Thursday, July 20, 2017

It's Not That I Love Food That's the Problem. It's That I Hate It.

That was my realization last night. People are so judgmental. I was talking about how people tend to look at others and make assumptions. Like someone making a comment about the only running I do (did; this was a while ago) is through the McDonald's drive through. I know, not as clever as I'm sure said person thought it was. And certainly not funny. At all. The funny part is that the person who said it could've easily been looking in the mirror. Yes, I laugh at that now. No, I wouldn't say that to anyone. Just making a point... Pot. Kettle. You know.

I've gained weight back. I'm working to lose it. And have lost some. I can see the changes. I still have work to do. I've plateaued. As anyone who's plateaued knows, it's a struggled. I feel stuck. It was s much easier the first time. It's time to re-evaluate and make new changes.

Some people probably look at me and think that I love food. I don't. I hate it. And that really is the problem. I eat it but the relationship I have with it isn't one that's healthy. And even when I was at my smallest, it still wasn't the healthiest. I don't know that I'll ever have a truly healthy relationship with food. But I can make the one I have with it one that is better. I've used it emotionally. I've tried to avoid it. I have viewed it as bad; as something destructive. For me, it has been. Frequently.  It doesn't have to be.

I have decided to make new changes. I've been trying to figure out what it was that made me so much more successful (and my loss faster) last time. A friend is going through the same struggle. In fkact our stories are quite similar. We are both searching for answers to the same question. What's different now? Is it that we both blogged more in the past? Is it that we were so active on Spark People? Did this keep us accountable?  She's had a baby. I got a new boyfriend. Are these factors

























bigger than we realize.

I can say that it was much easier when I was alone the majority of the time. With a boyfriend who lived far away, being single, or not in the same town as others, I had it easy. I didn't have to worry about anyone else. It wasn't as easy to meet up for dinner. I could eat what I wanted without worrying about whether someone else would eat it. I didn't have to worry about bad food being around as often. But I started my gain before I moved. New boyfriend, yes. But did just the weekends make THAT much of a difference? It seemed slow but it creeped up. And up. And up.

Clearly I do better when I can be more selfish. I prefer to eat how I want to.  I don't want to think about anyone else. The good news is that my boyfriend is on board. We have a healthier mindset and attitude. He's working on his health too. He's made positive changes; improvements. He's lost almost 20 lbs. He cares about himself and his future in a different way than he had in the past. We are a work in progress but we are healthier.

I know there are some changes he won't make to the same extent as I do. But this is new for him. He's in a different place. I'm going plant based most of the time. I'm working with him to replace red meat with chicken or fish twice a week. I'm teaching him about moderation and changing his thinking. No one is taking anything away or saying "you can't eat that." It's about decreasing and replacing. He can still have pizza or a burger sometimes. He's just not having that type of diet every day. I may eat fish once a week or fish and chicken once a week (each) but I'm eating plant based the rest of the time. A red meat treat will be infrequent. Very infrequent. Rarely.

I realized that when I was losing last time, I wasn't eating red meat or much dairy.  I ate turkey, .chicken, and fish. One once daily, usually. I might have cottage cheese or yogurt once a day several days a week. I wasn't following a plant-based diet but probably followed it 80/20. I aimed for healthy 80/20. Clean 80/20. Now it'll be plant-based 80/20. At least. Unhealthy stuff would make it 80/15/5. Or something. I'd like to say I won't eat any junk but that's not realistic for me. When food and I are

 getting along, I enjoy a treat now and then.



I need to do better with meal planning and prep. I do better when I do. I may change my tracking and accountability because I feel like that could have a role in this. Maybe I need the social aspect in order to have (better) success. I can work harder. Not in terms of working out. I'm good at that. I love that. But in other ways I can do better.

With that, I'm off to do some work.... My book, my journal, and then an evening walk with the pup. Yes, THE pup. We lost our Buddy in May.

