#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 6: Training to be a badass!

I’ve survived 75% of the challenge and haven’t given up yet!!! GO ME! Even when I am in the middle of a class, screaming silent profanities in my head (directed at the instructor) and my body is plotting its revenge on me… I still keep going back. Post a double class I voice-noted a friend – who thought I was intoxicated by substances… I sounded so “happy” – yet, it was just endorphins!

Stats

And… I gained weight. It was not a measurement week so I have no idea what THAT will say. We are supposed to take photos of ourselves every week. I have not… I’m not photogenic at all – less so with nothing but a sportsbra and leggings! I did bite the bullet and take pics this week *cringe*. The result….

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THERE ARE CHANGES! Like visible changes. 

Side by side photos from the beginning of the challenge to the end of week 6 shows a HUGE difference… even though my weight has not dropped a lot. I have felt some of the clothes being a bit looser, and my butt feels more toned but other than that I just figured I was working off the excess food I was consuming (more on diet later). But FLIP! It actually works. And I have a two-pack developing ūüėÄ

Training

I only arrived back in Jozi midweek so managed to fit in a double on Thursday and my second triple on Saturday. My second barre class on Saturday was my first with another instructor… awesome! Lesson of the week: Pilates before barre is a challenge! I usually do barre class (or a double barre) then pilates but Saturday’s schedule has pilates sandwiched between two barre classes. It was only a total of five hours of training this week but judging from the pics… it works!

No additional training with P or hot yoga this week… Yet, from the progress pics I can tell my body is really responding to barre and pilates. It is VERY different from standard training or even hot yoga and dance-based training is something I thought I could never do (thanks to my lack of grace and coordination).

Diet 

Sigh, still not the best but I’m still ready-made meals, ready -made drinks, fast food, added sugar (to cereal/ hot drinks) and confectionary (excluding dark chocolate – in particular Lindt Roasted Hazelnut Dark Chocolate goodness) FREE!

I wanted this challenge to be a lifestyle change and yes, by not eating a lot of “junk” I do feel less lethargic. The withdrawal symptoms are still there – headache mostly – but otherwise, its been good. I feel a lot better – less moody – than I used to be. One of the aims of the challenge was to get into ketosis – something I wrote about here and it is something I don’t want my body to get to – it is not sustainable for me or my body. My personal aim was to get into a healthy eating pattern.

Thanks to #vegetarianproblems I have been supplementing with Omega 3 and a probiotic. Still searching for a good protein shake though…

Emotions 

I feel as though I am dealing with one crisis after another… so I haven’t really had the time to process and figure what what exactly I am feeling. I was surprising chilled while I spent five hours waiting at a government office… I think the lack of sugar is making me calm? And less agitated…

Deciding to document my weekly progress by blogging has actually kept me disciplined and parts of the discipline is seeping into my daily life. I’ve got a long way to go but it is pretty good to be focussed again.

In terms of my body, I have never been this fit, strong and toned before. It was always skeletal anorexic or chubby. As the featured image says; I’m not training to be skinny, I’m training to be a fit badass. There is something so empowering to be strong – physically and mentally… I believe those two are linked. The more physically strong I feel, the more challenges I can handle without freaking out (mentally, that is). I LOVE IT!

Looking ahead: Week 7

Only two more weeks! I’m traveling again this week (thanks to work) so can only really fit in a triple class and perhaps hot yoga… Hopefully I can take some time to run a bit or even try one of my sister’s Zumba videos!

Just a closing thought….¬†images

Till next week…

k x

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Heartsore

It’s been a rough week for me. The week started out “bleh”¬†and every day I felt a little more of my heart “squeeze” a little more (trust me, its real). It was a week of introspection and emotions – though there was not much outward displays of emotion on my part (which is a deviation from the norm for me…cos perhaps I am growing up).

Tuesday the 10th of Jan was the death anniversary of my paternal grandmother. She passed away in 2013. It was also the paternal grandfathers birthday – who, unfortunately, I never got to meet as he passed away before I made my entrance into this world. Because its my family, I guess they were trying to be economical…because January 10th is also the day my paternal aunt and uncle were married.. My uncle – my godfather – passed away suddenly, six months before my gran, in 2012.

