Secrets from the HOT (Bikram) ROOM

“I found my foundation. It was underneath me all along.” ~Jack Johnson

I sit here, in my reading/meditation room looking outside, watching twilight turn into nightfall. A year ago, six months ago, I never would have pictured my life the way it is now.

I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know where I belong. I don’t know where I should live. The list of things I don’t know grows exponentially with each passing moment.

What do I know? Six months ago, I first walked into a Bikram yoga studio. Three months ago I wrote a blog about my experiences, but so much has changed since then, so much continues to change.

I frequently take pictures of myself in my yoga outfit and post those pics on fb and here, without hesitation. They show who I am now, and I’m okay with that most days. That is to say they show who I am on the outside, but that’s not really me.

Who am I? I don’t know anymore. I have so many profound thoughts to share here, but they seem to be hiding. I’ve had so many conversations lately about self-talk, and it makes me realize how I talk to myself, inside my head. I tend to so often define myself negatively by my body shape, but maybe it’s time I don’t do that anymore.

I’m smart. I’m funny. I sparkle from the inside out. I love to laugh. I love to make other people happy. I look pretty in pink. I love a good hug, and I love people who love hugs.

And I love doing Bikram Yoga. It’s about so much more than being in a hot hellish room. It’s about the magic that takes place as all the toxins come pouring out of my body. I don’t mean the physical toxins. I mean the emotional ones—all the negative tapes that have filtered through my mind. The more time I spend in the hot room, the more I realize the pathos of the ways in which I have diminished my SELF through my thoughts.

I feel at my happiest when I’m in the HOT room, but I’m also starting to feel like maybe I’ll be okay when I’m outside the room too. There’s so very much more I want for myself in this life, so many more dreams I have to fulfill.

With my father’s death still foremost in my mind, I have moments where I just feel this gaping hole in my heart, but I’m also finding the courage to learn to sit and feel the emptiness, not to try and fill it before it’s ready to be filled, but to sit and just feel. Then maybe I’ll find some of the answers I’m searching for.

But even if I don’t find the answers, I have a place to go where my heart feels at home, where my dreams find roots so their flowers will blossom, and a place where my mind finds some quiet, allowing the love in my heart to flourish.

Me with MK (who introduced me to Bikram) and Loren (the BEST Bikram teacher EVER)

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7 Days Without Processed Sugar; 7 Days With Me

Sitting in my office yesterday with one of my office mates, Terrie, our conversation about health care somehow turned into a discussion of processed sugars and how awful and yucky and tired they make us feel. Before either of us knew what we were doing, we made a pact to avoid ANY and ALL PROCESSED SUGARS for SEVEN DAYS!!!  We made plans to report back to each other during our office hours next Tuesday, October 29th.  I left the office fully of giddiness at the adventure that awaited me, not fully realizing the ramifications of my decision until a few hours later.

After school, I had a bit of time before meeting a friend for dinner, so I decided to go clothes shopping. I didn’t really think I’d find anything—I’m a summer girl and prefer to wear a summer/spring wardrobe all year round. As I browsed through the store a neon lime green pencil straight skirt caught my eye.  I HAD to try it on.  I LOVE lime green, as did my father.

As I stared at the image of myself wearing the neon creation, I didn’t see myself in the mirror; rather, I saw a misshapen green blob that belonged in a D-level horror movie. In those moments, all the hard work I’d done on myself disappeared, and I wanted to eat, to eat sugar: candy, chocolate, cookies, oreos, any food with sugar, but not just one serving, multiple servings. This self-improvement project I’m on suddenly felt as though it wasn’t going anywhere.

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But I’d made a commitment, I’d made a promise, and not just to Terrie, I’d made it to myself. In a year that has brought me a sea of changes, I desired even more, especially one that would take more in the direction of my dreams. My food addict brain and heart, though, had other crafty clever ideas, such is the nature of addiction.