Oh yes....And THAT.  All of the stress that started in February didn't help matters. First Buddy. Then my boyfriend's Grandma (more than once). Then... I don't even know what else. It was rough. Then when hugs settled a little and seemed better... Buddy had another sudden problem and within a few days we had to say goodbye. It was two months yesterday. It's been hard. We miss him like crazy.

Okay.... Now off to my work.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BED Rears its Ugly Head

There are many disease I hate and wish didn't exist.  There are those that we see all the time and that steal loved ones from us way too early. Like cancer.  There are those that cause young, healthy people to physically deteriorate over time, sometimes stealing their physical abilities before they've hit middle age.  There are those that effect children. Their precious lives are shortened drastically. They have different abilities that sometimes make life a struggle. There are diseases that limit people mentally. There are disease that make people feel like prisoners in their own minds.   There are diseases we can see and others that we don't see. Diseases are horrible. Researchers work tirelessly to find treatments and hopefully cures.

BED (Binge Eating Disorder) is one of those "hidden" diseases.The exact cause is unknown, but believed to be one or a combination of things such as genetics, changes in brain chemicals, depression or other emotional issues, and/or unhealthy dieting. No one knows exactly why they get this disease and once it comes on, it doesn't seem to go away.  There are medications to help treat the symptoms but much like other similar "disorders" it's a fight to stay in recovery. Learning triggers and ways to prevent binges is a key.  I've worked through it before and had a lot of success losing weight; nearly 200 pounds at one point, settling at a comfortable 170-175 pounds lost at one point in time.

A few years ago, when I changed jobs, I didn't have insurance for a bit and stopped taking the medication that helped me.  Combine that with having a new boyfriend (about four years ago) and I gained quite a bit of weight back.  I allowed his bad eating habits into my life on the weekends, which slowly creeped into weekdays.  Then I moved and with greater access, it was easy to just "give in." I recognized it again, finally, just over a year ago and went to the doctor. I've lost about 45 pounds. And I've stalled.  I can't seem to lose anymore. I haven't been able to figure out why.

Until yesterday when I was talking with someone else who struggles.  I'd been ignoring binges that had started to occur. Sure, I've had better control in the last year but without owning up to some of the symptoms of my binges, I've been lying to everyone, including myself. I guess I just blocked out those things... My trigger hasn't been emotional like it used to be.  Well, I guess boredom is an emotion, so I guess somewhat. I continue to work out and eat mostly healthy but those times that boredom sets in and I can't find myself satisfied, binges occur.  I've also find that trying to restrict myself leads to me feeling angry, which results in a binge.

Thinking of the past is also a trigger. I get so pissed off when I see how skinny I was (and still didn't think I was) in 2012.  My thoughts of comparing myself now to then has been a trigger. I've gotten upset with myself and binged. I was ignoring them so I'm not exactly sure of when or what happened, but I know that binges did happen.

Recently I've been doing a cleanse to detox.  This cleanse cuts out a lot of foods, which is hard.  After a week, I allowed myself one real meal.  I acknowledged it and moved on. Back to the cleanse the next day (yesterday). Then last night I did it again. Then I saw someone with an unhealthy food that I, in all honesty, don't even like.  And I wanted it.  I didn't get it but when I went to the store to get healthy groceries, I gave in and bought it. Then ate it after I got home. Which made me feel bad. Then I said "screw it" and ate nearly an entire bag of Skinny Pop popcorn.  The big bag.  I felt all the classical emotions after. And I felt physically ill. My stomach hurt. I binged.  I ate way more than necessary, or normal, in a short period of time.  I guess I was getting tired of the cleanse and that's all it took. The "I can't have that" mentality got to me and it triggered me. I noticed myself getting annoyed with my boyfriend when he'd say "oh yeah, you can't have that." I'd tell him,"No. I am CHOOSING not to have that." And everyone assuming the detox is for weight loss. While that is a (short-term) effect, that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it to get all of the disgusting toxins out of my body and to help get me back into clean (super clean!!) eating again. The binge made me realize that, maybe two weeks is too long for me. I was doing well until week two started. Maybe a week detox is a better option.  Too weeks is, apparently, a trigger. As is allowing others' words to creep into my own thoughts.

