One Year Later

Today marks the first full year of my DDP Yoga journey.

This time last year, I looked into the mirror, and this is what was looking back at me.

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My knees where in chronic pain, I overweight, and I was depressed. I had no energy. Every movement felt heavy and painful. I had spent my twenties trying every diet plan and exercise system you could name, and the picture above was the sum total of those efforts. Now, I was in my thirties. My metabolism was slower, and I had a child to look after. If I couldn’t get the body and health-level I wanted in my twenties when everything was working in my favour, I certainly wasn’t going to get it now. The depression wasn’t restricted to my body image; it seeped out into my marriage, my self-confidence, my enthusiasm for anything.

On April 7th, 2013, after viewing the Arthur video for the umpteenth time, I placed my order for the max pack and joined TeamDDPyoga.com. I did the Diamond Dozen that day, took my 6 pictures, and went shopping for a heart rate monitor. And I haven’t looked back since.

In the past year (and I know I am going to leave many things out):

  • I lost over 50 lbs (8 dress sizes and 2 ring sizes)
  • I became the co-first female DDP Yoga Level 1 Instructor with Christina Russell
  • I won the DDP Yoga Challenge with Christina
  • I ran a half-marathon, two obstacle races, and several other 5 and 10Ks
  • Mastered dozens of “impossible” poses
  • Met DDP!
  • Changed careers and became a DDP Yoga Instructor

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But that list doesn’t scratch the surface of what DDP Yoga has done for me. I have happiness and confidence both within myself and in the things I do like never before. I am a better mother and wife, because I am not held back by depression, and I can run around with my daughter (or do DDP Yoga together) because I feel light and free from knee pain.

I also feel like I can do anything now. In the run up to starting DDP Yoga, I was working for an extremely abusive boss who spent his time telling me I couldn’t do anything right, and I spent the years I worked with him internalising that criticism and extending it to anything I thought about trying. Now, I walk into job interviews or any new challenge with my head held high knowing that I am smart, strong and capable.

I feel healthy, light and strong. I have met my weight goals, but more importantly, I have learned to stop caring about weight (that statement is a HUGE achievement coming from someone who had an eating disorder – bulimia in case you’re curious- from age 12 into her twenties). I am now more interested in achieving feats of strength like running a full marathon, or nailing Forearm Balance. My low weight is merely a side-effect of my healthy lifestyle now.

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DDP Yoga has given me the gift of connection through everyone at TeamDDPYoga.com, and I know that my success, as well as the assurance I have that I won’t fall off the wagon in the future comes from all the love and support I receive from my friends there.

DDP Yoga has given me so much. It was the best decision I ever made.

Thank you DDP, Craig Aaron, and everyone at TeamDDP xoxo

 

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Shorts: Be Your Own Cheerleader!


The DDP Yoga Facebook Page posted my success story today! What an honor. Here’s the link, and some other self-adulation. Why all the non-humble bragging? Because it’s important to always be proud of what you accomplish. You’ve worked hard, and showing off your result may inspire someone else to make positive changes in their own life.

 


http://ddpyoga.com/elizabeth.html

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My BMI before DDP Yoga was somewhere between 27.4 and 28.6!

meFlexibility from DDP Yoga!

And reminders of how great you are!

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Two in Seven Billion

Christina is an amazing person. She has come from a harrowing loss and depression, and gone on to own her life, reach her weight goals, inspire others, and become a very important member of teamDDPyoga.com, while also being a wonderful mother, wife and friend. It was both an honour and a shock to co-win the 2014 DDP Yoga Challenge with her. To be honest, I feel a little undeserving of being held up alongside her.

But the fun hasn’t stopped there. Christina and I found out a couple of weeks ago that we are the first ever female certified DDP Yoga instructors!!!

HCS4L

T-shirt slogans: Slightly more reputable than Wikipedia.

