DDP Yoga Is Everywhere… And It Delivers!

One of Diamond Dallas Page’s favorite sayings is “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” He has a hour-long motivational talk dedicated to the concept!

Normally, as a scholar of DDP Yoga, I am very adherent to this philosophy, but a recent article from Men’s Journal completely derailed that effort. Adam Bluestein wrote a piece called, “DDP Yoga Is Everywhere, But Does It Deliver?“.

Were I to have written an article with that title, the main body would have read as follows:

Yes.

Granted, it wouldn’t earn me much if I were paid per word. But what it lacked in financial gain, it would have made up in accuracy.

Mr Bluestein, on the other hand, didn’t let economically worthless ideas like accuracy stand in his way of smearing words onto a page. I’m not going to be exhaustive, but I will rebut the most egregious arguments he makes:

The promised cardio- and fat-burning benefits are less certain. A 2006 study found that performing vigorous ashtanga-style yoga only increased heart rate by about 30 beats per minute over resting, comparable to walking, but nowhere near running, swimming, or spinning.

A 2006 study of Ashtanga yoga? Interesting factoid if we were actually talking about Ashtanga yoga. A wildly misleading point to make when you’re talking about DDP Yoga. It would be comparable to saying,  “Jeremy Clarkson says that the Ford F150 is the worst vehicle he’s ever driven, so that proves Cadillac CTS is a shoddy piece of junk.” Different products, different manufacturers.

I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Bluestein (okay, so I got into a brief fight with him on Twitter, but we’re twisting facts to fit our narratives now, right?), and asked him if he had actually tried DDP Yoga, given the article read as if he hadn’t.

“Yes I’ve done it and think it’s a great workout, as I said.”

he replied, adding:

Not saying there’s no cardio benefit. Depends how hard you’re working…”

Hmm, seems he softened his views about the cardio potential since declaring:

Don’t rely on it as a stand-alone cardio… routine.

Rather than talking in circles, I decided to switch gears to the Ashtanga v. DDP Yoga issue.  I showed him data I produced demonstrating the difference between Ashtanga/Power Yoga, and DDP Yoga:

Cal_per_Hour

Time_In_Zone

I didn’t get a reply to that one. But then I remembered that someone who compared scientific data from a study of one branch of yoga to a completely unrelated hybrid yoga probably doesn’t have the scientific literacy required to read graphed data. So, I set up my laptop in the closet of my yoga room, and gave a live demonstration:

I didn’t get any replies to that one as of yet. While we wait for Mr. Bluestein to publicly and without reservation admit that he was, in fact, wrong to use Ashtanga data to dispute the merits of DDP Yoga, I will move to my next point of contention.

In both the article and our interview/Twitter fight, he held firm to the “it’s nowhere near as good as running” argument, asserting that it would only raise your heart rate by 30 bpm over resting. Really? Here’s my heart rate monitor data from a 1 hour DDP Yoga workout (including warm-up and cool-down), and a 4.5 mile run I went on (excluding cool-down).

Fotor0611225534

Granted, the running is a little higher (136 bpm v. 157 bpm), but it’s a far cry from the NINETY-EIGHT BEATS PER MINUTE at which Mr. Bluestein believes I would max out doing DDP Yoga. Like I said, I stopped my HRM during the cool-down, so the two cardio forms may be even closer than I show here. In addition, I like to sprint the last half-mile of a run. This drives my heart rate up to about 180 bpm (and thus the overall average heart rate too). Tougher cardio? Sure. Healthier? Absolutely not. DDP Yoga teaches us to get from resting into our fat-burning zones, but also, not to exceed it. DDP likens this to driving in the red. You’ll certainly get there faster, but there’s a good chance you’ll be junking that car before too long. And unlike a car, you can’t simply junk your cardiopulmonary system and buy a new one.

I’ll close this rebuttal with a little history lesson. Another point of contention that cropped up over this article was whether or not DDP Yoga promises ripped abs and shredded bodies, or massive weight loss. First, the quotes Mr. Bluestein used came from the program guide that comes with the DVDs, so that isn’t really a marketing device (you already own the DVDs if you’re reading that guide*). Second, the actual quotes he’s referencing are:

Ripped abs require a Red Hot Core workout!

Commit to three times a week and you won’t believe the results! Kick it up to four or five times a week and you’re on your way to that highly energetic, jacked, stacked, and shredded body that you’ve always wanted!

Make sure to take a look at the Nutrition Guide and learn how to complement your fitness routine with a simple weight loss plan that will maximize your results.

Certainly, it took Mr. Bluestein’s patented information-twisting skills to interpret these quotes as a claim of being a total fitness solution. But the really bizarre part of this argument was everyone leaping to DDP Yoga’s defense by pointing out that these weren’t marketing tools employed by DDP Yoga, and that DDP Yoga had not historically been designed to be a weight loss system. In fact, the most successful weight loss story associated with DDP Yoga, Arthur Boorman, didn’t take up DDP Yoga to lose weight; he tried it to relieve back pain. The weight loss was just a happy surprise.

But whether or not DDP intended to create a phenomenal weight loss system doesn’t negate the fact that he did create a phenomenal weight loss system. His original goal for DDP Yoga cannot detract from Stacey, Arthur, Terri, Doug, Kevin, Christina or my weight loss, nor that of all the other people at the DDP Yoga Transformation page that have lost 100s and 100s of pounds.

The same goes for getting ripped muscles and crazy washboard abs. I don’t understand why everyone leapt to pointing out that DDP Yoga didn’t directly make these claims rather than pointing out that it actually DELIVERS on those claims (whether or not they were made). I could draw your attention to  Stacy, Sparky and Motown on the Transformation page. I could also invite you to come gaze at pictures of Chad’s abs with me for a couple of hours. But every workout system has carefully selected examples of success stories they present as proof of their delivering on promises. Granted DDP Yoga has more examples of success stories than all the other systems put together, and those pictures are user-submitted (not the usual photoshopped smoke and mirrors), but DDP Yoga also has infinite numbers of people who aren’t on the transformation page who also have amazing results.

I put out a request for Before & After pictures of people who are not featured success stories on the DDP Yoga Facebook group, and here is what I got in under 24 hours:

Ed

Ed

Robert

Robert

Roger

Roger

David

David

Sharon

Sharon

Ashley

Ashley

Nicole

Nicole

Christina

Christina

Travis

Travis

I’d say these people think that DDP Yoga delivers, wouldn’t you, Mr. Bluestein?

