Five Things Friday


Yesterday was nerve-racking to say the least. On Wednesday, for our Shrinkvivor check-in, we had to submit our weight, exercise minutes logged and the name of a tribe mate we were choosing to vote to exile. Then we had to wait until Thursday 8pm CST for the results. I was pretty sure my low percentage weight loss made me a very likely candidate to be exiled so it was difficult to make it through the day without obsessing on the results. Of course, I did make it through the day and as soon as I was out of my qigong class I rushed home and watched the video of tribal council revealing the results. The first announcement made was the top three tribes, in regards to weight loss percentage, and sadly Tribe Gray was not one of them. Actually our name came up next as the team with the lowest percentage of weight loss for the week meaning the entire tribe would be sent to exile. Yikes! Fortunately for our tribe we managed to win immunity and the whole tribe was saved- no one was sent to Exile Island. Phew, that was a close call. We went from the whole tribe being exiled to the whole tribe being safe in the same sentence; it was very traumatic dramatic. Hearing from my tribe last night and this morning one thing is very clear to all of us- we got lucky. I think we all know now we have to step up our game for next week knowing the other tribes will be doing the same trying to win that immunity. I am not knocking our effort last week; we totally kicked ass on the exercise minutes. Our 7 person tribe averaged 558 exercise minutes logged per person. Amazing! That means in total we racked up 3,906 minutes (65.1 hours) of exercise over seven days. That’s really impressive. Go Tribe Hodari Gray!


By now you all know about my ever growing obsession with Nia. If you happened to have read the little student of the month blurb in the Nia San Antonio newsletter you might have saw I mentioned hoping to take the Nia White Belt Intensive in 2012. Nia has become one of my passions and I want to take the WBI to learn more about it and develop myself as a student. I also want to take it because it allows me to become a Nia teacher once completed. While in San Antonio I will probably never teach a Nia class however when Paul and I move (whenever and wherever that might be) we may end up somewhere that doesn’t offer Nia classes. Being a Nia instructor might be the only way to continue on with my passion. I had been hoping to do the WBI offered in San Antonio by Joanie and Adelle, two of my favorite Nia instructors, in March 2012. Then last Saturday Adelle told me that she and Joanie were going to add a WBI this December. She then asked me what I thought about the idea of having it over two weekends instead of having it as a weeklong class. I told her for me that would be much better. Having to take a week of vacation for the course would mean no other vacations until late summer and that was the big drawback of the class in March. I kind of pushed for the split weekend setup. Then on Sunday when I saw Adelle she told me she and Joanie discussed it and decided to make the December session over two weekends but that the others on the schedule for 2012 would be the full week. This was great news for me EXCEPT for the fact that I have no vacation time (haven’t hit my 6 months yet) and that I needed to come up with the money, it’s not cheap, right away since it would be in less than 8 weeks. Thankfully my boss agreed to let me work 4-10 hour days for two weeks in a row to give me December 2 and 9 off and I was able to come up with the money, I’d prefer not to say how ;), and so in just two months time I will be a Nia White Belt. How crazy is that?

What makes this even better is that my super awesome friend Simply Sidney is doing the White Belt Intensive this November. I am so excited for her because I know she will be a fantastic Nia teacher. I think about my instructor Joanie and how 17 years age her and her best friend took the WBI and have both been dancing ever since. This year Joanie spent her Nia anniversary in Montana with that same best friend to celebrate and co-teach classes together. I think about me and Sidney and whether our future will have us celebrating our anniversary together. Will we be doing other trainings together? Will we be co-teaching classes and traveling around introducing Nia to others? I like to think we will. I know that this training will change our futures in ways we can’t even imagine. It’s a pretty amazing journey we are about to embark on.