Today, I am back into the detox with a somewhat different mindset, but also still very angry with myself. I'm really working to journal it out and move on. What's done is done. All I can do is be honest and get back on track.

So, that's what's new with me...

Today is a new day.

XOXO

Monday, April 3, 2017

Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon Race Report

The Run the Bluegrass half was one of the races on my race bucket list. It's slogan is "America's Prettiest Half Marathon," and that slogan is not a lie.  It was SO beautiful!!! The race was in Lexington, KY at Keeneland (horse racing!). My Aunt, Uncle, one of my cousins and his fiancee live there, so my Mom and I turned it into a long weekend trip, which was fabulous on its own! Family time is always precious and the race was just one of the highlights.  It was the first race that my Mom saw me finish (she and my Dad were too busy talking during my first half and missed me coming in - I will never let them forget that). And my Aunt was there to see me finish too. They waited in the cold, layered in clothes, gloves, and equipped with hand and foot warmers just so that they could see me finish. That meant so much to me. 

Some of the course was on Keeneland property but the majority of it was on country roads by some gorgeous horse farms.  At one farm, some horses (who looked to be a bit young yet) followed us! It was SO cute!! They saw the group coming and started galloping right along side us.  They looked like they were having such a fun time.  We saw lots of horses out, but even just the views of the hills and fields was something spectacular. If you can appreciate the calm beauty of nature, you must do this race!

You may also want to appreciate, or at least accept, hills. Kentucky is hilly. There are some hills that aren't so bad and a couple (especially one) that are freakin' hard. It's definitely one of those "gently rolling hills" types of races. But the views make it all worth it. As the soreness fades from my legs I can only remember a few of the hills... The rest are kind of a blur.

I took my pace a little slower than normal; or tried to. I knew that there would be lots of hills and I'd done some short incline workouts, but no long runs. This was one of those races that made me feel recharged as far as my love for running. It felt so good. For most of the early hills, I just slowed my pace going up, and let my legs fly as fast as they wanted on the way down (within reason because I didn't want to fall and log roll down a hill, so I did engage the quads to slow myself down a little bit). The weather was, in my opinion, perfect for running. That morning was chilly; in the 40s and cloudy. That's huge for me because the sun can play a HUGE factor in how well I perform in a race. Damn fair skin. Other than hydration stops, I think I only walked part of one hill early in the race. Then, just before half way, the hills seemed to grow.  It was around mile six that I went "okay, now this is serious." We were up and right back down; then right back up.  This continued with few flat spots.  Because I took the pace a little slower, I reached the half way point a bit behind my usual pace, which I expected. Actually I thought I'd have a super hard time and planned to take the entire time allowed to finish (I did not).  Anyway, so that continued. And then just before mile nine there was a nice turn and downhill that almost flattened out for a short distance.  Then as I crested the top of that next small hill, I saw that going down was a lot bigger.... And going up looked steep.  

It was mile nine.  Ask anyone and they'll tell you that the mile nine hill (for the half; I believe it's mile four-ish (?) for the seven miler) is the beast.  Seriously, it's the Mother of all hills.  Mile nine is also Meg's Mile.  If you aren't aware, Meg Menzies, was out for a run with her husband one morning and was hit and killed by some idiot drunk driver. After her death, Meg's Miles (also look at it - Meg Smiles) was born. Meg's husband Scott has been very active in honoring Meg and keeping her memory alive. There was a poster with Meg's smiling face on it that said "Meg's Mile." I heard Meg's story when it happened and have often thought of her on runs (#run4Meg is very popular in social media too). I looked her picture and felt emotional for a second. Then I thought, "okay Meg, help me out here.  I have you and Mav on my mind." And Ed (that Dad of two of my good friends who passed away the night before) was on my mind too. I jogged, slowly, up part of that hill, and then I walked a bit.  I got to the top and jogged again. Correction: I got to what I thought was the top.  You see after that curve, the hill actually kept going and curved, and then it curved again before it was done. I swear that thing seemed like mile ten should've been waiting at the end. In reality, mile ten was at least half a mile away. 

