TOLT: But I Won’t Do That!

You all remember the Meatloaf jam from back in your middle school days…..I will do anything for love…..but I won’t do that!

Well, welcome to another TOLT hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons. Today I want to expand off of my post from Monday and continue with a series on my own Happiness Project: MY BEST BODY.

I’ve spent a little more time considering my post and my goal and what I will do moving forward and I’ve come up with only three things so far that I promise not to do:

  1. Take before and after photos
  2. Go on a diet
  3. Use exercise as punishment or food as a reward

These are three things that align pretty well with my own living principles as well as some of the tenets of yoga.

Ahimsa – Cause no harm

I, as a fitness professional, know that dieting is harmful to the body. I hate the fact that this simple little four letter word that means all of the food you eat has become something so vile and negative that I have to make a statement about how I won’t go on one. Technically we’re all on a diet…..we all eat. I decided not to harm myself in other ways during this adventure by being mindful of my workouts, checking in with myself on the regular through meditation, and keeping in mind that this is a journey of my whole body getting well….not just trying to get thin.

Santosha – Contentment

I need to remain content as I travel this path. It’s okay that right now I am battling my body, this too will get better. It’s okay that I will never again be a size 2 Juniors. I’m 36 and have two children and care more about being able to someday do a pull-up than to bare my midriff for attention. This is a project and a process, I have to be ready each day to face the challenges with an air of contentment: I AM.

Svadhyaya/Satya: Self-Study and Honesty

I paired these two together because they both also encompass the idea of non-judgement of myself and others by living who I am and by learning about that. This is why I don’t need before and after photos…..I have before and during and after blog posts. I have my meditation journals. I can track my fitness and all of the other measurements I will use along the way. However, as I track I need to go back to Santosha and remember to be content with the progress that does and doesn’t come.

NUMBER THREE

On a side note, I found myself trying to do number three a lot this week. Yesterday I ate a snack with my little guy. I had a super hungry moment (most likely fueled by the Prednisone) in which I ate the snack so mindlessly and then had the thought pop into my head “Thank goodness I’m going for a run now”. Bad me! But I also need to be kind with myself in my thoughts…..I need to avoid falling into the disordered eating traps of rewards and punishments that come with food and exercise. This project needs to be about me being well and functioning.

I can’t guarantee that this is going to work and I’m still in the process of defining my plan, but this was the next step.

Have you ever entered into a Happiness Project?

How do you incorporate the yoga principles into your life challenges?

What won’t you do?

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TOLT – Why Numbers Matter Part 3

In the past I have been very upbeat about my weight. Part of this has been due to the privilege of being “thin” for most of my life. I didn’t come by being thin easily, but I have been thin for most of my life due to periods of restrictive eating and periods of taking care of my body. No matter what, I’ve always fallen at average or lower, so weight has not concerned me that much….until my recent doctor’s appointment.

This time around, for my yearly physical, I weighed in at 145lbs. I am about 5’8″ tall, so if you do my BMI that puts me in the average category….no biggie right? Well, normally I’d agree except this time it wasn’t a moment of normalcy for me.

Before I go any further, I want to state that I know that weight is a touchy subject for a lot of people and I am by no means overweight or obese, so the question will always come, “Why am I complaining?”. I’m not. I’m just taking notice of a few things. Continue reading “TOLT – Why Numbers Matter Part 3”

TOLT – Who Is This Mythical Superwoman?

I haven’t done a TOLT in awhile and I thank Amanda for continuing to host these great round-ups of talented bloggers! I’m writing this post in advance because of the week I’m having. What kind of week is that? It’s a birthday week for my oldest who is officially 6 as this posts! I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting lately on what it means to be the kind of mom who stays at home, works part time, is a fitness professional, etc, etc. All of the roles I play. I’ve written about roles before and you’re more than welcome to read those posts here:

TAG: ROLES

Instead of bragging about all of the things that I can accomplish this week; today I’m going to play a game: What I thought it would be like vs. What it’s really like.

Stay-At-Home-Mom

What I thought it would be like: Soooo much time to get everything done and lots of time for myself. My children would play and interact with me and life would be bliss.

