Sunday, February 22, 2015

I did the plow pose!

Stock image of plow pose (this is not me)
I'm so excited to have reached a goal I'd had for over a year and a half. Last week I was able to do the plow pose again! It had been years since I could get my body to fold in half like that! I love yoga and my favorite poses are the deep ones that really challenge the muscles and tendons. Since I put on 50 pounds in 2012 and 2013, I could no longer manage the plow pose. It was frustrating to know that my spine and joints still had the necessary flexibility, but my fat was in the way.

But then this past fall a couple of health problems forced me to cut sugar, grains (including wheat) and dairy from my diet. Well, as much as possible anyway. I didn't reach 100%, but I reduced them enough to bring my blood sugar back under control and this month the other health problem finally improved: the monstrual cramps got better! I'm so relieved because those cramps were nightmarish. In fact, I was starting to wonder why I was depriving myself of cookies and blue cheese if it wasn't making the damn menstrual pain go away. I really needed some hard evidence that that this was all worth it, and I finally got it. My menstrual cramps did not have me moaning on the floor this month! YAY!

This all requires daily meditating and guided visualization to manage my sugar cravings and I use Emotional Freedom Technique to keep myself from emotional eating, but things feel like they're really working right now. Since November, I've learned that hormonal imbalance is hugely affected by what we put in our bodies and stopping the sugar, wheat and dairy has stopped my insulin levels from the roller coaster heights and dips they'd been on for decades. Insulin affects levels of progesterone and other hormones. So this is it: a major way to keep my body in balance means I'll only have occasional desserts and things like macaroni and cheese or buttered toast. I'm learning to indulge my sweet tooth with fruit, nuts, lightly sweetened beverages and small amounts of dark chocolate.

I've found that if I stop flooding my body with sugar for a few weeks, I can break my physical addiction to it. Also, my taste buds adjust so I don't need as much sweetness to satisfy a craving. But the thing that's been hanging me up is my emotional need for sweets. I've been struggling with the belief that a life without frosted layer cakes isn't worth living. That belief isn't caused by my insulin levels or my taste buds; that belief lives in my mind. And, goddamn, the mind is a tough thing to change.

But with meditation (I use Joe Dispenza's recordings), it's possible to re-wire the brain's old patterns and I think I'm finally doing it. After months of daily guided meditation, I'm finally letting go of that old belief that sugar makes life worth living. And it's just in time because after a lifetime of abusing my pancreas with sweetened cereals, cookies, cakes, frostings, candy and sugary pastries, my body needs no more sugar. At the age of 48 and a half, I can't continue those habits without risking blood sugar problems (diabetes runs in my family) and I'm determined to avoid that. The side benefit is that I'm losing the fat that was keeping me from my former yoga routine. I feel like I'm getting back to my true, natural weight. It's also nice to have "new" clothes because things that I hadn't been able to squeeze into for two years now fit again.

So the plow pose represents how much I've accomplished so far and the healthy, menstrual-cramp-free life ahead of me. By my 49th birthday in July, I'm going to be the healthiest I've ever been and my 50's are going to be great. Come to think of it, maybe I'll just start calling myself 50 in July. Why not? Adding a year will only make me look better for my age!

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