This past Saturday was the last session in the five week yoga seminar I had been taking. I really enjoyed the class; I learned a lot and am already noticing the improvement in my practice. I am hoping they offer a ‘Yoga 2’ seminar; I would totally be on board for that. Last week I wrote about the yoga instructor who singled me out for ‘health reasons’ and I received a lot of feedback on that post telling me I should say something to her. I agreed with your comments and planned on pulling her aside and telling her that how she addressed me publicly was embarrassing and that I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Secretly, I was hoping for an apology too for prejudging me but I wasn’t going to hold my breath on that one. Unfortunately that instructor was not there so I was never able to air my grievances. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see my favorite yogi, Tricia, in her place. Talk about a 180 from the week before; I went from having someone doubt my ability to perform based off of my weight to someone who knows my abilities and praises me for them. Yep, when I saw Tricia I pretty much freaked out and ran over and hugged screaming ‘I’m so happy you are here’. Yeah, I can be a little over the top sometimes. On a side note; Tricia, who I also go to for Thai Yoga, has been noticing my weight loss and complimenting me on it. That always makes me feel good. Compliments aside, this is why it is important to make sure the people you keep around you in your life are positive, supportive people. Friends, family, yoga instructors it doesn’t matter. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and you will find it easier to believe in yourself as well!


I am not going to lie; I am pretty nervous for game 5 of the NLDS tonight. Not because I don’t think the Phillies can win, they totally can, but because in a game 5 scenario (in a five game series) there is no room for errors. They need to come out on that field mentally and physically ready to lay it all down for those 9 innings. I really want the Phillies to win tonight. Heck I really want the Phillies to win the World Series but tonight, this game feels as important as the World Series. See, Paul’s bestie TJ is a HUGE Cardinals fan. He talks about them ALL.THE.TIME. Of course, he probably thinks I talk about the Phillies all the time but oh, well. Needless to say we have been talking smack all week about this series and I am not sure I could tolerate if the Phillies lost and I had to listen to him rub it in. I may just lose control and roundhouse kick him in the face- I can do that, you know- and nobody wants that to happen. So, today I urge you all to cheer on my Philadelphia Phillies. They need the win, I need the win. If they lose I will blame you for it. I’m from Philly, that’s how I roll 😉

Steve Jobs

It’s been a few days now and I know I am just one of the millions of people devastated by the loss of Steve Jobs. I found out of his death when I heard the announcement on the radio while driving home from class and was immediately saddened. Once I got home I went onto Twitter I found that I wasn’t alone in my grief. Most people were having the same reaction. How touching that the death of a man most of us never knew could have such a profound impact. Was it because this man revolutionized modern life or was it because we realized the impact his loss will have on our lives. My guess is it is probably a bit of both. Since the news broke I have seen countless numbers of quotes and tributes floating around, I have learned more about Steve Jobs than I had known, and truly started to realize the magnitude of his existence. If nothing else, Steve Jobs has shown us all that nothing is out of our reach. For that, I am truly thankful. May you rest in peace.

Thanks for reading!


October 7, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Baseball, Nia, Shrinkvivor, Yoga. 2 comments.

Because I Am Fat

Last Saturday I attended the fourth session of my yoga seminar at the Synergy Studio. The way the seminar works is we have two instructors each week, each teaching for two weeks, but one rotates out every week. So we end up having one new teacher and one ‘old’ teacher every week, if that makes sense. For the previous three weeks we had been instructed to set up our mats in a circle and so on week four we came in and did the same thing. I set up my map between the two Susans, one whom I have been with since the first class, which has been a great spot since we all try to keep each other motivated and encouraged throughout the class. Then our new instructor arrived and told us she doesn’t want us in a circle, she wanted us in two straight lines, facing each other from across the room. This way the other instructor, the one who had been with us the previous week, could focus on the students who needed extra attention; the students sitting on the left side of the room. Then she turned to me and asked me to move to the other side of the room for ‘health reasons’ so they could keep an eye on me. That’s what she said to me, out loud in front of the entire class. This woman who has never seen me before and knows nothing of my ability level calls me out for ‘health reasons’ and sends me to the opposite side of the room. And then we begin. Yep, I was the only person asked to move. It was embarrassing.

Not only was it embarrassing it was infuriating. This lady came into the room and clearly picked me out because of my weight. I was being judged as unhealthy or incapable because of my size. That really pissed me off. How dare her. For the first thirty minutes of class I quietly went through the motions while inside my head was a raging storm of anger and resentment. I would show her. Look at me and my perfect camel pose. Look at me; I can do the bridge pose too. Look at me, the fat girl doing yoga and not needing any extra help. Suck on that skinny yoga lady…that’s what I was saying in my head.