What it’s really like: Nothing gets done on the schedule I expected. When all I had was my one infant son I could easily clean our small apartment, walk the dog, and make dinner for my husband and I sometime before midnight while also breastfeeding, doing laundry, etc. But now, with two headed in two different directions and with the stay-at-home part dwindling little by little each year, I don’t know how things will ever get truly finished or caught up. Some of this is my natural ability to procrastinate and some of it is that we expect too much of any one person in our household. The kids don’t always play when you need them to, they want your attention when it’s least convenient, there needs to be time for you alone, you and your husband, you and your friends (not just during play dates) etc.

Working From Home

What I thought it would be like: Nap times are the perfect time to sit down at the computer and magically get it all done in about 2 hours….right? And I would get so many job offers because of my ability to work so thoroughly and quickly.

What it’s really like: Sometimes nap time doesn’t happen and Word World has to babysit for a few minutes while I review a course, type an email, post grades, etc. I used to teach online courses and my students would complain about the amount of work I gave them….as if I didn’t understand what it was like to work, have a family, have a life, and do schoolwork……who do you think is grading all of your assignments people? And developing them? And answering your emails/texts/phone calls when you have questions/complaints/computer errors?

Working Outside of the Home

What I thought it would be like: Total sadness and missing my babies at every waking moment. They would cry without me and no one would take care of them as well as I could. Something bad would happen at every moment and I would be riddled with the guilt of being away from them.

What it’s really like: Well, part of that is true for me. I do feel guilty and sad when I miss things that I enjoy with them, like tucking them in at night and reading to them. I do not think that anyone feeds them as well as I do and I’m sure they watch way too much tv when I’m not with them. However, there’s a flip side to that. I actually get to be grown up me when I’m at work. There are people who see me as me and as a professional in the field that I have worked in for so long, gone to school for, and care so deeply about the standard of! There are moments of bliss when I’m meditating and imparting wisdom to others. There are moments of bliss when I’m learning from others.

Being a Fitness Professional and a Mom

What I thought it would be like: Because I have all of the knowledge, I would be incredibly fit throughout my pregnancy. I would feed my babies all organic and homemade food. We would do Mommy & Me yoga together from Day 1. I would jog with them in the jogging stroller and win races and still have a beautiful two piece swimwear body….forever…..with no softness or stretchmarks or signs of aging…..EVER!

What it’s really like: I don’t know how the women who meet that ideal do it, but I know I ate Taco Bell more than once with each of my pregnancies. I napped a lot during the first one and gave up running during the first trimester when I thought I would throw up and have a migraine headache from listening to my mp3 player while I ran. I did exercise and teach until he was born and I did make him baby food (most of the time) and I did start back to jogging with him as soon as I was cleared to. What didn’t happen was my stomach never returned and was even more destroyed with the second child (see here) and we did Family Yoga with the big one, but the little one hates it. I do have two very active kids and I have pushed them in the stroller, pulled them behind my bike, and encouraged them to help me with my workouts as much as humanly possible. I lost a lot of weight each time due to breastfeeding, and currently weigh in around 140lbs (more than before each of them), but I’m okay with that (see here). Having “all of the knowledge” means squat in the middle of labor and cravings and tired mornings when your baby cried and nursed all night while teething. It means nothing when it means not putting yourself first in other ways.

I guess this is the one area in which blogging has helped me to realize, it’s okay to not be perfect….

I mean, Who is this mythical Superwoman of a Mom anyway?!

20170126_072420

Currently December 2016

I’m back! Well, sort of. I’ve been away from my blog for a full month now. Why? By choice mostly….I’ve chosen to prioritize other things that I had going on. Also, because I’m pretty sure that I’m suffering from a little holiday depression. It’s almost the end of the year and a lot of people are looking back at their 2016 and reveling in the things they’ve accomplished. Others are looking forward to what will happen in 2017. I am in a third group…..somewhat less optimistic and trying to wrap my head around what comes next.

See, I didn’t accomplish everything I hoped to do as far as my 30 Days goals went. I even tried scaling back on numerous occasions. I tried to maintain a fitness streak through the holidays and had to abandon that due to my unwillingness to run in this cold this year. Yet, I don’t quite feel like a failure. I determined awhile back that this would be the year of self study….Svadhyaya. And I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, so check that off the list!

