Shorts: Meme Monday

I already came out of the Meme-Loving closet, and now it’s time to make that love official. Starting on this Monday (that would be today), I am going to have a “Meme Monday” post on this website, #MM over on my twitter, @lizddpyoga

Here’s the inaugural Meme Monday funny:

lizddpyoga

Ha, babies!

Have a great week everyone!

What DDP Yoga Really Means To Me

I have written pretty extensively on this website about what DDP Yoga has done for me in terms of weight loss, strength-building, flexibility, mastering poses, etc. etc. One facet of improvement that I haven’t been so forthcoming on is the improvement to my mental health, but I think it’s about time I document this in the hopes that it can help others.

From the age of 12 into my mid-twenties, I struggled with eating disorders, mostly bulimia. On a superficial level, I was bulimic in an effort to get to some ideal weight goal or body shape I had in my mind. Ironically, despite the purging of food, there was no overall reduction in weight. But as with all eating disorders, there’s an underlying control issue. The physical act of purging food was enjoyable on some really strange level and was a (wildly detrimental) way of venting. Just to be clear, I am not promoting bulimia as a stress-control method! What little relief comes from emptying your stomach contents is not worth the expense to your mental and physical health. Sadly, I lacked that insight as a 12-year-old and so I became an eating disorder statistic.

To this day, I am not sure why I developed an eating disorder. I don’t know if there was a clear-cut cause, or if it’s just “one of those things.” The reason I never nailed down the source of the problem is that I never went through any eating disorder-specific therapy or rehab. My parents sent me to a general psychologist when they found out I was having problems early in my teens, but I didn’t go for very long, probably because I wasn’t ready for counselling at that point. Instead of ever addressing any issues, I simply became more careful to hide my behaviour. Over the years, I wasn’t consistently bulimic; it was more of an on-off behaviour with me, so much so that I almost felt like an impostor referring to myself as bulimic, as if I were disrespecting the “real” bulimics who were more committed to it (this is probably a prime example of denial)! But I was 100% ON when it came to having the personality that would develop an eating disorder. I was completely dysmorphic in my body image, I had low self-esteem and I never addressed the underlying reasons for those problems.

Somewhere in my twenties, I just sort of stopped. For now apparent reason, I outgrew the behaviour of purging. Note, I didn’t say I outgrew the “binging and purging” habit, just the purging. I didn’t cease purging because of some break-through in therapy; there was no therapy. I just stopped sticking my fingers down my throat until food came up. I still had all the inner demons and issues that lead to the eating disorder. I certainly kept the binging part going, and continued through to my thirties with an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. Where I had previously exerted “control” over food, I now descended into a complete loss of control with food. The rest as they say, is history. I shot up to almost 200 lbs, and became unhealthy and depressed.

In both my controlling “binging and purging” and completely uncontrolled “overeating” phases, I had a negative body image, low self-esteem, unhealthy relationship with food, and other personality problems that come with those issues. I am focusing on the mental effects of eating disorders here, but I obviously suffered all the physical ailments that come with being either bulimic or an overeater too.

When I started DDP Yoga, I did so with purely physical goals in mind: pain reduction, weight loss, improved flexibility. I didn’t have any expectation that DDP Yoga would alleviate my depression, mainly because I didn’t know I was depressed – it’s surprisingly difficult to realise you are depressed in the middle of it, you only realise you were depressed after the fact. Similarly, I didn’t I expect DDP Yoga to fix my body image, my relationship with food, or any other mental health issue I landed on its doorstep with. Why would I? It wasn’t sold to me as a mechanism to do any of those things. I was sold a workout system that would help me lose weight and improve my strength, and that’s what I hoped it would do.

DDP Yoga certainly delivered on those promises! As I have written about (extensively) before, DDP Yoga got me to a healthy weight, with an athletic body fat percentage, and enabled me to achieve many feats of strength and flexibility that I had never dreamt of before. Through some combination of the cardio and strength-building from the DDP Yoga workouts, and the healthy eating from the DDP Yoga nutrition plan gave me a healthy, strong body.

But DDP Yoga did more than that. After reaching my goal weight, and maintaining that weight for a number of months, some thing really amazing happened. For the first time in my life, I stopped caring about my weight, or any physical measurements for that matter. I realised that I had made peace with my body. I now feel united with my body, where once it had been an enemy that I battled with, and I fought dirty. Now, I am motivated by a desire to make my body healthy and strong. I respect my body and I want to treat it as well as possible for my long term health. When I am trying to get something out of my body these days, it’s on the order of mastering a new Yoga pose, or completing a feat like a full marathon. I am not trying to bow to some societal pressure like getting a “thigh gap” or hitting some arbitrary number on a scale. In fact, because of marathon training, I recently gained a few pounds, and I was delighted, because I know that weight went on as muscle and it means I am getting strong enough to run a full marathon.

I am not at the summit of perfect mental health. I still struggle with overeating and sugar-addiction, but that is now purely a physical issue. What I mean by that is that I will eat my way to the bottom of a packet of gluten-free, vegan cookies because sugar is more physically addictive than heroine. But I am not eating my way there in some vain attempt to find love or fill some empty part within myself. I have love, and that love comes from within. I love myself and I love my body. I am happy and I want to continue to get strong, inside and out. I will address my sweet tooth in an effort to be healthy. But that’s all it is now: a garden-variety sweet tooth. I am no longer bulimic. I never again will be bulimic. Nor am I depressed, or unfulfilled, or suffering from body dysmorphia.

I don’t know what about DDP Yoga worked for me where other exercise systems, school counsellors or psychologists failed before. I know I have enjoyed the fact that DDP Yoga is fun, effective and challenging. I have felt so grateful for the fact that DDP is unique in how genuine he is, and how legitimately concerned he is with the health, well-being and success of those that do DDP Radio beyond just getting us to buy his program. I have certainly been honoured by receiving praise from DDP from shout-outs on DDP Yoga all the way to winning the DDP Yoga challenge, and the trust that has been placed in me as a representative of DDP Yoga. I know my physical goals were met because of the completeness of the DDP Yoga exercise and nutrition package, and from a connectedness to the community at teamDDPyoga.com. Somewhere in there is the magic that led me to exorcise my inner demons and fix my mental health once and for all, but I don’t know what specifically accomplished it. But it was accomplished. And for that, from the bottom of my increasingly strong heart, I will be forever grateful to DDP, Craig Aaron and everyone else who has made DDP Yoga what it is.

Thank you.

 

 

 

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

Mar3

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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You2You7You5You4You 6

 

 

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!!!

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!

 

This Is What It’s All About!

If you were wondering why I keep this blog, here it is:

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There is nothing more inspiring than knowing you have inspired those around you, especially when you’re inspiring them to start something that’s so positive and life-changing! I think DDP referred to it as the “Circle of Inspiration.” I’m so thankful for the ever-increasing number of Facebook friends that are joining me on this journey.

Tutorial: Making Collages with Fotor

When you start DDP Yoga, one of the things you are advised to do is take 6 pictures. Here is a collage of my (sad) Day 1 pictures:

Day1

I said “say” cheese… Not “eat” the cheese!

No matter how awful they look, it’s important to take them. Trust me, if you do everything that the DDP Yoga guide asks of you, these 6 pictures are going to get better faster than you would think. You don’t need to share the pictures on TeamDDP, or anywhere else for that matter, but take them and keep them so you can see how far you have come each 30 days (when you take a new set of the same 6 poses).

To get the most out of your pictures, I highly recommend making a collage out of the same pose from each 30 day period. It’s very hard to look at your Day 90 photos and see that you have changed, or made progress. But when you put your Day 90 pictures side-by-side with the corresponding pose from the previous days, you’ll see how amazingly you are doing!

All_Front

Going, going, gone!

An additional benefit to making a collage out of your photos is that you can get feedback and praise from your fellow TeamDDPyoga-ers. This may sound like compliment fishing, but getting props for your progress is important positive feedback that will help motivate you and keep you on your journey to great health and positive living. It’s even more important to do this now as there are over 30,000 people on TeamDDPyoga from all corners of the globe. That’s great news, because it means there are 30,000 people looking to support you on your journey, but it also means that there are thousands of photos getting uploaded everyday, and your Day 1 photos can be separated from your Day 30 photos by hundreds of pages of photos. It will make it a lot easier for people to be inspired by your amazing progress if you present it in collages.

Below is a quick tutorial on how to turn this photo:

Day1_Front

and this one:

90 Day Front

into a collage like this:

Liz_Day1_Day90

(Sorry about how nasally I was; the plague was still lurking around our house when I made this!)