Adventures in Float (Sensory Deprivation) Therapy.

It’s November you guys and I’m totally back. I know that’s my line but…hey..

No seriously. This time it’s going to stick. I have missed my blogging so terribly much. So. Terribly. Much.  I have such a backlog of posts in drafts. I have been typing away like a fiend but for some reason I have had such a mental block about getting back in the blogging saddle. But here I am. I am  here.

Several years ago somewhere on this blog (in a post far away which I cannot find) I waxed wishful and wistful about how desperately I would like to have the experience of floating in a sensory deprivation tank. And then.dreams came true and ..this marvelous place opened not very far from my home right in time for my super intense adventures in PTSD. I had read quite a bit about the benefits of floating for PTSD and since I am all about getting that episode of my life dealt with as quickly and properly as possibly, I made an appointment with alacrity. True REST is the acronym representing Reduced Environment Stimulus Therapy which is somewhat different from the idea of total sensory deprivation. The pods offer lights, music and even iphone hook ups so you can listen to whatever you want. They are also equipped with a two way intercom so you are never without access to someone who can answer questions or help you out should you need them.

Just the aesthetics of the True REST float spa are enough to attract anyone looking for some calm and serenity. This glowing orb filled with warm water is nothing short of mesmerizing. MESMERIZING I SAY.  But let’s start at the beginning because the whole thing is An Experience.

When you check in, you trade in  your shoes for flip flops, then you are escorted to the Oasis room where there is all manner of soothing stuff going on. Adult colouring books, soothing instrumentals, herbal tea, fireplace.  It’s the stuff overstimulated mom’s dreams are made of.  At the appointed time you are escorted back to your very own “suite”. It’s all very zen and minimalist.  You shower with the provided shampoo, conditioner and soap, and then you slip into this womb like environment. The photos obviously show people wearing swimsuits but you are encouraged to float naked and since your room is completely private there is no reason not to.

I am horribly claustrophobic to the extent that I have made all of my loved ones promise that I will be buried attached to all sorts of bells and cell phones and shovels and such should it turn out that I was just in a deep coma so I was pretty skeptical as to how well I would cope with getting into a pod and closing the lid. Turns out it really isn’t claustrophobic at all. If you want you can leave the lid open as much as you like (I didn’t like because I didn’t want to get chilly) You are free to push it open at any time. You can also control the lighting from blues, greens, reds or plunge yourself into total darkness, which I only managed to deal with for a few moments at a time. It’s just SO dark.  The pod itself is not small or confining you can float around in there very freely.

My first experience really surprised me because I relaxed and almost fell asleep almost immediately and I am the type of person who can only sleep in my own bed under optimal conditions, when thoroughly exhausted. Ugh so high maintenance.  I felt incredibly relaxed after and the sensation lasted for days after but it wasn’t a very intentional experience and by the time my hour was up that day I was more than ready to get out. I was just so unused to lying still without stimuli.

The next time I went I had the intention of dealing with an injury prior to a race. The extremely high salt content is recommended for athletes and I have had a lot of luck preventing injuries by taking regular Epsom salt baths. And this is way, way next level to that.  I found that the nagging pain in my calf was markedly improved after the first float and so I made an appointment for one more the day before my race.

That’s when the real magic happened. The float started out just as the others, I felt relaxed and delightfully weightless but this time I was able to truly meditate in preparation for my race. For a full hour I was able to really check in with each body part. I spent time visualizing each organ and limb functioning smoothly and healthily. I pictured my heart beating steadily and strong, my lungs expanding fully, I focused on each muscle, tendon, bone. I imagined them, strong and healthy, completing each mile effortlessly.  Then I focused on my mind. I pictured myself feeling the great joy of having overcome so much in the last few years and over the course of my life. Going from completely broken and hopeless to going back to being able to complete goals that that required mental toughness, commitment and consistency. I pictured myself filled with joy and gratitude. At the end of my float I had some playful moments, doing the yoga poses of my dreams in the weightless environment. I felt so completely relaxed and rejuvenated and lo and behold. The pain I had been dealing with for weeks was gone. Entirely gone just in time for my race.  I carried this sense of peaceful, calm confidence in my body and serenity and joy in my mind throughout next 24 hours and my race was truly the stuff that running dreams are made of.  I felt so totally in synch with my body and completely joyful and pain free throughout. I had no anxiety, paced myself perfectly and felt truly triumphant and at peace from beginning to end.

I honestly cannot speak highly enough of the benefits of the float tank. The whole experience is so serene, nurturing, healing and uplifting.  If you are dealing with excess stress physically, mentally, emotionally. If you are dealing with PTSD (the Perrysburg location offers special pricing packages for veterans), if you are an athlete trying to avoid or heal from injury, if you have a chronic condition or illness, this is for  you.  If you like time to yourself, would be interested in taking your meditation to the next level or are just curious as to what this otherworldly womb like state could do for your mind and body, this is for you. Did I mention that they have an oxygen  bar that you can hook up to after your float session? And a beautiful, well appointed dressing room where you can dry your hair, reapply make up and gradually re-enter the real world? It has FLAVOURED oxygen. It’s so incredibly Hollywood!  For more pictures, locations close to you reviews and videos as well as to take advantage of the packages being offered this month be sure to check out their facebook page. 

**I was so impressed with my experience that I felt moved to reach out to True Rest to see if they would be interested in a collaboration to get the word out.  While I have been compensated for this post, all of  the opinions expressed are unsolicited and genuine. 

On Being Fiercely 40 (now that I’m 41)

Darlings. Look at this! A blog post! I had to do it. For posterity. By the time I finish and publish this post I will be celebrating my non-official birthday and will have completed my 40th year on this mortal coil.

And what a year it was, yo.

Honestly? I have lost track of time and space this year. So much has happened it feels like at least 10. Which isn’t a bad way to go when you are 40 and 40 happens to have been your favourite year so far.

I have always heard women proclaiming that their lives began at 40 and everything fell into place and it was the literal best and I was like..the lady doth protest too much, methinks. BUT I AM HERE TO TELL YOU IT IS ALL TRUE.

