Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

January 10, 2012

The New Year, Kale, Tin Cup and the Magic Bullet

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 1:54 am

Do you remember in the movie Tin Cup when Kevin Costner’s character is so frustrated with his golf swing that he enlists the help of all sorts of ridiculous devices to fix it?  I’m laughing at the scene when his therapist finds him in his trailer all tangled in gadgets meant to cure his wayward drive.

He’s no different from most of us.

And neither am I.

I’ve long battled my weight.  When I was an athlete and then when I worked eighty to a hundred hours a week, I was strong and active and I kept the weight at bay.   When I suffered my TBI and everything in my life came to a screeching halt, however, the weight piled on.  Sudden, complete and utter inactivity.   Loss of balance and the control of my legs.   Medications.   Comfort eating.   Not having to zip up skirts every day.   Laying on my couch waiting for my injury to heal and for my life to return….

The numbers soared.

Lord knows I’ve tried to get it off.  I’ve jumped on more bandwagons than I could ever count.   There was the no carb diet and the sauerkraut diet.   The Cabbage Soup and the Fit For Life.   There was the fruit and oatmeal and the no eating after 7pm.   There was the chicken and broccoli and the no sweets.

I’ve counted this and eliminated that.   Someone would call and I’d be putting drops of this under my tongue.   Another friend would email and I’d be ordering up this type of vitamin.    Lemon water  and digestive enzymes and self-hypnotizing…

There’s been researching body types and blood types and family history and food color.  Endless Internet searches and retold accounts of how the neighbor of a friend’s sister’s boyfriend lost sixty-two pounds eating only apples and rice….

There have been treadmills and Pilates.   Yoga and the elliptical.   Weight lifting.  Karate.   Dancing.  Zumba for beginners.

Currently it’s kale and coconut oil.   The battle wages on.  The search for the magic bullet continues.

It’s more fun than the truth.

The truth is that, when I have eaten sensibly, cut out the white sugars and starches, consumed some water, worked out regularly and gotten good sleep, I lose weight.

No magic bullets.  No gadgets.   No battery-operated belts which simulate sit-ups.   No plastic pants and no non-invasive body sculpting.  No lipo and no heat-activated laser fat melting.   No fat cell cream and no spells cast by the notoriously trusted fat ninja from a small band of thin warriors in the jungles of the Amazon.

Damn.  I loved their outfits.

Too many times we, as TBI survivors, want the magic bullet.   We want the infomercial that tells us in thirty minutes how we can have a new, better, happier life if we just grab our credit card and call this number in the next ten minutes.   Shipping and handling, free.

But wait!  Call now and receive TWO new brain-healthy lives for the price of one PLUS the never-before-available egg boiler that doubles as a hair straightener and tire inflator.

The facts don’t change just because we don’t like the facts.

The facts don’t change just because we choose to ignore them.

It is another New Year and thank God we are all still here with another kick at the can.  To start over again.  To crack open a sparkling fresh calendar and resolve to change our bodies, our health, our relationships, our financial situations.

And in the silence of our thoughts.  In the quiet of our hearts.  When we turn off the infomercials and power down the computer….

We know that the only way he or she will never hit us again or abuse us again is if we terminate the relationship and move out, once and for all.   We know that the only way we will get better at shooting freethrows is if we practice shooting freethrows.   We know that the only way we will get better grades is if we actually go to class and study more.   And the only way we are going to lose weight is if we eat less, eat better and move more.


For those of us hoping to live lives this New Year which are less consumed with brain injury, there is the simple truth that we must then begin to live lives which are less consumed with brain injury.  We must, every day, step over the ruins of a life that no longer exists and keep walking towards a new one.  Despite the problems thinking.  Despite the legs that don’t work right.  Despite the headaches.   Despite the messed up words.  Despite everything.

Not unlike any change.   Not unlike any new.

It is a one-day-at-a-time proposition.

Like the billions who, today, will wake up and try not to have a drink, light a smoke, go back to him/her, skip class, reach for that pill bottle…we must wake up each and every day and don the armor of the determined.   To battle the sneaking, stenching, daring, taunting doubts which nip at our heels and tell us we simply are not good enough, strong enough, worthy enough to enjoy success and happiness.

It is in the promise that, each morning, we will begin it believing that we are.

One of the biggest challenges for me in my weight loss battle is to not let one bad day last for three months.   To not have brownies for my birthday Sunday and then wake up in August twenty pounds heavier wondering what the fu&k happened to my New Year’s weight loss resolution.   LOL.

We have to remind ourselves enough and love ourselves enough to try again every day.

Let’s be kind to ourselves.  Let’s forgive ourselves the stumbles and bumbles and mumbles.   Let’s do something today to move toward our version of happiness.   And then let’s do it again tomorrow.

Successful recovery after brain injury has little to do with lingering symptoms.   It has a whole lot more to do with lingering broken hearts and forfeited dreams and the bitter nasties of feeling cheated of a life we had chosen.

Let’s choose a new one.

Let’s choose a great one.

The facts do not change until we change them.   Let’s change them for the better, beginning today.

I wish all of you the good health and happiness that you strive for this New Year.   The wonderfully warm waves of personal victory and success washing over you time and time again.  Whatever your struggle, your challenge, your mountain, I wish you strength in easing it, solving it, climbing it, beating it.

Let’s be happy.   Let’s find happy.   Let’s create it and protect it and prioritize it and relish it.

Happy New Year to all of you.   I’m cheering for you.

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