So, mile nine came and mile nine went.  Didn't die. Was super tired for a bit and mostly walked to mile ten. I did have a few short jog intervals in there but I walked too. I did the same until I saw mile 11 approaching. Mile 11 is the beer mile.  As we came into mile 11, the aid station was set up with water and Sword on one side and beer on the other.  It was a small amount of beer. I've never accepted the beer during a race before. This time? I drank that little cup with pride. I don't know if it was the beer, the super fun guy at the aid station, having backed off for two miles, or something else but suddenly I felt better.  By this time I'd long past the point of wondering "do I still have legs?" I mean, I know that they didn't fall off but I couldn't actually feel them. It was like they'd gone numb. But they weren't numb.  It's odd to explain but I just trusted them and went with it.  I started to run again; actually run not just jog at a slower than normal pace (I was naturally slowing down some but not as much as between nine and 11. I still included some walk intervals because I was getting tired, but then I'd have a sudden burst where I was like "I love life!" and I'd run again. I guess those last two miles were all over the place. I jogged slower, I was on pace, I walked a bit. But they were all over the place in a good way. Most blogs I'd read said that people gave up on even attempting a PR early on. I was aiming to finish in less than what I expected. And? I did. And? I finished strong. I turned the corner and saw about 1/4 mile before the next little turn into the finish straight away... We were hidden behind a building so I even continued my slower pace in there. Then I saw the finish and I picked up the pace a little. And then I freakin' sprinted and silently cursed out some people who I was sure were going to ruin my finish line pic and I'm proud of that finish. Damn proud, actually. I don't think I've actually hit a hard sprint into the finish of any of my half marathons. I've ran through them but sometimes it was a very slow jog. This one was different.

I was nervous about this race and all of it's hills; which I'm sure are actually gently rolling if you're not running up them. The course was described as "technical." I was afraid something bad would happen and I wouldn't finish. I thought "soooo do they sweep people in this race?" I even thought of changing to the seven miler (until I thought of the medal and the accomplishment and how very badly I wanted both). In all honesty, even though it wasn't my fastest, it felt like one of the best. Maybe the best. My finish was actually right in the middle of my other four races. Most importantly I had that awesome, freeing feeling while I was running. I felt like I was flying going down some of those hills. The time passed and in the few moments of "what am I doing" that I had, giving up wasn't an option. I kept looking at my watch thinking "I'm not doing too bad." I was passing people even toward the end (even into the finish!). My legs are still a little sore today and that race was hard, but I feel great. What's really great is that I would've PR'd that day if it had been a flat course. Probably by a lot, because those flat spots felt amazing to me; even the early hills didn't feel bad. 

This race definitely made me feel something I don't think I've felt since completing my first half.  I felt emotions and I felt such a huge sense of pride in that accomplishment. I think it was all those hills.

And to give credit to the hills; I now plan to continue to do short incline interval runs at least once or twice a week. Given the level of soreness in my legs and glutes, that will be a great way to work on some awesome leg muscles and to lift and firm the booty. 

Run the Bluegrass wasn't just a race that I crossed of my bucket list or a race in another state (but yay for state four!)... It was a race that showed me that I can continue to make progress and overcome whatever challenges are thrown at me. It reminded me that I'm strong and can accomplish the goals that I set for myself.  RTB made me experience running in a way I haven't in a while. I felt the love. And now I want to go murder some more hills!!!

XOXO

Princess Half Marathon Race Report

This is a little over a month overdue, but better late than never!!

I did my second PHM at the end of February. It was a nice, but too quick, little trip to Florida.  The weather was perfect! I got some sun, had some fun, and ran. There were a couple stressful calls from home so there were moments that things weren't so amazing but everything is looking up for those who were involved in those situations.  There were almost a couple deaths and that began a very rocky month for the two of them.

