Physical therapy


Haydn Walden: The Body from Britain

Haydn was the first DDP Yoga community member I met in person, and is also one of my favourite people in the world!


When I first met Haydn, we were both toward the end of the DDP Yoga instructor certification process at a time when there were only a handful of people in the certification program. We had been friends on Facebook for a while when I noticed he listed Bognor Regis as his hometown. I live in America, but my mother not only lives in the UK; she lives less than 5 miles from Bognor Regis!! The two towns are so close that I have run from her house to Bognor Regis on reasonably short training runs when visiting her. I sent a pm to Haydn asking if he actually lived there; I couldn’t believe what a crazy coincidence this was!10302106_10101288038632107_3137774677428002408_n

Before I knew it, we had arranged to meet while I was home for the holidays. That quickly evolved into us both filming our video submissions for the certification process together, and spending as much free time as I had while in the UK going out to coffee together.  By the end of the trip, Haydn, his wife Laura and I were friends for life.

Three-way Diamond Cutter

Since meeting Haydn in the UK, I have been able to enjoy two vacations with him at the DDP Yoga retreats in 2014 and 2015. Possibly my favourite of the retreat is our annual tradition of doing a freestyle, instructor-only workout together. This year, Haydn and I, together with Steve Doyle, took turns in kicking each others’ butts in a workout without any push-ups or supine poses.

I’m not the only Haydn fan in my family. My mother takes his class, and is such a huge fan of Haydn’s, that when she and I were driving to a DDP Yoga workshop in Illinois, she spent the entire car ride planning how she would praise Haydn when she met DDP. I had to gently remind her that she may want to mention another DDP Yoga instructor to him (rhymes with Schmirstborn!).

Aside from being a genuinely wonderful person, Haydn is also a true beacon of inspiration for the DDP Yoga community. Not only has he lost weight, healed physical injuries and improved his health with DDP Yoga, he has overcome massive obstacles. Haydn’s humility and grace really model how we should all tailor our expectations to our own situations, practice not comparing ourselves to others, and allow ourselves celebrate our victories even though they may not be big achievements to others.

I’m thrilled to share Haydn’s story, and to share a challenge Haydn and I are undertaking together.


What was your background with physical fitness and exercise?

In school I had a major dislike for any physical exercise. My P.E. teachers didn’t accept my dyspraxia as an issue to work with, and would force me to do humiliating activities, such as sticking me in the goal for class football because I couldn’t catch, kick, or run, so I was used as target practise for the others.

I started general gym workouts age 20, lifting weights and using the elliptical, to improve my physique. At 25, I was looking for a new path, I had lost a very close friend to smoking and alcohol (I was on the same route). I discovered a personal trainer who was a Muay Thai specialist as well as a general PT. Each week I would rock up to the gym and get my ass kicked all over the room for 90 minutes. Bit by the fighting bug, I wanted to turn semi professional and try my hand at in ring competition. Unfortunately, injury (a torn ACL) stopped that.

Taken at the time of Haydn’s injury. Smile courtesy of a concussion.

What exactly is Dyspraxia, and how does it affect DDP Yoga?

Dyspraxia affects the fine and/or gross motor coordination, things like handwriting, balance, hand eye coordination etc. For me it was always balance and hand eye coordination. I found lunges and single leg balance positions killer. DDP Yoga has improved my balance, my posture -dyspraxics have notoriously bad posture- and my mind focus. There is a video on YouTube of me holding the Roundhouse Kick position for a 70 count. That would never have happened before DDP Yoga.

How did you discover DDP Yoga?

In January 2013 Chris Jericho returned to the Royal Rumble after touring with his band Fozzy for six to eight months. This dude came back to the WWE in incredible shape and wrestled for over 40 minutes on his first night back. The next day people were tweeting him asking how he stayed in shape on tour, his answer……DDP Yoga! A few days later a friend of mine showed me this video of a veteran called Arthur*, I put the two together and ordered the package.

Haydn getting to meet his idol at this year’s DDP Yoga retreat in Mexico

What was your physical status when you started DDP Yoga?

When I ordered DDP Yoga, I was close to 235lbs and injured. In 2010 at age 30, I tore my right ACL while training Muay Thai. I tried to keep up some kind of training regime, but since my cardio dropped and the intensity of workouts lessened my body started to break down. I had been harbouring a neck injury (bulging discs at C7 and T4), a bicep injury and my left leg started to deteriorate through compensation. I eventually stopped training, but kept up eating….a lot! By 2013, I was 235lbs, walking badly (some days with a stick), in pain and not well.

