The Big Picture – What Was the Draw?

Today, we have a guest blogger, Poppy Wortman.  She is from New Zealand but now lives in India, and studies yoga and ayurveda. 

Ask a studio of yogis – be they first class, a year in or long term Sun Saluters – what was their pull to first go to yoga, and the answers will be manifold.

“My doctor recommended it for my tight shoulders”; “I needed some ME time”; “I wanted to get more flexible”; “I had Lululemon tights and wanted to wear them somewhere other than out for coffee.”

My call to the mat and doing a downward dog?

Quiet – and at times, not so quiet – desperation.

From the age of eight-years-old, disordered eating thoughts, patterns and ways of being started creeping up on my psyche, progressively consuming me. By the time I turned 19, my entire being was swamped and entrenched in an eating disorder. This is not the time nor space to delve deeper into that aspect – I sometimes enlighten on my personal blog, www.popyarns.com, should you maybe feel the pull to read into it a bit more.

Years of on-and-off counselling, psychiatry and even an attempt at hypno-therapy proved minimal, if any, recovery. I look back and have no idea how I got through those years; perhaps the perfectionist, high achieving tendencies that often come in partnership with bulimia-cum-anorexia-cum-obsessive-orthorexia got me through (I somehow managed to be awarded dux all three years, which absolutely astounds me when I recall my mind frame). But with assignments and exams and early-20-year-old worries on top of constant calorie counting and obsessive exercising, my mind was a very busy – and never winding down – place.

Upon graduation I moved to Australia to blow off steam. Living in Brisbane with a group of gal-pals, there was a lot of drinking, late night (well, early morning) stumbling back to our flat and irregular eating. Although my consumption remained very limited to a handful of edible options, the alcoholic ingestion and its subsequent binge out on “no-no” foods had me put on a few kilos.

I was in absolute despair.

I moved home to New Zealand – a new boyfriend in tow – and we decided to go travel around South East Asia. The whole trip I would get up at 6am to go running for a few hours and spend the days obsessing over what I was eating, determined to shed back to my “ideal” size. A big divide started to chasm out between us, and after a few months back at home after our trip, we decided to separate. (I think the moment was decided when he asked, “Would you rather be skinny, or be with me?” and I hesitated).

My inner reaction on us parting ways? Good. I can lose more weight without him in my life.

I was irritable and angry all the time. I was starving my body, then ramming it full of food when the cravings took control. Though my outside life was seemingly “perfect” (what even is that?), my head was in disarray. I was deciding whether I should move up to the city and take a journalism job, when one night I had this intense impulse that I wanted – no, I needed – to go to India.

Once the idea was in my mind, I didn’t waver once (well, at the airport as I was leaving I must admit I did have a moment where I considered going back home again). I started researching my forthcoming solo sojourn, looking at the standard touristy places to go and making a list: Varanasi, The Taj, a week on the beach in Goa. Then the idea came to me to maybe spend a few days engaging in a yoga retreat; It’ll be good for clearing my head, I thought.

I looked into a few options, and saw the price for a fortnight of “blissful restoration and rejuvenation” equalled that of a month-long teacher training course. As someone who is somewhat infatuated with the idea of adding more qualifications after her name (again, that high achiever-ness), I decided it was the way for me. I booked one that “felt right”, and come the end of July 2015, I was in the colourful chaos of Rishikesh, Northern India, with my bright pink Nike tights and a what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here panic.

Having only ever participated in two yoga classes in my life (I grew up always playing more combat sports like netball, basketball, athletics and water-skiing) I had no clue what I was up to. The other females in my course had been practicing the ancient science for a fair few years, already familiar with the Sanskrit terminology and what-angle-your-foot-goes-at-in-trikonasana. I wasn’t in tune with myself in any way whatsoever; when told to keep hips square or catch my left foot, I was so out of whack with where I even was. After a few initial days of anxiety and considering leaving, I somehow found my zone. By the time four weeks was up, I was utterly transformed.

To say yoga saved me sounds so proclamational and nonsensical. But I believe it truly did. By the end of my 30 days, I had somehow learnt to love my limbs, recognising them for so much more than just their size. I had learnt to applaud my body when it did me proud, looking at it with affection and not hatred. And when it did let me down (nailing a headstand took a fair few attempts), I learnt to give it care, not criticism.

That’s not to say I was “cured” – not by any means. But my head found some clarity as I contorted and meditated and chanted, and upon return home (after a flit up the Everest Base Camp, another transformational experience) I signed up for clinical rehab and only semi reluctantly received treatment. I was able to timidly admit that I was sick, rather than vigorously assert I was as I was as a result of veganism and a swift metabolism.

And here we are two years later, me back in India having redone my 200-hour Hatha Yoga teacher training (at Rishikesh Yog Dham, the school I came across in my first trip that I vowed I would return to) and currently in the midst of my 300-hour Vinyasa teacher training. At 10kg heavier, my body is far stronger and capable of achieving postures I once would never have been able to try.

I still have those awful eating-disordered thoughts each and every day, but I’m recovering, one moment at a time. And I firmly give that credit to yoga; it gave me the motivation and tools my mental state required to willingly save my life.

Yoga also puts me in my place. I physically cannot be the best; my left knee turns out, meaning any balance is fleeting. I have slight scoliosis, so my back has a little hunch that only semi straightens. But rather than frustrate me as it did in the beginning, I have come to accept these ailments and just look forward to the backbends.

There are many draws to the mat; health, the trend, a bid for self-love or even purely as a form of exercise. But regardless of what made you pick up the pencil and sketch that first stroke, yoga can be extremely beneficial – and sometimes even life changing – to all.