Which is not to say for a single second that 40 has been one big joyful skip in the meadow of serenity. Not so much. Not at all. I mean when I think back on the year I feel really happy and good about it but apparently lots of shit went down (which I know cognitively and I can even identify to be all too true for several moments like earlier today around 2pm as I sat in my empty bath, fully clothed texting  “FML” messages to a friend).

HOWEVER. HOW.EVER my general sense is that this year has been awesome and that isn’t because it has been easy because it hasn’t all been easy.  It’s just that I feel like me.  And I’m (finally) cool with who I am. All messy and twisty and volatile and angry and peaceful and kind and bitchy and hurt and healed and wise and ridiculous and immature and disciplined and driven and lazy and cool and sexy and dorky and insecure and confident and self loathing and confused and clear thinking. All of me. I’m down with it. I finally am who I am and I love this crazy broad I call Myself.  Yes I do. And I make no apologies for whatever it is I am on any given day because…I am who I am. And that’s what 40 looks like. That’s the gift it’s brought me. Accepting that I am who I am and working within that acceptance to be the best version of me that I can muster on any given day. And some days that looks like just getting out of bed (or getting into bed and staying away from the defenseless public).

Other stuff I love about being 40/41? I’m fortunate enough to be healthy and active and old enough to know how lucky I am to be healthy and active and experienced enough to be good to my body and treat it with the respect it deserves instead of doing crazy things to make it look a certain way I listen to it so that it can feel and function a certain way.  I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t care about how it looks. I want it to look as good as it feels, and when it doesn’t I get frustrated and I’m not sorry about that either. I think enjoying the way we look and feeling confident in our skin is nothing to be ashamed of and certainly something to strive for.  

I’m just not willing to do weird stupid things in the pursuit of appearance at the expense of being able to enjoy life.  I have never enjoyed being inside of my body more than I have this year.  And I know these are jinxing words and I know that this might sound braggy or insensitive to those who are struggling with health issues but please do know that I cherish every moment when I am challenging myself physically or just feeling relaxation or the good type of tired or pleasure in its many forms. I don’t take it for granted. I have had long periods where I have struggled with considerable physical pain with illness and crushing fatigue, I know how soul destroying it is.  Having a healthy, vital body to live inside of as I have continued the hard work of healing from PTSD has been a beautiful gift which I appreciate with a great sense of joy and wonder.  This year I have done some sort of yoga almost every day,  I have kept up with running and I feel like I’m the best runner I have ever been since I started running at age 17. 

I finally figured out good form. Seriously, how did I not know how to run properly all these years and miles later?  A few months ago I started going to a mixed martial arts gym. A couple of years ago I would have laughed at the concept. It was so not me. But do you know what? I left my comfort zone and have discovered that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing have been the most fun, healing things I have done in a long time. But more on that later.

And as ever, the  PTSD thing. Man alive that’s a beast! Am I right? However, it’s a beast that can be conquered. With patience and determination and education and support. It can absolutely be conquered. I still struggle mightily some days. Life has a way of just pulling the freaking rug out whenever you think you are nailing it. Life is a total bitch that way.  But here’s what’s hopeful. I still get triggered from time to time and then I hate everything and it’s the worst and I take a moment to do whatever just to stay alive and then…it passes. It. Passes.  There have not been any major spirals into despair. There haven’t been any more weeks/months lost to torturous pain or perhaps worse..total catatonic numbness. There have been excruciatingly painful, confusing, isolating horrible moments, hours, maybe a day or two and one month in particular this year was grueling, but the reprieves have come quickly and regularly. This is profound progress.  Darlings, please listen to me. If you are in the catatonic numbness or the greyness of the days when you wish you could just cease to exist…please know that this too shall pass and with the right help, you are going to experience those times less and less and even when you are in them the edge will not be quite as sharp and the despair will not be as enveloping and terrifying. It honestly does get better.   And none of this is for naught. I have been so honoured to walk beside others on this journey. In places similar to where I am now, or further down or forward on the path of healing.  As an ex-Mormon, a religion which finds meaning in everything and nothing, it was weird to suddenly find myself at a loose end. Having to define my own belief system. Weird is the wrong word. It was devastating and horrifying and terrifying but also liberating AF and ultimately it has brought me so much peace.  My pain means something if I’m willing to use it to hold space for others who are experiencing their own.  And that’s enough for me. I need nothing else to find meaning in my life. I’m here to help with what I’ve learned through suffering. There’s enough struggle and grief in the world to keep me occupied with that for the rest of my days. And they will be days well spent if I do.

Being 40 has given me focus. I have streamlined my life considerably in recent months. My circle is small and tight, my commitments are few and focused, my goals are reasonable and I am patiently tenacious about achieving them. “Patiently tenacious” means that I am learning to adapt when necessary but that I’m not just rambling around in the dark hoping to get shit down. That’s another thing about being 40, there’s definitely a sense of actually actively figuring out how to get shit down rather than just dreaming and hoping about that “one day” when it will all magically fall into place.  I have checked a lot off the old bucket list this year. And once you get into that zone you find that it becomes easier and easier to do.

In summary this year I have loved my life (even when I’ve been cursing it) and I love my people. I am grateful to have lived another year of this brilliantly brutiful life. I have been incredibly fortunate in my circumstances and my relationships.  I so hope that I can live many more just as eventful, exciting, growth filled, humbling, confusing and fully alive as this one.  Thanks for being along for this ride, and for letting me be a part of yours.

And since I drink now (which by the way is really most enjoyable in moderation in case you were wondering), cheers and L’Chaim and bottoms up and all that!

Kisses,
k

Five ways I am making my foray back into fitness fun

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I’m 5 for 5 this August.

5 days, 5 workouts.  I’m so happy! It feels so good to be sweaty and out of breath.  I am doing everything in my power to make it fun so that I stick to it this time. And so far, so good!  I am having fun. I look forward to working out every day.  If you have fallen off the wagon and you can’t seem to re-motivate here are a few of the things that are working for me.

