Friday, January 15, 2016

After Acceptance Comes the Plan to Regain Health

I've been writing about my failings as a fitness professional and my weight gain and feelings of depression. And that is all part of it, but it's not the only part.

Since the middle of December 2015 I've been taking vitamin d, vitamin b, iron Floridix, spray magnesium and white Kwao Krua.  

I've been sleeping better thanks to my daughter Lydia sleeping better.

I've increased my exercise time. Weight bearing exercises at least three times a week and play ground fun with Lydia a minimum of three times a week too. Plus what ever else I can fit in.

I've dropped the amount of bread and pastries I'm eating and although I'm still sneaking in a few, I go for the small bite and make sure I have a hearty healthy snack for the 6pm rage of hunger that overcomes me. I have also started planning our meals again, and increased fruit in the mornings and vegetables all day.

I started drinking coffee again.

I've started to limit my internet, especially in the evening and the mornings.

I've replaced normal hair dye with henna! This I'm so happy for.

I've begun to feel a lot better over all. I'm feeling good, energetic, started to get my apartment in order. Started my old Flylady routines. Overall, I'm feeling great.

I don't seem to be losing weight, but I'm ok with that for the moment. All I care about is feeling better, more energetic.

Over the next few weeks I'll write in detail about some of the changes I've incorporated and see if it's something you'd like to do too.

Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Forty Fat and UnFit

What happened exactly?

Of course my life changed dramatically when I left Norway 8 years ago. I was a fitness instructor in a busy gym. I trained regularly on top of the classes I had and I knew my place in the world. I was a yoga teacher and I was multi skilled in the fitness arena. I was versatile and could take Pilates, core strength classes, kids classes, rehab classes. I even created a fitness belly dance class. That was the centre of my life.

First comes love, then comes the Marriage.

My little family of three moved and we travelled around south east Asia and to Australia. We were on the move for two years. I home schooled my son and I practised yoga and when I could. I even practised by the river Ganges. We did pilgrimages to sacred sites and I prayed, meditated and I felt like I was deepening my awareness of life and spirit. 

Settling Down

We moved to this apartment in Granollers Catalonia about 6 years ago. I'm about to get my residency permit. So for 6 years I haven't been able to work, legally. There have been some loopholes that some people have been willing to fall in, so I have been working on and off when I could. 

My role changed from single independent mother, bread earner, creator and manager of my destiny to mother, cook, cleaner, supportive partner and occasional teacher. I felt disempowered. My heart and mind hadn't caught up to my reality. Yes, I blogged about my experiences. Yes I trained and walked and explored. Yes I tried to do the best I could with what I had, but a fundamental flaw remained. 

Then Comes the Baby Sitting in the Carriage 

We had a baby. It really got between me and who I thought I was. My need to be a good mother was fighting with my need to be a yoga teacher. Both were failing. I suffered some problems towards the end of my pregnancy. My skin was itching terribly. I had pain in my back. I felt alone, tired and ridiculous. What was I doing, a forty something without many friends or family around her having a baby? Was I crazy? There is no financial support here in Spain, for a baby. The father gets two weeks leave. My family were in Australia. If I didn't have a compulsive cleaning teenage son and Kate my best friend here, I would have fallen off the deep end.  Albert works long hours. He's often out of the house twelve hours a day. I can tell you vomit, a demanding baby, being three days unshowered, the house work getting out of control can send anyone over the edge. Don't even get me started on lack of sleep. Lydia at 2 years and 3 months has just started sleeping better, and I do believe it's one of the reasons I'm feeling so much better. 

Basically sweet pastry became my best friend. I have been known to go on a walk and stop in every single bakery along the way, just for a little something. Yes. And I lied about it. Actually, about a year ago I realised I was a binge eater. I had no idea. I just seemed to blank out. I was lying about the food I was eating. I started to think about food more, and it's control over me. I blogged a bit about it last year. That was shedding some light on who I had become. Someone I didn't recognise. 