I’d promised no processed sugars, but I didn’t promise no overeating, no over-indulging. If I couldn’t make myself feel better with processed sugars I could do it by simply overeating, overeating ANY FOOD! Consuming too much of any food would take the pain away, well not really. It would just mask it, and my addict brain wanted very much to mask the pain, the pain of so much, yet so little. Food has been my best friend, lover, constant companion for so long that letting go, really letting go—well I can’t quite describe that but it’s another layer of loss, of mourning but also of celebration.

My rational brain and heart knew that I’d come too far to go back, so I woke up with another plan, another idea: for the next seven days, I’d share my food with the world, so that’s what I’ll do. I don’t plan on being perfect. I don’t promise not to over-indulge, but I’ve jumped off too many proverbial cliffs and thrived beyond my wildest imagination.

So, for the next seven days, on my fb page I’ll post reports and or pics of my food. It’ll be another step in my journey to reach my goals, to be healthier, and in that NO ONE, not even ME can/will stop me!

https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionsofaHawaiianPrincess

Here’s a pic of  Wednesday morning’s brekkie:

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My Maui: A Story 19 Years in the Making

A Story 19 Years in the Making

In the summer of 1993 I traveled to Maui for the first time. I don’t know for sure but I probably most definitely was at or around my highest weight. (IF you want to know how much I weigh you’ll have to refer back to my earlier post: https://confessionsofahawaiianprincess.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/numbers-that-matter/)

At that weight I had so many worries: Would I fit in the airplane seat? Would I fit behind the wheel of the rental car? Would the seatbelt of the rental car fit? If I went to a restaurant with friends would I fit in a booth? People ALWAYS want to sit in booths, so that was always a concern. if a restaurant had chairs would they have chairs without arms? The list goes on……………………….If we did any physical activities like hiking, how long would I last? And would I get a rash from skin rubbing?  When you have extra weight that’s just an issue.

Here I am in Maui way back then!

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All of the above and more weighed (pun intended) on my mind. Paradoxically, so did food. I wanted to make sure I ate well (well doesn’t mean healthy here). I wanted to eat all sorts of food. My life, in many ways, revolved around food.

The last Sunday of that particular trip, my friends and I went to have brunch at an exclusive resort: the Grand Wailea. From the moment I stepped into that resort I fell totally completely utterly madly in love. The sublime scenery transported me to a paradise that brought me immediate peace and happiness. I floated on a breeze of bliss!  We ate brunch that day at a table overlooking the ocean.

One of my favorite views of the Grand Wailea (from 2012):

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I decided that day that if I ever had the opportunity (and the funds) to stay at the Grand Wailea I would.

Fast Forward to the spring of 2012, about two years into my weight-loss journey: I found an opportunity to stay at the Grand Wailea in the fall of 2012 for $200/night, with most of the extraneous fees waived!  I also found airfare for $360! A deal that couldn’t be beat! I snapped it up!

I decided this trip would be my reward for all the hard work I’d done up to this point. BUT I still had work to do to make this the trip of my dreams. I planned on parasailing, zip lining, hiking in Haleakala, swimming in the ocean—I would do it ALL!!! That required work. I had to lose a few more pounds to meet the weight requirement for zip lining, and I had to work daily at my physical health to ensure that I could participate in all the activities I desired, including shopping!!  On previous trips, I’d been too big to even go shopping in the plus size department of stores!

I worked tirelessly from April to October. I struggled every single day. My food wasn’t perfect, far from it, but I worked it to the best of my ability. This trip would be my dream, my dream that would celebrate and honor all the work I’d been doing to live the life I deserve. It wasn’t that I hadn’t done stuff on previous trips: I’d karaoked; I’d done some small walks (I wouldn’t even pretend to call them hikes), I’d seen Haleakala. But I hadn’t lived. Food and excess weight coated my memories.

This trip would be different. This trip would bring me to life. And there’s so much more to tell about that miraculous trip, and I’ll be doing that in future blogs. For now, I’ll leave you with this: when you work to make your dreams come true, you’ll find you receive so much more than you ever imagined!  I know I did, and I continue to!

Here’s a pic of me fully alive in Maui!

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Opening a Can of Worms: My Day in Food!

