Sometimes, your body tells you something loud and clear

Today is a non-yoga day and I am a little sad.  But I’m excited to go to step class and see how I do after 4 days straight of Bikram.  I’ve heard that runners notice a difference in their stamina and whatnot after practicing Bikram so perhaps I will notice a difference in my step class.  I’m still a little over a month on two risers, so I’d consider myself a beginner at this two riser thing.

I have a confession to make.  I’m still weighing myself every day.  I know that is probably not surprising since I told you that I was planning on continuing it, but I haven’t been doing much updating on my weight because nothing is really happening.

Until I stepped on the scale this morning.  

Sometimes, your body tells you something loud and clear.  Today, after two days of cheat meals in a row I gained four pounds.  FOUR POUNDS.  

What did I eat?  Cheese.  Bread.  Pizza.  

Gluten intolerance much?  My body is telling me loud and clear, I can’t eat these things.   After my normal workweek meals of gluten free and dairy free eating, this is a clear message that I can’t do these things.  IT IS NOT NORMAL to gain four pounds in a matter of 48 hours.  

Plus, I woke up this morning with goopy eyes and a swollen face.  This is classic allergic reaction for me (usually for pollen, but it’s too cold out for that right now), so I know that the food I ate did me in.

Welp, lesson learned.  And I hear you, body.  I’ll lay off the allergy stuff and keep it to a minimum.

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Surviving Bikram yoga: Days 3 and 4

I’m posting about Bikram days 3 and 4 since I went last night and this morning.  Here’s how my sessions went:

Last night, I was pretty tired.  There was another new instructor for me and I liked her too.  She reminded us to be still and present in our practice, saying it was “active meditation”.  This was a good description.  You are working really hard, but you have to be in your mental zone to be able to concentrate since the lights are full on.  I noticed last night now many guys come to this studio.  I recognized one from my old studio.  I love his tattoos and he paints his toenails silver.  Awesomeness.

My goal last night was not to sit out of any of the postures.  I realized that perhaps I was wimping out on Day 2, rather than just sitting out because I was overwhelmed.  I vowed to do each posture, even if it was 25% because I think I was mentally checking out when I laid down or kneeled on my mat.  I’m realizing the difference between needing to sit down because I’m truly spent or nauseous versus I’m avoiding a posture.  Pong (the instructor) said that sometimes the postures you dread the most are the ones that benefit you the most.  So I pushed along and didn’t have any issues.

I am also trying to limit my water intake during class.  I read that people start using water like a crutch for a break.  I am averaging about 8 ounces in each class session.  Frankly, I noticed that I was feeling nauseous when I drank more water so when I need it, I sip real small and put my water down fast.

This morning, I hopped out of bed bright and early for an 8am class.  I’m still getting up 30 minutes before my alarm clock.  Who knows.

The owner guided us this morning and it was a really full room, which surprised me.  There was a girl behind me who laid on her mat almost the entire time and I felt bad for her.  I think it was her first week at the studio too.  The owner says not to leave the room, just lay down and stay there the whole time if you need to.  I can see why now.  It is distracting to have people moving around in poses.

Today, I noticed that I wasn’t bothered by the heat as much.  I was still sweating a lot, but I wasn’t feeling suffocated.  I am going to move to another part of the room my next time and see if I can figure out where the hot and cool spots of the room are, since all hot yoga studios have them.  I could have set up in a cooler spot today.

I really focused on my triangle poses yesterday and today. I’m getting better about pulling in my inner thigh and stabilizing my legs.  I can still tell my left leg is weak because my leg slips around so I have to be diligent with that.  Pong said yesterday that people who say they don’t like their mat blankets because they make their feet slip usually have weak legs.  In order to avoid slipping in poses, you have to pull your quads up and really squeeze hard to stabilize your legs.

Triangle is the most comprehensive posture in the Bikram Yoga series. This post helps to work all of the major organs, muscles and systems of the body. Triangle involves an extreme amount of concentration because there are so many things going on between breathing and keeping your heart rate consistent, then your arms, then your legs, then twisting.

becka

This is the owner, Becka, demonstrating.  She just had a baby a few months ago.  She looks amazing here, but in person, she looks even stronger.  She said that she did Bikram during her entire pregnancy.