Where is Your Self Esteem Plugged In?

I didn't realise I was getting my self esteem from my strong athletic body. But I was. So if I was fat and flabby, how do you think my self esteem was talking to me every day I looked in the mirror? 
I didn't realise that I was used to getting support from my social group and my work. I used to be praised often. I used to be called upon to shed light on a matter. People contacted me to help solve problems. And here, I was nobody. Nobody was calling me. Nobody was telling me I was special and gifted and an angel. Here I felt ignored. Looked over. Unimportant. And I was in a rage about it. My little me was shouting all the time 'what about me? I am important too! I am somebody' 

But the fact is, I used to be a somebody. Then I became a nobody. And now, I am just me. I don't need the approval  of others. I'm not looking for it. I am not in the self pity game of 'poor little me' - I've been there and done that. It's not for me. No label for me just now. And breathe.

Who am I?

I still considered myself a yoga teacher first. A teacher. And I wasn't. I was failing. I was two sizes bigger than I was before I was pregnant.  And as the years went by, I discovered I was becoming embittered, frustrated, angry. At everything and everyone. Because they were in the way of who I thought I was.

Thank God for having a change of mind, a change of heart. Thank God for learning about yourself and being able to flick a switch on in your darkest moments. 

And here I am, rebuilding my life based on who I am at the moment. I wrote a bit about it before, but I can't tell you enough how important this moment has been to me. 

From frustrated and impotent yoga teacher to fulfilled mother, determined house keeper, loving cook, and heartfelt companion to my family. Like I've said before, I still teach sometimes. And I have other part time jobs, including a new online jewellery shop. But number one is my two year old daughter. I will not spend one more second wishing for something I don't have, consciously or not. I am filled to the brim with my life here. If only I let it in. And not see it as 'worse', or 'failing'. How can being an attentive mother to a darling girl be a failing?! How could I think I needed to do more to be more to achieve more? 

And do you know what? My headaches stopped. And the pain in my neck stopped. I'm smiling again. And exercising. I feel like fruit instead of chocolate. I still feel like chocolate, just not as much. And I'm just buzzing with life and creativity. I can feel the spirit move within me. My vision has started buzzing. 

Conscious Archetypal Shift! It's possible and it's wonderful.

I've even started thinking in poetry again, and that's always a sign I'm plugged into the source of Life. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

An Ex-Yoga Teacher on Aging and Fat Tissue

Addressing the Body

I've always been athletic. The only place I found validation for my athletic body was in a gym. Gym owners loved my sprinter's thighs and I worked on my upper body to get it in balance with the rest of me. Remember, this was before Madonna made biceps fashionable. 

I trained for fitness competitions when I was in my twenties and walked around on stage in a bikini flexing my muscles. 

I loved athletic yoga. I have spent half my life in a gym training. I really enjoy it. And I am sure one day, when the time is right, I will go back and start training again.

But at the moment I'm a stay at home mother who has deleted most of the exceptionally beautiful yoga instagramers from her phone because it makes her depressed to see everyone in great shape while she is sitting with rolls of fat and her thighs rubbing together. I thought it would be inspiring, and its not. It's just irritating. 

I especially used to follow a woman who has three little children and a flat ironing board stomach and she used to say 'no excuses!' and shout it at the camera and I was honestly terrified. I only felt more shame for my inability to get on top of my weight gain. I happily unfollowed her and have been feeling remarkably better. 

Moving from Fear into Acceptance

We all know the drill. Face your fears. Just do it. It's so common that it's trade marked. But that doesn't mean it's not true.  I have posted a few pictures of my stomach and I aim to continue posting pictures of my body, not necessarily just the parts I'm uncomfortable with, but all of it. It's ok. It's just a photo. It's not me. I can not be defined by a few rolls of fat. Even though I was living in total fear of them.

