Thought Overload

Am I the only one whose mind wanders during yoga? Please tell me I’m not the only person incapable of thinking solely of their rounded and backward breathing (I didn’t even know there were other types of breathing. Am I the only one who simply breathes in and out??) I just worry I’m crazy, or I will never learn the art of not thinking, constantly, obsessively. 

This morning, I got up early and attended Yin Yoga. Let me repeat that: I got up early. To do fitness. I really felt a tiara, or a certificate of achievement was deserved, but no one seemed impressed my happy ass was there bright and early, with my unwashed hair.

I had never heard of Yin Yoga, but that’s really not surprising, as I know really nothing about any kind of yoga. All I cared to ask the instructor was, “Will this likely kill a newbie?” She laughed and said, “Get a blanket, two blocks, and a bolster. You will be fine. Oh, and we will be positioned in a circle”. 

Ugh. 

I am not fond of facing others during fitness, because it means they will look at me. They will have front row seats to my ineptness. Why a circle? I wanted to ask, “Can I just sit outside the classroom? It’ll be fine. I’ll hear your instructions and I’ll peek in a few times”. I knew it wouldn’t go over well, so I just placed my mat as far away as possible, while still being somewhat a part of the circle of shame. 

Let me make it clear that I am 100% open to having a yoga mind. I want to be able to focus on my third eye (especially when my third eye isn’t being referred to as an especially nasty zit, which is what I thought a third eye was). I want to be able to connect to my breath, but it’s HARD. 

My brain does not shut off. Ever. I’m usually thinking/worrying/planning several different things at the same time. I have incredibly vivid dreams. I have been known to “sleep plan” lessons. Obviously, I’m an over-thinker. The mental exercise of yoga is far harder than the physical element. I’m mentally weak. I’m struggling, friends. For your reading pleasure, I would like to share actual thoughts I had during yoga today. I’m weird. Beware. 

I should have blown my nose before class.

OMG. I legit almost blew a booger out of my nostril. Mouth breathing it is. 

She wants me to put my left leg behind my ass and then lay down? Is she seeing my body?

I wonder if the guy with the speedo on could breathe any louder. He’s brag breathing. 

Why is it that the men are always almost naked and the women are practically wearing their entire closet. Why is that? 

Thank GOD I’m the fattest one in here. Said no one ever.

Wow. I had no idea my heel would ever meet my belly button. I should introduce them to each other. Katie, you’re fucking mental. 

When was the last time they washed the cover to this bolster? What if someone had their poorly-wiped ass on it right before this class? I’m laying my face on this thing. I’ll get pink eye! I might get E. coli! I might die! 

Further, do they mop this floor? What if they don’t? What if? Should I ask? 

Am I the only one who sneaks looks at the other people when our eyes are supposed to be closed? 

That girl has a hole in the crotch of her pants. How embarrassing. Wait, so do I!! OMG, who saw??

EVERYONE. Because we’re in a CIRCLE.

Could I get away with a small toot? Probably not.

Obviously I need help. HELP. 



Blanket Yoga

Guys, I just discovered Restorative Yoga, and it is the best thing ever. EVER.

A few days ago, my aunt and I were discussing my new yoga journey. I was trying to express to her how hot and challenging my yoga sessions have been. How do you, in speaking words, explain a hot that is suffocating? How do you adequately explain to someone that during your yoga-ing, you wish you were never born? How do you do this, and at the same time express that you love it in a very masochistic way? I think that she is still worried for my safety and well-being. I guess I did not explain myself properly.

So, this was how she invited me to be a part of her yoga experience. Let me just quote her:

“It is all very calming. When I leave, I feel like I just had a massage. You lay down the whole time and they cover you with blankets…”

Blankets.

All I heard was “blankets”.

I asked her, “Do you mean to tell me, when you do yoga you get to lay down the whole time? You get blankets?”

SHUT.THE.FRONT.DOOR.

I truly thought she had to be lying. Who has ever heard of “Blanket Yoga”? I was intrigued, and thus, I attended with her yesterday.