What were your original goals with DDP Yoga?

I wanted to see if this really worked…..if Arthur could do this, could I? All I wanted to do was to lose a little weight and not be in pain when walking and driving. The goals were realistic to me because I didn’t believe in myself at the start, so it was a day-by-day approach.


How long did it take you to meet your goals?

My initial goals were met and blown out of the water; three weeks in I was down 20 lbs. I started the Phase II eating plan, which was a total game changer. Did I fail to meet any goals? Not at first, as I said it was a day-by-day approach. I was happy if I survived Energy and didn’t modify, or if I got through Below the Belt without a balance aid.

Are you still working on any goals?

……hahaha……I have a huge block with inversions. For two years, this dyspraxic boy has been trying to get upside down. I nailed Black Crow after 12 months, which is why I have it tattooed on my arm, but forearm balance or Psycho Push-ups are still not happening. It’s easy to get negative over this, as you know. But taking it day-by-day, and realising the little improvements is how I control it. I recently got some awesome help with the inversion positions from you (Liz) and Canada’s own Steve Doyle, while we were on the retreat together. I will be putting the advice into practise over the next few weeks.


What role did the Team DDP Yoga community play for you?

Well, as I said above, I received help on inversions from you and Steve. The whole team is an incredible family. I read stories that motivate me every single day, from seasoned DDP Yoga people and complete newbies. When you see someone like Nathan Munsell posting his videos each day, it makes you work harder. This family is built on respect and inspiration.


Who has been your biggest supporter?

So so many to mention! Laura, my wife, has pushed me harder than anyone. She knew my goal was to walk down the aisle at a comfortable weight and not limping. Laura will attend almost all of my classes, she was my guinea pig while learning my Level 1 certification and she is my rock when I struggle with food or inversions.


My parents need a mention here too, they have always shown pride in all I have achieved due to the interesting start to life I had with dyspraxia. I will never forget my parents telling me that “it’s great you are doing the DDP Yoga thing, but remember it might just be a phase….” When they saw the difference it made to my posture and my walking, it’s not just a phase it’s a way of life.

What hurdles have you encountered along the way?

Physical hurdles came from the balance aspect of the workouts. I was not able to get deep in lunges for a long time. Punching while in a lunge would throw me off the mat. Further down the line Wrap and Burn and Black Crow became huge obstacles that I would spend time working through. I would do Fat Burner then put ten minutes of Wrap and Burn and Black Crow at the end. Also, Can Opener was a real git to get into; my hips were so messed up through a lifetime of bad posture and hypermobility that it used to hurt!

Flexibility by DDP Yoga

Food wise, I struggle with sugar! Gluten and dairy were easy to give up, but sugar will not go away. In fact I’m working on a new plan with you right now, so people can look forward to some insightful blogs from us both in the near future [see below].

How did you decide to pursue certification?

Within 3 months of DDP Yoga I had fallen in love with workout and the way of life. In June 2013, we attended a DDP Yoga workshop in the UK. Meeting Dallas was a huge honour and I asked then if there would be any way of teaching this program, he explained the plan for the certification and told me to keep looking for the launch date. The certification launched on August 1st 2013 and I signed up that very day. My original plan was to be able to teach DDP Yoga to my friends; just to pass the certification was a goal beyond my wildest dreams.

Small Class

How long did the certification process take for you?

I passed the certification on 16th December 2013. I found the whole process a pleasant challenge, nothing was easy, but also nothing was unobtainable. I enjoyed pushing through my 100 hours of practise, most of which was taken up with learning the Level 1 workout. Becoming an instructor increased my fitness level, calling a workout and doing the workout at the same time can be challenging… especially if you don’t keep track of your heart rate throughout.

What has being an instructor done for you?

This has pushed me to a whole new place in life and in physical fitness. I have recently moved away from my old job in government music education to become a self-employed drum tutor and DDP Yoga instructor. For the first time in 12 years I am my own boss. I have met so many incredible students, and helped people achieve their goals no matter how small they may seem. This is very humbling.


How did you build your classes?