Of course, this wouldn’t be a lizDDPyoga post without a little shameless self-promotion, so I will throw my (admittedly Transformation page-documented) results into the mix too:

Liz

Liz

Because I am trying to live at 90% as DDP teaches, I will end on a positive note. If you want to read a well-written and accurate review of DDP Yoga at the Men’s Journal website, I highly recommend you read this one!

* a distinction that completely eluded Mr. Bluestein.

The Ultimate Guide to What DDP Yoga Could Do For You!

DDP Yoga has done so much for me that it’s hard to put it all in one post. So I am cheating and presenting an omnibus of posts instead! Click on a picture to see one of the many ways DDP Yoga can improve your life!

What will DDP Yoga do for you?

Fix your mental health?

Bulimia

Fix your physical health?

1-year

Fix your chronic pain?sore_knee

Fix Your Career?

career-opportunities

Prevent future injuries and stiffness?

yoga_runner

Make you drop an amazing amount of weight in 90 days?

DSC07985

Let you wear all the clothes in your wardrobe…

dublin-05l29-9

…or require you to buy a new one?

image1

Give you a nice big novelty cheque?

new_friends_small

Help you develop balance like never before?

   one-black-crow

Fix your skin?

no-bread

Let you turn fitness into a career?

hcs4l

Let you find your passion for helping others?

photo-on-5-8-14-at-10-22-am-2-12-44-17-pm

Let you exceed your goals?

photo3

Earn a cool new tattoo?

tatt

Or improve your math skills?

Pure-mathematics-formulæ-blackboard

(Okay, so it’s probably not going to help with your math skills!)

 

Maybe it will improve your motivation?

What do you want from DDP Yoga?

FODMAPS, Gluten, Nocebos, My Upper Arms, Knees, and Toes!

The haters of gluten-free living have been having a great month!

First, everyone reveled in showing those of us who have self-diagnosed as gluten-intolerant the following Jimmy Kimmel video:

Following the logic of this piece, if you don’t know what a carcinogen is, you would be immune to the cancer-causing effects of asbestos or plutonium! Ignorance truly would be bliss!! For the record, I DO know what gluten is (a composite protein of gliadin and glutenin that makes up the endosperm of grains in the family Triticeae, including wheat, barley, rye, and spelt).

A reason for the spike in gluten intolerance, and the rising numbers of people who choose to live gluten free may result form the fact that modern grains have been bred with much larger endosperms containing higher levels of gluten, and, thanks to the Farm Deal, we are being inundated with gluten in baked good, salad dressing, soy sauce, toothpaste and lipstick! I remember a woman who worked at the animal facility in grad school telling me that anyone who works there long enough will develop allergies to animal dander. In other words, anyone -ANYONE- who is exposed to artificially high levels of a potential allergen will develop an allergy to it. And when it comes to gluten, we are all that “anyone”. We are exposed to levels of gluten not seen in nature that we are just not meant to be consuming.

Gliadin

Glutenin

Also this week, the media picked up on a publication where it was shown that “gluten intolerance” may actually result from FODMAPS or “nocebos*.” In a nutshell, a scientist who had previously shown that non-celiac gluten insensitivity is responsible for certain digestive issues redesigned the study and determined that Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols, or FODMAPs may be the real culprit. I’m a little science-d out having worked overtime this weekend, so I’ll let wikipedia elaborate on what a FODMAP actually is.

The media jumped all over this report, and in its sadly characteristic modus operandi, distilled the report down into a simplistic talking point without doing any actual journalism, or having someone who understands science explain the study to them in the  monosyllabic words to which they appear to be restricted. First, I do want to reject the point that a lot of my friends on the gluten-is-evil team are saying. This study was well-designed, independently executed and properly peer-reviewed. It was not influenced by “Big Flour”.

However, there are still a couple of things to note about this study, or any scientific study you read. First, Professor Gibson is not the only person studying Gluten. The media has decided that his original paper showing gluten-sensitivity was the only paper ever demonstrating this phenomenon. It isn’t. Here’s a paper that Christina of BodyRebooted posted a couple of months ago. In this study the authors demonstrate that non-celiac subjects develop an immune response to gliadin (a component of gluten). In other words, these people were sensitive to, or intolerant of, gluten.

Another thing to note is that Professor Gibson’s study only looked at a specific set of issues related to gluten insensitivity, specifically digestive issues. He did not examine other issues such as skin health, inflammation-related pain, or longterm outcomes such as obesity, cancer, or autoimmune issues. And nor should he have. No one study can ever be expected to examine every single aspect of a complicated issue like gluten insensitivity. But the fact remains that if he didn’t look for these issues, he can’t make the claim that gluten doesn’t cause them. And to be fair to Professor Gibson, as a good scientist, he hasn’t been making these claims; it’s the media that has been overreaching and misinterpreting his data.

Journalists ≠ Scientists!

When we are trained in science, we are taught to scoff at people who say things like. “Well, I smoked my entire life/never wore a seatbelt/was spanked by my parents/never paid attention in science class, and I turned out fine,” because this is anecdotal evidence, and can be wildly unreliable. A good example of this is Winston Churchill, who smoked cigars every day and lived until he was 90. Based on that evidence you may think that you can smoke your way to longevity. However, if you look at a sample of 100 smokers, or 1000 smokers, or 1,000,000 smokers, you will see that the projected life expectancy for smokers is actually quite poor.

Your new Health Guru!

That said, here’s my N=1 anecdotal evidence:

When I came to DDP Yoga, I was absolutely certain that I would never give up gluten. I was firmly in the you-either-have-celiac-disease-or-you-don’t camp, and I knew for a fact that I was not allergic to it, and that it wasn’t causing any of the lifelong issues I had. In fact, it had never been suggested to me that gluten could cause anything other than digestive problems, so its role in skin problems and my chronic knee pain wasn’t even on my radar. In other words, there definitely weren’t any psychosomatic effects (or “nocebos”) in my case.

I cut gluten during the course of my weight loss simply as a calorie-controlling mechanism, and I wasn’t expecting anything else in terms of benefits to my health. I have written about the benefits to my knee pain before, so I will be brief here. Cutting gluten prevented a large amount of knee pain that I had suffered with for years. Doing DDP Yoga certainly had a role in resolving this issue, but I have noticed that when I accidentally consume gluten or dairy, I have flair-ups of pain. I often don’t find out that I had consumed gluten until after the pain happens, and I retroactively investigate why it happened, so we can eliminate “nocebos” as the cause.

