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My Inspirations: Adam Meador

Time and time again, I meet people in the DDP Yoga community who are in such great shape, it’s impossible to imagine they were ever anything but lean and toned. I never cease to be amazed when they then tell me that they have lost massive amounts of weight with DDP Yoga. However, weight loss stories aren’t the only victories in this community. I recently learned the abbreviation NSV, meaning non-scale victory, and no one embodies that better than Adam Meador.

I first met Adam at a DDP Yoga workshop. He is very clearly lean, built and athletic. After speaking to him I learned that he had always been a runner and weight lifter, and had taken up DDP Yoga to get some more flexibility. This description fit well with the physique I was seeing before me. What didn’t fit with that image was him telling me that he had recently had major heart surgery. I couldn’t grasp that someone who had needed such a major operation was at a DDP Yoga workshop doing everything in beast mode and nailing it!

Adam’s story is amazingly inspiring, and he’s currently working towards becoming a DDP Yoga instructor. We’re really lucky to have him in the community, and he’s going to be able to reach even more people as a DDP Yoga instructor.

Knoxville workshop November 2014

Before you started DDP Yoga, what was your health/fitness level?

Before DDP Yoga, I would say that I was in good shape. I worked out anywhere from 3 to 5 times a week whether it be jogging or hitting the gym. I watched what I ate for the most part as well. I was always the guy getting a salad at lunch when others were getting burgers and fries.

How did you find out about DDP Yoga?

Being a wrestling fan, I knew that DDP had some sort of yoga program, but didn’t really know the specifics. I had a friend of mine mention that he’d tried it a few times and felt like it was a great workout. What sealed the deal for me was back in February 2013 when I saw the a picture of Jake “the Snake” Roberts and his amazing transformation. Of course after seeing that, I started my research and that led me to the Arthur video. The rest, as they say, was history.

What were your original goals?

Initially, my goal just wanted to try something different to get in shape. I had just turned 38 and was tired of the stress that lifting weights puts on your joints. Plus I had ZERO flexibility. I was a skinny guy who couldn’t even come close to touching his toes.

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How long did it take you to achieve those goals?

I literally started noticing results within the first couple of weeks. I felt fantastic both physically and mentally. After about 6 months into the program, I was able to do things I never thought possible. In a million years, I never thought I’d be able to do a Black Crow, but I did.

You had major surgery recently. What happened?

In November I got sick with what felt like a bad case of the flu (but is there really a good case of the flu?). However, no matter how much rest I got, how many antibiotics I took, it just wouldn’t go away. I was losing weight without any explanation and had zero energy. Fortunately I have a very smart wife (who’d just finished school to become a Respiratory Therapist) and she forced me to continue seeking medical treatment. I’d gone to the ER before with the symptoms, but that trip proved unsuccessful. After spiking a fever of 103 the following week, she forced me to go again.

Long story short, after many blood tests and an echocardiogram I was diagnosed with endocarditis, which is a bacterial infection of the heart’s valve. In my case, the bacterial growth, or “vegetation” as it’s called, was on my aortic valve. I checked into hospital on December 13th, 2013 for what was supposed to be a short stay, getting IV antibiotics to kill the infection. Unfortunately, the antibiotics weren’t doing the trick, as the bacteria was slowly destroying the valve.

On December 20th, 2013, I had open heart surgery to clean out the bacteria and replace the valve with a shiny new mechanical one (but you can imagine my disappointment when I woke up post-surgery and didn’t have the Iron Man arc reactor in my chest). After another week in the hospital (we celebrated Christmas on the hospital floor that year), I was discharged and finally able to come home. Additionally during this time, my dad had a stroke and was in the hospital for a few days. In fact, before I was transferred to the other hospital for my surgery, we were literally across the hall from each other.

December 2013

How did DDP Yoga fit into your recovery?

As far as DDP Yoga and my recovery, I wasn’t able to put any pressure on my chest for 3 to 4 months post surgery. But as soon as I got the green light, I was back on the mat. However, I’d lost all of my flexibility and strength and forced to heavily modify. Additionally, having the heart monitor was crucial for me. But I feel like DDP Yoga helped me on the front end. I was in the best shape of my life before getting sick. Had I not been in condition, who knows what the outcome could have been. Aside from the physical challenges of recovery, there were also mental challenges. All of that hard work I’d put in to get into such great shape was now gone. I became very depressed. All I could really do was lie around and watch TV. Couple that with the fact the it was the middle of winter, so the dreary cold weather didn’t help my situation (neither did re-watching the entire Breaking Bad series in a month’s time). But there comes a point in time when you have to decide if you’re gonna sit around feeling sorry for yourself or you’re gonna do something about it. I remembered DDP’s mantra of living life at 90%. The health issue was over and done with. Now I had to decide how I was going to react to it and press forward.

Did the DDP Yoga community provide any support?