I started with one class at a local boxing gym. Through self motivation and social media, by September I had fourteen classes in five days. Due to a venue closing, I’m currently running eight classes and three one-on-one sessions each week. Classes sizes vary from six to fifteen people per class. The best part about teaching DDP Yoga for me is watching people take control of their lives, if I have a client that wants to gain flexibility so they can improve their running speed, or a 60+ year old who wants to be able play with her grandchild on the floor again, if they achieve that then I am over the moon. Not everybody wants to be able to hold a 60 count Black Crow, some people just want to feel good about themselves! That’s why I do what I do.

My mother will kill me if I don’t ask: who is your favourite student?

Hahahaha…..I have so many favourites…..all of them! It’s a real pleasure teaching my Over 60’s class (which includes your mother, Mary). These are ladies who want to regain flexibility and they are lovely to teach**. But I genuinely couldn’t pick a favourite from all of my classes! They all Rock!

Haydn's favourite is in the pink top!

Haydn’s favourite student is in the pink top!

What advice would you give to someone considering the certification process?

Do it! Own it! Listen to the advice your mentor gives you, listen to Yoga Doc, be open-minded and most of all take any information on board and store it!

What is next for you and DDP Yoga?

I want to build my classes and increase the knowledge of DDP Yoga in the UK. I’m keen to progress through the next Certification Levels as they are released.

Class Large (3)

Is there anything you continue to struggle with?

As I mentioned above, forearm balance is an ongoing struggle. I will overcome this with practise and using the advice given to me by you and Steve Doyle. It’s mind over matter! Sugar is my other struggle, again I touched on this earlier too, a change of work/life balance and staying focused will help with this, along with staying accountable to you.


What has been your proudest achievement to date?

Teaching at the 2014 and 2015 retreats are easily my proudest moments. I feel privileged and honoured to have taught in Mexico in front of Diamond Dallas Page and other fellow instructors.

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Toughest class of the retreat! Trust me!

What would you tell anyone considering DDP Yoga?

Don’t consider it any longer, just do it! Whatever you want to achieve DDP Yoga will help you get there.


Where can we find you?

Facebook: Haydn Walden and Hi-energy Wellness
Twitter: @DDPYogaGB
Website: Hi-energy Wellness


As Haydn touched upon, both he and I struggle with sugar addiction. This year at the retreat, we discussed this issue and realized that we had the same pattern of cycling on and off the wagon. We decided to become accountability partners, and came up with a challenge whereby the second we stepped foot onto our respective countries of residence, we would abstain from all sugars and artificial sweeteners.


We have laid out the rules of our sugar free challenge, our personal motivations for quitting sugar, and a diary of our progress on this page. Check in to see how we’re doing… You may even catch us live-blogging!

We are going to do this challenge for at least 60 days (the length of time it takes to rewire your brain), but hopefully longer.

*The Arthur:

** He can’t possibly be referring to the same woman I taught to knit! 

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:


A little prideful, perhaps?

And a sticker on my car:


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!” 

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!




* 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!!)

Pain-free Physical Therapy.

On Friday, I was on the V-Down Podcast discussing my background with chronic knee pain.

In a nutshell, I spent over a decade with chronic knee pain. It got so bad that for the two years in the run up to starting DDP Yoga, I couldn’t walk up a flight of 3 steps without feeling like hunting knives were being driven through my kneecaps.

Right before discovering DDP Yoga, I went to a physical therapist for a month. After doing an assessment of my knees, she told me that it would take at least a year-and-a-half of biweekly therapy sessions before I could even consider running a mile. ONE MILE! And she wasn’t 100% sure that was a realistic goal. I stuck with it for about a month, but I couldn’t take it. Each session involved the PT digging into my IT bands for 30 minutes or so, which left me with dark bruises down my outer thigh. Then, the next session involved the therapist digging into my painful bruises for 30 minutes! For all my suffering, I saw ZERO improvement. So I quit!

In contrast, DDP Yoga was fun, sustainable and effective. In under 3 months, I ran a Warrior Dash. In under 9 months, I ran a Half-Marathon, and in just over a year I ran a Full Marathon. All with zero leg pain.

Yesterday, I went for a casual run. I wasn’t running any set distance; I was just planning to run as long as I felt like it. After getting turned around a couple of times, and spending about 3 miles completely lost in a weirdly laid-out neighborhood, I realized I had run 10 miles. I figured I had enough light to go for 13.1, so I did. Even better, I set a personal record for that distance!

