I cried in yoga class on Monday night

It’s true, I cried in the middle of my yoga class on Monday night! I have heard that this happens sometimes. Our body physically holds emotions and they can come pouring out when we’ve released those particular muscles. Well, half-way through class we rested in child’s pose and the tears began to flow. Luckily we were just about to start a floor sequence where we were on our stomachs for a while – just long enough to take a few breaths and wipe my eyes.

I’m not exactly sure what the tears were about, but I must have been holding on to some emotions unwittingly. I do have some suspects: the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s death, possible changes at work that have left me anxious, and relief that my husband got a new job that he is really excited about after nine long months of searching all come to mind. I’ve been experiencing little moments of anxiety lately as well.

I’m wondering if some of it has to do with my lack of consistent yoga practice these past few weeks. I’ve been hooked on barre and Pilates classes lately. My favorite teacher no longer teaches on Wednesday nights and I’m not so crazy about her replacement. I really like the teacher on Monday nights, but it’s tough getting there in time for a 6:00 class, so my yoga practice has been sporadic. I’ll be enjoying a “staycation” for most of July and I plan on getting my yoga groove back. We’ll see if that helps curb some of this anxiety that’s been building lately. It had been such a long time since I experience any episodes. I hope I can find my way back to that peace quickly!

Seeing Results

After a week of mostly following the Whole 30 eating plan, I’ve lost 4 pounds and am back to the lowest weight I’ve been so far! I haven’t been as strict as the Whole 30 plan can be: I’ve cut out flour, legumes, sugar, and have really limited my dairy (basically just a little bit of feta with my eggs in the morning). I’ve also been logging my food and it looks like the main reason the weight is finally coming off is that I’m consistently staying under my daily calorie intake by a few hundred calories.

I’ve noticed that I feel much less bloated and am having very few digestive issues. That alone makes restricting some of these foods so worth it! I’ve decided to keep this up for a month to see what kind of results I get. I’ll then consider slowly adding back in beans and chickpeas. I miss them, but I have a feeling they were affecting my digestion in the amounts I’m used to.

It’s a great feeling to see the scale on its way down again. I’m 17 pounds away from my first big goal and I’m confident it’s within reach. I’m not sure why I stopped when I was here just a few months ago. I think it may have had to do with fear and guilt. Fear that I would reach that first goal and then either be dismayed by the realization that I still have a long way to go, or fear that I wouldn’t be able to maintain that first goal and would see the weight come back on again. And the guilt? Oh, that guilt has been a companion for so long that I hardly even notice it anymore, but it’s constantly lurking. It whispers things like, “Who are you to deserve putting yourself first? Who are you to try to get fit and look good? Why are you so special?” Yep, it’s there and it sucks and I’m still learning how to ignore it. I’m ready to shut it up again.

Progress & Plans

I’m sure everyone’s heard how the scale can be deceiving and is not necessarily the best measure of progress. Well, I can tell you that has been true for me. For the past few months the numbers on the scale have barely go down. I’ve pretty much been hanging around at the weight I’ve been for most of my adult life. While that is somewhat frustrating, I’m also wearing sizes that I last fit into about 15 years ago. I’ve also lost three more inches in my waist, one in my chest, and one in each of my arms since I last measured.

My yoga studio offers a barre fit class and I’ve attended it the past few Saturdays. I can honestly say it’s one of the most challenging classes I’ve ever taken and I love it. I took a similarly titled class at another fitness studio, but that was NOTHING compared to this class. The exercises make you sweat and your muscles shake uncontrollably at times. Apparently that’s the point. Rumor has it that this class is great for re-shaping and toning your body. I can’t wait to see what kind of results I get in another month or two.

Now that we’ve hit spring (although, it doesn’t quite feel that way temperature-wise) I’m going to get some early morning walks in a couple of times a week. It’ll be a nice addition to all the yoga, Pilates, and barre classes I’ve been taking.

With any luck (and let’s face it, some actual work), I will have some significant progress to report!

Breaking Habits & Being Honest

This time of year I usually find myself craving all things Easter candy – Peeps (gross, but I love them!), Cadbury Creme Eggs, chocolate coconut eggs, etc. On St. Patrick’s Day I usually want to get a beer or two and eat some corned beef hash and soda bread. Of course, I usually give in to those cravings with the reasoning that a few pieces of candy or a few beers and some salty corned beef isn’t going to hurt me in the long run. I still stand by that rationalization, but on Sunday I made a drug store run for my poor sinus pain-filled husband and found myself eyeing the candy near the check out counter with barely a tinge of longing. It was rather amazing. I realized that St. Patrick’s Day had come and gone without one sip of beer or bite-full of beef and I hadn’t even thought about it. Instead I attended my Pilates class and had a delicious salad for dinner, never feeling as if anything was lacking.

