probably because my body has changed. However, I am struggling to completely let go of it, and having done a fair amount of research, I have decided to pay more attention to the balance between carbs, fat and protein, whilst counting calories. I am not a nutritionist and am not pretending to be any kind of expert – and I don’t want to get into anything too intense or complicated. I have looked into the Keto diet, but I don’t relish going into ketosis (plus, years ago, I tried the Atkins diet more than once and absolutely couldn’t hack it!).

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But I do recognise that I have been eating and drinking far too many carbs than can possibly be good for anyone, and that it isn’t just about the number of calories I consume… it is about the quality of those calories! I know that I HAVE to change… not next week or next month, but NOW!

Unfortunately, I have turned into a wimp, when once I was hardcore. Around 15 years ago I lost 4 stone (56 lb) within a couple of months, by eating only 600 calories a day and going to bed hungry every night. I would absolutely not recommend this to anyone as a good or healthy way to lose weight, because obviously it isn’t (though it didn’t appear to have any detrimental effect). Nowadays I struggle to be hungry for even an hour, which is pathetic given that there are so many genuinely starving people on the planet. I believe that my body has become programmed to react like a growing baby seagull, constantly and persistently demanding to be fed… because it knows for sure that I will comply. Well, now it is up to me to reprogramme my own body for its own good, and also for the sake of my personal pride. I don’t want to look like a 21 year old, but the fact is that I have been heading in a direction that is beginning to frighten me, never mind dishearten me. I have had enough.

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According to a website I looked at this morning, for my height, weight and activity levels, and in order to lose weight steadily, I need to be consuming no more than 1600 calories a day. That may well be almost half of what I have been eating on some days, I am ashamed to admit, but I am giving it a go… whilst being aware of the kinds of foods that are making up those calories. I am aiming for 8 st 12 lb, which will require me to lose 20 lbs, and then I will decide where I go from there!  

Anyway, I have a kickboxing class within the next hour, so I had better sign off. Now that I have made all of this public I am duty bound to put my money where my mouth is (luckily there are no calories in money!), and I will make periodic updates on my progression!     download