I put together a map of all the Level 1 Trainee Instructors (and some of the certified ones too!)… Want to find a DDP Yoga class in your area? Check to see if there are any here! Click on the marker of the instructor in your area to see their contact info to set up a class! Check back often, new instructors are signing up every day!
Before DDP Yoga, I was a pathetic weakling. In particular, I had zero upper body strength. I tried a laundry list of programs, both yoga and non-yoga, to no avail. The major problem was that I never got any stronger. These workout systems certainly showed me what I could do one I gained some upper body strength, but didn’t offer a pathway to acquiring the strength to do it. The issues that arose were a high injury rate, a lack of modifications (or a huge gap between the modified and unmodified versions), or a complete lack of any real-strength building.
Now that I have done DDP Yoga, and achieved all manner of goals and feats, I wanted to revisit a few workouts and see how my experience compared.
1. Brian Kest’s Power Yoga
I tried the first workout on this disk a few months before I started DDP Yoga and made it all the way to the first Down Dog pose. He held it for – what at that time I thought was – such a long that I couldn’t take it. So back on the shelf it went. DDP speaks pretty highly of Brian Kest, so I decided to revisit the workout now that I have some killer upper body strength (thanks to DDP Yoga). This time I did the third and hardest of the 3 workouts, and this time, I made it from start to finish, opting for the most difficult of version each pose. I didn’t burn as many calories as I would have in a DDP Yoga workout, but I enjoyed it, and the instruction was almost straightforward. I’ll definitely be doing this one on rest days or after a run!
2. Baron Baptiste’s Power Yoga
I did this when I was in grad school. I remember cursing, sweating, falling over and not being able keep up. This time around it was a snore. In contrast to Brian Kest’s reasonably accessible instructions, this was the kind of nonsense that triggered my #HCS4L and I to make a parody of the stuff yoga teachers come out with. It is one of my great regrets in life that we didn’t consult Baron Baptiste’s library of yoga DVDs while coming up with the dialogue:
This was the first yoga I ever tried. I dreaded the Plank to Chaturanga to Cobra flow in this workout, I just couldn’t do it. I tried it last week, and flowed through the entire thing with all the advanced options, and didn’t even get into my fat-burning zone. This is a nice, easy workout, and would be a good way to cool down after DDP Yoga if you’re working out at night (the heart rate blast of DBD can make it hard to get to sleep.
4. P90X Yoga-X
The original Yoga-X isn’t a bad program. I certainly have a lot of problems with P90X, but this isn’t one of them. It’s a nicely laid out workout, with a wide-variety of moves, and pretty good instruction. The issue I had with this workout (and the other yoga workouts in this review) is that no matter how many times I did it, I couldn’t lower to Chaturanga off my knees, do the push-ups, or any other advanced moves. In other words, it showcases your strength nicely, but does little to build it. I also found that some of the transitions into harder moves aren’t as fluid and accessible as they could be. For instance, getting to Warrior III, Tony Horton goes straight from Crescent Post to Warrior III, with very little instruction from how one makes it to the other. Consequently, in my early days of following this workout, I never made it to Warrior III. Revisiting it, I was able to take the instructions I learned in DDP Yoga, and apply them to this workout, and in doing so, got more out of it. Also, because of all the strength I built doing DDP Yoga, I was able to do the entire thing from start to finish, all advanced poses, and barely break a sweat. I will do this workout from time-to-time when I have little energy but lots of free time (it’s over ah hour-and-a-half long).
Bonus: P90x-3: Yoga and Isometrix
I’ve already ripped Yoga 3-X apart here, so I will limit this discussion to Isomterix. This workout is the complete opposite of the fluid Vinyasa style found in the original Yoga-X. In Isometrix, there are a dozen or so poses, and you get into one at a time, hold them for 45 seconds and get out of them. More so that any of the other workouts, this is great for showcasing your new-found strength and flexibility, but does ZERO to improve it. I did get into my zone more so in this workout that the other non-DDP Yoga workouts, but I will also never do this again, because doing nothing but hold a selection of poses for 45 seconds at a time is tedious to say the least. Nonetheless, it was fun finding out that I could do One-legged Bound Down Dog and Side Plank with bound leg!