I shudder to think where I would be if I hadn’t found my freedom.

That’s the big picture of what drew me into being a yoga teacher. And what continues to keep me picking up the crayon of taking classes. If someone asks me what got me into it, of course I don’t share this extremely personal spiel; my usual response is something like, “I just decided to try it one day”.

There’s that whole “Keep Calm and Do Yoga” mantra that you often see emblazoned across social media. But I always think it should be flipped about; “Do Yoga and Keep Calm”. And balanced. And at peace. And able to find your inner strength. And your physical. Plus your shortcomings, your ailments and your abilities. Find yourself in general, really.

I know I did, And continue to do so every time I get on my mat.

Namaste.

Yoga Teacher Training In India

Poppy Guest 1[1072]

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life Program

Change Your Mindset,

Change Your Life Program

Have you ever felt frustrated with how you look and feel?

Have you ever been on so many diets that you should take stock in the word “diet”?

Have you ever started a diet or program and get excited when you see the results, but afterwards, your weight starts to creep up and up and before you know it, you weigh more than when you started?

Have you ever wanted to join a gym but felt intimidated by the people working out in there and walked right out the door?

Have you ever felt like ‘why should I bother with how I look and feel because I am in my 40’s and married and so what’?

Have you ever been to the doctor’s and they rattle off the rap sheet list of all your medical ailments and you just stare and blindly accept it because you figure, ‘hey I can’t do anything about it, right’?

If you can answer yes to any or all of these questions, you are not alone!  We have answered yes to every single one of those questions!

What changed?  Something finally clicked and we both said, enough is enough! 

For Dave, who is a type 2 diabetic and was on Metformin, the doctor wanted to put him on another medication because his A1c number was 7.2 and was not coming down.  This was in December 2014. 

This new medication was so strong, it was going to destroy his liver.  Dave finally had enough and started to walk and tried to run a bit. 

It wasn’t easy!  He also joined the free My Fitness Pal and he logged what he ate and exercised.  Eventually, he was able to run a mile at a time, then two, then four and now he can run ten miles! 

He also lost a total of 60 lbs and his pant size went from size 40 to size 32! 

And the best part?  The doctor said he didn’t need to take his diabetes medication because his A1c was 5.8 in June 2015!

Dave Before and After with words

In July of 2015, Christine saw all the positive changes that was happening to Dave.  She had always struggled with her weight since she was a teenager. 

She tried everything, from the Medifast diet, to fasting, to Weight Watchers, to joining the gym.  She would lose weight but guess what? 

Eventually, the weight would come back and then some!  It was more like an overstretched yo-yo where the toy goes up and down and then just gets stuck and overextended! 

She finally said, ‘enough is enough’ and at age 47, joined her husband and made a pact to do this together.  She also joined My Fitness Pal and started to log everything she ate and exercise. 

Yes, that dreaded word – exercise!  She started to walk here and there and she joined a gym with Dave.  She loves the weight strengthening machines and she pushes herself to do more. 

She has lost a total of 75 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes!!

Chris Before and After with words

So what changed? 

It is a life long health journey and more importantly, we are doing it together.  We have realized that the most important muscle in all of this is our brain. 

That’s right.  That little three-pound organ plays an important part and we discovered what it takes to get the three-pound organ to control what the rest of your body does. 

This is where we come in.  We have the tools to show you how to develop a positive mindset and get great results.

What we love to do is help other people who are just like us:  ordinary normal people who understand what you are going through and want to help you be on the path to your best health. 

This is not a miracle cure that you will blink and lose weight.  (We all wish that can happen!) 

But, in the next six weeks, we will guide you with the right tools to help you motivate and inspire you to be the best that we know you are!

We offer 6 weeks of group coaching!

 

  • You will be in our private Facebook Group.

  • Daily mindset and motivational tips to help you start the day with the right mindset to tackle almost anything.

  • Daily posts of ideas to eat healthy and exercises to do.

  • Daily Group accountability. Report what you accomplished for the day.

  • Opportunity to ask questions in the group and receive positive answers.

  • Two (2) weekly Group calls via Zoom on Monday and Friday.

  • Receive the PDF of Dave’s booklet: “10 Things To Know About How Having A Positive Mindset Can Help You With Almost Anything In Life!” for FREE.

All for the introductory price of just $77!!

Pay $77 securely here with PayPal!

 

Are you someone who needs a personal coach to motivate and inspire you to be and do your personal best?  Then, upgrade to our 1:1 personal coaching!

Receive all the Group details above plus:

  • Exclusive Facebook messenger or Voxer communication with your coaches.

  • Daily verbal mindset and motivation tips via Facebook messenger or Voxer.

  • Have a personal plan for your eating and exercising goals.

  • Personal daily accountability with your coaches to report what you accomplished for the day.

  • Two (2) 30 minute private calls weekly. (Besides the two Group calls.)

  • Your coaches will be available for private support whenever needed, (via Facebook text or voice messaging, Voxer or email, etc.

  • Receive four PDFs of Dave’s booklets for FREE:

  1. “10 Things To Know About How Having A Positive Mindset Can Help You With Almost Anything In Life!”

  2. “10 Things To Know About Running”

  3. “10 Things To Know About Weight Loss”

  4. “10 Things To Know About Exercising”

Normally the price for this exclusive 1:1 coaching is $1,821, but for the first 4 people to secure the spot, it is just $777!! 

That is a savings of $1,044 which is 57% off the price!!

Pay $777 securely here with PayPal!