In other words, I went from this:

How do you like the new advertising campaign?

to this:

To mark our joint achievements, I thought I would do what Christina and I do best: inject some humour into the situation.  On the DDP Yoga trailblazers Facebook group, we came up with a funny list of effects that training for the certification has on your life. Here it is:

  1. You can’t do the regular workouts without instinctively mirroring the movements AND/OR your sense of left and right is completely messed up now!
  2. You find yourself pulling your adductors together and squeezing your glutes while queuing at the store.
  3. You always go from Touchdown to Huddle Up when doing the regular workouts, instead of folding forward like you’re meant to.
  4. You totally thought it was “Hulk it OUT”…. oops!
  5. Your friends and family are sick of you referencing what you heard on DDP Radio, and you rebut their claims that you’ve “really drunk the Kool-Aid” by pointing out that Kool-Aid would never be allowed in Phase III.
  6. Waiting in a doctor’s office or an airport is torture… Look at all that open space where I could really get in a great DDP Yoga session!
  7. You feel genuine pity for any friend that speaks enthusiastically about a non-DDP Yoga exercise program. They just don’t know any better!
  8. You can’t make it through a single day without at least one Diamond Cutter thrown in for good measure, even on rest days.
  9. You have developed a new handshake, fingers spread wide and engaged!734516_10153583893430411_345874729_n
  10. If you see someone slouching, you have the urge to run them through entire ignition phase.
  11. (For Men) MsN has ruined missionary position!
  12. You know the words to every workout… backwards.
  13. You literally can’t wait to be really old! Lower target HR? Awwww yeaahh!
  14. You totally kicked ass doing your DDP Yoga today!

Okay, so maybe it’s only funny if you’re training to get certified.

If there’s one thing DDP Yoga it excels at, it’s having a sense of humour:

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Currently located on the mantlepiece by the big cheque!
Currently displayed on my mantlepiece by the big cheque!

 

No Excuses 1: What Worked and What Didn’t Work

I’m baaaaack!

I spent the past month in the British Aisles, splitting my time between the UK and Ireland where each of my parents live. I posted previously about the various and sundry concerns I had about spending that much time away from home, and the impact it could have on my weight loss and fitness achievements. To prevent this from happening, I devised a 10-point battle plan to avoid letting things getting out of control. In this post I am going to review what did work, and what didn’t.

Most of the points in my battle plan pertained to diet rather than exercise for a couple of reasons. First, your weight is 90% diet and 10% exercise. Second, I am an over-eater. My weakness lies in my ability to control myself at the pantry. I am far less concerned about my ability to exercise while I am abroad than I am about my ability to eat clean when I am around all the junk foods and treats that make me feel at home. And I was right to have that approach; where exercise was concerned, I nailed it. Where food was concerned, I didn’t do so great.

1. Priming my family about my diet
This was a mixed bag. On the one hand, lots of concessions were made for me with regards helping me have the ingredients I needed and cook them, and allowing space or time in the kitchen to make my meals. On the other hand, I had to put up with a fair amount of ridicule which was tedious. I also was tempted to eat bad food with lines like “One won’t hurt”, “It’s the holidays”, or “You look great, let yourself have a reward,” and I sadly fell for these lines. It started out as just having a gluten-free AND vegan treat, but that evolved into having a gluten-free OR vegan treat, which in turn became eating the entire package of gluten-free treats, and finally ended up with me eating crappy junk food like Pringles or Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. For the first three weeks, I was within my calorie allowance, and on the last week, I was over, which I justified (rationalized) as being okay because my calorie intake over the whole month broke even. I’ll expand on this below, but for now, I will spoil the surprise and say that this logic didn’t work!