Saturday the 14th of Jan would have been my maternal grandfather’s birthday. He passed away when I was 16. I was my first experience with death.

And I don’t think I’ve really death with it or worked through the “Kugler-Ross” grief stages. My default is to ignore and pretend it doesn’t happen.

So while I tried to ignore these dates and all the other feeling brewing inside me, I tried to keep occupied with work (I spent over 12 hours at work on one day trying to perform a two-day test in a single day). I also spent an incomprehensible amount of time on social media – which we all know makes us feel worse. I should’ve known better! Work – academic work has been piling up and I can’t seem to get to it…. I have opportunities that will only further my career yet I am scared. I worked out quite a bit, getting my ass kicked three days this week – thanks P – just to tire myself out to the point of exhaustion so I could sleep. My method, though highly flawed, seemed to¬†working.

And then came Saturday.

It was an easy, no-real-plan-in-place day, just a few appointments. I went to bed on Friday night with a bit of anxiety and woke up with it on Saturday morning. I tried to go drug-free and ignore it…. While I was getting my eyebrows threaded I started sobbing. Not because of the pain (though it is incredibly painful and not something you get used to… beauty is pain, right?), but it was as if the floodgates opened and my heart broke free. My beautician, Cookie, has been a constant in my life for the past few years and I trust her implicitly. Cookie is an eyebrow queen and has made my stringing, busy brows look amazing. I love her and truly treasure my time with her and she always makes me laugh. Cookie is beautiful and has an awesome, tell-it-like-it-is view of life. She’s almost like mom surrogate mom. While we were chatting and catching up… … I broke down. Mid-thread.

Cookie let me cry. She allowed me to let it all out. I always feel safe with Cookie and being so vulnerable with someone who respects and allows you to be free is rare.  And so so so so appreciated.

Feelings I buried within the depths of myself came up.

  • I miss those who I have lost. I have never truly mourned their deaths. Why did they leave when they still had so much to teach me? Why did they leave before I told them how much they mean to me?
  • I’m scared to take the plunge and try something new for my career…for fear of change and that I have to relocate when I have built my own eclectic family (and someone who is special to me) and community here. Even though I know the plunge only open more doors for me.
  • ¬†I’m frustrated, disillusioned and depressed that I do not know who I am, what I am meant to do in this world.
  • I worry I am getting older and won’t be able to have a relationship and family someday
  • ¬†I have been hanging on to false hope (with the someone who is special to me) – instead of seeing that I am being “used and abuse”, a toy to be played with then discarded. I love and care for someone who has given me every reason not to… yet, I can’t let go and walk away (am I an idiot). These feelings hurt – especially when the way I feel, care, love is not reciprocated.
  • Why do I hate myself so much?

After my “breakdown”, Cookie finished my eyebrows (they are amazing, as always) and just gave me a hug. I needed it. I managed to slot in a haircut at the same salon as Cookie and while I was getting my hair washed, Cookie made me the most amazing hot chocolate I have ever had. it was a regular hot chocolate but it really soothed my soul at that point and set me at peace… I think because it was made by someone who personally took time out of her day to make me hot chocolate, ¬†to show how much she cares about me. Its the little things in life. Cookie made my day and I got home smiling.

Until…now. I went to a Hot Yoga class this morning and made it through the class….only to get into my car and burst out crying. During class I looked at myself and could find rolls of fat that I despise. So much for me working out in a sports bra and leggings. Not the best way to handle yoga class at all. But I guess it is the state of mind I am in right now.

Crying is definitely the best release. I do feel more calm post-cry, but also exhausted… I haven’t felt this low about myself, my relationships, my body in a while and I do think the time has come for me to process the emotion of loss, move on and let go (for both the ones who are dead and the ones still alive). I also need to learn how to love myself – something I really struggle with. So I need to nurture myself a bit… while trying to be productive and disciplined… Life really is damn hard!

All in all, I’m still heartsore.

k x

hot-choc

 

Acceptance… Why is it so hard?

I was in my hot yoga class on Sunday¬†and there is something¬†my favourite (and awesome)¬†instructor¬†said something that just stuck. Stuck like I can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head, stuck. Its been ruminating within me…and making me feel a bit vulnerable.