In addition to working your entire body all at once, it is really good for stretching your hips and shoulders.  It stimulates your kidneys, thyroid, adrenal glands, and cardiovascular system.  It is also supposed to be good for people with shoulder problems because you are pulling your arms in opposite directions with great purpose.  It also helps with constipation, colitis, low blood pressure, appendicitis, spondylitis (which is when you get inflammation in the bitty parts of your spine, and menstrual disorders.

I plan to take tomorrow off to go to my step class, but I’m half tempted to go again tomorrow afternoon.  We will see.

I was pretty slack this week with my recipe challenge.  I just didn’t feel inspired.  Every day, I was thinking, what can I do?  I couldn’t come up with anything!  Then, today when I got home from yoga, I felt like a smoothie.  I am not a big smoothie person, but Kevin has one every day.

So here is what I whipped up:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • a couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach
  • about an inch square of fresh ginger
  • one peeled orange
  • a handful of ice
  • a cup of water

I blended it up and it was delicious!  Here is what it looked like:

image copyAs you can see, it was very dark but it was super tasty.  I drank that for breakfast and it was a good post-yoga meal.  Success!

Surviving Bikram yoga: Day 2

Two days down!  I’m so happy I went yesterday.  I really needed the heat of the room.   My knee was sort of hurting yesterday afternoon and now it feels amazing.

The class last night was taught by the owner of the studio.  She is a quiet, enthusiastic person who won me over immediately.  I realized during the class that the dialogue is pretty much the same, but everyone brings in their own personalities to the class as the instructor.  She was a calming person, but pushed firmly for people to move beyond their comfort zone.  I noticed she also cued people to breathe in and out of their noses, rather than mouth breathing, because that can cause people to start feeling like they are hyperventilating in the heat.  I did that and didn’t get nauseated or feel dizzy like I had my first day.

In fact, I didn’t sit down until almost the end of the standing postures.  There is a standing back bend at that point and for some reason, it makes me feel nauseous.  I’m going to see if that is the case again today.

The room was not as busy last night, since it was Valentine’s day.  I’m pretty sure it was just as hot but maybe having less people in there made it more bearable.  She didn’t open the door either and I made it through.  I also forgot my washcloth at home so I literally went the entire class without wiping any sweat off my face or body.  I survived, but my eyes really burned in some of the poses!

I also noticed that I was more flexible yesterday with some of the floor poses, particularly with the bow pose.

bow pose

 

Bow pose, or Dhanurasana, is a spine flexibility pose.  I like the owner’s style of dialogue because she also interjected what the pose does for your body and how it is restorative or strengthening.  Cori can attest, I’m always asking why something is good or why are we doing something in PT.  Getting this explanation in class was very motivating.  Why yes, I’d like a supple spine.  Who doesn’t want a better poop? It massages your internal organs too.  It also strengthens your legs and butt.

The first day of class, I couldn’t get my arms back to grab my feet.  Yesterday, I surprised myself by getting a firm grasp on my ankles and pulled back with ease.  Granted, I wasn’t pulling way up or anything, but I was doing it.  One class, in less than 24 hours.  Amazing.

Perhaps I will reflect on one pose a day for a while.  That will help those of you too who are curious about Bikram yoga to learn about it through my pose reflections.

I came home a hot mess again last night.  Poor Mr Hall has to literally help me peel out of my yoga clothes!  I’ve started to enjoy a shower at night so I can sleep in a little longer in the morning.  And, I lose another half a pound overnight.

Surviving Bikram yoga: Day 1

I’m happy to report that I made it through my first Bikram yoga class!  I showed up 30 minutes early to turn in my paperwork and to get the lay of the land at the studio.  I wasn’t sure what to expect since it seems like every yoga studio is different.

I met with the instructor and he asked me some pretty standard questions about my history with yoga, hot yoga, and my water intake.  He didn’t believe me when I told him that I drink over 100 ounces of water every day.  I guess that is a problem- people get really dehydrated and that’s why they have such a hard time in the classes.  I assured him that my only difficulties in class would be due to my weak legs!

I was glad to arrive early, because they open the studio 30 minutes before class so people can set up.   I quietly visited with some nice ladies who also arrived early.  They gave me some tips on Bikram yoga:

1) No leaving the class for any reason.  If you are going to pass out, sit down or lay down.

2) No drinking water until you are given permission after a certain pose.  After that, you can drink water but only in between poses.

Seemed fair enough.