1. Get new shoes. 

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Running is not an expensive sport so invest in good shoes because truly it makes ALL the difference. You know the shin splints I was talking about in my last post? New shoes=goodbye shin-splints.  I got my shoes on clearance but they are good shoes. Count on spending at least $50 for decent running shoes on sale. Off sale you are looking at closer to $100 but my mantra in life is that “there is always a sale”.  $50 is still a lot of dough in my world but it’s less than $100.  I’m sorry. I know it’s painful to spend money on un-pretty shoes or to spend money at all… but not nearly as painful as shin-splints.  In the words of Nike (even though I wear Saucony these days)…Just Do It.

2. Consider splurging on a completely new workout outfit toorunningclothes 

This is a great time of year to shop for workout clothing. If you are struggling with motivation to return to a program this can really, really help to spur you on. When you hate the idea of working out you are going to doubly the idea of doing it in nasty old sweatpants and a huge old t-shirt from college.   I’m painfully frugal when it comes to buying clothing but I feel like getting nice quality running pants and a good bra is a great investment.   This doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. I got nice looking very comfy sweat wicking technical  Adidas workout pants at TJ Maxx for under $20.  I am a very tactile person. When I go shopping, I Touch All The Things. If I especially like the feeling of a particular fabric I am going to go out of my way to touch it. These pants have good quality nice touchable fabric and I look forward to wearing them.  PS: Every time I get all guilt stricken and stressed over spending under 20 bucks on myself for a pair of freaking running pants from TJ Maxx I consider the money I spend on soccer for my kids. Then I feel all angry and righteously indignant. Come on now.

PPS:  Can’t end this section without specifically imploring my female readers to at least find a decent sports bra.

If good running pants are nice a decent bra is critical.  Look running is tough enough. You don’t want to be thinking about/clutching/seeing your boobs hoving in and out of view when you run or hoping they don’t knock you or innocent bystanders out. True, a decent sports-bra can be upsettingly expensive.  But… what have a told you? There is always a good sale.  Find that sale and get yourself a solid over the shoulder boulder holder that can do the job quietly and effectively.  Close your eyes, fork over that cash, strap those girls down good and then forget about them.

3. Refresh your playlist.  People!  Music is second only to running shoes in being Everything.  If you are a natural, “born to run” blahblah runner then whatevs…go prancing forth in your funny little barefoot toe shoes with nothing but the sound of the wind and the twittering birds and your easy breathing in your ears and have a lovely time. If you are normal then you need music to drown out the sound of your ragged breathing. Hearing yourself breathing heavily is disconcerting and will make you feel tired even when you aren’t.  So! Music!  Do a little survey of your friends and family for their most motivating “get going” tunes and you might find a new power song.   It’s also fun to ask friends you grew up with to remind you of songs from your shared glory days…the blast from the past will be an excellent distraction.  Speaking of which..  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank AC/DC for Thunderstruck which has been a great motivator for me this week.  You’ve been….. thunderstruck…yeah yeah yeah (good luck getting that out of your head for the next day or two. You’re welcome)

4. Use your music as a training tool while you are getting started.  So now that you have your groovy playlist all ready to go consider really using it.  Here’s the thing. Right now the goal (for me anyway) is simply to get back into the saddle.   This means that you don’t want to be all  intense and mean to yourself while you are still a fragile flower who is easily deterred.  You need to ease yourself into it.  It’s all about making good associations with exercise until it can become a rewarding habit again.  So many people go all out the first day and then can’t walk again for a week or two and then the moment has passed. And whenever they think of working out they remember that time they couldn’t sit down on the toilet for a week without crying. Don’t be that person. 

You know how I love an analogy. Think of yourself as a dog.

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I took our dog to the vet yesterday. She’s only moderately dumb so of course at first she was not so keen to go inside. But from the second she walked in they were plying her with treats. 

“ Hey Shemly come on in! Here’s a treat!” “Stand on the scale! Treat!” “Come into the exam room! Treat!”  “ I’m going to hurt you now but first here’s a treat!”  “ More pain now…treat!”  She never wanted to leave. Once she was done with the vet himself the treats stopped abruptly but the fact remains that Shemly is now a vet addict. Even after the shots and an unfortunate incident with a grouchy little bitch who tried to bite her face off. (I love being able to say that without being profane.) Ah swearing..I’m sorrynotsorry  I do rather love it…… Ok wait..where was I? 

OK yeah so treat yourself like a dog.  Leave yourself wanting more. Keep the treats coming baby.  For me music is fun and motivating and rewarding. And so I’ve been using my playlist as a very lenient personal trainer.treat dispenser.  Here’s my highly technical training system:

I put on a song….when it gets to a speedy motivational bit..I run….for as long as it is speedy and motivational. When it moves to a slower bit or the speedy part has been going on for too long, I walk.  To be honest I do more running than walking this way because my playlist is pretty hyper. This is not necessarily good because I am a huge believer in the Jeff Galloway run:walk method for avoiding injuries especially when you are starting out.  But if I feel like I have been running too long I just compensate by walking a little more later.  Like I say, it’s all very technical. Yes I am a certified personal trainer actually, why do you ask? 😉

5.  Keep your expectations low and slow.

I know.  I know couch to 5K programs are much beloved of beginners and people who are trying to return to fitness so I won’t diss them for a minute. I’ve gone that way myself many times and indeed they have their place.  But that wasn’t appealing for me this time.  I’m a dog now. It’s got to be as fun as possible.  Plenty of time for goals and pressure later.  For the next month at least I am not timing myself. I am not measuring my distance. I mean, I know roughly how far I am going and I could probably go further without too much trouble but I’m not just yet.  I’m romancing this whole fitness thing remember. Slow and easy baby.  Let’s not scare anybody off.  I have several reasons for this. I have had a lifetime of pain this last year and so I’m pretty invested in staying healthy and pain free for as long as I possibly can.   I’m definitely not doing this for weight loss purposes either. I’m doing it because I CAN. I can finally move mostly without pain-what a gift! I’m doing it for a sense of reconnection to myself.  I’m doing it so I can be less Mommy Dearest. I’m doing it because the weather is awesome and the trail is beautiful and  time to myself is much, much needed.  I’m never out for longer than 30 mins.  And that’s been plenty. 

If running/walking isn’t your speed try  the Scientific 7 minute workout on for size.  No matter how much you hate it-you can do it for 7 minutes.   If running used to be your thing but it just seems tooooo haaaaard these days consider that Running 5 minutes a day can have a profound impact on your health.  So start with just 5 minutes. It totally counts.

