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: Food Stuff!

Here are some of my favourite posts from my Facebook Page. It seems like gloom and doom, but the last post is some good news!

Mmmm… butylated hydroxytolune

I’m not a fan of any added sweetener, artificial or “natural” (the quotation marks are for sweeteners like Stevia, which is still highly processed and alters your body chemistry). If you need a sweet kick, grab an apple or some strawberries. That way you’re getting some vitamins and minerals, and the sugar release is controlled by the fiber!

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Don’t buy these:

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More sugar-bashing:

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Eat Alkaline!

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Cut the eggs:

But don’t go nuts!

 

Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death: a Synopsis

This is a fantastic video from NutritionFacts.org. This is an amazing website, and a reliable source of information about nutrition (expect a LOT more from this site).

In case you don’t have time to watch this, here’s the major points (comment below if you want the peer-reviewed article PMID for any of these points):

-The cholesterol from eating just one egg a day decreases life expectancy as much as smoking FIVE cigarettes a day!
-Fibre from 1 cup of oatmeal or a handful of nuts every day is as protective as 4 hours of jogging per week.
-The intake of cholesterol in animal products gives the shortest life expectancy, intake of fibre from plants gives the longest.
-The cholesterol levels of 50% of Heart Attack victims was within “normal” levels, i.e. the advise for “normal” is too high.
-A blood cholesterol level of 150mg/dl is the average for vegan diet, and cause full cessation of atherosclerotic plaques.
-Anti-cholesterol drugs increase memory loss, confusion and development of diabetes.

-All cancer rates are lower in vegans.
-Poultry consumption is the worst for cancer, 50gr chicken breast/day triples cancer risk.
-Heme iron in meat increases colorectal cancer risk.
-Vegan blood dramatically less hospitable to cancer growth.
-Cancer-promoting IgF1 levels drop after 11 days of vegan diet, Cancer-preventing IgF1-BP levels go up.
-Vegan men have higher testosterone levels!
-Profoundly lower Breast Cancer risk in postmenopausal women on vegan diet.

-Total meat consumption is associated with weight gain.
-AFTER CONTROLLING FOR CALORIES, decrease in meat consumption improves weight management.
-250 gr. meat/day gives a 422 gr gain extra compared to a diet with the same number of calories but less meat!
- Meat intake positively associates with weight gain, and this associate persists AFTER adjusting for total energy intake!

-Suicide and depression can be prevented with a plant based diet.
-After 2 weeks of a plant-based diet, mood scores improve.
-Vegetable intake improves teenage depression, social anxiety disorder, PMS, etc.
-Plants contain serotonin and dopamine which help to improve mood, relieve depression.

Take home message: drop the animal products, eat more plants!

Mis-Vegucated… Or How Not to Change Your Diet!

On the advice of a friend, I recently watched the documentary Vegucated. It was sold to me as follows: “Oh, you liked Forks Over Knives? Well, you’re going to love Vegucated!” Wrong!

Vegucated follows the adventures of Marisa Miller Wolfson, a dedicated vegan, who attempts to convert three unlikely subjects (the manly man, the busy single mom, and the Peruvian college student) to a vegan diet over the course of a 6-week period. The subjects’ weights and blood works are recorded at the beginning of the experiment, and then again at the end, similar to before-and-after results seen in my beloved  Forks Over Knives.

However, while Forks Over Knives promises you the benefits of weight loss, cancer prevention/remission, and healthier blood test results in exchange for committing to a whole-food, vegan diet devoid of refined and processed fats, sugars or grains, Miller Wolfson believes you can achieve these results with any vegan diet. On day one of her how-to-be-a-healthy-vegan lesson, she takes her subjects to the grocery shop and shows them all the things you can still eat on a vegan diet. Evidently, you can eat your way to losing weight with a shopping cat full of Earth Balance (hydrogenated fatty acids), Teddy Grahams, Double Stuff Oreos, Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix and a tub Duncan Hynes’ frosting.

Just needs some frosting!

Ms. Miller Wolfson is motivated by an environmental and humanitarian agenda (as evidenced by the trip to the vegan shoe store later in the documentary). In contrast, Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn promote their diet on the basis of peer-reviewed nutritional science. Accordingly, after a 6-week period, the changes to her subjects health were mediocre. Yes, they lost some weight; meat consumption is known to correlate with weight gain. But they weight loss and blood work numbers paled in comparison to those in the Forks Over Knives subjects.

Yes, the vegan version of any diet is healthier than its non-vegan counterpart. For instance, if you took a McDonalds Happy Meal, and replaced the patties with an equivalent caloric amount of lentil burgers, and replaced the cheese and mystery sauce with veggie slices and “veganaisse”, it’s going to be a healthier meal. But I said health-IER. Not healthy!

Veganism or vegetarianism in and of themselves are not healthy, low-fat or low calories diets. Trust me.

Here’s the sexy, healthy physique I achieved with a strictly vegetarian diet, with no other restrictions:

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Mmmmm, meaty!