The studio was dimly lit, which I’m used to.  There is a stage at the front where the instructor goes through the dialog (more on that in a second) and lines on the floor, creating three rows.  I lined up in the back by the door, juuuuuust in case I really did throw up or something.  At least if I passed out they wouldn’t have to carry me too far.

The room was warm, but not too hot.  It felt a little more humid than my other studio.  The floor is sort of cool too.  My other studio has a plastic woven floor.  This studio has a suedish antimicrobial carpet sort of floor.  I was surprised it really didn’t smell.

I spent some time in down dogs and stretching.  Others just laid on their mats.

Then, the lights went on.  FULL ON.

Class was beginning!  The instructor explained that we would be going through each pose twice, rather than going through the entire sequence and then starting over.  That way, it allows you to try it out the first time and really go for it the second time.  Makes sense.

Some things I noticed that were different with Bikram yoga:

1) Full on lights.  This is an energetic class.

2)  The instructor does not do any poses.  It’s a constant dialogue and corrections to participants.  I liked that he was paying attention to everyone in the room and his constant dialogue kept my attention.

3) My heart rate was up much higher, much faster than other hot yoga.  I also sweat a lot faster.  I think it was the poses being a little more energetic and less relaxing.

I made it through about 4 poses and then I really started feeling like I was going to pass out or throw up.  Oh no!  I can’t hack up in my first class!  I immediately sat on my mat and reminded myself to breathe.  No wonder people say don’t eat anything 3 hours before class.  Good thing I didn’t!  I sipped some water, calmed my ass down, and rejoined the class.

The instructor reminded us throughout to breathe.  I have never worked so hard in my life. I would love to see Cori try this out.  It’s not your zen-like yoga.  No namaste here.

The first half of the class is standing and the second class are the floor poses.  With the floor poses, you get to lay on your back for 20 seconds in between each pose to catch your breath and let your blood flow (because many are constricting poses).  But there is no rest for the weary, and no eyes closed when laying on the floor.  Like I said, this is an energetic class.  The instructor called it “active meditation”.

Throughout the class, I took to the mat to sit and refocus.  Many others did the same.  It seemed pretty normal. I was happily surprised when the instructor came back to open the door to let in some cold air at the end since he could see we were working so hard.

I’m not sure how hot the room was, maybe 105 degrees?  I was so proud of myself when the class finished!  He gave us all cold lavender towels and I made sure to sit still before I left the room.  The studio has showers and a changing area, but I just gathered my stuff up and sat up front with others as they drank water and chatted.  I liked that the instructor was available out front to ask questions.  One cool thing about the studio is that they lock the door to the main entrance during class.  You can’t be late and there are no interruptions!

By the time I got home, I was drenched.  My clothes were like a wet swimsuit.  I’ve never sweated so much in class.  I hopped in the shower and was so grateful for soap. I was surprised to feel very energetic when I got home, even through it was almost 9pm.  I had a little food and hung out in the livingroom.

This morning, I woke up 30 minute before my alarm went off.  I was WIDE AWAKE!  I have read that this is common with people who practice Bikram, but I didn’t expect to have that happen right away. I feel totally rested, not sore anywhere, and happy.

My skin is so soft too.  When I got out of the shower, I applied some argon oil to my face and my skin looks AMAZING today.  And, I lost 2 pounds overnight.

I’m going back tonight for the 7pm class.  I’ve heard that it’s really important to go back the next day after your first class.  I plan to go again Friday and Saturday too.

Stay tuned for my next report!

Step two of “The Plan”

As you will recall, part of my post-PT plan is to increase my physical activity.  In January, I started going back to hot yoga a couple of days a week.  This has proven to be incredibly beneficial for me.  Things I have noticed since I started adding this practice to my step classes:

  • My back pain has improved (except when I have more than three days off- then I’m a crunchy mess)
  • My IT band is loosened and my knee isn’t hurting as much (except when I have more than two days off- then I’m back to square one)

When I realized these two things a couple of weeks ago, I made a decision.  It was time to ramp up my yoga practice.  But how?  I have only a few more punches left on my 10 class pass at the studio I’m currently attending.

Then, fate stepped in.  A fate called Groupon.

A new studio has opened up right down the street from my house.  As most new businesses do, they wanted to drum up business in the form of a Groupon.  One month, unlimited classes for $30.  Yes, please.  It gets better.  On their website, they have a month introductory special for one month of unlimited classes for $50.  So I purchased both.