A Can of Worms

A wise soul once told me I could find strength through vulnerability. I’m discovering he’s more than right, especially now. Having food issues, I can find no greater vulnerability than sharing my food habits. Today, I’m sharing my food with you. I didn’t plan a special day, a perfect day—it’s just a day, a part of my evolution. People have asked me how I’ve lost weight up to this point. What do I do? Count calories? Follow a specific program?

The truth is my relationship with food is an ever-evolving process. The most helpful tool I’ve ever utilized is simple: writing down my eating choices. It keeps me honest with myself and allows me to reflect upon how the food I eat makes me feel. So, here’s what I ate today, with some commentary and pictures.

Breakfast:  fresh dandelion, black kale, and pepper jack cheese omelet. When I sautéed the dandelion and black kale I didn’t use any oil. I just added a bit of water along with garlic and onion. I also used two eggs. Sometimes I remove one of the yolks but today I just used both whole eggs. I topped it off with two pieces of toast (I can’t believe it’s not butter—it’s what I had, but I’m aiming to eat natural foods) and a pear.

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Lunch: A vegetarian Caesar salad with avocado and grilled tofu.

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Random Beverage: Pink Lady Health Ade Kombucha (most of it exploded all over my car, so I actually only drank a bit of it.)

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Dinner: Twice-Baked potato with sautéed fresh dandelion, black kale, pepper jack cheese AND COCONUT BACON!!!!  COCONUT BACON RULES!!!  I topped it off with a fresh pear.

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Not pictured: my ego (medium) non-fat caramel latte. I did not plan this. I messed up something (not a huge deal) at school and had an emotional reaction. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I reacted. But it’s better than what I really wanted to eat: pumpkin mellow creams—so yummy, so sweet, and sooooooo UNHEALTHY.  Don’t believe me? Read this list of ingredients:  sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze, salt, gelatin, dextrose, honey, artificial flavor, sesame oil, yellow 6, red 3, yellow 5, blue 1. But, in their defense, they are fat free!!!

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Overall, not the best day, not a perfect day, but it’s okay. And that’s okay for now. That’s all I’m asking of myself at the moment.

Nancy’s Nifty Homemade Trail Mix

I have a goal in mind for this week, and reaching that goal requires planning!  When I go about my days, I don’t always take the time to pre-plan meals and snacks, but I’ve decided to change that!  After yoga this morning I went to Sprouts and bought ingredients to make my own trail mix.  I’ve been inspired lately by friends who make their own, and I thought to myself “why not?” If I make my own trail mix I can control the contents and, more importantly, pick ingredients I want to eat!

I perused the aisles and picked the following: hot wasabi peas, golden berries, pumpkorn dusted with dark cocoa, raw almonds, unsweetened coconut slivers, date pieces, and edamame with goji berries. When I got home I pulled out a variety of measuring cups and a big red bowl.  After all, I wanted to know how much I was eating as well as what I was eating!

Here’s how my homemade trail mix measured up (per serving of each ingredient):

Hot wasabi peas: 120 calories, 3 grams of fiber

Pumpkorn: 140 calories, 2 grams of fiber

Raw almonds: 170 calories, 4 grams of fiber

Unsweetened coconut: 80 calories, 2 grams of fiber

Date pieces: 120 calories, 3 grams of fiber

Edamame with goji berries: 120 calories, 7 grams of fiber

Golden Berries: 80 calories, 3 grams of fiber

Total: 830 calories, 24 grams of fiber

I decided to separate it into 4 servings, so I’d have ready— made snacks for my power week! That means each serving of Nancy’s Nifty Trail Mix will have 207.5 calories and 6 grams of fiber, and I’ll enjoy EVERY BITE—that’s the best and healthiest thing I could do for myself!  (and as a side note, I have a healthy array of snacks in my pantry!)

THE INGREDIENTS:

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THE WHOLE SHEBANG:

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TWO SERVINGS OF NANCY’S NIFTY TRAIL MIX IN A PORTABLE GLASS CONTAINER!

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