Yoga love, my yoga love

Yes, I’m singing “Baby love” by The Supremes while typing this, and YES, I know. Another post about my love for yoga? Yep. Because last night in yoga, well, it was amazing. A-maz-ing.

No one else in class could hear me silently cheering for myself as I did not one, not two, but three things I had never been able to do before. I wanted to stop the class and say “Look what I can do!!”. And I was in Savasana, I was already taking mental notes for this blog post. And thinking about how things in my life have changed so much in the past 2 and a half years since I began this journey that I never ever ever thought I would.

This practice has taken me from overweight to fit, from insecure to confident, from anxiety to (mostly) calm. Oh I still worry about stuff I can’t control, and have moments of complete freak out, but I also don’t stay in that space for long. I’ve learned to control what I can and let go of what I can’t.

I know a lot of non-yoga people get sooooooo sick of hearing yoga people talk about how great it is. But has anyone stopped to realize they’re singing yogas praises for a good reason?? It’s a body, mind and soul transformation. Not a lot of things can claim all three. I have a few runner friends who feel that way about running. I tried running. I know I can run, which is something I never thought I’d say either. But I had too many injuries and not a deep-in-my-soul love for it. So I get runner love. I hope they can appreciate my yoga love.

And in an effort to remain honest about my practice, yes I almost did fall over last night in a pose I’ve done a hundred thousand times. And I also know why. Because in that moment, that second, my mind drifted and I wasn’t focused. Of course I laughed with Julie because, well, hello? I almost fell over! But after I regained my balance and was realizing what I did wrong, it occurred to me that so many things in our lives are just like that pose and potential fall.

How many times have you lost focus in what you are doing? Things are going well, maybe you start to feel like you can coast a little instead of furiously pedaling, and then you start to swerve. Your resolve starts to waiver and you quickly get jolted back to what can happen if you lose that concentration. Hopefully you can correct your thinking and start again toward your goal. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a hard fall to see that you’ve totally lost your previous determination and it takes a scraped knee or elbow to see how far you fell.

This could be with anything: exercise, diet, anger, dating, addiction, career, kids, spouse, anything. Anything you are trying to change about yourself to make you a better you. Change isn’t easy. There is resistance, sometimes from others who don’t want to see you change, but most of the time, the resistance is right between your own ears. We think things of ourselves that we would never say outloud or to another person. We allow our bad thinking to take over and self sabotage our progress. “I’ll never lose that much weight” or “I’ll never get that promotion” or “I’ll never find someone who will treat me better. I deserve what I’m getting” or “I can have just one (or two or five) and no one will know.” We SAY these things to ourselves!! ACK!

What yoga has taught me is that what happens outside of my mat has nothing to do with me and if I focus on myself and what I can do, nothing can stop me. I can look inside and praise my little victories, even if no one else does. It’s MY victory after all. I can look at how far I’ve come and not be bogged down by how much further I have to go. I can control my mind, my actions, my day by how I respond to my own thinking. Basically, I can get out of my own way.

And by getting out of my own way, I’ve empowered myself. Even if I have a swerve. Or I lose concentration for a second. The more I practice, the stronger I am. The more you have people around you, supporting you, understanding what you’re doing and going through, the easier it is to acknowledge the slip and get right back up. And LEARN from it. Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

yoga love

Hello Blog!

Oh how I’ve missed you! I haven’t written a new blog post in, well, for-ev-er! Life has a way of throwing curve balls just when you think the track couldn’t get any curvier. That’s when you strap in, hold on and find out what you’re really made of.

You also find out who is there and who isn’t when the dust has cleared somewhat. And that’s always surprising isn’t it?

I’m back from vacation. It was wonderful to be away for two weeks and enjoy the sunshine, palm trees and beachy air. We found places in Florida we love and it has confirmed our decision to move. The Florida life is what this girl needs. I think I can handle one more winter here, knowing it will be my last.

Our favorite 2 places were Punta Gorda and Venice. Punta Gorda is a completely different lifestyle as every house has a canal in the back with a boatdock. The canals lead to straight to the Gulf of Mexico. I mean, how amazing is that? Venice has two of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen and the town itself is small and has little shops lining the streets. It reminds me of Uptown Westerville and has a small town feel to it. I could picture being in either location and loving it.