That makes two months of unlimited classes for $40 a month.  This will probably never happen again, but I had to do it.

So here’s the skinny on the studio.  It’s a Bikram yoga studio, which is still hot yoga but I’ve learned it is a sequenced yoga class.  Probably won’t be as hippy-ish as my current studio and my beloved Sandra.  There are 26 poses that you go through in a 90 minute class, two times each.  Yes, 90 minutes.  This is 15-30 minutes more than I’m used to.  The poses are similar to what I already do, which is good.

bikram_poses

 

The cool thing about this studio is that they open their room up 30 minutes before class and leave it open for 30 minutes afterwards.  I’m thinking this will be a good opportunity for me to do my down dog poses and other poses that I enjoy.  That way, I can still work on things but have the structure of the regular Bikram pose sequences.  Part of me thinks that I may like this set sequence better.  I’ve been to some classes where we spend 15 minutes breathing and all I want to do is stretch or work on a challenging pose.  This will provide me with some consistency, and structure, for a Type A girl.

So the plan is to start on Wednesday.  It’s been over a week since I’ve been to hot yoga.  I WOULD PAY Cori good money to take me back and rub my hip right now.  Or my neck.  Or my back.  I’m a hot mess.  Ha! Get it?  Hot yoga mess!

Seriously, it’s time to go back.

I’ll be starting my first day on Wednesday this week.  I’m hoping that I don’t hate it, especially since I paid for two months without even setting foot into the studio.  But, sometimes, the universe intervenes.  So I go where I see opportunity.  Perhaps there is a reason for all of this.

This brings me back to step 2 of “The Plan”.  I’ve started to baby step the changes in my diet, so now it’s time to up the exercise.  My plan is to try to go 5 days a week.

FIVE DAYS A WEEK?!  Am I crazy?

Why, yes.  I probably am.  Most likely.  But you know me.  Go big or go back to Cori.  LOL

This week, I plan to do 4 days.  Yes, that means I’ll be kicking it in a yoga studio on Valentines Day.  After almost 15 years, Mr. Hall is used to this.  I’ll just be coming home, a sweaty mess.  Hope he doesn’t have anything romantic planned!  We don’t really do a lot for Valentine’s Day anyway.  It’s a bunch of commercialized woo-hoo in my opinion.  Mr. Hall had better be telling me I’m special every day, not once a year in February, right?  We do have our little routines though.  I make him a construction paper valentine (and have for 14 years without fail, which he keeps in his Jeep) and he usually cooks me a nice meal.

Getting back to this crazy train idea.  So it starts this Wednesday.  I figure this will all be excellent fodder for the blog.  You can hear about how this was a raging success or watch me slip into insanity.  Feel free to take bets now on how long I can do this for because I’m honestly not sure either.  I just feel like I HAVE TO DO THIS.

In other news, I’m trying to decide what my new recipe for the week should be- something new or redo one of my failed recipes?

 

 

This must be happening from the inside out

I’ve had a strange thing happening over the past couple of weeks.  My body is tricking me.

I feel lighter.  More limber.   Stronger.  SMALLER.

I’ve had times when I’ve gotten dressed in the morning and thought, I feel smaller today.  My legs feel smaller.  Overall, I’m taking up less space in this world.  So I reach for something I haven’t worn in a while.  And, womp womp, it doesn’t fit.

What!?

Or, I’ll be walking down the hallway at work, and I think to myself, “gosh I feel smaller today, fitter, better”.  But then I walk in the bathroom and look at myself, and nope, nothing is smaller.

My body is tricking me.  From the inside out, I’m feeling like I’m making progress but nothing is showing on the outside yet.  Is this how it works?

I remember over the years reading articles in magazines about people who lose weight and they say that even though they’ve lost weight, they still feel like they are bigger than they really are at that present moment.  But what about me?  I feel smaller but in reality, I’m not.

It’s like I’m trapped in a body that doesn’t make sense to my brain.  How I’m feeling on the inside isn’t what is happening on the outside.

To say the least, it’s disheartening.  Is it the Hashimoto’s slowing things up?  PCOS?  Old age?  What the heck, people!

I guess this is why they say it’s important to be consistent, even when you don’t see any results.  Because for crying out loud, I’ve put in the effort.

