Today’s adventure into the awkward and uncomfortable is yoga with my neighbor. My neighbor, sweet Anne. She invited me yesterday to one hour of chair yoga and one hour of mild yoga. Which is good, because I’m a beginner. Unlike my son Jordan, who can twist himself into a pretzel, I’ve never been flexible. (Yes, I know the cigarette is unhealthy, but LOOK AT THAT POSE).
I’m the girl who could NEVER do a backbend or the splits. Hours and hours of practice as a child only brought numerous bruises on my head from the basement floor, and shunning from my gymnast peers. My greatest athletic accomplishment as a child was the routine I did during a summer fitness class, skipping to “Up, up, and away in my beautiful, my beautiful balloooooon!” while frantically waving ribbons tied to the ends of long sticks. I guess maybe the awkward and uncomfortable aren’t so new to me after all.
Exercise was never that important to me when I was younger. I was thin and hyper and had a fast metabolism, and I ate like a horse but never gained weight. Until I was about 20. My metabolism stopped in its tracks and I grew out of the ultra-hyperness, and all I was left with were horrible eating habits and a now sedentary lifestyle.
So here I am – after years of gaining and losing more pounds than I can count – at age 51, over 100 pounds overweight, and still with poor eating habits. But once again, I’m starting over. The difference this time is that I have a leader who has been through the trenches (she’s lost 200lbs and is still losing) and a group of women to walk the path with. We’re learning together about meal prep and nutrition and activity. I’m learning and enjoying and actually working out for the first time in my life. Not just walking or circuit fitness, but a variety of exercise and activites. Normally I would give up because, well, I didn’t want to work that hard. But keeping up with my fitness sisters – it keeps me going. Last night we did flights of stairs – FLIGHTS – then lunged up the stairs, then did push ups on each stair. This does not include the other arm and ab work that we did. I couldn’t keep up and I had to be careful not to reinjure my knee, but I did more than I’ve ever done before. My arms and legs are still noodles. I could barely lift my arms to wash my hair this morning. But it’s a good sore.
And my eating habits are changing. I didn’t notice how horrible my eating was until I started to change. I am an emotional eater. Baked good are my comfort food. But I’m establishing better eating habits – setting goals, planning ahead, implementing meal prep, trying new recipes, eating more fruits and vegetables. All of the things that I KNOW to do but have not consistently practiced. I am not a fan of green food, except pickles and M&Ms, but I am learning. And so far I have only gagged on the vegetables once. (But if I find peas in ANYTHING, it’s a deal breaker.)
So today I’m off to yoga with Anne. Two hours of yoga with strangers. I’m sure the stretching will be very good for me. And I’ve been wanting to try yoga for a while. I already know the importance of breathing for stress reduction.
Now I just need to figure out how to not talk for TWO HOURS. For me, this may be the biggest stretch of all.