Steve, your response got me thinking this morning about what's been going on with me the past few days.
I've noticed something: when I think of myself as a recovering athlete, it's easier to discipline my eating, but more frustrating to bump up against my physical limitations, which is stressful.
When I think of myself as striving for good health and function, I find myself eating with less restraint and discipline, but not as hung up on performance at activities, and just taking more pleasure from being able to move without excessive pain.
I really don't know who I am anymore with regard to this part of my life.
What makes this hard is coming off a Crossfit template for fitness. I think what happened to me last year is that I trained to my peak, and then overtrained. Right before my surgery, I had true adrenal fatigue (if you believe in that sort of thing) because I was training hard at the gym, and dealing with life-threatening illnesses in both of my children, as well as my neurologic condition and my upcoming surgery. I'm sure that the reason it took me so long to recover (and why I developed the frozen shoulder) was because of this burnout.
So I am conflicted when I go to the gym. I don't know whether to tough it out or take it easy. I'm just really thinking this out here and now.
When I do a risk/reward analysis, it gets clearer.
1. I am not a professional athlete whose career is on the line.
2. My goals are to be able to enjoy life and have sufficient fitness to do the things I really want to do, most notably travel, hike, bike (if possible) and to feel intensely well and vital, as I did when I was highly, but not over, trained. I'll never forget how wonderful it was to keep up with my teenaged son hiking, kayaking and rock-climbing during a trip out West.
To that end, it's better to go slowly and under-train (at this point) than to overdo it and suffer the consequences. The rewards of pushing hard---getting there faster, getting stronger quicker, feeling like a badass, etc.---just aren't worth the risk of injury or even excessive fatigue at this point.
So where does that leave me? (I'm going to talk to myself out loud now)
1. Remember, this is only your second week of regular, daily physical activity!
2. Continue to develop the ability to listen to your body and trust its wisdom in healing.
3. Think about the primary attributes of fitness---endurance, strength, and flexibility---in new, creative ways.
4. Train for vibrant health with the same degree of dedication and excitement as you trained for Crossfit. Create a new yardstick instead of the leader board.
5. Realize that every choice you make in terms of diet and supplementation is even more critical now, because you are supporting your repair and recovery. Since you are emerging from a critical BURNOUT state, EVERYTHING you choose must support recovery.
6. Learn especially novel ways of strength training: think resistence bands, bodyweight, etc.
7. Start the process of finding yourself a sensitive and skilled coach who won't impose a Crossfit template on your program.
That helped! I'm going to go enjoy my dance class today without guilt that I am not working on heavy deadlifts or, heaven forbid, "Fran." I have just enjoyed my breakfast of brussel sprouts cooked in bacon and topped with two eggs. Now I'm going to take my fish oil and call it a morning!
Those who hear not the music, think the dancers mad.