The support from the DDP Yoga community was outstanding. In fact, I remember laying in my hospital bed the day before surgery feeling pretty low. I was facing a long recovery and knew that I’d have to work my butt off to even get close to being where I was before (if at all). But as I was laying there, I got a tweet from DDP himself, wishing me luck and that the DDP Yoga family had my back. I can’t begin to tell what those few words did to my spirits. As cliche as it may sound, I felt a sense of calm. The outpouring of love and support from everyone in our ever-growing family continues to humble me. As a matter of fact, I saw Dallas back at a workshop in March of this year. The very first thing he did was give me a hug and ask how my heart was doing. To me, that shows that the love and support of the DDP Yoga family starts at the very top.

It took me almost a full year before I felt like I was close to my old self again. Now, I feel like a million bucks. I just turned 40 back in February and am probably in the best shape of my life (even after an open heart surgery). I learned that life is fragile and to make the most of my time here. It wasn’t until a few months after surgery that my wife let me know just how serious it was. Basically, I was a walking timebomb. At any point, the bacteria could started breaking off into pieces, thus causing a stroke, blood clot, etc. I could’ve dropped dead at any time. Therefore, I don’t get rattled over many things these days. As the old saying goes, I “don’t sweat the small stuff”.

What kind of support do you get from your family?

I couldn’t ask for a better support system. My wife and family have been behind me 110% of the way. She does the workouts and attends my classes when her schedule allows. She’s also great about researching gluten-free recipes for meals.

Christmas Day 2013

What stands out about DDP Yoga?

Nothing I’ve ever done really compares with DDP Yoga. I’d always been a runner, but after tearing both meniscus in one knee a few years back (while cutting the grass of all things), jogging became more difficult. Lately I’ve incorporated some light jogging back into my schedule as I find it’s good for just clearing my head.

What stands out the most is that ANYONE can do this, no matter your level of fitness. And if you stick with the workouts and the nutrition, you WILL see results a lot quicker than you might think.

Did you experience any other obstacles along your DDP Yoga journey?

I think my biggest obstacle is sometimes myself and knowing when to listen to my body. I like to push myself, but sometimes I need to know when to dial it back a notch.

Is there anything you still struggle with?

Probably the main thing I struggle with is the nutrition. And it’s not the typical struggle of “eating bad”. Due to having a mechanical heart valve, my blood has to remain thin to avoid clotting on the valve. Therefore, I have to take blood thinners for the rest of my life. This means I have to monitor my intake of Vitamin K. What’s full of Vitamin K? All of the great greens that are a big part of the nutrition we follow. I can have them, but it has to be on a pretty limited basis.

What are your current goals with DDP Yoga?

Just to become a better student. Though I’ve been actively practicing DDP Yoga for over 2 years now, I feel that there is still so much more for me to learn.

March 2015

What made you pursue DDP Yoga certification?

I’m very passionate about it and want to share that passion with other people. It was a goal of mine before my health issues. But after all that, it became a mission. I hope my story can help just one person know that they came overcome anything, no how insurmountable it may seem. I made my final submissions to Doc a few days ago. Pending approval of those, all that’s left is taking/passing the final exam. It’s so close I can taste it!

What do you hope to do once you are certified?

I hope to continue teaching Saturday classes at my church while also looking for other places in my area who are interested in hosting workouts. After my DDP Yoga certification, I’d like to pursue a nutrition certification.

May 16 2015 class

What would you say to someone considering DDP Yoga?

I would tell them to research all of the amazing stories of people who have done the program with mind-blowing success. That’s the beauty of DDP Yoga. People at all levels of fitness can do this. As the man himself says “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”.

Where can we find you?

Facebook – facebook.com/adam.meador
Twitter – @AdrockTN
Instagram – @AdrockTN (also)
Email – ameador@comcast.net

I’m currently looking to set up a website and Facebook page once I’m officially certified. Be on the lookout for RISE UP FITNESS!!!

Run, Fat Girl, Run!

It’s Marathon time again! My training program for the 2015 Prairie State Marathon started today and I am so excited.

I ran my first full marathon in May last year. See, I have a tattoo to prove it:

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A little prideful, perhaps?

And a sticker on my car:

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Okay, I’ll admit that’s pretty obnoxious…

I started out the training at about 145 lbs and finished the marathon tipping the scales at 162 lbs. Despite (erroneous) claims that I lost weight running, I managed to gain just under 20 lbs while running an estimated 422 miles (plus the actual 26.2 of the race). What the….???

It turns out, this isn’t an isolated incident. The phenomenon of packing on the old el-bees while preparing for a long distance race is well-documented. Like many others, I had no clue about this while developing a love of distance running, and promptly fell into many of the pitfalls. I have since done my reading and learned a lot about the physiology of exercise and hunger. This Run Haven article sums up some of the reasons.

I have a friend who disproves this rule, but it’s very true for me and my bulky quads!