I would like to make it clear, and to absolve my aunt of all assumptions made about her character, by saying, “BLANKETS”.

No shit, during restorative yoga, you practice your breath and lay down. The whole time. It was better than any exercise or health class I have ever taken. I did not expel one drip of sweat. I did not have to spray down my mat with a hose after, and I did not have to wash my hair. It was beautiful.

At one point, we made ourselves a makeshift lay-down chair with blankets, and enjoyed just relaxing for a good 20 minutes. During, the instructor came around and gently laid eye pillows, scented with lavender on our closed eyelids, and then she covered us with blankets. She tucked me in.

I cannot fully express my love of this yoga session thoroughly. I do not have the literary skill.

All I can say is that I will be attending “Blanket Yoga” from here on out, for all eternity.

Thank you, Auntie Dana, GOD BLESS YOU.

 

58 Saturdays

I mentioned in my last post that I have 58 Saturdays ahead of me (well, 56 now). This is completely a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because if I want to binge-watch Friends for 6 solid hours, there is not one thing stopping me. It’s a curse, because if I watch Netflix all day, I’m going to want to binge, not only on old sitcoms, but on Cheetos, Tillamook sharp cheddar (I can totally just eat right off the brick, no shame), an entire pan of Nutella brownies, and some watermelon (gotta get my fruit in). I am, in no way, embellishing. 

With no routine, all semblance of order and control goes out the window. A quesadilla at 2:00 AM sounds like a fine idea when you don’t have to get up for work the next day. Also, if I’m on the couch, it’s Mindless Eating Time, and that’s all there is to it. There is a lot of couch sitting on school breaks. I’ve ocassionally wondered if I were to purchase an immensely uncomfortable seating implement, if it would help. Like, two wooden rocking chairs, with no cushions, or just a body ball, one for me and one for my boyfriend. We would have to balance ourselves and our dinner every night. There would be zero lounging, and my posture would greatly improve. It’s an idea.

So, because I know that I have so much working against me, I’ve decided to go back to my tried and true Weight Watchers eating plan. I’ve decided that it’s the best kind of food plan for me. My problem is portion control. If you say, “On Paleo, you can eat all the veggies you want”, I will consider it a challenge, and you will find me polishing off a horse-sized bag of carrots. 

With WW, you have a certain allotment of points you can eat in a day. If you’re happy with iceberg lettuce for dinner, sure, have that S’mores Frappuccino, just as long as you stay within your points allowance. I’ve had those days before, and it didn’t take long to find that I better balance my meals better than that. With WW, you have to portion, weigh, and consider everything you put into your mouth. It’s a lot of work, but the control I feel counting my points makes me feel empowered. 

I’ve tried Atkins, Paleo, no-sugar, and I’ve tried Slim Fast (that lasted exactly one day) and yet, I keep going back to WW. The extreme diets where you are disallowed a single carb is completely unrealistic to me. There are going to be those days when you need a cookie. A REAL cookie, and shouldn’t that be OK? Why I give up on those diets is because they are too rigid and strict. I don’t respond well to the words, “can’t” and “no”.

Control is really what it’s all about. Because I have none of that, like at all, I thrive on counting my points and operating with some sense of control over what and how much I eat. I plan out my day, and count the points I can eat, and it’s usually so that I can “afford” my Skinny Cow salted pretzel ice cream bar after dinner. It’s not a crime, because I ate salad and chicken breast, and passed on the sugar-laden coffee drink at Starbucks. So, there! 

It’s all about finding a balance (aren’t I annoying, with my diet-know-it-all-ness?). I firmly believe that if you want to change your eating, and find a food plan option that you can stick to, it’s one in which you are allowed to cheat once in awhile. We are only human, and dammit if cake is not the best thing ever! I can’t live without cake, and the blessed Weight Watchers lets me have it (you get a 1 inch square for 12 points, but hey!) 

I am not just assuming that WW will work for me, as I’ve lost 40 pounds before on the program, and it was the easiest 40 pounds to lose, ever! I gained it all back when I became a teacher. The stress either drives you to drink or eat. Eating it was. 

