Saturday, July 4, 2009

New meaning for "interval training"

During the summer wellness session, I have redefined the meaning of "interval training".

Similar to our running intervals where we go all out for a time period, then back off for a time, my entire exercise program this summer has been about "intervals". One week I will be "on" and get in all my workouts or enough of them that I feel like I've given it my all. Then, the next week I find myself  doing 1 weight session full effort, 1 or 2 run/walk outings, teaching yoga a couple times, then doing a smattering of weight and abs here and there but in no real order or with focused intensity.

The same goes for keeping my journals and meditating....more miss than hit with these. Again, I am allowing work to be one of the reasons I've gotten off schedule.  Two incredibly busy weeks in June have now exploded into a busy July as work events get added and rescheduled.  This all said, I've been doing LOTS of thinking about work and what the future holds for me.  Seeing LOTS of opportunity and simply evaluating the details of each option right now...but they are all good. (Isn't everything really?)

Even though I've been more sporadic with fitness (AND I really need to work on getting more fruit in me!), I've maintained my weight since the first BTWG program ended. So, I am approaching this "lull" as a sort of maintenance period for me, knowing that increased and more focused exercise in the future will help me continue to gain health, firm up, and possibly lose a couple more pounds.

So, all this said, I'm not beating myself up because I am still operating by the most critical BTWG principles.  Hope you all are doing well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


When I leave the prison and the incarcerated women I work with there, I usually find that for an hour or so I ponder the concept of personal freedom and what that means. 

Tonight I left the prison with a full heart and awed by seeing one of the ladies embrace her own personal freedom (of which there is next to none in prison) through practicing self-forgiveness. 

At 16 years of age, she committed and was imprisoned for a crime that was, without reservation, I can say was appalling. Eighteen years later, she is 34. She is always peppy; she likes to talk but it's usually about superficial things; she has boundless energy. In our group monthly meetings which involve a public audience, she has never shared any intimate details about who she is, what she thinks, her incarceration, her crime, her future. Everything has been very surface. Until tonight.

Tonight, with 8 of our guests in the room (all with a grandmotherly demeanor), this young woman got up and started the program off by sharing her life with us, her poor judgement, how her crime made her "a mother's worst nightmare", how there was cost and that cost was a human life.  I have heard this woman present to public groups at least 20 times and never had she spoken so frankly, so much from the heart that your own heart felt it.  She surprised herself, and therefore all of us, when her own voice cracked and her lips tightened and she fought to not cry.

What struck me was that I was the most fortunate person in the world to be in the company of this woman at that very witness her assuming accountability for her past actions, but at the same time watching her crack open the door to experience the freedom that accompanies self-forgiveness.By sharing the dark side of herself with us--with herself--she inched closer to the light.  Isn't that true though? The more we own up to those things - large or small - that we have caused or fostered, the more we take responsibility for and accept those things we've done, said, thought....then, the more we allow ourselves the opportunity to forgive ourselves.  And while self-forgiveness doesn't mean that the slate of the past is wiped clean, it does give us a cleaner slate on which we write the future.

Wish you had all been there. 

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Hey everyone,

Have been battling a "funk" during this summer program and am just now trying to point a finger at the funk's source. After I went on a week-long solo beach vacation, it seems I returned to Indiana, but all my enthusiasm for health stayed behind on the beach.  It's not that I have completely fallen off the wagon with eating or working out; I'm just not doing either as well or thoroughly or with as much joy as I did during the first 12 weeks of BTWG. Feeling a little apathetic and lacking initiative in health matters. Walking the walk, talking the talk, and feeling strangely numb through it all.

Strange because all is going well overall in has reached a sort of equilibrium. I stopped teaching one of my yoga classes to give me more time "for myself" and my wellness. I've been in more contact with friends than the first part of the year. I've been able to spend more time outside gardening which I adore. And yet, my drive for wellness has gone from verve to non-energetic. 

SO, in pondering this, I have to come a mini-conclusion: while on vacation with me, myself and I, I found myself REALLY enjoying it. No schedule to follow whatsoever. No one that I had to call or talk to. No dogs to feed. No grass to mow, house to tidy. No pressing work matters aside from a few things I handled here and there. If I wanted to go for a walk, I did without checking a clock. If I wanted to eat, I did so. Swim in the pool? I did. Look for shells, why not - nothing else scheduled. I didn't have one thing I HAD to do. I didn't miss anything or anyone from my life back home.

I even had a kind invitation from an older man I met in the produce aisle of the grocery (who narrates the Blue Angels aviation show) to visit the base and attend a practice session for the Blue Angels in Pensacola.  Wow - I thought - would love to see that!  And then that Self who is lacking "oomph" said, "That means I'd have to be at the base at 6:45am and I'd have to leave at 6:00am to get there and that means I'd have a schedule and if I commit to go, then I have to go and I don't want to feel like I have to do one damn thing while vacationing so no, thank you."

So, I didn't take him up on the kind offer.  That all said (where is she going with this, you ask?), I think I'm working through this complex question of: what am I really committed to, professionally and personally?  And confronting that question begs the more burdensome question of: what am I not committed to.  Exploring these questions means I also have to face the consequences of acknowledging them and giving them voice and possibly acting on them. 

So, why my focus on health has fallen off a tad during this introspection, I sure as hell don't know. BUT, I also have no doubt that I'll be rebound - always have, anticipate I always will.