More recently, I had a amazing revelation of the power of GF living. For my entire life, I have had nasty, scaly, dry red bumps down the back of my upper arms and on my legs. I have tried everything to get rid of them. On the (lazy) advice of a doctor, I spent months at a time religiously moisturizing them. I tried exfoliating, I tried wrapping them at night, I tried old wives’ tales. Everything. And nothing worked so I just gave up trying. I completely gave up on trying to get rid of them over a decade ago. The other day, I was working on my computer, and crossed my arms as I thought about what I wanted to type. In doing so, I felt the skin on the back of my arms, and realized that it was completely soft and smooth! I couldn’t’ believe it. Some light Googling lead me to learn that gluten may cause dry scaly issues. This is yet another example of GF living resolving an issue that I didn’t even know gluten was causing! I have also written about the role of gluten in another skin issue here.

Photo on 5-19-14 at 8.46 AM

The bruise by my elbow is from running the Tough Mudder… DDP Yoga turned me into a M%^&*# F&^%$in’ Monster! But the rest is baby smooth!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t close by saying that as a scientist, I fully understand that FODMAPs may be responsible for the issues I had with both my skin and my knees (as well as digestive issues and weight, which I had but didn’t elaborate on in this piece). By excluding gluten from my diet, I will inadvertently remove FODMAPs from my diet too, and therefore experience the benefits of a FODMAP-free diet through GF living. If that is the case, great! I will continue to live GF, and I will continue to be healthy. I honestly don’t care which specific molecule was causing dry skin, chronic knee pain, acne, overweight and bloating/gas. I have found a healthy, whole-food diet through the DDP Yoga plan, and I am NEVER going back!

In all reality, humans are a heterogeneous bunch, and the answer may be “all of the above”. Some people may have celiac-based gluten intolerance, whereas others may have non-celiac sensitivity. Others still may be allergic to FODMAPs, and some people may have no issues with gluten or FODMAPs. I know this doesn’t fit the simplistic, one-size-fits-all talking points the media likes to use, but you shouldn’t be getting your scientific information from a journalist anymore than you should be expecting a professor of archeology to keep you up to speed on current world events!

I will make one last plug for the gluten-is-evil theory, and why I think gluten, and not FODMAPs, were responsible for my particular issues. The first time I went vegan back in 2009 (pre-DDP Yoga), I loved making Gluten Sausages. The main ingredient in these sausages is pure gluten, so we can eliminate FODMAPs as the culprit. I would make batches of 6 – 12 sausages at a time, and they never lasted very long. While they were delicious, over time I started noticing that if I ate them for more than 2 days in a row (which I often did), I became severely constipated for up to two weeks at a time and, well, this T-shirt explains the rest…

TMI, Darling!

 

Okay, so there was nothing in this piece about my toes. I just liked that song as a kid!

 
*This is an obnoxious neologism. We already had a term for this phenomenon; it’s called a psychosomatic response. And while you’re at it, take back “Aha moments” Oprah; the correct word for this is “epiphany”!
** Yeah, Dairy is bad too! 

10 Things You Need to Know About Losing Weight!

I’m down 50lbs! Woohoo! More importantly I have kept it off for over half a year now. While there is no one right answer, I have found a collection of things that work, after spending years and years documenting all the things that don’t work! Hopefully, you can skip past all the mistakes I made, and past my learning curve, and grow this list yourself as you discover more things that work!

1. You Need to Workout AND Eat Healthily.

Weight loss with diet alone is difficult; weight loss with exercise alone is impossible. You need to add exercise to your regime because it’s good for you, it builds metabolism-speeding muscle, and it adds a couple of calories to your overall allowance, and having a bit of leeway in your food allowance is going to improve your chances of success. You need to eat heathily for a zillion reasons, many of which are outside the scope of weight loss. Specific to the weight loss, you need to eat healthily (as opposed to some fad diet) because a healthy body, with enough vitamins, minerals, fiber and water will feel full longer, perform better and lose weight in a sustainable fashion. Healthy eating is sustainable for the longterm, so you will keep the weight off once it’s gone, where crazy and unhealthy diet plans won’t offer you long-last results.

2. You Need to Eat Enough.

So, you starved yourself all day so now you can plough into a triple-layer chocolate cake? Great plan! That’s exactly what sumo wrestlers do in order to gain weight before a match. Eating too few calories sends your body into famine mode, which means it lowers your metabolism. Any calories you do eat will hit you like a ton of fattening bricks. And it doesn’t stop there. You’re brain will stimulate your appetite, so you will be spending your entire time miserably battling an urge to binge on junk food. Not fun, and not the path to success. The number of calories you need is dependent upon your gender, your current weight, and your weight loss goals, and should never drop below 1,400 calories/day. In lieu of obsessive compulsive calorie counting, you can find far more success with whole-food, plant-based diets such as a low-meat version of the DDP Yoga Nutrition Plan.

Here’s what a 500-calorie diet looks like!

3. Cut Down on Your Meat Intake.

Why low-meat? Because meat is fattening in two ways. 1. It’s the most calorie-dense thing in the food supply. That means you’re going to be hungrier sooner, despite consuming a heavy calorie load. Second, it has been shown that meat intake positively associates with weight gain, and this associate persists after adjusting for total energy intake, and a decrease in meat consumption improves weight management. Eating 250 gram meat/day gives a 422 gram gain extra compared to a diet with the same number of calories but less meat! In other words, if you have two people both eating exactly 2,000 calories per day amd doing the exact same amount of exercise, one vegan and one meat-eater, the meat-eater will weigh more than the vegan. Again, there’s a slew of health-issues outside of weight loss where meat is concerned. For more information, check out the science-based information at nutritionfacts.org! Also, this goes for any animal product (dairy, eggs, meat). Full disclosure, I am a vegan. That said, I am not a proselytizing vegan; I spend precisely 0% of my time thinking of ways to convert people to veganism. I am more interested in the science of nutrition, and finding ways to enable people to be the healthiest they can be.

You are what you eat… clogged with saturated fat if this wound up on your plate!

4. You are Dairy- and Gluten-intolerant

Dairy proteins and gluten are the most inflammatory things we put into our bodies, and cause a host of issues, both weight-related and other. Sadly, when people try to eliminate these foods from their diet, they tend to cut either dairy or gluten, not both, and they don’t cut them for long enough. The problem is that these intolerances tend to go hand-in-hand so if you don’t cut them simultaneously, you won’t reap the rewards of cutting them. And what are those rewards? Again, we’re limiting this discussion to weight, so on top of relief from bloating and discomfort, you will reduce gastrointestinal inflammation. A healthy digestive system will properly absorb nutrients. As a result, your brain will get the message that whatever nutrient your body wanted has been received and stop triggering your appetite.

No… just, no.