  

The thinnest I will ever look on film, all thanks to Weight Watchers

Try Again 

This is my second post of the day, but only because I had to try downward dog again after speaking to a friend about what I was doing wrong in my previous picture. She said to lean into my hands more, and yes, that does sound like what the instructor said last week, but I was too busy trying not to pass out to pay any attention to her. 

I tried to lean forward into my hands more, while raising my ass into the air further. My wrists still seem so weak, but I felt like what I was doing seemed more accurate. I will know more when I go to class on Thursday. 

Along with working on my flexibility, I am also trying to strengthen my core. I am starting the plank challenge over, as it seemed, we, as teachers, don’t have the time before and after school to stay consistent with doing our planks everyday. So, here I am starting at the beginning with a 20 second plank, because, shit yes, that’s nothing. 

Here we go! 

  
I’m not sure, but it looks better? As avid fans can see, this time I’m watching Girls (such a great scene to pause, at least it’s not Hannah’s bewbs). 

  
What you can see here is that my belly looks über unflattering in this position. What you can’t see is that, after 10 seconds, I was shaking like a leaf. 

How Katie Got Her Groove Back-The Journey

Last week, Amy and I decided to give yoga at The Studio another shot, as our heated Vinyasa experience wasn’t the shit show we had envisioned it would be. We have a very limited availability while school is still in session, so our time frame in which to subject ourselves to exercise misery is tough to manage. We have both admitted that if we went home prior to working out, upon entering our respective homes, the pull of our couches and fat pants would be too great. Because we both understand the large scope of our eternal laziness, we felt it best to not even go home, but to drive straight to the studio. Do not pass “go”, do not collect any slurpees at 7-11 on your way, just get there before the tiny, minuscule flicker of desire has died. That’s been the game plan. A different class was offered at our preferred time, called, Warm Flow. The name calls to mind a nice warm bath, a calm breeze on a summer day, the natural ebb and flow of the tide. In fat girl speak, it sounded easy. However, we quickly found out it was anything but. What I didn’t notice upon signing up, was the level of this particular class. The level was a 2-3. In case you aren’t yoga literate, that level means: DA-FUQ. 

Yes, we attended a far too advanced-way hotter than heated Vinyasa-I’m glad I’m still alive to tell about it-yoga class. If heated Vinyasa was hot, this was the pits of hell unbearable. To make matters so much more uncomfortable, I noticed halfway through the class that we were directly underneath the heating vent. It was not even halfway pleasant. The only positive thing I could think of was, “At least I’m sweating my fat off. At least that”. 

Now, as this was a higher level yoga class, the moves were embarrassingly out of reach for us both. Amy faired slightly better than I, but overall we were both sweaty piles of disgrace. With the heat and the impossible contortions happening, I was actually not even embarrassed that I spent 99% of that class in child’s pose, or sitting slumped over on my mat, in a stupor. That was, at least, until the “Starer”.Yes, folks, we had an oggler. It was always my understanding that yoga was a kind of private experience. I always thought everyone would be too busy “ohm-ing” and listening to their breath to notice the ineptitude of others. Well, the “Starer” did not get the memo.

When there were only 15 glorious minutes of the class left, the instructor told us we would have time to practice our hand stands. After a snort and an eye roll, Amy and I decided we would just continue standing awkwardly in the middle of the room. The instructor must have thought that wasn’t kosher, because she actually moved our sweaty mats to the wall in a, “you’re gonna still try, ya fatties” way. We tried the downward dog jumps in place of handstands, because come on, I saw a broken nose in my immediate future. It was after this that we all found ourselves seated (yes!) on our mats, more or less, facing each other. It was at this point, I noticed the “Starer”. 

The way this person looked at me was more “OMG I can’t believe I’ve just seen the rare Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth” and less, “Wow, it’s a fat person attempting yoga”. The “Starer” seemed shocked, curious, amused, and slightly disgusted all at the same time. What I wanted to say to this person was: “I know I’m not your usual level 3 Warm Flow yoga participant, but maybe you need to worry more about yo’self and your breathing or that really painful looking camel toe you have going on”. 