And the summary of it all is this….I am one girl, aged 36, on a mission to live the best life I can and to instill in my children the best confidence and values that I can while I am here. I am not perfect, nor do I aspire to be. I am a fitness professional who sometimes struggles to make exercise a priority. I am a yoga teacher who sometimes yells and loses it. I am me….I am still here….taking it one breath at a time; and I will be for some time more.

So, 2016, Thank you for your service. And as for 2017 I’ve decided this:

Each day I will arise and say not “what needs to be done today?”, but rather, “what can I do?” and then I will do what I can and be happy with the results. I will strive for a more minimalist approach to expectations, work, and things that don’t give me joy. I will stop looking around at all of the unfinished and feeling guilty, but instead look at what has been done and feel successful.

How will you live your 2017? Which are you: The kind that looks back, forward, or stuck in between?

Thank you to Amanda for allowing me a place to dump my thoughts!

TOLT – Distractions

Yesterday I wrote a post about the election that has garnered at least one email response. It’s a post that is not the usual for this blog and I second guessed myself several times as I wrote. I still think that it reflects the use of Yoga in my life and I am glad that I penned it. Today, though, I plan to talk about things I’m considering in my life that are keeping me from thinking about the election and the impending future of this country.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO AMANDA FOR GIVING THIS OUTLET THIS IS SO NEEDED AT THIS TIME!

Things that are distracting my thoughts:

1. What to do about gray hair?

So, it’s finally happening….but don’t tell my sister. I’ve started to notice gray hairs appearing where they “shouldn’t” be and I’m contemplating what to do about it. I’ve always thought it would be nice to have the Stacy London single sexy silver streak….but now I’m thinking about doing something a little more drastic. Why? Because who gets their gray hairs to all grow in in one particular and well-groomed location? No one! That’s who!

I’ve considered the all-over hair dye method (although I’ve had bad experiences with hair dying in the past) as well as the highlights route. My mom has been dying her hair for years and is now “progressing” toward a “natural gray look”….whatever that means. My sister has tons of gray hair and is younger than me, so she has been doing the all-over dye method for some time now. I’m 36 and I feel like a little gray is okay. But I also fear that I’m not as ready for that as I should be (see more on my Santosha battle this coming Monday). So, I’ve come to the conclusion to both embrace the gray and go crazy at the same time. I’ve always been one to express myself in whatever way I see fit and I feel like, as I approach 40, that my hair may be a version of that. Silver-type hair colors are very trendy right now and this is what I’m considering doing along those lines….either silver/purple or silver/blue highlights. I like this woman’s example because it’s not too much nor too little. Am I crazy?

2. Does anyone really care about “Dad Bods”?

I keep hearing about this research on the radio regarding the longer living men who have what has now come to be known as the “Dad Bod”. Here the NY Times more blatantly calls them “Fat Dads”. What I don’t like about this discussion is that it seems like a cop out to taking care of yourself by taking care of your family first. Women are constantly being told not to do that, while at the same time….doing just that. And yet, we’re also told not to body shame and yet we’re body shaming. I have so many issues with this discussion and I’m really over hearing about it on the radio. Please, Mr. DJ, stop encouraging men to go out and drink a few extra to be “more attractive” to women!

3. Go Cubs Go on the Billboard music charts?

And finally, because I listen to the radio all the time in the car….today I heard that Billboard Music Top 100 now hosts the “Go Cubs Go” 1984 song written by Steve Goodman. Are you shocked? I was and had to confirm it. Great job Cubbies! My grandfather would be proud and since he didn’t get to see this or your World Series win in his lifetime….this is for you and him (a Chi-town native and lifelong fan):

What’s on your mind today?

How are you dealing with election results?

Thoughts on my distraction topics?

Where is my Donkey?

I’m in Columbia, South Carolina right now and awaiting the latest participants in the NETA PT workshop to finish their exam. It’s been kind of an unexpected week this week and since I missed TOLT with Amanda this week, I figured I’d just tell you all of this in that sort of brain dump format.