 

5. Take a Multivitamin

In a similar vein, taking a multivitamin first thing in the morning will set you up for less random hunger pangs during the day. Aside from the great benefits of having a well-rounded vitamin and mineral intake, you will avoid falling of the wagon into consuming empty carbs and sugar-loaded junk food. Here’s why: as a protective mechanism against famine and other food-shortages, our brains are little sugar-crazed junkies always craving the next simple-carb fix. When our body runs out of a nutrient, let’s say Vitamin B12, it sends a message to our brains to make us go fetch some. However, that message gets passed via the fidgety sugar junkie huddling in the corner of our brain who rips it up and replaces it with a message saying we need to go get some refined carbs. One large fries or Cinnabon later, we feel sated for about half an hour until our body remember it still needs that B12. So, it sends another go-get-B12 message to our brain, and the whole cycle repeats again and again until we either accidentally eat the nutrient we needed in the first place, or go to bed! Word to the wise, if you are going to take a vitamin with iron, make sure you take it with food… trust me!

Muffins are rich in Vitamin M? Right?

 

6. Good Bacteria

While you’re in the supplement aisle, pickup some probiotics. Acidophilus is great, but it’s worth investing in a multi-strain probiotic. You don’t need to bankrupt yourself buying probiotics, I found a great 6-strain probiotic at the local grocery store for $10 per 60 capsules. It’s a good idea to keep probiotics refrigerated once you get them home, they contain live cells, and the cooler temperatures slow down their activity until you get them into your digestive system! So, what is a probitoic? It’s bacteria… Aagh! Before you freak out, you should know that we all contain bacteria in our digestive systems, and it’s not just there; it’s an active part of our digestion. In fact, people who completely lose their digestive bacteria suffer from malnutrition and diarrhea, and ultimately require fecal bacteriotherapy (which is as gross as it sounds). More interestingly, the bacterial makeup of your digestive system can determine whether you are obese or thin. Studies have shown that when bacteria are taken from humans —overweight or thin—and transferred to mice, mice with bacteria from a thin person stay thin while mice with bacteria from an obese person gain weight! A probiotic can help you develop healthier bacterial flora, and can also help with Candida overgrowth. Candida is a yeast that likes to grow in our guts, and when in excess, can cause bloating and sugar cravings. Bacteria and yeast battle for the same resources, and you can tip the scales against candida with the bacteria of a probiotic (and by cutting out refined sugar and carbohydrates).

Fotor0511154136

One of this pictures is of Acidophilus, the other E-Coli 0157-h7. Good luck choosing which one is safe!

7. Food Doesn’t Come in Packages

In the average grocery store, there are only about 3 or 4 places actual food is sold, and the remaining 90% of the floor-space is dedicated to selling you food-like substances that are chock full of weird and strange chemicals that have never been demonstrated to be safe for human consumption. When you’re shopping, start in the produce section and fill your cart 75% full. Then, head over to the organic section and buy some dried beans/lentils, oats, raw nuts and ingredient peanut or almond butter. Technically these will be in packaging, but that’s because stocking loose lentils or globs of peanut butter on shelves is problematic at best. Then, and only if you must, pick up some organic meat and eggs… but only if you must! Note, you didn’t buy any juice. That’s nature’s answer to soda, i.e. a lot of sugar with no fiber to slow its absorption. Similarly, you didn’t buys any gluten-free flour, vegan mayonnaise or low-fat/sugar-free anything. Don’t replace unhealthy gluten-ful products with equally chemical-laden gluten free versions. Instead find a whole food alternative in the produce section (replace lasagne noodles with zucchini strips, replace cookies with an apple). Et voila, you found the needle in the haystack that is actual food in a grocery store!

Aisle 21: Natural Foods. So, what the heck were you selling on Aisles 1 - 20?!?!

Aisle 21: Natural Foods. So, what the heck were you selling on Aisles 1 – 20?!?!

 

7. Drink Your Water!

Your digestive food is extremely similar to a garbage disposal; you put food into them to be broken down, and you would never dream of using what comes out the other side! We all know that you should never run a garbage disposal without running water into eat, so why would you ever eat food without first drinking water? Drink at least 8 oz of water before you consume any food. This serves a number of important functions in weight management. It stops you from overeating by contributing to an overall feeling of fullness.  It also slows down your food consumption and forces you to be more mindful about eating which is known to help people lose weight. Finally, it helps food transit through your digestive system without causing constipation or bloating. So why did I underline the “before?” Imagine an icing bag with a relatively thin nozzle. If you pour in a large amount of (gluten-free) flour, add the water in second, and then start squeezing, the flour will clog the nozzle, and nasty cement will form at the interface of the water and flour, and most of the water will remain at the top not mixing with anything. If you had pre-filled the bag with some water, and also premixed the flour with some water before putting into the bag, everything would have flowed through easily. Drink a large glass of water before you eat, and continue to drink while you are eating and afterwards too*. And continue drinking throughout the day. 3/4 of the time we think we are hungry, we’re actually thirsty. Dehydration is responsible for most mid-afternoon fatigue… you know, the slump that makes you feel like you need to hit the vending machine for an energy jolt?

“Water, water everywhere. So, let’s all have a drink!”

 

8. There is NO Such Thing as a Superfood

One week we are meant to eat acai berries, the next it’s almonds, then kale, then pomegranates. Each one is lauded as the quick fix to all your health and weight woes, and is usually packaged into a highly processed and refined pill form for your convenience. But here’s the thing, there are no free lunches in nature. Here’s how super-foods are born: Some study looks at an ethnicity or population that tends to have longer lifespans or lower rates of a disease and figures out what they do differently. For instance, we figured out that Chinese men drink a lot of green tea and tend to have lower rate of prostate cancer than men in the US. In response, we spend millions of dollars studying what about green tea offers a protective activity against cancer, and everyone rushes out to buy all the green tea Target has on its shelves. Here’s the rub. Yes, green tea is probably good for you, and probably has a small amount anti-cancer activity. But adding it to your daily intake of triple cheeseburgers, soda, ice-cream and french fries probably isn’t going to ward off cancer. The simple fact is that the old guys in China pair the green tea with a diet of organic, whole foods, mostly vegetables and small amounts of meat and fish. Similar misguiding information is rife in advertising. I saw an ad for some ghastly, refined, sugar-addled cereal boasting that it now contained whole grains, and added that people who eat whole grains tend to weigh less. But that doesn’t mean that eating the whole grains is what makes those people thin. Before cereal corporations started shoving nominal amounts of whole grains into their food-like products, the people who were consuming whole grains were probably also consuming large amounts of whole fruits and vegetables while avoiding animal products, refined sugars and artificial additives. The simple fact is that no one food will get you thin or healthy, nor is it good for you to overdose on any one food. There are no shortcuts to losing weight and warding off disease. You have to overall your entire diet and focus primarily on whole, plant-based foods.