The simple fact is that any restrictive diet as a weight loss vehicle (veganism, the Atkins diet, only eating white foods, or not white foods, etc.) rely upon the restriction making it difficult for you to consume the same number of calories that you had been able to previously. The problem is that over time you will find ways to eat new calories as you discover vegan cheesecakes, or low-carb chocolate, or white sugar!

Reducing your animal product intake to the point of veganism is certainly part of a journey to weight loss and good health, but it has to be accompanied with a transition to whole, organic foods, and some focus on a total calories consumed. For more information, check out the DDP Yoga Nutrition Guide!

I would love to live in Ms. Miller Wolfson’s reality where I could eat my way through a tower of Double-Stuff Oreo’s held together with large globs of Duncan Hyne’s frosting. I really wish I did. But I don’t. So a blender full of Kale, Salad Greens, Flaxseed and Apple was my lunch today!

 

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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DDP Yoga for Runners

Running Road Warrior!

Running Road Warrior Pose!

I’m about to finish the eighth week of my Marathon training program. As you might expect, there’s a lot of running involved, which meant I had to sacrifice some of the time-slots in which I would normally do DDP Yoga. I’m still getting in about three DDP Yoga sessions a week because DDP Yoga fits into a running schedule like no other workout could! My marathon schedule calls for both strength and cross training. For strength training, DDP Yoga works my legs, my core and my upper body better than any other form of exercise I have tried*; this is the first time in my life I have ever had toned arms. It improves my balance, my leg strength and my core strength, all of which contribute to a better performance on race day. It works my muscles in completely different ways to how they are worked when I run, which a recent article from Runner’s World explains that I am lowering my chance of sustaining new injuries.

For cross training, it is advised that I engage in a high cardio exercise that allows you to use slightly different muscles but shouldn’t include activities requiring sideways movements because you raise your risk of injury. Oh, and it’s meant to be something you enjoy too. Well, here’s the rub. I don’t like exercise. You don’t soar to 198 lbs when you have a healthy enjoyment of sports and fitness! Also, I am injury prone! My family does not have good genes for knees; gentle gusts of wind have been known to take out our ACLs. So, that’s pretty much any form of cardio eliminated. Except for DDP Yoga. It’s high cardio (I spend at least 60% of a workout in my fat-burning zone), it’s zero impact (no jerking movement to injure me), and I love doing it. I am continually motivated by new challenges, connection to people in TeamDDP, and the support from everyone all the way from new members to DDP himself.

Another huge benefit of DDP Yoga is the stretching. In addition to giving you a high cardio, zero impact, strength-building workout, DDP Yoga has Sports therapy built into it. I, like many injury-prone runners, am  meant to stretch out after running but it’s sooooo boring. Thanks to all my recent running, and my somewhat lackluster relationship with post-run stretches and a recent bout of sickness, I found myself as stiff as a board a few weeks ago. I knew exactly what was needed! I did a killer Hip, Back, and Knee Opener workout, and my flexibility returned overnight. Because I have been doing DDP Yoga, especially the HBKO workout, regularly since I started the marathon training program, I have had no knee pain so far. Even if you didn’t invest in the Max Pack, every single DDP Yoga workout has stretches and rehab moves that will keep you limber and pain-free. Twisted-lunge, Figure 4 stretch and Can Opener hit those pesky IT bands; Supported Lunge gets your hip flexors; Ignition, Touchdown and Diamond Cutter strengthen those oft weak adductors; Triangle gets your groin and hips; Down Dog gets the hamstrings; etc. etc.

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Flexibility, DDP Yoga Style

So there you have it, DDP Yoga is for Runners. And it’s not just for people who are already runners. It’s what you use for making new runners! Arthur Boorman, Marv White, Me. Without even googling or browsing through TeamDDP, there’s three people I was able to list off the top of my head who physically couldn’t run at all before DDP Yoga. Arthur Boorman couldn’t walk without crutches and braces before DDP Yoga, never mind taking a jaunty trot through the park. Marv White couldn’t run ten yards without severe foot pain before DDP Yoga, but has since completed numerous 5-8K races, and will run a 10K in March. As for me? Let me put it this way, there were three concrete steps outside our old house. Every evening when I came home and got out of my car, I would get to the steps, pause, take a deep breath, and brace for searing knee pain. Going up a single step made it feel like a samurai sword was being driven through my kneecap. Since starting DDP Yoga, I’ve completed a half-marathon, and I am training for a full marathon in May.

Product of DDP Yoga

Always look for the authentic “Product of DDP Yoga” seal! 

I can never properly express the gratitude I have for DDP, Yoga-Doc and DDP Yoga. They took chronic pain that was so severe and frequent that it caused depression, and turned it into the gift of finishing a half-marathon and the ability to dream of running a full marathon. It doesn’t cover it, but Thank You.

* and I have tried them all! 

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!!!

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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!