Perfection in whatever form it takes
Last night I was reading DailyOM's facebook post on Overcoming Body Stiffness.
The image they posted with the article was inspiring - The woman was flexible, gorgeous, graceful, elegant, but most importantly healthy & active.
Her body was strong and clearly had an amazing range of motion.
I just loved it - I had a significant personal connection to that pose in particular so I was incredibly moved by it. I'll circle back on why after we take a slight detour on why people suck.
Here's my issue - I happened to glance at the comments and I immediately noticed the body-shamers were in full force being horrible humans as usual. Most disappointing was that most of the shamers were woman. Woman online shaming other woman instead of building one another up.
Comment after comment ...
With all the things woman face from society why can't our messaging to one another be supportive or uplifting?
The messaging is clear you will be found lacking no matter what you do, how hard your try, what you look like, where you live, what you do for a living, how much money you have (or don't have), etc ... and these attacks will come from mostly other women.
Shame on the women who shit on other women for no other reason than they feel empowered to do so behind the safety of their computer monitor. Shame on the women who work on breaking down other women as opposed to building them up. Shame on the women who feel threatened by other women or who feel better by shaming another (woman).
Woman are most amazing and we're even more so when we stand shoulder to shoulder.
Don't be assholes ladies.
Anyway, a year ago, I was barely able to walk and some days I couldn't at all. I was living with excruciating pain because of my knees. I was often on crutches, had leg braces, was in and out of walking casts, & could barely stand up some mornings. I was suffering greatly and had been for an extended period of time.
As a result, my back would seize up in spasms, my hips were out of alignment and my SI joint dysfunction was uncontrolled.
Stiffness set in on an holistic level because I wasn't very mobile. In March, I turned to yoga - Yin style yoga to help stretch and elongate my body. Yoga helped me gently transition areas of my body that had seized up to being more mobile and loose. I would hold static poses, despite the discomfort, until I found a release. I found, without exception, my muscles would eventually surrender to the poses.
The pose she's holding on the DailyOm post is actually the one that I held the most. It was the one that brought me the most relief and gave me the most hope as I knew when I could stay in that position my body was healing and becoming much stronger.
To be clear, this did nothing for my knees. BUT I found the most amazing orthopedic surgeon who was able to completely fix my right knee. He didn't just give me relief he gave me the opportunity to reclaim the things I love most about my life. Things I had long abandoned.
In July I spent a few weeks hiking through Iceland & Ireland - I zoomed through rocky canyons, down steep terrain to sit alongside waterfalls, I climb to the top of Slieve League and down a slippery stone path to the Giant's Causeway, I wandered through remote forests until I couldn't go any further without losing my way and I swam in lagoons as storms rolled over the Icelandic sky.
In the span of 6 months I went from barely being able to move to being able to explore the limits of what my body can do. I have found my way back to pilates and can be found in my basement most days working on my practice.
I'm also figure skating again! I was a competitive figure skater when I was young - it was something I absolutely loved. There's something about standing in the middle of an ice rink alone - just you on brand new ice where the only sounds are from your blades cutting through the ice, it's just magical.
We ended up leaving Pittsburgh to move to Newport News, Va - as a result I stopped skating. I didn't watch it on tv and I never wanted to skate again quite honestly. But here I am at 45 skating again! This time last year I was limping through life - literally.
As I was skating this afternoon I realized how comfortable I felt on my skates, my legs felt strong and sure, & my confidence growing exponentially. To think of where I'll be a year from now is really rather mind blowing.
I think it's sheer perfection - where I am is perfect albeit humbling, it's perfectly humbling.
I find myself with a great deal gratitude because it's easy to roll over and surrender or complain about how things suck but to find something inside of us that allows us to pull ourselves out of that darkness is really rather amazing.
Imagine what we could do if people were supportive and didn't take to social media to rip one another apart. If we navigated life elevating one another perhaps we'd go on more adventures or feel confident in trying new things ...
I'm going to do just that! I'm sort of a solo adventurer of life but when my path crosses with another I try to be kind ... I do no harm ... & I certainly don't break other woman down.
You do you and I'll be cheering you on!
Going Gray - A Hero's Journey
I announced I was going gray 15 months ago. Woman have to announce such things as people will become concerned that we have abandoned all self care if our roots become too long.
So, this was me - 15 months ago on the day I announced I was going to just let my hair go gray.
By this time my home had been chemical free for years - I make most of my cleaning supplies yet I was still coloring my hair, religiously, every 3-5 weeks.
I didn't go in for just touch ups - I went in to go from black to gunmetal gray or to color the underneath layers a bright color such as pink / blue / green, etc.
I loved changing my looks, I loved how it made me feel, I loved people's compliments & reactions. I always loved how a new look could make me feel fresh and new when perhaps things weren't going so well and I didn't much like certain aspects of my life, at the time. Color is like the "Break Up Hair Cut" only not as hard to grow out.
That said, I was having a really hard time reconciling how uncomfortable I was using chemicals in my home but I was still slathering them all over my scalp / hair. It just seemed like I should be more concerned with what I put on and in my body than what I used to cleaned a toilet.
I made the decision after thinking about it for a bit so I texted my hair stylist Jenna and we came up with a plan!
Once we had a plan, I shared my plans on a few social sites and with people at work. I found people were very divided on the topic.
