I have to confess to you, Reader Friends, I have written and deleted this post about six times over the past four weeks or so. I'm so anxious to tell you about this giant, life-changing thing that I've started, but it always comes out sounding cheesy and gushy and not at all how I want it to sound. It's also fairly text heavy, but just trust that I've pared this down as much as I can.
I should start by saying that I have never been athletic. I always knew I didn't like sports, especially team sports, but it wasn't until I quit homeschooling and entered into the hell known as PE that I realized I HATED sports. And not just hated - was the actual worst at them. That is not hyperbole. The.actual.worst. I was the last to finish laps, the only one to fail (multiple times) the President's Physical Fitness Test (even just saying those words gives me shivers), and the last one chosen for every team, every time.
That doesn't mean I was fat or out of shape though. I played outside, rode my bike everywhere, swam (even competitively for a brief time), rode horses, and took figure skating and Irish dance lessons.
My struggle with weight began after I got married. I had some health issues that forced me to go on several medications that caused serious weight gain. In addition to those medications, I continued to eat like I have eaten my entire life - whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was a size four when I got married. I am now a size that I really don't feel comfortable sharing publicly.
I've spent the last year or so halfheartedly determining to lose weight. I swam laps a day or two a week and saw a nutritionist to learn about more healthy eating habits. Because I'm still on medication that causes weight gain, this helped to stabilize my weight. I wasn't gaining any more, but I also wasn't losing any.
And then my friend Andrea from We Still Read got into yoga. And I watched her make this incredible progress. She wasn't out of shape at all to begin with, but you could just see her getting stronger on a basically daily basis. She was doing these incredible acrobatic things and I was SO impressed. For several months I basically just stalked her instagram (@southgazen) and told myself that maybe when I lost fifty pounds or so, I'd be able to try.
But it turns out, all it took was a bad case of cramps to give me the push I needed at the right time. I texted Andrea to ask for a few yoga poses to ease cramps that someone my size and complete lack of physical ability could do. And the ones she sent felt amazing.
Through some more texting, Andrea convinced me that I could go to class and no one would yell at me or tell me I'm not trying hard enough or do anything other than encourage me. And it just so happened that my YMCA had a yin class (the BEST way to get into yoga for people who are scared and out of shape in my opinions) the very next day. I quickly told some friends I was going to try the class, so I'd have the accountability of them asking how it went.
Ya'll the class was so perfect. I try not to be all God all the time on here, but the way this has happened is really and truly nothing short of Divine Intervention. Andrea sent me the right stretches, she convinced me to try the right class, and on the day I went they were doing a particularly delicious and (key word) EASY practice. I was hooked.
Basically, since that day, I've become a complete and total yoga convert. I'm currently practicing every day, attending two group classes each week, and doing at least three days of intense cardio each week. For the first time, the weight loss is only the side benefit, not the goal. The goal is to be better at yoga, which means I need to drop some pounds - which is has! Twelve pounds in six weeks.
But here's the real kicker. I'm kind of good at this! I feel a bit uncomfortable even saying that, but I'm letting myself toot my own horn just this once. My body can do things I never, ever thought a body this size could do. In just a very few weeks, I've added so many physical skills to my inventory. Even at my thinnest, I've never felt proud of what my body could physically do. I have always been the non-athletic sibling in an athletic family and the weak link on any team.
So, maybe you can understand why it's hard for me to write this without getting chocked up. It continues to blow my mind that I am actually enjoying working out. That I've found a physical challenge that I can actually meet. I'm still my regular bookish self, but I feel like I'm also a totally different self too.
Which is why, at twelve pounds under my heaviest weight, I have the most body confidence I've had in my entire life. And, why I feel comfortable posting these pictures proudly! If you follow me on Instagram (and you should - @julie37619) you've probably already noticed that yoga has taken over my feed. Get used to it, because this is something I'm planning to stick with!