the long road to healthy

August 20, 2009

fear and self-loathing in downward-facing dog

Filed under: fitness, keeping it real, yoga — karena @ 1:43 pm

Before I get to the crux of this post, I have to give you a little background.  I used to be really overweight.  When I was 21-ish, I weighed 230 pounds.  I walked and dieted my way down to 122.  From the waist up I looked almost gaunt, like a cross-country runner.  From the waist down, however, I still looked fat.  No amount of walking, and later, running, and dieting could move it from my legs.  And I don’t mean just my thighs, my calves as well.  I spent my life in jeans and capris and long skirts to hide my *shame* from the world.  People, I lived in Hawaii for two years and never wore shorts.  Slowly over the years I put back on nearly half the weight I had lost.  (That’s including three pregnancies, to be fair to myself.)  It has spread nice and evenly all over my body.  So… my legs are bigger than ever.

The ONLY time I wear shorts is if I’m working out and it’s just too darned hot to wear yoga pants or capris.  It’s 96 here today.  96.  In Belgium.  Something is not right.  Anyway, despite the heat I really wanted to get my power yoga practice in today, so I slipped into a pair of shorts and a T.  As I was rolling out my mat in front of the fan, which is right in front of our open French doors, I happened to glance up at the mirror on the other side of the room.  The sun did a fantastic job of highlighting each and every cottage cheese-like dimple on my thighs.  The front of my thighs.  I just wanted to cry when I saw that.

But crying isn’t going to help.  So I started my practice.  I know most of you who read this blog aren’t into yoga, but you’re probably familiar with some of the poses/phrases.  And all of us who love Jillian understand the idea of not *phoning it in.* So I’m putting my body image issues aside and trying to really be present in what I’m doing.  The practice is intense, I’m focused on my breath, I’m really *there*.  Then we return to downward-facing dog, and there are my thighs staring me smack in the face.  And I just couldn’t get past it.  Every vinyasa would return me to down dog, and every time I’d start feeling bad about myself.  90 entire minutes, and my mind never really quieted down.

I know I’m heavy, I know my legs are big.  So where did this self-loathing come from today?  Why this sudden fixation with what’s wrong, instead of what’s right with my body?  Why can’t I look  in the mirror today and see a person that’s kept over 60 pounds off their body for sixteen years?  Why can’t I focus on the fact that I’m doing something good for myself?

I think it probably welled up today because I saw something I normally keep hidden, even from myself.  And when you don’t see it, you can pretend it isn’t there.  I fear that, again, no matter how much weight I lose, I’ll remain this disproportioned weeble-wobble figure.  That’s something I’m going to need to come to terms with, I guess.  Is it possible to learn to love your body while you’re trying like hell to change it?  Do those two ideas HAVE to be at odds with one another?


August 18, 2009

random thoughts…

Filed under: family, fitness, general, yoga — karena @ 12:10 pm

My five year old is sitting at the kitchen table behind me, putting together a Lego project intended for a kid twice his age.  And singing “Highway to Hell” at the same time.  I’m not sure if I should brag or not.

I’ve had a crappy yoga practice two days in a row.  Yesterday, just as my power yoga practice was starting to build intensity, my Ipod ran out of juice.  Did you know you’re supposed to charge them?  Huh.  I didn’t.  Then today a DVD I’d ordered arrived, and I eagerly put it in as soon as Harry went up for his nap.  It was ludicrous.  At about 45 minutes in, when the demonstrator literally started humping the floor, and the narrator started going on about how this was cleansing toxins from her body, I had to turn it off.

The five year old is now playing under my desk, and has just told me that my feet are like caveman feet.  I think I need to vacuum.  And maybe mop.

I have a to-do list a mile long.  It’s getting longer while I sit here and play with my blog.

The new picture in the header is of me and my two boys on the shores of a small loch in Scotland last year.  We’re going back in ten days.  None of us can wait.  We go up at least once, often twice a year.  It’s our second home.

I don’t want to step on the scale tomorrow.  Because despite working out daily, my husband and I have also been *celebrating* his long weekend — with dinner out and copious amounts of wine.

Sigh… can’t procrastinate any longer.  Time to whittle that to-do list down from a mile long to just a kilometer.  After all, we are in Europe.

August 16, 2009


Filed under: 21 day challenge, yoga — karena @ 1:29 pm

The habits I’m trying to form haven’t so much changed as been re-formed.  Does that make any sense?  I have to update the training log, but I’ve done intense 90 minute power yoga sessions nearly daily.  They leave me dripping in sweat (cardio: check!) and muscle sore (weight training: check!).  But I’m not getting in the separate workouts that I had delineated at the start of the 21 day challenge.  Sleep: I’ve got that one covered!  I don’t think I’ve slept this well since having my first son, five and a half years ago.  Granted, to get that sleep, my husband and I are taking turns — one of us taking the toddler into the big bed, the other crashing in the bottom of the bunk bed.  It’s not the ideal, but it will pass — the five year old no longer demands to sleep with “compny” and I’m sure Harry will outgrow it as well.  And sleep…. ahh, glorious sleep!

Today’s yoga practiced pushed me further than any has pushed me yet.  It left me literally dripping in sweat.  It also left me determined to get a real mat, as the fitness mat I’m using is too cushy and slippery — I find myself sliding all over the place, fighting to keep my pose.  Although I suppose that’s helping me to engage my core!  It also left me elated!  For the first time ever I was able to perform side plank pose.  I was only able to hold it for about five breaths, but that’s a first for me!  Also, today, I was finally able to flip my dog.  I couldn’t get to wheel pose, but I think that’s more fear than physical inability.

Waiting for me after practice:

IMG_5706Stash: green and white… ahhhhh

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