I attribute this change to a lot of things. Physically I think eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods, and drinking lots of water has helped curb all kinds of cravings. Emotionally/spiritually, I see the support of my husband and regular meditation, Reiki, and yoga as having important roles in regulating my emotions and keeping my anxiety in check.

More and more, as I think back over my past I see how much of an emotional eater I have been. All those forbidden foods that I snuck into my room to eat with abandon provided temporary relief from whatever I was feeling: anxiety, loneliness, anger, lack of security, lack of love, just plain old lack. I was in such denial. I vividly remember watching Oprah one afternoon when I was in high school. She talked about emotional eating and how people use food to fill a void, and sometimes use their weight as a way to protect themselves. I scoffed at that and said to my mom, “Well, that’s not what my problem is. I just have a big bones and a slow metabolism. It’s so frustrating.” Twenty-some years later I realize that it is exactly my problem (or at least a big part of it).

I don’t think I’ve ever really binged. Not in the way that it’s been described by others anyway, but I did eat past the point of being full regularly. I didn’t even realize that until my past few visits with my family this year. Pretty much as soon as I entered my childhood home I would head to the kitchen to find snacks. I snacked until dinner, ate more than usual at dinner, and snacked some more. I should point out that no one else was doing this, just me. When I went to bed I was so full and uncomfortable. I actually woke up in the middle of the night with raging heart burn and once even coughed up a bit of vomit (sorry for the TMI, but I think it’s helpful to be honest).

As I tried to fall back to sleep I pondered a few key questions: Why did I feel this way? Why did I eat so much? Why did I feel like I couldn’t stop eating the whole evening? When I got really honest with myself I realized it was a combination of anxiety and sadness that I was trying to tamp down with whatever I could get my hands on. The sadness was from missing my dad. The anxiety was an old feeling that has permeated my life for as long as I can remember. I no longer blame my family for that, though. I had a pretty good childhood. I just wasn’t really equipped to handle my parents’ divorce and other changes, and I don’t think anyone knew how to help me with that. Still, the feelings return the minute I walk in the door and if I don’t acknowledge them and sit with them, I end up stuffing my face to the point of getting sick.

Being honest about my feelings, particularly the “bad” ones, is a constant struggle. As a highly sensitive child I learned to keep a lot of my emotions to myself. I continued that habit into adulthood, only revealing my true feelings to a handful of close friends and my mom. Writing – fiction, journal entries, free-writing – was my steadfast refuge, but even that began to feel unsafe after I graduated from college. I worried that spending all my free time writing was keeping me from living my real life and so I slowly evicted myself from my one safe haven.

Luckily, after a bunch of failed relationships – some self-destructive and emotionally wrought – I met my husband. Even that relationship had a rocky start, but here we are in our fourth year of marriage. R has helped me in so many ways, but especially by not letting me shut down and hide from my feelings. He pushes me to have conversations that I would otherwise run from and to acknowledge not only what I feel, but also how I let those feelings overcome and undermine me. It’s not easy work, but it’s necessary work and I am so grateful for his patience and love. For the first time I can remember, I feel seen and loved for who I am, not who I’m trying to be.

So while I’m working on breaking habits like turning to food for comfort, and denying my emotions, I hope to re-ignite my old writing habit by posting here more often and keeping a journal again. Words can help us sit with uncomfortable things and see a way past them. If any of this resonates with you, I hope you’ll come sit with me from time to time.

Just Veggies January

2015 is off to a pretty good start. My good eating habits had slowly slipped away during the holidays so I decided to make January a meatless month. I always feel so much better when I don’t eat any meat, poultry, or fish. My energy levels are higher and my digestion feels easier. The tricky part is finding new things to eat so I don’t get bored. Luckily, I received the Wellness Mama Cookbook for Christmas which has given me a few ideas, along with all kinds of recipes from Pinterest.

One dish that I am loving is roasted sweet potatoes and apples with cinnamon which I adapted from the cookbook. It’s really versatile. I threw in some scrambled eggs for a comforting breakfast dish. Another day I added muesli and Greek yogurt. Throwing in some feta cheese or meat would be great, too.