So the trip itself was wonderful. Disney is always an amazing experience. And, I think I fell even more in love (if that's even possible) this trip! I managed to do the Four Parks, One Day challenge and it was... Exhausting! I slept very well that night!! I'm already contemplating my 2018 trip. I really want to do the Glass Slipper Challenge (GSC), so if I were to plan correctly and register immediately, I might make it in for next year.  There are a limited number of participants and it sells out quickly. the GSC is 19.3 miles; the 10K and the PHM.  I'd like to be there for the 10th Anniversary of PHM but I also want to branch out and experience a different race (Wine and Dine Half) as well as a different time of year to visit. I'm sure it's pretty much the same in November as it is February.

I got up early the morning of the race and did my morning race routine. I dressed as Belle this time (which was planned before I knew she'd be the featured princess, so that made me even more excited!). Belle is my favorite princess (one of my dogs is named after her), so it was only natural that I dress as her. I'm surprised I hadn't done so until now! Other Disney Princesses I've dressed as (for races) are Cinderella; PHM, Aurora PHM Weekend 5K; Ariel Halloween 5K; and now Belle for this year's PHM. I was on a bus before the cut off, but the line was SO long, I was cutting it a little close. Last time I did PHM I took a later bus and got right on. It was a different resort though, so Pop must've been more popular for runners. I was there early enough to check my bag and eat my little breakfast. I had forgotten about the little walk before the race corrals. I think I had a 5K in just from walking around all morning.  I was in my corral in time to do some stretching and just to get in the zone.

The race went really well. I didn't really pressure myself for time this time because I knew what to expect. With roughly 28,000 runners there are spots where it gets crowded and bottle necked. I just ran... I didn't pay much attention to my Fitbit and honestly don't even remember my exact finish time. After the sun came out I stopped at every aid station that offered sun block because I'm sure I was sweating mine on. And there were several hours between when I put it on and when the sun came up! I even stopped to stretch and get some biofreeze.  I was really laid back with the race and just wanted to enjoy it. I had my typical problem of slowing down with the sun beating on me and the temperature heating up quickly (it was actually pretty cold before the race and at the start!). So, sunblock and good hydration it was.  It definitely wasn't the worst race I've ever done (time or how I felt), but I also took my time. I did have a couple moments of "okay, I'm over this!" but that's because I was getting so dang hot and hadn't applied sunblock. I also wasn't quite a fan of their sunblock.... It was just sitting there to grab at will. And it was a spray.  I wish I'd had someone to spray me because I think I would've had better coverage and wouldn't have had to get so much. Also, it did not appear to be a sport sunblock which I prefer because it handles sweat.  That's a very mild complaint; not even a complaint, really.

It was a great race, I felt pretty good after, and had a fun time! I attempted to drink around the World again after the race.  I didn't do so well (again) however I did better than last time.  I split a couple drinks just so I could say I had something in those countries, but I got too full too fast. I really think that people who drink around the world are either a big ol' mess or have a strategy in place... My strategy would be to devote an entire day to Epcot and that purpose. I think that people must start in the morning and stay all day; or start early and take a mid-day break (and nap!) then go back to finish.  Or maybe they divide it over a couple days or evenings. I think I'd do better going a couple different evenings when it's not as hot. We were there for several hours and I think I made it 1/4 of the way this time; well between 1/4 and a 1/2.  Had I attempted the whole dang thing, I'd have been sick. It is not an easy feat... Next time I'll have a plan and will accomplish it!

Once again RunDisney put on an awesome race and I had tons of fun!!!

XOXO


Two Months and a Little Extra

So far behind; yet again!

I'm not even going to do much of an update... Life is good! Still working out, still mostly eating healthy. Love me some yoga, spin, and running. I'm not doing as much with weights but am finding a way to work that into my routine again. After seeing a pic of the back of my shoulder, it makes me want to lift again. That muscle looked ah-mazing in the picture!

I have two race reports to write so I'll focus more on those. And, as usual, I'll try to post more. I'd like to... As always... Siiiigh. So little time.

XOXO

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Just an Update!

