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!

 

Burn, Baby, Burn!

“DDP Yoga is a high-cardio, minimal-impact home workout.”
-Men’s Journal

“ZERO impact cardio workout”
-Fitfluential

“All the benefits of an intense cardio workout without impacting joints.”
-She Knows

Sounds so good, you’d almost expect to get two-for-the-price-of-one if you phone in the next fifteen minutes, right? But this workout program actually works.

I decided to show the power of engaging using the techniques I have learned with DDP Yoga. First, I lowered my heart rate from 111, my resting rate*, to 82 using meditation techniques I learned from Hypnobirthing. Then, while sitting, and not moving an inch, I used DDP Yoga engaging and breathing techniques, and got my heart rate to 133, well within my fat-burning zone, within 21 seconds. Pretty amazing!

This makes me think, how many opportunities to get into my fat-burning zone, have a cardio workout, and build strength am I wasting while waiting in line at the store, lying in bed, or even sitting on the couch typing this blog? Guess who’s flexing her quads and squeezing her glutes right now?

Here’s the first version I did after I had been exercising. YouTube’s copyright police took the music track away, sob.

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.

Dublin 05L29 (9)

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.

Come Fail With Me

Failure is darkness. It’s not a thing; it’s the absence of a thing. That thing is success. And the light of success will illuminate the darkest of failures.

Last week I made my debut as a caller on DDP Radio. It was terrifying! I had more public speaking anxiety and a worse case of cotton mouth that I did when I publicly defended my PhD thesis!

One of the co-hosts, Robert, said he was impressed that I had chosen to display all my attempts at reaching my goals, including the failures, and said that it helps to inspire others when people do that. I have to say I agree, and the best example I can think to demonstrate this is what happens when someone only displays their perfection.

Look at this tutorial for Eka Pada Koundinyasana:

This is a very useful tutorial in terms of the instruction. I myself used it when I was working toward this pose. However, as much as the cues could help a beginner with the pose, the choice of casting for the “student” could serve to hurt that effort.

I remember following along with this clip and thinking, “I must need to be strong and skinny before I could ever master that pose”, “perhaps it’s impossible to hold that pose with my weight and build”, and “if this is how good a student is, I probably shouldn’t try.” Luckily, thanks to the positive mentality training I have received from DDP Yoga, I snapped out of my self-doubt, tried it, and nailed it. But others who haven’t benefitted from DDP Yoga’s positive reinforcement could become so discouraged that they wouldn’t even try, which is a tragedy.

“… and all you beginners should be able to do this simple pose by the end of your first class.”

When I step back from my own attempts at Eight Angle Pose, and all the self-doubt that goes with trying something new,  I can see that this woman is clearly not a run-of-the-mill Yoga student. Any one who has the impeccable level of control needed to transition from Eight Angle Pose into Eka Pada Koundinyasana, and then hop out into chaturanga dandasana does not need any help “learning” Eight Angle Pose.

That negative effect I could have on others by only ever showing my highlight reel is a major reason I plan to continue showing all my attempts and struggles. And failures.

That said, the reason I started putting everything in my journey on display was for my own personal benefit.

In the past, I have had a crippling fear not only of failure, but of anyone seeing my failure. It affected many areas of my life, especially my career. As a scientist, failure is an important part of the process, and should be embraced, sought even. But not for me. I was so terrified of being found out to have failed (more commonly known as impostor syndrome), that I would cover up my failures, lie, avoid my boss, and even became tempted to blame others, though I am glad to say I never gave in to that cowardly urge.

impostor

One of these things…

That crippling fear of revealing my shortcomings and weaknesses was all that my unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle needed to thrive. Instead of being the person who would openly tell their friends, “Ugh, I have no self-control with brownies,” I would often talk wisely and confidently about overeating as it pertained to other people, while compartmentalizing my own issues. I would eat junk food in secret. I would come up with excuses for eating more than anyone else. I would try to mask the fact that I was the person in the conference room going back for a seventh cookie. I would pay cash for food so I wouldn’t be judged by my husband, which is ridiculous because he never would have stood in judgement of my diet; I was projecting my feelings of disgust and loathing onto others. And the result of all this secrecy is that my intake of junk food exploded. After all, when you open up a family-sized packet of Oreos that no one else knows exists, who’s going to notice if you eat the whole thing in one sitting?

Oreo

Healthy eating habits start early…

Habit is simultaneously my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. A few years ago, I was in the habit of having cheese and crackers before I went to bed. I couldn’t have imagined going to bed without that snack to the point that I actually had to get in the car and go to the store when I ran out late one night. At the start of this year, before I started DDP Yoga, I got into the habit of getting a venti latte and a cheesecake brownie from the drive-through Starbucks at least once a day. I couldn’t drive past the Starbucks without getting my latte and brownie. I remembering being humiliated when the a barista remembered me from earlier that same day. Once I started the DDP Yoga plan, I was able to break some bad habits because of my enthusiasm to stick to the rules and see results. For instance, going gluten-free gave me enough power to avoid brownies. Once I go a few days, or sometimes weeks, without eating my favourite junk foods, they stop being a habit and cease to cross my mind at all.

