Thursday, July 7, 2016

Inspirational Women in Yoga.

First, I have to say that my head is POUNDING but I really want to write this. I'm a little concerned that it may impact on my writing but I think it'll be okay. Plus there's always that awesome editing feature which I needed yesterday because..... I am not good at posting from my iPad.

I'm sure I've written a bit about yoga before. I love it. Yoga makes me feel strong, both physically and mentally.  Yoga challenges my body differently than other activities. I am constantly surprised at what I can do or in progress that I make. I don't practice at a studio because my work schedule is all over the place. It makes it hard to get to classes. There are some on Saturday mornings; right when I do my long runs.  I'm hopeful that something a little later in the evening or earlier in the morning will open up.  I do yoga from DVDs that I have. I find new things on-line. I practice some moves on my own. I do Piyo which is a hybrid but includes yoga poses. I would love, love, love to take a class but it's a matter of finding one that works with my schedule.  Something may have to change though.  I have thought, at various times over the last five years, about wanting to include exercise in my professional life. I had a goal of getting my personal trainer certificate back in 2011 or 2012.  I've thought about yoga a few different times, especially over the last year.  Something has stopped me each time.

I've discovered what's stopping me.  Me.  Well, my perceptions of what others MIGHT think about me in those roles.  Back when I was at my smallest, I had achieved a tremendous goal.  I'd lost the weight of an adult. But I felt like I didn't fit the look.  I had the passion but felt that my own appearance wasn't good enough. I ordered the books and started studying but that's as far as it went. I met my boyfriend in 2013, and gained weight back (not all of it, thank goodness!). It was clear then that my books needed to stay in a box. And that's where they sit. Looking back, I looked good. I didn't think so because I didn't look like whatever it is I thought I needed to look like. I didn't think so because the numbers on my scale were higher than what I felt they should be. I look at pictures and I look fit, healthy, and in some ways even thin... My collar bones and spine were showing. But not my ribs. I didn't have protruding hip bones.  My abs and muscles didn't show like I thought a trainer's should. I had a picture in my mind of what I thought a trainer should look like and it wasn't me.

I've thought about becoming certified to teach yoga a few times.  Again, I thought that this would be my goal when I reach my weight loss goal (this time - where I'm staying). I had another picture in my mind (this one a bit different but still NOT my body) of what I should look like.  Several pounds and a few years away from where I was, I thought "when I get there again..." and realized that at that time I totally could've worked for those goals.

Yoga has been on my mind a bit more lately. I love yoga for the entire experience. When my body does something I didn't think it could do, or I can master a pose, I feel awesome.  It's work and takes time, like anything.  I love how it can relax people but at the same time make people strong.  I totally love the mental part of yoga. I incorporate similar thoughts in my life and what I do at work. I want to become certified so that I can actually teach poses and help clients in that way. A few months ago I decided that when I reach my weight and fitness goals, I'll do that.

Guess what! Trainers, like people, come in all shapes and sizes.  I'm finally learning that it is okay to workout and not look like a fitness model or the stereotypical trainer I had envisioned. Yoga instructors come in all shapes and sizes too.  Bodies can do a lot - no matter the shape or size.

I've been a person who believes in body positivity in a way that we should all embrace and accept others. We are different souls in different bodies. Why should your body look like mine? Why should mine look like yours? It shouldn't. We are unique and different and go through life in these amazing masses of all sorts of cool science-y stuff like matter. That's what our bodies are for... To carry these brains around and, well, they're part of what make us people; living beings. I think that we've gotten away from really thinking about what our bodies are and have focused so much on what they look like.  We have sexualized our bodies. Instead of looking at them as just bodies, we have made them more - basing it on what is physical appealing to the eye. Well, someone's eye because the idea body didn't just become ideal all on its own. Someone came up with this; the media continues it.

Let's think about it... Boobs.  They're blobs of fat and flesh that are meant to provide nutrition to babies. Someone decided that boobs were sexual (to look at, I mean; I'm educated I know about erogenous zones). Someone decided that these big blobs were so pleasing that they were sexually arousing. Now people go out and spend thousands of dollars on making them the size of their heads (or bigger!).  Butts are the same for some people.  Our butts help power our bodies; help with movement and lower body strength, Someone decided that butts were sexually appealing. So now the sight of Luke Bryan shaking it in a pair of tight jeans makes women drool.

