I was at the physiatrist's office anyway, so I decided to get my wrist and hand pain/numbness evaluated. No carpal tunnel, but tendonitis in both forearms (hello, heavy weights) and overuse syndrome in wrist and hand (hello, computer), aggravated by a pinched nerve in my upper back.
I was banned from any upper-body lifting for at least three months! No lower-body weights, no upper-body weights - what's left?
Solution: Do what you CAN. I learned to use the elliptical trainer, which had always intimidated me before. It does help develop muscle strength in the lower body. With a sensible 40/30/30 diet and eating smaller amounts every three hours, I started to see some weight loss. I was staying in the 160s rather than the 170s.
Cut to last summer. I had major thoracic surgery. Chest cracked open, thymoma removed. Problems with slow wound healing and excessive pain. Pain medications weren't effective. My wound kept reopening itself. It adhered to my sternum. Scar tissue began to form under my skin across my chest, pulling my shoulders into a hunch. I could barely move, much less walk. Forget lifting anything.
My first attempt at walking exercise lasted 10 minutes. I went the length of the driveway and back. By the end of my 10-week recovery period, I could walk about a mile in 30 minutes.
I worked with my physiatrist and physical therapists to bring my range of motion back to normal, loosen the scar adhesions and break down the scar tissue. I moved back to the city and continued to walk.
During the winter, I used the elliptical machine and took yoga. In the spring I was cleared to use 3- to 5-pound weights for upper-body exercises. In March, I went on a very active vacation to Belize - hiking, caving, climbing, horseback riding.