It has now been so long since I have eaten brownies that when I recently decided to treat myself after a 10K race with a piece of fudge cake, I ended up putting it back on the shelf, because I simply didn’t feel like it. That was a particularly surprising achievement for me because I had already planned to eat it, looked up its calorie count, and added it into my MyFitnessPal journal. I’m normally so helpless to food that once I “plan” to eat something, there’s no un-pulling that trigger. But this time, I was able to reason, and more importantly, believe, that it wouldn’t taste as good as it looked, it would go against my gluten-free diet, and I didn’t really want a sweet.

Excuse me, are any of these vegan, gluten-free, fat-free, organic AND sugar-free?

While I have been good about the quality of food, I still struggle with the quantity. Once I get into the habit of eating organic kale or homemade lentil loaf – gluten-free of course – that becomes the food that I crave. And crave I do. While my tastes are healthier, my unending quest to fill my stomach to capacity persists. Yes, I got the brownies out of my diet, but when I sit down to eat the two tablespoons of organic single-ingredient peanut butter I had planned, somehow I end up eating ten. Or twelve. Or however many it takes to get to the bottom of the jar.

I regret nothing!

I regret nothing!

I have workarounds for my gluttony. For instance, I have gotten into a great habit of not exceeding my daily calorie allowance. I track everything I eat, and I added a “weak moments” category to my calorie tracker to see what patterns emerged for my overeating. I also try to keep the foods that I can’t restrain myself around out of the house (peanut butter is hard because my daughter and husband enjoy it too). But I would like to be the kind of person who doesn’t need to banish foods. I would like to eat a small amount of something and put the rest back without a war being waged inside me. I would like to have a good relationship with food, but I still struggle with that, and this may always be the case. Unlike accomplishing a push-up, or Black Crow, or a 10K race, I can’t simply will decades of psychological issues to go away.

The first step to the developing a good relationship with food is honesty. And I have not been honest with myself or anyone else. I haven’t added anything to the “weak moments” category in weeks because I don’t want to taint my “perfect” day of food tracking. I also retroactively convince myself that eating half a jar of peanut butter was planned, or that I had intended to workout twice in a day to get the extra thousand calories needed to balance my PB consumption.

It’s just calories in vs. calories out, right?

And this is the struggle of the maintenance phase. I got into a good DDP Yoga routine, built up my strength, kept to a low-calorie diet, changed my food choices, and met my weight goals. And I assumed that along the way, I would magically make the drive to fill some psychological void with food just vanish. Well it didn’t. So while I am a success in terms of my physical goals, I am yet to find success with my mental goals. When I met my weight goal, my calorie allowance jumped from 1,400 cal/day to 2,000. Initially, that was like sitting down to the buffet table with impunity. However, over time, that amount of food stopped satisfying me, and I had to work out more and more to get the amount of food I wanted to eat. As well as enabling an unhealthy eating habit, this also leads to an unsustainable exercise regime, which leads to the risk of failure in the longterm.

I am going to nip this in the bud by uncoupling my daily food calories from my daily exercise calories. Instead, I am going to allow myself a flat rate of 2400 cal/day, and ensure that I do at least 2,800 calories of exercise per week. If I do extraordinary amounts of exercise on a particular day (e.g. a marathon) the number of calories can exceed 2,400, but the exercise must exceed 1000 calories ( I need a threshold, or else I will convince myself that strolling around the mall counts as extraordinary exercise).

It won’t be easy. I will have numerous failures between now and when I have a more healthy relationship with food. But I will get there eventually. Or I will keep working towards that goal for the rest of my life.

And as for my physical endeavours, here is my latest YouTube video, chock full of many failures, and some sweet victories.

Putting the Team in teamDDPyoga.com

Note: This post has been completely overhauled. After rereading it, I decided the first draft completely missed the tone I wanted to strike. 

Doing projects and exercises as a team is good for you. It helps you learn how to work well with others. It teaches you important skills like diplomacy, communication, and just a soupçon of humility. It’s great. Or so I am told.

I am a scientist by trade. Science is an odd little field, mostly populated by partially-socialized egomaniacs. A lot of scientists are atheists, and my explanation for this is because they think they they are gods, it makes sense to eliminate the competition. These personality traits don’t lend themselves to enjoying collaborations. It took me so fricking long to get my PhD, in part, because I had a very hard time delegating work to undergraduates or other subordinates.

Recently, I was lucky to have a wonderful lesson in seeing that I-can-do-it-better-on-my-own isn’t always the answer when I decided to make a Sh*t Yoga Teachers Say-style YouTube clip. My inspiration was being reminded of the Sh*t Crunchy Mamas Say video that my husband said epitomized my parenting style (I am not that bad). I, reminiscing about yoga classes and non-DDP yoga DVDs I have done in the past, assumed someone would have made a similar video about the absurd and incomprehensible things yoga teachers say. Some extensive YouTubing later, and I realized that if I wanted such a video to exist – and one should – I’d have to make it myself.

