The Yoga Thief

Give me a few weeks and this'll be me. FER SURE! Our Scottish Phrase of the Day is: "full of the cold". I'm currently full of the cold. Woe!

In Australia I used to say I was under the weather or fluey or getting slaughtered by the snot monster but over here people tend to say I'm full of the cold.

Not sure if this means if you sleep with unsavoury people you might end up Full of The Clap? Or if someone talks rubbish they are Full of the Shit?

Prior to filling up with The Cold, I made my shambolic return to yoga on Monday. I forgot to pack my pants, as in trousers, and didn't realise until I went to get changed after work. So I raced to the shops but the only ones I could find were two sizes larger than normal. This was not really a problem for my ultra-sturdy thighs but very troublesome at the waist, as I discovered at 5.52 PM, trying to hitch them up as I galloped to the high school where the class is held.

I was late and sweaty so had to hurl the mat down and try to switch into om mode right away. Helpfully the class is in the library so you automatically feel the need calm down and be quiet. Most of my exercise is of the "push your body til you feel like you're going to spew" variety (kickboxing and RPM), so it's good to be balancing things with the yoga and salsa.

The teacher was lovely with that low, soothing Yoga Voice. She loaned me her belt thingy to assist my hamstrings. They're rubbish at the best of times but I've hurt my knee again (another story) and when I lay down I couldn't raise the right leg off the floor any higher than about 45°. Meanwhile everyone else had a nice 90° or casually flung their leg over their head. All in good time ladies. All in good time.

I was worried I'd be zonked afterwards but I felt really energised. I said my thank yous then scurried down the road to kickboxing. Already I was convinced I'd stick with this class, unlike the one I did back in 2007. That one was in a crowded room at an awkward time with a little too much chanting. 

It wasn't until halfway through kickboxing that I realised with horror that I didn't pay for the class!!! I rushed in and out so quickly and completely forgot. What a numpty! What kind of animal does a runner from a yoga class?! The lady must be cursing my name in soft, earthy tones. First I steal her animated .gif and then I steal her expertise!

By the time I finished kickboxing her other class was over, so I left a frantic message to explain that I'm not really Full of the Crime, just in an awful hurry. Next week (if I'm Emptied of Cold) I'll be more organised.

Under Construction

I'm starting a yoga class on Monday. Woohoo! I was Googling around and found one that slots in nicely in the wilderness hour between work and kickboxing. It's a short walk from work to yoga then enough time afterward for the short walk to kickboxing. Giddyup… such convenience and efficiency gives me a thrill. I normally spend that hour mucking around at home doing very little, so I may as well get bendy.

Also, I was sold by the sexy animated .gif on the yoga website:

Forward bend with sexy hairstyle

If fashion is currently embracing the 1980s, then surely in Internet Years we are due for an animated gif revival?

Under Construction

My New Guru

Forget your Doctor Phils and Paul McKennas, I've found a new guru for healthy living. Shaquille O'Neal started Twittering towards the end of last year (he's the Real Shaq), joining the growing ranks of celebrities sending out their thoughts in 140 characters or less.

Shaq has a great turn of phrase and is full of inspirational quotes. Most of all I love hearing about his yoga classes, getting a haircut and trying to resist the siren call of McDonalds. See, he's just like us… except really tall and wealthy!

Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez

Rise and Shine

How did it get to be Annual Office Christmas Party Freak Out Day again so soon? [see 2005, 2006]

This is my fifth Scottish Christmas, and the first one I've not been working at the same place. I miss my old colleagues rather pathetically, but I think I'll have a good time with the new mob. They're all girls, so I might need to curb my swearing.

And behold – a Christmas miracle – for the first time ever, I've not spent this Night Before Party running up and down Princes Street in a frenzy, trying to find something to wear! This year I had actual options! Already there! In my wardrobe! With accessories!

So I've got some nice dark jeans from Topshop, that I laugh maniacally when I put on because I just can't believe I fit into them. And a nice slinky green top that my sister found for me and I immediately dismissed. "Can't wear that! It's satiny! It's shiny! That neckline will make me look boxy!" but I tried it on and was proved wrong.

I still… STILL… after all this time, have all these notions of what I am allowed to wear, where I am permitted to shop; forbidden fabrics. I was always told if you lost a shitload of weight you would try on clothes in a frenzy, bursting into tears at your newfound svelteness. But I still break into a sweat at the sight of a coathanger.

. . .