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 11.18.20 AM

Coincidentally, we have just reached the date on which my physical therapist said I could possibly consider running ONE mile. And I am running 13.1. For fun. I have 2 upcoming half-marathons this year (I may sign up for more). My new goal is to get one done in under 2 hours. But for now, I am happy in the knowledge that I have gone from being lazy and injured to being the kind of person who runs 13.1 for fun!



I see why the song “Fix You” was chosen for Arthur Boorman’s transformation video:



Shorts: Meme Monday!



My ribbing of Ashtanga Yoga is all in good fun. I have taken classical yoga classes of a number of branches (Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, hybrid form), and with the exception of Bikram yoga, which made me feel like I was going to do a hybrid vomit-pass out maneuver, I have enjoyed them very much.

That said, DPD Yoga is simply superior in the number and diversity of benefits it offers:

DDP Yoga vs. Classical Yoga

 DDP Yoga  Ashtanga
 Increased Flexibility  ✓  ✓
 Relaxation/Inner Peace  ✓  ✓
 High Cardio  ✓
 Sports Rehab  ✓
 Strength Building  ✓
 Accessible/Broad Appeal  ✓


What do you want from DDP Yoga?


10 Things You Need to Know About Losing Weight!

I’m down 50lbs! Woohoo! More importantly I have kept it off for over half a year now. While there is no one right answer, I have found a collection of things that work, after spending years and years documenting all the things that don’t work! Hopefully, you can skip past all the mistakes I made, and past my learning curve, and grow this list yourself as you discover more things that work!

1. You Need to Workout AND Eat Healthily.

Weight loss with diet alone is difficult; weight loss with exercise alone is impossible. You need to add exercise to your regime because it’s good for you, it builds metabolism-speeding muscle, and it adds a couple of calories to your overall allowance, and having a bit of leeway in your food allowance is going to improve your chances of success. You need to eat heathily for a zillion reasons, many of which are outside the scope of weight loss. Specific to the weight loss, you need to eat healthily (as opposed to some fad diet) because a healthy body, with enough vitamins, minerals, fiber and water will feel full longer, perform better and lose weight in a sustainable fashion. Healthy eating is sustainable for the longterm, so you will keep the weight off once it’s gone, where crazy and unhealthy diet plans won’t offer you long-last results.

2. You Need to Eat Enough.

So, you starved yourself all day so now you can plough into a triple-layer chocolate cake? Great plan! That’s exactly what sumo wrestlers do in order to gain weight before a match. Eating too few calories sends your body into famine mode, which means it lowers your metabolism. Any calories you do eat will hit you like a ton of fattening bricks. And it doesn’t stop there. You’re brain will stimulate your appetite, so you will be spending your entire time miserably battling an urge to binge on junk food. Not fun, and not the path to success. The number of calories you need is dependent upon your gender, your current weight, and your weight loss goals, and should never drop below 1,400 calories/day. In lieu of obsessive compulsive calorie counting, you can find far more success with whole-food, plant-based diets such as a low-meat version of the DDP Yoga Nutrition Plan.

Here’s what a 500-calorie diet looks like!

3. Cut Down on Your Meat Intake.

Why low-meat? Because meat is fattening in two ways. 1. It’s the most calorie-dense thing in the food supply. That means you’re going to be hungrier sooner, despite consuming a heavy calorie load. Second, it has been shown that meat intake positively associates with weight gain, and this associate persists after adjusting for total energy intake, and a decrease in meat consumption improves weight management. Eating 250 gram meat/day gives a 422 gram gain extra compared to a diet with the same number of calories but less meat! In other words, if you have two people both eating exactly 2,000 calories per day amd doing the exact same amount of exercise, one vegan and one meat-eater, the meat-eater will weigh more than the vegan. Again, there’s a slew of health-issues outside of weight loss where meat is concerned. For more information, check out the science-based information at! Also, this goes for any animal product (dairy, eggs, meat). Full disclosure, I am a vegan. That said, I am not a proselytizing vegan; I spend precisely 0% of my time thinking of ways to convert people to veganism. I am more interested in the science of nutrition, and finding ways to enable people to be the healthiest they can be.

You are what you eat… clogged with saturated fat if this wound up on your plate!