My past 4 Saturday's have been filled with activities outside BTWG recently so I've missed several yoga classes and meetings, but NOT this upcoming Saturday! Looking forward to seeing you all then and storing up on the good vibes that come from you all.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Hello everyone. Get your envy out of your system when I share that I AM AT THE BEACH!!! Yes, staring at the ocean right now from my kitchen table where I type. now that your envy has dissipated, let mine rear its ugly head.

I am envious of all of you folks who committed to the the summer program and who entered Week 1 full throttle and gave it your all and have aching butt muscles to prove it.  I, on the other hand, am feeling very fortunate that Chris did not base entry into this summer program per this last week's performance...if he did, I would have received a big old F ! Well, maybe not an F but definitely a D.  During Week 1, in preparation for vacation (getting work and home where it all needed to be before I left), I did a greatly reduced workout routine, and my eating, while nutritious, was definitely higher in calorie totals than it should have been. 

So, that's the not so great news. BUT the good news (as there always is) is that I am now on vacation with very little garbage floating about inside my head regarding work/home commitments so I am really able to enjoy myself!!!!  Just me down here - no dogs to feed, cats to stroke, no to-do list for home, and I am only checking in with work a couple  times....PERFECT!  Weather has been a nice mixture of sun and some clouds...temperatures in the mid to upper 80s. I will begin the 12-1/2 hour drive home on Sunday.

Went to a great pilates class on Tuesday and plan to visit this teacher again on Thursday. Went into the Orange Beach rec center's weight room and refused to be intimidated by all the late 1980's clunky weight equipment. I did spend about 30 minutes too much time in the sun yesterday so I have some sunburn that's a little achy - oh, except for my face which I lathered in 70 sunscreen so now I have this bi-racial color thing going on. Collarbones up = pale. Collarbones down = red.  Sorta funny looking.

As for running, there's a lovely paved running trail through the backwoods about a mile from shore...the path is about 7 miles long all told. I'm used to having to watch for snakes and alligators while on this trail - but OH MY, those two things are nothing compared to the biting flies who followed me for 3 miles, nipping at my sweaty, tasty flesh!  Good God, talk about imparting a sting....and talk about a way to make you run FASTER!  I could have even given Chris and Rob a run for their money with those damn flies biting my neck, legs and ass! 

I immediately went to the store and bought some Xtreme Sportsman bug spray, supposedly organic, but I still get a little nervous when a back panel reads :  "This product has not been registered by the US EPA. This product qualifies for exemption from regulation LOTS-O-NUMBERS and because it is a minimum pesticide."  A minimum pesticide I am going to coat myself with. It goes on to say that it won't harm plastics or nylon products....well, thank God for that. It might change my DNA but your running shorts won't discolor.

The ocean is a bit angry today. I am going out to walk the beach and see what wonderful treasures have been carried to shore. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Off to the condo this Friday

Hey Everyone,

For the past 2 weeks, I experimented with NOT keeping a food log but instead mentally tallying up calories vs. activity. Pleased to say that I was able to maintain my weight, despite some food choices that weren't ideal here and there. Still worked out but not as hard as during the 12-week program. Sorta felt like a slacker, but really enjoyed NOT having the "structure" in terms of logging food/exercise for a couple weeks. It's funny -- I pretty much continued the BTWG program these past 2 weeks without the logging and felt soooooo much more relaxed about it all....showed me that I was self-imposing some pressure on myself during the 12 weeks. Not necessarily bad pressure, just pressure.

And I anticipate some of that self-pressure will come back with our summer school program -- although so far (Day 1) it hasn't.

I had a hard decision to make recently with regard to my "free time" of which I had NONE and was feeling it big time. So, after a few weeks of pondering my options, I gave up teaching yoga on Sundays.  This was my first Sunday not teaching and I felt reborn by the gift of this extra time now added to my schedule.  Talk about listening to what your heart is saying and then realizing that you did exactly what was right for you - what a great feeling.  

So, summer program they are:
1) tone up that midsection more; while I've lost some jiggle in the tummy, I still have some shake going on mid-section that I'd love to see firm up
2) continue running and increasing distance, and continue to grow my appreciation of it
3) really throw myself more into the meditation practice and just surrender to it
4) affirmations....I've always been a person who self-affirms naturally, but now I want to affirm some very specific thoughts/goals and see where those leads me
5) to continue to realize that taking time for myself and slowing down now and then is part of the self-care I deserve and need, WHICH leads me to.....

I AM GOING TO THE BEACH THIS FRIDAY for 8 days!! Yes, down to our condo in Orange Beach, AL where I can sit on our terrace and stare at the ocean, feel sand between my toes, and let it all go. (Shameless plug: condo is available for rent! Check it out at, click on virtual tour, then unit 204)  My biggest quandary about this trip is this: 1) do I take my little dog Tucker with me?  I think the answer is leaning to "no" since, dear as he is to me, he does require energy and my goal is to recharge while down there.

I just can't wait to be there!!!  But for now, I have to go to's past my bedtime!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Making Peace with Fitting Room Mirrors

What kind of sick person would ever design the mirrors of distortion found in department store fitting rooms, I used to think?  And worse yet, how dare they pair that mirror with overhead fluorescent lighting that accentuates cellulite and every mound of flesh?

Alas, the mirror was not distorted. 'Twas me all those times before -- pale and lumpy and in sad need of matching bras and undies, cursing the image in the mirror without acknowledging the "self" staring back at me. No wonder shopping was no fun...between looking at your lumpy body when naked and THEN stuffing yourself into pants off the rack like you shove sausage into its casing, how could it be fun!

Today I went shopping to find a new pair of pants to wear to a special meeting I have tomorrow. Two pants sizes down after BTWG (CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT!) and there was a new person looking back at me from that mirror, still looking a tad jaundiced in that fluorescent lighting, but definitely fitter and smoother.   I found a pair of pants that I adored and that fit me perfectly....THEN, (call me cocky) since I plan to try and drop about 10 more pounds during the summer BTWG program, I bought another pair of the same pants - ANOTHER size smaller!  

And while all this was visually exhilarating, I continue to be fascinated by how exhilarating it is - even when you close your eyes to the physical changes - to recognize you are moving forward each moment toward improved wellness. Congrats to everyone in the program and I look forward to seeing many of you in the summer program.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Photo - Counting Backwards - Thanks

I downloaded photos I took at the prison 2 weekends ago and when I went to look through them, I got to one picture and for almost 2 seconds could NOT figure out who one of the people in the shot was. Honestly, could not! Then I realized: It was there were several reasons, I think, I didn't recognize myself. First, my expression was one of disgust mixed with frustration, and second, I was bending at the waist with my face swung towards the camera, not a good look....but third, my face was slimmer!  Even when I realized it was me, I had to look at it a few times to really believe it. So, I was very happy to see some weight off my bones....I guess now I need to work on transforming that look of disgust and frustration. 

As for counting backwards, here's the deal. Counting sequentially gets in my way whether that's during a workout or a run or while meditating. The whole numbers thing trips me up motivationally. So, this past Monday (when I should have been doing intervals) I decided to just run plain, even laps at the indoor track. Part of this was to calm my soul after a day that was somewhat edgy, knowing that I needed to be doing something steady and predictable and calming. "Ah, perhaps tonight I have it in me to run 2 miles without stopping," I thought to myself. But already my head was saying, "Or you could run the usual 7 laps that make up a mile - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 - and be done with it. THEN, you can walk for another 30 minutes and sprinkle in a one-lap run here and there."  

Then, it was like another little voice in my head suddenly was born, my own little instructional burning bush. "Count backwards from 14," it said. "Fourteen counting down to 1 and you'll have 2 miles done, no problem."  Now exactly why it works  for me to count down from the 2 mile lap amount versus counting up to it, I can't say... and I'm too tired to ponder it much tonight.  But, changing my own routine or rules or perspective or whatever we want to call it worked. I ran 2 miles without stopping and without any real physical rebellion. (My own hand is patting my back right now.) 

Now just sitting here, nothing coming to mind to, I'll sign off. Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday. You are all such a large part of why this program worked for me...from blogs to working out together to meetings on Saturday. This feeling of community and acceptance and of having such a safe environment to express ourselves within has really blown me away. Thank you to everyone for fostering that. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Top 10 things I've given up as a result of BTWG...and am pleased to let go!

1) I gladly give up my morning routine of struggling to put on pants, pulling back muscles as I tried to shimmy pants over my hips, then having to do spastic calisthenics just to stretch the waistline out enough to get the button into the buttonhole. A truly exhausting process and not exactly a confidence-building start to the day at 6:30am.

2) I relinquish, with pleasure, ownership of the resultant fleshy muffin-top that then resided above the waistline of said pants noted in #1 above.

3) I gladly give up the feelings of bloatedness and lethargy after eating copious amounts of foods, usually within 2 hours of bedtime, as well as the nightly statement as predictable as the tides, "I shouldn't have eaten that much."

4) In the same vein, I will not miss giving up what had become a predictable restaurant conversation topic with my friends post-feeding-frenzy-consumption  -- "I can't believe I ate that much. We really need to get healthy and stop doing this. Where's that waiter with my gin and tonic?"

5) I will not feel deprived when I choose to eat one (1)  scoop of ice cream slowly instead of eating three (3) scoops of ice cream in Guinness Book of World Record time...and loaded with caramel topping (processed)...and nuts (you're eating ice cream! who needs more fat from the nuts?)....and maybe some peanut butter mixed in. I give up the idea that more tastes better!

6) I've found that spending less time at work (within reason) makes me work more effectively and with a fresher brain and attitude! I give up any feelings of guilt I used to feel if I left work early. Bye-bye, guilt! 

7) Similarly, I will not miss how I convinced myself daily for multiple years that the main reason I couldn't work out regularly, didn't work out on a schedule, was because I had so much work to do. Excuses, excuses.

8) I will not miss cold air against body parts that used to stick outside of the water in a full bathtub.  My parts have reduced just enough where it's all submerged now! (Well, most of it.)

9) And speaking of those few parts that aren't submerged, I will NOT miss a double D cup size one little bit!  I could deal with a little less gravity though.....sigh. 

10) And lastly, I will not miss being able to read 3 or 4 pages of a book while working on completing  "bathroom business".....ahhhh, the amazing and fast-acting power of fruits and vegetables, water and exercise!