While it is true that I was building more muscle and that my body was storing more glycogen, for people like me who battle a food addiction, reason #3, eating too many calories, was definitely the main culprit. During the marathon training, I allowed myself to “carb-up” the night before long runs. Then, after each long run I would experience intense hunger, and I would allow myself to indulge on the grounds that I had burned a tonne of calories. Yes, I had burned a tonne of calories, but probably not as many as those two massive, carby meals (heaping orders of pilau rice from my favourite restaurant) flanking the long runs were providing.

Compounding the issue was the fact that this training program land smack in the middle of my ill-fated departure from using MyFitnessPal to track calories. So those calculations about how much I could eat versus how many calories I was burning involved a lot of very generous “eye-balling.” Translation: more calories were going in than were coming out.

Another issue is heart rate and hormones. As I mentioned above, people close to me seem confused when I try to explain that DDP Yoga was responsible for my weight loss, and running wasn’t. In DDP Yoga, we are told early and often to use a heart rate monitor, and to back off if we go above our fat-burning zone. This keeps us efficiently burning fat and calories, and more importantly, doing so at a rate that goes under the radar of our appetite control centers in our brains.

Running, on the other hand, blasts your heart rate into your high aerobic zone, and (if you are not athletic as was the case when I was training for my first marathon), right into your anaerobic zone. Your brain detects this activity and responds with a massive appetite surge causing you to eat way more than you burned. To make matters even worse, as I learned recently, long periods of moderate or intense cardio cause a huge dump of the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone causes every calorie you take to be absorbed and stored at maximum efficiency (i.e. guess who’s gaining some weight!).

Don't even get me started on leptin!

Don’t even get me started on leptin!

That’s why cardio exercises like DDP Yoga, walking or light/short jogging that keep you in your fat-burning zone, and strength-building workouts (such as DDP yoga) that help you gain lots of metabolism-boosting muscle are great for weight loss. They don’t trigger huge hunger bouts and leave you with metabolisms geared toward fat storage. That’s not to say running is bad for you. It isn’t. It has a lot of benefits, but you need to know what you’re dealing with, and prepare accordingly.

This has been alarmingly accurate on occasion!

And that’s what I plan to do this time around. First, I am back on the MyFitnessPal wagon, so my calories are going to be carefully monitored. Second, I won’t allow my training program to minimize other programs that are beneficial to weight management such as DDP Yoga and other strength-building workouts. And third, I will be focusing on eating healthy, whole, plant-based foods (no large orders of refined white rice from the Indian restaurant*!). But most importantly, I’ll be having fun. There’s no greater feeling than accomplishing something as huge as a marathon, and putting on 20 lbs didn’t detract from that feeling in the slightest last time. It’s important to care about your body, but it’s more important to remember the number on the scale isn’t everything.

*except maybe the day of the actual race!

P.S. It’s not okay to call anyone “fat,” the title of this article is a play on the only okay movie, “Run, Fat Boy, Run!” 

My Inspirations: Kristin Pasquill, Certified DDP Yoga Instructor

Update: Kristin was the subject of the first interview of people who inspire me that I published. Since then, she has gone on to become a certified DDP Yoga instructor, only adding to her overall awesomeness. I caught up with her to find out what she’s doing now that she’s an instructor and updated the interview: 

Kristin_RIpped!

I set up this blog to help others be inspired the way I have been inspired. Part of that is sharing my story, which I have done over, and over, and over…. You guys must be getting sick of hearing about me now; I know I am getting sick of typing about me! Other ways to inspire include sharing motivational posts about DDP Yoga, nutritional information, and the occasional bit of yoga humor.

But one inspiration I somehow overlooked sharing until now is the stories of people around me in the TeamDDP community who inspire me. Seeing their success, their grit, their motivation continues to motivate me everyday. After all, it was a the achievements of a certain Team DDP member that prompted me to give DDP Yoga a try in the first place. There have been numerous times when I just lack the energy to get on the mat, but then I hop onto teamddpyoga.com or one of the DDP Yoga Facebook groups, and when I see members of Team DDP overcoming obstacles, achieving a goal they’ve struggling with for a long time, or even posting about the workout they did that evening,  I find the inspiration I need.

I want to promote the people who inspire me most so that they can inspire others too.

I am kicking off this series with a BANG! I have chosen to present an awesome success story, and coupled it with a challenge for the month of October.

Kristin came to my attention recently when her transformation story appeared at TeamDDP, and she became more active in various groups. In particular, I noticed that Kristin has the most amazing biceps I have ever seen so I reached out to her to ask how she got them. It turns out that in addition to packing some pretty impressive guns, she’s also a really nice person.

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The Interview

You look like someone who has been lean and athletic all their lives. Has that been the case?

Thanks but not at all! I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I’ve fluctuated between chubby and down right hefty, but lean and athletic were never words to describe me until I discovered DDP Yoga.

How did you discover DDP Yoga?