4. You are Dairy- and Gluten-intolerant

Dairy proteins and gluten are the most inflammatory things we put into our bodies, and cause a host of issues, both weight-related and other. Sadly, when people try to eliminate these foods from their diet, they tend to cut either dairy or gluten, not both, and they don’t cut them for long enough. The problem is that these intolerances tend to go hand-in-hand so if you don’t cut them simultaneously, you won’t reap the rewards of cutting them. And what are those rewards? Again, we’re limiting this discussion to weight, so on top of relief from bloating and discomfort, you will reduce gastrointestinal inflammation. A healthy digestive system will properly absorb nutrients. As a result, your brain will get the message that whatever nutrient your body wanted has been received and stop triggering your appetite.

No… just, no.


5. Take a Multivitamin

In a similar vein, taking a multivitamin first thing in the morning will set you up for less random hunger pangs during the day. Aside from the great benefits of having a well-rounded vitamin and mineral intake, you will avoid falling of the wagon into consuming empty carbs and sugar-loaded junk food. Here’s why: as a protective mechanism against famine and other food-shortages, our brains are little sugar-crazed junkies always craving the next simple-carb fix. When our body runs out of a nutrient, let’s say Vitamin B12, it sends a message to our brains to make us go fetch some. However, that message gets passed via the fidgety sugar junkie huddling in the corner of our brain who rips it up and replaces it with a message saying we need to go get some refined carbs. One large fries or Cinnabon later, we feel sated for about half an hour until our body remember it still needs that B12. So, it sends another go-get-B12 message to our brain, and the whole cycle repeats again and again until we either accidentally eat the nutrient we needed in the first place, or go to bed! Word to the wise, if you are going to take a vitamin with iron, make sure you take it with food… trust me!

Muffins are rich in Vitamin M? Right?


6. Good Bacteria

While you’re in the supplement aisle, pickup some probiotics. Acidophilus is great, but it’s worth investing in a multi-strain probiotic. You don’t need to bankrupt yourself buying probiotics, I found a great 6-strain probiotic at the local grocery store for $10 per 60 capsules. It’s a good idea to keep probiotics refrigerated once you get them home, they contain live cells, and the cooler temperatures slow down their activity until you get them into your digestive system! So, what is a probitoic? It’s bacteria… Aagh! Before you freak out, you should know that we all contain bacteria in our digestive systems, and it’s not just there; it’s an active part of our digestion. In fact, people who completely lose their digestive bacteria suffer from malnutrition and diarrhea, and ultimately require fecal bacteriotherapy (which is as gross as it sounds). More interestingly, the bacterial makeup of your digestive system can determine whether you are obese or thin. Studies have shown that when bacteria are taken from humans —overweight or thin—and transferred to mice, mice with bacteria from a thin person stay thin while mice with bacteria from an obese person gain weight! A probiotic can help you develop healthier bacterial flora, and can also help with Candida overgrowth. Candida is a yeast that likes to grow in our guts, and when in excess, can cause bloating and sugar cravings. Bacteria and yeast battle for the same resources, and you can tip the scales against candida with the bacteria of a probiotic (and by cutting out refined sugar and carbohydrates).


One of this pictures is of Acidophilus, the other E-Coli 0157-h7. Good luck choosing which one is safe!

7. Food Doesn’t Come in Packages

In the average grocery store, there are only about 3 or 4 places actual food is sold, and the remaining 90% of the floor-space is dedicated to selling you food-like substances that are chock full of weird and strange chemicals that have never been demonstrated to be safe for human consumption. When you’re shopping, start in the produce section and fill your cart 75% full. Then, head over to the organic section and buy some dried beans/lentils, oats, raw nuts and ingredient peanut or almond butter. Technically these will be in packaging, but that’s because stocking loose lentils or globs of peanut butter on shelves is problematic at best. Then, and only if you must, pick up some organic meat and eggs… but only if you must! Note, you didn’t buy any juice. That’s nature’s answer to soda, i.e. a lot of sugar with no fiber to slow its absorption. Similarly, you didn’t buys any gluten-free flour, vegan mayonnaise or low-fat/sugar-free anything. Don’t replace unhealthy gluten-ful products with equally chemical-laden gluten free versions. Instead find a whole food alternative in the produce section (replace lasagne noodles with zucchini strips, replace cookies with an apple). Et voila, you found the needle in the haystack that is actual food in a grocery store!

Aisle 21: Natural Foods. So, what the heck were you selling on Aisles 1 - 20?!?!

Aisle 21: Natural Foods. So, what the heck were you selling on Aisles 1 – 20?!?!