Friday, March 27, 2009

In Prison The Entire Weekend

Hey Folks, like that blog title? Got your attention, didn't it?  

Will miss you all this weekend at yoga and at the meeting because of a project I'm heading up at the prison this weekend.  Think I won't be putting karma yoga to the test? Think again. Picture this:  me, 17 Purdue students, 20 offenders, and a muddy 60 x 60 foot area that has to become a park in 2 days complete with drainage pipes run, new soil laid, new sod laid, and two patios built.  

Add to that the projected weather that's expected:  Rain and tornados on Saturday and snow showers on Sunday. Whew -  starting to practice Uijay breathing at just the thought of it all.....suddenly, Chris's arm balances don't seem as challenging in light of this weekend and blending two rather diverse crowds of people in the midst of what will resemble a mud wrestling pit (minus any wrestling, I pray...the prison really frowns on that, you know).

Spent some meditative time late this afternoon focusing on creating salads with love and awareness. These will be part of the lunch I have planned for the folks tomorrow...the 7 or so offenders I work with regularly have shared how they are limited in the types of foods they receive at the prison (for example, iceberg lettuce vs. healthy spinach or mesclun). And so it was with this intention in mind that I put together two large, varied, colorful salads. I brought to mind with each cut of vegetables the look on the offenders' faces when I told them I was bringing in "real greens with real flavor" would have thought I told them they won the lottery. Such pleasure to know they would be getting flavorful, healthy food? Maybe tinged with the pleasure of knowing someone was doing something for them for no reason other I wanted to?  

It makes me think of  how each of us in the BTWG program have food at our disposal 24/7 -- and others do not. How many of us have the means to afford organic, and others don't. How we can pick and choose what we put in our bodies and others take what they can find.  How fortunate we are to have this choice. Makes me want to treat it with more responsibility.

Please, please tomorrow at yoga, send some good energy in the general direction of Indiana Women's Prison downtown. Send some compassion and understanding and nonjudgment toward all of us there working together.  Would love for that to rain down on us versus the skies unloading!  Namaste All.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sherri D. - Back on Line

Strength and toning exercises are done for tonight - the fingers and arms are a-trembling !

Ah, the's been 3 weeks since my last post, yet so much has happened during that time. Where to start...

1) I took a week off and went to our condo on the beach in Alabama. My husband and my parents also went. The good news? For being in such a small condo for several days together, we didn't kill one another. The better news? We never even came close to any petty comments or outright rudeness or parental/child conflicts that so often mar family vacations. The best news? It truly was pleasant to see my 70+ year old parents enjoying themselves away from their usual routine, enjoying the fresh air and weather rather than staying inside and experiencing it through The Weather Channel -- to see them sitting on the terrace watching the ocean roll in, roll out, and just "being" really filled my heart. My mother got so tickled a few times that tears ran down her face and she could barely catch her breath -- not her usual demeanor -- and that alone was worth the entire trip.

2) Work at our very small nonprofit has been super busy and hectic -- and my response to it has been to work less. Yes, less.  And somehow by working less, I am getting more done. Hmmm....something to do with a clearer head and a better perspective maybe?  I've also let go of a lot of the weight that I personally put on my own shoulders, simply took it off and set it aside realizing it was slowing me down. When it comes to work, I have always tended to take it too seriously and work too hard. I have to think that a large portion of this comes down to when I left New Jersey just after turning 18 (with $800 in pocket and a parental relationship that had crashed and burned badly). Friends from Indiana drove out, loaded me up, and off I went to W. Lafayette, where I was unable to start my sophomore year due to no money whatsoever. I lived with friends a month or two, broke into an empty house and lived there on and off for a while, and tried to figure out how to live without my parent's money and support. Ah - Noble Roman's Pizza to the rescue. I went from kitchen help making pennies to kitchen manager making nickels!  Success to me at that time, for sure! And a lifeline really....I had never held a "real" job before, and I knew that I had  groceries to buy and rent & utilities due. AND it was something I did well and people recognized I did well, at a time when my parents were not recognizing me.  SO, somehow I think that whole time period of being thrust out there on my own to sink or swim shaped my approach to work - "do more, do it better, work harder, make people say 'wow' ". And once that work philosophy began leading me around, how warped and unbalanced I became - and still struggle with.  Okay - now I am rambling....enough of this. Suffice it to say that I am leaving work at a very reasonable time now, sometimes even by 3pm, doing my workouts, then getting home early enough to actually have some free time before bed, which leads to #3.

3) OK - this weather ROCKS!!!  Just have to add that....I LOVE this time of year. I love walking my flowerbeds and seeing the amazing growth that takes place overnight; flower stalks grow by inches. Petals pop open. It's incredible. And the songs of the morning birds (and our neighbor's damn rooster!!).   All I want to do is sit on my log cabin's porch or out on my mid-yard patio and soak it all up.  And I even have done this a few times, slowed down enough to watch the yard grow....heaven. Have stoked a few bonfires in the front yard too and relaxed by them...there's nothing like staring in to a fire and poking at logs when the flames start to die down.

4) Many people have commented that I have lost weight....I know I have and some days I really recognize it. It's funny though....when I was less firm and more flab and not looking as good as I could, I often thought about my weight and how I looked. Now that I know I am firmer and fitter, looking better has lost a lot of its power. I'm doing this to be better...whatever that "be" means at any given time. 