2. Traveling with measuring cups/using MyFitnessPal
This was a great idea! I was able to know how much I was eating and make sure I was within my limits. However, there’s a “BUT”. Giving yourself a calorie limit, and measuring your food is great, and as per the laws of thermodynamics, will keep you at your weight so long as you are honest and accurate when logging your calories. BUT it does not mean you are eating healthily, nor does it mean your diet is sustainable. Toward the third week of my trip, I had an epiphany. I realized I had taken my DDP Yoga nutrition plan and over the course of the holiday converted it to a Weight Watchers plan; i.e. eat whatever unhealthy crap you want, just stop when you hit 2K calories. The problem with this is that I am a Doctor of Biology, and I know better than most how cancer and other diseases can thrive in this diet, and the evolutionary reasons behind it being unsustainable, especially if you are an over-eater like me. And presto, by the third and fourth weeks, I was lying to MyFitnessPal, and underestimating the amount of junk food I had eaten so that it looked as though I was within my calorie limits.

3. Visually reminding myself of my achievements
This worked well when I had to social engagements. Right before we left the house for drinks parties or get-togethers, despite the fact that I was in full make-up and wearing high heels and and a dress, I would drop to the floor and knock out some slow burn push-ups. Then I would do some DR punches, rows and curls. This allowed my body to be in peak condition so that people I hadn’t seen in a while would see how well I had done. The compliments I received and looking in the mirror before I left the house were good reminders of how great it feels to be strong and healthy, and helped curb the temptation to eat the various bowls of chips and finger-foods I had to spend the evening sitting in front of.

4. Dropping a few pounds before the vacation
Here’s the logic on this one: I got down to 142 lbs, and wanted to keep at 145lbs. That way, if I put on 3 lbs, it was okay. This was a stupid idea. First, when you are 142 lbs, you want to stay at 142 lbs regardless of whether it was only meant to be a “temporary” weight loss. Also, as an over-eater  I do not do well in situations where I can “let myself go”; letting myself go in the past led to me reaching 198 lbs! The proof of this logic failing me is in the fact that I weighed in at 147 lbs when I got home. Like I have written before, humans always underestimate how much they are eating, and are evolutionarily driven to eat all the high-calories foods they encounter.

5. Planning to do a toxin cleanse when I got back to the US
This was related in logic to the previous point. The last time I did a cleanse, I dropped a few pounds so the idea was to know that cleansing was an option if I gained a couple of pounds. And boy did I need it. Aside from being 2 lbs over the buffered allowance, I was just bloated and gross when I got home. My skin is not as good as it was before I travelled and I had some inflammation in my knees associated with eating crap. While a cleanse is always nice, especially at the start of the year, this part of my plan was bad because it mentally gave me carte blanche to eat crap and gain weight. It is – obviously – healthier and more sensible to not have so many toxins in your system that they need to be cleansed out and not to have your weight yo-yo.

6. Looking ahead to new goals
This was a great idea, and was the one point more-or-less dedicated to exercise. My goals were to get certified as a DDP Yoga Instructor, and to run a Marathon in 2014. For the former, I – remarkably – met another aspiring Level 1 instructor in Bognor Regis, England and we met up to train together a couple of times. For our first training session, we did his Diamond Dozen workout. As an aside, he submitted that workout along with his other materials while I was there, and found out he had become the first certified DDP Yoga instructor in the UK (way to go, Haydn)! The second workout we did together was my Level 1 and Diamond Dozen workouts back-to-back. Knowing that we were going to film those workouts compelled me to practice every evening before we did it. My Marathon training started on the 29th of December, so I went on a number of runs to make sure my stamina didn’t drop. In fact I was so committed to running that I went for a 3 mile run the first day I was in Ireland in an effort to keep myself up and avoid jetlag having being up all night on the plane. It worked! All-in-all I did yoga 12 times and ran 11 times, with only 3 rest days (including travel days).

7. Staying in touch with teamDDPyoga.com
This worked pretty well. Sparky send me a message asking how things were going. My first draft read, “All is great, thanks for checking.” But as I read it, I was forced to examine the veracity of that statement. That caused me to rewrite my reply, and send him a more long-winded version where I explained that I had lapsed into less than GF and DF diet. While writing to him, I examine my eating in general and realized that as much as my eating abroad had nothing to do with the Phase III DDP Yoga nutrition plan, my diet at home was not as committed to the Phase III plan as I was allowing myself to believe. I came to the decision that 2014 was going to be the year I truly committed to my long term health. I essentially tabled all my other resolution plans in favour of making the Phase III happen without any excuses or bogus excuses (I don’t have to obey the no fruit after noon because I am vegan).

