Tuesday, April 28, 2015

You have such a pretty face...

Probably the biggest insult you can give a large woman is to tell them they have a pretty face.  The insinuation, of course, is that the rest of their body is not attractive.  But their saving grace in life is their pretty, albeit also fat, face.  If only they could stop feeding their fat face holes and allow the rest of their body to catch up...  If only.  I cringe every time I hear that "compliment."

Last weekend, I was on a panel with the rest of the ladies from Chunky Girl Comics, as well as other awesome panel members (I'll be posting about that soon).  I talked about working toward not being at war with my body anymore.  I felt like I was close.  But, as it turns out, I'm nowhere near there.  I had been doing well last year.  I was following Ellen's nutrition plan.  I had cut most of the sugar out of my life and had lost 20 pounds (the focus being on becoming healthy, not losing weight).  I felt pretty good.  Then Halloween showed up last year and I started slowly circling the drain.  One tiny piece of candy turned into two turned into ten.  My food choices stayed decent so I didn't completely lose control, but the sugar slowly snuck back into my life.  Then I got a new job.  Longer hours.  No longer the ability to run home at lunch and easily eat my home-prepared healthy meals.  Still.  I did okay.  Sure, I would eat out a little more than I did before, but I wasn't back on fast food full time or anything.

If you have never dealt with an eating disorder or addiction, I don't know how to describe the feeling that I would get.  Antsy.  Always antsy.  There has to be something I should be eating every hour of the day.  I feel like my insides are always vibrating and my mind never rests.  And the topic at hand is always food.  It is exhausting.  When the sugar was gone, that feeling was gone.  But enough sugar has returned that the feeling has as well.  So I haven't felt well-rested in quite awhile.  And I have been on the edge of a binge for awhile now.

Then last week, my mom was looking through old photos and group texting the family probably 80+ old photos.  One was me from 2005.  When I was at my thinnest.  Holy hell, I did not anticipate my response.  Frustration.  Anger.  Sadness.  Guilt.  Less than a week before, I was telling everyone to love their body.  There I was laying in bed, seething over that photo.  At myself.  It's not like my mom sent it to upset me.  Why me?  Why do I have to struggle with food and weight issues?  Why aren't my brothers and sisters fat?  We ate the same food, so even if you blame the incorporation of processed foods in the 60's and 70's, why did my body react that way but theirs didn't?  I realize there are a million factors that go into how my body processes food.  I also realize that, due to issues from my childhood, I probably internalized anger and ate my feelings.  My brain gets it.  But it doesn't at the same time.

I recently made the mind-body connection.  I have also been listening to some podcasts from the Institute of Eating Psychology.  One lady's story was mine to the T.  Except she's 20 years older.  I don't want to continue to fight this battle when I'm 60!  I realize life is a journey, not a destination.  But I am tired of fighting.  I guess every time I have one of these melt downs, they get shorter and my recovery happens sooner.  Let's hope that is the case this time.  I'm ready to continue on my journey toward good health and happiness.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Trying out Cleo's Rock N Pole

Last week I posted a video and wanted to make sure I shared it here as well.  This month I'm trying out Cleo's Rock N Pole.  I don't have a pole at home but there are still tons of lessons for me!  If you want to join me, check out my video below.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Benefits of Yoga

Buck helping with downward dog
Last year, I wrote about how long I have been doing yoga -- currently coming up on 18 years!  In that blog, I mentioned an instructor named David, who taught at Bally.  I really missed him!  Well, I started my new job at a local city attorney's office and found a yoga class in the library next door twice a week at lunch.  Guess who was teaching?!  DAVID!  I was so thrilled.  So, twice a week, I am now taking yoga from David.  And Theresa is still teaching at 24 Hour Fitness twice a week (although, due to parking issues at night and the fact that I'm gone almost every weekend, I haven't been to see Theresa nearly as often as I would like).

I almost base my overall health and strength based on how well I chaturanga in yoga.  My chaturanga is getting stronger.  If I could only get yoga four days a week at lunch, and free up my evenings, my life would be complete!!  Well, if I could get Theresa to come teach those classes so I could have the best of both worlds, I may explode with happiness.  It would not be fair for life to be that easy and amazing, so I have to carry on -- planning to hit up yoga five days a week and being happy if I make it three.