Any fun tips to add?

Adding this to WFMW at we are that family because so far…this is working for me.

On Taking Control. Part 1: Fixing my relationship with food, making peace with my body, and *painlessly* losing 20+lbs in under 2 months (and still losing)…

On March 1st I started the Momedy Sketch Take Control Community Challenge and a lot of progress has been made in our little community since that time. It’s been a while since our last progress report . And so today I’m starting the series with how I’ve taken control of my relationship with food.
I’ve been a tad sheepish to even go here because when last we spoke of this topic I was poised for another round of the vile and heinous HCG diet as part of my Take Control Challenge.  You  may remember that I embarked upon this torturous experiment in order to look better for my sister’s wedding and after a summer of ceaseless whining and severe deprivation, I did indeed lose a significant amount of weight. Unfortunately the end of my first phase of HCG coincided with me arriving in South Africa whereupon I spent the next 10 days making it my mission to eat as much fat and sugar as I could muster. I had felt so incredibly deprived of these things for so long (I was literally dreaming about pizza on a nightly basis) and I was NOT going to be depriving myself of all the South African goodies I had missed. 
And so by the time my sister’s wedding rolled around at the end of my 2 week sojourn there, I looked just as chubby as I had to begin with. Although I had not yet put much weight back on (that would happen soon enough, though) my face was horribly puffy and I looked just dreadful.  It was all most disappointing, but in fairness to the HCG people, it was EXACTLY what they said would happen if I did not do the 2nd stage of the diet (which I was too weak and desperate to even consider doing by that point). So HCG: fail. Live and learn.
Actually no. Live and continue to be stupid. By this Spring I was once again desperate. I was ready to re-launch my personal training business but I didn’t look the part at all, I looked puffy and unhealthy. I was physically uncomfortable.  I was self conscious.  Running was torturous. I kept injuring myself.  I pondered summer and it filled me with dread. And so I turned again to HCG.
Now, unlike childbirth, I had not forgotten the pain. I knew how much I had hated the HCG diet and how hard it had been on everyone around me but I justified my plan to do it again by saying I would just do it for a shorter period this time, and I would do it properly so I didn’t put all the weight back on in a hurry.  Still I was thoroughly miserable contemplating it.  I started taking the drops over a weekend and “gorging” which is requisite. I felt awful. I was agitated and irritable. And I hadn’t even started the starving part yet! I felt so out of sorts that I started to wonder if I was having a bad reaction to the drops.  On the Monday morning by 11am I had decided that this was not going to happen.
Standing in my kitchen, I had experienced a small window of clarity in my irritability and angst and I had clearly heard something deep inside of myself say, “NO. STOP. ENOUGH. (Do not proceed, do not pass go, do not collect $200.)
This isn’t like me at all. My OCD makes “giving up” very hard to do, and it was. I was furious at being derailed, but I couldn’t deny the very strong and clear impression I had experienced. 
I knew that I couldn’t do this again. Standing there that morning staring into the kitchen sink, I decided that was done abusing my body, I was done being a poor example to my children. I was now finished with doing things to myself that I could not in good conscience recommend that my clients and friends do to themselves. (You will note that I always had a lengthy disclaimer in my past weight loss posts).  I grimly decided that if this meant I would remain overweight forever, then so be it,  I would no longer be perpetuating these horribly unhealthy attitudes for my children and others to learn from.  Being overweight was not something I was happy about being, but abusing my body anymore was simply intolerable and I knew it was very wrong.
A month or two earlier I had been perusing blogs and had seen a blogger that I’ve followed for years talking about her weight loss journey.  I was struck not so much about the fact that she’d lost a significant amount of weight very efficiently (which was certainly intriguing) , but more by what she was saying about how she was finally in control of her relationship with food.  I was also mesmerized by how healthy and glowing she looked.  When I’ve lost a lot of weight quickly in the past,  I didn’t look good.  People wondered if I was sick.  She seemed both physically and mentally health and I wanted to do this the right way.  I emailed her and asked her what she had been doing. She didn’t get back to me, and I assumed she had been inundated with messages and so I forgot about it.
Fast forward to the morning after my epiphany (perfect timing)  she emailed me and offered to call me sometime to tell me more. I eagerly accepted. From the first sentence she spoke I knew this was for me.  She talked about controlling hunger and cravings by controlling blood sugar. This has always been my issue. My blood sugar is very easily affected and when it is out of whack, like most people, I am a disaster. Everyone is to some extent.  Look, I tend to have great self discipline when I am committed to something (vanity related), but once blood sugar is low, almost everyone loses control physically and starts to forage uncontrollably. It’s the body’s survival instinct and we can’t really hold ourselves responsible for our actions when we have low blood sugar.  (Have you ever seen a two year old have a tantrum when they are late for a meal?  Those same instincts kick in for a 32 year old…although they generally skip the kicking and screaming part and are just plain irritable and start making bad choices. Like opening the fridge and stuffing their face with anything they can find. 
She also mentioned that she was NOT calorie counting, and the heavens opened and the angels sang.  It’s not that I just hate the hassle of calorie counting (which I so do)  it’s more that the minute I start having to calorie count or “dieting” in any way,  I start obsessing about food. It’s so draining and boring.  And I was determined NOT to obsess about food anymore! She talked about eating a normal, healthy meal with her family every night  And I knew this was for me.  This was not a diet it was a lifestyle, and it was a healthy sustainable lifestyle. It was one I could model for my kids with a good conscience. It was one I could recommend for my clients with confidence. Long story short, I’m a huge convert.
Ok so is already too long (and I have sooo much more to say)  so not going to go into any more detail about the program here, but let’s forget about what I’ve lost because that is not nearly as interesting as what I have gained over the last couple of months
