The Ultimate Yogi

So I’m quitting Bikram.

I can hear the groans, grumbles, and overall confusion as it echoes about the blogosphere. I’ll give you a second to relax and focus.

Yes, I’m quitting Bikram…for awhile. Aside from the fact that my schedule is absolutely jam-packed at the moment, and I’m wasting about $100 a month to not make it to class for days on end, there’s the fact that it hurts me. Physically. I’ve been struggling with the fact for a year now, and I’m finally ready to give in to the realization that if I’m ever going to go back to Bikram, I’ve got to be a lot stronger and more supple.

That’s a weird thing to say, and you’re right to question it. But here’s how it is – my hips scream in pain throughout the entire Bikram class. Then they scream in pain for the rest of the day. Every time I move a leg (you try walking or sitting without moving one – go ahead, I’ll wait). Every time I try to bend over or kneel down. All night, every time I try to turn over, a pain that stabs so deeply it’s almost a paralytic. I have to lift up with my arms in order to skootch my butt over so I can turn to one side or the other. It affects everything. It affects my weight, my physical bearing, my sensuality.

True, not doing Bikram also hurts. Running also hurts. But Bikram irritates the pain much more. I kept going to class because I was told – and believed, quite deeply – that all of the stretching would eventually repair my problems. But something happened. I started going to my personal trainer, and stretching in new ways that are not practiced in Bikram. And guess what? The pain started to go away for days at a time…only returning after a Bikram class, or a long, strenuous run.

So I started to look for a different route. Less Bikram, more personal training, more stretching. And now a new yoga program. I started a program called The Ultimate Yogi yesterday. It’s 108 days of yoga every single day, with classes taught via DVD. It’s being called the P90X of yoga, and for good reason. It’s intense. It’s a game-changer. And after today’s class, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the thing that finally heals me.

The plan is very simple: a different yoga class every day, followed by a special ab class every other day, and meditation daily, as well. Practitioners follow a special diet of very common sense choices like no sugars, flours, or processed foods, and also do a juice fast or raw cleanse every 36 days. At the end, you’re strong, flexible, and healthy from the inside out. What’s not to like?

Even better, today’s class was a focus on long periods of stretching, where a great deal of the work was in the hips, legs, and lower back. It hurt like hell in some of the poses, things that I very clearly remember doing with ease only a few years ago, before screwing myself up by running the Chicago Marathon in 2009. But even through the pain of stretching out muscles that were intensely wound and almost wooden, I could feel change happening in my joints. The intense, cold ache that normally fills my hips was replaced with warmth, and a general muscle ache that feels almost heavenly in comparison. I know I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m on the right path now, at least.

Working Out the Work Out

If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll know that I’m constantly going on about losing weight, and never managing to do much about it. I count calories or work out for a week or so at a time, then fall off the wagon. It happens over and over. I’ve done all kinds of things to try to get myself on a schedule and actually in the weight loss zone. My latest endeavor was that great app, Gympact, which essentially pays you for going to the gym and charges you if you don’t. Eighty six percent of Gympact users supposedly make their alotted gym visits every week, but somehow I managed to screw up every week. To date I’ve lost about $100, and every time I lost money, I just got a little less inclined to try harder next time. Guess I’m in that small percentage of people who just can’t seem to try hard enough to meet the goal line.

So here goes another thought. What if I treat going to yoga class every morning like going to work? What if it’s a required part of my week days, and there’s no question as to whether or not I have to get up to 5:30 to meet the expectation every morning? In the past when I had a required work punch in time, I wasn’t late and I didn’t skip – I woke up on time, got ready, and went. Even when my commute was upwards of an hour, I’d figure it out and make my goal of getting to work at such-and-such a time.

Tomorrow I’m going to set my alarm with the idea that going to Bikram is essentially starting the work day. Then we’ll figure it out from there.

Once More Unto the Breach…

Ugh. Time to sleep. I did my two yoga classes today, went to work, dealt with all of the various client accounts that I’m balancing right now, and also managed to sneak in a phone call with my beloved cousin (really more of a sister to me). Now I’m officially done with my day, and feeling like a little lump of goo. It’s time for some well-deserved shut eye, then up again tomorrow at 5:30 am for more yoga. Trying to figure out if I can realistically do another double tomorrow. We’ll see.

I’m wearing my Zaggoras again. They feel pretty comfy tonight, so I hope that means that I’m finally getting used to them. One thing that I’ve found is that with so much structure and compression in these pants, my back and hips feel more supported than usual. It doesn’t help me sleep better, but when I’m just hanging out around the house, my back feels pretty pain free. I like it. Now if only I could lose some inches on my thighs, too. I’m going to measure on Friday.

Day #40: Getting There

I weighed in at 154.6 lbs today! It’s taking awhile, but slowly but surely, I’m heading in the right direction. Today is Day 18 of the 30 Day Bikram Challenge, and I’m a resounding FIVE classes behind (argh). Today is a double down day, another attempt to close the gap a little. I went to class at 6am, and I’ll go again at 6pm. I’m really starting to like doubles, even though that’s so weird of me, I know. I sweat out so much in the first class that by the second class, even if I’m rehydrated, it’s so much easier to see muscle definition. Since I’m not a muscular girl, and never have been, it’s so effing cool to look at myself and see the beginning of a four pack, or notice real muscles building up in my arms. It’s crazy cool.

Aside from trying to catch up in yoga, I’m not thinking about that much else this morning. Just scrubbed down my yoga mat, since it was getting really stinky. I used dish soap, Borax, and vinegar and a lot of hot water. I’ve never scrubbed a mat with soap and water before – typically I use an antibacterial spray, but that just wasn’t cutting it today. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Oh, and talking about working out, I’m still wearing the Zaggora hot pants every day. I’ve been wearing them anywhere between four and eight hours a day, just to lounge around the house and sleep in. Last night I wore them while finishing up some last minute work at home, and talking on the phone, then went to bed in them, but I woke up an hour later feeling so constricted by the fabric. It’s tough for me to get used to wearing something that tight and non-breathable for great lengths of time. However, it’s my choice, and I’m not going to wear them to work out in until I feel really comfy in them. My thighs are looking a little smoother, but I don’t think they’re any smaller in circumference or anything yet.

I’m going to take a fifteen minute nap before getting ready for work – suddenly got really sleepy. Catch you all later.

Day #37: The Hot Room Double Down

Whew! I finally went back to the studio yesterday, and class wasn’t too bad for having been away for a five day stretch. It was supposed to be a double day (to make up for all the classes I missed over the last week) but I didn’t make it to morning class, only afternoon. No worries, though – I’m doing a double today and tomorrow to start the process of catching up. To make it “official,” I even put together a Google calendar of all the doubles I’ll have to do to end the 30 Day Challenge on a high note.

Talking about high notes, wanna know something weird? Before class today, I weighed in at 159.2 lbs, which makes sense given that I’ve been almost a week without exercise. However, after class I weighed in just out of curiosity since I’d sweated what seemed to be an abnormal amount for me, and I was 155.4 lbs – almost 4 lbs lighter! It’s crazy to think that I sweated out 4 lbs of water in my morning Bikram class. Even crazier, I wonder if I’ll even be able to sweat anything out in the afternoon class. I ate a pretty good lunch of steamed veggies w/ cheese sauce, and a Plant Fusion chocolate shake (made with a banana and almond milk to give me extra strength in class), so hoping I’ve got enough electrolytes in my system to survive the second class without getting sick afterwards.

Tonight I’m going to meet The Man’s 1-year-old niece for the first time. She and her parents live in Florida, and I haven’t seen them in over two years now. It’ll be nice to get together again, but I’m a bit apprehensive. The Man’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, a baby, The Man AND me in our teensy tiny apartment is going to be nerve-wracking, to say the least. Plus, the house isn’t baby-proofed, it hasn’t been cleaned since last week, and where on earth are the cats going to hide from the baby? Miss Isabel will NOT be happy. But then honestly, neither will her mother. I’m just not as psyched about being an aunt as I seem to be expected to be, and I’m pretty sad that there’s so much pressure to be in love with this baby that’s not even related to me. It just seems so fake, but of course I seem like a heartless monster if I do anything but act delighted to be hostess. Argh. Wish I had another yoga class to go to so I could just escape the whole evening…

Day #32: Bikram Double, Food Poisoning & Weight Loss

So. I’m late for work but didn’t want to let another day go by without writing something. That being the case, I’ll make this kind of short. On Saturday, I made it to two yoga classes – whoot! It felt pretty good, actually, though by the time the second class was over, I was weak, woozy, had a bit of a fever, and was incredibly thirsty. I thought it was probably a loss of electrolytes from sweating so much that day, but by the time I got home, I knew it was something more. I had an awful headache, and my stomach started tying up in knots. About an hour later, I got a call from one of my friends that I got dinner with on Thursday night, who told me that everyone from our group who had eaten takeout from the same burrito place had been puking all day. We had food poisoning.

The stabbing, twisting stomach pains and fever/chills continued all day yesterday, along with other symptoms too gross to mention. I wasn’t able to eat on Saturday night, and still couldn’t stomach food until yesterday afternoon, when I choked down some of The Man’s unfrosted pop tarts (unfrosted? who eats those? oh, yeah – The Man. weirdo.) They didn’t stick around in my system for long, but later in the evening I ate some cream of mushroom soup that did make me feel a bit better. Then this morning I woke up feeling pretty good. Gassy, but good. Sorry, I’m oversharing, but hey – this is the spot to do it.

With the last few days being what they were, I’m at 157.0 lbs. I’m going to eat healthy and light today, with hopes of feeling good enough to get to Bikram class this afternoon. I have a work meeting I have to attend at 4pm, so it might be impossible to get to Bikram in time, but I’m going to try. Even with one day off, my body misses it. Gotta get crackin’ – time to make the proverbial doughnuts.

Day #25: Bikram & Numb3rs

Happy Labor Day! Hope you all spent the day grilling out, chilling in the pool, or sale shopping and getting tons of great deals. I did none of these things. After another mostly restless night, I finally fell asleep for real once The Man left for work at 6am, then slept through to about 11am. I then proceeded to be really boring all day long 🙂 I recently started watching old episodes of the TV show “Numb3rs,” and after today I’m about half way through the second season. I generally dig crime dramas and mystery shows, and this one is no different. I’m not as into it as I am shows like “The Closer” and “Bones,” but it’s an OK way to while away an afternoon.

Today was the third day of my studio’s 30 Day Bikram Challenge, and it was a much better class than the last two I have under my belt. I only sat out one round of Triangle pose, and one of Camel, but in general I was much stronger than even yesterday. I even extended my leg during standing head to knee, which pretty much never happens. Typically I have a lot of trouble keeping my knee locked and my weight distributed evenly, but today was good. I feel great – can’t wait to go back to class tomorrow.

As far as food goes, I was OK today. Not great, but not a complete disaster. Granola bar and green tea for breakfast, steamed veggies and fake chicken tenders for lunch, egg salad sandwich for dinner, and a (too big) snack of Cheez-its. I was about 400 calories over where I wanted to be, but I’m OK with that.

 

Day #?: Bikram 30 Day Challenge, Isaac, Etc…

Not sure what day of my weight loss journey this is, and disinclined to take the time to look over my old posts for a clue. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

I slept over at my in-laws’ last night, and it was marvelous. The Man stayed behind in New Orleans to protect against looters, since our power was still out and people do asshole-ish stuff like loot around these parts. I showed up at his parents’ house with dirty laundry and a garbage bag full of perishables, and they treated me like royalty. The Man, Sr. kept my wine glass full and plugged in a couple of great chick flick DVDs, and The Man’s Mom whipped up a great dinner and made sure that I knew where her stash of super girly bath supplies were, so I could take a really relaxing dip and feel more human. It was a great night, and I even slept in late this morning. My hips and lower back didn’t hurt as much as normal when I woke up, making me think that on top of the twisted hip problem, maybe my bed at home could be a bit of a culprit.

In the early afternoon, I drove home in high spirits with clean laundry and really great smelling hair. The Man’s Mom had let me use her Wen Cleansing Conditioner, and I really liked it, though I used A LOT less than the instructions call for. It comes in this squirt bottle, and is a combination shampoo/conditioner that you’re supposed to use like 14 squirts of. I used 7 and it was perfect. My hair came out feeling so soft, and although I’ve got pretty great natural highlights, the color of my hair even looked richer when it was dry. I’d like to try it a couple more times to see if it’s really as great as it seemed on the first try. Have you tried it? Any thoughts to share?

Today was the first day of my Bikram studio’s 30 Day Challenge, so even though I didn’t really feel up to going to class, I made myself get up and get out. Class was BRUTAL. It must have been a combination of factors, from not practicing in four days to not being hydrated enough, as well as being so tense and stressed out, but I was having a lot of trouble breathing and keeping my heart rate down. As a result, I was dizzy and nauseous for much of the class, and ended up just sitting a few of the poses out completely. I gave it my all, but my all was considerably less impressive than usual. After class, I drug myself back to the locker room and commiserated with the other ladies. Several of them had had a really tough time, too, and we all agreed it must be the stress of the hurricane situation just lingering. With stuff like that, you’ve just got to forge ahead and keep breathing, keep opening up your chest with good backbends to let all of that hurt out and all of the fresh experiences in. Sorry, I’m going all hippy dippy on you, but it’s been true in the past for me, and it will be true tomorrow when I go back to class and work on my Camel some more.

After class, I came back home, where I found out that The Man (who works for a government agency) was called away to work in Baton Rouge for an undisclosed amount of time in response to the massive flooding that’s going on in other parishes. I won’t comment on his frustration with the delayed response time or the inadequate response levels he’s seeing at his agency, but I’ll say that I feel very bad for his situation for however long they keep him. It seems to be a clusterfuck, and as an extremely logical, helpful and orderly person with a real call to help those in need, he’s not in the best spot right now. From an insider’s position, it’s absolutely terrifying to think what’s going to happen if we get another storm anytime soon. Our state is not equipped to deal with anything else this season.

From a very selfish spot, I’m both excited to get some down time to live alone again, as well as disappointed that this all had to happen now. Tuesday is our six-year anniversary as a couple, and because of his job and our living situation over the past few years, it’s a date we typically don’t end up spending together. Not to mention that the last time he was deployed for a natural disaster, he was sent to another state over Halloween AND my birthday. It would just be nice to get to spend some important dates together. But I won’t be lame about it – we did just get to spend a pretty nice couple of days at home, by candle light.

OK, I’m done talking your ear off. Just waiting on a load of laundry to finish up washing, then I’m going to hit the hay. Maybe I’ll do a little more reading, too. So far since Tuesday, I’ve read “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” for the umpteenth time, as well as “Dead Until Dark” for maybe the second or third time, and now I’m reading “Living Dead in Dallas” again, too. Maybe while The Man’s gone, I’ll actually read something new, like the Game of Thrones series…

Oh, I forgot. I weighed in today at 156.6 lbs (can you believe that, after all the crap I ate?) and here’s my day’s diet. Pretty unhealthy, but I had to grab what I could at WalMart, and they were in a sad state.

Day #18: Monday, Monday, Monday

Here we are, seven years down the road, and the media is still milking Hurricane Katrina for all it’s worth. There is nothing worse than getting about a million and one phone calls from concerned friends and family members who demand that you leave your house and run for the hills – when there’s NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. All because they’re watching way too much MSNBC. I really get tired of the news sometimes. This morning’s headlines include such gems as:

Isaac Crossing Gulf with New Orleans in Crosshairs (Because hurricanes obviously = guns, or cannons, or something of the sort, right?)