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:
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:
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).
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:
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:
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.
DDP Yoga has been around longer than you’d think!
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?
Fix your physical health?
Fix Your Career?
Prevent future injuries and stiffness?
Make you drop an amazing amount of weight in 90 days?
Let you wear all the clothes in your wardrobe…
…or require you to buy a new one?
Give you a nice big novelty cheque?
Help you develop balance like never before?
Fix your skin?
Let you turn fitness into a career?
Let you find your passion for helping others?
Let you exceed your goals?
Earn a cool new tattoo?
Or improve your math skills?
(Okay, so it’s probably not going to help with your math skills!)
Maybe it will improve your motivation?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
Today is Throwback Thursday, and I am sharing a memory I’d rather throw in the trash!
When my daughter was 1 year old, and I was yet to reach my heaviest weight, we decided to have a family portrait taken. My friend is an extremely talented photographer, so we hired her for a couple of hours and went out for a walk at a local reservoir.
I was really excited for the shoot, and had every last detail planned out. We put on our nicest casual clothes, and dressed Vivienne up, as she was the star of the show. I did my hair and make-up as nice as I could, and put on my favourite jeans and a cute top. I checked myself in the mirror before we headed out and remember thinking that I looked cute. I had a number of ideas for poses and a very clear vision in my mind as to how the pictures would look.We had a fun day out, and everyone posed nicely, even my 1-year-old daughter!
A couple of days later, Kristin gave us some beautifully packaged CD with our pictures. I excitedly opened the disk on my computer to look at all the amazing photographs Kristin had take. My husband looked handsome, and my daughter looked precious. Kristin caught a couple of pictures where her precocious personality really shone through, and they were sent off for immediate printing.
One of the first pictures I saw of myself made me look like I had a double (or triple) chin, a puffy, circular face, and eyes sunken in to face behind layers of fat, which was in stark contrast to how I thought I would look. “That’s okay,” I thought, “It’s probably just a bad angle. There are hundreds of pictures here; they can’t all be cover photos!”
I scrolled through more and more photos, and I just couldn’t find one in which my face looked angular and sleek, or my top fitted in a way that I looked slim. My legs looked enormous. I had saddlebags that I had never seen before. Despite the 6″ of height my husband has on me, I was the one who looked wider. It was simply heart-breaking. When choosing the photos to print, I had to narrow down the selection to a few in which I somehow looked okay, either because I was looking up, or had been obscured by other objects. The biggest disappointment was the failure to find a nice picture in which we were all holding hands and walking away from the picture; I had wanted to frame a large version of that pose, but I couldn’t have a near life-sized reminder of my back fat hanging over the fireplace!
Though I was really upset, this actually wasn’t my rock-bottom moment. It was one of several disappointments or upsets regarding my physique that I buried beneath unhealthy amounts of unhealthy eating, depression and denial. It ended up taking another year, and an additional 10 lbs of weight, before I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started taking responsibility for my own health and happiness.
I’m glad I did finally take that responsibility and start my DDP Yoga journey. Though I wish I had done so before we went on this shoot, I have to assume that I wouldn’t have been ready to make the change back then, and the Universe knew when things needed to happen, and in what order.
We’ll do a nice family photo-shoot someday. In the meantime, I always have a smile put on my face anytime I walk by the prints of some of the photos we got that day!
PS. It may not be the high-quality imaging that Kristin produces, but here’s how me and my daughter behave in front of cameras these days!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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!
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?
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.
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.
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?* 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.
I got a new tattoo! Actually, I modified a pre-existing tattoo. The old one was a kanji symbol that loosely translated to, “I was a moron when I was a teenager.”
The new one was designed for me by a very awesome TeamDDPyoga friend, Robert. The two diamonds represent the Double Black Diamond, and DDP Yoga in general. The banner represents the finish-line, that DDP Yoga helped me get to, and the 26.2 speaks for itself!