Ever since I posted the first picture, and facebook tells me thousands of people have seen it,  I feel liberated. I feel fantastic. The other day I was walking through our town and a few heads turned to check me out, and I let my stomach out, and felt it wobble and thought yeah, and with a belly. That's right. Check it out! It was really funny. I surprise myself. I had no idea how much I cared about my extra jiggle. 

Archetypal Shift

I'm big into archetypes and I like to read about them and talk about them in a way to help understand what is going  on. And during December I went through a conscious archetypal shift. I went from fear to fun, in one night.

I was living in 'used to be' land. That is, I used to be a fitness professional. I was a teacher, instructor and I felt a lot of responsibility to maintain that image. And every day I was failing. I was getting fatter and less fit and resenting my life changes because I wasn't being the best I could be. Yes, that's my perfectionist! 

Once I realised what was happening, I turned to my self and said, give it up. Just stop. You are not a fitness professional any more. You are not a yoga teacher. You are a stay at home mother who has a few classes here and there. Just give it up. And I cried. And I felt grief. And the next day I woke up feeling wonderful, and it was the beginning of facing my fears.

I didn't have to struggle to be perfect any more and I could be just a fat bottomed mum, just like everyone else. It is wonderful. No more judgement and expectations. And I have my sense of humour back, my sense of fun and wonder. My writer re-emerged. And here I am blogging again! I love my writer! She's interested in the world, she's fun to be with, she wants to be engaged in life and talk about things and explore deep issues. My yoga teacher wants discipline and practice, and if you fail her, she's constantly disappointed and frustrated. And that's how I spent the last 6 years of my life. 

Being a sad, disappointment to myself. And feeling everything was in my way of being where and who I was suppose to be. 

Let's get something clear. I still teach. I still practice when I can, and I still give talks. But I am not going to be dominated by that dictator in my mind who thinks she knows better than I do.


First and foremost at this time in my life, I am a mother. And I tell you right now that I am turning to embrace this wonderful experience. I will not spend another minute of my life wishing for something that I do not have. I embrace this life. I welcome it. And these are not just words. This is what is alive in me. But I did have to let the other one go. Before the new could come in to take it's place.

And I won't be in 'Mother' for ever, but I am now, and I am so happy for the shift. I'm happy for this opportunity, I'm happy for not bringing my daughter up to feel that she was in the way of my dreams. No. She is in my dreams. Actually, literally. This is a post from 2008 about dreaming of Lydia!! Just saw it today and was seriously amazed. 

Thank you.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Revisiting Fatty Fat

I was watching that Eminem movie the other day, and I was struck by the truth of moment. If you put all of your fears out there, what can you or anyone else do? You can't be afraid any more. Nobody can say what you haven't already said yourself. 
It's so sad to admit, but one of the things I'm afraid of the most is someone asking me if I'm pregnant again. I dress to cover my stomach. I usually dress in really baggy tops. Partly it's genetics. My mother also tends to carry weight around her stomach. It's partly being two sizes bigger than I was three years ago. It's partly just eating too much. 
And I don't want to be afraid any more. 
So here are the two things about my body I am trying to constantly hide - my stomach and my triple chin.
It's liberating to see it up on the big screen.
I know this isn't for everyone. 
But it is for me. 
I don't want to be afraid of my own body any more.
I want to practice what I preach. 

Self acceptance. Self awareness. Truth seeking. 

I was writing on Fat back in May of last year. Especially pertaining to my eating habits. Here's the link if you're interested. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I am Not a Yoga Teacher

What a frigging relief.

I don't have to live up to self imposed unattainable standards. I'm my own worst nightmare. 

You know what I always wanted to do? Write. Just write. And that's what I'm going to do. Get back to basics.

I was brought up athletic and I love to play sports, but somehow, with teaching and considering myself a role model, I've lost my love. I've lost what I want to do. I'm just a shell.

I used to be somebody. Then I was nobody. And now, maybe, I can be who I really am - just simply me, no strings attached.