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!  Contact Form

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer

It’s All About Mindset

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Now that I’ve realized how easy it is to lose weight when you have the right mindset, I could easily beat myself up mentally for being overweight for over twenty years. Especially now I realize I really didn’t have to be.

Instead I’m looking at this as a wonderful opportunity. I’ve always believed things happen for a reason. Especially over the past couple of years. The old saying “when life throws you lemons make lemonade” is so true.

Without going through everything, steadily gaining weight, becoming diabetic and then ultimately my health journey, losing all that weight, getting off diabetes medication, becoming a runner. Without all that I wouldn’t have such a powerful story to share. And I wouldn’t have such a strong desire to inspire and help others who are going through what I went through. I have a purpose now, a mission to reach out and help people. Since I’ve been sharing my story all over social media I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been told I’m an inspiration. I’d never been called that in my life before I started my journey. And it IS a journey.

It’s all down to mindset. Get that right and you can achieve anything your heart desires.

Diet Is A Four Letter Word!

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Diets only work when you are on them.  There’s a reason diet is a four letter word. When you go on a diet you are more focused on the foods you “can’t” have.

You “can’t” have carbs.

You “can’t” have sugar.

You “can’t” have fats.

So you eat salads for as long as you can until you’ve reached your goal weight or, more likely, you just can’t take it any more.  Then you go back to your old eating habits.  

Which…. Is the reason you gained weight in the first place.  This is the essence of yo-yo dieting.  Going back and forth between going on a diet and your old eating habits.

Anyone can lose weight. It’s keeping the weight off that’s the real trick.  An easier way around the problem is to make a simple lifestyle change.  Portion control or counting calories through an app like @MyFitnesspal can make a huge help.

Many people think counting calories is obsessive, unhealthy or too hard.  The truth is a repeated cycle of weight gain and dieting is much more unhealthy and harder.

Through MyFitnesspal, I can eat what ever I want.  It’s all about portion control and exercise.  Because of this I have maintained my weightloss for two years with no sign of going back.

But exercise isn’t just about being able to eat more food.  Exercise gives you a healthier, fitter body.  

Remember:  you lose lbs in the kitchen and you lose inches in the gym or on the road depending on what exercise you choose to do.

What ever your exercise of choice is, make it something you enjoy.  Now you’ll never have to “go on a diet” again!

Look For The Non-Scale Victories

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The scale lies! When you step on a scale it throws out a number and says you weigh this much. But that doesn’t tell the full story. If you ate something high in sodium the night before, or if you worked out the day before your body could be retaining extra water weight. There’s nothing more demoralizing than stepping on the scale and seeing you’ve gained anything from a pound to fi’ve pounds. Especially when you know you did everything right.

To avoid burn out look for those non-scales victories. The extra energy you’re feeling. The way your clothes fit better. Dropping a pant size gives you a huge boost. If you’re just starting out take lots of photos. Those “before” pics can give you a clear idea of how far you’re coming. Especially for those times when the scale refuses to budge. And take measurements. Waist. Chest, arm, leg measurements. Check them at the beginning of every month to truly see how far you have come.

 

Training Your Mind

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If there is one thing that is holding you back from taking action to make your dreams a reality, what is it? Sometimes, it helps to write it down and then turn the negative tone of ‘I can’t do this’, (insert the word what you can’t do), into ‘I can do this and I will do it’, (again insert the word what you will do).

Watch the mind take over and boost your confidence and positive feelings. You will start to believe that you can and will do it. Then, the next step is to turn the word, ‘I will’, into ‘I am’ doing the thing that I thought I couldn’t do.

It is important to acknowledge the struggle by writing it down and talking out loud. It is also equally important to write down and talk outloud the ‘I am’ aspect of it too.

It really is all in the mind. Once you realize the importance and power your mind has, you can start to believe anything is possible and you can take action towards making your dream a reality. ❤

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life.

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Everything starts with your mind. Anything that has ever been invented was visualized first.  The inventor had to think of his creation first, had to believe it was possible before it could be made reality.

In the same way, you create your reality by the way you think, the way you see yourself. If you’re not happy where you are, you have the power to change whatever it is. Whether it’s fitness / weight related, or finance or career.

The first thing you have to do is decide what you want to change. Then commit to making it happen. Then focus all your energy and thoughts on making what you want happen.

I wasn’t happy about my weight. I was also diabetic and on medication. This went on for several years. I wasn’t happy with who I was. But until I became motivated enough to do something about it, nothing changed. Then one day I’d had enough. I started walking daily. Walking led to running. I also joined a site called myfitnesspal.com and started counting calories. I lost 60 lbs and now I’m the fittest I have ever been. Oh, and I’ve been off the diabetes drug, Metformin, for over two years. All this happened because I changed my mindset.

Change your mindset, change your life.

You Are Stronger Than You Think!

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The beautiful thing about fitness is how good you feel about yourself on your journey.  It’s not just about the better health you gain along the way.  It’s the things you learn about yourself.  Like you realize you are stronger than you ever imagined you could be.  I just ran five miles.  That’s something I could never have imagined doing two years ago.  For some it might be just a short run.  But for me it’s a reminder of how far I have come and that I can never go back to who I used to be.  And nor will I ever want to.

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The Right Mindset

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Success is dependent on only one thing. The decision to start. Whatever you have in mind, whether it’s weight loss, fitness, looking for a new job, or starting your own business, you have to make a decision, a commitment that you’re just going to do it. And then you need to cultivate a no-matter-what mindset.

You are going to do this.

No. Matter. What.