An acceptance for my body. I hardly ever weigh myself anymore, even though my scale is right in the bathroom where it ever was. This is so huge for me as I have really struggled with scale obsession in the past.  The number on the scale doesn’t have a great bearing on my life anymore,  because since starting this program, I have felt good about myself as I am where I am.  I have felt physically and mentally healthy all the way down. Having clothes fit nicely or finding my (pre-pregnancy!!) pants are too big to wear is always a pleasant surprise but it’s truly (for the first time in my memory) a secondary perk.
A huge increase in energy. I started running again, but not to burn calories. I ran to have fun, to be with friends, and to feel good.  And it was actually fun again.  Despite my casual attitude toward training, I was pleasantly surprised to find that could run faster than I have in a long time and without injury because I felt under no pressure to run further or harder than my body should  in order to lose more weight. I run to feel good for as long as it feels good.  (And carrying around a lot less baggage certainly doesn’t hurt either).
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A healthy attitude toward food.  My obsession with food has gone away. I’m not feeling an emotional attachment to it anymore at all.  Food is neither good nor evil, it’s fuel.  Which is not to say I don’t still enjoy it, I absolutely do! Food can be great fun and I enjoy eating every single meal.  (And I eat a lot of meals!)   It’s just that I don’t NEED it emotionally anymore. I no longer need it to celebrate or mourn, I no longer turn to it when I am bored or stressed.  I enjoy it when it’s time to eat, and when it’s not, I don’t think about it.   This has NEVER been the case for me before.  Absolutely, without a doubt the worst part of HCG for me (worse than starving all the time) were the feelings of isolation I had because I couldn’t use food to self medicate, to celebrate with, to socialize with others over.  Conversely, I don’t use the lack of food to punish myself or to feel more in control any more. Food is a non-issue emotionally.
A sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Unlike HCG where I literally counted the hours until it was over, I feel as if I could do this forever.  Due to extreme life circumstances lately, I have gone off plan briefly a few times (which I don’t really recommend just because you will have even better results if you don’t) and each time I have not felt as if it was worth it. Not because I put on weight (because I actually didn’t) but because I didn’t feel as good.  But there was no, “well I’ve blown it-I’m off the wagon..may as well binge!” mentality this time. There was no self loathing leading to self destructive behaviours. I saw being off plan as what it was. A couple of days off plan. Not a total system failure. And I couldn’t wait to get back on it. There was no girding up my loins to get back on track, I just looked forward to it and dived back in.  Not only do I feel so much better when I’m on it, it’s just really enjoyable and painless.
I’ve been really quiet about all this, up until now for a few reasons. One of them was because I didn’t want it to be another HCG scenario, I was somewhat embarrassed at being “that” girl.  I also wanted to make sure the program was what I was really looking for before I started talking about it in a public forum.  If it was successful I wanted it to be something I could recommend without disclaimers. And it is.  (The couple of people I have shared this with-a couple of friends and a client are  saying the same things. They feel in control of their bodies and their lives again. They do not feel deprived, they don’t feel hungry. And they are losing weight after endless struggles.  My PT client described herself as feeling as if she was coming out of a “15 year fog”.  And to me, that’s better than fitting into your skinny jeans any day. (But I have to say, fitting into your skinny jeans totally doesn’t suck either..I just slid into some this morning!)
I really want to help more people experience what I’m experiencing, to feel in control of their bodies and heal their relationships with food. Mostly I want to help people to love and accept themselves wherever they are on their journey to optimal health. 
If any of this resonated with you and you want to talk to me about it some more,  email me: kirsty.sayer@gmail.com
And now since this is a weight loss related post and this is a blog after all..I suppose I must unveil..the requisite. Before and after pictures: (such as they are).
Since I’m the only one who ever takes pictures full length shots of me are hard come by.  This delightful family outtake from Easter, along with every other random shot I managed to dredge up from that day will have to serve as the befores. Unfortunately (?) although the poses weren’t,  this was actually a pretty flattering outfit and not really an accurate representation of what was going on.
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And then we have these blurry, badly lit iphone gems from today. Taken  at the end of a long day and evening on various soccer fields. Ah the glamour never stops my friends. They will have to serve as the victorious afters. (But you get the gist.) I am still in the process of losing though, so maybe the real afters will be more inspiring.
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****6-10-11: Addendum. I had to add this because I found it so fascinating:
Yesterday I was looking at my timehop app (it tells you what you posted on this day in history)  and I saw that yesterday one year ago I had posted this on facebook:
“SO: Exceptionally diligent no cheating low cal clean eating all week. Exercised hard 5x this week. Stayed super active during the days…..and:…UP a lb. Which means in all the many weeks (almost 2 months) that I have been working SO hard on this endeavour I have lost a grand total of 4lbs. Lest you try to comfort me with the “but it must be muscle” adage: my fat/muscle scale informed me that I was down in muscle and up in fat. (And this would be a good time for the personal trainer in me to remind everyone that muscle does *not* weigh more than fat, muscle just takes up less room) Also?? My measurements all stayed the same or got larger. HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?????????? Perhaps I am doing that sleep eating thing?? Seriously because that is the only thing that could possibly make sense. IT. IS. MADDENING. I think I might eat some ice cream tonight since the deprivation is actually working against me. This is getting quite surreal.”
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I also looked for some photos taken of me from this week last year after I had been trying so hard for 2 months and had lost 4 lbs Sad smile  Here they are compared to me this year after an enjoyable and effortless not quite 3 months when I have lost 25+ lbs . (Exercising very moderately 3-5x a week). I was the same weight when I started both times. I am so sad for the me of a year ago. I wish I could go back in time and do her a solid.  I’m really happy for the me of today (and the future) though.
****Next up in the Take Control Challenge Report:  Part 2: How I took control of my home (and attitude)  and fell back in love with my tiny (perfectly sized) house. linking up with works for me wednesday at we are that family. because this has worked for me like nothing else ever has.