That's my New Year's Intention. To be me. To open my mind to the Light. To let the Light shine through the me. That's it. Awareness. Clarity. Simplicity. Get back to basics. 

First and foremost I'm a mother of a two year old. I'm a stay at home mum. I'm tired of feeling that being a mother is in the way of what I really should be doing. I am what I am. Not more, not less. And I'm telling myself, not you. I'm explaining something very simple to myself. 

It's been painful to lose the person I thought I was. To lose the Somebody part of me. I didn't want to give it up. And I've been so miserable maintaining a fa├žade of Somebody. Underneath there was a deep fear I was Nobody. And that's kept me trapped between fear and struggling to revive the shadow of a used to be. Much worse than a Somebody. Just a used to be. 

And I know this is a struggle going on in my mind. I'd be labelled mad, for sure, if anyone could hear what was going on. 

Anyway, one step at a time. To begin with, I am not a yoga teacher. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

First World Guilt Tears Us Up

So I'm feeling frustrated because I haven't been able to prepare healthy meals like I'd like to, and a few nights a week we eat 'easy and simple' - read frozen pizza or equivalent and a salad to compensate. And simultaneously I am conscious that there are people who don't have the option of preparing healthy meals, ever, and definitely don't have the option of picking up some quick food from the supermarket on the way home from work.

I find myself splitting.

I hear myself talking myself into guilt ridden situations and remind myself that I, in fact, as a used to be meditater and use to be yoga instructor, should know better than to listen to and believe in the negative chatter conjured up by the monkey mind. And still my shoulders tense and I feel bad.

I know I am splitting.

I feel like Mr Mom. I picture Micheal Keating pigging out in front of soap operas and identify.

My little girl is asleep for at least an hour in the afternoons, and I have piles of dishes and laundry to sort, and I do not want to do it! I refuse to spend that little bit of free time doing house hold chores. I resent the housework like it's eating into my free time, instead of tending to it with love and care. Instead of blessing it with attention and being happy to make it into a comfortable home for my family, I resent it for eating into MY time. And I feel guilty for thinking I deserve My time. I'm sure that nearly every person in my ancestry  didn't have as much free time as I do, and I still want more. It's never ending. And even if I get an extra hour, I want another hour. I am the free time monster.

I know all the sides of the argument - but it's how I feel. I want and feel that I need time to do what I want. To feel like me, without the apartment, without being a female, without being a mother, without being a partner, without being a friend. Just purely selfish me time.   And you know what, even if I had an hour, I wouldn't know what to do with it. I'd probably sit on facebook liking delicious meals and pretty homes and adorable babies and kittens.

I never used to be like this.

I resent the younger me. I resent that she was happy and didn't know it.

Oh, don't think I can't hear your judgement. Oh, but you have a lovely little girl, aren't you happy being a mother with the look of what kind of female are you - pile on the guilt. Thank you.

Disclaimer: I love Lydia. I would not change a thing. She brings so much joy and brings laughter into our home. I adore spending fun time with her, and I'm so glad we can afford to keep her at home in these precious years.

That said, I'm not at all organised in my home or personal life. Everything is out of control and I am getting by. And the fact is, I see it on so many women's faces. They are disheartened  by life. They are despondent  and fed up and miserable.

I don't think I've every been especially pretty, really. But I was alive. I was the happiest person I knew. I vibrated with life and awareness. And somehow, over the past ten years, I have caved inwards and met the little poisonous snarling animal in me that hates existing and sees misery everywhere and understands why people just get up and leave their lives and never come back.

And for a few days, without guilt, and without shoulds, I'm going to sit with this. Out loud. And let it be ok to feel like that. I'm tired of feeling guilty, of feeling like I should know better, of thinking anything that makes how I feel not ok.

We are human. This is it. I don't want words of encouragement or trite things like 'things will look up soon'. I just want to express. And I know I am not alone in this. Just for a few days. Just let it be. That's all. And we'll talk about shifting out of this another time. Just not now.