I do feel healthier and stronger, whether it is true or not, I'm not really sure.  I have also been hiking with my family.  I feel great.  And I am still just tickled to death that I found David again.

Yoga really IS the perfect exercise.  I know I could probably use a little more cardio (and am going to start Jazzercise with some of the ladies from work next month), but for now, I am just happy that I am getting regular activity that I actually enjoy.

What is your go-to exercise?  I know most of you will say pole dance but there has to be something more to your fitness regimen, right??

Wondering about Tsunami and Volcano?  Here they are!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Mind-Body Connection

I have been blogging for five years now.  For most of that time, I have been battling injuries.  Known injuries.  Unknown injuries.  I have been in a world of hurt.  I have days of being in less pain, and days where the pain was unbearable.  I have worked with an amazing bodyworker named Keith.  I have my awesome doctor who has performed tons of myofascial release on my hip and leg.  I have a great massage therapist working on my feet.  Although I went through periods of time with less pain, I was never fully out of pain.

Enter Tobe.  Tobe works on many Twirly Girls.  I have been referred to Tobe many times by many people.  I figured he couldn't do anything different or better than Keith, so I never called.  Finally one day a few months back, I thought maybe I should consider it.  My doctor has been doing myofascial release since late June of 2014.  I felt like I should be "cured" after close to a year of weekly (or twice weekly) visits.  I decided a call was worth it.

So I went to Tobe.  He put me through all the stuff I've been through before.  Does that hurt?  Does this hurt?  Bend over and touch your toes.  Bend sideways.  Lay on this table.  Push against me.  Pull against me.  All the stuff.  The funny thing was, nothing really hurt.  I insisted that my hip DOES in fact hurt much of the time.  Tobe looked at me quizzically.  He asked, do you often find yourself doing things you don't want to do?  Ummm, what?  We are here to talk about my hip!  We spent the rest of the appointment talking about some of my issues while he worked on my hip.

Tobe told me how a lot of unexplained pain can be related to muscle tension.  Frustration, anger, and bad emotions aren't dealt with properly, so the body stores them as tension and that turns into pain.  Especially when a pain is not attached to a specific injury, lasts for long periods of time despite treatment, and moves around, it is muscle tension, most likely associated with negative emotions.  He could pinpoint a lot of my issues, including my compulsive eating, and relate them back to not dealing with those emotions.  Who knew my eating disorder and my hip pain were related?

Tobe sent me home with homework.  He wanted me to read Dr. John Sarno's book, Healing Back Pain.  It mirrored what Tobe had already told me.  Anger leads to tension, which leads to pain.  It talked about potentially linking psoriasis to this phenomenon as well.  It makes sense.  This book is fairly old and they've learned so much more about psoriasis.  It is not a skin disease.  It is an autoimmune disease.  I no longer use crazy skin thinning medications on my elbows.  Instead I get a a scary immuno-suppressant shot, which can cause cancer.

My follow up visit with Tobe showed fairly good results.  Just by being aware that any current hip pain was probably being set off by an emotional reaction often made it possible to practically wish the pain away.  I would think about what was most likely bothering me and then I would try to deal with it.  Pain gone.  Instantly.  It sounds like voodoo but it has been happening.  So Tobe and I talked about my issues again and this time he gave me breathing exercises to help me deal with my sugar addiction.  He also asked me to read his book, The Four Seasons Way of Life.  I am about one-quarter of the way through his book and Tobe tells me our next visit will most likely be our last.  He seems to want to give people the tools to heal themselves rather than have them attend many, many visits.  It has been a pretty interesting experience.

So my journey continues.  To be healthy and to be strong.  For the first time in over five years, I have had quite a few pain free days.  It makes me have hope that I don't have to just live with the pain.  I guess I felt like living with the pain at a "4" instead of an "8" was progress.  So to be pain free is amazing.  And I am looking forward to a pain free future!

Have you ever made that mind-body connection?  It is crazy what our minds can do to us and how resilient our bodies are if we just allow them to do their thing!