A friend of mine introduced me to the program. He came over for a visit after not seeing him for months and looked so good! I asked him what miracle diet he was on and he replied with DDP Yoga. He left that night and I immediately started my research. Found Arthur’s video, cried for a while, and started my journey just a few days later.

What shape were you in when you first started the program?

Unhealthy, sad, over weight… just about every negative adjective you can think of. I had my daughter 10 months before starting the program and in those 10 months of her life I managed to gain 70+ pounds. I struggled with depression and had poor eating habits. I was a mess to say the least!KP01

What was your first few weeks with DDP like?

I have to admit, my first few weeks were rough and honestly thought about quitting. I did nothing but The Diamond Dozen for a couple of months. It took me a while to learn the moves, using my yoga blocks and getting into safety zone more than I was actually doing the moves. It was hard. But I kept at it and the more I practiced, the easier it got. And here I am now with my yoga blocks collecting dust on the shelf!

How have you changed since starting DDP Yoga?

I have said this before many times and to Mr. Page himself: this program literally saved my life. I’ve struggled with my health and weight related issues my entire life. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis as a teenager, spending a lot of time in physical therapy and taking medication for pain. My doctors always told me if I got my weight under control, the pain wouldn’t be as severe, I just could never get it under control until starting this program. And at one point my weight was so severe my doctors were talking Diabetes.Today I am medication free and the healthiest I’ve ever been. So when I say DDP Yoga saved my life, I truly mean it!

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You’re a huge success story. What parts of the program worked best for you?

Thank you kindly! It is still crazy to hear that and to see my story on the website as a success. It’s hard to decide what’s worked best for me because it has all worked so well! I will say, I love Strength Builder and Stand Up. Two things I never thought I would have- strength and balance. And those two workouts in particular have really helped me out a lot.

What is your proudest achievement with DDP Yoga?

In the beginning I thought it would be to lose the weight. And while that’s something I am very proud of, getting my health under control has been my proudest achievement. I have always been unhealthy, even as a child. I love food and always will, but growing up I made poor choices with food. Lots of processed junk and fast food. DDP Yoga and the eating program have taught me so much. I can still eat plenty and stay healthy! And my body is thanking me for it. I no longer have to worry about weight related issues with my fibromyalgia and arthritis. Diabetes scares are a thing in the past. And that’s a beautiful thing!

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Is there anything you still struggle with?

I would like to think I’m pretty alright with most of the moves, but to this day I struggle with Wrap and Burn. I actually used to skip that move a lot of times. But luckily there’s a great group of people on our Facebook group that had the brilliant suggestion of using a towel so that’s what I do now! Hopefully I’ll get rid of the towel one day… baby steps :)

You’re a Mom; how does that impact doing DDP Yoga? 

I am! A proud mother of 2. My son started kindergarten this year but before that, both of my kids were at home with me the majority of the day. And even when both of them were home, doing my DDP Yoga was still very doable. I either waited until their nap time so I could have complete “me time” or just do it when they’re awake! They crawl under me like a bridge in Down Dog from time to time, but that doesn’t stop me. :)

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At one point after having my son, I spent a lot of time at the gym. And while I had success with it, I was hurting constantly and not getting near the results I’ve got with DDP Yoga. Not to mention I would have to find someone to watch my son so I could drive all the way across town to get to the gym. It just wasn’t doable for me. I’ve also tried other at home workouts that required a lot of room moving around and that’s a bit difficult with kids. I love that I can get an amazing workout even in a small space. All I need is my yoga mat!

What advice would you give to someone considering the program or starting out?

DO IT. Just do it!  Coming from someone that’s pretty much tried it all, just try it. Try it and stick with it. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

How have people around you, either online or in person, taken your transformation?

It’s been pretty crazy! A positive crazy I mean. I get the majority of support from the wonderful people I’ve “met” online through teamddpyoga.com and the awesome Facebook groups. Without them I’m not sure if I would have as much success as I’ve had. In person from friends and family, I’ve got a lot of positive feedback. The best has been my parents and relatives telling me how proud they are of me. Gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside!

How have you taken to the role of inspiring others? I am in awe sometimes. Never in a million years did I think I would ever inspire anyone. I have received countless messages and emails from people I don’t even know telling me I’ve inspired them to start the program or stick with it. It’s an amazing, hard to believe feeling that I am truly grateful for.

You have the most amazing biceps any of us have ever seen… Tell us your secrets!

Haha thank you so much! No secrets really. I typically do some kind of DDP workout 5-6 days a week. The slow burn pushups have really helped tone my arms up. I also have started what I’ve dubbed Bathtub Pushups, although you honestly could do them just about anywhere. I started the habit of every time I went into my bathroom of doing a rep of 10 pushups. And by the time the day is over, a lot of times I’ve done 100+ pushups! Clearly I spend a lot of time in the bathroom lol. But they have really helped a lot I think. I have never been a fan of push ups, but the strength I’ve gained with DDP Yoga and only doing 10 at a time have really made them doable and fun!

