Adventures in Juicing

Please note that as of the end of summer 2014, I will be moving my blog to the following link (until that time all blog posts will be duplicated in both locations): http://confessionsofayogaprincess.wordpress.com

Yoga isn’t just about being in the hot room, not for me anyways. I’m always searching for ways to improve my health, to eat cleaner. For my birthday in April my mom bought me a juicer, an Omega 8005 to be exact. It arrived on my doorstep before my birthday, but stayed within the confines of its box for a month. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t open it, but I didn’t, until one day in May…….

I decided the time had come. Probably because I started to tire of spending $8 or more on a bottle of fresh pressed juice. Most people would probably look up recipes online or buy a book, but not me! Whole Foods sells a beet juice that tastes out of this world to me. Something about the combo of flavors hits every taste bud, so I looked at the ingredients and did my best to imitate it.

Kale, beets, carrots and green apple: those ingredients comprised my first juicing experiment. I didn’t really know how much to include, so I guesstimated. A couple of medium sized beets, a couple of carrots, one green apple, and a handful of kale.  It equaled absolute yumminess!!!!

I’ve also been craving ginger A LOT, so I decided to add some ginger the next time I made juice and WOW!!!  Just the perfect zing. By the way, a little ginger goes a long way.

I did peel the beets before juicing. Juicing is work, but I’m worth it, and I’d rather do this kind of work than the kind of work it takes to get better when one falls ill.

This past Sunday my mom came over to have her first juice from my juicer. The first question out of her mouth was “will this make me f*rt and sh*t all day?” I love my mom.  The answer to her question is no. But there’s more to this discussion. Since I started juicing about a week ago, I’ve had on average one juice a day and I have experienced side effects—clean side effects. Pardon anyone’s sensibilities, but since I started juicing my movements (if you know what I mean) have been super clean and easy. You can tell so much about health through poop.

That Sunday I also had a hankering to try orange ginger juice, so I made my mom and I a small orange ginger cocktail (no alcohol involved) and it proved to be tasty too!

I’ve heard some people complain that they gained weight when juicing. Well, that may be true, but I imagine it depends on what one consumes overall. How much are you drinking? How much are you consuming? I’m learning to listen to my body. It tells me when I’ve had enough. it’s not always an easy task, but I’m getting there. Sometimes when I’m hungry, it’s more about needing water. Juicing won’t make me gain weight. Emotional dependency on food and relying on its false gratification will.

Oh and cleaning up the juicer=super easy as well. As quick as fast food? Probably not. But the real problem with fast food is that once it enters your body it takes a loooooooonnnnnggggg time to leave it.

I’m looking forward to continuing to play with my juicer and seeing what health adventures it takes me on. Find your health. Find what works for you. Find what your body wants and feed it.

If you have any favorite juicing recipes, please share them! I’d love to hear them!

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This IS Love

I’m in the process of moving my blog to http://confessionsofayogaprincess.wordpress.com/

Until the process is complete, end of summer 2014, I’ll be posting duplicate entries in both blogs.

Driving home from an Easter morning with friends, I found myself craving potato chips for dinner. Ruffles potato chips. Full-fat potato chips. Potato chips I could dip into some onion soup dip mix.  I imagined myself sitting on my lovely red couch with a bag of chips and a container of dip while watching some tv. There’s not much on tv these days, so have no idea what I’d watch, but it really wouldn’t matter because I’d have my potato chips.

The morning had started off well enough. I’d dressed in my pretty and springy size 20 Ralph Lauren dress. I’d put on just a smidge of make-up. I looked pretty. Then I arrived at my destination and started to feel overwhelmed with sadness. I couldn’t stop crying.  I can’t explain it.  Maybe I can actually.

It’s my first Easter without my dad. My mom went to Arizona to see her sister. I have dear friends in my life who love me, but somehow, without my dad, I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. I’m not sure that’s rational or makes sense, but that’s how I feel. Without my dad, I don’t have my anchor.

I don’t mean to imply my relationship with dad was perfect—it wasn’t, but we bonded and healed and loved during those last months of his life. I couldn’t have written a better fairy tale ending. Nor do I wish to imply I want him back. His time had come.  The night before he died he said “I wish I’d have a heart attack and it would just be over.”

I think I’m digressing here, but I wanted to explain that part of my story. It might sound like an extreme metaphor, but I feel like a ship floating at sea, searching for a safe harbor to drop anchor.

Potato chips=a safe harbor, but not one I want to drop anchor in anymore.

It’s not potato chips I really want. It’s love. It’s the love that comes from inside. The love of self. The love that doesn’t depend on others. That’s the real treasure—and it doesn’t come from a bag of Ruffles. But dang it, driving home that’s what my monkey mind wanted to go buy! I even tried to manipulate myself into saying I could just go buy a small bag at the store. It would have two servings likely, but I’d still consume the whole bag!  That’s at least 400-500 calories! And empty ones at that!

The conversation in my head lasted forever. Finally, I told myself “go home. Take a nap. If you still feel like potato chips, then you can go get some.” That trick usually works because once I’m home I rarely want to go out again.  I also worked at turning the dialogue around. I talked to myself about all the effort I place into my Bikram practice, to my fitness efforts. If I eat the potato chips it’ll affect my efforts in the “hot” room. One bad eating moment also leads to another bad eating moment.

This is the dialogue. This is the self-talk it took to get me to the point where I’d decide I could love myself with healthy food. After I rested for a bit, I made myself a bowl of blackberries, sliced strawberries, and bananas. Then I drizzled some chocolate balsamic vinegar over the top.  I also sliced some raw cheddar cheese and made myself a cup of tea.

I wish I could tell you I felt happy now. I don’t, but I do feel so immensely grateful that I avoided the potato chips. I’d like to think I’d feel happy if simple things didn’t feel like such battles. But I won this battle, which means I’m geared up to win the next one.

That matters. I have goals. Dreams. Aspirations. Big aspirations. I have utmost faith that I will achieve them, one battle at a time. And along the way I’ll keep learning that loving myself in the small ways, means I’ll love myself in all the ways that matter. Ways that have nothing to do with potato chips.

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Squats Done Right!

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Not that long ago in the land of OZ, I posted a squat challenge on facebook and then posted a squat video: https://confessionsofahawaiianprincess.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/squats-away/

My squats in that video, for lack of a better look, reflected how tired my body felt after doing 40 squats. Actually, I wanted to say lazy but realized that’s not a very yogi-like attitude.

At any rate, not too long after my first squat video, my friends at Bikram Yoga Glasgow reposted my squat challenge and nine of them clicked like, so I thought this would be a fun opportunity to work at doing the squats to the best of my current ability.

After I did the first video, some people asked me questions about the curtsy/booty busting squats, so I tried to demonstrate them a little more clearly. At one point in the video I show myself doing the squats from the rear. Ideally the back leg will, at some point, rest horizontally on the ground. I’m not there yet, but will be someday.

In another couple of months I’ll do another squat video and show the two videos side by side, to show the progression of my squat practice. I’m a fan of showing progress in ways that have nothing to do with a number on a scale and different videos are a great way to show how much stronger my body is becoming. I encourage you to find ways to record your strengthening body. Embrace your body in the now, and celebrate as it becomes more of what you’re working for it to become!

Daringly Doing the Rabbit!

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“Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.” ~Richard Bach

I’ve had a habit, over the past eleven months of my Bikram practice, of saying variations of the following: “I can’t do that pose.” “That pose isn’t for me.” “My body is too big to do THAT.” I’ve made these declarations to myself, to others, to my instructor………But, you wanna know a secret? Those limitations exist only in my mind. I create them. When I declare I can’t do a pose, I make that my truth.

Earlier in the week I made some statement about not liking rabbit pose. I don’t remember the exact wording, but I’m sure it had something to do with not being able to do the pose. Well, there’s some truth to that. In this present moment I can’t do the idealized version of the pose, but I can benefit from doing the pose to the best of my ability.

The question to then ask myself: how does the body benefit from rabbit? and how can I work the pose to achieve that benefit. Bikram describes Rabbit Pose as “the most radical forward-bending and spinal compression” posture in his sequence. How then do I adjust the pose to achieve that effect? I concentrate on rounding my back and on not putting too much pressure on my neck. When I started doing rabbit I’d put way too much pressure on my neck—not a good thing.

I’ve learned over time then to work at, really work at rounding my back. Each time I go into the pose I try a new little adjustment, knowing my body will tell me when it’s ready to go further. Sometimes that means I push where I’m not sure I’ll go. That allows me to discover new space. Most often I discover I can go further than I imagined. I’m learning to love and revel in the new spaces.

I’m also learning to listen to myself more and more. If I listened to everybody who ever told me someone of my size couldn’t do yoga, couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that—well then, I’d probably be dead from inactivity. Anyone of any size, any ability, any anything can do yoga. If you can breathe you can yoga.

Argue for your limitations and they’re yours. Accept your limitlessness and an unknown infinite world of possibilities awaits!!!! Which will you choose?

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More than a Number: the Story of How I Lost ??? Amount of Pounds

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When people ask me how much I weigh (and some do ask), I prefer not to answer. When people ask me how much weight I’ve lost (and they ask this as well), I prefer not to answer. Why? Assigning a number to my progress on this path to healing and wellness on all levels (mental, physical and spiritual) places my efforts in a box. Suddenly, all my hard work (and it is hard work) becomes reduced to a number.

The intense work on my emotional healing becomes less significant. My inner growth, which can’t be measured by a number, ceases to matter to the masses. It’s true, mind you, that I’m doing this work for me, but I’d like people to see, through my journey, that when it comes to losing weight, the number on the scale, in so many ways, needs not to have the biggest impact.

When it boils down to it, when it boils down to weight loss, the problem is that all most people want to see is a number. The number overshadows the person, the effort, the time it takes. People see a number, they don’t see a person, and I’ve been invisible long enough. While it may seem an oxymoronic statement, I have indeed been invisible by virtue of my visibility. I’ve lived this for most of my life.

At my heaviest, all most people saw was the outer shell, the fat. They didn’t see me. They saw fat. They felt superior to me.

How do I know this? I’ve had so many verbally abusive encounters it would take volumes of books to detail all of them. As a teenager, I clearly remember walking around the mall and being taunted by children, teenagers, and adults. I can still hear their voices: “You need to do something. You need Richard Simmons.” On one occasion, they followed me around the mall, continuously taunting me. Children teased me all the time. Parents did nothing. Well, okay, sometimes the parents joined in.

Some people would try to help me with my weight, but their lack of sensitivity created more damage, such as when in high school, one of my gym teachers wanted me to walk/run laps during P.E. while the other kids had fun playing tennis and other sports.

Did that help me lose weight? NO! I felt completely ostracized. Being obese, morbidly obese, in high school felt bad enough, but to have an adult set me further apart from my peers made my life much more painful.

Becoming an adult, growing up, didn’t bring much relief from the chronic verbal abuse society felt it had every right to throw at me. People would tell me all the time “You need to do something.” Well, duh! Actually, they were the ones who needed to do something.

Every person who has ever said to an overweight/obese individual that they need help needs to ask themselves if they’re saying something because they legitimately love the person or if they’re saying it because they feel more virtuous because they’re not fat themselves. In the majority of the cases, people feel superior to or better than fat people.

Given the personal history I’ve just revealed, why then am I considering telling you how much weight I’ve lost?

People ask me all the time how much weight I’ve lost, and maybe it’s time I stop hiding behind the question, stop giving it power over me. “A life lived in fear is no life at all.” I have no room in my heart for fear anymore. And I have feared that when people hear the number, they will no longer see me, see my efforts, see that the number doesn’t represent the most important kind of progress.

I also believe that the story I tell you here might help you and others. I have that hope.
People may not realize how they can help, really help, someone struggling with weight loss/food addiction.

Let me tell you by sharing part of my journey. I had to want it first. No matter what others may have said, I had to want it. I had to want to eat healthier, to work out, to look at all the emotional triggers that made me want to overindulge to begin with—that’s where the real work begins. I needed to find that piece of me that desired real change and would work for it.

From the start of my journey three years ago, I knew it had to be an inside job—for this to last it had to come from the inside out. Sure, I wanted a quick fix. I dreamed of instant fixes like we see on television shows like The Biggest Loser.

But more than anything, more than that overnight pill, I wanted permanent, lasting change—I still do. I started walking outside and on the treadmill. I started keeping a regular hatha yoga practice. I started taking a closer look at my food. I worked at counting calories. That worked for me slowly. I introduced healthier foods into my days. I journaled about how I felt on days I ate unhealthy foods. I looked at people, places, situations that made me want to eat emotionally, and I slowly (well not so slowly) changed some of those situations.

It felt like hell sometimes; some days it still feels like hell. Some people supported me. Others didn’t. I’ve changed a lot.

I became my own person. Actually, I still am becoming that woman, maybe for the first time in my life.

I’m learning to sculpt the essence of who I am by incorporating more meditation into my life and learning to appreciate the sheer beauty of silence, my silence.

I lifted weights. I worked my buns at becoming more fit. Then, last April, during a rough spot in my life, I discovered Bikram Yoga and fell in love, really fell in love with sweat and discovered the real meaning of sweating away emotional toxins. I’m finding my inner strength, learning to rely on self, learning to see I’m beautiful just the way I am. And I’m learning to love my body in this moment. I’m making peace with my physical self.

That’s how I came to lose 168 pounds in three years. There I said it.

But that number in no way defines me, defines who I am, defines my soul. My journey will always be defined by more than a number. I’m more than a number. Whatever your number is, you have value just the way you are. What you weigh, how much you want to lose, how much you want to gain—those are numbers. They are not now, nor will they ever be, you.

I know that with continued intense internal and external work, that I’ll achieve my goals: a healthier spirit, mind, and, yes, body. I hope that by sharing this sensitive piece of my journey, you’ll see that you, too, can have the life you want, if you work for it.

