My Health Journey: Progress Report

I am writing this post for a few reasons. I am going to explain why I don’t ever weigh myself (except for this morning for the purpose of this post). I am going to tell you what exactly I do on my journey. And I am going to explain why I think being healthy doesn’t work out for everyone. Here we go.

If you follow me you know that this journey started out about weight loss and morphed into all around health. I used to think that weighing less meant I was healthy. Boy, was I wrong. In this first photo, taken on January 5, 2013, I was 128 pounds and wearing a size 6 pants. This was the first time I had ever felt thin.

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What was I doing to be this size? I shall tell you. I was eating lower carb; Not cutting carbs totally but not stuffing my face with sandwiches everyday either. I was running about 4 times a week. I ate sugar on occasion. I was drinking diet sodas. I did not pay attention to the types of food I was eating as far as ingredients.

I am not going to share a bunch of in between photos but lets just say that I fell off the wagon. I went back to eating whatever I wanted. But I was still running. So why did I gain all the weight back? I didn’t realize the impact of putting “shit” into my body. I thought I could run the carbs away. I had the mentality of, “I’ll just run an extra mile to make up for the Oreos.” I wasn’t thin and I definitely wasn’t healthy.

In 2015 my husband and I read the book “The Wild Diet” by Abel James and really learned a lot about what we were putting in our bodies. We cleared out our kitchen and pretty much started from scratch. We started eating clean. No more artificial ingredients. No added sugar (meaning, only naturally occurring sugar like in fruit). No white flour. No shit. We started shopping in the healthy section of the store. Why is there a healthy section? What the hell are they selling in the rest of the store? We started shopping at Whole Paycheck for specific items. No alcohol. And no soda.

I also started going to an exercise class at least once a week, was working out on my own at home, and doing yoga. I wasn’t running anymore because of the area we live in (no sidewalks).

Today, January 4, 2017, (almost to the day of that first photo which was totally by coincidence) here’s what I do. First, I still eat clean about 90% of the time. That 10% is saved for fun stuff because I still like to live and have fun, and I like dessert (like having a donut on New Years). I still shop in the healthy section and frequent Whole Foods. I still eat very low carb. I do eat bread but it’s healthy bread; no white flour, no sugar, and no artificial ingredients. I eat a lot of organic foods. I pay attention to ingredients!! If I buy mac n cheese it’s the expensive kind with 5 ingredients rather than 20 (seriously, I’ve counted and it’s insane). Speaking of ingredients, I still love to eat peanut butter but buy the 365 brand at WF that is only peanuts with a pinch of salt. Try eating Jif or Skippy after eating real peanut butter for a while. It’s HORRIBLE!!!!! I eat a TON of vegetables; broccoli, brussells, spinach, zucchini…the good green stuff. I don’t buy things with sugar like cookies; I only indulge if we’re out somewhere and decide to have ice cream, or if I’m at a birthday party and there’s cake because… cake. I go to exercise class 2 days a week where we use weights and do full body exercising, I exercise at home, and I do yoga almost every day. I very rarely drink. I enjoy mimosas but save those for special occasions. I gave up beer for about 2 years and just recently started having one if we are out with friends (which is rare). I get good sleep. I am usually in bed by 830pm. It’s amazing how much that helps. And the big one, I do NOT drink soda. I haven’t had a soda in just over 3 years. (You can read my post about that HERE)

So back to the beginning with the photo, 128lbs and size 6 jeans. Now here’s me on December 21st, 2016 wearing size 2 jeans and weighing 135lbs.

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Wait, what? I weigh more but wear 2 sizes smaller? How does that even make sense? It’s really insane. I really can’t even explain the feels from this. Which brings me to why I think people have a hard time getting healthy.