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What made you decide to pursue DDP Yoga certification?

I feel like becoming certified was the best way for me to give back. DDP Yoga truly helped change and save my life. The least I could do is share the wealth! When I joined the groups online, I started to realize there are not too many people involved with DDP Yoga in the South and really felt with certification, I could help spread the word. I want to show others they can change their lives exactly how I did!

How did you find the certification process? 

I found out about certification by browsing through the website. I saw powerful women like you and Christina that have been such an inspiration to me and it got me thinking about getting certified myself. In the beginning, it seemed like such an unreachable goal. I have had issues with social anxiety and public speaking since I was a kid, so the thought of teaching a class was downright terrifying! But if there’s anything DDP Yoga has taught me, it’s you can do whatever you set your mind to (with lots and lots of baby steps!) So I started small. I taught myself classes just looking in the mirror and speaking out loud (as funny as that sounds it actually helped a LOT!). From there, I slowly worked my way to teaching online classes. It took a while to get comfortable, but the more I worked at it the better I got! And towards the end of my certification, I started to teach a small group in person and finally proved to myself that I could do it. It took me 6 months and a lot of hard work but it’s been one of the most rewarding goals I have ever made  for myself!

What has being certified done for you?

Certification has been yet another life changer for me through this amazing program. It has shown me that even the ridiculously far away goals are reachable and has given me confidence in myself I have never had. I am now teaching classes. In fact, I just had my very first class a few days ago! It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait for my next class!

KristinTEACH

What is next for you?

It’s funny, when I initially started the program my goal was to lose 30 pounds. I met that goal and then another. And another, and another, until here I am now 100 pounds lighter and the healthiest I’ve ever been. DDP Yoga has taught me the sky is the limit. To believe in myself and anything is possible. I definitely want to continue teaching and eventually add some more classes to my schedule!

Where can people find you?

I’m always on Facebook! You can find me through my direct page or Southern Style Yoga for updates/class schedules.

I teach every Wednesday evening at 6:30 at the Semmes Community Center in Semmes, AL and will hopefully be serving the Mobile area soon!

The Challenge

And now the challenge. We all want arms like Kristin’s, right? So let’s do what she does. For the month of October June (let’s do it again!!!), anytime you are in the bathroom, do 10 inclined pushups. I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I am definitely seeing a change! I have added my own rule in: if for whatever reason I can’t do the push-ups (running late, not wanting my HR up at 3am), I do 10 full push-ups later. Here’s Kristin to show how it’s done!

BANG!

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My Inspirations: Christina Russell, Certified DDP Yoga Instructor

Around TeamDDPYoga, Christina barely needs an introduction. She started DDP Yoga around the same time I did, and after meeting in a TeamDDPYoga.com group, we realized we had numerous things in common. Other members of Team DDP Yoga came to the same realization and, after making a few videos together, we became known as the Hardcore sisters. This was our first real collaboration, and still my favourite (Christina’s husband totally steals the show, “Am I in a Lamaze class?” love it!)

Since then, Christina has gone on to work for DDP Yoga and can be seen at workshops, online and at the new performance center in her role as a certified DDP Yoga instructor and nutritionist. I can’t wait to see Christina in Mexico, but until then this interview will give me my much needed HCS fix!

 

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How did you discover DDP Yoga?

After losing my baby in utero at 20 weeks, I fell into a state of depression, loss, and anxiety. After months of unhappiness my 2 year old little boy looked up at me and told me to, “Smile Mommy”. It was that exact moment that I knew I had to get back my life. I had gained 50 pounds the sadness that I felt wasn’t just affecting me – it was affecting my entire family!

Thankfully my husband is a die-hard wrestling fan. He was surfing wrestling promo videos on YouTube and he came across Arthur Boorman’s video. He practically forced me to watch it, as I was sure he was going to show me yet another wrestling clip, but instead, it was the most moving and inspirational video I have ever seen! That video instantly gave me hope and within 5 minutes, I had already placed my order for the DDP YOGA Max Pack.

What were your original goals with DDP Yoga?

When I started DDP YOGA, I had put on 50 pounds and was making horrible food choices. My goal was to lose the weight to improve my health and my body image and get back to eating healthier.

Did you achieve those goals?

In 4 months I lost 50 pounds by doing DDP YOGA 3-5 times/week and by cutting out processed foods, soda, and sugar. It was incredible and I felt amazing. It was then that I found out I had a severe intolerance to gluten and dropped both gluten and most cow-dairy from my diet which resulted in a total weight loss of 60 pounds by the end of month 5! Not only did I started at a size 18 and end up at a size 6, I also became happy again and regained my confidence.

Are there any other ways DDP Yoga has helped your life?

I feel like DDP YOGA has been a catalyst for so many changes in my life. The biggest change is that it helped me find my real passion – and that is helping other people take back their health! During my transformation, I really fell in love with healthy food and decided to go back to school and get certified in nutrition. This knowledge coupled with the DDP YOGA workout program helped me take people’s health to the next level (including my own).