Thanks for listening. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Over Forty and Feeling It

I hate looking in the mirror these days.
I don't think I've ever thought I was especially pretty, but these days I feel downright ugly.
My partner says I'm just tired. Tell that to my mirror.
I'm not sure what's going on with me. I've been getting neck and back pain. My headaches are almost daily. I've had three or so panic attacks for the first time in my life. My skin is sagging, wrinkled and drab. My hair brittle, My nails are chipping. I have constant pain in my eyes and face.
It makes every day tasks so difficult.
Last week I made a few changes, and I have seen some results already.
I've added liquid vit D to my diet, multi complex B, I'm taking iron floradix and spray magnesium on for the skin.
I'm treating myself for depression.
Starting today I'm taking walk every single day. Get up and go for a walk. Get outside and breathe. I have to feel the sun and air on my skin.

My New Year's Resolution is to begin a regular yoga practice again too. I miss it so much.
I am in a position I never expected to be in. Overwhelmed by small tasks, despondent, unwilling to make an effort.

I have to say the wisdom of the Flylady helps me in these moments. Some of the important changes she suggests and work for me are making sure you dress, do your hair and groom - every single day. This is your gift to you and it makes a difference.  Wear something you like. Even if it's just your favourite colour. Wear your favourite jewellery.

She also says 15 minutes a day can accomplish anything. And that is wonderful advice for someone like me with limited free time. Just do it for 15 minutes. And let it go.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sitting in Awareness

So, who am I underneath all of the control? (This post is related the the previous one.)

When a student comes to see me for the first time, I always explain that there are two paths to take. The path to self improvement, or the path to awakening from the little self. Nobody wants to wake up. And that takes courage to admit. Nobody really knows what's going to happen to them, and everyone is afraid of words like God and spirit and awakening. 

We're happy to meditate and practice yoga and we're happy to chant a mantra, but when it gets down to it, we feel very uncomfortable about talking about God and our life's purpose. And we should be. It's a huge question and it has the possibility to change your life for ever. 

I was looking at my need to exercise, and my need to control my food intake and I was looking at my lifestyle, and I realised that many of my choices are based in a fear of becoming something I didn't want to be. So I have chosen a lifestyle that I hoped would stop me being close minded, fat, unhealthy, bored by life, ungrateful, dishonest and a slave to the dollar.

Being in Catalonia, I noticed that many Catalans describe themselves in terms of 'nots'. That is they are not like the people of the south and they are not like the French and they are not like the Spanish of the centre. I always thought that was peculiar because I'm from Australia and I didn't grow up comparing myself to another country (at least in the 70's and 80's). 

However I see clearly that I have set up a lifestyle dedicated to nots. And food and fatness is one of them. I'm a vegetarian, not necessarily because I am a healthy person or I love vegetables, but because I don't like people killing animals for food in a factory line up. I hate it. So even my number one restriction about food is about being NOT a meat eater. And it continues through so many of my choices.

What am I going to do?

Well, I've banned the scales for one. I will not step foot on a scale for the rest of the year. I'm going to do a little experiment on myself and discover what I really like. Not what I don't like. 

This is not for ever. Just for the rest of the year. I want to know what I like. When I was much younger I read a book by Banana Yoshimoto, Kitchen. There's a passage in it that I have often thought about. The protagonist was used to eating eggs the way her partner ate eggs, and he called her out on it. She discovered that she didn't know what she liked and didn't like. She was easy going and didn't mind. But that was just the surface. The book is about her journey into discovering how she liked her eggs and so much more. 

Good luck to me!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fatty, Fat Fat

During the past few days I've had to look closely at some of my belief patterns pertaining to food and body image. I've had to look at my feelings towards being female, fatness and food.  

Mindful Eating Update
My family, my son and partner, have flat out refused to do the mindful eating meditation with me, even once. That's their choice. So, when I put the meditation on, I am alone with my little girl. 

