This morning I knew I wanted to write a blog post, but I wasn’t sure on a topic. Rain canceled my plans with my dad today, so I decided to do a yoga DVD from Rodney Yee and Gaiam. Just after completing the workout, it hit me. Yoga is my topic.

The Beginning

Yoga for me began in 2009 when I visited my brother and sister-in-law in Boulder. At the time, my sis was still working on obtaining her teacher certificate. I had said that I would like to do a yoga session with her during my visit, and thus began my journey. What I loved, other than having a bonding moment with my brother’s wife, was how I felt energize and yet relaxed at the same time. I was sore for days. Proof of a great workout!

Upon returning to Indiana, I signed up for a Hatha Yoga class at my local YMCA and loved it. I loved it so much, I went on a quest for a DVD so I could practice at home. My decision was a Gaiam DVD featuring Rodney Yee. It provided me with the detailed instruction that I needed as well as two short workouts on one DVD to keep me interested.

And then I began having trouble with pain in my arms, and sort of set yoga aside. That was a mistake.

The Injury

In October of 2011 (almost a year ago), I’d begun to have a little pain in my back and didn’t think much of it until I sneezed one day. This was garage cleaning day for me. I wasn’t lifting anything. I wasn’t carrying anything. I was just standing, and I sneezed. It felt like a nuclear bomb went off in my mid-lower back. If you’ve been there, you know where this is heading. The next day I was sitting in the chiropractor’s office hearing him tell me about a disc problem. A herniated disc problem. My world came slightly crashing down around me. Okay, that’s a little dramatic. All my workouts stopped. Walking practically stopped. Sitting hut. Laying hurt. Standing hurt. I was miserable and feeling sorry for myself. Guess what? I’m an emotional eater. I gained back 20 pounds.

The Recovery

My chiropractor made a lot of money off of me over the months following my nuclear explosion, I mean herniated disc. He had me doing therapy at home on top of my regular visits. It began to hit me that many of the exercises he had me doing were yoga. Why don’t I get back into yoga? I’d heard of something called Restorative Yoga before. I didn’t know much about it, but it sounded like something that might be right for me. I was sort of right. After a bit of searching around, I located my yoga teacher from the YMCA and we began to have some one-on-one sessions following the regular class. She gave a lot of attention to my back during class to make sure I didn’t hurt myself further. So the injury was in October, and now in May I really started to feel great again. My daily pain was manageable before that, but adding in the personalized yoga instruction made the pain disappear. For the first time in months I was finally pain free.

Now I find myself wanting to dive a little further into yoga. Not just my practice, but my education, the philosophy. What exactly are the Chakras? What is the meaning behind this word Namaste. And how the heck to you pronounce all that stuff? A good friend of mine gave me a great gift for my birthday! A little book called “Yoga Chick – A Hip Guide to Everything Om”, which I am starting to read today. I think this will be a good read for me as it sounds like it is from a beginner’s perspective. She also gave me a three-pack of DVDs from Gaiam. It’s a great set with three separate 30 minute workouts: Abs, Upper Body, and Lower Body. I did the abs this morning, because that is also good for my back. I am looking forward to trying the other two DVDs over the next couple of days!

How has yoga helped you with your fitness, health, or injury rehabilitation? What are your favorite DVDs or books that you recommend?

A couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t feeling well. Nothing major, it was just some digestive issues (I’ll spare you the details) that persisted for more than 48 hours. My logic was, “if my son was having these problems for over 48 hours, I would take him to the doctor. I should offer myself the same care and concern.” So I went to the doctor. She wanted to do a blood test. And another test. I thought the other was …. not something I wanted to do. I did let her do the blood test and she gave me a prescription which cleared up the problem.

After two and a half weeks you start thinking . o O (No news is good news. Everything must be fine. I sure would have heard from the doctor by now if there was a problem a with my blood test. Groovy.) Written off. Everything is fine. Then the doctor’s office called yesterday, “we received your blood test results. Your thyroid levels are low. We’d like to do a more extensive blood test to examine your levels.” Oh. Well. That’s. Sure. Unexpected news. It could be worse.