7. Drink Your Water!

Your digestive food is extremely similar to a garbage disposal; you put food into them to be broken down, and you would never dream of using what comes out the other side! We all know that you should never run a garbage disposal without running water into eat, so why would you ever eat food without first drinking water? Drink at least 8 oz of water before you consume any food. This serves a number of important functions in weight management. It stops you from overeating by contributing to an overall feeling of fullness.  It also slows down your food consumption and forces you to be more mindful about eating which is known to help people lose weight. Finally, it helps food transit through your digestive system without causing constipation or bloating. So why did I underline the “before?” Imagine an icing bag with a relatively thin nozzle. If you pour in a large amount of (gluten-free) flour, add the water in second, and then start squeezing, the flour will clog the nozzle, and nasty cement will form at the interface of the water and flour, and most of the water will remain at the top not mixing with anything. If you had pre-filled the bag with some water, and also premixed the flour with some water before putting into the bag, everything would have flowed through easily. Drink a large glass of water before you eat, and continue to drink while you are eating and afterwards too*. And continue drinking throughout the day. 3/4 of the time we think we are hungry, we’re actually thirsty. Dehydration is responsible for most mid-afternoon fatigue… you know, the slump that makes you feel like you need to hit the vending machine for an energy jolt?

“Water, water everywhere. So, let’s all have a drink!”


8. There is NO Such Thing as a Superfood

One week we are meant to eat acai berries, the next it’s almonds, then kale, then pomegranates. Each one is lauded as the quick fix to all your health and weight woes, and is usually packaged into a highly processed and refined pill form for your convenience. But here’s the thing, there are no free lunches in nature. Here’s how super-foods are born: Some study looks at an ethnicity or population that tends to have longer lifespans or lower rates of a disease and figures out what they do differently. For instance, we figured out that Chinese men drink a lot of green tea and tend to have lower rate of prostate cancer than men in the US. In response, we spend millions of dollars studying what about green tea offers a protective activity against cancer, and everyone rushes out to buy all the green tea Target has on its shelves. Here’s the rub. Yes, green tea is probably good for you, and probably has a small amount anti-cancer activity. But adding it to your daily intake of triple cheeseburgers, soda, ice-cream and french fries probably isn’t going to ward off cancer. The simple fact is that the old guys in China pair the green tea with a diet of organic, whole foods, mostly vegetables and small amounts of meat and fish. Similar misguiding information is rife in advertising. I saw an ad for some ghastly, refined, sugar-addled cereal boasting that it now contained whole grains, and added that people who eat whole grains tend to weigh less. But that doesn’t mean that eating the whole grains is what makes those people thin. Before cereal corporations started shoving nominal amounts of whole grains into their food-like products, the people who were consuming whole grains were probably also consuming large amounts of whole fruits and vegetables while avoiding animal products, refined sugars and artificial additives. The simple fact is that no one food will get you thin or healthy, nor is it good for you to overdose on any one food. There are no shortcuts to losing weight and warding off disease. You have to overall your entire diet and focus primarily on whole, plant-based foods.

New rule of thumb: don’t eat any food that goes “BANG” or “POW”


9. Meditate, Sleep

In the late 80’s/early 90’s there was a huge craze over meditation and self-hypnosis tapes. There were all sorts of promises made of self-hypnosis tapes. They were going to help you attract the opposite sex, lose weight, quit smoking and land a job. Needless to say, none of this worked out; if it had, we’d all be swinging pocket watches in front of our faces to lose weight. However, self-hypnosis or meditation does have some practical applications. Self-hypnosis can be used to relax yourself, relieve stress and anxiety and curb physical pain. I used it to deliver my daughter painlessly without medication, and just today employed those same skills to get through having a rather large tattoo placed on my shoulder. But back to the weight loss! Taking the time to relax and unwind can help relieve the issues that have you heading to the fridge to overeat. There are some great hypnosis tracks available on iTunes and Amazon that specifically target overeating or sugar addiction. Others are available to help you get to sleep, which we know is an important part of weight management for numerous reasons. While hypnosis may not be your thing, find something that helps you to relax while you are awake, and make sure you are getting plenty of sleep.

You are getting motion sick…. motion sick….