We all admire different things for different reasons. I may see beauty in something that you don't. I have recently started to see beauty in bodies in a different way.  I see them as beautiful in what they can accomplish.  Someone with awesome muscle in a pose that's been captured beautifully by a photographer is pleasing to my eye.  I think that fit bodies are beautiful - and muscle can be graceful. Check out Adeline Gray, a female olympic wrestler or some of the other athletes in ESPN's body issue.  It really is about movement and the way their individual bodies are created differently. And it's absolutely gorgeous.  

Yes, I've had plastic surgery to remove skin.  Why? Because I didn't like it. Because I worked hard to achieve a physical goal and I wanted the reminder of past pain to be gone.  This time I won't go through more surgery (but I'll likely bounce back a bit better this time too). I don't have any pain associated with the amount of fat on my body.  This is the result of being too lax on nutrition and having too many indulgences.  It's been in fun. I've still been active too, so I guess that's a part of it.  And yes some of my past surgery was probably based on how others would see me.  This was also done three and four years ago.  People can change and, apparently, my outlook has in that time.

Now, I agree with body positivity but please know I do not agree with promoting poor health - at any size. I believe in treating my body well through fitness and nutrition (but yes I do still indulge sometimes!). A person can have fat but still treat their body well.  I don't know, by looking at someone, what their health issues are. I can see an overweight person and make the assumption that they have high cholesterol.  I can look at a thin person and think they don't.  I could be totally wrong.  I'm overweight right now and the only thing wrong with me is that I seem to have a headache today.  My lab work is all great. My functions are great. My body works well.  Yeah, I don't eat clean 100% of the time (but am making great strides, and realistically I will never be perfect nor do I want to). Someone could look at me think I'm fat, ugly, and unhealthy. And they'd be wrong. I'm not fat.I HAVE fat (we all do!). I'm actually like really pretty. Other than my weight being too much I'm healthy.

I have found some amazing women in yoga who have been inspirational. They are not thin. But they are athletes. They are strong. They are beautiful. They have bodies that are not the idea but they are beautiful.  They have bodies; bodies that can do amazing things.

Dana Falsetti.... LOVE her!!! Anna Guest-Jelley created curvy yoga; yoga classes and teacher trainings that are for all bodies. She has included ways to help those who have bodies that may function differently so that they can do their best practice. Amber Karnes created body positive yoga. Rachel Brathen does yoga on a paddle board.  I'm not that good on stable ground sometimes!! A headstand on a paddle board? Badass. Chelsea Roff is a woman with a story that makes me cry when I read it. She survived a traumatic childhood and anorexia. She founded Eat Breathe Thrive. Our bodies are wonderful, capable things. They can do a lot. There some other awesome yogis out there too.

Whether we do fitness for mental health benefits, physical benefits (improvement or weight loss), or just because it's fun, we all do something. Thanks to these ladies for being awesome and showing that it's okay to be you in your body. And that has helped me to realize I DO want to do this.

With that, I need to find someone local who is able to train new teachers.

Go find the beauty in someone else....


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Patches, Pink Drinks, Powders, and Pills - Oh, my!!!!

I decided today that I'm going to stick something in a bottle, give it a nice name, some flashy packaging, and tell people that it's THE life changing product. It will make you energized, cleanse your colon, and help you lose weight.  I'll find a way to make people believe in it. Then I'm going to convince people to sign-up to become distributors to go sell it for me so I can sit back and make millions. BUT I'll let them know that by signing up they too can make money (if they put all of their time into it) and earn the miracle product for free!! 

Sounds like a pyramid. Sounds like something I hear about in one way or another, a couple times a week. Now there is a fancy name for it; Multi Level Marketing. It's not a pyramid scheme and differs in a couple ways; the main one being that it is legal. However it is still a pyramid business when you think about it in he basic sense....