5) I have been thinking about some clothes shopping...I am not a shopping freak, never have been. But, some of my pants are now loose enough, making me appear to have "poopy butt".  And today, when I went into the bathroom, I absentmindedly pull my pants down with ease--and WITHOUT undoing the top button or zipper.  Yes, it's time to go shopping.  AND I GET TO BUY SMALLER BRAS!!!!!  Too much info? Tough.

6) Some of you already heard this at the Saturday meeting but when I was in Alabama, I went to a pilates course and really enjoyed it but didn't find it overly taxing. So I stayed for the Power Lifting  BEST lesson in the world by staying for it. In a room of about 15+ people, I showed myself that my BTWG workouts were not close to me performing at my maximum ability.  What was different? Was it the ego realizing that others were in the class so I needed to really keep up and stay strong? Was it the mirrors that lined the wall that made me really observe myself? Was it me listening to my mind that was telling me during BTWG workouts, "that 's enough" even though my body was able to do more? Whatever it was, lesson learned. So upon returning to IN and doing the strength/toning workouts, I've really tried to push myself. 

7) While in Alabama, I ran a 9 minutes and 36 or 37 second mile!!!!  I can't remember the exact time I ran my mile for our initial fitness test but I think it was something like 12 minutes and 20 seconds.  YEAH!  The Chi Running book really is super, so common sense once you read it, and worth the investment.

8) Is anyone still reading this?  heehee   I should go back up and read through but I'm tired and I'm going to bed now.

I wish everyone a GREAT week of high energy, low calories (except those of you who have been told to eat more - so Bon Appetite to you!), and challenging workouts!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meditation Insight

So, sitting still is hard for me when I am in my own home. So much to do, so little time to do it in before something like work or play or workouts pull me out of the home environment.

Up until this past week, the meditation has been a challenge for me. Who would have thought that? I was sure it would be the running that I'd balk at - instead it's sitting on my butt and being present to the moment. 

Anyway, I started out doing the Counting Meditation that Chris has suggested. Never quite relaxed into that...and during it, I found myself overly conscious of how much time had elapsed. So, I was trying to ignore "time" while I meditated, yet there I sat, meditating while counting numbers, which is how we precisely how we express "time". "Don't think of how long you've been sitting here - just count and breathe, Sherri - one, two, three - has it been three minutes yet? Or only two?" You get the picture.   

So last week, I said screw the counting method and instead I simply concentrated on my breathing alone, just like it was a yoga class.  And, wallah, when I opened my eyes, fourteen (14) whole minutes had gone by and it felt like nothing ( I must admit I did have 2 head bobs during this session too, like I was about to fall asleep ). I had great luck this week meditating too and for over 14 minutes.  One thing I am also doing differently is wrapping myself up in a large soft blanket before starting - not sure if that has anything to do with it, but it might.

I think I'm on to something but I don't want to think about it too much lest thinking get in the way.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Smack Upside the Head

“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have 
in trying to change others.” - Jacob Braude

This quote totally encapsulates the past couple of weeks for me. It came to me in a mass email 
from a woman I barely know, but how timely her message was -- the universe knew I needed 
to hear and reflect on this...lots of dimensions to this quote for me. In some ways I agree with it 
and in other ways I want to challenge it.

On a different note, fellow recruit Rad joined me for a trip to Indiana Women's prison this past 
Wednesday to see the nonprofit I work for in action. Rad, you rock - thanks for coming and offering 
to lend a hand in the future.

Tomorrow is Saturday, yoga day - and they are calling for snow. I'm hoping for a light dusting so class 
isn't cancelled (and so I can get my car out of my long rural driveway!) Yoga with the large group and then 
meeting with all the BTWG recruits really energizes me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Ok, so I have your attention now.....

A lady I know has a friend, Scott Barnes, who she says is an amazing photographer. He's currently working on a series called Habits of Male Primates. It is a series of photos of guys doing everyday activities, 

but in the nude. Yep, in the buff. Doing the full monty. Letting it all hang out.

He's looking for four more men plus a male yoga instructor (hmmmm...who could that be??) to be photographed in the warrior position, nude.  Not sure if this is Warrior I or Warrior II or Warrior 3...the type of Warrior, I realize, could influence your decision to participate.

My friend assures me that the photographer is an artist, so his nude photos are done very tastefully. And I quote her when she says, "This is in no way pornography, rather it is a celebration of the beauty of the human body."

So, if you want to celebrate the beauty of your human body, his phone number is: 317-446-9359.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Well, I not only fell off the wagon a couple days this week, but I damn near got run over by it too.

And, I have only to go to the mirror to find the culprit who was driving the out-of-control rig.

My exercising this week was fine, but my eating! OH MY GOD, my eating!  How can this happen when the first 3 weeks I stayed the course pretty well?

Word of warning: NEVER, EVER make your famous coffee-chocolate chip cookies (or whatever you are known for in the kitchen) when you are in wellness mode -- you end up sampling the entire batch to ensure its quality.  Weird thing is that sweets have never been my big attraction - although this week they were!

Recovery week seemed to start okay, but as the week came to a close all my good food stashes dried up in the house and office. That would be Clue #1 that I ignored.  Then, I went to a Valentine's Day dinner at the local winery, a lovely madrigal dinner....I didn't eat too poorly there BUT I drank two glasses of wine, the sweet grapey kind, not the dry, less sugary kind.  Oh, they were delicious. BUT......