Here’s one of my favorite transformational pics:

One of my favorite transformation pics.

One of my favorite transformation pics.

Here’s the link to a Bob Seger song that reflects my thoughts on numbers:

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Numbers I Like

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Some numbers I like! Some numbers I just don’t (but more about that in a later blog!). Having worked so darn hard over the past three years to create a better, stronger and healthier life for myself, I LOVE being able to wear designer clothes, fancy clothes, colorful clothes!

Actually, I always have worn colorful clothes, but I’ve had to purchase them from catalogs, specializing in larger sizes, and not from stores! Now, I can go into department stores and sometimes into boutiques and find clothes that fit me, that look good on me, that make me smile even more than I do now when I see myself in the mirror!

While shopping at the Dillard’s in the Scottsdale Fashion Square this past February I found two delightfully divine designer dresses. A size 20 Ralph Lauren floral print dress and a size 18 blue Calvin Klein dress! The size 20 (that’s a number I LOVE) Ralph Lauren fits now and looks stunning—well that’s how others have described me anyways! The Calvin Klein doesn’t quite fit, but came close enough for me to buy it!

Moments like these, shopping for designer clothes, keep me motivated to work harder at eating healthier, working out, and, yes, doing the BIkram. Watching my body change during the past year makes me aware of how much doing Bikram has toned my ENTIRE body. I can’t always feel it, but when I look at pictures I can see it! And that’s the coolest feeling there is!

Come walk the runway with me!! You’ll never know where it’ll take you!! And the next time you see me wearing the Calvin Klein dress, I’ll be wearing it out in public, which means my body will have melted away just a bit more!  And I’ll proudly tell people I’m wearing a size 18 Calvin Klein dress from Dillard’s!  That’s a number I LIKE!!!

BTW, it may look like the Calvin Klein dress fits, but it is a bit snug!

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Oh and I paid less than $35 for this dress on clearance!  Dang I look good in it!  Bought matching earrings too!  They cost $4!!!!

 

Calvin Klein

In the pic of the Calvin Klein dress from the side the loose skin hanging from my biceps makes the toning more evident!

Calvin Klein Side View

 

In the view of the back of the dress, I guess I’ll have to admit to myself that I really don’t have much back fat! Also, my calves look pretty darn shapely here!

Calvin Klein Back Image

 

Here I am rockin’ it in Ralph Lauren!!

Rocking it in a size 20 Ralph Lauren

Rocking it in a size 20 Ralph Lauren

Yoga for MY Body!

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I have a tendency to be defensive when it comes to my weight, when it comes to my size, and with good reason, but as I become more comfortable with my Self, I have made the effort to not react when in uncomfortable situations.

On a recent trip to Arizona, one of the instructors at a studio where I took one class requested that I not use any props. Actually, she believed that I’d get better benefit from poses if I didn’t use any props. That’s actually not the case with this body in its current shape, and I have the video to demonstrate how much props benefit me IN THIS MOMENT!

(btw, I hesitate sharing this story because I have met so many amazing people in (and out of) the Bikram world who have accepted me without question and I don’t ever want any of them to think…and I don’t like being negative….and…well let’s just say….I’m sharing this story so people see my practice from my perspective.)

Anyways, back to my story. For me to obtain the maximum benefit of wind-removing pose I need a towel. Wind-removing pose involves moving the leg(s) with to chest and holding the leg(s) with the hands just below the knee. For a full description of wind-removing pose, please click on the following link: http://www.bikramyogales.com/bikram-yoga/bikram-26-postures/14-wind-removing-pose/

Most of my weight centers around my abdomen. I could and have moaned about this, but that area tends to be the last area to let go of fat cells, so I work at making peace with it. The size of my abdomen makes it difficult to impossible to grab my legs (below the knees) without causing painful stress on my arms, shoulders, neck, upper back, etc. A towel then serves as the perfect solution for this moment!

When I use the towel for this pose my arms feel stronger, I can pull my legs closer to my chest, I can feel the movements of the pose massaging my colon, I can feel my hips becoming more flexible, and the list goes on. Without the towel, my body feels only stress and pain.

Yoga really works for EVERY BODY, but not every body works in the same way. I am beyond lucky that I am surrounded by people who love me and support me in finding ways for yoga to work for my body in the best way possible.

I hope that by sharing this video people will see that yoga really does work for EVERY body, and that there’s always a way to make a pose work so each body becomes more alive with each breath.

(and, btw, using props now will enable me to do the poses without props more quickly! And it’s also a testament to my calmer state of being that I can listen to people I don’t agree with, such as the instructor mentioned at the start of this entry, and still do my practice and live my life without over-reacting.)

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