Two others and I join your team. That pushes your rank up and you get a raise. I add three people. The others and two and five, respectively. Wow - by adding 3 to your team, you  just had others add 10 more to your larger team. Of course they can create their own.... And so on. Pretty soon the person at the top is making money thanks to the work of every single person that signs up under them. They get on social media and promote but they don't need to continue the legwork. Meanwhile new girl A is at the bottom, struggling to add people with the belief that she'll get free product and make extra money. The problem is that now the market is over-saturated. She's struggling. No one above is sending referrals her way or helping her build her team. She signed up. They told her what to do. That's it. 

Yes, this IS a generalization in the most simple context. But it makes my point. 

Now please know - I've done a couple of these. And I sucked at them because I love my career more than some random side thing. One thing ended up being used just for the discount. After the fees, the discount wouldn't actually be a discount (fees added up, over time). So I quit. The other? I just didn't have time for. I honestly LOVE the products and will continue to use them. BUT....Extra work outside of work is going to be for my career - kinda like lesson planning for teachers. I don't want to work to push or sell a product in my free time. I want to workout. I want to walk my dogs. I want to spend time with my family and my friends. I want to take trips. I want to sleep. I want to watch the three TV shows that I like. I want to read running and other exercise magazines. I want to write.  I don't want to be stuck sitting around late at night or during the weekend. I want to do things I enjoy in my free time; not things that are work. I didn't love it. It's not my passion. So? I'm done with that. Now you know I have a background and experience. I'm not just babbling. I'm also bit bashing and saying no one should ever do those things. If you love them, go for it. I love therapy. That's my thing. 

SO.... The latest I've seen (some still; some again) are "health" related. Pink powders, flavored powders, a skin patch, some random "supplements" that you pop. And people are quick to join becaus it sounds so amazing. Every single one of those products is going to give you energy, make your bodily woes disappear, help you lose weight, and whatever else.  That product that isn't required to be evaluated by the FDA (although there is some apparent credentialing they can get). It's bit the same evaluation. I wonder how many people look into the validity. The ingredients. The safety. I prefer to know exactly what I'm putting into my body. I try to aim for ingredients I can pronounce. This is most likely why I'm sling weight. Because I care again. I know exactly what lettuce is. I know where apples come from. I don't know what some -ose -Ide -whatever -whatchamacallit might be. 

Guess what!!! Clean eating, water, and exercise will make you.... Have more energy, feel better, and get rid of the junk in your body. Oh and if you get up and move... You can actually get pain relief!! Throw some chia seeds in your yogurt and - there's your awesome, a,axing, miraculous super food. 

I'm the type of girl who asks her medical professional for input before taking whatever supplements or proteins she may read about or think about taking.  I asked my PA about my pre-workout and if it's safe because it has things in it that I can't pronounce. And I sure as heck don't want to put something in my body that could be harmful. 

I can see where you think I'm being hypocritical or contradicting myself. Unjust said that I take pre-work out but earlier stated I prefer to know what's going into my body. There. Please note and understand that. I'm not being hypocritical....  I'm saying I don't just jump on board with something that is presented to me. I won't put something into my body (and don't use it on a daily basis) that I didn't discuss with my PA. 

I don't buy into gimmicks. I'm very skeptical of these types of products. I'm not going to throw $200 at something for a month. I'd prefer to buy an entire Lululemon outfit (more on sale or at an outlet!) that I can wear to workout. I can wear it to do something good for my body that's gonna last more than eight weeks. 

I guess I'm like "Carrie Bradshaw " - "I like my money right where I can see it hanging in my closet." 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I Guess It's a New (again) Trend...

I see I've been absent for almost a month again. Gosh, time is FLYING by so fast!! I have been working lots of busy days and between other things and making sure I have time to fit in some exercise, by the time I sit down at night I'm in that mode where I just want to zone out.  Not sit down and write.