The downside, I ate WAY too much on my two week hiatus and was shocked at the scale when I got back on the first morning. Nothing jump starts motivation than a backward step. I’ve been watching the calories and back to my work out routine (which in all honesty, did not suffer while I was gone. I did yoga, went on bike rides, long walks, but oh dear Lord did the diet go on the back back back burner!) and I’m happy to say I’m only 3 lbs away from where I was before vacation. I know I’ll get there and won’t make that mistake again!

I have my class reunion this weekend too and plugged into my calorie calculator how to lose 20 lbs by this Friday. It kept saying “error” so I yelled at it and put it away. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life!

Oh, and speaking of getting back into the groove of things, I went to my yoga class Saturday and for the first time ever, I “flipped my dog”. After all this time in yoga, I’ve been terrified to even try it. But I did on Saturday, figuring, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I fall? Ok. I fall. Who ever learns something from not falling and failing? But I didn’t fall! I’m sure it wasn’t the prettiest thing and I’m fairly certain I wasn’t doing it completely right, but I flipped and did it. That hand was reaching for the sky baby!

Some day I’ll blog about my hiatus and reach out to others about it, but for now, I’m back! The good, the bad and the ugly surround us all every day. It’s our reaction, and our perception and our ability to move forward in situations that brings us to our knees that defines who we are. And most of the time, when we’re on our knees, we’re there for a good reason. Stay there. Pray about it. Meditate about it. And you’ll be amazed at how you can once again get up and move on with new perspective.

Namaste.

Venice beach

Relapse or Slip?

These terms could fit a myriad of issues. And for good reason. They are interchangable with what we all struggle with. All of us. Don’t think you have a problem? Ha! I bet if asked, people could come up with at least “Fault”. I use fault in quotations because obviously not all struggles are exactly equal in scope and size, but at the same time, let’s not diminish any type of internal wrestling with right and wrong.

As some of my most loyal blog followers know, I had to have surgery on my back, again, for a melanoma that thankfully my doctor caught early. Surgery is a general term. She calls it surgery. I’m sure billed like a surgery. But it’s not in a hospital, its outpatient in her office surgical room. (Plus, as a side note, since it’s the beginning of the year and no deductible has been met yet, I’m sure this bill is going knock me off my feet. Sigh…..) So as a result of this “procedure”, I’ve had to miss a few yoga classes and a few barre classes. Throw in the Super Bowl and lots of not-so-good-for-me snacks, and well, you can probably see where this is going. I stepped on the scale this morning and was horrified and saddened to see I’ve gained 1 and 1/2 pounds since last week.

I’ve held my 70 lb weight loss to the pound since I hit that goal. Even though it was frustrating to not continue to lose more when nothing had changed. Maybe my body needed some time to recalibrate. I don’t know. But I went into a quick inventory of what I’ve been doing, what I’ve slacked off doing and how and when I need to refocus my efforts.

Do you know someone who struggles with an issue of trying to change and they have the tools, they know what to do, and yet……even after much success something switches in their mind and they give up all the progress they made? I think we all know someone (at least one) who has gone through this. The alcoholic who is sober for days, weeks, months, and in a moment, has the bottle? No thought about about what is being thrown away. What about the drug user who is out of rehab, made changes and suddenly an opportunity is there and they take it without a second thought. Until it’s too late.

So I’ve been thinking about this relapse or slip terminology. I’ve talked to some very knowledgable people in my Al Anon group as well as some in AA. The difference seems to be what happens after the fall. Do you continue on a shame-spiral and think “Screw it. I messed up. I have to start all over. I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I don’t even want to try anymore. This is who I am, if you don’t like it, YOU leave.”

OR

Can you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and realize how much you’ve learned since your last Day 1? Can you start Day 1 with renewed determination and focus? Can you call someone who is helping you along your journey and honestly ask for help?

This is the difference between a slip and relapse. It’s not that you have to start over (because you do) it’s that you start over with serious gusto. You add more tools to your toolkit so that it doesn’t happen again.