On Taking Control. Part 1: Fixing my relationship with food, making peace with my body, and *painlessly* losing 20+lbs in under 2 months (and still losing!)…

On March 1st I started the Momedy Sketch Take Control Community Challenge and a lot of progress has been made in our little community since that time. It’s been a while since our last progress report . And so today I’m posting the first in a series of updates. It’s about how I’ve taken control of my relationship with food.
I’ve been a tad (ok make that very) sheepish to even go here because when last we spoke of this topic I was poised for another round of the vile and heinous HCG diet as part of my Take Control Challenge.  You  may remember that I embarked upon this torturous experiment in order to look better for my sister’s wedding and after a summer of ceaseless whining and severe deprivation, I did indeed lose a significant amount of weight. Unfortunately the end of my first phase of HCG coincided with me arriving in South Africa whereupon I spent the next 10 days making it my mission to eat as much fat and sugar as I could muster. I had felt so incredibly deprived of these things for so long (I was literally dreaming about pizza on a nightly basis) and I was NOT going to be depriving myself of all the South African goodies I had missed. 
And so by the time my sister’s wedding rolled around at the end of my 2 week sojourn there, I looked just as chubby as I had to begin with. Although I had not yet put much weight back on (that would happen soon enough, though) my face was horribly puffy and I looked just dreadful.  It was all most disappointing, but in fairness to the HCG people, it was EXACTLY what they said would happen if I did not do the 2nd stage of the diet (which I was too weak and desperate to even consider doing by that point). So HCG+ Me=fail. Live and learn.
Actually no. Live and continue to be stupid. By this Spring I was once again desperate. I was ready to re-launch my personal training business but I didn’t look the part at all, I looked puffy and unhealthy. I was overweight. I was physically uncomfortable.  I was self conscious.  Running was torturous. I kept injuring myself. I was low on energy and inspiration.  I pondered another uncomfortable summer and it filled me with dread. And so I turned again, to HCG.
Now, unlike childbirth, I had not forgotten the pain. I knew how much I had hated the HCG diet and how hard it had been on everyone around me but I justified my plan to do it again by saying I would just do it for a shorter period this time, and I would do it properly so I didn’t put all the weight back on in a hurry.  Still I was thoroughly miserable contemplating it.  I started taking the drops over a weekend and “gorging” which is requisite. I felt awful. I was agitated and irritable. And I hadn’t even started the starving part yet! I felt so out of sorts that I started to wonder if I was having a bad reaction to the drops.  On the Monday morning by 11am I had decided that this was not going to happen.
Standing in my kitchen, I had experienced a small window of clarity in my irritability and angst and I had clearly heard something deep inside of myself say, “NO. STOP. ENOUGH.” (Do not proceed, do not pass go, do not collect $200.)
This isn’t like me at all. My OCD makes “giving up” very hard to do, and it was. I was furious at being derailed, but I couldn’t deny the very strong and clear impression I had experienced. 
I knew that I couldn’t do this again. Standing there that morning staring into the kitchen sink, I decided that I was done abusing my body, I was done being a poor example to my children. I was now finished with doing things to myself that I could not in good conscience recommend that my clients and friends do to themselves. (You will note that I always had a lengthy disclaimer in my past weight loss posts).  I grimly decided that if this meant I would remain overweight forever, then so be it,  I would no longer be perpetuating these horribly unhealthy attitudes for my children and others to learn from.  Being overweight was not something I was happy about being (at all!)  but abusing my body anymore was simply intolerable and I knew it was very wrong.
A month or two earlier I had been perusing blogs and had seen a blogger that I’ve followed for years talking about her weight loss journey.  I was struck not so much about the fact that she’d lost a significant amount of weight very efficiently (which was certainly intriguing) , but more by what she was saying about how she was finally in control of her relationship with food.  I was also mesmerized by how healthy and glowing she looked.  When I’ve lost a lot of weight quickly in the past,  I didn’t look good.  People wondered if I was sick.  She seemed both physically and mentally health and I wanted to do this the right way.  I emailed her and asked her what she had been doing. She didn’t get back to me, and I assumed she had been inundated with messages and so I forgot about it.
Fast forward to the morning after my epiphany (perfect timing)  she emailed me and offered to call me sometime to tell me more. I eagerly accepted. From the first sentence she spoke I knew this was for me.  She talked about controlling hunger and cravings by controlling blood sugar. This has always been my issue. My blood sugar is very easily affected and when it is out of whack, like most people, I am a disaster. Everyone is to some extent.  Look, I tend to have great self discipline when I am committed to something (vanity related), but once blood sugar is low, almost everyone loses control physically and starts to forage uncontrollably. It’s the body’s survival instinct and we can’t really hold ourselves responsible for our actions when we have low blood sugar.  (Have you ever seen a two year old have a tantrum when they are overdue for a meal?  Those same instincts kick in for a 32 year old…although they generally skip the kicking and screaming part and are just plain irritable and start making bad choices. Like opening the fridge and stuffing their face with anything they can find. 
She also mentioned that she was NOT calorie counting, and the heavens opened and the angels sang.  It’s not that I just hate the hassle of calorie counting (which I so do)  it’s more that the minute I start having to calorie count or “dieting” in any way,  I start obsessing about food. It’s so draining and boring.  And I was determined NOT to obsess about food anymore! She talked about eating a normal, healthy meal with her family every night  And I knew this was for me.  This was not a diet it was a lifestyle, and it was a healthy sustainable lifestyle. It was one I could model for my kids with a good conscience. It was one I could recommend for my clients with confidence. Long story short, I’m a huge convert.
Ok so is already too long (and I have sooo much more to say)  so not going to go into any more detail about the program here because I can’t do it justice in this forum (more on that later) but let’s forget about what I’ve lost because that is not nearly as interesting as what I have gained over the last couple of months. It really has been life-changing.
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An acceptance for my body. I hardly ever weigh myself anymore, even though my scale is right in the bathroom where it ever was. This is so huge for me as I have really struggled with scale/weight obsession in the past.  The number on the scale doesn’t have a great bearing on my life anymore, because since starting this program, I have felt good about myself as I am where I am.  I have felt physically and mentally healthy all the way down. Having clothes fit nicely or finding my (pre-pregnancy!!) pants are too big to wear is always a pleasant surprise but it’s truly (for the first time in my memory) a secondary perk.
A huge increase in energy. I started running again, but not to burn calories. I ran to have fun, to be with friends, and to feel good.  And it was actually fun again.  Despite my casual attitude toward “training”, I was pleasantly surprised to find that could run faster than I have in a long time and without injury, because I felt under no pressure to run further or harder than my body should  in order to lose more weight. I run in order to feel good for as long as it feels good.  (And carrying around a lot less baggage certainly doesn’t hurt either)
A healthy attitude toward food.  My obsession with food has gone away. I’m not feeling an emotional attachment to it anymore at all.  Food is neither good nor evil, it’s fuel.  Which is not to say I don’t still enjoy it, I absolutely do! Food can be great fun and I enjoy eating every single meal.  (And I eat a lot of meals!)   It’s just that I don’t NEED it emotionally anymore. I no longer need it to celebrate or mourn, I no longer turn to it when I am bored or stressed.  I enjoy it when it’s time to eat, and when it’s not, I don’t think about it.   This has NEVER been the case for me before.  Absolutely, without a doubt the worst part of HCG for me (worse than starving all the time) were the feelings of isolation I had because I couldn’t use food to self medicate, to celebrate with, to socialize with others over.  Conversely, I don’t use the lack of food to punish myself or to feel more in control any more. Food is a non-issue emotionally.
A sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Unlike HCG where I literally counted the hours until it was over, I feel as if I could do this forever.  Due to extreme life circumstances lately, I have gone off plan briefly a few times (which I don’t really recommend just because you will have even better results if you don’t) and each time I have not felt as if it was worth it, simply because I didn’t feel as good.  But that said, there was no, “oh well I’ve blown it-I’m off the wagon..may as well binge!” mentality this time. There was no self loathing leading to self destructive behaviours and then more self loathing.  I saw the situation for what it was. A couple of days off plan. Not a total system failure. And I genuinely couldn’t wait to get back on it. There was no girding up my loins to get back on track, I just looked forward to it and dived back in.  Not only do I feel so much better when I’m on it, it’s just really enjoyable and painless.
I’ve been really quiet about all this, up until now for a few reasons. One of them was because I didn’t want it to be another HCG scenario, I was somewhat embarrassed at being “that” girl.  I also wanted to make sure the program was what I was really looking for before I started talking about it in a public forum.  If it was successful I wanted it to be something I could recommend wholeheartedly,  without disclaimers. And it is.  The few people I have shared this with-a couple of friends and a client are saying the same things.  They do not feel deprived, they don’t feel hungry, they do not obsess about food.  They feel in control of their bodies and their lives again. My PT client described herself as feeling as if she was coming out of a “15 year fog”.  And to me, that’s better than fitting into your skinny jeans any day. (But I have to say, fitting into your skinny jeans totally doesn’t suck either..I just slid into some this morning and it was rather delightful.)
I really want to help more people experience what I’m experiencing, to feel in control of their bodies and heal their relationships with food. To feel healthy and confident and energetic.  Mostly I want to help people to stop obsessing about food and weight, stop the self loathing and love and accept themselves  right now, wherever they are on their journey to optimal health. 
If any of this resonated with you and you want to talk to me about it some more,  please email me: kirsty.sayer@gmail.com .
And now the requisite: Before and after pictures: (such as they are). Since I’m the only one who ever takes pictures, full length shots of me are hard come by.  This beauteous family outtake from Easter, along with every other random photo of me taken on that day will have to serve as the BEFORES. (Unfortunately? this was actually a pretty flattering outfit and not really an accurate representation of what was going on. )
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And then (ironically)  we have these blurry, badly lit iphone gems from today. Taken  at the end of a long day and evening on various soccer fields,  while I tried to prevent Ella from sticking her hand down my shirt on camera. Ah yes, the glamour never stops my friends.  They will have to serve as the triumphant afters. (But you get the gist.) I am still in the process of losing so perhaps my real “afters” will be of better quality.
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Next up in the Take Control Challenge :  Part 2: How I took control of my home (and my attitude) and fell back in love with my tiny (perfect sized) house.
linking up with works for me wednesday at we are that family. Because this has worked for me like nothing else ever has.