Weight loss continues, slowly. Still more slowly than I desire. I wasn't happy with my rate of loss over the last three months. My weight is down, but for the majority of that time it bounced around between the same five pounds and had basically stabilized. I'm having a hard time getting past "last time" and how much faster it was.  Fresh perspective is hard to gain when you know how something progressed so easily once before. That was in 2009. I'm just a little older now.

I was adding more exercise and this week I was forced to back off (the dreaded "crud" found me). Guess what.... It hasn't been detrimental. Weight is stable. I think maybe I've been pushing a bit too hard. I am really trying to back off on doing so much exercise.  On the days I do spin and yoga, I do not need to run.  On run days, I don't need to spin too.  I've been working to add weights/strength training into the mix for at least 30 minutes a day and I'm finding that it's hard and stressful.  Spin and yoga alone are almost two hours; that's the time period I'm gone, but spin is about 45 minutes. Then it's off to work and on lunch I've been running (well, mostly walking this week, since you know...breathing...). I'm finding that leaves me short on time as far as getting weights in. And by the time I get home at night, I'm tired and honestly, I just don't want to. So, I could get up a little earlier and get something done before everything else.  That would probably be the easier option. That will require going to bed earlier... That's pretty much something I constantly need to work to improve.

 I'm thinking of cutting out the serious strength training and doing some body weight training. These random half hour periods I have between clients are used for various this (like this). I can easily do some body weight squats, lunges, and whatever else during those down times. I also don't have to go to my basement gym to use my big, heavy weights, so they're a lot easier to do during the couple hours of relaxation I have at night.  I didn't lift heavy the first time I lost weight and it's okay if I don't now. The important thing is that I'm moving. I like gaining muscle and I've noticed that I look different at my current weight than last time I was here, but I'm getting stressed trying to get it in, which isn't good.  Or maybe I'll cut down a couple days. If I strength train a couple days a week it's okay.  I'm not going to be making any huge muscle gains but I'm also going to maintain my strength and what I have now.  I'm kind of at the point where I'm thinking "fat loss now, muscle gains later." I'll still do strength training because it helps, but I'm not going to exhaust myself or worry because I have it scheduled and don't get to it.

I'm too uptight. I need to learn that it's okay to not have to do things in a certain way.  I have to make it fun again. I have to enjoy it, not feel like it's just something I have to do.  I still like working out but the love I had for it just doesn't have that same spark. I'm probably doing more harm than good with all the exercise I've been doing. Most days my caloric intake is 1200-1500 (on a higher day). I can burn up to 1600 (that's based on however myfitnesspal figures it).

I've been all over the place diet-wise, trying various things and realizing that it doesn't matter what I'm doing, my weight isn't budging. Clearly I need to revise it.  I generally eat healthy. I have treats sometimes but the amount of treats shouldn't be preventing weight loss.  I'm thinking maybe it's the quality. That's one of the problems I had with a certain weight loss plan/company. Eat whatever you want, just stay within this range. That's not okay. I think I can clean up my eating even more and maybe that will help my body. It's time to re-visit my old logs to see where exactly I was at in terms of macros, calories, etc. I don't eat horribly now but obviously there is some room for improvement. I was eating "sort of" low carb but not following any specific plan exactly. I was still allowing for some good carbs but cut down a lot. I was eating  more treats like hard boiled eggs, cheese, and little meat snacks.  You know what? That's not good either. It's just a quick fix. And I know that. It's also really not a good plan for, ohhhh your heart. Sometimes high protein comes with high fat. Red meat could be a factor for me. It's fatty. I buy the extra lean ground beef and lean cuts of whatever else, but the little meat trays at the store...Not so lean. I can allow those now and then but I think that I've had too much of that.

In reading about various "diets" I think that what I used to do looks very much like the Mediterranean Diet.  I'm going to refer to that as a Mediterranean style of eating because I don't diet/do diets. When I refer to my diet, it's my dietary intake. Not some fad or quick fix that does not really work in the long run.  Also? Wine.  If you follow the actual Mediterranean Diet it allows for wine. But it says a glass of red wine. I'm more of a white drinker. Wonder if that counts. By the way, I don't drink very often so that's kind of a funny thought and fitting alcohol into my diet isn't a concern for me. Honestly, I'm not sure when I last had an adult beverage. It must have been New Year's Eve when I had two light beers.