While lying in corpse pose mid-practice, Eliza mentioned that moving your body in yoga allows you to learn how to love yourself (side note: I am paraphrasing). Loving yourself is not in a vain way – it is more accepting yourself wholly for who you are, what you are, what you look like, what you believe in.

And thats a big thing for me.

All my life, for as long as I can remember, I have been hating myself… for not being enough – not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not confident enough. I take things too personally and am too sensitive, I trust too much and place too much emphasis on what people say about me. I am a people pleaser.

Society has placed a lot of expectations on the world and in this digital age we are bombarded by images and an influx of advertising imprinting on us what we should look like, how we should act, what we can do. I am also a millennial – a member of the instant gratification generation…we want things our way, and we want it now. Not a good combination.

So, why did the phrase “love yourself” stick out to me ¬†THIS class. Especially when the same two words are¬†everywhere – from social media to local magazines… It is the theme du jour, so to speak. I’ve heard and read the phrase many times before. What changed in that moment, in that yoga class?

Perhaps it was the “right time”. I was too exhausted to over-think and analyse and question. I was sweaty and vulnerable and my mind was “still” (well, as still as an ADD mind can get!). It was the first time I actually heard the words. I “felt” the words. And it scares me (not just because I feel very un-scientific saying that I “felt” words).

Just the day before I heard news¬†that threw me… and made me sink into the depths of self-pity. Not the most¬†attractive trait, I know. It made me question the world and¬†the unfairness of life. Why do “good” things happen to “bad” people? “Good” as in lucky, getting everything handed to them, not struggling. “Bad” as in ¬†superficial, arrogant, treats people as consumables. The whole nature of it all makes me question and over-analyse life….is life really that unfair? Or is it a perception? What do I really feel about “everything happens for a reason” and “all in good time”?

To add insult to injury, I’ve been feeling forgotten… I seem to attract emotionally unavailable people to my life and then berate myself for giving 150% of myself to a one-sided relationship. I care too much. I love too much. Almost to the extent of losing myself in the process. While they only know me when they want something. It sucks.

I get that each person has their own journey in life. Their own obstacles, trials. But why is it that those who suffer the most are the most humble, genuine, compassionate people? I’m not saying I am any of those qualities but I feel as though I am respectful and caring. Why have things been such a struggle for me these past ten years? Why have their been so many bricks along the path which caused me to stumble at every single step? These questions have been haunting me for the longest time.

As I was in the corpse pose during that class, my heart physically felt as though it was being squeezed, constricted….remnants of muscle breaking away and falling into the deep abyss (so to speak). ¬†I’ve felt this way¬†before – I know it well. It is my not-good-enough feeling –¬†I remember it from early 2015, when I had my heart broken. When Eliza said the words “love yourself” it was as if it was a “lightbulb” moment. Don’t get me wrong, the feeling is still there…but my thoughts have “shifted” slightly.

I know I need to persevere, keep at it, take it all in my stride. Intellectually, I know this.¬†I need to move forward. “Embrace” the lessons and learn from them. Grow as a human being – and get stronger, more adaptable, resilient, disciplined (shout out to my 2017 theme)! However, emotionally I am “stuck”… It¬†is so much easier to feel sorry for myself and stay in the same metaphorical place while lamenting my fate, blaming the world – hell anything and everyone – for my situations. I have so much to be grateful for and when I reflect on this it makes me feel worse for even feeling sorry for myself. Vicious cycle all leading to “hate-me” avenue.

It is much, much harder to be an active participant in my life and love myself – flaws and all. ¬†The perception requires me to take 100% responsibility for my life, my actions, my decisions. Which is scary because there is no-one or nothing I can blame but myself. When I am in the middle of a hot yoga class and sweating profusely, thinking I am going to fall flat on my face, my mind screaming at me (you’re going to die!)…the heat, the instructions and pure instinct kick in and my body surprises me. I can do it and make it through the class. So perhaps I need to trust my instinct and intuition more in everyday life…and learn to accept myself – flaws and all. Easier said than done.

What do I need to accept in life?