Thyroid problems, in general, are easily diagnosed and remedied.  I don’t mind needles. It’s really not a big deal, but damn, I just had got it in my mind they weren’t going to call! And then they call! I’m frustrated! It’s also frustrating because I have been through thyroid testing before. Now my memory is foggy but it was either 2004 or 2005 (I think). We’d gotten a gym membership and I was working out and eating great and didn’t lose a single pound. So I asked the doctor about it, and he did the blood test. It came back abnormal. We did another test. It was also abnormal. It showed that I had both an overactive and underactive thyroid, which is pretty confusing. So then we moved on to the radioactive pill and uptake scan. Very expensive. And it showed a normal functioning thyroid. The specialist said, “I can tell you with confidence that when your blood test was done, something was wrong with your thyroid. I can also tell you with confidence that it is not wrong right now. I’m sorry I don’t have any answers for you. Sometimes the thyroid gets out of line and self-corrects. If it’s been off before, it will probably happen again, so call me if you notice any symptoms.”

I’m not interested in going through all that BS again. However, if the thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can really screw up your body. So here we go again. But hey.. it could be worse.

No, I didn’t go back to middle school. My son started 6th grade a couple of weeks ago, and I tell ya what it’s a heck of an adjustment for both of us.  There are so many classes to keep track of compared to last year, so many papers, so many activities, and then his Tae Kwon Do on top of it all.

I applaud you mothers who work full-time, go to school yourself, and still pull this off.  I’m only employed part-time and I feel like it’s a struggle to keep up.

So my son has mild ADHD, which of course had me worrying about how he would adjust. Perhaps he’s made the adjustment better than I have. Perhaps changing classes every 45 minutes is what he is more suited for doing. There’s no need to focus for too long on anything. His brain gets to switch gears frequently throughout the day. It helps that his school is pretty awesome. They have a homework list available right on their website which the kid and I go over every day before we leave the school parking lot. The decision was made for him to be driven to school and picked up after so that he is less likely to forget something important. So far, it’s been worth it.

Now comes the first school dance of the year. The first school dance of his life. My first school dance as a mother. I’m not prepared for this. He’s talking about girls and wanting to wear body spray! My little boy is a small man now. Surely this happened overnight, right?

He sure does look good in yellow.

Did I mention how I’m not ready for this?

I promised this year that I would do better. With his heavier work load, I feel like I’m even more obligated (I don’t mean that in a bad way) to be there for him every day. So when he’s sitting at the table doing homework, I’m sitting right there with him. I go over his planner with him every single day. We set goals every week. We practice his spelling tests together every week. I can even check his grades online now, so we are doing that regularly, too. We also invested in a nice zipper binder for him to carry all day; he says it really does help him stay organized.

How did you and your child adjust to middle school? Do you have any tips or advice to help me or other parents who are making this transition?

This week’s plan was to get back on track with a workout schedule. Then I woke up Monday morning not feeling well. It lasted all day. It continued on Tuesday. It lingers yet today. I sucked it up and went to the doctor only for them to tell me that they have no answers as to what is ailing me.

I guess the “good” news is that I lost 4 pounds, but this really was NOT how I wanted to do it! Well I felt the need to vent a little and I’ve been wanting to blog more regularly. Here it is!

As soon as I’m feeling better, there’s no waiting for “next week” to get back on track. It’s going to happen now. Things are coming together in my life, so really this is the best time to get myself on a good workout schedule and work on my eating habits. Whatever it is that I’m sick with has me drinking a lot of water, so at least I can be working on that habit again!

I’m going to work on that planning and scheduling thing more. I know how important it is, and I’m going to be in a wedding here in a few moths. Since the dress is already in my possession, I actually can’t lose too much weight. Yes, they can alter it to a degree, but overly altered dresses aren’t proportionate. I still want it to look good. This means that I can really take my time and focus on making better habits rather than specifically losing weight. The goal, really, is to be more healthy anyway. I want these changes not just right now, but for the rest of my life.

It is important to stay focused on the real goal: a healthy lifestyle.

I have not blogged in a rather long time. Call it writer’s block, I’m too embarrassed to talk about my [lack of] weight loss, I don’t know what to say, I have too much to say and don’t know where to start. Call it whatever you want, procrastination. Time to get over it.

In a nutshell: I haven’t lost weight, we got a third dog, and my son started 6th grade. Work is good. Home is good. Marriage is good. The dogs are good. The boy is better than he’s been in a long, long time. I don’t think I can recall a time in my life where I’ve been happier.