It’s all in your mindset. Your mind is your most powerful tool. Any thing that has ever been invented was visualized first. It was created in the mind before it was created in reality.
On the other hand your mind can be your greatest obstacle. Your mind can make you fly, or it can hold you back, keep you on the ground.

As the old saying goes, “if you think you can, you’re right. If you think you can’t, you’re right”.

It’s all in your mind.

Literally.

Whatever is in your heart, make a decision today to go for it. Just think where you could be a year from now!

Changing Our Self Talk

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We are often our own worst critics.  We talk to ourselves sometimes in a way we wouldn’t dream of talking to anyone else.  We are often far harsher on ourselves than anyone else would want to be.  We beat ourselves mentally when we mess up.  When we slip up on our diet we just give up, tell ourselves it’s too hard.  Sometimes we let what other people say to and about us become our own personal reality.  If someone puts us down we mentally agree.

It’s time to stop that.

Life is hard sometimes.  We try our best, but sometimes we fall short.  We make mistakes.  We miss goals.  It’s called being human.

Just know you are worthy.  You deserve the best in life.  Stop putting yourself down.  If you make a mistake one day,  you can get it right the next day.  Or the day after that.  Be kinder to yourself.  Start treating yourself as you would treat a friend.  If you wouldn’t put your friend down then why put yourself down?

Just over two years ago I was overweight, diabetic and downright unhealthy.  I used to put myself down.  A lot.  I think I kind of hated myself for letting myself get where I was.  But little by little I made changes. I joined @MyFitnessPal and started running.

Running taught me a lot about myself.  I learned I’m stronger than I ever thought I was.  When your legs are burning and your body is screaming at you to stop but you keep going until you are done, that’s some serious mental strength.  I’m more determined, more driven than I’ve ever been about anything.  I turned my life, and my health, around.  The weight is off and my sugar numbers are much better now.  I’ve been off diabetes medication for over two years now.

You can change your life, too.  Start by changing your inner dialogue.  It won’t happen overnight.  You’ll still find yourself coming up with the same negative reaction.  But when you catch yourself, stop.  Say “No!  I’m better than this.  I DESERVE better than this.”

You deserve respect.  You deserve SELF respect . You are capable of far more than you can imagine.  You only need the will to try.

I wrote this because I am often my own worst critic.  I get down on myself about a lot of things.  It’s something I’ve had to work on.  I still find myself slipping into old habits.  But when I catch myself, I make a note of it and resolve to do better.  No harsh self-criticism.  Well, not nearly as much.  Hey, I’m still not perfect.   But I don’t expect to be.  I’m human, too.  But if I can do this, so can you.

 

 

The Decision To Start

Two years ago I decided to start running for my health. It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. Because of that decision I lost 40 lbs and got off diabetes medication. I could have just stayed as I was, wishing I was slimmer, wishing I could get my sugar levels under control.

Instead I made a choice. I started small. The first day I ran I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. But I was out there every day. Walking and running. At first walking much more than running. Gradually I increased my running time and distance until I was running more than I was walking. Then one day I didn’t need to take a walking break at all. Now I run a few times a week. I run anything from 4 to 6 miles. Sometimes I can run longer distances. It may not seem much compared to some runners but my running has taken me to a totally different place, emotionally. 


I no longer wish I was slim.

I am slim.

I no longer wish I was off diabetes medication.

I am off diabetes medication.

All this because I made a simple choice.

One day while I was walking I chose to run.

Whatever you are thinking of doing, whatever you wish you could do, just start.

Start now.

Start small.

Start while you’re afraid.

Just.

Start.

 

Two years from now you’ll be so thankful you did.

 

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Why Not Just Start Today?

Chris Before and After with words

Dave Before and After with words

We know that it isn’t easy to start something or if you start something to actually stick with it.  Believe us, we know.  We have been there, tried it and failed.  Yes.  Failed.  So many times we would say, “oh, one day I will try again.”  But, you know what?  Don’t just try.  Just start.  Just do it.  Grab a partner or friend and do this together.  Stick with it.  This isn’t lose 50 lbs in a month quickly.  This is a health journey and it is for life.  It doesn’t matter when you start, it matters that you do.  Remember, the years will be passing by.  The question is: will you be healthier in five years or at the same weight and fitness level that you are now, (or worse)?  We are continuing on our health journey and would love to take you with us!20431268_10155099919073853_1005647030163866610_n

My Continued Fight Against Diabetes

So after a 5 mile run I came home to great news. I got my bloodwork back before my latest doctor visit tomorrow. My A1C was 5.2. December 2014 my A1C was 7.2 and my doctor wanted to put me on a second medication, one that’s strongly linked with causing liver problems.

No, thank you!

I had already been taking Metformin since August 2008. Well, that was the kick up the butt I needed. I joined @MyFitnesspal and started running and by April 21st (my birthday) I was able to stop taking Metformin altogether. I have been drug free since then. I lost a total of 35 lbs since I started that health journey. I have had no problem maintaining my weight loss.

In June 2015 my A1C was 5.8. Last August it was 5.3 and now it’s down to 5.2.  For those that don’t know, the A1C is a blood test that gives a three month snapshot of how your body’s blood glucose level is.  There seem to be some slight disagreement on the exact numbers but generally if your A1C is 6.5 or higher you are considered diabetic.

To anyone who is type 2 diabetic: You CAN beat it. You CAN get off medication. You CAN live a healthy life. But it isn’t easy. It requires a serious lifestyle change. It requires hard work. It requires dedication. The only question is…are you willing to do what it takes to turn your health around? I did. I’m living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to.IMG_20170627_145423_787

Changing My Mindset

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I’ve had something of a mind shift lately. I’ve been so focused on what I have achieved, losing weight and getting fit. I’m always going to be proud of what I’ve achieved and I will willingly share my story with anyone I think I can help.