SweetPotatoApple

On the snack front, I’ve been obsessed with pommegranate arils. They are great by the handful or mixed with Greek yogurt as well.

Snack

 

On the exercise front, I froze my yoga membership for the month of December because I knew I would be way too busy to go regularly enough to justify the cost. I still had some Groupon classes left over for a nearby fitness studio so I returned to Zumba and tried out Piloxing and PiYo. I used to love TaeBo and Piloxing is similar, so it was great! I enjoyed PiYo, too, but it went a little too fast for my taste. There is a lot of potential for injury, in my opinion, so I think I’ll stick to my Vinyasa and Pilates classes for that.

On the accountability front, some members of my essential oils team are hosting a health and wellness challenge for January and February. I joined and will be using some of the Young Living products aimed specifically at metabolism support. I plan to post more about them after I use them for a bit. My order arrives on Wednesday and I’m super excited to try it out!

And, finally, I found a new workout buddy in my neighborhood. I’m a member of a council at work and so is she. We met at our most recent meeting, discovered we live in the same neighborhood and decided to take some classes together. This morning we tried out Burn the Barre for the first time and loved it. We’ve already agreed to go again next Sunday! This may just be a New York City thing, but it’s tough to get people to venture out of Manhattan and into the other boroughs to hang out. I’m excited to have a potential new friend in the neighborhood.

I hope your 2015 is off to a happy and healthy start!

Self Care or Selfish?

self-care-survival

 

Isn’t it interesting how so many of us put ourselves last on our list of priorities? How many times a day, a week, a month do we put off doing something that would make us feel better or help us relax? We get the message from some many different places (family, society, religion) that we should sacrifice, put others first, and ignore our own needs or else we’ll appear selfish, self-centered, greedy, etc.

But I’d like to argue that it’s not true. We can best give of ourselves, help others, and be of service only after we’ve taken care of ourselves. How can we positively contribute to anything or anyone if we’re exhausted, burnt-out, sick, or even feeling resentful of the fact that we’re sacrificing our needs? We can’t.

Now, I’m not saying that we should all drop everything and only focus on ourselves, everyone and everything else be damned. And I’m well aware that there are people out there who are currently over-extended and have so many responsibilities, and people to care for that the thought of self care is laughable. Sadly, that is reality for a whole lot of people because we’ve all bought into the ideas mentioned above. But what if even those folks found a way to take five or ten minutes for themselves to relax or recharge in whatever way they pleased? Maybe that would mean sitting down with a cup of tea, or reading a chapter in a book, or just really paying attention to breath for a few minutes. The little bit of pleasure we can get in those five minutes can lead to finding a few more five minute breaks throughout the day, which might lead to ten, which might lead to twenty. You see where I’m going here.

I see too many people who have spent their entire lives putting others before themselves (consciously or unconsciously) and now, when their health is compromised and they need to be taking care of themselves, they don’t. They don’t know to make themselves a priority and they’re uncomfortable with it because it goes against the way they lived their lives up until this point. It’s heartbreaking, frustrating, and unnecessary.

I encourage all of you to take some time for yourself EVERY DAY and do something to help you relax or make you happy. It’s such a simple act and can have such a profound affect!

Today, I took a nice little tea break and sat in the afternoon sun for twenty minutes. It was a wonderful way to relax and recharge. I returned to my office with renewed focus and a desire to get things done.

How are you going to care for yourself today?

 

Changing Focus

Hello friends,

Sorry I’ve been gone so long! A lot has changed over the past few months and I’ve decided to shift the focus of this blog to match what’s been going on in my life. My weight loss and health goals haven’t changed, but they are not the only things I’ve been focused on lately. I realized that I have so much trouble posting here because there are so many other things I want to be writing about and sharing with you!

I’ve started a new journey that is truly focused on self-care and healing physically and emotionally. I’m currently growing my essential oils business as an independent distributor for Young Living. I’m completing a Second Degree Reiki training this month. And my love for yoga and meditation hasn’t waned one bit. I hope that all of this will grow into a new path where I can teach people how to care for themselves and easily support their own health and wellness.

My goal is to share many of the things I learn along the way with you. I also want to share the “curves and swerves” of life with you on a regular basis. There will probably still be posts about weight loss and goals, but I hope that these other topics will make this a more interesting and fun place to visit.

Happy November, everyone! Expect to be hearing from me more often!