2009 was an incredibly toxic year for me. I have battled with eating disorders for the past three years, but this past summer I hit rock bottom. At my lowest, I weighed 115 pounds (I am 5'10") and was exercising two hours a day before my body collapsed. I started having terrible knee pain, to the point where I couldn't walk more than five steps. I saw a doctor who referred me to a physical therapist, and it turns out that I had literally depleted all the muscle in my body. There was no longer any muscle tone in my legs to hold my kneecaps in place, and consequently they were sliding around haphazardly, grinding down the cartilage beneath them with every step I took. The PT called it a patello-femoral tracking problem, and for the past six months I have been in physical therapy three times a week and partaking in a thrice-weekly strength training program to regain my muscle. I am now at a weight of 122, which is still a few pounds underweight but definitely better than before.
Upon assessing my strength for the whole-body action plan, I found myself hovering in the low-average zones for all of the strength assessments. The exception is flexibility, which I passed with flying colors. However, I was incredibly happy with my low-average results. After having the least amount of muscle tone that my physical therapist had ever seen in any patient (or so she told me), hovering anywhere near average just six months later seems like a huge accomplishment.
I am departing for a four-month marine biology research program in Australia on February 4. The program is said to be extremely strenuous physically, and I am nervous about my strength and whether my knees will be able to handle it. I am fairly confident that I will be fine, considering the immense progress that I've made in the past six months. January is my last month to build muscle and get in adequate shape for the program, and I feel that the whole body action plan is the perfect way to boost my last month of training. I will augment the detox with extra calories in order to keep my weight gain on track, but otherwise I plan on following the program in hopes that it renews and strengthens my body. I am proud of my recovery this far, and can't wait to take it to the next step!!