....somehow I think that sugary nectar turned on my "must-have-sugar" switch!  That's when the mass consumption of cookies began.

After yoga tonight, I am going by the store to stock up on healthy foods again and am going to recommit to the program eating guidelines for the week.  HOLD ME TO IT, FOLKS!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Video to Make you Laugh

I have been the anti-blog this week and let myself get so busy that I lost my sense of humor. I needed something to happen that would lighten my spirits. I found it at work as an 11-week-old puppy (that we are training for service work) started snoring after a long day of work and play. Enjoy the video below and be ready to giggle!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Love After Love - Derek Walcott

The time will come when, with elation,  
you will greet yourself arriving  
at your own door, in your own mirror, 
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Head Tilt?

Odd question to pose but....does anyone else ever find that during meditation his or her head starts to lean more prominently to one side than the other?  About 5 minutes into any meditation session and I gradually become aware that my head has tilted with my right ear moving toward my right shoulder. I return it to center and then, wallah, it's leaning again like the tower of Pisa toward that right shoulder.  What's with that???  

Is this because it's the side of my body that had the most trauma over the years, a broken clavicle and nerve damage in the right arm and right side of my shoulder? Sciatica issues several years ago?  

Any ideas?  

I end up feeling a little crooked by the end of the session.   Sidenote: Very cool happening down here in rural Martinsville area while meditating tonight. Every so often the hoo-hoo-hooooo of an owl could be heard...always the same pitch, the same length of sound.

Brown Rice, Cauliflower, Apricot, Raisin, Cashew Salad

Who ever knew you could combine all this stuff and it would come out tasting yummy?! 

Makes 8 servings; 151 calories per serving; 5 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 78 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber.

1 medium head cauliflower, cored and split into small florets
Olive oil for coating florets, plus 1-1/2 tablespoons
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1-1/4 cup unprocessed brown rice (Lundberg Wehani from Whole Foods is suggested and you can also use red rice)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unroasted, unsalted cashews
1/3 cup seedless dark raisins
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (or more)
¼ to 1/3 cup coarsely chopped mint (or more)
Juice of ½ lemon (or more)

Put oven rack on upper level and preheat over to 450 degrees.

In large bowl, toss cauliflower florets with just enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt. Dust florets with cumin and turmeric. Spread on rimmed baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, turning florets once or twice to prevent burning. Let cool.

Make rice according to package directions. Let cool.

In a large bowl combine the florets, rice, cashews, raisins, apricots, cilantro and mint. Add the lemon juice and the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil (optional). Pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quiche & hot tubbing in the snow

I was on the phone yesterday talking with a co-worker about nothing even closely related to eggs & cheese when it hit me....I smelled quiche, I could taste quiche. MUST HAVE QUICHE!  Odd to have something hit me like that, so aromatic, so delicious, and so nonexistent. I'm thinking I can chalk a portion of the craving up to "that time of the month" because this week, unlike last week, I WANT to eat stuff, anything, lots of it, barely even chew it.  So far, I'm resisting the urges pretty well.

Friday (tomorrow) will be a long one and I am going to have to fit my running/walking in during early morning hours before hitting the office. Not overly happy about that but it's worth it since in the evening, I am gathering with 3 dear friends to don bathing suits (YES, bathing suits) and scurry outside to the hot tub. Boil me like a potato - I can't wait!!!  Does boiling oneself in hot water burn more calories? Are there detoxifying benefits?

We've all agreed to have healthy snacks during our gathering to help me and my pal Linda (also a BTWG recruit) stay the course, but I admit -- I have not totally ruled out one glass of wine for myself, calories allowing by day's end.  I mean, come on - outdoor hot tub, lovely snowy landscape to behold,  4 middle-age-hotties bobbing about in their one-piece bathing suits, and no wine????  It's hard for me to picture my hand empty in that scenario since in the past it's never been.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at Alison's house this Saturday and at yoga Saturday morning. Until then, keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Recipe - Fatoosh Salad

For those who like crunch in their food, here's a simple salad sans lettuce!

1 cup cucumber diced (I use baby cukes because they are so much crisper)
1 cup tomatoes diced 
1/4 cup onion diced
mint leaves diced (or you can use dried mint leaves)
juice of lemon, about 4-5 tablespoons
2 tsp of olive oil (or less)
1 Arnold Select Multigrain bread round (available at Kroger - only 100 calories, good fiber)

Combine veggies and mint. Add lemon juice and oil. Stir well.  Separate bread round into 2 pieces and toast. When toasted, cut bread into small pieces. Add to veggies.

Pizza isn't worth it

See this guy...does he remind you of times when eating too much, then slumping on the couch and holding your rumbling tummy to recover was common place? I had a brief flashback last night. after a stunning weigh-in on Monday morning (stunning in a fabulous sort of way, not the deer-in-the-headlights way), I got a little careless.

After carefully packing food to last me through another day that would begin early and not end until around 9pm when I got home, I had a brain fart. I walked out of the house that morning with only 1/2 of my food stash. 

