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

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

The Life of a Procrastinator

I’m procrastinating…..RIGHT NOW!! Oh yea. Is it wrong to use my blog as a way to put stuff off? No, I didn’t think so. Cuz, really I’m doing something!! Just not what I should be doing. 

And I’m not even putting something off I don’t want to do. I got my 3 miles in. Awesome. I uploaded photos from yesterday’s beautiful wedding we attended for our dear friends daughter. (Just as a side note, I still can’t believe she’s old enough to be married! I still remember her as the little girl across the street. I cried many tears yesterday, but they were all happy tears!)

I also bought clothes to wear to the wedding. Clothes that I didn’t wear and need to return. This is where the procrastination kicks in. I have to go to the mall and I really really really don’t want to go back. Ugh! But I have to. I have 4 dresses that need returned. Sigh….

I’ve decided I no longer love to shop for myself. I used to L-O-V-E shopping! I imagined the day where my Richard Gere would hand me an AMEX Black card and get super offended when I told him the saleswomen were mean to me and he would escort me to the stores and insist, no demand, that they suck up to me. Of course, Roy Orbison would be playing on a constant loop as I twirled and giggled and fawned over the beautiful, perfectly fitting outfits the sucking up saleswomen brought for me. 

Yea, so, since THAT isn’t happening, I have to fend for myself. I discovered in this quest to find a dress, a simple freaking dress, that it’s way more difficult than anticipated. First of all, as I told a friend yesterday, I truly believe 95% of all clothes in the stores are separates. Not dresses. Tops and bottoms. Racks and racks. 3 dresses in the whole store. Is it the time of year? Is it that no one wears dresses anymore? I mean, what’s up with that?

Next on the problem list is that I now fall in between sizes. No big deal right? Wrong. Too tight and I look like a stuffed sausage. Too loose and it looks like tent. Not to mention that almost always, it’s guaranteed if I find a dress that I actually like, they won’t have my size. At all. I mean, there’s “too small” and then there’s size 2. Even 3 years AFTER my death, I will not wear a Size 2. 

So then, if I happen to find a dress that is close to my size, I snag it. And I study every flaw I find in my body for approximately 30 minutes. Bulge here. Too much cleavage there. Arm flab there. Sigh…. I yank it over my head, hang it back on the hanger and try the next one on. 

Then I just can’t decide which flaw is more noticeable in which dress. So I get them all. Bring them home, try them all back on again. I twirl. I bend over. I suck in. I try to breathe while sucked in. (Seriously, it’s a talent to be able to do that for long periods of time without passing out). I still can’t decide. Michael gets the final pick because honestly, I’m just exhausted at this point. I’d wear a sack or my sweats. Whatever. I don’t care. 

But now I have to return the 4 dresses that didn’t make the cut. I kept the one I actually wore to the wedding, but the rest are going back. And I’ll be in and out of the car, explaining why I don’t like it. Yes I tried it on before I bought it. Yes, I changed my mind. No, I didn’t wear it. See? Tags still on. SIGH………

But then I think of the money I spent on those 4 dresses and realize I need to get them back to the store. Maybe the laundry needs switching? Dishwasher need unloading? The floors for sure needs sweeping. 

OK, ok…..I’m going……..

Self-image: what’s true and what’s your own lie

I cleared out 6 boxes this morning. It great to actually see the wall in my basement again instead of boxes piled on boxes piled on boxes. It took me hours to go through 6 boxes and served to remind me why I kept those boxes for years. Some of them are from high school. MY high school! 

As I was clearing through them (and it really is pretty easy because there are only 2 piles: throw away or keep) I found things I couldn’t even remember and some that were bittersweet memories. I found an actual invitation to Honor Night from my senior year. I didn’t realize I went to class enough to even qualify for Honor Night! It was REAL!! I didn’t forge or fake it! I just stood there staring at that thinking….”Did I go to that? Why can’t I remember that?” One would think I could remember such a monumental occasion in my high school career since I’m positive it only happened that one time!! 

I found my uniform skirt. We were the last class to go through DeSales with only a skirt. The “Jumper” started after us. So by senior year, it was VERY easy to see who was a senior just by her uniform. Jumper = underclassmen. Skirt = Senior. Oh yes, we were very awesome in our herringbone skirts. Don’t mess with Catholic girls. 

I held up that skirt and looked at it, realizing I could now probably fit one leg in it, but in high school, I felt so fat. So many of the girls were skinny, and fit, and cheerleaders and had boyfriends and were the things that give girls eating disorders now. I had my size 10 skirt and was a fatass. At least in my head. I see pictures of me from back then and I think good grief, if ONLY I could have thighs that size again. But the whole time I had those skinny thighs, I thought almost daily, how fat I was compared to the other girls.

I don’t think that feeling ever goes away for high school girls and unfortunately, I think it has only gotten worse in this technology based era. Girls snapping photos of themselves in low cut shirts, thrusting their chests forward.  Shooting pictures of their asses in the mirror. Naked pictures that eventually wind up getting passed all around school and beyond. “Juicy” written across their butt. (For the record, if I would have ever dared to try to wear anything with the word “Juicy” written across my ass, my Dad would have not only burned that article of clothing, I guarantee any future shopping trips would be accompanied by him or my mom. Plus I would’ve been grounded for 18 years for even considering to wear it.)

The other girls, the other 95% that aren’t taking the pictures are looking at the pictures. They are sizing themselves up. Comparing. And the internal dialog starts. How do you ever quiet those voices? 

I’m going to share something that I have never ever mentioned to another soul. (That’s what blogging is for, right? Spilling your guts? Who is reading my trivial dribble anyway?) When I got my first “grown up” job at the ripe ole age of 19, working for a bank, a friend of mine and I were chatting in the breakroom, laughing about something. I distinctly remember laughing because the laughter abruptly stopped. Some douchebag (yes, I’m trying to bring douchebag back. Like “fetch”, but not.) guy in his mid 20s came up to us said, “You’re both pretty hot, but I would marry you (pointing to my friend) and not you (pointing to me) because after 25, the only thing that’s going to be skinny on you is your ankles.” And with that….he walked away.

It is now 27 years later, and I still remember what I had on that day. I don’t remember going to my Honor Night at school, but I remember this no name douchebag who insulted me so badly that I’ve never forgotten it. I still look at my ankles sometimes and think, yep, only skinny part of my body. How flipping insane is that?? And it’s all internal dialog.

We must teach daughters, and nieces, and cousins, and friends, and anyone else you can reach, that they do not have to have Juicy written across their ass. They don’t have to aspire to look like the Homecoming Queen or the latest model on the cover of Cosmo! Healthy, fit, confident. That’s what matters. Preach it to them. Daily. Because sometimes, you never know what voice their hearing inside their head.