Parenting

On Wednesday I remembered something that my oldest son said to me not that long ago. I cannot remember the context of the conversation, but it began with him asking me a question about why someone was doing something. Do we ever really know why others choose to do what they do? So, naturally my response was “I don’t know”. To which he replied, “So you don’t really know EVERYTHING do you?!” Wow! You’re right and thanks for calling me on that bluff at 5 years old!

Politics

Why was this memory important? Because on Wednesday I decided to take my sons with me to vote. Many of us are ready for the election to be over and I, especially, will be glad when I can watch the news in the morning without exposing my children to political campaigns. However, it’s my civic duty to vote and I thought it was of most importance this year that my 5 year old has listened to the news, seen the political ads, and has such strong feelings about what is happening in our country and state. I won’t ever tell you who to vote for, but please get out there Tuesday and get it done if you haven’t already!

Health

On Thursday morning around 4am I awoke choking….because my tonsils were swollen almost shut! This has happened to me in the past and has always been tonsillitis (except for the one time it was mono). This time, though, it was STREP THROAT! Ew! I spent the entire day laying on the couch shivering, sweating, in aching pain, and attempting to drink juice and swallow massive horse pills.

Teaching

By Friday morning I was better, but chose not to go for a run and instead just taught and packed up my stuff to head for SC. I was off my game while teaching….mentally and it carried over into my packing. I forgot things this week, but nothing that made a huge difference on my weekend. My scatterbrain also prevented me from doing my 5 Yamas Friday post this week, so in the interest of keeping it on Fridays, I’ll save #4 for this coming Friday as I travel to Columbia, Maryland.

Traveling

cib
I might know why this sign was outside….

I arrived at my hotel, the Comfort Inn Blythewood, on Friday night and anticipated taking a shower before I went to bed…..that didn’t happen because there was a ball of hair and a used bar of soap in my shower. I called downstairs about it, but they couldn’t do anything until morning as they were all sold out. I had skipped dinner that night because I was feeling nauseous from my meds and the post-nasal drip. Luckily I had a fig bar that one of my students had given me and this special drink.turmeric I didn’t think to take a picture prior to drinking it and honestly I won’t be getting it again myself, but I will say one thing….Turmeric is supposedly really great for inflammation and it really did help. Although, the taste was not my thing.

I will not recommend that anyone stay at the Comfort Inn Blythewood as breakfast consisted of something that looked like it might have once been eggs, the usual waffles and other dry bread products, some sugary cereal, and a coffee bar. Where was the fruit?! The yogurt?! The oatmeal?! Well, some of that appeared on Sunday morning, but it wasn’t worth my trouble. My food options this trip in general were less than stellar.

Finally, Saturday night, the wonderful extra hour of sleep in a hotel night…..was ruined by the fact that there was a flood light outside of my room and the curtains wouldn’t close. curtainsThis photo was taken at 12 midnight….it looks like morning is already trying to get in!

Training

As I said, I’m in SC for a workshop and I’ve been training future PTs and they have been wonderful! If I could ever stop getting lost on my way to the Jeep Rogers Family YMCA I would love to come here more often. While I’ve been here I’ve also had the opportunity to catch up on some work (YAY!) and get in a Saturday run (DOUBLE YAY!). This is where I met my Donkey.

On Friday night, as I was driving down here, I was listening for a moment to the John Tesch radio show and he mentioned something about looking at a point in the distance as you run instead of the scenery in order to run faster and smoother. I disagree John Tesch! I tried this on my Saturday evening run and I had to keep running off of the road to avoid cars which kept me in the sand, dirt, and straw. I ran uphill so much that my calves burned. And, my motivation was very low by not enjoying the scenery around me……until I saw him.

Now, I’m not an animal expert, so I’m not sure he’s a he or a donkey, but what I saw before I reached the turn around point was a pasture with horses, goats, and a donkey. The goats were butting the donkey and he was chasing them around so playfully that I smiled and wished I could join him! To my great fortune I was able to run right past him on my return and……he ran with me! Over and over again this little horse ran over to me and lifted his head to race. He took off down the side of the fence leaving me in his dust, looked back, circled around and played his game again. I almost decided to stay there with him for the rest of the night.

where-is-my-donkey
One of those little dots is my donkey!

I went back today to see him and take a little video, but they had moved pastures and were not around. Sadness.