Then it dawned on me, maybe she was right. I do not think singling me out in front of the whole class was the right thing to, that’s just embarrassing and was unnecessary, but moving me because of my weight, because I might have needed extra attention, that was probably the right thing to do. Why? Because I am the heaviest person in that class. Yes, I have lost almost 70 pounds (216.8 this morning, woot!) and yes, I workout everyday and do yoga 2-3 times a week but she didn’t know that. She didn’t know anything about me. She was being cautious and yes it sucks being judged or stereotyped because of my weight but I think she was looking out for my safety. At least that is what I hope was going on.

Here’s the reality, my reality at least, after 70 pounds weight loss I am still the fattest person, or at least one of the fattest people, in every class I take. After 70 pounds lost I am still obese and still at an unhealthy BMI and body fat percentage. After 70 pounds lost I am still being judged by strangers because of how I look. So what do I do? Do I say oh, well and think of this as a failure. Do I let the self-pity wash over me and go eat my feelings? Or do I say eff it and just stop caring what people think? I am going to have to go with the latter. Why? Because who cares? This is my journey and my life, no one else’s. Why should it matter if I am the fattest person in the room or if people stereotype me because I am fat? It shouldn’t and it should never stop me from doing the things I love, like yoga. I am doing this for me and no one else. Life gets so much easier when you stop comparing yourself to others or caring about what people think of your physical attributes and that is something I need to remember every day. I am happy with me, I love the changes I have made and the good habits I have formed, I enjoy being active and becoming fit nothing else should matter.

So here I am world. 216.8 pounds. Still obese. Still active. Doing this for me. Secretly hoping to prove yoga teachers everywhere wrong 😉

Thanks for reading!

September 29, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Weight Loss, Yoga. 10 comments.

Three Things Thursday

I am fortunate, and I recognize this fact daily, that haven’t sustained any serious injuries since I hurt my knee from pushing myself too hard and over extending myself back in early March. I am very clumsy and I also tend to have unfortunate luck when it comes to injuries so I am pretty lucky to have made it 6 months injury free. *Knock, knock, knock* yes, I am knocking on wood as I type this 😉 Although I haven’t suffered through any sidelining injuries I do still in fact have problems/issues that arise pretty frequently. Yesterday was no exception. I went to back-to-back boxing classes (one was a boxing/boot camp class and the other was kickboxing) during which I hurt myself. The first injury I received was, get this, chaffing on the underside of my boob. LOL! Yep, it’s pretty awesome. I think this occurred when I was changing into my sports bra, you know the one that is crazy tight and has five million hooks, and somehow didn’t get my boob all the way in. When I realized this I pulled it in and somehow scraped the skin off the underside of my boob which ended up getting very irritated locked away in a sweaty sports bra for hours. Thank God for baby powder; is there anything it can’t fix? I hurt myself the second time from doing plank position (on my elbow) while wearing boxing gloves. Having the gloves on makes it difficult to distribute my weight evenly from elbow to hand and I end up with most of my weight back towards my elbow. The floor at the boxing studio is rubbery and as my sweaty arms slid I basically gave myself rug burn. So not only did I give every ounce of energy to boxing yesterday, I also gave them some of my flesh too 😉 Oh, and things like this don’t just happen at boxing. At Nia class on Monday I smacked my elbow on the hardwood floor. Owie! I felt that one for the next couple of days!

Speaking of Nia, guess what Adelle sent me last night? Some pictures from our little photo shoot. Here they are as promised!




I am happy to report that I have two new activities coming up in the next week; Ecstatic Dance and Thai Yoga! This Friday night is Ecstatic Dance, a special class being held at the Synergy Studio, and I have been anxiously waiting to participate since I found out about it a few weeks ago. Here is the description of Ecstatic Dance from the information I received about the class.

INFO ABOUT CONSCIOUS ECSTATIC DANCE; movement, rhythm, and music have been used by cultures throughout the world for millennia to induce healing and ecstatic states of being. Gathering together in community, on the dance floor, in movement, music and breath, activates potent life force energy for transformation and creation. It frees our joy and inspiration! Ecstatic Dance is a form of active meditation or prayer where music from around the world, free-form self-guided movement and breath are used to shift brain wave patterns from the day-to-day busyness, to the more meditative and insightful alpha state. In this state you may easily access creative & expanded visions of your life & purpose. At the very least you’ll release tension, touch authentic emotion & feel inspired.