I’m choosing to look at myself as the latter. I’m going to go barre Thursday and do what I can. I’m going to drink more water, because I know I’ve been seriously slacking in that department. I’m going to confess to my trainer that I had more than a few bites of ooey gooey yummy homemade soft pretzels Sundays, and yes, one or more may have fell into some cheese dip and then stumbled into my mouth. Mmmmmmmmm.

But I can tell you what I won’t do. I won’t allow it to derail me. I think about people who have lost significant weight by going on a fad diet or one of those pre-packaged meal deals like Jenny Craig or Nurtisystem. Those people all lose weight. I did when I was on Jenny Craig decades ago. But it doesn’t really teach you to keep it off. It teaches you how to use the microwave. Long lasting change isn’t easy, or fast, or without trials. But it’s soooooo worth it.

So even if your “slip” is falling away from your New Years Resolution, or you’ve fallen off the diet/alcohol/drug/sex/gambling/whatever wagon that you’ve been trying to stay on, fear not! Today is a new day. And today is a great day to call Day One.

Namaste

dont give up

New Year, New Yoga, New Mindset

Today was the first yoga class of the new year. I had decided as one of my New Years goals was to push myself a little harder, try to do the smallest thing a bit better and truly appreciate what my body was doing and is capable of doing during class. It’s still so difficult for me to see how much progress I have made. I know that sounds silly. It’s not me fishing for compliments either. It’s just me being honest about the way my mind works sometimes. I think we all have a tendency sometimes to be overly critical of ourselves and focus on the flaws instead of the progress. So I’m making a conscience effort this year to do this as the part of the year of me! 🙂

By the way, every time I think of that phrase, I think of Seinfeld and the “Summer of George”. It cracks me.

So with today’s yoga practice with my new mat, new yoga pants and my renewed determination, I set out to push a little farther. Hold my pose a little deeper, stretch myself juuuuuuuuust a bit more. And I’m thrilled to say I did just that. Through the entire practice, I was able to push myself and bring my leg all the way through without touching the ground. Vast improvement in my book! And even though my arms still tremble during side plank, I rocked that baby on both sides the whole entire time, even when we flipped over, top leg behind and arm reaching for the sky. I refused to fall or come out of the pose before instructed. Again, major progress in my book. Beautiful wonderful progress.

Yoga is such a personal journey. It’s graceful, delicate, but strong, determined and focused. I think each of us exhibits those features every day. Some days we show one side more than others. Some days we have to. But it’s always there. Finding something that shows all of those characteristics in for splendid hour is a Godsend.

So while the year is still new, resolutions or goals are still fresh in our minds, try to find that something that is yours. Something that can bring focus and clarity and challenge and renewal to your mind, body and spirit. Because no matter what it is you achieve, it’s yours. No one can take that away from you.

Namaste.

white yoga

Baking during the holidays

I’m actually taking a break from baking right now to write this. More for my peace of mind than anything else. You see……I love to bake. Love it. It’s therapeutic, it makes people happy (usually happy, because most of the time it turns out well!) and during the holidays it’s a given to make cookies and fudge and bark and balls and cakes and rolls and……

The great thing about cooking is that my husband does 99.5% of it. He likes it for the exact reasons I mentioned above. I know it’s crazy that he is the one who goes to work, and then comes home and HE cooks. But he prefers it that way. He cooks, I clean. That’s the deal we made over 20 years ago. He does stress out about it sometimes. And sometimes he makes such a mess that I would swear he tried to dirty every pot, pan and dish in the kitchen just to make me clean it. If I could only get him to ask me to cook on the days he doesn’t feel like it, I would be more than happy to oblige. I have roughly 8 million recipes in my Pinterest folder. I’m sure I could find one that I could actually make if he gave me notice. But I’m getting off track. (As usual!)

I was making a new recipe for cookies again today for my church cookie exchange this coming weekend. I’m making 6 different types cookies that I have never made before. I figured this was a great opportunity to try new things and then give them away and keep them out of my house! I got a recipe from a friend for cookies that everyone has “had” to taste to check it out and now I’ve had to hide the rest of them because they don’t want them given away. SELFISH! I saved them HALF the recipe! But I haven’t had one. Not even a lick of the beater.