I did an aerobics class at 6AM today. I should have noticed immediately that all was not right when I saw the pink dumbells. Then the instructor looked at me funny when I told her I couldn't start until I squooshed on some deoderant, because I'd just got out of bed and was worried I was whiffy. Then as we began some lunges, I realised I was wearing my pyjamas. Then there was a very elderly man in front of me, wearing a straw boater hat and using his cane as a support as he cranked out some surprisingly deep squats.

And then the alarm started shrieking, and I realised that I'd been attending the aerobics class OF DREAMLAND, and once again I'd hit snooze instead of vaulting out bed for morning exercise. Arrgh!

I did manage it on Monday though! An hour of yoga. I was going to do weights but my stomach was just not up to it. I don't mind morning cardio but weights is just something I prefer when the sun goes down. The yoga was bloody awful! My body creaked and whined through the whole program, but that may have more to do with lack of recent yoga than the morning thing. Mary told me to give a proper go for a month, so I will, because it was nice to feel smug all day long.

. . .

You people are a hoot! I'm loving these Scavenger Hunt entries… I bow down to your hilariousness and creativity. There have been some brilliant interpretations of Elvis – canine and supine. And an edible bald man. And plain yogurt + toga = Greek Yogurt! See, you don't need to scavenge the real thing… imagination rules! You don't even need a camera, as illustrated by Donna. I'm not the bossy type, I promise 🙂

Open Up and Say Om

My most-detested part of high school was Wednesday Afternoon Sport – the enforced display of wobbly body and uncoordination in front of peers beneath blazing Australian sunshine. Grrrreat. But there was some relief in the senior years when we could pick our own sports. In Year 11 I chose indoor carpet bowls, down at the local Services Club instructed by an old man who smelled faintly of urine.

Then in Year 12 I chose yoga, taught by one of my favourite teachers Mrs W. I discovered a whole new level of physical hopelessness but I didn't care, I was out of the sun!

On graduation night (1995) in my matronly garb, I demonstrated my skillz by posing for this picture with Mrs W and my friend Susan.

Yoga

Since then I'd done the odd class and accumulated a dusty pile of DVDs. But a few months ago, after reading about Mary and Beth and SJ and Phil and Erin et al getting bendy, I decided I needed a new obsession. As much as I love my weight training and tolerate hillwalking and HIIT intervals, I needed something more mellow; something to get lost in.

So last month I went to a class at the local council gym. It's in a poky room, with bodies of all shapes and sizes and ages. There's a faint whiff of salt and grease from the chip shop down the block and you can hear cars and buses and spotty young blokes gobbing and swearing on the street below.

But somehow that all melts away when our teacher starts turns down the lights and starts speaking. She has this rich, low voice so every instruction sounds like singing. I don't know what the hell she's talking about half the time so I'm always peeking at other people for a hint. Whenever she says quietly and pointedly that we should all Go At Our Own Pace and that Yoga Isn't A Competition, I'm paranoid she means me and want to say, "Dude! I'm not competitive! For once. Just clueless!"

I do like having a quiet competition with myself though. I love trying some wacky pose and feeling my body stiffen in protest. But then I breathe a wee bit and try again and ease deeper into it, stretching and unraveling. It's hard not to "woohoo" out loud sometimes.

It's been strangely confronting too. In the first class we did shoulder stands. I watched the teacher demonstrate and thought, "No bloody way". I started doing a modified move but she came over and gently pulled my feet into the air and told me how to adjust my upper body and lift lift lift. Arrgh! It was bloody terrifying, that upside-downy feeling, like my guts were going to fly out of my mouth! I'd never done anything like that before in my life; I avoided cartwheels and somersaults and monkey bars when I was a kid. It was such a shocking sensation but I got a mad rush from pushing through that little barrier, mental and physical.

Afterwards I raced home and babbled happily to Gareth for hours. Life's great! Yoga rules! I felt high like I'd guzzled a whole pack of jelly beans. I blew the dust off the DVDs and counted down the days til the next class.

Last week was bloody awful. I haven't been in a positive frame of mind lately; my confidence has been a wee bit shaky. When I got to class I proceeded to stuff up every single move, confusing left and right (I always have to make an L shape with my hand as it is), tripping over my mat and clomping on the floorboards like an elephant. It just seemed like a metaphor for my general ineptness and inability to get my shit together.

Normally I love the quietness of the class and disappear, but last week the quiet just meant I could hear my brain bubbling over. It reminded me of when I got that full body massage earlier this year – when confronted with yourself and your body in such a raw way, all the things you've try to ignore seem to come to the surface. I actually was in tears doing a stupid triangle pose! Raaahhh!

So there's been some up and downs but quite like how yoga screws with my head. I'm officially hooked. It's a lot more challenging than carpet bowls, anyway.

Rest In Pieces

How did this happen again? I had approximately seventeen different things to write about this week but didn't finish any of them. What I DID finish this week was all my scheduled exercise, woohoo! I am pleasantly knackered. Now that the exercise is more under control I need to be more watchful of the eating this coming week.

But first, today I get to rest. HURRAH! I'm meeting up with Andrea and we're heading deep underground in ancient Edinburgh. Spooky.

Ooh ooh! Highlight of the week! I bought a proper sticky yoga mat. No more skanky old towel for me! And Mothership, I even got it in my Colours! I feel more flexy and sexy already.

More soon… bon weekend, comrades!

2006: Where Did It All Go Right?

Thanks very much for all your comments on the last entry! You’re all legends, I tells ya.

And thanks so much for no one writing to tell me to Get Over It. It’s great to vent and not get a lecture in my Inbox on the perils of Being Negative. If you don’t address the negatives now and then, how else do you see where you can improve? I felt disappointed by aspects of my “performance” and it felt good to acknowledge that by whinging, moving on… and using it for motivational fuel this year.

So let’s talk about the good bits today. I started 2007 smaller, fitter and marginally lighter than I was twelve months ago. Woohoo to that. I’ve been thinking about all the things that helped me along and came up with a list – my Top Ten Flab-Fighting Tools of 2006!

  1. Blogging – Well, DERR! It’s still my most essential tool. Where would I be without reading and writing blogs? On a couch eating chocolates. Seriously, there were times last year when I wanted to torch this blog, namely when everyone at work found out about it again. But once I realised that while people may think it’s dorky to write about your flab on the internet, it’s not like people didn’t already know that I was a dork. So CARRY ON BLOGGING, I say!
  2. Keeping a Food Diary – an oldie but a goldie. The minute I stop writing down what I eat, extra food starts creeping in. In 2006 I tried tracking on paper as well as a number of online tracking tools, but in the end came back to my old favourite Weight Loss Resources.
  3. Veggie Box Delivery – And to think a year ago I was living in a world without kohlrabi. Every two weeks a box of fruit and veggies is abandoned on our doorstep and it’s been a hoot trying to figure out what to do with it. The box forces you to be more imaginative with your cooking and vegetables become the focus of your meals. And you may also experience feelings of smug wholesomeness.
  4. Cathe Strength Training DVDs – I chucked a tantrum when my dodgy knee ruled out my much-loved Body Pump classes. There was no point paying for the class when I couldn’t do half the moves. But I missed the structure and being told what to do, so it was Cathe Friedrich to the rescue.  I was skeptical that I would get any results from a dusty collection of weights at home, but my upper body strength and tone improved so much in 2006.
  5. Lemons and Limes – They just make food more interesting. They can jazz up a can of tuna or avocado on toast, breathe life into salads or rice or lentils and make a panful of wilted greens and garlic droolworthy. I always make sure we’ve got half a dozen of each laying round, and carry a few spares in my pockets in case of flavour emergencies.
  6. Pilates – I still don’t know if I am doing the breathing right, but in one class last year I remember laying on my back, abdominals screaming with my legs in a vaguely gynecological position, feeling incredibly peaceful and remembering how cool it is to make your body do stuff instead of stuffing it with food.
  7. Physiotherapy – Eight months of physio and my knee is still dodgy. But eight months of physio taught me to be patient. That your body deserves to be listened to. That ignoring pain gets you nowhere. That doing too much to soon means you’re an idiot. And that your physio can’t perform miracles if you don’t bloody do your exercises between visits!
  8. Frozen Edamame – Wee baby soya beans are my Snack of the Year! I’ve mentioned these a bazillion times before but I hate to think of all the toast I would have scoffed if I hadn’t had these little babies to scoff into when I get home from work. I zap a handful in the microwave then eat em plain or with some black pepper and lemon. And three cheers for frozen mixed vegetables for lazy dinners and frozen berries for easy smoothies. Hail Freezer!
  9. Weight Watchers cookbooks – I went mental buying WW cookbooks on eBay this year, because the recipes are so bloody easy and the ingredients are always basic. My favourites are two Aussies – Contented Tummy and Everyday, and two UK ones – How To Eat and How To Cook the WW Way. 
  10. THE SCALES – After years of vowing otherwise, I have decided once and for all that the scales actually ARE my friend. I’ve been in denial, because to say you like to weigh daily always sounds like you’re obsessed. So for December 2006 I conducted a scale-free experiment and it was a disaster. I gained four kilos. As soon as I stopped checking in on the number I became thoughtless about my food choices. We all know the number wildly fluctuates according to what you ate the night before, fluid retention, whatever. But I know the difference between temporary bloat and a genuine upward trend, it’s just a matter of being honest with myself about which one it is. Keeping an eye on the number is different than becoming a slave to the number. A quick hop on the scale each day gives me a general indication of how things are progressing. It’s not an obsession; it’s just another tool that keeps me on track.

So what worked for you guys in 2006?

The Last Tempation of Dietgirl

Oooh it feels good to be exercising again. Aside from Pilates I hadn’t done a thing for two weeks! I went back to the gym on Friday and did HIIT on the bike for half an hour then did an extremely grueling upper body weights on Saturday. Then yesterday I did my new Pilates DVD. Okay I didn’t do it, I sat on the couch and watched it. You have to build up to these things.

I’ve also been skulking around Fatblogland, reading my eleventybillion favourite blogs frothing with jealousy at those of you who are displaying stellar self-control and sailing through the holidays, saying nay to festive fatty foods at every opportunity. I salute you, and also weep with envy. Does anyone else do this, or am I just completely pathetic?

It’s not that I’m on some sort of wild sugar bender; I just know I’m not in my usual Routine and it feels uncomfortable. For example, I couldn’t do my weekly online grocery shop because all the delivery slots were full. I didn’t realise how ESSENTIAL this is to keeping me on track. When you shop online you have plan an entire week of meals in advance, so you really can’t go wrong. The pantry is always stocked with wholesome things. There’s no excuse nor means to be unhealthy. Like last week Gareth was prowling through the cupboards and I said, "What’s wrong, is there nothing good to eat?" and he said, "Yes there is, that’s the problem! Everything’s GOOD! There’s nothing BAD! I want something BAD!".

Hehe. Anyway, we had to venture to the Real Supermarket on Friday night and actually prowl the aisles instead of paying someone else £4 to do it. We went at 10pm thinking the crowds would have died down, but noooo! You had to fight your way down every aisle, bodies and crates of vegetables and loo roll everywhere. Depsite having a shopping list, we soon got so stressed we were tossing random crap into the trolley just to get it over with, and of course when we got home I only had about 50% of what we needed and a whole bunch of ingredients that just don’t seem to go together.

So I got online immediately and put in an extremely wholesome grocery order for the next available delivery slot – bloody Thursday! I felt better already.

Now I just have to get through today. Christmas Dinner with the Reids. I hereby vow to avoid the wee bowls of crisps and pretzels that will no doubt be laying about. I hereby vow not to eat the entire sticky toffee pudding.

And then it will be Boxing Day and I will go for a walk and lift some heavy objects and make some hummus. And order will be restored.

Solid Gold

File the following under: "Too much of a good thing"

1. The Soup
I’ve banged on about soup lately. Oh joyous filling-but-healthy liquid dinner! I was drafting a post about all the lovely soups we’ve made lately. Sweet Potato & Chilli. Curried Butternut Pumpkin. Carrot, Rosemary & Butterbean. Even an outstanding Mushroom Soup! I’m someone who swore I hated Mushroom Soup but this was a healthy WW number that knocked my socks off.

Anyway, cut to Monday night and were were scheduled to make Broccoli Soup featuring potatoes and herbs and I can’t remember what else. I stared at the cookbook and cried, "I cannot FACE another bowl of soup. I NEED SOLIDS!"

At which point Gareth wanders into kitchen and says, "Oh good. I was beginning to feel like a pensioner with nae teeth!"

So the Broccoli Soup got pushed back to Tuesday night. Then Wednesday, then Thursday. And do you think I could be arsed making that tonight? We are well and truly Off The Soup now. What kind of demented idea is Broccoli Soup anyway!? We’re having fish instead. And maybe some sweet potato wedges. With about three pounds of bloody steamed broccoli on the side.

2. The Push Ups
I should never have crowed about my push ups because I have a feeling the feat will not be repeated ever again! My chest and shoulders are still screaming from that epic effort on Sunday. It hurts to hold up the hairdryer. I guess that’s what you get for trying to support 80 kilos on wimpy little hands and feet.

Then on Wednesday in Pilates we had to do this roll down into push up into plank then stick one leg in the air and hold then stick the other leg in the air and hold, times six. And that finished me off completely. I am scheduled to do upper body weights tonight but methinks it will be a good old fashioned stretching session instead. My mind thinks it’s a Top Athlete but the body is waddling behind whimpering, "Wait for me! Wait for meeee!"

. . .

So I decided to lay off the scales for awhile. I weighed in on Monday but it’s been cold turkey ever since.

It’s been rather dull not getting on "just for a peek". It’s not that I place stock in the numbers, it’s just good entertainment value. I like placing bets with Gareth as to how much one restaurant meal can make me "gain" overnight, or seeing how much I can puff up when I’m pre-menstrual. I went out for dinner last Friday night and had all of two drinks and was up 1.5kg the next morning, which was actually quite disappointing because my all-time record is 4kg. Boo!

Heal Your Knee And Your Ass Will Follow

Greetings! I have emerged from beneath my rock after a small break. I get so much sanity and solace from having a blog but every now and then I feel a little smothered by it. Instead of writing about things I needed to just focus on doing things instead.

I have the attention span of a gnat today so I will steal Lainey's Bite Sized Chunks format!

Cutting Edge Technology
Here is my current favourite piece of exercise equipment:

Canada

Yes it's Canada's National Parks by R. D. Lawrence. I put the book on the floor then stand on top of it and perform endless sets of step-down thingies for my knee. Kind of like a one-legged squat for the weak and hopeless.

Priorities, Man
Last week it dawned on me that my Fat-Fighting priorities were all out of whack. They were:

  1. Lose more blubber
  2. Increase fitness
  3. Heal my knee

I was wondering why this didn't seem to be happening but then realised that logically they can't really happen in that order.

First of all, I acknowledge that eating right is the best thing I can do to get to my goal, but the key factor in maximising my motivation to do so is exercise. It makes me feel good, strong and purposeful. Ever since I've been unable to do much exercise my motivation has never been as strong. So until I properly tackle Item No 3, I won't be able to do No 2 which will further assist with No 1.

Does that make sense? I have been fretting about No 1 and trying to speed that up by doing as much of No 2 as I can, but often pushing too hard (eg. ill-advised knee push-ups, swimming lessons, etc etc) which makes No 3 even worse. It's hard when your head says GO but the body says NO. I need to learn to listen to the body.

So I turned the list upside down and have been dedicated to Healing The Knee. Thanks to Wilma's helpful email I made up a wee Knee Program. I am doing my physio exercises like a mofo, icing the knee when it gets tender and generally being extra careful. It's not quite what I had in mind when I started my Going For Gold challenge, but I don't see how I am ever going to move forward until I stop this endless cycle of Hurt Knee > Feel Miserable > Exercise Too Hard > Hurt Knee Again > Feel Miserable-r. I've been doing this for almost 18 months, pushing too hard too soon and setting my fitness and flab-fighting goals backwards, so for now the Knee Comes First.

Do's and Don'ts
Along with reassessing priorities I've also decided to stop focusing on what I can't do. Cannae run, Spin, row, jump, swim, squat, kneel. Moan moan moan! The negativity makes things even worse. But what about what I can do? Walk. Stretch carefully. Do upper body weights. Pay closer attention to what I eat since I am not moving as much. I have to accept this situation and work with it, not against it. I have been making things even harder than they need to be.

Pilates
I started Pilates at work again this week! We stopped the class over the summer and I really missed it. Pilates is one of those things that make you wonder, is this doing a bloody thing for me? But when I stopped for a few months I noticed my posture getting lazy and my stomach getting sloppy. So it's good to be back again. Next week I will have to modify some moves, coz the plank irritated my knee, but I think I can do it on my toes again. I like the idea of having Abs of Steel, even if they are hidden under 27 levels of lard!

Winter Fayre
I made the last Spinach Pie of the season this week. Filo pastry and greenery just seems too airy fairy when it's dark outside! I'd also gone off yogurt and muesli for brekkie, far too summery. But this week I was mad for hot stewed apples with yogurt and a couple of big spoons of raw oats and sunflower seeds on top. A pinch of cinnamon and you could almost kid yourself you were eating apple crumble for brekkie. Almost.

I've gone soup daft, too. The latest favourite is very lazy and based on a WW Zero Point recipe. You just chop up a couple of onions, zucchinis and carrots and throw them in a pot with a can of tomatoes (I prefer passata) and the equivalent amount of vegie stock and some mixed herbs. I like it because you don't need to fart around sauteing things. It's easy to clean the pot! Anyway, you just simmer til soft, chucking in a can of butter beans towards the end for some protein. Then blast it smooth or eat it chunky. It's also nice to chuck in an old Parmesan rind while it's simmering away, makes it taste faintly cheesy. As long as you remember to remove it before you blend!

Enough rambling for today, I'm off to make the paella for dinner. Hope you are all going great guns out there in fatblog land!