The Kick Start
There comes a time in our lives when we’ve had enough (of whatever)
and something hits a nerve so hard, lighting a fire inside of us.
That’s when you know you’ve got no other recourse other than to
change. Fifty was looming in my near future, and I was broken, and I was
overweight. I needed to do something about it.
During a post-operative check-up some weeks after the accident, I was
hoping to address when the plates in my ankle would be removed. My
surgeon proceeded to explain to me how “some people”
(twenty-year-old athletes) would need to have such plates removed versus
a sedentary seventy-year-old grandmother whose “exercise” might be a
bit of gardening. This not-so-subtle hint at my being closer to seventy
than twenty was not missed. I got it. What he saw before him was an
old, overweight woman who’d never give those plates a run for their
money. It wasn’t worth his time to worry about removing my plates.
He was basically saying, “Nope. Go away and be happy with what you
got. Taking those out is more trouble than you’re worth.”
Chronologically, I am closer to seventy than twenty. I know this. I was
sedentary and overweight, and he had just hit a major nerve. His remark
lit a very hot fire in me and I left his office hopping mad, determined
to do whatever it took to get my leg back. I’ll take up triathlon
training if that’s what it takes, was my thought. A combination of
swimming, cycling, and running seemed in theory to be the ideal recipe
for getting my leg back completely, though quite the daunting task!
There I was, still on crutches, weeks away from being able to bear
weight on my leg, and I hadn’t even ridden my bike in years. I
wasn’t sure how my leg or I would handle all this! I didn’t care how
long it took, time and effort was far better than sitting and giving up.
Although the running aspect would never reach marathon status, that was
okay. I just wanted to have no limits on “me.” If I had a desire,
need, or reason to run, there should be nothing preventing me from doing
it. That’s what I wanted.
Years earlier I was an avid road cyclist, but then I had shied away from
the whole thing after a bad accident in 2007, when I came away with a
titanium plate in my face, some numb teeth, and a torn ligament in my
hand. Getting back on the bike was scary and hard on my hurt hands.
Over the years I had gradually gained weight—right back up and over
the two hundred pound mark, my absolute heaviest. I had given up on me,
and now I couldn’t even walk and was in constant, excruciating pain.
The fear of cycling finally fell to the wayside a week or so after the
motorcycle accident. I was chatting with a doctor over the phone about
the results of my head CT and my concerns about a head injury since I
was having terrible headaches and neck pain. I had been wearing a
full-face helmet in the accident, but I had hit the pavement rather
hard. This jolly, to-the-point physician assured me that all was well
with my results, for a “career motocross rider who had had several
head injuries.” I was just sore. Motocross?? Really?!? I don’t
even like taking a bicycle off road! Suddenly getting back on a bicycle
seemed very benign by comparison! As soon as my leg was able, I was
going to try riding.
Several weeks later it was late summer, and that usually meant late
afternoon swims in the lake we lived by; but, not that summer. I
couldn’t negotiate the lumpy stone stairs down to the dock, and if
through some miracle I did get down there, there was no physical way for
me to get into the water. Getting back out again would be absolutely
impossible. It wasn’t happening for me. No way. No one swam that
summer. The family wouldn’t go swim without me, and it was tragic for
me to experience. So, there I stood perched on my crutches by the back
door one sun-drenched afternoon, just gazing at the still water. “If
only I could get into the water, I could swim.” That’s it! By
then, my leg was a toothpick around a gnarly swollen ankle, and I needed
to do something. I was still weeks away from being allowed or even able
to put any weight on it, but I could get my leg wet (at long last),
which meant I could float it in a pool and move it around a bit without
bearing any weight.
If only I could actually get down to, and then into the water…I could
Excerpted from "My "No Diet" Revolution" by Katie Perry. Copyright © 2016 by Katie Perry. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.