Friday, August 25, 2006

Push Vs. Shove

I’ve always known there was a difference between these two words but it’s never been so apparent until recently.

When I think of a push a few things come to mind. I think of a mom pushing her baby in a stroller through the mall. There’s a dad in the park pushing his son on the swing. My neighbor pushes his car down the street while his wife sits inside to pop the clutch at just the right moment to get the old girl started one more time. An old man pushes his wife in her wheelchair outside the nursing home so she can see the sun and smell the flowers for another day. There’s the push-up bra... well... we all understand how helpful THAT push is. A push is a gentle something, a nudge that is harmless.

Now shove takes on a whole different meaning. A shove is what the bully does to the weak kid on the playgound before he steals his milk money. A shove is what the guy gives to the other fella who’s been dancing with his girl just a litle too long. A shove is what rotten parents do to each other at Christmas time when there’s only one more Spanish-speaking-singing-dancing-crying-peeing-jumping-sit-me-on-the-floor-and-I’ll-make-so-much-noise-your-ears-will-bleed Elmo left on the shelf and little Mary Ellen doesn’t have one yet. A shove is mean-spirited and can often cause harm.

While on my weight loss journey I have noticed the difference in pushes and shoves. Some pushes and shoves I have inflicted upon myself, some have been given by family, friends, strangers and collegues.

As you know I have been walking and jogging since I’ve started this whole thing. Recently I’ve noticed a little bit of pain in my inner shins after I have jalked. A little searching on the internet and a few message board questions later, I discovered my pain could be caused from shin splints. I did some further reading and although the pain seemed similar to what the website was explaining I thought to myself that it was more likely that my legs hurt because I am simply not used to the exercise yet. I mean really, I haven’t used these muscles in years, why should I expect them to just hop to it without any backtalk?

So I took the following day off to let my legs rest and then went back for another jalk. As I started down the path I had some soreness in my shins again. I said to myself “this is gonna suck.” But I continued on my way. (Push). I got to the end of my path and the pain hadn’t changed much, so I turned around and started running back from where I came from. (Push) About halfway through my second lap the pain was a bit more intensified. I slowed down to a quick walk to try to releive the pain and catch my breath. Once I could breathe again I decided to try run through the pain, assuring myself it was just because I have never really been a runner before. I took about 3 steps and hobbled to a complete halt. (SHOVE!) I hobbled and wobbled the rest of the way home and am now recovering nicely. I’ve decided to slow my jalks down to once every 3 days and supplement my cardio with bike riding. I’m also stretching like Gumby as often as possible. Knowing when I am pushing and when I am shoving is an art I still have to master.

I was going out to lunch with the girls at the office the other day. We don’t have a lot of choices in the neighborhood so it was either a Turkish Pizza or going to the snackbar where they sell croquets (A Dutch treat), french fries with mayo (another European habit) and other deep fried, greasy foods. As we were walking out the door trying to decide which place we would dine at that afternoon my boss, who is very aware of my weight loss goals and is a friend, said outloud “We’re not going to the snackbar, Sarah has to watch her weight.” (Push or shove?) Sometimes it’s a grey area.

I knew this was a push from her. She has been one of my biggest fans and a great support through this whole thing. She may want to work on her delivery of the push and I’m sure to outsiders it sounded like a total shove (the half dollar sized eyes on one girl, who didn’t know about my lifestyle change yet gave me that hunch) but it’s just the way she is.

So maybe you’re wondering if what you’re doing to help a loved one is actually a push or a shove and you don’t know how to really tell the difference, as there is a very fine line between the two. Here are some basic guidelines that will keep you on the gentle side of the line (and not turn you into one of those Elmo grabbing psychos).

If it makes me cry, it’s a shove. (hey, you’d be surprised at who thinks this is a push)

If it makes me feel embarrassed or ashamed of myself, it’s a shove. (Trust me, over weight people feel bad enough, we dont need the extra help beating ourselves up about it)

If it makes me take a step back and rethink my actions, it’s a push.

If it gives me knowledge or power to overcome an obstacle, it’s a push.

If it is a prize that I really truely want, need and deserve, it’s a push.

If it’s a reward that undoes any of what I am working towards, it’s a shove. (Go ahead and have the pie and ice cream, you lost 2 pounds this week, you deserve it!)

I know there are more examples out there but I think you get the idea. I’m not saying you have to walk on eggshells around somebody who is going through a life change like mine (or any other life altering experience) or treat them like small children. Heck, I’m even a fan of tough love. But should I ever eat too much and not make my goal for the week, throwing it in my face or reminding me of it every time I eat a meal is a shove. Asking me if I want to go for an extra bike ride this week is a push.

Doors can be pushed. And when you push a door it opens and you can walk through. Feel free to hold one open for me so I can pass through.

When you shove a door it opens as well, but as quickly as it opens, it swings back and smacks you right in the face. Don’t shove my door.


Barbi said...

I love your blog! I am trying to lose weight, too, as I am starting to have more and more health problems. You go, Girl, well done!


serenity said...

This might disrupt your Zen - but I used to get MONSTER shin splints too, and it wasn't because I was pushing (shoving?) too hard - it was actually because my running shoes were too small.

Got a pair a half size above where I thought I should be and I haven't had a problem with shin splints yet.

The only way for them to go away is to take a break for a while (i.e. sit on a bike or walk slowly) but what can prevent you from getting them again is to get a different pair of running shoes.

You're doing great! I love reading this blog!

Anonymous said...

Serenity thanks for the info! I don't know where I can get fitted for running shoes here, but I'll definately look into it. I have super sized feet (US Size 10 double wides) and it's really hard to find shoes to fit me in the Netherlands.

I'm glad you guys like reading! I'll keep writing then!