Did you experience any obstacles along the way?

I have had a few minor hurdles throughout my journey, but I didn’t let any of it stand in the way of owning my life. My biggest help through it all was the support of my family and the team DDP YOGA community.

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What are your current goals with DDP Yoga?

I am always trying to better my practice for myself and for my students.

What made you decide to pursue DDP Yoga certification?

I decided to become a DDP YOGA instructor because I felt it was the next step in my journey. I saw what it could do for me and I knew that if I could do it, so many others could too.

Getting certified in DDP YOGA is no joke! It’s not a weekend workshop certification course – it’s a 120+ hour program that is designed to teach you the who, what and why’s behind the workouts. You don’t just learn one workout – you learn a solid foundation of 13 moves, why breathing is so important, modifications for all fitness levels and what muscle groups are being used. The best word I can use to describe it is ‘THOROUGH’.

I had been doing the workouts for 7 months when I enrolled and it took me another 3 months to complete it. I worked day and night on the program sometimes doing 2 workouts each day because I really wanted this. It was challenging, but this was the start of my new life and I wanted to kick it off with a bang!

What has being certified done for you?

I’ve been teaching classes for over a year now and I love it! My students challenge me just as much as I challenge them and it’s an amazing feeling to be a positive change in their lives. In October 2014, I officially started working for DDP YOGA and ever since our relocation to Atlanta I alternate teaching daily to gear up for our grand opening of the DDP YOGA Performance Center where I’ll not only be running the center, but I’ll also be a lead instructor.

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You’re also an employee of DDP Yoga now! How did that come about?

Working for the company that helped change your life is nothing short of INCREDIBLE! If you would have told me just over 2 years ago that I would lose 60+ pounds, become an instructor and start working for DDP YOGA I would have thought you were crazy. It really is a dream come true and all the work we are putting into the Performance Center is just going to take that dream to new heights beyond my imagination!

What’s next for you and DDP Yoga?

My current goal is to get the DDP YOGA Performance Center ready to go for our Grand Opening. I want the PC to be a place of inspiration and a place where we can change lives every single day.

On a personal level, my mom and I are getting ready to launch our next cookbook,’The Gluten-Free Mom-to-Be Cookbook’, and my ‘30 Days to a New You’ ebook should be coming out very soon!

Where can people find you?

If you’re looking for gluten-free recipes, food product reviews and healthy living ideas you can find me at BodyRebooted.com. I’m also very accessible on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter: @BodyRebooted or you can send me an email at christina@bodyrebooted.com

 

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What a Shame!

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on social media recently, namely the public shaming of people who don’t seem to know what they’re doing at the gym.

This was the first clip of this I saw:

And then I saw this Vine that follows the same format:

I am currently employed as a group fitness instructor, and have access to a full gym. While I frequently use the cardio room and free-weights, I rarely if ever venture into the weight room. Everyone in there is built like Craig Funk* clearly knows what they are doing, and despite being a fitness professional, I still have the same fear of looking like an idiot that I had the first time I entered a gym.

Gyms are fantastic places to get strong, healthy and lean, but if you have never been in one before they are also truly terrifying places. I have been the overweight, frumpy girl who clearly doesn’t belong in the gym. I have tried to make it look like I know what I am doing to all the lean, toned gym-bodies while I secretly have no idea what body part any of the equipment is meant to work. I have tried to avoid eye-contact and push through the embarrassment and fear of judgement as I try to lose weight and get healthy. I have spent entire visits to the gym worrying if everyone around me is laughing at me, judging me, or simply wishing I’d take my doesn’t-belong-here overweight self off the stair-climber and back to drive-thru fast food restaurant where it clearly belongs. And I have let those fears keep me from coming back.

I doubt I’m alone. I am sure most people entering the gym for the first time are worried everyone around them is laughing at them and judging them.

These YouTube and Vine clips prove them right.

Yes, it’s definitely funny when we see someone doing something wrong, but it’s also mean-spirited. While we may have the impulse to laugh, it may behoove us to take a second to remember that none of us walked into a gym the first time knowing how all the equipment worked. We either had a friend show us, the benefit of solid self-esteem to get past the initial hiccups and gym fails, and most importantly the good fortune to have started our fitness journeys before this new trend of online gym-shaming began.

While we may not be able to control the impulse to chuckle internally, we can definitely rise above the impulse to publicly humiliate someone online.

I could have finished that last sentence as follows: “…. someone online, especially someone who is trying to improve themselves.” That brings me to the flip-side of the mean-spirited gym-shaming, which is its positive discrimination counterpart. You’ve probably seen a lot of these sorts of posts online:

While I have massive respect for anyone who is trying to improve their lives with good health, especially when they face the level of disrespect overweight people suffer in this society, I am at odds with the overall messaging here.