I believe I posted about my weight loss before. I'm moving down, however it's slow going.  I'm eating mostly clean but not super clean where I'm dropping pounds as quickly as I did in the past. I'm all over the place with exercise - it's getting done but not at on any kind of schedule.  I had family up (unexpected surprise!) so I was working with that. I also did a June biking challenge - 100 miles in the month - to raise money for kids with cancer.  I've had lots of support on what I'm doing and my biking but not much as far as donations.  Awareness is something in itself though. Now more people know about the challenge so when it comes around next time, maybe more riders will sign up. 100 miles in a month is really not bad, even if you bike at a leisurely pace. I generally keep it fairly light and bike around 10 miles per hour.  One day I think I did about 14 and that was a day I was moving a bit faster because I started getting rained on. At ten miles a ride, that's only 10 rides in the whole month.  That's only 10 hours of time.  Not bad at all. Due to my schedule mine were more spread out. Then I was out of town for a couple days for a 5K and doing some running on other days, I ended up in crunch time last week. Most of my workouts were biking; at least ten miles. June went by much faster than I  was prepared for! But I finished, on time, and with over 100 miles.  It's The Great Cycle Challenge USA and they'll continue to add miles and donations in throughout this month. There were over 26,000 riders so I'm sure it takes a bit of time to gather all the data.

Anyway....weight loss... I'm sitting around the 25 pounds lost that I was at in June (okay I'm like a pound, almost two, more pounds lost, but close enough). I'm working on 30.  My goal is to have lost over 30 by the time my next doctor appointment comes up.  that's on the 15th of this month, so just under two weeks.  I see no reason that I cannot lose five pounds in two weeks.  As of yesterday, or maybe the day before, I was thisclose to being to that 2 more pounds lost, so it's really only four pounds which is totally do-able for a two week span. More would be great.  I weighed this morning and even with increased sodium (cookout yesterday) my weight was not up as much as it could've been... Not even a pound, so that should come off with water in the next couple days.  I feel that just biking and walking last week had something to do with it too. Until the weekend, I hadn't done much running so the last two weeks were pretty light as far as activity. I was still doing activity but not as intense. Lots of biking and walking but only a few runs until this weekend. I had done a 5K on the 25th and then it was walking and biking until Saturday. I did a couple runs the week of the 5K to get ready for it but I'd been running a couple times a week before then and no long runs since what turned out to be a five miler when I did my last 5K (ran/walked a mile to/from to add a couple more on to the run). I think running will really get things moving again!

This weekend, I did just over four miles Saturday, three Sunday, and a virtual Independence Day 5K yesterday.  Saturday's run was a bit of a struggle; probably because I hadn't done a run in a week! With all the biking and being so busy and not wanting to run late (because then I'd be energized and miss sleep!) it just kind of worked out that way.  By yesterday I noticed my endurance was already better. My speed was also improving. Saturday was more of a struggle and each day got a little better. The 5K the previous weekend was a little brutal. It was hot early in the day - like 80 by race time. And the Windy City had a lack of wind, even right on the lakeshore. There were also lots of people. I lost my friend within the first mile because she was able to squeeze through some people and as I went to go through behind her, someone else came up from the other side and he and his buddies went through, then there was another group I couldn't get around. So I got stuck. Several times during the race, actually. Somehow my time wasn't as awful as I thought it would've been given getting stuck and it being so stinking hot. I was slower than usual but not too terribly far behind - only a few minutes.  It was still an awesome race and when I realized just how crowded it was, I realized time would probably be a factor at some point. I got to finish ON Soldier Field.  I could've been stuck walking the whole thing and would've been totally fine!!!

So weight-wise I'm doing pretty good. I'd have hoped to drop 8-10 pounds a month before this appointment. I was really wanting to be down 50 pounds from February (five months) which is the rate I lost at when I lost weight the first time.  But I'll be okay with 30+. Is it slower than I want? Yes. But I'm doing it in a way that's better for me. Previously I cut off a lot of socialization because that's so centered around food. I was also a little obsessive about my eating habits. Yesterday I decided that I wanted to have an adult beverage because it was the 4th of July! I typically have a beer or drink once every 1-2 weeks.  And that's usually one drink.  Yesterday was a rather large mimosa but after that I was done and back to water.  Moderation.  Yesterday was also a cookout and I ate like a normal person... Not too much and not in an obsessive way.  I had hotdog. I had some pasta salad. I had a few chips.  And I was good. I ate to where I felt satisfied but not super full. I didn't freak out and chug water or struggle because there were not fruits or veggies. I ate a white bun (gasp!). In the past I would've loaded up on fruits and veggies avoided pasta salad and chips totally, and maybe would've had a some of the meat without a bun. I'm losing at a slower rate, but it's a more comfortable, more realistic rate. And I'm not beating myself up like I did before. I ran and burned lots of calories and although I don't like to eat calories back, if I ate a few of them back (wasn't all of them), that's okay. Life goes on.  I'm happy. I'm not self-isolating for fear of what food or drinks will be around.  Life is fun! Would I like to be down 50? Of course.  Would I like to be down 50 but not doing anything or have problematic eating and anxiety in social settings? Nope.  I'll take slow and meeting the needs of my life as it is at this stage.  A few years ago, I was okay self-isolating. My then-boyfriend lived away. I had no one else to worry about during the week. It worked.  Now? It won't work the same way. But I'm eating as clean as possible and putting in the work in way that's working for me now.