I think too it makes me feel embarrassed (which is know is stupid, but hear me out on this).  I publicly tell people what I’m doing.  I’ve been at this blog, or a variation of it, for over 2 years.  I’m all like, here’s what I’m eating, here’s how I’m exercising.  I’ve eaten a dairy product twice in the last month (miracle).  I’m doing my exercise 4 or more days a week.

I’m drinking a green blended concoction once a week.  I’ve added in a 16 ounce glass of hot water every day with lemon in it.  That makes my water intake 112 ounces a day.  I eat a great breakfast 7 days a week, then lunch, and snack 5 days a week at work that has NO grains, dairy, or added sugar whatsoever.  I’ve gotten to the point now where my dinners and weekends are with Kevin and not totally grain free, but certainly not off the wagon.  I am moderate with my choices during those times.  I’ve lost no weight.  I feel smaller, but nothing is fitting looser.  I’m literally walking around in a body that I don’t feel belongs to me.

But yet, my body persists.  Like a tenacious little monster, my skin hangs on to it’s shape and will not yield to my will.

So maybe I’m feeling embarrassed for myself.   I just feel like someone, somewhere is thinking, wow, Lisa is doing all of this work and nothing is happening.  She must go home and eat in a closet while Kevin is out.  Like I’m talking the talk, but not walking the walk.

Make no mistake, this is no pity party.  It’s just a public rant on the state I’m in right now.  Stuck in a physical form that doesn’t seem right.  Working my butt off with no reward.

Consistency.  I will plug along.

 

Superbowl Sunday fun and some new recipes!

Mondays are rough, but there is something special about dragging yourself out of bed the day after a Superbowl party.  I think I fell asleep half on my stomach and half on my side.  Good times.

Getting back to the game, we had a feast at Cori’s house with a few other couples.  So much fun!  Cori and I came up with a menu of gastric proportions, which kept us busy and the guests fed well.  There was delicious wine, a blue drink that I will forever refer to as fishbowl, and some down dogs in the hallway.  I can’t even explain.  At the end of the game, Cori and I were on the floor, giggling uncontrollably about finishing thoughts, chewing straws, and a sangria recipe in a box cooler.  It was great fun.

I am happy to report that I used this as an opportunity to try some new recipes, keeping with my weekly recipe challenge!

The first thing I tried were two wing sauce recipes.  One was the tequila lime marinade from Guy Fieri, but that didn’t turn out so well- I’m not sure why.

What did turn out pretty well was the coconut siracha sauce recipe.  Check it out to see the directions and a photo of what it looks like.  It’s basically a can of coconut milk and siracha sauce (along with some other easy ingredients), simmered on the stove, and then once thickened, added to the wings.  Instead of baking the wings, we fried them and it turned out pretty well.  The best part is that it was gluten free, dairy free, and pretty flavorful.

As the recipe stands, it was spicy in the pot, but then it mellowed out.  The wings tasted more like coconut than spicy.  I would add more siracha next time, but my dahling Gretchen should probably leave it as the recipe suggests.

After working with the canned coconut milk, it is abundantly clear to me that my failed mango coconut chicken recipe was entirely due to me using coconut milk in a box, rather than a can.  I need to do that recipe over again.  Heck, I may even try this wing sauce recipe but in the crock pot.  Let’s get crazy!

I also tried a new dip recipe, a jalapeno popper dip bake.  It was delicious.  Cheesy, spicy from the peppers, and it really tasted like poppers.  I couldn’t believe it.  The boys scarfed it down and there was just a little left.  Cori declared that this should be my signature dip for parties.  I agree whole-heartedly!  This is hands down a super easy recipe and you can find it anywhere online.  I used Ritz crackers for the crust on mine and they didn’t get soggy.  We also used scoop tortilla chips, which worked well.  The only thing about this recipe is that you have to mix the ingredients with two packs of cream cheese.  I had to use my hands to mix everything and it really was a mess.  This seemed to be the best method for the task.  Also, when you see mayo in the recipe, I subbed sour cream for the mayo and it didn’t alter the recipe negatively at all.  Yay!

I didn’t bother to weigh myself this morning.  I’m pretty sure I gained a couple pounds.  But it was SO worth it.

I have relatives coming to visit this weekend, so I have a ton of work to do on the house this week.  I am going to skip yoga as a result the next few days to try and get some things done.  I also have a class meeting online tonight, which I almost forgot about- oops!  I’m two weeks behind in my coupon clipping too.  For shame.   I gotta get my groove back.

New yoga routine next week- I’ll do another post to explain soon!