New rule of thumb: don’t eat any food that goes “BANG” or “POW”

 

9. Meditate, Sleep

In the late 80′s/early 90′s there was a huge craze over meditation and self-hypnosis tapes. There were all sorts of promises made of self-hypnosis tapes. They were going to help you attract the opposite sex, lose weight, quit smoking and land a job. Needless to say, none of this worked out; if it had, we’d all be swinging pocket watches in front of our faces to lose weight. However, self-hypnosis or meditation does have some practical applications. Self-hypnosis can be used to relax yourself, relieve stress and anxiety and curb physical pain. I used it to deliver my daughter painlessly without medication, and just today employed those same skills to get through having a rather large tattoo placed on my shoulder. But back to the weight loss! Taking the time to relax and unwind can help relieve the issues that have you heading to the fridge to overeat. There are some great hypnosis tracks available on iTunes and Amazon that specifically target overeating or sugar addiction. Others are available to help you get to sleep, which we know is an important part of weight management for numerous reasons. While hypnosis may not be your thing, find something that helps you to relax while you are awake, and make sure you are getting plenty of sleep.

You are getting motion sick…. motion sick….

10.  Do Your DDP Yoga

When it comes down to it, it works. I tried numerous systems and lost nothing (other than hundreds of dollars in copays for psychical therapy resulting from injuries). With DDP Yoga I lost 50 lbs, and (more importantly) found the motivation to make it a long-lasting and meaningful part of my lifestyle, both the exercise and nutrition components of DDP Yoga. And I have heard that same story over and over around TeamDDP. More and more people who couldn’t find success with weight loss are shedding pound after pound with the DDP Yoga system. Are you the next success story?

BANG!

* If you are prohibited from drinking while eating, I recommend building up to 16 oz of water before eating and a similar amount after your meal. 

Listen to Your Heart [Rate Monitor]

Anytime I am asked how to get the most out of DDP Yoga, I always take the opportunity to convince people to use a heart rate monitor. I very nearly didn’t get one when I started out; at the time I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. In fact, as memory serves, some accumulated Amazon points were the only reason I got one. But thank goodness I did!

When I first started doing DDP Yoga, the Diamond Dozen blew my mind. There is so much information in that tutorial/workout that I am still, to this day, watching it and picking up new things. There were a lot of new moves and positions for my body. Engaging everything at once was new to me and was not a habit I was in, so it was hard to remember the lower half of my body when following along with the instructions for the upper half of my body. My heart rate monitor is set to beep when I when I am above or below my ideal zone. Whenever I would forget to engage my lower body, especially my glutes and quads, my heart rate would dip, and my monitor would start chirping at me. Yes, of course, much as people react to their GPS devices, I anthropomorphized my heart rate monitor, and took the chirping as passive aggressive judgment on its part. The chirping, and my oddly negative reaction to it, forced me to remember to engage my lower body, and kicked my fat burning into gear. As I have pointed out before, I blew past my weigh loss goals long before my first 90 days were up. Using the heart rate monitor was a huge part of that*.

#TeamDDPYogaProblems

#TeamDDPYogaProblems

As my practice continued, the judgmental chirping helped me improve engaging in less cardio-ful moves like twisted lunge, dropping down into catcher or broken table. I can now stay in my fat burning zone in any of those moves or positions!

More recently, I ran into the worst enemy of your fat burning zone: complacency. I started noticing that the numbers of calories I was burning in each workout, as well as the percent of time I was spending “in zone” were both dropping. I log everything in MyFitnessPal, so it was easy for me to spot this pattern. I initially assumed that I was just getting so fit that my body was more efficient, and therefore I was finding it harder to get into my zone. This, to a certain extent, was true, but before I headed off to TeamDDPYoga.com to ask for advice, I decided to exam my DDP Yoga performance. Was I engaging as much I had been when I started? Was I making the most out of each position? I focused on each and every position and movement as I was doing workouts like Strength Builder, Diamond Cutter, and the Level 1 Workout, and examined my heart rate monitor. The answer to the above questions was NO!

Since then, I have been more diligent about my form and engagement while working out, and I have found my performance has returned to my heyday of weight loss and fat burning.

So, like DDP says at the beginning of every workout, make sure your heart rate monitor is on and kicking. And like I say, always ask yourself, is there anything more I could be engaging.

For those of you not old (and possibly not European) enough to remember Roxette, this post’s title was a play on one of their song titles. Good luck getting it out of your head!

* DDP Yoga being that frickin’ awesome was the even bigger factor! 

9 Myths of Weight Loss

1. The Less You Eat the More You’ll Lose
No, no, no, no, no! While it is true that if you eat fewer calories, you will shed some pounds,  it is not a linear relationship. If you eat too few calories, you will enter starvation mode and your body will begin to think it’s in a famine. Your body’s reaction to this situation is to drop its metabolism and do everything it can to store fat (back in our caveman days, this was a useful and important thing for our bodies to do). This will actually slow your weight loss, and is not sustainable in the longterm. There are some great online calculators to figure out how many calories you need to enter an efficient and sustainable weight loss pattern. Generally, you need to eat more calories the more you weigh, and as you lose weight, you need to recalculate how many calories you should eat per day. A good rule of thumb is to recalculate your calorie allowance with each 10 lbs of weight lost. And yes, losing calories from your daily allowance with each 10lb lost is the worst incentive scheme in the world!

Just add a little seasoning….

2. Workout Before You Eat/Workout Before the Sun Has Come Up
Yes… if you are an all-star olympian whose performance is already at 97%, and you’re trying to get that last 3% out of your athleticism. For us mere mortals, the best time to workout is when we are most likely to keep at it. If you’re an early bird, lucky you. I am not, and my workouts are in the evening. I lost 49lbs and counting with my sub-optimal evening workouts. I did go through a brief phase of working out in the morning, and according to my heart rate monitor, I was burning more calories that I would have for a similar workout in the evening. But it wasn’t sustainable and I quit. You are far better off burning 200,000 calories (50 lbs worth of weight) slowly over the course of six to nine months in afternoon workouts, than burning 400o calories in one week of morning workouts before burning out and quitting.

I hate her!

3. Workout Every Day
No, no, no, a thousand times no! You need a break for every reason possible. You will stick with your workout regime if you have days off to do other things, and strike a balance in your life with other hobbies and interests. And while you are indulging in your new-found love of macramé or philately, your body will be hard at work building muscle. It is a misconception that your body builds new muscles when you are working out. It doesn’t. Your muscles get micro-tears during vigorous strength exercises, and that triggers your body to build newer, stronger muscle during the recovery period. If you create new micro-tears on top of the old ones before the muscle is repaired, you will never build that new muscle. The micro-tears will just group together to form macro-tears, i.e. an injury. Make sure you get one day off a week at a minimum.

June: Quit, return to couch, nurse injured knee!

4. Do Thousands of Crunches Every Day to Drop Belly Fat
In a larger sense, this myth is applied to other body areas as focused fat burning, but the belly is the most popular one. Basically, the idea is that if you target strength exercises like ab crunches to a body area, you can target the fat-burning to that area too. Sadly, you can’t. If you want to get rid of belly fat, you need to do cardio and lose all your fat, and if my experience is anything to go by, the midsection is the last place to go. But it’s worth it for you health, your happiness, and your weight-loss. It’s hard to keep at cardio just for the sake of burning fat. Pick a cardio exercise that you enjoy doing, and let the fat-burning be an afterthought. If you want proof that crunches are not the way to go, grab your heart-rate monitor and do 20 minutes of ab-work and see how many calories you burn. Then do 20 minutes of running. I’ll bet you’ll burn twice, if not more, the calories running, and you need to lose calories to lose fat (fat IS stored calories). If you also want to do some core work to tone up your abdominal muscles in addition to your cardio, pick something less back-breaking than classical crunches. Like Red Hot Core, perhaps?

I hate her too!

5. No Pain, No Gain
New mantra: Pain is pain! Evolution went through millions of years worth of trial and error to hook you up with a sweet brain that interprets pain signals from your body. To ignore that pain would be, well, just plain rude! If you want to be strong, healthy and lose weight in a sustainable fashion, you need to be on the same team as your body. And teammates listen to each other! As you learn to listen to your body, you will learn the difference between an exercise being difficult and feeling fatigued or injured. If you are fatigued, you need to take a break, because you are more likely to get injured in that state. If you are injured, you need to back off working the part of the body that is injured rather than pushing through. A good way to learn the difference between a workout feeling tough and an actual injury is to pick a low impact workout that you can modify to your needs. Even better, if you can find one that doesn’t leave you stiff and sore, you will have a better time keeping on the wagon, and staving off injury. If only such a workout existed!

Success!

6. Strength-training Will Bulk You up Like a Man!
Nope. Do you have any idea of the science that goes into body-building for  men? Everything they eat has to be perfectly prescribed and timed. Their workouts are grueling, involve weights you don’t see in a normal gym, and takes year and years. A big clue that bulky muscle is not something you accidentally gain comes in the pervasiveness of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in the body-building world and other sports. For women, it’s even harder, because you have to go against your body’s natural inclination to gain fat – for nursing our young – and force it to gain muscle for hunting and gathering, which Evolution decided was “Men’s work”. As a more personal example, I have been trying to increase my shoulder strength for months. I have been doing the toughest DDP workouts six days a week, I have held plank for 20 minutes. I have been doing pull-ups. And this is the “bulkiest” pose I can muster:

I love the smell of HGH in the morning...

I love the smell of HGH in the morning…

7. You’re Too Old to Start
Shhhhh… don’t let DDP hear you say that. DDP’s wrestling career didn’t start until he was 35, and didn’t even take off until he was 40. He wasn’t introduced to yoga until his mid-forties, and he was in his fifties when DDP Yoga took off in the form of the Arthur video that brought most of us in. That said, I understand how it feels to think you’ve missed your chance. Most of the fit and healthy people we see in magazines, on TV, in the sporting world are not legally old enough to have a beer, which works out well because they are too goddamn perfect to ever drink something so carb-loaded! Eventually, we start to believe that health and exercise are reserved for the young. I was 33 staring at my fat body in the mirror, with chronically injured knees and no energy to even stand up straight, never mind do a push-up. I’m blessed that I gave it one last shot, because I mentally decided that was all I had left in me. But there is no reason that I couldn’t have started later. DDP started later. So did Terri. And Arthur. And Jake. And Stacey. And [Your Name Here]?

What’s your excuse?

8. You Need to Do Long Workouts
“I’m going to workout for SEVEN hours today.” Okay, good luck with that! This approach offers you all the injury potential of not taking a rest day (see #3) without having to wait a whole week. Working out to the point of fatigue will cause you to lose good form, and you risk injury and burnout. Also, much like not eating properly, you will force your body into survival mode. Your metabolism won’t allow you to burn fat efficiently and you won’t be losing as much weight or gaining as much muscle as you would if you have spread the workouts over the week. Needless to say, you won’t be able to sustain this pattern very long.

The length of time you spend working out should be commensurate with your experience and strength level. If you have never worked out before, a twenty-minute workout will be all you need. A good way to monitor if you are overdoing it is to use a heart rate monitor. If you find you are struggling not to exceed your maximum rate, you may be overdoing it. If you are struggling to get over your minimum, you may need a harder or longer workout. People who run ultra-marathons or climb Everest don’t just wake up and do it, they spend months building up to those endeavours. Don’t do the at-home equivalent of an ultra-marathon without building up to it!

On a personal note, the vast majority of my weight loss occurred when I was doing Energy, Fat Burner, and Strength Builder, i.e. workouts ranging from 25 to 40 minutes. I didn’t start the hour-long workouts in DDP Yoga until I was a few months in. As long as you’re using more calories per day than you are consuming, you will lose weight.

Is it tomorrow already?

9. The Science of the Fat-burning Zone 
This point is more about ignoring the myth than debunking it. The science of the fat-burning zone is somewhat controversial, but you should still use your heart rate monitor and aim for it during your workouts. Here’s why: while you you may burn more calories per hour in the upper end of your target zone or in your anaerobic zone, you are running your body too hard. As DDP says, it’s the same as putting the pedal to the metal and driving your car in the red. Sure, you’re going get there a lot faster, but you’re not going to have the same level of control, thus risking a crash-and-burn, and the engine is going to burn out a lot quicker. Your body is an engine, and your heart rate monitor is your tachometer. You should aim to be in the 3000-4000 rpm range on your car’s tachometer if you want it to last, and you should aim to workout your the fat-burning zone to make your body last and your workout regime sustainable.

Anyone else looking forward to turning 60?

A Brief History of Liz

In the run up to Wednesday’s DDP Radio Episode in which yours truly will be on, Stacey Morris asked me to write a quick bio. Four MS Word pages later, she suggested I make a post out of it. Et voila! 

The very first time I ever felt fat was when I was in my early teens. A group of my friends and I were hanging out the bedroom of a boy I was smitten with. I sat on the edge of his bed, and his bed-frame promptly snapped in two, leaving me sitting on the middle of his floor surrounded by shards of wood and humiliated. In retrospect, I wasn’t that heavy, and the cheap bed frame was probably going to break regardless of who sat on it, but at the time neither me nor my friends understood that. I remember everyone looking down at me like I was a worthless, fat, lump. Remembering the look on their faces still stings today as I type this. Worse still, the boy whose bed it was (remember, the one I was in love with), ran out of his room shouting – with a very tangible tone of disgust in his voice – “Dad! Liz sat on the bed and her big ass broke it!” His father was very nice, and made sure to say that the bed was old and had needed to be replaced, but he was the only one who was nice about it. Everyone else teased me for months after that, which paled in comparison to how I made myself feel about it, and how I let it shape how I saw my body. It was a truly soul-crushing experience.

Childhood
All through my childhood, I wasn’t fat, but I was certainly the least thin girl.  I was NEVER sporty; I didn’t do extra-curricular activities of any description. The only exercise thing I participated in was Sports Day at school (they made me), and to this day my parents laugh that I was always dead last in every race because I was waving at the spectators I knew, and making no effort to make it to the finish line. Food-wise, my parents always made dinner, but breakfast was a sugary cereal, lunch was a sandwich with chocolate and chips, my snacks were candy and junk foods, and I was showing signs of the overeating and lack of self-control that have plagued me to this day.

The Teen Years
At 12 years of age, I was somewhere around 170 lb and I remember LONGING to be somewhere around 150. Bit longing was all I ever did. I never did anything other than wishing it, because quite frankly, until I went to secondary/high school, I didn’t know you could! I thought your weight was luck of the draw, and I don’t know that it occurred to me that diet or exercise could be involved! I developed the normal teen insecurities; I hated my body and didn’t once feel confident about it until a few months ago. Since age 12, I have had a negative body image, and like most girls, did stupid and unhealthy things in an effort to lose weight, such as crash diets, unhealthy eating habits, and even taking up smoking! However, all that time I was overeating and indulging in terribly unhealthy food (basically, the complete opposite of the DDP Yoga nutrition plan) so my weight steadily climbed through my teens. I showed a general disrespect for my body, and my health was not on my list of priorities.

Early Twenties
In college, I felt a little more comfortable in my own skin, so the silly diets went away, but I continued in my overeating and indulgent behaiours. I ate donuts, fatty sandwiches, ramen noodles as my most common food choices, but I had to walk 30 minutes to and from the bus, and I had the lovely metabolism that comes with being in your twenties, so I only got to about 180 lbs. I say that I did kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do, but realistically I never stuck with it consistently. I made it to class for a month or two at a time, and then I would make up excuses not to go. After my second year in college, I gave up martial arts completely and did zero physical activity.

Dublin 05L29 (9)

Late Twenties
After college, I moved to the US for grad school. This is when things changed for the worse.  There were no more 30-minute walks to the bus because I could afford a car. I could also eat out at least 2-3 times a week, which I couldn’t afford in Ireland. I discovered places like Applebees, TGIs, and Chilis, drive-through fast food, processed food, large packages and portion sizes, and the wildly affordable junk food that had never been available to me before. I gained weight quickly!

To counteract this weight gain, my roommate who made equally poor dietary decisions and I started on-off relationships with The Firm, Tae Bo, Pilates, Weight Watchers, other diets/exercise programs, and after grad school Gaiam Yoga, P90X. As I have said before, I always went at it hard for a month (using my over-indulgent personality for good), and then promptly got injured or burned out.

The worst was The Firm, because a combination of its 16” step and weights on my shoulders destroyed my knees. I blamed myself by thinking I was getting hurt because I wasn’t getting the form right, so I kept at it on and off for a decade, racking up thousand of dollars in wasted money on all these programs. Each time I quit, I would replace the compulsive exercise with overeating. I have always had zero self-control with food, exercise, shopping etc., and I have had a hard time sticking with anything, be it diets, hobbies, anything really.

Before_2

Thirties
When I was 29. I got married. I was working for a really abusive boss when I was doing my postdoctoral work. During this period, I did a lot of comfort eating, which laid waste to what small achievements I had made in toning up for the wedding (at my best I was at 185 around this period). I took up yoga taught by a colleague’s wife, and it was wonderful, but I wasn’t losing weight doing it.; whatever calories I was burning were no match for my food intake (I had a steadfast belief that if you worked out, you could eat whatever you wanted).  However, I found a love of yoga and I could tell yoga was capable of being a really tough form of exercise while being low impact.

When I was 31, I had my daughter. I had to go on an elimination diet to breastfeed, and I lost all the baby weight (229 back down to 185), within two weeks! HOWEVER, once she could handle dairy in my diet (around 3 months), I went nuts making up for lost time eating ice-cream… and other things, but mostly ice-cream. I let myself think that breastfeeding game me carte blanche for eating. It didn’t. I remember going to a doctor’s check up, and the nurse weighed me at 198 lbs. I tried P90X, but between all the injuries it caused me and the time-suck of trying to do 1/5 hours of exercise with a newborn, I couldn’t stick with it.

2013
The worst period for my health, weight, and state of mind all was when my husband moved to Illinois for a new job a month ahead of us. I stayed behind for the month of January, 2013 to finish up work, and to deep clean our house to prepare it to go on the market. Each day, I was working full time, looking after my toddler, and then once she went to bed, cleaning the house until I went to sleep. I quickly ended up having zero time or energy to make food for myself, so every single day I ate Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast (two Boston Cremes with a large decaf with cream), take-out for one of the campus restaurants for lunch and either take-out Indian or Mexican for dinner. I also kept the house stocked with chocolate, cakes, and ice-cream for rewarding myself for all the housework I was doing.

Once I moved to IL, I was so fat that I couldn’t bear to let anyone, especially my husband, see my body. I also became really depressed, both because of my weight, and also because of how my poor health made me feel. I lashed out at people, again, especially my husband. For instance, I became upset and started blaming him for my getting fat. My “logic” was that I became fat because he didn’t make me feel special or beautiful enough. Obviously, I just didn’t want to admit it was my fault because I couldn’t fix it. I wasn’t taking enough care of myself for anyone to think I was beautiful, and even though my husband did somehow love me and think I was beautiful, I was too depressed to let that message in.  So our marriage was doing great! On top of being depressed and bitter, I had such a heavy feeling of hopelessness about the situation. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking I just couldn’t fix this. I was too old and too injured.

Before-1

Discovering DDP Yoga
Around this point, someone put up the Arthur video on Facebook, and I watched it and reacted to it like everyone, but it didn’t occur to me to think of myself making the same change. Along with many Facebook friends, I shared the video too, and at some point it occurred to me to look into what DDP Yoga actually was (Duh!). I still dawdled before buying it. Owing to my past experiences with exercise and diet systems, I spent a lot of time looking online for a BAD review of DDP Yoga but I couldn’t find one. I could find plenty for The Firm or P90X (and wished I’d looked when I was buying them). That is when I decided to buy DDP Yoga. I’ve said it before, the period of time I wasted between seeing the Arthur video and actually buying the DDP Yoga system is my only regret with DDP Yoga.

For a more detailed description of my first 90 days, please read this post!

Day 0
On April 7th, 2013, I started DDP Yoga! My original Goals were to lose 20 lbs (192 to 172lb), stick with it for over a month, thus beating my previous record, and for my knees not hurt more than they did at that point (I couldn’t get up a flight of stairs without wincing in pain).  Starting DDP Yoga my mindset was that if or when I failed that was it for me. In the big picture, I didn’t envision the weight coming off, running races, or sticking with it, but, as this was to be my last attempt at fixing myself, I decided to do everything little thing that the system wanted (joining TeamDDPyoga.com, using the heart rate monitor, doing the 6 pictures every 30 days, engaging*, etc). I also read somewhere DDP saying something along the lines of not wanting to ever hear someone say “I can’t do this” or “I’ll try to do this” but “I WILL do this” and “I CAN do this”. I wish I could find it, because I want to share it with everyone given the difference employing that mindset made for me.

I started out like a recovering addict, taking everything day-by-day, or within a workout I’d take it move-by-move. I’d repeat in my head over and over “I can do this” as I did a 3 count pushup, and ignore the remaining push-ups in that workout that I still had to do; I just focused on the push-up I was doing at that moment!

Day 0 Front and Side

Day 0 Front and Side

Day30
I remember taking my pictures and thinking I hadn’t changed much until I saw them side-by-side. I was blown away by how I had changed. My weight had steadily dropped over the first 30 days. I feel like every time I stepped on the scale, I was lighter than I had been before. And I was starting to believe that perhaps it wasn’t too late for me. Perhaps my fatalist belief that I would fail was wrong.

Day1_30_Side

Side Comparison

Day1_30_Front

Front Comparison

Day 60
I had to re-edit my goals on my TeamDDPyoga.com profile because I had met my weight goal. I ran a Warrior Dash so my knees were obviously doing a lot better. I went gluten-free and fully dairy-free (i.e. vegan), despite having initially scoffed at the idea and deciding I would NEVER do so! I am very happy I did. The reduction in inflammation meant I had better knees and skin!

Day1_30_60_Side

Side Comparison

Day1_30_60_Front

Front Comparison

Day 90
I met my new weight goals! In addition to literally slaughtering all my original goals, over the first 90 days, the list of things I  learned how to do grew and grew!

  • Side Plank 3
  • Road Warrior 3
  • Black Crow
  • Slow Burn Push-ups
  • Normal Push-ups
  • Wrap & Burn
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Firefly Pose
  • Black Crow
  • Side Crow
  • Eight Angle Pose
  • Eka Pada Koundinyasana I
  • Forearm Balance
  • Flying Pigeon Pose
  • Pull-ups
  • A Sub 10-minute Mile (running)

The best thing from my 90th day was getting a phone call from DDP. When he told me who he was, I replied, “Oh My God!” I corrected myself and said “Hi”, but in retrospect, I think I got it right the first time!

Day1_30_60_90_Side

Side Comparison

Day1_30_60_90_Front

Front Comparison

After the First 90 Days
The biggest achievement for my knees was running a half marathon (remember, I had initially hoped that DDP Yoga wouldn’t cause any further damage to my knees. Instead, it fixed them!). It’s worth noting that I started the half-marathon training AFTER I had met all my goals, so running did not contribute to my weight loss. I did the Hal Higdon plan, which calls for Stretch days, Strength days, and Cross Training. DDP Yoga was my choice for ALL of those days, because it satisfies each of them. In the last week before the race and the week after it, I did the Extreme Hip, Back and Knee Opener Workout exclusively. For my future running goals, I’m signed up for the Wisconsin Full Marathon in May.

mara

I finished the half-marathon like this because DDP Yoga is the reason I could do this!

These days, I am training to get certified as a DDP Yoga Instructor, and I am still plugging away at forearm balance as well as other poses. Ultimately, I would like to transition into a career with DDP Yoga, perhaps as a personal trainer, or some other way of helping people, which I thought I would get out of science but it didn’t!

I am so inspired by the TeamDDPyoga people who branch out (Ben Miller’s Donate My Weight, Christina Russell’s Cookbook etc), but I lack that creativity. However, what I lack in creativity, I more than make up for in passion and puritanical faith in DDP Yoga. There are people who equal my passion and belief in DDP Yoga, but no one exceeds it! That’s why I am so driven to help others find their way to this system, and I want to find new and better ways to do that. I already have my 2-year-old asking to do the “Diamond Cudder” at least a few times a day. My husband is my Everest in the conversion efforts, though I am forcing him to be my “student” for my certification training.

My biggest motivation is supporting others around TeamDDPYoga, or via email. I also love promoting the endeavours of my teammates on Facebook or Twitter because the community feeling in TeamDDPyoga is one of my favourite things about DDP Yoga. I also love Arthur Boorman’s philosophy of never meeting all your goals, because if you’re not moving forward, you’re sliding backwards.  But like DDP says, there’s always some place to go, so I am not short on goals to work toward.

DDP Yoga let me meet my weight goals, fixed my knees, and gave me the passion to stick with something for over 6 months and counting. It also gave me the ability to love my body and to feel pride in myself. My health is better than it has ever been before, and I have a confidence in myself I have never had before.

The most remarkable thing about DDP Yoga has been not only the amount of weight I have lost, but the fact that I have kept it off. The other most remarkable thing is that I still have enthusiasm for the system. Actually, the most remarkable thing is that I, for the very first time in my life, have muscle tone in my arms. Okay, there’s a lot of most remarkable things where DDP Yoga is concerned!

Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 22.55.11

* I mention “engaging” because when I researched the workouts, I knew I could totally engage my body to raise my heart rate and lose weight, but once I got the DVDs in my hands, I started feeling self-doubt and wondering if I would stick with it, or fall back into half-assing the workouts like I had in the past.