Around 20 pounds lost people started noticing. I didn't.  And I still struggle. But I struggled when I was at my smallest weight. In some way, I'll probably always struggle with body imagine. I think that's something that's true for many of us.... I know very few people who are absolutely comfortable with their bodies and would change nothing about their physical appearance.  It doesn't have to be weight loss... It can be that they want to gain weight; maybe they have a nose they don't like; maybe they're short... Anything. Body image is tricky and in same way most of us have some sort of issue with it. BUT it's in how we handle it and how big we allow it to get. So at 20 pounds I didn't notice much.  At 25, I started seeing some differences. I'm also feeling better about how I look in pictures and take mirror selfies regularly to help monitor progress.  I didn't do this last time but this time I think it's a good thing since my weight is moving a bit slower. I'm getting there.  And maybe I won't hit 50 pounds lost until September.  That's okay.  I'd say my goal for the end of the year; another five months would be to hit 70 pounds lost, total.  That's another 40 from where I am now. I think that if I'm a bit more strict, I can do that.  But I will accept a loss of another 30, for 60 overall since February. The good thing is that I'm done beating myself up. Progress is progress. Progress is good. Progress not perfection. I think I'm finally back in a place where I've done my best to block all other negativity from my life and am just working to respond in a different way to bad vibes... You don't like me? Cool. You wanna talk about me? People who know me won't believe it. People who know you will (but do I even care what they believe? Nope.).  People somewhere in between won't want to get involved, will ask the second side of the story, or will let it roll away. Got a problem with how I look? Don't look at me. You think I should/should not be wearing make-up? Okay. Don't like my hair color? Okay. I do. I'm just at that point where I know I can't control what other people see or say and that's okay. My body image isn't about them. It's about me. It's about how I feel. Why should someone saying "oh she's gained some weight back!" bother me? It shouldn't. I'm WELL AWARE of that. Yeah, I have.  Why do you care? What people don't know or see is what I'm doing.  I exercise at least 6 days a week. I usually take a rest day but not always. My exercise varies - I do light cardio, intense cardio, weights, yoga... A variety.  The thing is, I don't control what anyone else thinks about how I look. I don't control what they say. I only control how I see myself; how I feel about myself; and what I choose to do (or not do) about it.  Right now I'm eating mostly clean and I'm exercising a lot. Exercise makes me feel good. I'm losing weight but I'm not stressing.  I'm happy. Maybe that's what upsets people... I'm not showing that I'm totally miserable with how I look. I'm not. But it's also not anyone else's business how I see myself or feel about myself. I share things here because I want to. Because I've heard it's helped other people.  I've had people tell me I've motivated and inspired them. I've had people tell me that my determination has helped them to be more determined.  That is by far one of the best feelings I've ever experienced. Ever.

So I'd say things are going well... I've done a three 5Ks in June/thus far in July.  I was thinking of another half this month but got off-track with my training. I have one for sure in September so training will start for that soon enough. I'm sure I'll do some more 5Ks and 10Ks this summer.  Running is good. Eating is pretty good - I could clean it up a bit but I'm okay where I'm at. Weight loss is happening. I'm going to make sure I don't miss tracking any bites during this two weeks and hope to be at 31, or more, lost on the 15th. Other areas of life are going great!

Hope life finds you well and your summer is fantastic!!