If you give a mom a glass of water….

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She can put some essential oils in it
Which will make her feel healthier (and virtuous)  and more energized right away
She’ll like that feeling so she’ll make herself a healthy breakfast
Her baby will want to share the healthy breakfast
Which will make the mother really happy
Mom being happy makes baby happy
They’ll both be in a good mood
Which will give them lots of positive energy
Which they will use to do lots of housework
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Which will make them both thirsty
Which will make them want to drink more  nutrient infused water
Which will make the mom need to go to the loo (often)
Which will keep her from sitting down too long and getting sidetracked
So she will do even more housework
And play with her baby in between
They will both be happy
And the house will be clean
Which will make everyone feel happier and more energetic
Which will inspire them to go for a run and walk the dog
Which will make them healthier
And happier
And more thirsty
Which will make them want to drink a glass of water.
………………………………………………………………..
Today before lunch I achieved more than I have in months! Well probably not months but it really feels that way. It’s so exciting.  And it really did all start with a glass of water. Have you had enough to drink today? If not, go pour yourself a big cool glass and reboot your day.
Drinking more water (and supplementing my diet with essential oils) is one of the goals I am working on with the Momedy Sketch Take Control Community Challenge.  If you want to join us, email me and I will hook you up.  People are working on everything from diet and exercise to taking control of their finances and weaning themselves of screen addictions.  Join us! Email me: kirstydotsayeratgmaildotcom,  I will hook you up!

Beyond “chocolate for Aunt Flo” (GIVEAWAY)

Friday Follow

Welcome Friday! Welcome Friday Followers! Please check out the great giveaway at the end of this post!

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For some reason, even in today’s enlightened, liberated and educated age, so much about female health remains somewhat mysterious. How much do you really know about the menstrual cycle beyond the fact that is shows up around every month, inspires a critical need for chocolate and has a lot to do with the business of making babies?

Ok fine, so you probably know more then that, but how well do you think you will be able to teach your daughter about something that she will deal with on a monthly basis for most of her adult life. Do you feel well equipped to explain the delicate science of the matter in a way that a pre-teen can understand? It’s kind of crazy how limited many of us are when it comes to what and how to share factual information in a straight-forward and engaging way. There are lots of “you’re becoming a woman” books on what to do when your period shows up but they tend to be somewhat touchy feely and a little sketchy or limited in the fact department. To this day, I’m still a little hazy on some aspects of how the whole process goes down, and as a doula, I am more “up” on that sort of thing then most. Or should I say, I was a little hazy. No longer.