I put out some feelers on the teamDDPyoga.com forums for yoga teacher quotes and to see if anyone was interested in playing students or teachers in the video. I got some good quotes, but in the absence of a costar, I was left to do it myself, or strong-arm my husband into being a very unwilling participant. Then, thankfully, it occurred to me to recruit a fellow-teamDDPyoga-er, Christina. Unlike my husband, she is a enthusiastic DDP Yoga practitioner, proficient at yoga, and familiar with making YouTube videos. We have only communicated via instant messaging, so I had no idea whether she was intelligent or witty (she is both), but as my initial vision of the clip didn’t require that of her, it didn’t really matter.

My original idea was that I would play the teacher, and she would be the student. The comedy in the piece would come from the ludicrously esoteric and pretentious things my character was saying, and Christina’s role was just to look confused after each statement. As I was asking a favour of her, I tried not to micromanage her too much*. I sent Christina my video, and she recorded her portion and sent it back to me to be edited together. I sat down in Starbucks to see what Christina had sent me and piece everything together. Had I known how hilarious her reaction shots would be, I would have done the editing at home, because on several occasions, I ended up laughing out loud like a crazy person, once while I had coffee in my mouth which made me thankful for the silicone keyboard cover I use**.

Christina and her husband came up with some hilarious shots, which went far and above the simple “looking confused” I had originally intended. They hit the perfect balance of being funny, without being slapstick or hamming it, which would have been easy to do. Their video was priceless, it took the comedy away from the dialogue of the “yoga teacher” and transposed it to the reaction of the “students”, and the resulting video was infinitely more funny that it would have been otherwise.

I know that without Christina, I never, ever would have come up with something as good as the finished product. I am so enlightened by the synergy of this project. With my appalling background in seeking out or appreciating collaborations, this was, for me, an amazing illustration of how wonderful teamwork can be. I came up with the idea, and did a pretty good job of editing, if I do say so myself, but Christina’s creativity and wit made the end product the very best (in my opinion) it could be. To borrow an old adage, our team was greater than the sum of its parts.

Without DDP Yoga or teamDDPyoga.com,  I never would have met Christina, and I never would have experienced the power of teamwork in such a fun and rewarding way. On top of weight loss, flexibility, strength and improved health, DDP Yoga has given me the gift of improving my personality and my relationships with others. BANG!

And without further ado, the fruits of some awesome teamwork:

Inspired, the YouTube Clip!

I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to YouTubing, so it took me a while to discover, but the video I posted about my first 90 days with DDP Yoga has garnered some impressive attention. One Arthur Boorman left a comment for me. The Arthur Boorman! He said “Wonderful”.  It may have only been a single word, but that single word meant the world to me. It meant the world because Arthur Boorman is the reason I started this journey.

If you haven’t seen this already, where have you been?

The first time I watched this clip I was sobbing so loud that my husband came to see if I was okay. The next time I watched it was about 3 minutes after the first time. I posted it on Facebook, I emailed it to friends, I shared it every way to everyone I could think of. I was truly moved by it. I couldn’t believe the scale of his transformation. I have fallen for bogus before and after pictures before, but a change like this couldn’t be faked. I didn’t need to lose as much weight as Arthur, nor were my knees damaged to the same extent, but I had the exact same feeling of hopelessness. Seeing someone achieve more than I needed to achieve made me start to be believe I may have finally found something genuine, something real amongst the mountains of get-thin-quick scams and infomercials. I stayed at the watching-the-Arthur-video phase for a lot longer than I should have. I don’t remember what finally made me pull the trigger, but I wish I’d done it sooner. For my health, my happiness, and my figure, it was the best decision I have ever made.

And now it seems things have come full circle, albeit on a much smaller scale. My video has been posted a couple of times on the DDP Yoga Facebook page, as well as on my own Facebook page, here, and on at the teamDDPyoga.com website. I have received a number of comments from people saying that I have inspired them. One DDP Yoga newbie contacted me via Facebook to ask me for nutritional advice, and a friend of a friend pumped me for information on DDP Yoga and dieting tips when we met. Both she and my friend both practice DDP Yoga now.

It seems surreal to me that I am inspiring anyone. It was only 4 months ago that I was 192 lbs (overweight), depressed, suffering with bad knees, and overeating in both a caloric and psychological sense. It’s so strange to me that anyone wants my advice because it many respects I am still the person who was capable of losing control and becoming overweight; I still battle my sweet tooth and my inability to control my portions. I probably always will. I am beginning to see that having flaws is okay, as long as you come up with systems to work around them. For me, it’s logging every morsel of food – even the ones I don’t want to admit to – into MyFitnessPal. Doing that, along with following the DDP Yoga nutrition plan has helped me remove all unhealthy food from my diet and eat the correct amount number of calories to maintain my new weight. For instance, I may eat way too much peanut butter, but it’s organic, single ingredient peanut butter, and I don’t go over the 2020 cals/day MyFitnessPal says I should be eating. Perhaps the people I look up to have flaws they still struggle with too. Apart from DDP, of course; gods don’t have flaws!

And if you want to see Arthur’s comment, it’s under this clip on the YouTube page: