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21 Days of Yoga

Sunday, February 21, 2010

emoticonActually, I've been doing yoga a little longer than that but on Friday, which I believe actually was day 21, I had the most wonderful sensation of my feet being rooted to the earth and having the power to lift me up from one of the more challenging positions. It was a fleeting sensation and I haven't really been able to repeat it but I'm confident that will come with time.

but have I told you how much I love yoga? lovelovelove it?

(Of course I have - I never shut up about anything that ignites my passion)

But what else have I learned from my three week love affair?

1. How much of my day I spend hunched over things - shoulders forward, chest pushing down towards my hips - like that lab assistant, Igor! Wow.

2. How if I press the tailbone down it makes my stomach flatter! woo woo

3. How that lifts my lower ribcage and takes pressure off the lower spine - hey nice!

4. That it's not about thrusting shoulders back like a West Point plebe - it's about pulling the muscles away from the sternum both vertically and laterally and when you do that your shoulders just automatically line up and your arms swing freely.

5. How relaxing it is when you line your head up over your shoulders - ahhhhh

6. That if I do a body check in each pose - Feet firmly planted? Calves hugging my leg, thigh muscles lifting my knee cap, tailbone down, pelvis lined up, sternum well stretched, shoulder blades hugging the spine, ears lined up with the spine, face relaxed - not only will I move to the next pose more easily and hold it longer BUT

7. throughout the day my body, that I've once again gotten to know and listen to and feel, will often tell me what it needs nutritionally. It will say "Hey - I'm thirsty" or "Man I could do with some green things." or "I need to rebuild myself. give me some protein".

And that is the thing I want most in my life. A body I listen to and nurture. I don't mind - no - I am deeply grateful for all the information that the experts can give me about good health - but more than anything else I want my body to tell me what it needs. Or rather - I want to hear my body speak and respond to its needs with what it asks for.

I feel like that will put an end to the craving thing, the fear of food and foodie situations, and the state of mindless denial that, over time, packed those pounds on this body. I truly believe there is an Optimal Body for Bess up ahead and I want to step into it and live there for the rest of my life.

May you all get to go live in your Optimal Body!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRAVE_FREE 2/22/2010 8:59AM

    Yoga sounds like an enlightening experience. It would be wonderful to be so intune with our bodies. Sounds like you've got a lot of us intrigued to try it out. Hope you find some more moments of feeling powerful!

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JUSTDUCKY1405 2/21/2010 6:22PM

    That's how I feel too! I have really been able to tune into my bodies and my bodies needs... yoga, meditation, awareness! Mind/Body/Soul!

Great blog! Love your enthusiasm for yoga! You are definitely going to make a great yoga teacher one day, as I aspire to be as well!

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HARPERLADY 2/21/2010 12:44PM

    wow! gets me motivated to start it up again, I start it in past but never follow thru, thanks for your post emoticon

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JLITT62 2/21/2010 10:28AM

    Wow! I've been doing yoga off & on a long time but I don't think I've learned nearly as much as you have in all that time!

What a GREAT blog -- thanks for sharing with us.

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PUDLECRAZY 2/21/2010 8:33AM

    Lovely progress! Yoga is wonderful!

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SHEILA1505 2/21/2010 8:09AM

    So THAT is why I feel as if I am floating after I finish a Yoga class - I am really looking forward to saying goodbye to my painter-man so I can go to classes again as I have really been missing them. I had only just started going again after a gap of a few years - and was getting to enjoy it more rather than be frustrated cos I couldn't do some of the moves.

Maybe March will be the start of regular Yoga for me again :)

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ROCKMAMA72 2/21/2010 7:58AM

    I feel the same about pilates! I'm hoping to invest in a yoga class with a seasoned instructor.

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HANSEEN 2/21/2010 7:56AM

    I have been thinking of starting yoga myself, at 24 hr fitness

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My Moment (s) of Truth - what they have taught me

Friday, February 19, 2010

I come from a soft fluffy fat family of short-waisted women who mostly look like soft pillows for grandchildren to cuddle up to. I don't believe there is a long boned body among all 40 of my cousins! That's why I have that silly photo of the fashion model Imam, with my cartoon head on her shoulders. Because my goodness - it would be fun to be that long and that lean.