Another less tangible but equally important effect teamDDPyoga.com had on me occurred when I nearly made a very bad decision. I had decided to commit to Phase III when I got home, but it wasn’t going to be possible while I was traveling. It occurred to me that there was just too much temptation and jetlag, and that I only had a week left, so I should just give up on all calorie counting, or any component of the DDP Yoga nutrition plan, and spend the week eating whatever I felt like eating. After all, how much weight could I possibly put on in a week. Then I thought back to Slim with his ABMF mantra, and what Arthur would say about sliding back like this, or how Ben Miller would view letting one slip justify coming off the wagon for the rest of the week. And it worked. I didn’t give up. I committed to keep trying. That’s not to say there weren’t anymore slips. Far from it. This was the week I ended up over my calorie allowance so the slips came harder and faster. But I didn’t give up.  I kept calorie counting, trying to be vegan and gluten-free, and doing my DDP Yoga. Knowing that there’s a community of people who have invested time and energy in me, who would be disappointed if I disappeared or completely reverted, who in some cases look up to me or are in the community because of my story, stopped me from giving up. I kept looking forward, even when I was sliding backwards.

8. Paying it Forward
I signed on to Ben Miller’s holiday Donate Your Weight challenge. I decided to put my own spin on it to give myself some accountability. I will donate 1 lb of food for every lb I had lost at the start of the holidays. I weighed in officially at 145 lbs the morning of our outbound flight so that is 47 lbs of food guaranteed to the food bank.  The accountability twist I put on it was that for every pound I gained over the holiday, I would donate two pounds. I weighted in at 147 lbs upon my return, so that brings the total to 51 lbs. Did this challenge actually prevent me shovelling family-sized bars of chocolate into my face? No. The problem is that I don’t harbour any ill-will towards the needy, and I have zero problem pulling money out of my pocket to feed my fellow human beings as I hope they would me, so the “threat” of having to do so proved to be a mediocre deterrent against my overeating. Nevertheless, the challenge is a good and important thing to do. I plan to do the exact same thing next year and so should you!

9. Making my Own Food
I make my own food as often as possible, whether at home or abroad. Doing so allows me to control what I eat and how much of it I eat. Telling a potential dinner host that I am vegan, gluten-free and calorie controlled tends to be all I need to say to have someone agree to let me cater for myself! My family and friends were more than happy to let me make my own food. The problem with my eating when I was away, therefore, had nothing to do with what others were feeding me. The problem was what I was feeding myself. As I have mentioned, it was a bad mix of being an over-eater combined with a lot of self delusion about my adherence to Phase III.

10. Lying!
I planned to tell anyone who challenged me on aspects of my diet that I was allergic to whatever it was that I was being enticed to consume. In actuality, this peer-pressure style of temptation never occurred. Instead, my diet was ridiculed and undermined in other ways, so I will need to think of plans to combat the problems I actually encountered for next time. Always be moving forward!

The trip abroad really allowed me to focus on where I am going wrong. The problem is that I was making excuses and assumptions, and deluding myself. Now that I am home, I have just done a three-day cleanse, and tomorrow morning will be the first day of Phase 3. I took the DDP Yoga guide with me to the store so that I wouldn’t just assume what I was buying was in keeping with the program, wrote out a meal plan and shopped for it. As per DDP’s advice, I logged in what I will eat tomorrow in advance. As per the advice I read in my doctor’s office, I will eat more-or-less the same thing for a week at a time. And I will not give myself any free passes or make any lame excuses.

2014 will be the year of No Excuses! I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season, and that you will join me on this year’s journey!