My friend (and fairy god-mother), Dr. Joan Moon has developed an explanation of the menstrual cycle especially designed for mom’s to share with their daughters. Using accurate yet simple animated diagrams, anyone can easily grasp the complexities of the menstrual cycle as the graphs show everything that goes on from the brain to the ovaries to the uterus in real time animated diagrams. She takes something complicated and without dumbing it down in any way, makes it easily understood and interesting. I feel that it fills an important niche that is really lacking in our society. It’s factual and easy to follow and the animations of the process are fascinating yet uncomplicated.

Why did Joan develop this module? “Because the menstrual cycle within a woman’s body is an important vital sign of health and well-being throughout their lifetime. Women of all ages need to be stewards of their bodies, and understand the unique nature of their individual cycle in order to be engaged in informed healthcare decision-making. Also, anyone caring for and/or teaching young girls, or women of any age, should be aware of the information contained within this module to optimize their teaching and/or healthcare practice.”

Check out these enthusiastic endorsements coming from moms, RN’s and Dr.s alike

“As a mother, I feel that Joan’s tutorial will be helpful in teaching my daughter about her body and her menstrual cycle, as well as providing a life-long reference for any questions that I might have.” ~ Susan, mother of a 5th grader

“Fantastic and detailed yet easy tool to learn the ways of the menstrual cycle”
~ Lisa Sagnella, RN, SPNP Yale University School of Nursing, Master’s Program, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Specialty

“The menstrual cycle module presented by Joan, is helpful and informative. She’s taken a human function, that most people know the basic concept of, presenting the information in great depth, that we learn more than we knew before. Best of all, she presents the information in such a way that is easy to understand. This would be a great tool to use within our schools for our young girls to learn about their bodies. Great work Joan!” ~ Amy Ernst

“Nurse-midwife Joan Moon and colleagues have created a graphically amazing, engaging, and informative computer-based module that creates a feeling of awe and empowerment in the woman viewer.” ~ Jerilynn C. Prior MD, FRCPC, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of British Columbia, Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research

“It’s a very accessible and understandable presentation of difficult material. It also does a fantastic job of highlighting the importance of the menstrual cycle as related to health. A wonderful resource for healthcare providers, and for women who want to understand more about themselves!” ~ Katherine Magoon, RN, SPNP Yale University School of Nursing

I think that improved menstrual cycle education can empower girls and women in so many ways and help them from a young age to take charge of their health for a lifetime. Joan is generously giving away a copy of the Mothers/Daughters based DVD (worth $30) to one randomly chosen commenter on this post. If you’d like an extra “entry” please put her button (code included below) your blog and post a separate post to tell me that you did.

link-button

copy this code for button:

http://www2.blenza.com/linkies/autolink.php?owner=middayescapades&postid=07May2010a

The plight of the Piglet

http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.jsThis morning while spinning (on the bike rather then loom) next to my kind and trusted friend Amy, I broke down and confessed to everything I ate yesterday in list form starting with breakfast. She began to get shocked and afraid at around noon, but I was only just warming up around then. I continued to eat in earnest pretty much constantly (when I was not napping) until about 9:30pm. She soberly agreed that I had been a very, very, very bad girl. I am sure a less understanding person (like Nathan) would have just shot me on principle. It was that bad.

At approximately 11pm last night the irrevocable decision to never be pregnant again was made as I sat up in bed in the dark, wracked with terrible heartburn. I had to take two Zantac. To put this all into perspective I have never taken Zantac while not pregnant. The Zantac I found in the medicine cabinet expired in 2006. Which is why I took two. It did the trick. Eventually. At one point, I considered sticking my finger down my throat. Not to be bulimic about it, but it was clear that my body had run out of space for all the food and something had to be done before I choked on the stomach acid. But I didn’t. Because that would be wrong, friends. Gluttony has its consequences and we must endure them until the Zantac kicks in.

Anyway as I spun like a maniac this morning, I breathlessly informed Amy that I did not intend to eat for the next week or so or until the exercise had burned up the 350, 000 calories my body was trying to deal with from this weekend. Whichever came first. She indicated that given the extremeness of the circumstances, this may not be an inappropriate course of action.

Then I came home. And ate a cheese-stick. And then a yoghurt. And then a few handfuls of BBQ chips.

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Due to the fact that my size 2 jeans (which have plenty of stretch and fit just fine last October,) now look as if am actually trying to squeeze into a 2 year old’s jeans, (and before you get all eye-rolly about the size, consider that I am only 5’2-yes fine, Shona, only 5ftTWO, and actually am and appear to be very average in weight when wearing that size), due to that fact: at 12:15pm this afternoon (over the BBQ chip bag) it was decided that I will exercise to any extent required if it means that I do not have to curtail what I eat. Because apparently that is not my scene.

So. What is your favourite method of exercise? As you may know, I am a devoted convert to interval training for weight loss/maintenance and I generally do that with running, but I must say that I am enjoying mixing it up with the spinning. Amy and I just scream at each other so we don’t have to pay for a class.

That and P-90X . I have to say, that crazy dude don’t mess around. I continue to be virtually paralyzed on the 2nd day after I attempt it.

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Early-Bird Wannabe…


http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.jsToday over at the Modern Molly’s, I am talking about my recent attempts to greet the day earlier (and subsequent attempts to go to bed earlier). I know this is not an issue that is relevant to many of you with little ones, (you can only dream, right?) but we have always been a sleeping in kind of family so it’s pretty earth-moving for me.

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Jiving With Your Daily 5

http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.jsI’m talking about how to make the 5 a day vege thing a reality over at Modern Molly Mormons today.

Whenever we go to Subway and I watch the “sandwich artists” at work, cramming all manner of goodness into one little sandwich, I am reminded that it is all about just having it all ready to go and accessible.

I really think that most of the time when I grab junk food it’s just because it’s easier to grab then the healthier stuff, not because I’m craving it. How about you? Good news is the healthy stuff can be just as accessible (and appealing when you are starving), with a bit of forethought and prep, and if we make it a habit in our homes, our kids are more likely to do the same.

Childhood obesity is becoming epidemic, it’s something I find very tragic especially because it is so preventable, and I think a lot of it has to do with lack of nutrition education and kids just not having easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables the way they do to chips and cookies.

Go check it out and tell me what you think.

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