Tag Archives: yoga

Just Say Om

8 Aug

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When I sit down to write these things I usually know what they’re about and where they’re going before I type the first word. Tonight I’m not as sure. I have a lot of things I want to tell you…about my twisted love life, my yoga classes, my Sister Wives and The Compound, but I’m not getting my usual laser focus going so I’m just going to wing it. My apologies if reading it feels like dropping acid.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in 37 years, some of which I’m just now starting to implement in my daily life. Some are simple, like eating ice cream on a really hot day makes me sick, and some are more nuanced, like what I want and need in my life and that I have a right to make those things clear and ask for them.

Things with the Irishman have been a bit dicey for the last week. We had a stupid tiff and he’s been a little on the standoffish side since. I brought him to a party on Saturday night at the home of one of the Sister Wives and he really enjoyed himself but I think he also got his first glimpse of Independent Lisa. Independent Lisa doesn’t babysit or cling to you…she drinks, and mingles, and meets other people, and laughs a lot. Independent Lisa had a great time at said party. It could well be that Independent Lisa is not the Irishman’s type.

Here’s the thing about his type…I don’t know what it is. I realized that I have no idea what he’s attracted to as far as I’m concerned. Kids, I’m built like the prow of a ship…if the prow was attached to a short, padded body with a sizable aft, and I’m pretty ok with that. As it turns out, neither my fore nor my aft are of interest to good ol’ James Joyce. I like to think I have a big personality and a good, if bawdy, sense of humor…and yet those characteristics seem as incomprehensible to him as Finnegan’s Wake. So what gives?

So here’s where it gets weird – just as I start to spiral a bit and berate myself about my smooshy midsection and the fact that I haven’t been to the gym in 2 months, The Hebrew Hammer reappears. I cannot say at present time (because I don’t know yet…I’m not holding out on you) what has sparked this renewal of his suit, but he has resurfaced full of praise of my multitudinous virtues. He is aware of my current involvement and has nicknamed the Irishman “Judgy O’Judgerson” for his habit of mild yet repeated critique. I know I need to address the fact that neither of our towns have been miraculously relocated closer to each other…but not just yet…because I’m confused…and cranky…and thinking too much about what everyone else thinks and wants and thinks of me.

So I went to yoga. Twice this week. Yoga is amazing for this sort of confusion and angst. No, it doesn’t solve anything. You don’t shake yourself up like a Magic 8 Ball for an hour and suddenly receive the right answer to the dilemmas of daily life. Here’s what it does do: it forces you to focus on yourself. To practice effectively you have to quiet the mind and focus on your body..its movements, its limitations, its strengths AND NOT JUDGE THEM. It takes all my concentration to breathe and not fall over. It takes all my patience and kindness to laugh and smile when I DO fall over. I can’t think about the Irishman and the Jew or my belly or what comes next. I just have to stay in the moment and contort and lift my body and breathe.

I like my body when I’m in class…it can do cool things and if I keep at it it will become conditioned to do more cool things. Yoga is moving me toward my weight loss and fitness goals and helping me gain the focus to tackle my personal and professional ones. If you haven’t taken a yoga class, I encourage you to give it a try for both the mind and body benefits. For those of you who feel like you’re too hardcore – have you tried lifting your body weight recently? How flexible are your hips and hamstrings? Give it a shot – you’ll find it’s quite the workout. Most studios offer small beginner packages to take it for a test drive. My studio, Verona Yoga has 3 classes for $30 for new students and two Absolute Beginner classes a week.

As always, I invite any and all comments, but I’d love to know what you do to get out of your own head, find your focus, or feel more comfortable in your own skin. Off to bed for me! Namaste.

The Luck of the Irish…Perhaps

23 Jul

Irish Big Love?So when I last wrote I was pining for a fellow of the Hebraic persuasion who felt that the schlepp through the deserts of South and Central New Jersey to reach me in the Northern Promised Land was far too difficult. Had Moses felt the same all of Biblical history would be re-written. And so it was in the life of this single gal. If I have learned one thing from this epic attempt to date – other than that I don’t really like being molested in parking lots by men who look like my gusband but are straight – it is that we (meaning me) cannot pin our hopes on impossible dreams and stories we made up after enjoying the fruit of the vine.

When it became clear that my gentleman caller was, in fact, sticking to his zip code where dating is concerned (marked by the arrival of a woman who I arbitrarily named Ethel), I moved on without many bumps and bruises…and met the Irishman. Besides having a smattering of Irish in my family tree, many of my favorite people wear the green including one of my Sister Wives (known for going “All Crazy Irish Girl”). For those not in the know, I am not a polygamist, and I promise to devote a post to my beloved Sister Wives and our dream of owning a compound in a later post. I loves me some Irish…and redheaded Irish…don’t get me started.

The Irishman is handsome. And age-appropriate. And an amazing father to his beautiful 16 year old daughter. He is sane, has a great job, lives a reasonable distance from me, and, did I mention handsome? He has a great sense of humor and, virtue of virtues, seems to enjoy me. I’ve been enjoying his company both on the phone and in person and had the great pleasure of meeting said beautiful daughter this weekend. Children are the measure of their parents and this girl was a wonder. She is sweet and funny and has none of the disturbing overly grown up qualities I see in many girls her age. We had a lovely dinner and I managed not to spill anything on myself or drool on her father.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself or put pressure on things, but I’ve been smiling a lot lately. The Irishman is generous with his praise and is quite clear that he finds me attractive, and yet…the sad fat kid voice keeps cutting through all the fiddles and fanfare. Although my weight is slowly wending its way down, I’ve become a little obsess-y. I hate my mid-section – where I store anything and everything I put in my pie hole. I find myself considering Insanity (which would kill me) and  CrossFit (which would kill me twice) to make it go away. The truth is that I still haven’t adjusted completely to my workday beginning at 8 instead of 9 and have been staying up too late as a result of the dating expedition to actually get up and work out in the morning.  I’ve missed yoga more than I’d like due to work stuff.

Here’s what I AM doing…I’m trying to relax and enjoy myself. I’m taking control of my eating by starting the day with a good, solid protein shake, drinking a Red Sea’s worth of water and decaf iced tea, and having a reasonable lunch and dinner. Most of all, I’m walking in the door of my apartment every night and immediately removing my pants. Pants-free evenings are not only comfortable, but also remind me that my rear end hasn’t met the back of my thighs yet and is still pretty damn hot.

I’m off to enjoy this delightful thunderstorm, the latest episode of The Closer, and some absolutely hysterical texts from the Irishman before I retire. Until next time, may the road rise up to meet you all.

A Little Perspective

14 Mar

As I sat on my yoga mat tonight, waiting for class to begin, a beautiful, tall, willowy woman – the woman I’d like to be when I grow up – walked in. She was a friend of a class regular and a first-timer. She bent down to roll out her mat in front of mine and immediately turned to me and said, “Please don’t watch me…unless you want a laugh that is.”

I laughed and reassured her that we would all be too busy figuring out what to do to look at anyone else. I remembered my own first time in this class – just 8 short weeks ago. I arrived anxious, self-conscious, and slightly uncomfortable. What was the difference between me and the supermodel? I outweigh her by about a third grader.

When I first came in I got acclimated by checking out the other students and felt better when I saw a woman about the same size as me. I felt better because I felt like the expectations of what my body should look like and how flexible I should be had now become more realistic- if you look like me you must perform like me. Now the real difference between me and Heidi Klum is more clear…and more than poundage.

She was nervous, not only because she had never done yoga before and was afraid of looking stupid, but because having a body like hers…looking the way she does, people expect more of her. There’s something really comforting in the idea that it cuts both ways. It really drives home the point that insecurity lives in bodies of all shapes and sizes.

As I went through my practice I felt good and strong and capable. My head stayed clear. I didn’t think about my body except to notice the increase in my flexibility or which muscles I was tensing so I could release them. I love yoga for the way I feel after practice, but even more so for teaching me to be aware of my body without judging it. I hope our resident top model learns the same…and I’ll stop referring to her as a supermodel or Heidi Klum because I shouldn’t judge her either.

In terms of my own weight loss, I’m back in a good place. I reminded myself that I know, from previous weight loss efforts, that my body drops weight more easily and functions better when I eat more protein – something I’ve been lacking in my mostly meatless meals. I’ve been having morning protein shakes made with skim milk, a banana, chia seeds, and Synthrax Nectar Sweets chocolate truffle protein powder. Today I added PB2 – basically defatted powdered peanut butter – for even more protein and a quasi peanut butter cup flavor. I’m actually looking forward to weighing in this week.

I hope everyone’s having a great week. I’ve got an amazing personal trainer waiting to answer your questions in an upcoming post so ask away in the comments, or, if you’d like more privacy email me at lrgittleman (at) gmail.com.

Scaling Back

14 Feb

Welcome to Valentine’s Day at my house. I’m fetchingly dressed in pink sweatpants, a knitting bunny tee, and my lumberjack shirt – an incredibly oversized fleece button down stolen from a boyfriend circa 2001. I’m surrounded by flowers…when I say flowers I mean crumpled tissues. No, I’m not weeping like a jilted woman in a romcom because I’ve not received a bouquet – I have The Plague.

Ok, so I don’t have The Black Death – it’s more likely a cold or sinus infection – but I enjoy the drama…like calling impending snowstorms “Snowpocalypse.” I find myself wondering why it always is that when I’ve just hit my stride at the gym that my body throws a wrench in the machinery. It could be that it’s asking for more rest or it could just be crap luck but it’s so frustrating. I keep trying to tell myself that it’s just a head cold and that I could go to the gym for just a bit, but that familiar feeling in my eyes lets me know that I’m going to fall into a short-term coma as soon as I find a mildly comfortable position and that I probably have a wee fever. I don’t own a thermometer because when I do I take my temperature too frequently. Which gets me thinking about my scale.

I should probably send my scale the way of the thermometer because I can’t stop myself from jumping on it at least once a day. It has become an oracle that determines my moods and, often, makes it harder to stay on track with my eating. I need to stay far away from the feeling that this is not working and that I’m doomed to be my own plus one. The scale is like the worst “Mean Girl” I’ve ever met…just when I’m feeling good it takes me down a couple pegs…and makes out with my boyfriend…ok, maybe not that.

So, here are today’s goals: Drink a lot of liquids, stuff my gullet with Mucinex, get some rest, hide my scale, and be mentally and physically healthy enough to go to yoga tomorrow night.

Do you have any special goals for the day or the week? Comment away!

 

Bloated, Bothered, and Bewildered

11 Feb

Well, after a week of exercising and eating my points and no more, I weighed in this morning. While Fantasy Lisa would have lost 5 pounds and received a little star sticker that excites all us Weight Watchers as much as a kindergartener, Real Lisa gained a pound.  A pound is a funny thing – it’s nothing when you consider normal hormonal fluctuations, the difference in your weight after you drink a couple glasses of water, or the added weight of a sweatshirt, but it’s celebration-worthy in the Weight Watchers meeting room when you take it off. 1/2 – 2 lbs a week is considered normal, healthy weight loss. It’s not so much the ONE pound that bothers me, it’s the others that should have melted off after all the work and water and carefully measured food.

Wrapped up in all this worry and disappointment, like the cream in a cannoli, is the beauty of Weight Watchers meetings. As I walked away from the scale, looking like I just lost my puppy, my WW leader, Davida, zeroed in on me and said, “How are you doing this week?” I looked at her dolefully and said “Meh.” I explained that I had started an exercise routine that included yoga and cardio on the elliptical trainer, had eaten my Points, not used my Activity or Weekly Points, and had been drinking all my water but still managed to be up a pound. She looked me right in the eyes and said “Good.” She told me that this is to be expected, that my body needs to adjust. She told me to keep on program, keep racking up the Activity Points but not eating them, keep drinking my water and that next week I’ll see the difference.

I’m not going to BS you and say that I’m not bummed out anymore, but I DO feel better. It’s great to have someone who has been there tell you it’s ok – that your body is doing what bodies do, that you’re doing the right thing and it will pay off. When I got home, my friend Emily reminded me that this will happen when you’re turning fat into muscle…and I believe everything Emily says…dude, it’s science…she’s got a PhD….plus, she takes honest-to-God boxing and could kick my ass.

Today is a rest day and I went to my beloved Hobcaw Cafe to get a coffee treat. I have water in my glass and a healthy dinner defrosting (beef stew with lots of veg – yum!). I’ll probably nap in front of the TV. I’m just going to be kind to myself and get some rest and stay on track. Today I may be bloated, bothered, and bewildered, but next week will be better.

Back in the Saddle Yet Again

10 Feb

It’s been a long time since I wrote, mostly due to an epic backslide. I went gung ho in preparation for my brother’s wedding in August with lackluster results, confirmed by picture in which I looked like I was competing in a beauty pageant with the Queen Mary. It was discouraging to say the least. Consequently I proceeded to add an extra twenty pounds, stop exercising, and to feel really, really sorry for myself. It was a very productive couple months.

In November I signed up for Weight Watchers. I really believe in the program – no weird eating or purchased meals – and took off almost 10 pounds but then the holidays proved too much for me. I got busy with parties and friends and stopped going to meetings…then I put the weight back on plus a smidgen more. I kept telling myself that I’d return as soon as I took the weight back off. Pure and simple – I was embarrassed. At the end of January it began to bother me. I knew I should go. I knew I wasn’t happy with myself.

Finally it occurred to me that people don’t go to Weight Watchers because they’re in control of their eating – the staff and other members understand backslides and gains – and that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I recognized that I needed to get back on the horse and start over because the only person I was disappointing was myself. I mentioned this to a friend in my knitting group and it just so happened she was going through the same thing. So, 2 weeks ago we made a commitment to each other to go to meetings together. The fact that I now have someone I have to call and say “I’m not going today” will help keep me on track as I’m more likely to let myself down than someone else.