I suppose that's about it... I continue to plan ahead for workouts and fit them in with my work schedule. It seems to be working out pretty well doing that.  It also gives me a tendency to get a little stressed if the day doesn't go as planned and I don't get something done that's scheduled, so I'm trying to just let some of that go and roll with it. I don't need to exercise for two hours a day. If I miss something, I'll be okay.  Sometimes being too rigid can cause difficulty.

Hope life finds you well!

XOXO




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Angel Card Got Me Again.

Yoga has become a huge part of my life.  I love everything about it. I love the physical work, because....Exercise. I have also noticed some changes in my body since I started yoga. I'm stronger. I'm more flexible. Some of the poses are easier (which should happen after two months of consistency).  Some poses, I'm still working on (looking at you crow - I got up and stayed up for like three seconds once; didn't immediately come down. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN SO JUST COOPERATE WITH ME!).  I leave class feeling refreshed and at peace. I wish my schedule allowed for me to go every day. I can usually work it so that I can make it to class three times a week, plus choreoyoga on the weekend (which is just FUN!). This is the first class (admittedly though, I haven't taken many) that I've looked forward to. I get annoyed if I have something come up and I have to miss a class. I enjoy my spin class too but yoga ranks right up there with running in my little bubble.

The thing with yoga is that it really does become part of a lifestyle. It can release so much from the body that a person can feel different (better?) mentally too. When you feel better/different, you start to see things around you differently too. Yoga is about self-care as well as how you behave toward others. When you feel better, you're more likely to treat others (and yourself!) better. I've never had much of a problem with the treating others well thing. Sure, there have been people who I've allowed to "get to me" at times and I reacted. I never used to be good at standing up for myself. Once I found my voice, the fighting spirit within me was like "helllloooo there!" In terms of reactions, if someone was mean to me, I wasn't going to let them get away with that and in doing so, I was mean to them too. Over time (this was even pre-yoga), I realized that the mean things people said, which typically were exaggerated, didn't really matter.  In the end, it comes down to... Why would they treat me that way?

When people are asshats to you, there's a reason. You did something they don't like. You have something they want. They struggle with their own feelings so your success or celebration brought out their anger. Jealousy. Greed. Lots of things can cause people to be jerks. That kid who is mean to everyone? He's probably struggling with something - home life, self-esteem... None of which is a reason to be a bully, but there's something behind it. Unless that kid wants to be mean for no good reason, which is another type of problem.

Generally when I've been an asshat it's been in response to someone else's high level asshat behavior. Or because I've been standing up for others. Or because someone needed to be called out on whatever was happening. I mean, communication... If you don't tell someone what is bothering you and discuss it, it festers and turns ugly. I guess I've not been a total asshat with that type of thing. People hate criticism and usually the response to it is negative. So, maybe that wasn't as much me as it was a reaction turning it into more. Or maybe I was mean about it. Could be either.

I was getting better at the whole "letting go" concept prior to yoga. I was working hard to stay positive and be happy that issues were no longer issues. I decided that people who really truly know me, know me.  They know the positive as well as the negative (because we ALL have negative). The people who know me take time to understand me, to talk, and to listen. People who really know me will ask if they hear something. They'll want my part of the story. People say that there are three parts to every story: yours, theirs, and the truth.  I hate that concept. Sure, sometimes things are exaggerated but just tell the truth. We avoid the truth because we don't like to look bad, we don't want to admit to our "faults" and we want everyone else to just love us without question. Here's the thing - the people who love you will love you without question despite your faults. I've become pretty good at saying "I did this..." or "you know, I said this and it probably wasn't so great." People, it is okay to admit to your own problems. The more you hide them, the more people start to realize it.