Then I made some bark. I was going to give that away to the women who are actually manning the cookie exchange table so they had something to nibble on. I gave a large baggie of it to Ryan’s girlfriend for her to share with her friends. It was a hodge podge of sweet, salty and chocolately. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. But I didn’t have any. (Ok, I might have snuck a few pretzels, but not the finished product! So it doesn’t count, right?)

But then today. Today I was making a dough that has to be refrigerated for at least 24 hours after making but before baking. I’m not sure why, but the author specifically said they don’t turn out as well if not refrigerated for that period of time. If anyone has insight to that, let me know. I get chilling the dough, but a minimum of 24 hours? Never heard such a thing. So I started whipping up the dough this morning so it could sit for the required time. I had to transfer to a bowl from my KitchenAid mixer (so I could use it for other cookies!) and there it was. A mixture of sugar, chocolate covered pomegranates, pistachios, chocolate chips and I thought, well, maybe I should taste what is sticking to this beater, ya know, just to see what this swirl of odd ingredients tasted like. It tasted pretty super fantastic! So another little scrap from the bowl (cuz there’s ALWAYS a little stuck to the bowl, right?) and as I stood in front of my kitchen sink, spatula in hand, a wave of extreme distress came over me.

WHAT WAS I DOING??????

Was a few licks of raw cookie dough what I should be doing? Hello?? I have barre class today! Would it kill me or derail my progress, I would say no. It wouldn’t. But what was I doing? WHY was I doing it? I haven’t licked a beater or bowl in months. And I bake all the time! So why today? Nothing happened? It’s not like something had happened. So I did what anyone doing something they shouldn’t be doing does. I STOPPED!!! Stopped and refocused. And I’m confessing and keeping myself honest. Not just honest to myself (which let’s face it, is the most important thing.) but honest with all of you. Because in community, having others holding you accountable and being honest and responsible helps get through a tough day of craving something you know you shouldn’t have. Being with others who know EXACTLY how you feel, no matter how you are feeling, is one of the best supports a person can have.

So I’m confessing, as well as removing myself from the temptation. Redirect! And the feeling, the impulse, has passed. If you can just hold on for a minute, an hour, a day……the feeling subsides. Then you can be proud of the fact day by day, you’re reaching your goal. YOUR goal. Whatever that goal is. Keep it front and center. Be mindful of it. TALK about it. Be willing to be held accountable for it. Be ever conscience about it. Because when you let your guard down, even for a moment, that temptation (a sugary, chocolately one) is going to be there, telling you it’s ok this once. And before you know it, the whole thing has been thrown out the window. And you have chocolate breath.

cookie dough beater

Another goal….accomplished!

So this morning I hit another milestone in my weight loss journey. I had hit a dreaded plateau where I was stuck for a few weeks. I hadn’t altered my diet, and in fact, I had added my twice weekly barre class thinking I would see even faster results. Instead, I was just maintaining. It was frustrating but I persevered.

This morning I jumped on the scale and there it was! I have officially lost 60 pounds! (60.5 to be exact!) Wooo hoooo!!!!I was so excited I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone I saw! Instead, I enjoyed the moment to myself. I slipped on my workout clothes and headed to barre with determination and a little extra joy in my heart.

Doing barre this morning was KILLER! I was a sweaty, shaky, oh-my-God-I-don’t-think-I-can-do-one-more-rep mess. My face was red. My muscles were quivering uncontrollably. There wasn’t enough water my Venti size Starbucks water glass by a long shot. Thank God they provide towels or I might have had to use toilet paper to sop up the streams running down my face. But I did it!!

Now, the old me would seriously consider celebrating this moment with food. I know. Sabotage and counter-productive, but I still would’ve done it. A nice plate of nachos anyone? At the very least some chocolate. I was thinking about that as I was drip drying on my drive home. And how it honestly, honestly, HONESTLY just doesn’t even sound appealing to me in the least. I’ve come to that place in my journey where food doesn’t have to be the comforter, the consoler, the celebration, the momentary fix. I have become hyper-aware of what I put in my body. I log EVERYTHING! One M&M gets logged. Really. It keeps me focused and accountable to no one but myself.