NOT TO WORRY! At work, I have a reserve food stash and so the day - up until 5:00 - went well. That's when I trotted off to attend a volunteer meeting - again without my food - AND with my aerobic run still to be done post-meeting.  That's when the meeting organizer brought in Domino's Pizza for the committee. That's when my mind started rationalizing. That's when I realized I still had my running to do (and on an empty stomach!) so I could check off that damn box on the tracking sheet. 

THAT's WHEN I CAVED. Not once but twice. Gone was the cheese pizza slice (with the exception of the crust which I've never liked). Up came by body from its chair, that body that only that morning weighed in 5 pounds lighter than the previous Monday, and it glided back toward the pizza boxes.

After piece number 2 was swallowed, it started. First a tingle, then a constant churn.  

After a full week of healthy eating, my stomach and its sister acid rebelled against the invading Italian intruder.  I didn't feel so good suddenly - "Could it be the pizza," my mind questioned, "affecting me this quickly?"  My body answered the question with a response: "Hello, Einstein, of course it's the pizza. You are shocking your system with this crap after a week of feeding it high quality stuff. What else could it be? Up until cramming 2 slices into your piehole, you felt great. Now, you feel gross. Do the math."

AND SO, post volunteer meeting, I got into my car and marveled at how those 2 pizza slices were quickly making their way south to the intestinal track and producing some potent gas (yes, girls do fart), and I wondered how the heck I was going to run with this pressure in my stomach. I wanted to warn those running behind me to not run in my path or they might suddenly be gripped by a lack of oxygen.

BUT NO EXCUSES prevailed. I drove to the running track, got on my unfashionable running attire, and hit the track.  I was determined to exorcize (exercise?) those demon slices from my body!!  I had a good workout, even saw into an unexpected friend there, and felt much better as I drove myself home around 9pm as the snow started to fall.

Sadly, the effects of my decision to gobble up those 2 slices was reinforced for me again this morning (if you know what I mean). 

Trust me, folks -- fight the urge to indulge in those high-fat, low nutrient, stomach-churning comfort foods. What we are doing with our nutrient rich, controlled eating is soooo much better...although I must admit it was interesting to have a brief return to my old way of eating and not feeling well afterwards....and I didn't like it!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Week One Winding Down

Folks, we are nearly one week into BTWG - congrats and back pats to us all. Today I had no food cravings of any sort BUT at 3:00 I was overwhelmed by this feeling of NEEDING to be at the beach. Instead, this photo taken in Orange Beach, AL will have to do...sigh.

I gave an especially hearty kudos to myself yesterday morning at 6am when I dragged myself from bed, dressed warmly, and took off on my aerobic workout on our rural Martinsville roads....I walked without any streetlights, without any idea if my feet were going to hit the numerous potholes on the road and turn my ankle like poor Sam's, and with an uneasy feeling as I crossed by a large field that coyotes were watching me from the brush and deciding if I constituted a meal they could "take down". I survived  the coyotes, the pot holes and the exertion BUT...

I need to rethink my morning aerobic plan because it just doesn't work well out here in nowhere land. So I threw out the question to the universe, "What to do?" and then driving home that day, the answer landed in my lap as they so often do when you are open to them.  My drive home from work in downtown Indy takes me right by a neighborhood that has miles of walking trails - cha-ching!  Jackpot. The new plan is to change into workout clothes after work, drive the car to their neighborhood, park outside someone's home and make them nervous, then run and walk their paved sidewalks. Back in the car...finish the drive home. Wallah!

I teach yoga tonight at Mallow Run Winery (oh, so sorry - I brought up wine and we can't have it!!  Trust me, every time my class goes into Child's Pose and their eyes are hidden from mine, my eyes sweep over all the wines out on display and I have to wipe my chin to remove the saliva before releasing them from the pose.)  That means strength and toning exercise for me when I get home around 8:15pm tonight...about the time my body starts thinking bedtime is looming. 

Still have to do my meditation tonight too...funny but when I did the meditation on Tuesday, I actually heard two different (more? Hold your Sybil comments.) voices in my head talking at the same time and I could hear each one plain as day. The one voice was counting from 1 to 10, just like Chris suggested in our manual. The other voice, equally as distinct, was saying all kinds of stuff: "How many minutes have gone by do you think? I really need to work on that corporate development plan this week. I wonder how many people will be at my Tuesday yoga class? At my Thursday one? I wonder what time it is now?  My back is a little achy sitting like this. Why does this meditation method require me to hold my arms out like I have an egg in each armpit? Armpit - now that's a funny word...." and so on. I'm not quite sure how multiple voices had equal presence in my head at the same time....and I'm not sure how to shut up the voices inclined to wander. Ah, it's only week one though. I'm just thrilled I actually sat still for 10 minutes with my eyes and mouth closed. My mother would never have believed it possible.

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday at Chris's yoga class.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So Far, So Good..but parts are Challenging!

Whew. Today's strength and  toning is arms are trembling and my legs are wiggling under them. My gut doesn't seem to ache...yet.

And what's with the jump roping?  Does anyone else remember it being so taxing on the lungs and legs?  That was a real surprise. (AND, what's with this? I have never been a compulsive weigher but now I am fitting the urge to weigh far, I've resisted but ain't that weird, folks?!)

With the strength and toning exercises, I found that I was strong...but only for a small amount of time. Endurance is where I really need to focus my energies and attention. And especially on the ab area.