  • I will never have supermodel looks or a supermodel body or look like anyone else.
    • But I can be the healthiest, fittest person I can be.
  • I will never be the smartest person in my field.
    • But I can work hard, be disciplined and focused on where I would like to be.
  • Some people will only know me when they need something.
    • But I can set boundaries to protect myself.
  • People I love and care about will not feel the same about me.
    • But I can hold a place in my heart for them, wishing them well, without expectations.
  • Some people will not have the same values in life as well.
    • But I¬†can know my own values, morals, ethics and not be pressured into saying or doing things that does not feel authentic to me.

All these things require diligent action – ¬†especially when I’m having a bad day and my default is to feel sorry for myself. Its damn hard work. Today, is a particularly hard day. I deep in wallowing mode and trying to pull myself out of it. My discipline and habits for the day have fallen to the wayside and I’m harder on myself because of it. Talk about a catch-22. Again, vicious cycle. But my crappy feeling is somehow different this time around… I’m fully aware of it… not just feeling “bleh” for no real reason.

I’d like to think my hot yoga practice and my facilitation sessions with Eliza have opened the gates to a new perception of myself and my world. The combination¬†seems to have¬†pushed my boundaries – in and out of class. I only started hot yoga in October 2016, at least once a week so I am still a newbie! My first and second facilitation sessions were in December 2016.¬†¬†Those are the only new things I’ve incorporated in my life and since then I found I’ve been¬†bubbling with the urge to write more. I’ve somewhat started to ¬†accept my body (the moments are few and FAR between but there have been glimpses of acceptance). ¬†I’m still working on being disciplined, learning to set boundaries and say no… hopefully it will come with time! And I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to comparing myself to others.

Hopefully putting my words down here will allow me to “let go” of some of the thoughts occupying space in my mind and let me get on with my priorities and goals. And, I think, most importantly figure out my vision and passion in this world… so I can see the bigger picture and accept myself more…

Am I the only one who struggles with this? What do you do to get yourself out of a slump? Do you find accepting yourself hard? Please let me know below ūüôā

kush

x

Hot, Sweaty…and worth it!

One of the new things I tried in 2016 was… Hot Yoga.

For those of you not used to Yoga lingo… Hot Yoga (the style I practice is of the “Bikram” style) is a series of 26 postures, performed twice, in a room heated to around 37 degrees Celsius with 40% humidity…. in 90 minutes. Sounds like hell? I thought so, too.

Me? Yoga? Are you crazy?

The only reason I gave it a go is because I had two people independently (they don’t even know each other) bug me about trying it out. Now, I have attention deficit disorder and I need a lot of stuff going on around me to feel at peace – weird, I know. I dabbled with a few yoga classes a few years ago but – to be very honest – I got bored. And the stillness was my version of hell. I couldn’t do the postures, my mind was going a million miles a minute and I felt anxious and awkward. After two classes of that, I wrote off yoga – it wasn’t stimulating enough for me.

So for two people who know me pretty damn well to suggest I try “hot yoga” for 90 minutes… I felt as though I was on an episode of Punk’d. But, these are people I trust with my life so I thought, what the hell – if it is anything like before or worse (now its in a heated room!) I will forever have “I-told-you-so” bragging rights.

Disclaimer 1: These are my perceptions and experiences.

Disclaimer 2: I’m Indian – (well, of Indian ancestry – my family has been in South Africa for more than a few generations) and while Indian people should do yoga or be good at it.; I’m not that kind of Indian (I suck). I just look… tanned. ūüėõ

#FirstEncounter

I got to my first class on a Saturday morning at 7:30am.

What. The. Hell.

I walked into that room wanting to sprint back out! So hot. So humid. Already near sweat.

After the first BREATHING exercise – I was into full sweat mode. And that was just breathing. I was convinced I was going to die. Convinced. But I somehow miraculously made it through the class (I did all but two postures).

And something weird happened. My mind went “blank”. In the room, trying to survive the class (literally just trying to keep myself alive) while listening to the instructor and focusing on putting my body where it needs to be. It was…peace, relaxing, contentment. That’s what it felt like. And THOSE are brand new feelings for me! I felt like I checked out of life, my problems, my issues for an hour (it took me a while to stop thinking) and that felt AMAZING.