Yes, if we see this person on a bicycle we should support and encourage them. But does that mean if we see them sitting on a couch with a box of cookies, we’re entitled to mock and denigrate them at will?

Maybe they aren’t trying to better themselves in the specific way we want them to (i.e. by losing weight and exercising), but maybe that person is bettering themselves by studying hard to finish a college degree. Maybe they are supporting their family. Maybe they foster children, or spend every free minute volunteering at a soup kitchen or a no-kill cat shelter. Maybe they are looking after a dying relative, or maybe they take care of an elderly neighbor they barely know. We should support and encourage people we meet whether or not they are focused on they self-improvements we think they should be prioritizing, and whether or not they are at the weight or health level we expect them to be.

In fact who are we to deem someone worthy of basic respect? Maybe they are making no improvements to themselves or meaningful contributions to society at all. That person is still a human being, which means they are worthy of respect and kindness regardless of any other consideration. It also means we are all equal, and no one person has the authority to judge the worth of another human being else based on their health, weight or activity level.

Respect isn’t something that should have to be earned. It should be the default.

And this brings me to Team DDP Yoga. Having been deterred from previous fitness and weight loss efforts by the ridicule of others, whether perceived or actual, I finally found an amazing community of people who truly support and care about one another. Team DDP is unique in that everyone wants the best for one another. People are allowed to fall off the wagon, make bad choices or hit the various hurdles we all encounter during a self-improvement project without fear of judgement or mockery, and when they’re ready to get back on the wagon, everyone is ready to give them a hand up. It’s the only place on earth where you can share your successes without any fear of cattiness or jealousy. It’s the only fitness community where you can ask for help without feeling stupid or embarrassed. Everyone is on your team, willing to help you out with anything you’re struggling with, and rooting for you every step of the way.

I can say without reservation that I never would have met with my goals without the support of all the friends and teammates I met at Team DDP. I never would have stuck with fitness for longer than a month (my previous personal best) without Team DDP. I never would have improved as a person without Team DDP.

If you’re looking for a healthy and supportive environment to get healthy, Team DDP is the most supportive and encouraging community you’re ever going to find. After all, it’s the “Best Support System on the Planet!”

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* While Craig Funk has the most amazing physique, he is also an amazing, caring person too. He’s a true ambassador of TeamDDPyoga! 

DDP-ing up the Hancock

Before DDP Yoga​, walking up the 2 concrete steps outside my old house was agony (it felt like rusty machetes were being driven through my kneecaps). Every night, I got out of my car, walked to the steps and paused as I mentally psyched myself to go up the steps. I walked up every flight of stairs one foot at a time (right foot up a step, left foot up to meet it, right foot up the next step, and so on). My pessimistic physical therapist* predicted that I may always have pain associated with going up or down stairs.

This February (less than two years of DDP Yoga under my belt), I ran up 1,632 steps in the Hancock Building with no issues at all. In fact, I came in the top 1/3 of people running the full climb. And of course, I finished out the day with my favourite workout, the DDP Yoga Hip, Back and Knee Opener!

 

Steps

 

* The same physical therapist who said I wouldn’t be able to run more than a mile without doing intensive, torturous, biweekly physical therapy for at least 1.5 y. I quit the physical therapy, and ran a FULL marathon in under that 1.5 year time frame thanks to DDP Yoga (no torture required!!)

Learning to Love Yourself

I have been meaning to write about this topic for a long time. I was recently spurred to action by a conversation with a friend where we shared tales of how we speak to ourselves. If we are dealing with a friend who has fallen off the wagon or fallen short of a weight goal, we are supportive and constructive in our responses. When we are dealing with ourselves we are judgmental and cruel.

I have spoken to a lot of people about weight loss goals over the last few years, and one common misconception a lot of people seem to have is that meeting our weight goals will magically make us go from hating our bodies to loving our bodies. Not true. Being comfortable in your own skin is a skill that needs to be practiced from the very first day you start practicing portion control or a new exercise regime.

I am by no means an expert on being completely kind and loving to oneself, but I have come a long way from being a completely self-destructive bulimic (in large part thanks to DDP Yoga), so I thought I would share what has worked for me in the hopes it can help others to do the same.

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Early in my DDP Yoga journey, I stumbled up the story of the woman in this picture, Taryn Brumfitt. She is my hero. She loves her body before (when she was a fitness model) and she loves it after (with a “mom” body). She is a phenomenal role model for how we should treat ourselves.

Women can be especially prone to hating their bodies, and harboring negative thoughts about themselves. We should love everything about ourselves, and we have to actively and consciously work on undoing all the years of negativity we have had drummed into us from various sources in society.

I’m betting the majority of us who do DDP Yoga took it up because we wanted to lose weight. That’s great. It’s great to be on a healthy path and a journey of self-improvement. However, DDP Yoga is all about health, and a happy, positive view of ourselves is part of that health. It is not a good idea to wait to get to your weight goals and assume that self-acceptance will magically happen once you get there. It won’t. The journey to our weight goals and good health will be a lot smoother and more enjoyable if we feel comfortable in our own skin from the get-go.