One, they focus on numbers on a scale. You really can’t do that. You have to be able to FEEL. If you feel good, keep going! If you feel like crap, makes some changes. Don’t obsess about what you weigh. Side story, the last time I weighed myself was at a physical a year ago. I weighed 130lbs and since I’m short, my BMI was 25. According to the super outdated BMI scale, I was overweight and had to be given a piece of paper with websites about weight loss. Wonder what my BMI would be today?

Two, you have to have a strong will. You can’t let yourself give up. You can’t let people push you into eating unhealthy which is extremely hard. People who don’t understand your journey will ALWAYS question what you’re doing and try to persuade you to go back to the old ways. “It’s just one cookie. It’s just one beer.” My most/least favorite phrase uttered by friends, “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t do it. I am just going to try to be happy with where I’m at.”

Which brings me to three, you have to want it. You can’t eat healthy in January and slack off all year until next January. You can’t give up soda and then decide to go right back to drinking it. You can’t say you’re going to eat clean and then scarf burritos every day. Yes, you’re sacrificing, but you won’t always see it that way. What you will see though, is results. You will not only fit into your clothes better, you will FEEL better. And the best thing that comes out of all this? You will be here on this Earth a lot longer.

So what’s next for me? I’m definitely not at the end of this journey. There are all kinds of paths I plan to journey down. My first turn is down the road of muscles. In class I use 10lb weights and I am finding that they are getting lighter with some of the moves. I also watched the Rousey fight the other night and might have gotten a bit excited by how strong that woman is. The next day I bought heavier weights. I will now use 15lbs in class (for just a couple things with the 10’s on standby for others) and 25lbs for a few things at home.

Here’s me today, day 1 down Muscle Road.

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Because it’s me and I have to critique the photo, I feel like I have to say that the angle is terrible when you look at my legs. My legs are not that skinny. I still have big, meaty calves.

And of course I will continue down Yoga Lane. I’m thinking that flopping between Muscle Road and Yoga Lane is going to do wonders for arm balances.

If you’re ever interested in starting a journey like mine and need some advice, guidance, or encouraging words, email me, message me on IG, comment on here. I also admin a healthy group on Facebook (the same one that started as a weight loss group early in my journey has also morphed just like it’s members) and we’re always open to fresh meat. 😉

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Yogi? Yogi in training? Yoga enthusiast?

When I was thinking of a title for this blog I decided to look up the word “yogi”. The first definition I came across said, “Someone who is proficient in yoga.” The next one I saw said, “A person who practices yoga”, “an adherent of Yoga Philosophy”, or “a markedly reflective or mystical person.” This gave me a lot to think about. Am I a yogi “In training” or am a Yogi?

If I go by the first definition I would most definitely say that I am NOT a yogi. If I went by the second three definitions I would most definitely say, “Hell yes, I’m a Yogi!” But if the real concrete definition is the first one, is anyone ever really a yogi? Is there anyone who is done learning yoga? In my experience over the last couple years, the answer to that is a super no. So for now, I’m going to stick with yogi in training,

So, why am I writing about yoga? I’ve been wanting to for a while. I’ve been thinking about writing a long ass Instagram post about what yoga and other “yogis” mean to me. But then something happened today and it made it clear that I’ve been hesitant for a reason. I’ll get to that.

I’m not a religious person. I don’t believe in the God from the Bible. What I am is spiritual. I’ve always been spiritual. I think you can find spirituality in anything. Crafting was my spiritual time at one point. Being outside in nature is spiritual for me. Smoking a cigar listening to Maynard in my backyard with my husband is spiritual. And for me, yoga is spiritual. I didn’t realize this when I first started practicing but I know now that this is something I was meant to get into.

