Your Body… An Amazing Machine (January 2021)
Over the holidays I had gum surgery. I was given specific instructions from my periodontist regarding my diet and movement for the first couple of weeks.
I didn’t think consuming pureed and soft foods would be a big deal, since this was not for long. I am always a compliant patient and wanted to have a successful outcome. Being an athlete my whole life, I was told to not elevate my blood pressure and I was not allowed to participate in any of my usual forms of movement. That was very challenging.
Over the first few days and for the few several months, I was extremely sensitive to temperature. This is something that has been a problem for me prior to the gum surgery (especially very cold and frozen foods) but now needing to eat everything at room temperature has been important for me to obtain enough fuel. Excluding foods that I would normally eat such as nuts, seeds, crusty breads, rice, cookies, raw produce and bars has not been easy as I enjoy eating this items and not having my usual “go to’s” has made me feel deprived, especially after five days into this eating regimen. I have been more aware of my hunger, cravings and tolerance to food choices and my mood in addition to what allows me to reach a place of satisfaction.
Being a registered dietitian nutritionist I am always observant of my clients needs, what they like to eat, what they are open to eating, how safe a choice is for them and now I was really having to dial into alternative selections for myself especially since I have never felt deprived when eating. Of course, there have been times that I was not satisfied as a meal did not hit the spot, tasted different that I thought, or my taste buds had changed.
Having to be aware of every bite, not having food get caught under my stitches, limiting swishing and extensive chewing were all areas that I had never paid attention to before. When I would be asked to go out to eat, historically I would be excited and open to eat wherever but now I would have to think about what options work for my dental situation. This reminded me of clients who are not free and flexible with food and I found this to be limiting and restrictive and not fun. Sharing dishes, being spontaneous and flexible were all things that were taken away from me until stitches were removed and I was less sensitive.
Movement on the other hand has been interesting and physically uncomfortable. I would walk my dog’s multiple times per day with or without my husband and would find the next day that my hips were sore, my feet bothered me and basically felt like I was aging rapidly. Having body work done on me by the body worker I see, he had reported that my areas of tension were very different, and I couldn’t believe from walking how uncomfortable I was in my body. The hip issues reminded me of one of the reasons I stopped running ten years ago and have engaged in low impact movement. The chronic feet problems I have had since I was thirteen, I was faced with although different problems post four-foot surgeries.
This entire experience has allowed me to stop and be in the moment paying attention to my body, my mouth, mood and have more insight within myself. I wanted to express my gratitude and thanks for having a body that works which typically allows me to cycle, swim, play tennis, attend Iyengar yoga and Pilates as well as lift weights. I have learned how to move in ways that don’t hurt me, make my body feel strong and yes, I get sore from moving but not in a way that makes me be in so much pain.