And that, I think, is one of the biggest lessons learned and I believe I’ve blogged about it before, is that this is for ME! No one would know if I did eat a candy bar. But **I** would know. And as the pounds came on, I could lie to myself very easily. My family still loved me, my friends still loved me, my kids, my dog, it didn’t matter what the scale said. But I didn’t love me enough to see what I was doing to myself. Not to anyone else. I wasn’t hurting anyone with my extra large Blizzard. But I was hurting ME. I didn’t like being the fat friend, the fat wife, the fat mom. Call me what you will. But I didn’t like it. And who could fix that? No one but me.

So with the help, encouragement, support and endless praise, that same husband, children, friends and my dog (hee hee!) I was able to start this process. And look where I am today! Woooo flipping hoooooo!!!!! I have gone from “obese” to “normal” on the BMI chart. Well into normal. (Me?? Normal?? Never!!) I know a lot can be said about all those charts and graphs, both positive and negative, but it was still nice to see.

So what did I do instead of coming home to food? I cut the grass in the sweltering midday heat. I drank more water. I showered. And now, I’m going to plot out my next set of goals and have a homemade recovery smoothie. Because THAT, I deserve!

weightloss scale

Stay out of my life

I was going to blog about something else, but this is making the rounds today, so it’s a more timely post. There is a letter that a woman from ND wrote that she is planning to hand out on Trick or Treat night stating that she thinks the child at her door asking for candy is overweight and basically saying to be better parents. She goes to the “it take a village” mantra. Sigh……. 

Really?

This woman has decided to take it upon herself to be the fat police and decide who is worthy of a candy treat and who needs a diet plan. This causes me to curse LOUDLY in my head. Very bad words. I will try to keep them in my head and not in this blog posting. I’ll try to edit myself.

That being said, who the BLANK does she think she is??? (See?? Self edited! Aren’t you proud?) How dare she act as site judge and jury on a child. A child she doesn’t know. A child who is just going door to door on the one night a year it’s ok to go up to a strange house and ask for candy. 

Or maybe she does know the child who she hands one of her letters to. Kids on her block or in her area that she sees regularly and has decided she knows what’s best for that child.

Does she know if that child has a medical condition? Or that s/he uses food to cope with a bad home life? Or has recently lost weight and is still losing, but now has been handed a fat letter? How about a million other reasons that child might be considered overweight in her eyes?

The point is, she doesn’t know. She is making a snap judgement based on a 5 second observation between answering her door and hearing “Trick or Treat”. Hmmm, do I give this child candy from my bowl or a page from my stack of letters saying this child should be ashamed of his or her appearance? I think this one gets candy and this one, oh boy, does she need a letter. REALLY???? Again, who the BLANK does she think she is?

This kind of shaming can lead to so many other destructive behaviors. Eating disorders, drinking or drugs, cutting, etc. Internal noise like that can stay with a person for years, if not a lifetime.

And beyond this weight issue, don’t you think it’s time for others to stay out of your life period? We are bombarded daily with new intrusions that no one has the right to make decisions for. From the NSA spying on your website choices, to states deciding on gay marriage, to how far we drive (that bill is going to be decided soon and I will bet money it passes. It’s a new tax, so of course it will pass. Probably with tons of additional spending thrown in there for good measure. Is there any such thing as a clean bill anymore? Ok, I’m way off topic. Sorry.)

How about this, is it isn’t hurting someone else, stay the BLANK out of it! Stay out of my life, my house, my car, my children. They are MINE, not yours. I gladly share WAAAAY more than most people do, but guess what? I do it freely because I want to. But anyone policing my childs weight, how far I drive, how good my health insurance is (which ours is going up astronomically and it’s crazy stupid) and that I “have” to have what someone else has deemed acceptable for MY life, or monitor where I go on the internet or the contents of my email. 

I live a basically quiet, suburban life. Not perfect, not horrible. I think it’s pretty normal. But whether you live a normal life or you’re a crazy party guy, or a far out lunatic,  and everything in between, unless you are infringing on someone else’s life, no one should have the right to tell you what to do.

Do me a favor, you mind what you’re doing, and stay out of my life. 

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Halloween Fat Letter