The Week Ahead

So, it’s the end of my time and I need to pack up and hit the road again. Come back tomorrow for Mini Movie Monday #4 where we tackle Pigeon Pose! I will also have a post this week about Santosha and all of the great meditation I’ve had this week. Friday will have my 5 Yamas Friday and if I have a chance, I’ll link back up with Amanda to share what’s on my mind on Thursday. I hope you had a great weekend and DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!

Have you voted yet?

Do you have a donkey?

What did you do this weekend?

Thigh Gap? – TOLT

Happy Thursday Everyone!

I’m a little late to the TOLT round up today due to the massive amount of things I’m trying to accomplish before the end of this month so that I can start with a new clean-ish schedule for November. My mornings are trying to get started earlier and activity is getting squeezed in where it can. And that last bit is what brings me to my random topic for today:

THE THIGH GAP

Yesterday I went for my current 5.02 mile run/walk with my littlest one in the jogging stroller. Things went as planned….I started out okay; struggled to the end of the first run segment; walked quickly and regained my composure; then finished up the best I could. The run was not ideal yesterday and I had hoped to be up at 530am to do it instead of 1030am. Also, I ended up with a serious shorts burn at the end of my run. This prompted my google search on “chaffing”

Now, we’ve all heard chaffing called something else before and the not so flattering term of “chub rub” brought me to this article on Huffington Post

I don’t know about you, but a lot of these “tips” just don’t work for me. I’m not a fan of powdering my thighs nor smearing them with lube pre-run. I also don’t get how cotton shorts are supposed to be worse than synthetic fibers? This isn’t a problem I have often, but it made me thin…..maybe I’d rather have the much talked about Thigh Gap?

I decided to read back through some posts on the topic

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

Feminist reflections on fitness, sport, and health

Search Results for: thigh gap

I especially like the posts about faked thigh gaps in advertising, the argument against thin shaming, and the one where they named all of the body parts!

For me the thigh gap is something I kind of wish I had for the specific reason of running and cycling. A lot of cyclists wear long lycra shorts to prevent the chaffing with the seat and a lot more runners and triathletes wear something similar. I, however, am not in the position to go out and get a whole new wardrobe to keep running a few times a week. legs-in-sandSo, I’ll have to try out some of these other alternative solutions, continue to love my thighs (because I do), and occasionally suffer through a few raw spots. Changing my thighs through plastic surgery, targeted training plans, extreme dieting, or otherwise is not an option for me.

So tell me….

Do you suffer from thigh chaffing during exercise or otherwise?

How have you combated it?

Are you pro or anti-thigh gap?

Funga Alafia Ashe Ashe – TOLT

Happy Thursday all! Only 11 days until Halloween. Are you excited? I am and even though I’m feeling a lot of stress right now and have been unable to get some things done as scheduled, I am taking time out today for a little TOLT with Amanda! We all need a little peace in our lives as the holiday season approaches.

Some of you may be the right age to remember Gullah Gullah Island, most of you will have no idea where this clip is from:

Continue reading “Funga Alafia Ashe Ashe – TOLT”

TOLT – My 37th Year

Immaculate Baking Company Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting....Happy Birthday to ME!
Immaculate Baking Company Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting….Happy Birthday to ME!

My 36th Birthday was on Tuesday and to celebrate I did a 5k on Sunday morning. You can read my Race Report here. Then I read a post on Tuesday by Tracy at Fit is a Feminist Issue that sparked my thoughts for the next year. I made a lot of resolutions in January (read the recap of them here) and I’ve been slowly working on them these last 9 months. But, now September is almost over and I’ve completed my 36th year of living on this Earth. So, what comes next?

Here is my short list of things to accomplish before I turn 37 in TOLT fashion. Thanks Amanda, as always, for hosting!

  1. Finish my grad school research paper and have it published (see yesterday’s post).
  2. Continue my yoga journey by completing the Level 2 training with YogaFit. Lucky for me one is coming to my current town in January! Hello Christmas present!
  3. Run in two more competitive events….an 8k and a 10k (setting the bar a little lower not to give up but to be realistic about what has happened with my training of late).

I’m sure I’ll have an enormous “to do” list come January for 2017, but here’s the start.

Do you meditate on the year to come?

What will you accomplish before your next birthday?