7 Years after Katrina, NOLA Braces for Isaac (Oh, you should see the bracing going on right now. Nah, you’d just get bored.)

Isaac Takes Aim at New Orleans (At least that one’s more direct. Pun intended.)

So if you’ve never lived through a hurricane before, and you’re wondering what someone like me plans to do on a day like today, I’ll tell you. In ten minutes, I’m leaving the house and heading to work, where I’ll stay for most of the day unless something horrific happens. This evening I’ll come home, make sure the computers, iPad, iPods, phones, cameras, etc are all charged, and start freezing some extra ice cubes just in case. Then I’ll kick back and watch some TV with The Man. Really, that’s all there is to do when it’s only a Category 1 or 2. It’s basically going to be a big thunderstorm with high-ish winds and lots of rain. Blech, I’m already tired of talking about it. Hurricanes suck, but mostly because of the people involved, not the storm itself. Stop freaking out and tackle it as it comes. I survived Katrina, and three other big ones in NC prior to that (involving massive flooding and loss of property, while I was inside said property), and I refuse to let fear ruin a good sunny Monday morning.

Now on to the good parts of my day. I made it to Bikram class this morning, and it was amazing! There were only four students, so the teacher joined in and practiced with us. Since all of us had been practicing for awhile, the teacher didn’t call instructions. Instead, we moved as a group on instinct, and she called ‘Change’ now and then in postures where it would be hard to tell what was happening (like Balancing Stick and Rabbit). It was a great class, a very powerful class, and I was able to meditate much more easily when it was just me correcting myself and not having to listen to all of the instructions.

Oh, my weight was great this morning, as well. I weighed in at 156.4 lbs this morning, so back on track with that. Now I’m hoping that yoga doesn’t get cancelled tomorrow, so I can continue to persevere. If not, maybe my Shaun T’s Rockin’ Body DVDs will come in today so that at least I’ll have something to do inside if it’s raining and I can’t go running.

OK, time to get to work. I’ve still got to turn in my timesheet, and finish up a worksheet I’m working on. Have a great Monday, folks!

 

TKO!

It was a fulfilling day, and I’m proud of my efforts. I’m not so proud of the bug I just accidentally squashed on my computer screen. Those are persistant little guts; it’s all smudgy now. Ick.

I made it to Bikram class, and it was a damn good one! My legs are getting a little stronger every day, and even though Triangle pose is always the hardest, today I thought it wasn’t as painful and embarrassing as usual. What’s really making me happy about going to Bikram is that I keep running into people I know there. Tonight I ran into a girl I know outside of yoga, and we made plans to go to a concert next week. My life is feeling more full every day.

Foodwise, I’m in a great place tonight. I ate and ate and ate today, and still only made it to 1,025 calories – 200 under my limit – and that was before working out like a fiend. The entire office was treated to milkshakes this afternoon, but I had the willpower to say no. I even went to the soda shop with everyone, and still managed to not eat any ice cream!

Tonight’s dinner was amazing, too. One thing that I’ve been doing recently to cut down on calories is cutting out excess carbs. I love pasta, and eat it all the time, but I’ve come to realize that typically I’m only eating the pasta to be able to eat whatever cream or cheese sauce I’ve put on it. To keep tonight’s dinner delicious without blowing my calorie allotment, I chopped up a bunch of baby portobello mushrooms (one of my favorite foods – I could eat mushrooms at every meal for the rest of my life and not get tired of them) and sautéed them with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and a little fresh red bell pepper. At the end, I added in a few tablespoons of Alfredo sauce. I had that dish as a side, with Crispy Tenders by Gardein (delish) and some boiled okra. My plate was heaped with veggies, everything made me really happy, and I still only cleared around 350 calories for the entire meal. Pretty good deal, imho.

Now it’s time to get some shuteye. I’m going to dream of being 156 lbs in the morning, and then it’s going to happen! Also going to aim for morning yoga class again in the morning – one day I’ll make it…