As for the eating adjustments, I'm not really eating anything that different than I normally would, but I am regulating portion size. Who knew that a serving of wheat penne pasta with organic tomato sauce should only take up 1/4 of your plate and NOT the entire plate. I almost cried at that poor little pile of pasta all by itself on that big plate.

My challenge for today, as BTWG recruit Kelly and I discussed yesterday as she attended my work's Day of Service project (thanks Kelly!), will be the meditation portion of today. Ten minutes of quiet and stillness shouldn't seem so daunting. In fact, I think I may have elected to blog at this very moment as a meditation avoidance technique. 

Aerobic work tomorrow could be tricky with lots of day and evening meetings...oh my, this might mean I have to get up pre-dawn to fit it in!!!  I CAN DO IT, with baggy eyes and crabby morning attitude running alongside me!  Estimated bedtime tonight: 8:30pm.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bring It On!

I said farewell today to dining out for the next 12 weeks since BTWG officially starts tomorrow. Of course, the way I said farewell was by dining out at lunch today. How screwball is that reasoning. 

Although I said "No" to  cheese, sour cream, and meat on my burrito and went veggie only, when I looked up the nutrition value of that darn thing just a moment ago the total calorie amount was 920!!!!!  YIKES (and yes, I ate it all).  Hope this lesson learned will come to mind often when I feel the temptation to dine out here and there. I know it's coming to mind now thanks to a few gastrointestinal comments about my choice of hot salsa.

This morning (pre-big-ass-burrito) I went to Chris's strength and toning demonstration and I found those darn bands more challenging than anticipated. But it was also invigorating and exciting and being a part of the community with everyone at Cityoga was great, especially seeing those folks I met at the initial training session. After the banding session, I was off to work for a few hours to "catch up " on things, then to the yoga class I teach. Just arrived home and I am whooped. Running a hot bath as I type right now, then off to bed - estimated time of shuteye 9:00pm!

Thinking about the aerobic part of our training and how my runs/walks could be interesting since I live south of Indy, right where the hills start. Our road is all hills....hmmm. I complain about so much of Indiana being flat as a pancake (or a flour tortilla) and now I am really wishing I lived in a flat area!  

I expect a rather hectic workweek with a large grant due, a co-worker returning from medical leave and needing to be brought back up to speed, a Day of Service event that the nonprofit I work for is holding on Monday,  a sponsor open house on Wednesday, meetings every day, teaching 3 yoga classes a week, blah, blah, blah. Already the challenge of putting my wellness first, of fitting my wellness commitment into this crazy schedule, is being tested.

So, it's affirmation time: starting tomorrow I will eat well, I will track my nutritional intake, I will rate my hunger level pre and post, I will be mindful of why I am wanting to eat, I will not beat myself up if I stumble but will pick myself up and keep on keeping on, and I WILL leave work no later than 5:00 so I can get home and get in my aerobic workout per the Level I training specifics. NO EXCUSES...and NO BURRITOS!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mushroom, Barley & Spinach Soup Recipe

Here's a healthy soup/stew if anyone is interested. I broke down the calories and for a one cup serving it's between 135 and 150 calories. To bring the sodium level down, use low sodium chicken broth and/or use 1/2 chicken broth and 1/2 water.

1 tablespoon butter/margarine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
2 carrots chopped
4-5 cups chicken broth (ok to water down to reduce sodium level)
1/3 cup pearl barley (rinsed)  (NOTE: sounds like a small amount of barley but it puffs up; also barley is a higher calorie grain so don't overindulge with the amount)
1 tablespoon red vinegar
5 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
ground pepper to taste

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt butter with oil. Add mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add stock, barley, and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until barley is tender, about 25-30 minutes. Add spinach, salt (optional), and pepper and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Me? Blogging? Soup recipe to follow!

Oh, my...I'm officially a "blogger" now, aren't I?  To blog, blogging, to be blogged at, blogable -- I don't know what to think of this sudden entrance into the world of technology.  As someone who just mastered using my cell phone to send text messages (and grudgingly so), this blog "thang" has me all in a tizzy.

But here I am, so here goes. 

The New Year has brought with it a new challenge and opportunity (actual several) as I embark upon putting my health and well being at the top of my priority scale. Physically, the middle age squidgies had crept up on me (let me rephrase that: I allowed the middle age squidgies to creep up on me. Accountability, you know.). Amazing how your physical well being has the ability to color the rest of your life and what you do with it.  Even more amazing is how reaching middle age brings with it this realization that the second half of your life has arrived. The second half of life?  I'm forty-what? 

Yes, you realize that you are now that age when - as a child - you thought people had one foot in the grave with the other foot lifting up to join it. But truth be told, I don't mind getting older; it makes me look back on past experiences and understand their relevance since those experiences made me who I am today, and  getting older makes me really give thought to how the remainder of my life can be lived more fully.

SO, through the BTWG program I am well on my way. I'm already finding myself becoming more aware of my habits, not just of the action itself but of the mind and emotion that so often drive the actions, and it's fascinating (and scary and sad and amazing and...) to actually listen to yourself!

AND guess what? I actually called a friend who runs and asked if we could go running tomorrow!  Me running!! Who would have ever thought...

Looking forward to seeing everyone in BTWG more over the next months. Check back later for a great tasting healthy and low calorie soup recipe I'll post....Mushroom with Barley and Spinach.  Mmmmm.......