Yes, please! I am ready for all of the above!

The other new activity I am trying out is Thai Yoga with my favorite yogi Tricia Messinger. You may have heard me mention her before; she was/is my Yogic Arts and Hot Vinyasa Yoga instructor who hasn’t been teaching at Synergy due to a shoulder injury. However, Tricia offers one on one Thai Yoga classes in her home which are not limited by her injury. Next Wednesday is my first session and I am super excited to see Tricia and experience Thai Yoga for the first time. Here is a short description on Thai Yoga taken from Tricia’s website.

Nuad Boran or Thai Yoga is a deep one to one yoga practice that focuses on breath, rhythmic movement and supported yoga poses. The practitioner guides the recipient through a series of yoga postures while using hands and sometimes feet to stimulate the body’s energy (“Sen”) lines and pressure points. This allows the recipient to find new levels of openness, flexibility, tension release and calm within their body.

Just as in Hatha Yoga, Thai Yoga is practiced on a mat on the floor. Both the practitioner and the recipient wear clothes that are comfortable to move in. Thai Yoga is a deep and powerful system. It can take you and your yoga practice (if you have one), to a new level. **Please note: Thai Yoga can be customized to each person’s wants and needs; this is one of the things that makes it so powerful.

If you live in the San Antonio area and are interested in learning about Thai or Vinyasa yoga Tricia is a great resource. Check out her website Ebb N Flow Movement for more information.

I can’t wait to report back to you on both new experiences. I know both are going to be pretty incredible.

Thanks for reading!

September 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Life, Yoga. 2 comments.

Goodbye’s Suck!

Today is the last day at my current job and I was greeted with mixed emotions. Happy to be starting something new, excited to meet all of my new co-workers and start my new job, nervous as to how I will fit in and how my new work schedule will mesh with my classes/workouts, sad to leave some great co-workers /friends behind and anxious to leave someplace where I feel so comfortable and head into an unknown situation. I know all of this is normal and thankfully it’s not nearly as traumatic as when I left my job in Philly. That was devastating. Multiple going away parties, lots of tears, and I still miss that place even to this day.  But that is life. Here’s to new beginnings!

When I started this blog over four months ago one of the things I wanted to fix in my life was my career situation. I didn’t talk about my job too much, other than venting about it every now and again, but it was clear to me then that I felt like my career had stalled. Actually I felt like I had taken three steps back on my career path and that had made me feel kind of crappy.  I had different expectations as to where I should be at this point in my life and to not be there, especially after progressing nicely prior to moving to TX, was such a disappointment.  I wanted to change jobs, I wanted to feel better about my career and its progression again, but I was only willing to leave this job for something better. Luckily a friend of mine found a job posting that was in my field and passed it on to me and here I am today, looking forward to starting that job on Monday. It will be great. It’s a pay increase which I am not going to lie, is much-needed, but it is also the type of job that will challenge me and allow me to grow within the company and I am most happy about that.  Just like all the other aspects of our lives, it is important that we step outside of our comfort zone in order to allow ourselves to grow.

Speaking of stepping outside of my comfort zone, I went to my second Bikram class last night and I am so glad that I did. The second time around was so much better, still hard as hell, but better. Paul liked it so much more because of the instructor. This instructor started off the class by telling the group that he hated Bikram and most days he had to force himself to do it. However, it was because of Bikram that he was able to do all of the other activities in his life that he loves to do, like wakeboarding. He said that Bikram helped him through a surfing injury, one that should have required surgery, and now he is stronger than ever and able to do so many more things than he ever could prior to Bikram. He told us to treat Bikram like it is our medicine, 90 minutes of medication, and we should just suck it up, take the medicine, and then go on with our lives. I think that speech brought some perspective to both Paul and I. After that we both viewed the class a little differently. I also think knowing what to expect made the second class much easier to get through. For me, I like to know when I am in the home stretch- it helps keep me going- and since we cannot wear watches and there are no clocks in the room the only way to know it is when it is close to over is through the poses which are done in the same order every time. Once we hit rabbit pose I knew it was almost over and I started singing my happy song,  in my head of course.