Yoga has brought all of that out even more, but in a different way. I'm learning to be more peaceful about things. Acknowledge and move on. You can't change what anyone thinks or says about you. If they really want to know you, they'll watch and they'll listen. They will give you a chance based on you rather than what someone else said.

My fighting spirit is still there. It's just there in a different way. I'm trying to react to hurt (although, thankfully, I haven't faced much of that recently) in a different way. Instead of reacting and behaving in the same manner, I'm working to better my response.

So, in terms of treating others well, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I suppose that's because it's my life.... It comes easy. I've always been a good listener, empathetic, and I've always just cared. For a long time, that was my big flaw.  Others first, me....Somewhere down the line.  That's not okay. There needs to be balance.

Over the years I've struggled with self-esteem. There's never been much "bad" that anyone can say about me. I'm smart, I'm driven, I'm motivated, I'm kind... The one thing people will always attack is the thing that they know (or think) is the thing that should bother you the most. For me it was always my appearance. Those "fat" comments or lies about what others may have said are what really got under my skin.  People find out which buttons to push and they push them.  For a long time because of how I felt and viewed myself, I sometimes let others treat me badly and I took what they said to heart.

I'm done with that. I'm taking real, true criticism better (from valid sources). What's different is I like and appreciate myself even more. I am better able to look at the positives before the negatives. Most of the time. I still get on myself about not losing weight fast enough (scale obsession doesn't die even though I know that lifting can impact it; even though I look different/my body composition is different). I guess I don't want to be (sorry if I offend you; this is a personal thought - just for ME not my view of anyone else) one of those people who is like "this is who I am and I'm good with it." Maybe I worry too much about just being "okay" with my body. There is a very fine line with accepting yourself and living behind a belief that isn't really for you. And that's me. I'm happy for anyone who loves themselves no matter what and who can live being over weight and own it without hesitation. I can't do that. It's not for me. I want to see change (various change, not just weight). If you really love who you are, awesome. If you want to change, do it. I guess I worry that if I'm too accepting I'll become complacent and stop striving for my goals. That's not what I want.

We put a lot of emphasis on weight/thinness/bodies. I'd say most women have had some struggle with their appearance at some point in their life. It impacts how we think about ourselves and each other. People are mean. Everyone wears judgey-pants but some people are just cruel and don't see any fault in it or feel remorse later. I if I think something judgmental, I analyze it. I think it's human nature to judge, but how we handle it and what we learn is important.

So....

This morning at yoga, I cried.  A little bit.  Only a few tears, but they were there. I also had the whole tingly nose thing going on as I tried to stop them from really flowing. I've heard that this happens at times. I think it's because yoga is mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes it just happens. Kinda like when people sometimes fart during certain poses. I've read articles about it. I haven't witnessed it. Or haven't noticed it. I guess it's because I'm so connected with what I'm doing, that I don't notice what others are doing so much.

ANYWAY....

I have a really hard time just clearing my mind and listening during savasana. It is one of the most challenging poses for me.  Physically it's not hard to lay on my mat. Mentally, a totally challenge. Just listening and clearing my mind is hard. My mind always wants to go. It's on to the next thing on my list before I'm there. I think that in our society, this is a common problem. Think about it - even when you go to sleep, your mind is thinking of things before you fall asleep and while you dream.

Today I got the "listening" angel card. I've gotten it a few times and think "why this card? I listen really well. I listen all day. I listen to people in conversations. I feel like people are listening to me when I speak. I feel validated and important." Today, as I made a conscious effort (because I remind myself of this after EVERY class) not to let my mind wander as much. I wanted to really be present, listen, and reflect. And I did. As our fantastic teacher, Lauri, was talking, so much of what she said was clicking. Naturally when someone says something your mind comes up with a response. That was me today. I was truly listening to what she was saying and it reached me. The message came through and I reflected. As I did, I felt tears in my eyes. I guess it was just an overwhelming, emotional feeling of making a specific connection. Now I have learned something else about myself and need to work to move through that.

That darn Angel Card. It got me again.

XOXO