But I’ve had a realization of sorts. I’m no longer the former fat man turned slim. I’ve spent so long with that label in my head. This is my new reality. I’m going to make damn sure I’m never going to gain weight again. We moved to a new town several months ago. The people in this town don’t know I used to be heavy. They just know me as they see me now. Unless I choose to tell them my story. They just see me as someone who is not overweight. So that’s who I’m going to see myself as from now on. I’m always going to be proud of the way I’ve turned my health around but from this moment going forward I’m just going to enjoy who I am now. After all, I’ve worked hard for this. I have literally worked my ass off!

I don’t know if this makes sense. It’s hard to put into words but this is how I’m feeling now.

The Unspoken Grief

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While tomorrow is Mother’s Day, today I would like to remind everyone that not every woman celebrates. I don’t mean the ones who sadly remember their Moms in heaven, but the ones like me, who have suffered the unspeakable loss of losing not one or two but nine ’embabies’.

What are ’embabies’? They are the result of a couple doing IVF and having live embryos implanted. They are ‘future babies’ with plans drawn up by their Moms and Dads. They already have a place in the hearts of their parents. The parents wait for two weeks, which seems like a lifetime to hopefully hear the words, ‘yes, the embryos stuck and you are still pregnant’.

Around 6 to 6 1/2 years ago, we went through three rounds of IVF. We had a total of nine live embryos implanted throughout the three rounds. We even had little personal names for them. Sadly, we lost all nine. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them in heaven. I know one day, we will see them.

I am now able to talk about this and would like to offer support for others who have gone through this. I never compare what I went through to someone who had a miscarriage or a stillbirth. But, I just wanted to allow others to know that there are those, like me, that still gets sad on Mother’s Day because we have our own grief. ❤

I Am Proud Of Me!

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This is a big moment for me.  This is how proud I am of myself.  Yesterday, I bought a new bathing suit. I haven’t bought one in about 10 years and the last time I wore one was about 5 years ago.  I would never like showing a photo of myself in one.  Of course, it would be a one piece with the ‘skirt like’ bottom.

Yesterday, I bought a two piece. Ok, it isn’t a bikini and it has the ‘skirt like’ bottom.  But, today, I am baring my soul because I took a photo, (actually to show my mom on Sunday), and compared it to the old me.  I know I still have more to lose, but I am proud of myself that I did lose 75 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes.  I am proud of me.

So you’ve just been told you’re a type 2 diabetic. Now what?

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My first piece of advice:

Breathe.  Don’t panic.  Don’t freak out.   Don’t shut down.

Yes, it’s a scary diagnosis to be given.  Yes, it’s a life-changing moment.  Gone are the days when you could eat whatever you wanted without giving it a second thought.  Now you’re going to begin a system of trial and error.  Finding out what sends your sugar into orbit and what doesn’t.  The bad news is there’s no one size fits all.  A food item that spikes one diabetic’s sugar might not really affect you much.  The only way to find out is to keep testing after every meal.  You need to know the worst foods to avoid.  I can tell you common problem foods are pizza, white bread, potatoes and white rice.  And of course cookies, chocolate, cakes, pasta…and the list goes on.

Depending on the severity of your diabetes, there are a range of treatment options your doctor may choose.  You may be put on an oral drug, like Metformin.  That’s the one I was prescribed. There are a range of other pills your doctor may choose.  Or you may be put on insulin.

This is important.  Your doctor is going to give you a ton of advice.  Listen to it.  The absolute worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and just ignore your diabetes.  It’s a serious problem and it isn’t going to just go away.  With the right attitude it can be managed, and in some cases it can even be reversed,  I know this because I reversed mine.

There are two main causes of type 2 diabetes.  Genetic and lifestyle.  If your diabetes is genetic then there are fewer options, but it can still be managed.  My diabetes was caused by my lifestyle.  This is the one that can most likely be reversed.  By changing your lifestyle.

Basically I gained a lot of weight and was very inactive.  I didn’t really bother with any kind of exercise.  I was diagnosed in August 2008.  For several years I battled my disease.  At one point it got out of control and my fasting sugar was averaging 170.  That’s another thing.  The best way to see how you’re doing with your diabetes is to test your sugar in the morning before you eat or drink anything.  This is when you’ll have the most consistency.  Because your sugar is affected by not only WHAT you eat but also by HOW MUCH you eat.  That first thing in the morning test will give you the greatest consistency.

In December 2014 I went for a check up.  My A1C was 7.2.  The A1C measures your blood glucose over a 2 to 3 month period.  Non diabetics should have a number less than 6.0.  The higher the number the worse your diabetes is affecting you.  If you’re managing your diabetes you need to aim to keep that number as low as you can.  Mine was high enough the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication.  When we investigated this drug we found it’s strongly linked with causing liver issues.

No thanks!

This was the kick up the butt I needed.  I resolved to lose weight and get active.  In many cases simply losing weight and getting fit can be all you need to do to reverse your diabetes.  I joined an app called MyFitnessPal.  It’s a calorie counting app that lets you track the calories you’re burning.  It also helps you track the amount of nutrients; carbs, sugar, fiber, protein etc you’re eating.  A lot of people dislike the idea of calorie counting but I found it very effective and so simple to do.  The great thing about it is it makes it incredibly easy to maintain your weight loss.  Much better than the usual method of “going on a diet” by denying yourself certain foods until you lose the weight and then going back to your old eating habits…which is what caused you to gain weight in the first place.