As the class was coming to an end the instructor said something to us, something he was told by another yogi, and I wanted to share it with you. He said for us ‘to be fearless, not reckless’ which is applicable to our yoga practice and really life in general.  So, I will leave you with that thought for the day.  Come Monday, I will try to be fearless and I hope you can do the same when faced with difficult situations.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. I got called away when I was writing the last line of this post. Several co-workers had a card and a gift they wanted to give me as a farewell present.  They bought me a Kindle! Isn’t that crazy? That was such a sweet thought and it meant so much more because they said it was so I could have my own and won’t have to keep stealing Paul’s. They know me so well J

July 8, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Career, Life, Yoga. 14 comments.

Bikram Yoga = Surface-of-the-Sun HOT!!!


Do you watch ‘The Office’? Do you remember the episode where Michael comes back from his Jamaican vacation, steel drum in tow, and spends the entire episode singing  ‘feeling hot hot hot’ again and again? Ummm, yeah. That is all I could think of last night at my first Bikram class. Nothing, not even living in Texas and spending hours walking in the heat, can prepare you for what it feels like in that room. The heat is just stifling.  I am pretty sure that it felt even hotter for me because I have a thick layer of insulation (re:fat) around my body comparable to a bear getting ready for hibernation 😉 I am sure you already knew that the heat would have been the hardest part of the class – I mean the room is kept at 105 degrees and a balmy 40% humidity level which in and of itself is crazy. Then add to that 90 minutes of yoga and it makes for one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Ever. In my entire life. No joking.

They say that if you can just make it through the entire 90 minute class without leaving the room you should consider it a success and now I understand why. It is hard to handle physical activity in that environment and the thought of running out that door into the A/C definitely crossed my mind a few times. They repeatedly tell you that if you feel dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous to lay down and it is ok if you need to sit out on a posture, which I did. There were times where I felt light-headed from coming out of a position too quickly so I would lay down and there were times were I couldn’t complete the pose so I would lay down and there were times where I felt overwhelmed from the heat so I would lay down. Overall I probably laid down somewhere between 4-6 times and I am ok with that. There was about a quarter of the class that was also laying down so I didn’t feel awkward or embarrassed that I needed to take breaks.

On days that you take a class you are encouraged to stay hydrated. They recommend you drink 1-2 liters of water throughout the day as well as making sure you have water for the class. I drank a ton of water yesterday, easily doubled the recommended amount, and then brought with me a 2.2 liter water bottle of which I drank close to 2/3 of during the class. I proceeded to finish the rest of the 2.2 liters immediately after and then drank 3 – 16 oz. glasses of water with dinner. Holy thirstiness, Batman! After the class all I wanted to do was drink water; Paul wanted to eat. He came out of the class starving and I couldn’t even fathom the idea of eating and what ended up happening was me eating dinner at 8p. Not really a great time to be eating however I still didn’t have much of an appetite so it wasn’t a big meal. The Bikram studio encourages you to take your second class within 24 hours of the first so Paul and I decided we should probably get back there today for class number 2. So, again I am drinking, drinking, drinking as much as I can to help prepare. I don’t think I would have lasted the whole time if I hadn’t.

So, you probably would like to hear about the actual yoga part too, right? Well the class is set up like this; warm-up breathing exercises, yoga routine consisting of 26 poses each done twice (check out images of each here: Bikram Yoga Postures) , and a cool-down breathing routine. I was seriously exhausted after just the warm-up routine and questioned if I would be able to make it through but I took it one pose at a time, with breaks as needed, and when our instructor said ‘let’s give a hand to all the first-timers’ I nearly cried I was so happy to have made it through.  Most of the poses were difficult for me for many reasons. Some of them I couldn’t do because I don’t have the balance to sustain the pose, some my fat belly prohibited me from bending further,  and some I struggled with because I was so sweaty I kept losing my grip. Although I did take breaks I was still able to attempt each individual pose since we do them twice. If I missed the first sequence I would just jump back in for the second. It seemed to me that the order of the poses is set up in a way that the more difficult ones were in the first half so towards the end I was having an easier time maintaining the poses. Paul and I were separated and it was really hard to look at anyone other than the instructor and myself and still keep up but there were a few times where I was able to sneak a glance and saw he was dong quite well with the poses. Bastard! 😉