Once you hit that final corpse pose, you are so sweaty and almost proud that you survived the class (even if you didn’t do all the poses). You walk out of the room and a rush of cool air hits you – it’s heavenly.

#ConsequencesOfMyFirstClass

Me = Emotional wreck.

I could not keep hold of my emotions and feel “blegh”. And tears. A fair amount. But it almost felt like a release (trust me, I know how weird and “out there” this sounds). After googling, I realised it was normal. Normal? These yoga people are crazy, I thought.

But…

I went back five days later. I don’t know why – I seemed to be drawn there.

It was a shorter class – 60 minutes, you only do some of the postures twice – not all. But I felt as though my HEART WAS BREAKING IN TWO when in “Camel pose”. I really thought my heart was being ripped out of my chest and crushed. However, after I stepped out of that room and had my protein shake… I felt lighter (here I mean emotionally, not just the copious amounts of fluid I lost sweating).

And I wasn’t emotional at all. Win for me! And I went back, and back, and back….

So yes, I had to go back to P and V and tell them they were right. I resisted doing this for a long time…. ūüėõ

#addict ? 

Still a newbie to yoga, I do feel “changed” in some way and I almost seem addicted to it.

When I practise at least twice a week, I find myself WANTING to take better care of myself: eating healthier, sleeping well, feeling less burnt-out, drinking more water and electrolyte supplements and being more in the moment РI can actually concentrate a little (weird feeling for me). Now on holiday, and not having practised in a few weeks РI feel all those good things disappear Рslipping into bad habits of junk food, low energy, irritability.

You may think the same repetition of poses is boring, especially for an ADD-er like me. That was my assumption too. But its not the case for me at all. Somedays I can’t do a damn pose without falling out of it. Other days I can last a bit longer. And there have been a few days where I could do it! ¬†I think knowing which poses come next also helps my need for control.

The heat really keeps my mind blank and at peace (well, that’s peace to me)…and you get to a point in the class where you don’t care about comparing yourself to other people.¬†Its hard to not try to compare myself other people but you get to a space where you focus on yourself. I can’t seem to look at myself in the eyes yet – so I focus on my leg/ knee/ shoulders. And I’m still very body conscious, you won’t see me in a sports bra and tiny shorts/ figure hugging yoga pants (don’t laugh, but its kinda my goal – and to look myself in the eyes).

 I am not so emotional anymore (damn backbends) but it all depends on how I am doing on the day and how I treated myself that week. If it was a crazy week where I repressed a lot of emotion/ feelings Рbe assured the class will be tough for me. If it was a busy, angry week РI am more determined in class (almost to the point of over-doing it with poses and risking injury).

I practise mainly at Zen Hot Yoga World in Bryanston, Sandton (Johannesburg, South Africa) as it is closer to me. I have also had a few private classes with the awesome Eliza (I’ll write more about my facilitation sessions with her in another post) at the eco-friendly Yoga Republic studio in Randburg and will definitely try out the more adventurous “Air Yoga” classes and the calmer “stretching” class in the new year.

#LessonsLearnt

Here are some of my personal tips to help… or at least I try to follow them

  • I have never sweated that much in my life. Towels for the mat are a must – I try not to wipe off the sweat during class as it does interfere with the temperature homeostasis (yay for my biology-driven brain!)
  • Tie-up hair – the sweat pours off me… and my hair is drenched!
  • Eat a little a fair amount of time before you go to class (for me its coffee (strong with a smidgen of milk, no sugar) and a handful, or two of almonds… and a banana about 30 minutes before class
  • Stay hydrated! I like to sip on an electrolyte supplement/ coconut water before class, water during (sips only)
  • I like my protein shake with L-glutamine AFTER¬†class – again, sipping it while sitting down recovering after class (NEVER drink a protein shake before class…. it will end badly, you WILL feel like throwing up especially during the poses where you are on your tummy)
  • Finish the electrolyte supplement/coconut water
  • Lukewarm – cool shower when you get home (I don’t do cold showers)… it feels really good!

Till next time

k xx

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