It will never happen, but still, for 20 odd years, from my late teens to my early 40's I managed to maintain a healthy weight. It fluctuated, but always within a healthy BMI. I began to pile it on somewhere around in the mid-1990's. If you were to see a graph of me from then to today it would look like the Appalachian mountains. From about 150 lbs. I gradually rose to a peak of about 200 (by then I would have died rather than get on a scale) At that airy height I had my first Moment of Truth when a dear friend saw my photograph in the local paper.

"You looked like a proper dowager", this courtly oldfashioned gentleman said. When my mouth dropped in horror and my eyes teared up he tried to recover with "Oh I meant you looked like one of those women of influence ....." but the damage was done.

And the good. With great effort I scaled down that mountain to about 165 and a size 14. (wonder why I can't fit into a 14 now that I am back at 165?) Alas. I could not stay there. Bad habits and bad eating dragged me back up the mountain side till I was once again in the high 180's. One day I had on my skinny sweater (you know - the one where you can wear when you're at the bottom of your weight range) and so I let my husband take my photo. He brought it back from the one hour photo place and showed it to me. I gasped in horror - I looked like a purple beach ball!!! I said in a dreadful whisper "I don't really look like that, do I?" and ... with all the love in the world beaming from his blue eyes he said "Yes! that's exactly what you look like"

I began to cry and he stuttered "But... but HONEY! Look at your MOTHER!"

And that's when I knew ... he should die.

No. teasing there. That's when I knew I had gotten beyond acceptable. I confiscated the picture and showed it to my best friend a little later. "Do I really look like that?" I asked in still shocked tones - and she, being my best friend, said "No sugar, of course not" but I saw in her eyes that I really DID look like that photo.

I joined WW the next week and took of 37 lbs.

At 150, with a BMI of 25 at last, I was surprised at the many things I could do now - like ... wearing dangling earrings. At 187 my face was too round to look good with things swinging beside it. Even jewels! And my feet no longer hurt and I could wear heels again. And it wasn't too hard to keep the lbs. off for a while - but then a deep family tragedy followed swiftly by my parents' drastic needs and some health issues and BAMMO - the weight began to creep back up.

I've been dancing between 175 and 165 now for 3 years. I was beginning to think this was my body's natural weight - no I was playing with the idea of claiming that this was my body's natural weight. But you know? I just couldn't give up the image in my mind of a lithe streamlined healthy body. And I hate taking so many pills. I will, of course. I'd far rather take them than die without them! but what if?

What if I could really change?

What if I could believe "The only thing I inherited from my family was the skeleton. What I put on that skeleton is my choice."

Happily a friend put me on to Spark People and I am certainly enjoying myself on the journey - especially this blogging stuff. I am SUCH a talker anyway but writing about things has turned out to be a particular help in finding the underlying reasons for things - in this case - things to do with why I am the way I am. Often when I start my daily blog I have no idea where I'm going or why, but always by the end I've revealed what I was looking for.

With this long post I realize i was trying to find out why I derail my heroic efforts and I believe there are two reasons.

1. Crisis - I tend to cope with a crisis by dancing with Mr.IceCreamBox and his friends Baron Butter and Sir Sugar. Each time I gained substantial weight was preceded by a huge life crisis.

2. I rather prefer the journey to the destination. Once I lost weight it was hard for me to stay there because it wasn't fun, I wasn't doing it with friends. There were no mileposts or rewards or celebrations for ... for just staying where I was - even if where I was was such a great place.

Well. I know there will be other crises in the future and I hope to find a way to live at a healthy weight for the rest of my life. It behooves me to think about how I will deal with those two issues before hand.

Ahh but not today. Today it's enough that I've identified the issues.

Happy Friday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HARPERLADY 2/21/2010 12:59PM

    great blog,and true for so many of us

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TRACIWRIGHT79 2/20/2010 11:46PM

    Thanks for sharing! You are really self enlightened! emoticon

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JKTENTATIVE 2/19/2010 6:56PM

    I have also bounced around with my weight. About 6 years ago I reached my goal weight for the first time in my life and looked amazing..went from a large size 16 to a size 8. I liked what I saw in the mirror, but I must say, I was perplexed by other people's reactions to the way I looked. Most especially, for the first time in over a decade I had men coming on to me...despite my very obvious wedding ring. I also couldn't figure out what my new "style" was. Sometimes I wonder if that confusion helped contribute to me eventually gaining almost all of the weight back (to a small size 16). Now I am a size 14, and my goal is be a size 10 (or size 8), and I have very high hopes that there is another whole section of the SP program that I have not yet discovered that will help me deal with maintenance once I am ready. I am assuming that the SP maintenance program will be multi-dimensional, in the same way that the weight loss program is...and that that will help me to really maintain my healthy lifestyle and weight when I reach my goal this time. So, when you do get around to thinking about maintenance again, you might want to explore that part of SP. Maybe we can help each other through that process too!