My life has been challenging. It’s never really just been easy. It’s not been terrible either, but there’s always one thing or another. Here’s the highly condensed version.  Grew up with alcoholism all around me, got picked on and teased all the way through school, married a closet alcoholic and dealt with him for far too long, and then struggled through the financial and emotional burden of being a single mom for several years. Yeah. Things were never easy. Then I had a great guy who didn’t want to be a dad. That was pretty heartbreaking. He changed his mind but then struggled with a long term commitment. Then the ex took off and broke the kid. Finally got married to that great guy. Still had a lot of financial struggles. Then the ex came back and threw everything out of alignment. Then the Great Guy adopted the kid [very expensive]. A year after that the ex took off again and threw everything even further out of alignment for the kid. Then I royally hurt my back [no surgery required, but lots of chiropractic and physical therapy]. Then the kid made some tough choices. The end of his 5th grade was very tough for him, both emotionally and academically. Mom worried.

Then the good. A lot of the financial problems began to resolve. The boy started smiling more. Yoga helped my back. The boy worried less. He played more. I felt good. Hubs & I actually went on a short vacation. The summer went on and things kept improving. Then I worried about the boy starting 6th grade. Now over a week into it, the boy is doing exceptionally well. And he’s still happy. Happier than we’ve seen him in a long time. His sadness, anxiety, and worry are gone. He’s.. a pretty normal 6th grade boy.

And life is Just Good. Is everything perfect? Nah. Still a few loose ends to tie up with the financials. But there’s no more worry about making ends meet. House is a little small for three people and three dogs. Wouldn’t mind an upgrade. But the house we have is nice. Comfortable. In good repair. Carpet is a little.. meh.. Did I mention three dogs? Oh well. My heart is happy and content. And I did get a shiny new car for my birthday. My old car was becoming its very own financial burden! So that is resolved. Now I don’t need to worry about my car starting anymore. That’s really nice. And then I was asked to be in a wedding in England. That was very flattering and exciting, but presented its own stack of worries. Paying for three passports and three plane tickets.. that’s pretty expensive! But it’s all taken care of now. Plane tickets are purchased, and passports should be here soon.

I really can’t say that I’ve ever been happier on an overall sustained level than I am right now. I am so blessed. Now, at the age of 32, I finally feel like my struggles are over. I’ve always been grateful, knowing things always could have been worse for me. I’m sure many of my readers have had more difficult times, so don’t misunderstand me. There is also no fooling, I know things won’t always be great.  There will be more struggles ahead, I’m sure. But right now, there are virtually none, which is the least amount I can remember in my life. And it is Wonderful. And I am Happy.

Alright so I made it to the gym yesterday, which is a little bit of a miracle. We are heading out of town on Friday and I really have a lot to do to get ready. Hopefully I will also go this evening and maybe tomorrow morning, but that’s a little up in the air. I have to be flexible with my schedule this week, and allergy headaches have been BAD.

Back to my point… I went to the gym yesterday. I have been avoiding the scales as I really didn’t want to know the damage I’ve done, but then again it’s sort of impossible to track my progress if I don’t know where I am. So I stepped on them ready to walk away with determined tears. Instead it turned out to be, “Oh! That’s not as bad as I thought.”

It’s bad, but I expected worse. I’ve gained back 12 pounds. That’s a lot but manageable. I can do this. The weekend will be rough with the trip and all; there will be eating out. And probably some drinking. So I’m not going to weigh in again for about 2 weeks. I’m not thrilled about the idea of bringing home smelly gym clothes, but our hotel claims to have an exercise room, I might use it. We shall see how brave I am.

Here’s the sad thing, I don’t plan to eat well on the trip. I don’t… want to. Honestly we are heading to Buffalo, NY and I keep hearing about this restaurant or that restaurant with the amazing food and I want to enjoy it. And that’s all. I’ll eat great today and tomorrow, packing good food for the actual 8 hour car ride, and I’ll just get right back at it on Tuesday. That’s my plan.

What do you do when you go on vacation to somewhere you’ve never been? Do you plan to indulge or make a great effort to continue your regular healthy eating plan? Or do you mix it up and do a little of both?

So earlier this week, on the 22nd to be exact, I was really angry at myself. Angry that I haven’t been good to myself, I haven’t been as good a friend I want to be, nor have I been as good a part-time house wife as I could. I made some promises: to move more (exercise), to drink more water, to eat better, to stay up on my friends’ blogs, to manage my time better, to get back on the ball with my house. I don’t promise to become perfect overnight, but I promise to do better. I will live like the person I want to be.

How have I done? Well to be honest, pretty good. I got Google Reader up and going again and I’ve been reading blogs and commenting. Of course, I don’t have everyone on there, but this is a baby steps program for me. I feel a little bit like I know my friends better. My blogging friends, anyway. I’ve done better with water, most days. I’ve been eating better. I’ve been exercising more. My living room, kitchen, and master bathroom are extremely clean.