I knew saying that wouldn’t have made me any friends, and I still have 8 classes left on my Groupon for The Studio. I would actually like to show my sweaty face there again. And…I’ve discovered I actually want to continue this “yoga thing”.  It seems unbelievable, but I used to be a fairly limber child. When I was just learning to get up as a baby, I would do the splits. My mom thought something was wrong with me, but maybe I’m just naturally flexible? Before I got super awkward and tall, I did dance and gymnastics. My body actually used to be able to contort into a handstand backbend. Yes, I think I lost my flexibility, but Imma get it back. So, to the “Starer”, just you wait, just you wait *fist waving in air*. 

“How Katie Got Her Groove Back” my journey will be called. 

Diet-ish Day 1

The first day of my healthier, clean-ish, no artificial sugar (except some sugar-free gum, or my mouth feels like the Sahara and smells like Epoisses on a hot day) diet-ish started today. I consumed two protein balls, baby carrots, raw almonds, hard-boiled eggs, turkey, strawberries, a sweet potato, asparagus, and an apple with natural peanut butter. Before anyone hates on me because one or more of these food items is not really “clean”, take note of the “ish”. Also, take note of my opinion that eating clean kind of sucks, and there is no one I know yet who has succeeded doing this long term. I mean, the thought of eating like this is only made tolerable because I know it’s ending soon. 

Not surprisingly, I was as ravenous as a Cougar housewife first thing this morning. Surprisingly, my balls did the trick. I was hardly hungry at lunch, but my hard-boiled egg and cottage cheese was just too tempting to resist. 

Because I feel weird not eating when it’s Eating Time, and I’ve heard you should eat every 3 hours, I choked down some raw almonds and more effing baby carrots after school. I also did not get into my candy horde. How I was able to abstain is unknown. 

I’m actually quite shocked I so easily bagged up my candy and bid adieu to my only school-appropriate way to self-soothe. Katie took my bag of Kisses, Dum Dums, Smarties, and Jolly Ranchers to keep it safe from my monstrous gob WAY too easily. I’m sure I’ll never see that candy again. I’m still numb. 

I don’t know why this was so easy today. I’m sure It’ll be a different story tomorrow when the novelty wears off and Katie comes in to co-teach with my chocolate still in the corners of her mouth. I will most likely want to pounce on her, and by the end of the day, I can see myself shaking like a coke fiend, desperate for a fix. 

As I’m writing this, my sweet potato is still hard as a rock in the oven. Why does it take 5 hours to bake a potato? All the directions saying, “45 minutes to an hour” are blatant lies. Lies. Also, I’ve been prepping, cooking, and washing since I’ve been home. This is bullshit. I have got to figure out a way to make this easier, because I am way too lazy and unmotivated for the work required to eat like this. I’m also super grouchy that I’m not eating a Skinny Cow ice cream bar right now. Balls. 

Is That Me? 

I am always aiming to be more zen. When I want to rip into our neighbor after the tenth scrape of his chair across the kitchen floor (who sits down and gets up so often in a span of 20 minutes? As a concerned neighbor, I think he should see someone about that). When the driver in front of me is deliberately driving under the speed limit, like they are purposely trying to hold me up. When my boyfriend eats my last Skinny Cow salted caramel diet bar (the only thing I look forward to some days). When I’m asked the same questions over and over and over all day long, and then, “What should we eat for dinner?”, when I get home. I need more zen in my life. It’s certain. Coincidentally, I also need more fitness in my life, so yoga it is. 

My friend and coworker, Amy and I purchased Groupons for The Studio in Midtown. We decided that last Thursday would be the day to start. The only class we could both attend was Heated Vinyasa. If that didn’t terrify me enough, Katie, another friend and coworker, thought Thursday would be a fine day to start a squat and plank challenge. I would just like to go on record stating that whomever makes a squat challenge with 50 squats on Day 1, does not, in fact, need to do a squat challenge, and therefore does not know how many squats the layperson can actually do right out the gate. 