The whole idea of doing Bikram yoga was intimidating and to make matters worse they recommend you wear as little clothing as possible so not only did I have to battle my anxiety of not being able to physically endure this class I had to battle my insecurities of how I looked wearing teeny, tiny shorts in class. I, of course, was the heaviest person in class by far which is something I have accepted as the norm wherever I go; boxing, Nia, Hoopdance, etc, but this was even more noticeable since we were all pretty much half-naked.  The good thing about Bikram though is that it is so intense you really can’t focus on anyone other than yourself so I never felt nervous that someone was watching me. Even though I am getting better at pushing my fears and anxiety aside I still find that the first time I try anything new I get a little nervous. Now that I have finished the first class all that fear and anxiety is gone and I will go in there, head held high and I will proudly be the fat girl drenched in sweat doing yoga.

Speaking of sweat, have I mentioned how sweaty I was? I realized late last night I should have had Paul take a picture of me so you could see just how sweaty I was.  Maybe today I will remember and if I do I will post it for you to see. I was pretty gross. Everything was drenched with sweat. Everything. When we were walking to the car on our way home it felt like I had just jumped into a pool with all of my clothes on that’s how sweaty I was. You use a yoga mat and you bring a large towel to put over it and that was also soaked with sweat. The instructor told us prior to the class starting that we would sweat a lot but to just let it be, try to get used to having sweat running down your face and body because the minute you wipe it away you are sweating again. I think I did a good job at not wiping the sweat away except for this one time we were on our backs and I had sweat running into my ear and it tickled. I couldn’t handle it- that was pure torture so I had to wipe out my ear a few times.  When we got home Paul weighed himself and he had lost 3 pounds.  That is crazy! When I woke up this morning I had lost 4.6 pounds just overnight. I am sure it was from sweating so much and now that I am rehydrating again I will be back to normal weight soon but still, how crazy is it that we lost so much weight from just one class!

On the drive home we discussed the class and how we felt afterwards. I want to take more classes before I tell you my opinion on Bikram and whether or not it will be something I continue doing as I do not think my first experience will be enough to form an opinion off of. It is also hard for me being at a different yoga studio with different instructors but I think in time I will acclimate to this new studio. I will say this though; we both felt the class was aggressive, for lack of a better word. Our instructor was like a tiny yoga dictator barking at us to push further, harder and that it should hurt (really, it should hurt? That doesn’t seem right) and although I don’t think she meant to be this way, she was quite intimidating- in class. Outside of class she was very friendly and supportive and walked Paul and I through how it would work and how we should expect to feel which was comforting and put me at ease. Oh, and another drawback for me was that there were no modified pose options given, like for beginners, so for me I had to try to complete the advanced poses, not do anything, or figure out somewhere in between on my own because no other ways were shown to us. I am not sure if all Bikram is this way or if it was just this class or studio but I will find out and let you know.

I wanted to share with you some tips, taken from the Bikram Yoga San Antonio website (the studio I am taking classes at), in case you are interested in taking a Bikram Yoga class:

  • Make sure you are fully hydrated before taking a class
  • Dress in cool, comfortable clothes (like you are going to the beach)
  • Lay down if you need to but try to stay in the room the whole time
  • Take your second class within 24 hours of your first class
  • Bring a yoga mat, large towel, and water
  • Do not practice on a full stomach. It is recommended you not eat 2-3 hours prior although if you need something  fruits and veggies are your safest bet

I hope this post doesn’t discourage you from going out there and trying Bikram on your own. It is hard, don’t get me wrong, but it is worth it. I said earlier how this was the most difficult thing I have done to date but yet I feel great today. Normally after a tough workout or long walk I am sore and stiff the next day but this morning I woke up and felt better than I usually do which was pretty amazing. I had thought I would have woken up and not even been able to get out of bed.  There must be some merit to the healing power of yoga.  Overall I am so happy to have tried Bikram; I always get an intense level of satisfaction from accomplishing something well outside my comfort zone and yesterday this was how I felt. Trust me; if I can do it so can you!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Yes, that is a real pin. I received it last night after completing my first class. It’s my badge of honor! 😉

July 7, 2011. Tags: , , , . Yoga. 14 comments.