Last week’s weigh in, after a full week of being back on program, showed a 3.8 pound loss. It was a nice welcome back present and I’m hoping to post another solid loss tomorrow. Since returning to Weight Watchers I’ve embarked on an exercise program with another friend which involves an hour and 15 minute yoga class at Verona Yoga once a week and regular elliptical workouts at the gym. I have to say I’m feeling really good. I have more energy, feel lighter, and sleep better.

I’ve always wanted to try yoga but was nervous about being the big girl in the room and, quite simply, was afraid I just couldn’t do it. My friend and I found that Verona Yoga not only offers a new student 3 class special so we could try it without making a big commitment, but also has an Absolute Beginner class so we felt that there was no expectation about our ability and no pressure. It turns out we both love yoga! Our instructor, Laura, is amazing – not only shows us modifications and use of props but encourages us to use them and not push our bodies too hard. There’s absolutely no judgement.  The people in our class are so very nice and I don’t feel self-conscious in the slightest.

It’s really interesting to me how aware of your body you become – even after just a few classes – in a non-judgmental way. I’m aware of what muscles are tight and which are more limber. I feel my muscles loosening throughout my practice and feel good about my progress. Better yet, a lifetime “bad relaxer”, this body awareness is really helping me unwind. So, yoga is a big success and we’ve decided to continue taking classes and really look forward to them.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got some things to do around the apartment and have a gym workout scheduled for this afternoon. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for my weigh in tomorrow and have a great day!

Me and Snotty McWii

8 Jun

Last week I was benched from working out and some hygienic practices that I consider integral parts of my toilette and being in polite company. It sucked. Julia Roberts may like to rock the natural look but it’s not my bag. A week later Mulder and Scully (yes, the lumps – they were something out of the X-Files) are nearly gone and I broke protocol.  I didn’t wait for an alien abduction, but a couple things led me to “get back on the horse.” First was the fact that through eating carefully and keeping my water intake high I was able to lose 2 pounds without exercise. Yes, two pounds would put me below the yellow line on The Biggest Loser, but it brought me to my legitimating ideology – if I WAS exercising imagine what I would be losing….I HAVE TO exercise! The other deciding factors were that they didn’t really hurt anymore and that I had a friggin date coming up. There was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to be puffy and hairy.

So I shaved, deodorized, and exercised.

And nothing bad happened.

I grabbed my Wii balance board and the platform I bought to raise it to Jane Fonda sadism level and I went to town….and the weight has kept coming off so far and The Captain and Tennille haven’t really noticed. Jacking up the balance board made me want to drop dead. I had been doing Advanced Step for a while and all I can say is that a couple of extra inches really do make a world of difference (yes boys, we’ve been lying – size does matter).  I was determined to get in at least 40 minutes even if I arrested and I won’t tell you that I didn’t whine like a little bitch. I REALLY wanted to stop but I thought of all those amazing people on The Biggest Loser who were getting the tar beaten out of them every day, working out for more hours than I care to be conscious – they toughed it out.  I thought of all of you who are reading this, to whom I feel accountable. I promise you that if I peter out halfway through and give up or don’t work out because I’m sick, hurt, or busy I WILL ADMIT IT.

This is reality – we get hurt, we get sick, we get busy and some days we just don’t feel like we have it in us. It’s okay. No need to beat ourselves up…there are plenty of people willing to do it for us.  I will tell you my little rule of thumb that helps me get through the moments I just want to give up or skip a workout and it’s incredibly simple – give it 10 minutes.  No matter what kind of workout I’m doing, the first ten minutes (post warm-up) I think I can’t do it, that I’m a moron for even attempting it, and that I would really be better served by going back to bed, but at the 10 minute mark something awesome happens. I’m over the hump, pumping adrenaline, feeling totally badass – I could do this shit all day! I could beat up those menacing teenage hoodlums that hang out in the Krauszer’s parking lot. Frankly, I become dangerous, but I can get through the damn workout.

Long story even longer, I did 45 minutes of Advanced Step then moved on to 2 other aerobic “games”, did a bit of strength training, and finished off with a little yoga. I was so sweaty by the time I went to do the plank that I slid off the balance board and the snotty, smug trainer couldn’t resist telling me that she “noticed I stopped halfway through.” There’s no option to tell her your balance board had become a slip-n-slide.  Enough about that bitch. I worked out for well over an hour…she can suck it.

Sometimes you really can’t do it. Sometimes your body really needs a rest. I will never tell you that you should ignore your doctor completely – it’s about knowing your body well enough to know when to push through and when to stand down.  So as you’re working out this week give it ten minutes and ask yourself if you really can’t or if the waaaaambulance is coming for you.  You’ll surprise yourself.

 

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