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MSLZZY 2/19/2010 4:36PM

    You identified your issues-good for you! Now step beyond them.

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CRYSTALLULLABY 2/19/2010 11:26AM

  I loved this comment " I rather prefer the journey to the destination. "

I find it so true that just staying where you are is not as fun as reaching for something else. Yes, it's great you are there but you are right, there is something missing.

Good luck to you on your journey! And enjoy it!

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JLITT62 2/19/2010 11:17AM

    A very insightful blog! I love blogging too -- obviously -- and I'm a talker, too -- but only to people I know well. To others, I'm very quiet. Because I'm still painfully shy. Well, maybe not painfully, but still shy.

And of course, I have struggled for most of my adult life.

I think SP is a big part of our success . . . there was never support like this the first time I did WW. WW is great, and I love it, but I need more! My husband likes to think I'm high maintenance. I don't really think so, but I'm not easy, either.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 2/19/2010 9:35AM

    No reason why you can't stay here and play when you're at a healthy weight! emoticon emoticon

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KNITTER53 2/19/2010 8:57AM

    I'm so happy for you that you've identified the problem! That is so huge! And you've lost weight before, so you know you can do it again - but this time keep it off because you know your problem! Good for you!

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Lent Ė I love it

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Itís true. I love lent. While the grand climax at the end of the Lenten season is a triumphant victory over death, these 40 days to prepare for something wonderful have always filled me with the knowledge that I, too, have a role to play Ė if only in coming to understand what the meaning of sacrifice is.

In the past I have given up sodas (twice, because the first time I was such a nasty crabby thing that though I fulfilled the deed, I did not fulfill the spirit), chocolate, criticizing my husband, gossip Ė a score of different things. From time to time I also/instead add something to my life. It just depends on where I feel I need the most work.

This year Lent caught me by surprise and I had to scramble to find something I can give up and/or add to my life. Iím doing a lot of little things already as I work towards better health and I didnít want to be so ambitious I failed either in a Lenten sacrifice or in my healthy SP life. And then I hit on something that is both a subtraction and an addition and Iím excited about it.

I have a besetting sin of grousing to myself about Bad Things. I donít do it all the time Ė there might be whole days when I go through life seeing only the bright side of things. But I have my dark gloomy grouchy complaining moments and if I used them to make positive changes in my life they might be good for me. All too often, though, they just decay into rants and ugly mutterings that leave me feeling sorry for myself and blaming Other People.

And so, for the next 40 days I am going to wear a little rubber band on my left wrist. The moment I catch myself grumbling and muttering and grousing about something in my life that I hate I will snap that rubber band Ė lightly - but snap it enough to notice and from that moment on I have 1 hour to find a piece of paper and pen and to spend 10 minutes listing all the ways that I can actively change whatever is bothering me for the better. The snap of the band is to get me to STOP grousing. The hour is because I may not be at a point where I can grab a pencil and paper but I am sure I can within an hour. The 10 minute limit is because I just want to flood my brain with possibilities, positives, solutions and choices. I donít have to actually DO any of these things but I have to discover them, think about them and admit that there ARE choices in every situation.

This year I have a subtraction and an addition - for I plan to subtract the minutes I spend muttering and grumbling and add lots of good choices. And this is why I really, really love Lent.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 2/18/2010 7:55AM

    Excellent idea! I think I could do that too! Lent is such a wonderful time to reflect on sacrifices and realize how little I am sacrificing in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice-hmmmm! Pretty small.

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ELLENB10 2/17/2010 6:46PM

    What a wonderful Lenten discipline. I've heard of similar ones - trying to go 20 days without complaining - but I like the idea of actively writing down positive solutions to problems or situations. Best wishes for a challenging Lent!

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JLITT62 2/17/2010 3:38PM

    Good luck on your subtractions & additions! I'm sure you will be a happier person after 40 days.

