I’m officially beyond Day 90 of doing DDP yoga, so I thought it would be a good time to write down some of my journey. Hopefully, doing so will enable me to express just some of the gratitude I have for DDP and YRG, but it just isn’t possible to fully describe how much it means to me, or how it has changed my life.
You hear the phrase, “I’ve been given my life back.” That doesn’t apply to me – thank goodness! My life before YRG was never that of a healthy or thin person. I grew up in a family where I wasn’t encouraged to play sports, and junk food was readily available. In my teens and early 20′s, I was completely inactive, did zero extracurricular sports in high school, lied my way out of every phys. ed. class, smoked, drank and ate terribly. I was never the skinny girl, or even a thin girl, but thanks to the combination of a youthful metabolism and having to walk to take the bus, I wasn’t as fat as I should have been. I would become that fat in my thirties.
When I moved to the US after college, I weighed 175 lbs at 5′ 11″. I was suddenly able to afford a car which meant no more walking, I was now in a country with much more affordable dining out, added sugar in far more foods, and no pesky parents telling me to eat vegetables, or that dessert foods can’t be used as breakfast. I was also in a country where lbs was the standard unit of weight, not stones as I had being used to. That change hampered my ability to realize that what I weighed should have “sounded heavy” to me. Also, I was marching toward my thirties, so the metabolism began slowing down.
Over the years, I tried various diets and exercise regimes. I’m going to avoid using brand names, but if you Google “workout system infomercial” or “hot new diet”, you’ll probably find the majority of them. I conservatively estimate that I spent over $5000 on weight loss/exercise systems over the years. Every single time, it went the exact same way. I’d go hard and heavy, obsess about it, overdo it, and ultimately fatigue myself and burn out, never having lost more than 10 lbs. Then I’d replace over-exercising with overeating, and gain back whatever I’d lost, plus 3-5 lbs more. At no point in this period did I drop below 175 lbs.
Along the way, my knees became more and more damaged. Starting out with a foundation of weak/poorly exercised knees from being so inactive as a teen and being overweight, coupled with doing silly things like step aerobics and other high-impact workouts when I finally did start exercising, it led to chronically sore joints, which would plague me for years.
I was finally given a wake-up call when my daughter was two. I went to a doctor and then a physical therapist for my knee pain. Amongst the therapeutic regimes they prescribed, they both said I needed to lose weight. I was gob-smacked! I wasn’t overweight!! And even if I was, that was just baby weight, so you couldn’t count that; it’s only temporary (remember, my daughter was TWO at this point). The weight had come on so gradually that I just hadn’t seen it. I had an amazing capacity for denial, and a husband who, for some stinking reason, treated me as attractive and loved me, even at the weight I was at.
After being told I was overweight, I looked at myself in the mirror, and finally saw what I really looked like. I was a thirty-two-year-old, fat woman. I had never had the body I wanted, and if I didn’t make a change now, I never would. I was so depressed. Even my size 16 clothes didn’t fit well any more. I was tired all the time, my knees really hurt (physical therapy was NOT working), and I had an active toddler keeping me too busy to do the 1.5 hour-per-session workouts I owned. I honestly believed that my body was not capable of being thin or toned. It sounds stupid now, but at the time I actually knew it to be true. I was really at rock bottom. I was so depressed that I was just going to give up and not try. I accepted what I thought to be my fate, and was planning to just eat junk food and stay on the couch where I belonged.
Here’s where the journey starts:
One evening, I was especially depressed and I posted a message about my situation on a Mom’s Group forum, and was given some support and advice. One person said to forget the fads, and just count calories using a free app on my iPhone. As a scientist, the laws of thermodynamics make sense to me, so calorie counting made sense.
I took photos of myself in front of the mirror at my worst. I wanted to mark this as the worst I’d ever get, and to remind myself NEVER to let this happen again.
Like most people, I’d already seen the “Arthur” video at this point. I’d enjoyed watching it, being happy for him, crying when he was able to run, etc, etc. But I didn’t think it would work for me. I’d seen before/after pictures before; we all have. Granted, there’s never been quite as exceptional a transformation as Arthur’s, and he was unique in that he came to it disabled -with knee problems no less- and had been rehabbed by this system. But, you can’t believe everything you see online; it could have been the same disappointment I’d had with previous systems. I contacted my best friend who is a HUGE wrestling fan to see if he knew anything about YRG. What he told me was so remarkable I ordered the DVDs that day. They were to be a birthday present to myself!
In one of the emails I received after I placed my order, I was encouraged to join TeamDDP. I very nearly ignored it, but thank goodness I didn’t; access to TeamDDP has been pivotal to my success. I set up my profile, added (reluctantly) my Day 0 pictures and measurements, and started the Diamond Dozen. As suggested, I bought a heart rate monitor, and couldn’t believe that I was burning up to 200 calories in the Diamond Dozen (that’s 400 calories per hour, compare to the 180 calories per hour most yoga burns). I was also amazed that my heart rate was flying into my fat-burning zone as fast as promised!
I studied the program guide, and started the nutrition program in conjunction with the calorie counting I was already doing. There’s nothing like eating right to make you feel instantly better, and to improve your performance!
My goals were as follows. By the end of the first 90 days, I wanted:
- To dropped to 172.2 lbs (from 192.2)
- I wanted to have stuck with the program longer than thirty days – my personal best for previous systems.
- I wanted my knees to hurt less.
It’s important to note that I’m a firm believer in the aim for the stars, reach the rooftops philosophy. Those goals I mentioned were not really going to be met. For instance, losing 22.2 lbs? I’d never lost more than 10 lbs in any previous attempt (and I’d always gained more than 10lb back after).
To recap, at Day 0, I was at 192.2 lbs, “aiming” to lose 22.2 lbs in 90 days, but not really expecting to.
I scoff at those goals now!
Before I got to Day 60, I had to re-edit my teamddpyoga.com profile to lower my 90-day goal weight having cruised right past 170 before Day 50!
Somewhere around Day 30, I went shopping for a dress with my mother-in-law. When we got to the store, she asked my size so she could hunt for dresses while I waited in the changing room. For my late teens and entire adult life, I have been at least a size 16. I don’t know what I was at my worst; I was too depressed to weigh or measure myself, or go clothes shopping. Presumably, I was at least a size 18. I guessed, having lost some weight, I was now a 14. The first size 14 dress I tried on was too baggy! And the second, and the third! “Sweetheart, you’re a 12!” my mother-in-law informed me. I couldn’t believe it! Getting to a size 14 had been my “lofty” goal.
A huge part of my success has been the support and advice I have received from the group I started in TeamDDP. It is aimed at women who started around the same time I did, based on the philosophy that we would have the same needs/problems at the same time. I have received great support , friendship, and information from them, and I’ve found I’ve learned equally as much from giving advice as I have from receiving it. I’ve also delved into the pitfalls I’ve had in the past, and we’ve talked about how we deal with temptations or personal shortcomings. Undoubtedly, this has played a role in how long I’ve stayed focused.
More recently, I joined a group that does weekly challenges (e.g. hold thunderbolt for as long as you can). This engages my competitive side, and gives me weekly goals to stay motivated.
Speaking of competition, my knees were up to running in a 5K by Day 30, when I ran my first ever sub-10 minute mile. By Day 60, I ran in the Warrior Dash, completed every single obstacle and came in the top quartile of the 7500 people who ran it. I’m now gearing up to start training for an October half-marathon. Let’s be clear, I was NEVER a runner, and I’ve never considered marathon running as being something I could do. Now I KNOW I can do it!
Another pleasant surprise was getting a personal comment from DDP himself on a video I uploaded, and my profile page. YRG is the real deal, and that’s because DDP is the real deal. He is clearly genuine about bringing something to people that can improve their lives (see his work in Afghanistan/Iraq). He cares about us, and he tracks our progress in this journey. When I read his comments, I was so star-struck that I was motivated to knock the 20-second crocodile at the end of Strength Builder out of the park that evening; I’d never done that before!
Another thing that is keeping me focused is the crazy progress I have made. Here is a list of things I COULD NOT DO before YRG (and I practiced “classic” yoga for a number of years, so it wasn’t for lack of trying):
- Crow/Crane (at all)
- Wheel for any reasonable length of time
- Road Warrior 3
- Half Moon
- Twisted half moon
- Bird of Paradise
- All the vinyasas in P90X yoga on my feet
- All the oms in P90X yoga (lung capacity)
Here’s a list of things I can do now:
As I approached both my weight goals and the end of my 90 days, I have been asked if I will continue with YRG moving into the future. The answer is, why on earth would I not? I’m stronger and thinner than I have ever been, and I want to see how far I can take it. As I transition from being in weight loss mode to a maintenance mode, I find I’m more focused on seeing what yoga skills and athletic pursuits I can master next, which represents my YRG practice becoming a more permanent lifestyle. I’m healthier, more energetic, stronger, more confident in all areas of my life, a better mother and role model to my child, and a happier and more attractive wife to my husband. My new long-term goal is to get certified as a YRG instructor. And you know what? I’m going to do that successfully too!
Like I said, it isn’t possible to fully express the gratitude for what YRG has done for my life. But, for what it’s worth: Thank you.
A long time ago: Born
Age 15: Reached 168 lbs (12 stone)
Age 22: 175 (12.5 stone) and gaining
Age 30: 185 lbs (13 stone) lowest, 198 lbs (14 stone) highest measured
Age 33: Started DDP
Age 33 +90 days = 157 lbs (11 stone)