I spent a long time hating myself and my body. During that time I thought of my body as a completely separate entity from myself, and I worked against it. By “worked against it” I mean I abused it with eating disorders, substance abuse, dangerous workout regimes, followed by a period of completely giving up, which led to an unhealthy sedentariness and overeating. Thanks to the lessons of DDP Yoga, and the supportive community I found with it, I finally started to think of my body as part of me. That led me to the realization that I needed to get to a place where I loved and appreciated my body. Having never done that before, it didn’t come naturally to me. I took a series of conscious and proactive steps toward accepting and loving myself. Here’s what I did, hope it helps:

Step 1: What don’t you hate?

Write down one thing you love about your body. Something that you really enjoy about it. And no passive aggressive frenemy bullshit like “I love how my ugly fat can be hidden with black clothes.” Something you actually enjoy about your body! Anytime you have a negative thought about your body, read that note of positivity, or say it out loud over and over until you have expelled the negative thought from your mind. Or just think about that part of your body, even when you’re not feeling bad about yourself. Go look at it in the mirror, or post a picture on Instagram. Over time, try to add more and more physical features into the mix.

Step 2: You’re Amazing

Continuing with this theme, think about how amazing your body is, and all the incredible things it has done for you. Take a few minutes to think about one amazing feat that your body did for you, and why you are grateful to your body for it! I’m amazed that my body allowed me to have a painless, natural childbirth. I’m also amazed it ran a marathon and up the Hancock building in spite of what my negative physical therapist predicted it would ever be able to do. Yes my body has stretch marks below my belly button, but it gave me a beautiful daughter, and allowed me to have a perfectly natural and painless birth of a 9 lb 7 oz baby who was born in under 20 minutes. Yes I have a pretty gross damaged vein on my right ankle, but that ankle is part of the legs that ran twenty-six point frickin’ two miles after only 1.5 hours of sleep!

It’s certainly important to love how your body looks. But it’s also really important not to lose track of all the other things your body does for you. Appearance is just one facet of our bodies’ worth. Our bodies are these amazing machines that have allowed us to every wonderful experience we have ever had, and have enabled us to achieve any success we have ever enjoyed. They have been our loyal companions, and the least we could do is take the time to appreciate the things they have done for us instead of calling them “fat” or “ugly.”

Step 3: Eye of the Beholder

When we look at ourselves, we don’t look at the whole picture; we hone in on one specific feature, usually the one we like the least, and amplify the impact is has out of all proportion. When we look at other people, we look at the whole person. We still see their flaws but we see them in context. The person may have a crooked tooth or a pimple, but their attractive features outweigh their shortcomings.

Think about nice things have other people have said about your body or your looks? What do you get compliments on most frequently?

How do you take compliments? Do you allow your own self-esteem interfere with your ability to accept the praise, or do you thrive a little too much on it, as if you were trying to replace an internal sense of self worth with external accolades? What can you do to be more at ease with the nice sentiments people offer you?

Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, try to stand back and take in the whole picture. Not just one little blemish or unattractive feature. Also, try to look at the feature that elicited compliments from others and see what it was they saw.

This is an incredibly nerdy reference… We’re probably soulmates if you got it!

 Step 4: Seeking Own Worst Critic, Apply Within.

What thing(s) do you hate most about your body? What makes you shudder when you see it in the mirror, makes you change the clothing options you allow yourself, makes you hide it from other people’s view?

Rather than just reinforcing your feelings of self-loathing, try to really examine what exactly you feel about this feature. Anger, sadness, embarrassment? What exactly is about this feature that evokes this response? Remind yourself that your extra fat, loose skin, wrinkles, zits are just some of cells that make up your body, which in turn is only one part of the many things that make up you. Remind yourself of all the other things that make up you. Are you a great mom, do you excel in your career, are you an amazing cook, a great friend?

To gain some perspective, if you saw someone else with this “shortcoming”, would you think they should feel that way? Would you be as revolted if you saw it in someone else? (spoiler: the answer is no!) What would you tell someone else by way of advise about an issue they had with their body in order to give them some perspective, and to help them love their body as a whole, and to stop focusing on one minor flaw? Try to see yourself that same way, and to counsel yourself the way you would counsel someone else in your situation.

Please think of more ways to love everything about your body, even the things you dislike the most. When you are evaluating your own body, please remember that you are a much harsher judge of how you look that anyone else. In this article from the (ugh) Daily Mail, women consistently judge themselves as being heavier than they actually are in a silhouette test. You do this too!

And this Dove short film speaks for itself. Please watch it; it’s really powerful:

I hope this helps. If you think of anything else that could benefit those on a similar journey please let me know and I will add it it. Loving ourselves is an evolving journey and these are only the first steps. I am still on this path, and I will share more in the future as I learn more myself.