Many years ago, like 7, I went to a yoga class with a neighbor. If you’re familiar with my health journey you’d know it’s what really started the whole thing. I loved that class. It was calming and I liked the feeling when I was done. We went the next week and I hated it. It was a different instructor and she did more cardio type yoga and lots of planks and it was tough. I didn’t go back to yoga class. But I never forgot how I felt after the first class. I had always hoped I could find that again. Flash forward to August 2014 when I met my bff, Isis. I met her through another mom and we started to work out together. I found out that she was also in the works to become the base’s new yoga instructor. I remember asking her what type of yoga she did because I was totally scarred from that second class I took forever ago. She encouraged me to just try it. I’m so glad I did. I started going to her class at least once a week and started doing more stretching on my own. She was always inspiring me to try new things. She could do a headstand so I wanted to learn how. She could do fun back bends so I wanted to try. She looked like a tear drop in bow pose and I wanted to look like that. So I started practicing. I started doing headstands and handstands against the wall whenever I had the chance. Flash forward again to now, I live 3000 miles away from her but I’ve found that yoga didn’t stay in Arizona with her. It most definitely followed me to Virginia. I even went as far as doing yoga poses in every state I drove through on my way here. You can look it up on Instagram with the hashtag #yogaacrosstheusa. (You follow me on IG right? 😉 @chrissyq02) I do yoga almost everyday now. And Isis does yoga everyday and we talk about it constantly and send photos to each other to update each other on our progress.
Here are some progress photos to show you just what yoga can do and what it does for me. It gives me something to look forward to when I have alone time. It gives me something to strive to be better at. It is making me more flexible. And when I’m doing yoga I feel that spirituality.

The top photo here was taken almost a year ago. I was at Isis’s house and I told her I wanted to try a new backbend. So I did this one. Flash forward to last week and I busted out the bottom photo.

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When I was a little girl I did a couple seasons of gymnastics and one thing I remember being proud of was being able to touch my toes to my head. Several decades later I wanted to be able to do it again. Practice, practice, practice!!! Achievement unlocked!!

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Then on a random day in November, Isis says she wants to do splits. She says, “We should totally do splits!!” I reluctantly say I’ll try this journey with her but I never ever imagined I would continue it and see progress. OMG!! I’ve stuck it out and look!! I’m pretty close to maybe someday touching the floor.

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And now back to the beginning. Why did I choose today to write this and what is the significance of today. Well, I’ve been working on my forearm stands and doing pretty good so I thought I’d try something a bit more challenging. Scorpion pose always seemed like something fun to learn so I decided to try it today. Third attempt…

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Of course I immediately text Isis.
Me: ISIS!!!!!!!! emoji emoji emoji emoji!!!
Isis: What did you conquer today? Tell me!!
She already knew that something exciting happened for me today. She knows me!! I send her the photo and we talk about how exciting it is and blah blah blah and then later she checked her “On this Day” thing on Facebook. Guess what she was uber excited about exactly one year ago today? Being able to do a scorpion! She had been terrified to try it but went for it and did it. Today. One year before I decide to go for it. How cool is that? My bff, my yoga teacher, my mentor, my inspiration, was in my exact same place one year ago. It’s pretty neat. So neat I made this cool photo of us! One year apart.

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And you know what makes it even neater? I know, just from texting and knowing her, that she was as excited for me as she was a year ago. That’s what its like in the yoga community. And that’s something I’ve been wanting to write about. Ever since I started yoga, I started following a bunch of yogi’s on IG. You know the most common thing about every single one of them? They own their shit. They are humble. They make mistakes and fall over and they post about it. Everyone I follow has blooper videos to show off. Of course they all find the best looking poses and the best filters for a lot of the photos, who doesn’t, but in the descriptions they’ll tell you, “this was my third attempt”, “this was after a week or trying”, “this is the only time this has ever happened”. There is never a post that says, “I decided to try this today and I totally succeeded and I am now perfect.” On top of that, they are some of the most compassionate people you will ever meet (or know online). They will always tell you you’re awesome even when you fall over. They will always tell you that your pose looks perfect even when, in your eyes, it’s far from it. And that’s the kind of person I strive to be. Those are the folks I call “My people.” And of course I know people like this outside of yoga, but I think there is just a bit of something extra sprinkled on these people. And I love them for that.

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