A brief word about carbs.  You’re going to hear a lot about carbs.  Too many carbs will spike your sugar.  But your body needs a certain amount of carbs as they give your body energy.  Complex carbs are best.  There are plenty of sites out there that go into simple and complex carbs as this blog is going to be long enough already!  Switching to wholewheat bread and wholewheat pasta is a better option if you simply can’t give up those foods.

The other thing I did was start walking daily.  Walking led to running.  I followed a system called Couch To 5K.  Google it.  It’s a great way to start running if you think that would be a good way to go.  It’s a great calorie burner and the weight just seemed to fall off me once I started running.  Within a couple of months of this my fasting sugar was dropping into the 60’s!  I halved my daily dose of Metformin and my fasting was still in the 60’s.  I came off Metformin in April 2015 and I have been off it ever since.  I can’t guarantee you will have the same results I have but there is every chance you can get control of your disease and maybe you can also get off medication.  Good luck and I’d love to hear how you’re getting on.

With Inspiration And Determination You Can Get Results

15940461_10154478448933853_3879399576321855286_nHello everyone!  As you can see, this is a blog from me, Christine, Dave’s wife.  I know you have been reading about Dave’s journey into his health, fitness and taking up running.  I promise, he will be getting back to writing.

It’s been about a year since I wrote about my  journey.  I have struggled with my weight since my teenage years.  I have tried everything.  Some worked but as soon as you stop having a focus, guess what, the weight slowly starts creeping up again.  Sure, people always saw me as ‘the life of the party’ as I was always an extrovert.  But, deep down inside I knew what I really looked like.  I mean, I would hate to look at myself in the mirror.  I would wear baggy clothes.  Heck, when you are a size 26-28, I think all clothes are made baggy.

My inspiration, always first to God, is my wonderful loving husband, Dave.  You know his story.  He took up running, watched what he ate and was able to lose a lot of weight, get fit and be off his diabetes medication!

I saw how focus and determined he was.  And he kept sticking to it.  I first joined My Fitness Pal in June 2015 and started logging everything I ate and drank and the exercise I did.  Hey, walking counts!  I realized, it is about portion control.  You can eat almost what you like, as long as you don’t go over the calories they say you should have daily.  (You would think that because I have been a vegetarian for 25 years that I would weigh 100 lbs!  No, that isn’t the case!)  Then, in mid July 2015, we joined Planet Fitness.  Guess what?  I fell ‘in love’ with the weight strengthening machines.  At that Planet Fitness, I worked out on 16 machines.  We joined a new PF where we moved to and I do 18 machines.  I started with being able to do 20-25 lbs on the machines and now, I average 150 lbs!!  I also have a love/hate relationship with the darn Elliptical machine.

I do try to walk whenever I can.  In the winter, when it is too cold to go out, you will find me jogging in place watching a TV show or dancing around.  I hope no one is watching me through the windows!

It has been a struggle during the last 1 1/2 years.  Sure, frustration kicks in when you are staying at the same weight, or you might fluctuate between 2-3 lbs like a yo-yo.  Then, Dave took my photo last week, (the one on the right), and I actually really liked how I looked!  I realized the frustrations are all well worth it!

Sometimes, I still look at myself in the mirror and I guess I might see a glimpse of who I was.  I remind myself, that the only thing that changed is me on the outside.  I am still the nice and extroverted person on the inside.

The photo on the left is from Oct 2005.  The one on the right was from last week.  That’s 75 lbs lost, numerous inches, and a total of 5 -6 pant sizes down!!  And I lost 60 lbs and 4 pant sizes just in the last 1 1/2 years.  It took a lot of determination, sweat, patience and my husband Dave, who was my inspiration!

It doesn’t matter how old you are to finally do something and stick to it!  (Can you believe I just turned 49!  I feel like I am 29 years old.)  I am still on my journey.  I want to inspire others, especially women who struggle with their weight.  Lets do this and get healthy!

Latest Updates On Our Health Journey

latest comparison

Chris Comparison.jpg

I’ve just realized I haven’t blogged in quite a while.  Sorry about that!  So here’s my latest update on our health journey.

We went away on a sort of working vacation in May.  Although we managed to eat within calories most of the time, we were eating out every day.  We were also too busy to get in any real exercise until the last day or two.  After we came back I guess I slacked off on my running a little bit.  My weight crept back up around 5 lbs and I noticed my pants were starting to feel a little snug.  Having gone from size 40 to size 32 I am in no mood to undo all the hard work I’ve put in!

So we made a recommitment to get back to the grindstone.   I tightened up on my calories and got back to running.  Our local parks department is hosting a weekly 2 mile fun run.  I’ve been on three of them and each time I have been faster.  Last night the temperature at the start was 85 degrees.  Luckily the run happens at 8pm so the sun is close to the horizon.  At least I don’t have to deal with the full heat of the sun during my run.  This was still my hottest run ever and somehow it was also my fastest ever 2 mile run.  I came in at 17 minutes and 1.9 seconds.  My legs were like rubber as I crossed the finish line!  Last summer I did all my running on the treadmill.  I will still do a lot of my running on the treadmill but I am committed to doing as many of these fun runs as I can no matter how hot it gets.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Even on the treadmill I am pushing my fitness.  I now run 3 miles on the hill function.  Which involves a lot of hills!