The meditation goes for about 9 minutes. The first two minutes are about relaxing and settling into the senses. I have not been able to get past 30 seconds before I am already putting food into my mouth. I am watching myself, and I feel anxious and tense. Even as the audio says to go slowly, I am speeding up. I have always finished my food within 5 minutes. I can stop before I am stuffed, but I am always full. 

I have been trying to do this meditation without criticism and name calling. But with observation, acceptance, and calm. 


You're not going to like what I have to say. 

I have never liked fat. Fat on me, or fat on anyone else. I'm a fattist. I have associated lack of fat with worthiness. Fat always indicated negative characteristics like greed, laziness, selfishness. I have never been fat, until now. I didn't mind being a bit fat because I had my baby girl as an excuse. I told my family I would be back in shape within 6 months. It's now 18 months, and I am not back in shape. 

I started to get fatter when I was about 14 and I got my period and I started to fill out in the hips. I hated my body changing. I hated the fat on my thighs. I thought my thighs were huge monstrous things. I used to be a runner, and my grandmother told me that if I didn't stop running my legs would get so big that no man would ever be interested in me. 

Fat reminded me of my step mother. I disliked my step mother, a lot. She was tall, blonde and big busted. I saw her as fat. I didn't want to be a woman. Women were weak. Men were strong. It really is that simple. 

I thought I had removed or dealt with these problems from my mind, but the further I go into the mindless eating, the more they rise up in front of me. 

I am not just dealing with eating too much, I am dealing with my relationship to fat and females and issues of power and control. 

Who Had the Power in Your Childhood?

I was talking to Kate this morning, and as I was talking about discipline, she said something that made a lot of sense.  She reminded me that if my father was so controlling, the only way I could maintain some freedom, something a bit wild, was by having a secret relationship to food. 

My father was a a master manipulator. He was the one with the power in our house and he controlled everyone, one way or another. Control is a big issue for all of us, and as I have stopped judging myself as I eat and I have stopped trying to control my weight or worry about my body, I do really feel as if I am losing control over many aspects of my life. I'm even starting to waddle when I walk. 

Since not seeing my father in the last 20 years, in some ways I have become a father to myself. I control myself, I am disciplined and rigid in some issues. My relationship with myself is in many ways a mirrored relationship of my father and myself as a child. And seeing this is huge. It's painful, sad and a huge relief. I thought I had let him go, with forgiveness, but I had carried him with me inside of my head. Not necessarily his belief systems, but many of his values. 

Kate also noticed I was calling the mindless eater names. It seems to be its own entity. But what was nice having Kate to talk about it with me, is she was gentle and curious about this darkness, not judgemental or willing it gone. So even on top of the observation, I could add a little compassion and curiosity to this aspect of myself, it could help it to surface more clearly. 

Discipline or is it Control? 
I'm a disciplined person when it comes to certain things in my life, like exercise. When I have decided to do a thing, like train for a half marathon, or learn pilates, I do it. No excuses. But when does discipline become a need to control? When does it start to impose itself on yourself and others? I have a strong judge archetype. It's often rigid and critical when it's in its shadow side. And again, let's just sit back and watch it. Let it out. Observation and acceptance. 

Who Am I?
When did you first ask yourself this question? Have you ever asked yourself? The first time I seriously asked myself this question I was 21. I still don't know. It really does feel like there are layers upon layers and even though I think I see glimpses of light, there seems to be always another layer to peel off. 

This post is a bit all over the place. I have a lot going on. Bear with me. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

From Compulsion to Compassion

I'm listening frequently to the audio Mindful and Mindless Eating by Robin Maynard-Dobbs and finding it helpful. You can find it on spotify too. 

She says that listening to her CD offers the possibility to move from 'judgement to just noticing, from automatic to aware, from compulsion to compassion.' 

And that's where I'm at. This movement from the mindless to the mindful.

I have to admit that I have always thought of myself as quite mindful and responsible. I'm surprised to discover this space in my day where I'm just not present. 

Day to day. Let's go.