Immediately following our 50 squat nightmare, my students came in for the start of their day. I was sweating and could hardly catch my breath. I was asked six times if I was alright by my concerned 3rd graders. Then, upon sitting down to take roll, my leg gave out and I almost fell on the floor. I’m just glad my students are still super innocent, or it could have appeared I was drunk. I’m honestly gonna give it my all with this squatting business, but the last day requires 250 squats. I wonder if I could get a good deal on wheelchairs on Amazon? 

Because I’m a masochist, I actually didn’t bail on Amy and our yoga date. Throughout the day, we stole glances at each other that communicated, “Do you really want to do this? Should we go get Cold Stone instead?”, but not an actual word of protest was uttered, so we both found ourselves removing our shoes upon entering The Studio, and wondering how gross the floor might be. 

Heated Vinyasa yoga is a type of yoga that connects breath with movement in a room heated to 95 degrees. Basically, heated Vinyasa means sweating your balls off while you ignore the fact you have done so, because you must always concentrate on your breath during movement. I cannot do this. I can either breathe or move, not both, especially when I’m sweating from places I did not know existed.

It should also be known that this heated room will stink. Like so, so bad. So bad. I kept smelling a horrible stench that I thought had to be the men in the room; I couldn’t possibly smell like that. Well, during a stretch that brought me too close to my feet, I discovered the smell was, in fact, me. It was my sweat. It was the stank of my feet because I wore my Toms all day. It was the smell coming from crevices that aren’t usually sweaty. It was ME. That was a very humbling moment. 

The stretches spanned from beginner (I felt like a total pro when I was able to meet my knee with my elbow) to Never In My Life Will I Bend That Way. When your ankles are sweating, they are kind of hard to grab. Finally, those sweet words, “One more set and we will move into our floor series” were uttered. I love horizontal fitness! New to yoga, but not to Pilates, I’ve always been a huge fan of any exercise that is spent, for the most part, on the floor. Can it get any better for an über lazy person? 

It was during the floor series that I came up close and personal with my neighbor’s sweaty taint. There really ought to be a proximity rule in yoga. If I can taste your balls, you’re too close. I felt mildly violated, so I got into child’s pose and thought only of happy things. 

Despite the high temps and the fact that the sweat coming off of everyone’s body seemed to hang in the air, my first heated yoga experience was pretty positive. The Studio is clean, welcoming, and close to home. Amy and I both agreed that we got a positive vibe, and we will be back this week. 

The thing I know I need to work on the most is my “ohm”. I have always had a hard time with the “ohm”. I get the giggles big time, because everyone is so serious and their “ohm” sounds so zen, while I just sound like a gutted pig. I doubt I’ll actually practice this guttural yoga staple, but maybe I’ll just mouth it next time. 

Here’s to being zen. Maybe soon, I won’t care about everyone who annoys me, because I will be a calm yoga person, the kind who can say ‘Namaste’ seriously. Someone who has more peace and joy. Here’s hoping I can become a ‘yoga person’. 

If you want to read more about my experience and my review of The Studio, you can find me on Yelp. I’m Katie “Eh” P. I can’t figure out how to change that, or how or why I’m “eh”…

Double Caramel

The rain had stopped, but for a few random drops here and there, that danced on newly formed puddles. The air was heavy with moisture and the sweet aroma of grass, wet Earth, and grateful flowers hung in the balance. It was the perfect opportunity to throw on the forgotten sneaks and take a walk.

Wayne and I set off down the street, dodging puddles and catching raindrops on our tongues. I felt it the perfect time to start anew. The clean air filled my dusty lungs. My calves felt stronger with every stride. I made up my mind that this beautiful, blessed Sunday would be the day I set my mind to certain changes.

We kept up a brisk pace, and with every step, I felt my muscles grow stronger and stronger still. I imagined my fat melting off. It was beautiful. As we neared 7-11, our pace grew quicker still, in anticipation of some healthy water or sugar-free gum. Healthy, responsible options.