Someone else's post about Lent got me to thinking about what I could give up (altho I'm not even Christian), and that led to my thoughts on the BLTs.

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OPAL50 2/17/2010 2:24PM

    Great thought. I may need to try this also. I, too love Lent. emoticon

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    Great idea! Good luck!

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HJFOGARTY 2/17/2010 12:58PM

    what a great idea to stay positive! thanks so much for sharing you are an inspiration!

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Back in the saddle again

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thanks for the encouragement about all my medical stuff. I'm just at the beginning of getting a handle on my situation - with every confidence that I will find a way to deal with this health issue that I can live with. Happily they were able to perform all tests back to back with no waiting and I was out of there by 2 o'clock and went back to work. (still feeling virtuous about that)

Back at work things moved slowly but there was movement - and today is Wednesday and Wednesday means story hour day - my favorite day of the week. And my knitting group is meeting for lunch at the library so I'll reunite with friends I haven't seen in a month. All in all - not a bad work week.

but I discovered something that I'll have to think about and blog about later - having to do with snacking and the SORT of snacking I crave .. and what I might be able to do about it.

but that will have to be for tomorrow - I stayed up till 5 a.m.!!! reading a delightful book - and then fell alseep for a few hours and now I am late late late again! I feel like the mad hatter.

Till Tomorrow - at Tara

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 2/17/2010 10:26AM

    I've just discovered there's a knitting group at the library twice a months . . . planning to go to the next one.

Can't wait to hear about the snacking . . . and a book that kept you up to 5 am!

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SHEILA1505 2/17/2010 8:29AM

    Keep on keeping on
And know that you have lots of friends at Spark


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Back to work - and just in the nick of time too

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The weather and some personal issues kept me home all last week and I'm proud to say that, even with Valentines Day thrown in, I have done remarkably well sticking to my nutritional plan. Doing Yoga every day has been more than a pleasure, it has been an adventure. But long hours indoors so close to the kitchen always holds the potential for overeating and yesterday I found myself succumbing to that.

Today I have hours worth of tests at the hospital, having to do with a health issue that cropped up in January and derailed my exercise plans. When they are finished with me there I will stop by my office and prepare for my return to the working woman's world. It is wonderful that I have a good job that I really enjoy with lots of scope and freedom for self expression. It will make re-entry much easier than if I were going back to some unpleasant place. Still and all - it means I no longer have leisurely mornings to while away here AND get in my morning yoga - and these days Yoga takes pride of place over most other activities. But it also means I shan't be tempted by that refrigerator door and the freshly baked loaves of bread in the bread basket.

I've been anxious about those tests, obviously, because I had bad dreams last night that woke me at 3. I never did go back to sleep so it's good that I don't have to make important decisions today, but I wonder if lack of sleep will effect the results all those medical machines will pull out of me. Eh. so it is. No escaping the inevitable - best just get through it.

I suspect my basic discomfort also helped me eat More Bread when I Wasn't Hungry. I wish I could report that I realized what was happening and stopped myself. Alas. I only realized what was happening and watched. Well there - life will always be throwing me these little curve balls and the best thing I can do is to brush my teeth and start a brand new day.

The good news is ...there is time to get in my morning yoga! I am sure that will make the rest of this day sweeter.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEDDWT 2/16/2010 12:34PM

    The tests will diagnose your physical parameters but you know that your spirit will remain strong no matter what and will overcome. Go get 'em!

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JKTENTATIVE 2/16/2010 11:21AM

    Good luck on your tests. Please let us know how you are doing. As far as the bread goes, put it behind you and drink water, water, and more water today. It will physically and mentally clean you out!

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MOTHERBEAR4 2/16/2010 8:05AM

    Hope everything goes well. Good Luck today! emoticon

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JLITT62 2/16/2010 7:54AM

    Hope the tests go well. We all fall into bread baskets sometimes. Yes, yoga will definitely help you find your back out of that basket!

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BETHDISCOUNT 2/16/2010 7:25AM

    hope all goes well

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SHEILA1505 2/16/2010 7:24AM

Strength and hoping for good test results for you.
Hope you enjoyed the Yoga

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TRACIWRIGHT79 2/16/2010 7:06AM

    I will be thinking about you and your tests today. I hope everything goes well.

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