Here are some of my favorite comments / concerns:
Few concerns aside, I found most everyone to be super supportive. Strangers stop to tell me how much they love it. A few days ago a guy stopped me in a stairwell to tell me how great my hair looked - he thought I colored it! On the way to Boston a woman at Starbucks ask how long I had been growing it out and I could see her working those numbers in her mind so perhaps I'll bump into her in 15 months and we'll be twins!
I do get a good bit of "I'd love to do that, but ... " and I always ask why there's hesitation. If you love it - do it. Many just say that they can't ... maybe they are worried about not being found attractive or maybe they don't want their gross troll husbands to be repulsed?
Girl, Go Gray If YOU Want.
Anyways - here I am as of today - I was standing in a bathroom with the harshest light ever and I looked in the mirror and I had a moment where I realized just how much I love my hair.
I love it. I love the way I look, I love how gorgeous the silver and white bits are. I love how it all blends together and looks as though I have strands of Christmas tinsel woven into my hair.
Best Decision Ever ... AND ... I have saved nearly $4000.00(WHAT?)
Viral Gray or Light Blue
That's it! I hope if you're considering making the leap - this helped a bit. I'd love to hear of your progress!!
Keto Participation Trophy
I have been following, what I think is a flawless execution of a KETO lifestyle for nearly a month.
I never "cheat" ... I follow it to the letter. I'm always in Ketosis, it seems. Maybe I am missing something?
I don't think I'm under estimating my carb intake. A typical meal for me is a bunless burger & sautéed spinach. No sneaky carbs on this plate.
I test for Ketones and I'm always between the 4.0 and 8.0 range. I don't think I have ever been a 16.0 nor have I ever been lower than a 4.0.
But I have been reading a lot lately about the difference between Ketosis and being Fat Adapted ...
Fat Adapted? I've adapted to the fact that I should never wear a unitard ... I actually can't think of anyone more fat adapted than me.
Imagine my surprise - that's NOT what Fat Adapted means. Think of it as a transition period where you body truly makes the leap from using Glucose for Fuel (carbs) to it burning nothing but Fat. Your body has transitioned into a fat burning machine. YASSSSSSS ...
This can happen in as little as 3 weeks but can take 4-6 weeks in some cases. 4-6 weeks? That's a long time for someone like me who isn't a massive fan of delayed gratification.
I thought at 6 weeks I'd be near my goal weight. Kidding ... for the most part.
Now that I am educating myself and gobbling up as many resources on the topic as I can get my hands on, I'm able to connect a lot of dots in terms of what I have been experiencing over the last 4 weeks.
It's absolutely fascinating and I've enjoyed this period of time to incorporate being incredibly mindful of what I put into my body and recognizing how my body feels as a result.
With each passing day I feel better, I truly do and I have to say this is the absolute longest span of time I have stuck to a plan without binging or falling off track. It's effortless. I have never been able to say that before when "dieting", not ever.
A testament of my transition: today my flight to Boston was delayed several times over. What was supposed to be an easy 3.5 hour day became a 9 hour exercise in me not losing my mind with each passing delay.
MENU & MACROS
Breakfast: 2 Eggs cooked in Coconut Oil & 1/2 Avocado
Lunch: Cobb Salad with Roasted Chicken
Dinner: Bunless Burger with Bacon & Smoked Gouda
Carbs: 17 / Fat 100 / Protein 60 which is pretty dead on for my calculated macros.
I have also had a ton of water which isn't always easy when traveling. I'm fighting a cold and am convinced I can drown it out of my system by drinking lemon water with droppers full of goldenseal and echinacea (it's horrible).
My hotel room doesn't have a scale - will be interested in seeing where I am upon my return (5 days) as I really should be on the verge of being fat adapted.
Tempest In A Teacup
I was having dinner with a girlfriend the other evening, one that I hadn't seen in many months. As we were catching up, it struck me how many "new" things I have incorporated into my life recently for no other reason than they sounded fun or interesting to me.
At 45, I have my blog, play drums, am figure skating again, working on my pilates practice and am becoming healthier and stronger than I was in my earlier years. It's a revolt of sorts and it's wildly fun.
By why now - why in my midlife all the changes? We talked about the midlife "crisis" being an incredibly real phase but that seems like such a negative place to be in one's life. Why a crisis? Why not just another step in our evolution? Why is it so often seen as a negative thing?
Being a relentless pursuer of useless information - I went to my Single Source of Truth - Google.
I googled the definition of a midlife crisis. For men it seems fairly exciting: New sports cars, younger friends, lovely younger woman on their arm, becoming hyper focused on their physique, reigniting hobbies and passions. Not so much as crisis, in my mind. Then I read the symptoms of a Female Midlife Crisis:
As I approached my mid-40's I found it to be something I was looking forward to. Something to embrace - a reflection of a certain amount of freedom that I didn't have in my earlier years. An abandoning of self consciousness, self doubt, apologizing for who I am, what I want, what I think or believe ...
I am (re)discovering things that I loved as a child (playing music, figure skating), focusing on my heath (loving KETO), finding a healthy work life balance, being fully present as a mother, improving myself in ways that are hard to properly articulate and am finding happiness and peace in my soul. But most importantly its the realization is that we don't have to live such a prescriptive life.
I think it's more of a midlife transformation unless you rely on Google ...