The net result of this is not only did I lose those extra 5 lbs but I am now .2 lbs away from my goal weight of 155!  Now I have to decide if I want to maintain at a range of 150-155lbs or 155-160lbs.  I’m not sure about that just yet.  I love that losing weight through calorie counting has allowed me complete control over my weight.  If I start to gain weight I know exactly what I need to do to get rid of those unwanted extra pounds.  I don’t need to panic or freak out and go back to my old ways.  I am committed to this for the rest of my life.  And my sugar levels are still great.  This morning my fasting sugar was 77.  I’m hopeful I can stay off medication for the rest of my life.

And Chris is doing great, too.  She is a BEAST at the gym!  She loves lifting weights and I am seeing a real change in the way she looks.  I’m proud of her for sticking with this.  She has struggled with her weight for most of her life and knowing I have inspired her to do this makes me feel proud of myself too.  I haven’t been an inspiration to many people in my life.  I love that we are in this together.  We hold each other accountable.  She doesn’t let me off with anything and I keep her going too.  Our relationship is stronger than ever.  We are both in this for life.  And I will post more often to share our journey.

Seeing Is Believing!

latest comparison

So I just turned 48 a few days ago.  On the 21st to be exact.  The photo on the right was taken that day.  I can’t stop looking at it.  Not because I’m vain or anything.  But because that one photograph sums up everything I have achieved in the past year.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  Just after I had been diagnosed a diabetic.  Looking back at my life then it seems it was almost inevitable that I would become diabetic.  Poor diet.  Lack of exercise.  Serious weight gain.  Becoming diabetic was a serious wake up call.  It took me a while to hear that call.  It was only when the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication that is linked with causing liver problems that I finally woke up and realized I had to do something about it.

So I took up running.  And watched my diet.  I have lost 35 lbs in the past year.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror I can’t see the weight loss.  I know I’ve lost weight.  I know my stomach  is a lot smaller, (I think I just have loose skin issues now which is really annoying because every other part of me is slim.)  But the brain seems to take a while to catch up with the eyes.  Judging from posts I’ve seen on the MyFitnessPal forums this seems to be a common phenomenon.  But in the photo on the right I can SEE how much my face has changed.  For me it sums up everything I’ve achieved in the past 12 months.   It’s a face I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  You see, I wasn’t always overweight.  In fact, all my life up to my mid 20’s I’d actually been pretty skinny.  I guess I slowed down, but didn’t change my eating habits to match.  So the weight gained.  Slowly at first.  But in the past ten years I had a dramatic weight gain.

But now I see my old face looking back at me.  A little older, perhaps.  A few wrinkles starting to show.  A few crows feet around the eyes.  But it’s ME.  The real me.  Not the bloated puffy face I’ve had to look at for a while.  It’s like looking at an old friend.  And I like what I see.  I like how I feel.  I’m so much more confident now when out in public.  This healthy lifestyle is amazing.  I just wish I’d started twenty years ago when the weight started creeping on.  I can’t change the past.  But I can make sure the old me stays the new me for the rest of my life.

The Yoga And Meditation Center

I like to promote local businesses and we just recently found out about this Wellness center so I’m sharing it for anyone interested in learning about yoga and meditation.

This is a relatively new business based on Staten Island, NY.  We met with the owner the other day and got a look at the place.  The center offers beginners as well as advanced yoga.  The main area is a pretty decent size and the owner of the business, Dan Globus, is passionate about helping people.

Here’s the website for anyone interested in learning more.

http://www.thecompassioncenter.com/

The Compassion Center is located at:
4116 Hylan Blvd., 2nd Floor
(corner of Glover street and Hylan Blvd.)
Staten Island, NY 10308

There is a parking lot that can accommodate around a dozen to twenty cars.

The Compassion Center currently offers Meditation classes on:

  • Mondays: 7:45-9:00pm
  • Thursdays: 7:45-9:00pm
  • Sundays: 9:30-11:00am and 11:30am-1:00pm.

Dan can be contacted at: 347-770-7096

email: info@thecompassioncenter.com

For anyone who is looking to get started with yoga this would be a good place to start.

Local Treasures

frank anson store

While big megastores may have the advantage when it comes to convenience, we still shouldn’t overlook the small family owned businesses that often offer more courtesy and decency.  So I’m going to promote a couple of small businesses that we have had dealings with lately.  Both are on Staten Island, NY.

The first is Frank Anson Jewelers on New Dorp Lane.  We have been going to him for almost five years now and we won’t take our business to any other jeweler.  He has been in the business for twenty five years and he is very professional and courteous.  He always greets us with a friendly smile and a joke.  He makes you feel valued.  But more important we have found him to be extremely honest and we trust him completely.  I won’t hesitate to recommend him to anyone who needs jewelry or even just needs a battery or strap changed on their watch.

Here is his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/FrankAnsonJewelers/?fref=ts

His prices are also extremely competitive.

The second business is a coin and gold dealer based in the Staten Island mall.

We recently inherited a large collection of old coins and we just wanted to get them off our hands for a fair price.  We went to three different places to see what we would be offered.  We just wanted a fair price.  The first one we went to was nice.  The second person we went to was most definitely not nice.

After googling coin dealers on Staten Island we found the one we eventually did business with.  He works in a kiosk on the ground floor of the Staten Island mall.  His business is called Royal Coins and Gold.  We chose him after reading some very positive reviews about his business.  Those reviews were not wrong.  He went through the coins, picked out the ones he wanted to buy and gave us what we felt was a fair price.  But more than that he took time to explain what he was looking for, why he was rejecting the coins he didn’t want and he gave us a lot of useful tips on what to look for and which coins would be valuable.  This is what made the difference and I would strongly recommend him to anyone who finds themselves in the position of inheriting coin collections.