I’m pretty proud of myself. I’m living more like the person I want to be. And it feels great.

That is all.

Reprieve. We no longer have to deal with this.

Okay so I made some really bad food choices over the last few days. Not that I’ve been making such great ones lately in general, but I felt awful after what I ate last night. Just awful. Now I wake up this morning just plain mad and disgusted with myself. Seriously, I had lost 30 pounds and look at me. Just look at me. I have gained most of it back. I’m so angry and ashamed. Yes fine it’s not my fault I hurt my back, but that shouldn’t have been an excuse to eat like crap. I could have still been eating well even if I couldn’t do much for exercise. But I didn’t. I didn’t eat smart.

Why is it so hard for me? My schedule changes and the routine falls apart. My back hurts and I don’t want to make it hurt more. Well I’ve decided that I just need to get over it. I’ll deal with some pain and not push too hard, but I have to do something. I can’t be this fat person. I just can’t. I hate looking in the mirror, I miss the way I looked when I was 176 pounds. I need to turn this disgust with myself into motivation. If I did it once, I can do it again, right?

I have this amazing network of people, Mamavation, and I’m ashamed to even show my face. I hide when things start to go downhill. What’s the point in that? How does that do me any good? Why should I expect others to support me when I’m not so good with consistency myself? What kind of an example am I setting? My word.. how lame am I?

So. I’m done whining. Now I have to figure out how I’m going to do this again. How am I going to change my eating habits again? How am I going to keep my family interested in meals? How do I get my husband on board? He needs to lose a lot more than I do. It feels like I’m the only one worried about his health and that scares me.

Well. It’s back to the drawing board. What to eat. When and how to exercise. Time to plan. I’m done venting now. I just have to do this, and so I am.

**Afternoon update

Yeah so I got pretty mad at myself. Obviously. I went to the YMCA and sweat it off and thought a lot. Today I promise: to move more (exercise), to drink more water, to eat better, to stay up on my friends’ blogs, to manage my time better, to get back on the ball with my house. I don’t promise to become perfect overnight, but I promise to do better. I will live like the person I want to be.

I measured my tortellini and pesto and followed it up with fresh carrots and cucumbers for lunch. I’ve had over 40 oz of water (so far). At the gym I spent 40 minutes on the arc trainer. And now I’m going to get off here and do some chores. Today is a new day.

I’ve got that song from “Finding Nemo” stuck in my head. Remember Dory singing, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” and so on. It’s like that except I’m trying to remind myself to keep moving.

Now that I’m over the initial week of EA Sports Active 2, the crazy soreness has subsided and I’m actually able to move the day after my workout. So M, W, F, SA are EA Sports days while TU, TH are YMCA cardio days. I plan to possibly “rest” on Sundays.

After my first week and a half…well…I gained 2 pounds. That’s pretty frustrating. There’s a really good chance that it’s just all muscle gain as I have been noticing more solidity to my body (less squish, more solid means less fat, more muscle). I’m not sure how much “fat” I’ve lost, but I’m pretty sure it’s been replaced two fold with muscle. My muscles tend to rebound fairly quickly after a period of inactivity.

I’ve been afraid to take my measurements. I used to do that every couple of weeks, however when I started gaining weight again I stopped. Now I’m afraid to see how many inches have returned. On the other hand, if I don’t suck it up and do it, I will have a more difficult time tracking my real progress. Argh! I need to get over it.

My next challenge is always the worst for me. Calorie counting. I hate doing it. I hate how time consuming it is. I hate how it makes me feel even more consumed with food. What would be ideal is a chef in my kitchen making me food to eat. “Here, eat this and it’s all you get.” No time, effort, or thought on my part. It doesn’t help that I’m a moderately picky eater with even more picky eaters in my house. While I love myself and my family, I’m not preparing two different dinners for us every day. Our budget is another problem.

Eating healthier is more expensive and January and February are rough months for us since our health insurance company decided that we need to meet deductibles on our prescriptions now! OUCH! All three of us have necessary monthly prescriptions and they are quite expensive. I know if I devote a little a time to it, I can come up with something though. Mostly I’m just whining. Sometimes it feels good to whine and get things off my mind.

I can do this. I am doing this. I am succeeding. I’ve done it before and I am doing it again NOW. Well really it started a week ago. :)

What are your favorite family pleasing healthy meals?