2014: The Year of NO EXCUSES

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.

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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!

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* 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.

6 Minutes to August

I did it, and only two months too late! I finally completed the 6-minute plank challenge that I set myself as part of my August WiT Bust a Move challenges.

When I first saw people were doing the six minute planks, I remember thinking, “I can do that!” DDP always says to tell yourself that you can do things before you try them, but this time I didn’t need to reassure myself of anything. Plank is easy. Plank is the rest you get before the slow burn push-ups kick your ass. Obviously I can do six minutes-worth of something I can already do. Honestly, when I added the plank to the sixty second Black Crow and forearm balance challenges, it was so that I could have something I knew I could complete that month. Of course, my arrogance was rewarded by completing everything but the plank!

Yesterday was quite the day for 6′s. I went for a run with my family. My husband joined me, pushing my daughter in our jogging stroller for the first two miles of the scheduled five miles I had to do for my half-marathon schedule. We were on a three-mile loop. As I was approaching mile two of my second lap, I decided to keep going and ended up running over six miles.

When we got home, I needed to do some strength straining. Back in August, I had managed about three minutes of holding a plank, but since then I have learned how to do do pull-ups and better push-ups, and something told me it was time to give it another go.

Before you watch this, I want to warn you about a couple of things. First, I look like a worn out mess because I had just run six miles. Also, I was singing along to unforgivably terrible pop music to get through the six minutes. I used to be quite a good singer; I was on two choirs, actually. But a decade-and-a-half of smoking laid waste to my dreams* of headlining a musical!  Sadly for you, what you will hear in this video is less singing and more “pack of three-legged, rabid raccoons, hissing and shrieking at each other”. But I do drop enough F-Bombs to lose a PG-13 rating if that’s your thing, and there’s a happy ending!

* I never had any such dream!

DDP Radio… I’m Back, Baby!

I have been powering through the last few weeks’ worth of DDP Radio today. My mother was in town for the past two weeks, and as she got a dawn to dusk earful about the virtues of DDP Yoga from me, the last thing she wanted to listen to when I wasn’t speaking was other people espousing the virtues of DDP Yoga! Much to my disgust, she wouldn’t even try DDP Yoga, opting instead to make me do Crunch Candlelight yoga with her.

As usual, there was so much inspiration and motivation that I want to remember. Here are my favourites:

DDP Radio 12

DDP Radio 13

DDP Radio 11

Sun Salutations – DDP Yoga Style

I don’t make a habit of posting my challenge videos here, but I was quite pleased with this one.

When I started DDP Yoga in April of this year, I couldn’t do slow burn push-ups without being on my knees. This morning, I did 100 of them.

This is a video of me doing the 100 Bang Salute at Sunrise. I did all 100 push-ups, all 200 Diamond Cutters, but I definitely forgot to do some of the Down Dogs, Forward Bends, and maybe some of the ignitions. I engaged less as my heart rate rose. My form on the later push-ups wasn’t great, and my ability to count to 3 waned. That said, my push-up form wasn’t as appalling as the camera angle may lead you to believe!

This was a damn tough challenge, and I am DAMN proud of myself! BANG!

Even More Motivation!

In case this blog wasn’t motivation enough, I wanted to share some wisdom from other people that inspires me too.

I have been listening to DDP Radio, and every week important points get made that I want to remember and focus on. I wanted to find a way to share some of the more inspirational ideas and quotes that are shared on the show, and I recently came up with the idea of making motivational posters out of them.

I will be periodically sharing them here:

DDP Radio 3

DDP Radio 1

This was particularly notable to me as I have been working on Scorpion Pose/Forearm balance for a while now. It is important to take stock, and work on the fundamentals of strength and stamina (or as DDP would say, “Check your ego!”)

DDP Radio 4

I felt this way too. Turned out, they were just helpful and nice people. It seems that when you are healthy and happy, you end up being nice to folks!

DDP Radio 2Amen.