He has a website:

http://www.royalcoinsandgold.com.

His phone number is 347-589-2116

While we understand and agree that super stores offer a lot of convenience we also believe in supporting local businesses.  This is why I’m endorsing both these companies.  Convenience may be desirable but there is no substitute for good service.

What I Have Learned About Weight Loss

Breathe

I’ve been on a health and weight loss journey for the past year.  In that year I have lost over 30 lbs, gotten off Metformin, a diabetes medication, and gone from not being able to run a block without breaking out into a cold sweat to being able to run 4 miles with no adverse affects.

I have learned a few things along the way.

1.  Be patient.  This is probably the hardest lesson to learn.  We all want instant results.  But I didn’t gain the weight in a day or in a week and I won’t lose it that quickly either.  Nor will you.  There are many fad diets out there.  Juice diets, shake diets intermittent fasting, etc.  They almost always promise quick results.  They almost always cost money and almost always are not worth it.  They may help you lose weight initially but when you come off them if you go back to your old eating habits you’re just going to gain that weight back again.  All I did was join a site called MyFitnessPal.com and log my calories.  Every day.  It sounds like a chore but in truth it just takes a few minutes a day.  It keeps me accountable.  I keep track of what I’m eating.  More important, it works!  And it doesn’t cost me a thing.  It taught me so much about my eating habits and how to keep my eating under control.

2.  A bad day shouldn’t derail you.  We all have bad days where we just want to binge.  If you have a day like that just pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start again tomorrow.

3.  It’s all about calories.  If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.  It’s pure science.  If the weight isn’t coming off there may be a prevalent medical condition that is derailing you.  If you aren’t losing weight but you’re convinced you’re doing everything right get yourself checked out by your doctor.

4.  Weightloss is a simple process.  But it isn’t easy.  It takes determination.  Discipline. Patience.  Have I said that word already.  You will learn.  Patience is key.  But if you want it badly enough you will achieve it.

5.  Dieting is simple.  Keeping the weight off is the challenge.  This is the journey I’m about to embark on.  I’ve lost the weight.  I’m determined to keep it off.  Never go back!

6.  The most effective way to diet is not to go on a diet.  Sound confusing?  How many people do you know who go on a diet?  Then come off the diet and go back to their old eating habits and wonder why they’re gaining weight again?  If it’s your old eating habits that caused you to gain weight then of course you’ll regain the weight if you go back.

7.  The scale can lie!  When we want to lose weight we want to see the number on the scale drop like a stone!  Sometimes we hit a plateau and the scale stubbornly refuses to budge.  Don’t get disheartened and give up.  Look for other signs of success.  Look for NSV’s (non-scale victories).  Even when the number doesn’t drop other things are happening.  Maybe your clothes are fitting better.  Or getting looser.  Maybe your collar bones are starting to pop out, or your hip bones.  Maybe you find yourself able to do things you couldn’t do before.  Walk further or run without getting out of breath.  These are all signs you are on the right track.  Just keep doing everything right and the scale will start to drop again.

Through the past year I have learned a lot about myself.  I have patience and if I want something bad enough I can achieve it.  That’s very empowering.

Before And After

before and after

Sometimes when you look in the mirror it’s hard to see just how far you have come when you’re looking to lose weight.  The best way to really judge your progress is take photographs.  If you’re starting out on a weight loss journey I’d advise you to take several photos before you start.  It’s always good to have something to compare.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  The photo on the right just a couple of months ago.   Here I can really see the difference.  I’m almost at the weight I want to be.  It’s time to start maintenance.  I have made a vow to never again look like I did in the pic on the left.  I wasted 20 years of my life looking like that.

Never again!

The past year has certainly been eventful.  Getting off diabetes medication.  Losing over 30 lbs.  Getting fit.  Running.  And this is just the beginning.  I intend to start lifting weights more now.  I’ve lost the weight.  Now I want to tone myself up and get myself in better shape.  The weight loss journey may be ending.  But the healthy lifestyle is just beginning!

My Home Workout Routine

I thought I’d share my home workout routine.

I start with this one.  I don’t know what to call it so I’ll share the video the idea came from.  It’s the very first exercise.  I can testify you really feel it in your abdominal area.  I do 10 of them.

Then I do 10 leg raises, where you lie flat on your back and raise your legs, then lower them so your feet are just off the floor.

Then still lying flat on my back I lift the weights straight up and slowly lower them.  Again I do ten of these.

Still lying on my back  I lift the weights and stretch my arms behind me, before slowly lifting them back up and down to my side.  For the last one I also lift my feet off the floor slightly for a count of ten seconds.  Another set of ten.

I do five sets of each of those routines.

I then move off my back for the next round.  On all fours I stretch my left leg back out so it’s straight out behind me and back down for a count of ten then do the same with my right.  This works on your glutes and thighs.

Then a 50 second plank.  I’m working up to doing a minute plank.

Then ten push ups.

Again, five sets of this section.

For the final round I’m upright.  I do ten squats (although I’m going to increase the number.)

Ten bicep curls.

I lift the weights from my side straight outwards and back down.  Ten of these.

Then what I call my stretch and bend.  Where I lift the weights straight up above my head then bend to touch the weights to the floor.  You guessed it, I do ten!

Then it’s twenty Jumping Jacks.

Then I run up and down the stairs ten times.

Once more I do these in five sets.

The whole routine takes me one hour.

I finish with a delicious protein shake.

This is especially good when I can’t get to the gym or go for a run.