My eyes were fixed on the gum on the top shelf, above the candy. “Don’t look down, don’t look to the right, don’t look to the left”, I whispered to myself. I had tunnel vision, eyeing the Orbit Bubble Mint. Then, a flash of gold to my right. Gleaming gold. Gold and creamy brown. I knew without looking, it was temptation at its rawest. It was a Magnum Double Caramel.

No. No. No. I came for gum. I came for fitness. I came to say I walked to 7-11 and didn’t buy a damn donut.

Wayne somehow saw what I was trying not to see, and the Magnum pulls him in. It’s a force greater than love, magnetism, gravity. Without actually feeling or knowing, I opened the sliding door, selected two bars, placed them on the counter and then somehow I was outside, panting, sweating, shaking.

Wayne realized we needed to make it home with our spoils in one piece. Walking and eating ice cream was out of the question. One can’t enjoy ice cream whilst panting and wheezing. How were we going to prevent meltage?

We ran like hell.

My lungs burned. My feet pounded the pavement with the force of the gods. My calves seized, my belly shook, and my knees buckled. I can’t be sure what kept me going, but my guess would be the fear that the inevitable melting of the ice cream bar would compromise its integrity. This would compromise my enjoyment. And you can’t have that.

#WillRunForDoubleCaramelMagnums

Damn 

Ever have one of those days when you want a piece of cake or really anything with a cake-like consistency, such as those Hostess cupcakes, the one with the frosting hats, so bad you could cry? The want is deep, deep in your bones. I always feel this way after I’m reminded how much I weigh or after I have to throw away a pair of jeans because my thighs burned a hole in them the size of Jonah Hill’s face. 

I went to get a B12 shot at the Shot Spot today after a good year of not getting my shots or being weighed. The last time I was weighed was at my lady doctor appointment and I told the nurse to not tell me my weight upon penalty of death. Sometimes it’s better not to know. Ignorance really is bliss and it tastes like cinnamon gelato. 

Today, I just had to know. Without spilling my deepest, darkest secret, I will say I’m 10 pounds away from being at my previous heaviest. What did I immediately want to celebrate the momentous occasion? I wanted a BBQ chicken pizza from Blind Onion washed down with a red velvet cupcake from Mix. An entire bottle of Framboise would have only helped me choke down my disgust. 

My response, my way to self-soothe has always been to eat. Whether I’m stressed, sad, happy, anxious, bored, really any basic human emotion, it’s always a reason to celebrate with food. Bad day? That calls for an entire bottle of wine and the rest of the Costco-sized bag of chips. Having a fabulous, inspiring day? That just means I have to celebrate with a s’mores Frapp. Why not? You’re only fat once. 

Around March, every year, without fail, I set my mind to being bikini ready before, well, the next year I aim to lose weight for the same goal. My M.O. is to start out with a set plan, really gung-ho-like that starts out super hopeful (grocery list complete with kale and sweet potatoes) and the promise I will never let a soda, diet even, pass my lips. Around early June, I wake up in the middle of the night, surrounded by chip crumbs, in a cold-sweat realizing I’ve actually gone in the opposite direction and gained 10 pounds. I count how many days until the first day I will have to be in a bathing suit. I think, “Two weeks? I can lose at least 10 pounds in that amount of time”. In two weeks I realize I’m no longer 20 and not a tweaker, so that was an impossible goal. At this point, I realize being bikini-ready is futile, so I exhale, put on my fat pants and walk to 7-11 for a donut and a slurpee. All that anxiety calls for some serious sugar. 

Maybe ya’ll think I’m crazy or maybe you are sympathy-gnawing on a French baguette. I’m not really sure. I do know that food is good and eating less of it really, really sucks. I also know that the key to success with weight loss is almost 100% mental. I just have to find my motivation and my mental strength. Where did that go? I know I had it around here somewhere. I have to discover what’s better than gluttonous fettuccini Alfredo and gooey caramel wrapped in chocolate. Ugh. I really want a double caramel Magnum right now.