10.  Do Your DDP Yoga

When it comes down to it, it works. I tried numerous systems and lost nothing (other than hundreds of dollars in copays for psychical therapy resulting from injuries). With DDP Yoga I lost 50 lbs, and (more importantly) found the motivation to make it a long-lasting and meaningful part of my lifestyle, both the exercise and nutrition components of DDP Yoga. And I have heard that same story over and over around TeamDDP. More and more people who couldn’t find success with weight loss are shedding pound after pound with the DDP Yoga system. Are you the next success story?


* If you are prohibited from drinking while eating, I recommend building up to 16 oz of water before eating and a similar amount after your meal. 

What DDP Yoga Really Means To Me

I have written pretty extensively on this website about what DDP Yoga has done for me in terms of weight loss, strength-building, flexibility, mastering poses, etc. etc. One facet of improvement that I haven’t been so forthcoming on is the improvement to my mental health, but I think it’s about time I document this in the hopes that it can help others.

From the age of 12 into my mid-twenties, I struggled with eating disorders, mostly bulimia. On a superficial level, I was bulimic in an effort to get to some ideal weight goal or body shape I had in my mind. Ironically, despite the purging of food, there was no overall reduction in weight. But as with all eating disorders, there’s an underlying control issue. The physical act of purging food was enjoyable on some really strange level and was a (wildly detrimental) way of venting. Just to be clear, I am not promoting bulimia as a stress-control method! What little relief comes from emptying your stomach contents is not worth the expense to your mental and physical health. Sadly, I lacked that insight as a 12-year-old and so I became an eating disorder statistic.

To this day, I am not sure why I developed an eating disorder. I don’t know if there was a clear-cut cause, or if it’s just “one of those things.” The reason I never nailed down the source of the problem is that I never went through any eating disorder-specific therapy or rehab. My parents sent me to a general psychologist when they found out I was having problems early in my teens, but I didn’t go for very long, probably because I wasn’t ready for counselling at that point. Instead of ever addressing any issues, I simply became more careful to hide my behaviour. Over the years, I wasn’t consistently bulimic; it was more of an on-off behaviour with me, so much so that I almost felt like an impostor referring to myself as bulimic, as if I were disrespecting the “real” bulimics who were more committed to it (this is probably a prime example of denial)! But I was 100% ON when it came to having the personality that would develop an eating disorder. I was completely dysmorphic in my body image, I had low self-esteem and I never addressed the underlying reasons for those problems.

Somewhere in my twenties, I just sort of stopped. For now apparent reason, I outgrew the behaviour of purging. Note, I didn’t say I outgrew the “binging and purging” habit, just the purging. I didn’t cease purging because of some break-through in therapy; there was no therapy. I just stopped sticking my fingers down my throat until food came up. I still had all the inner demons and issues that lead to the eating disorder. I certainly kept the binging part going, and continued through to my thirties with an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. Where I had previously exerted “control” over food, I now descended into a complete loss of control with food. The rest as they say, is history. I shot up to almost 200 lbs, and became unhealthy and depressed.

In both my controlling “binging and purging” and completely uncontrolled “overeating” phases, I had a negative body image, low self-esteem, unhealthy relationship with food, and other personality problems that come with those issues. I am focusing on the mental effects of eating disorders here, but I obviously suffered all the physical ailments that come with being either bulimic or an overeater too.

When I started DDP Yoga, I did so with purely physical goals in mind: pain reduction, weight loss, improved flexibility. I didn’t have any expectation that DDP Yoga would alleviate my depression, mainly because I didn’t know I was depressed – it’s surprisingly difficult to realise you are depressed in the middle of it, you only realise you were depressed after the fact. Similarly, I didn’t I expect DDP Yoga to fix my body image, my relationship with food, or any other mental health issue I landed on its doorstep with. Why would I? It wasn’t sold to me as a mechanism to do any of those things. I was sold a workout system that would help me lose weight and improve my strength, and that’s what I hoped it would do.

DDP Yoga certainly delivered on those promises! As I have written about (extensively) before, DDP Yoga got me to a healthy weight, with an athletic body fat percentage, and enabled me to achieve many feats of strength and flexibility that I had never dreamt of before. Through some combination of the cardio and strength-building from the DDP Yoga workouts, and the healthy eating from the DDP Yoga nutrition plan gave me a healthy, strong body.

But DDP Yoga did more than that. After reaching my goal weight, and maintaining that weight for a number of months, some thing really amazing happened. For the first time in my life, I stopped caring about my weight, or any physical measurements for that matter. I realised that I had made peace with my body. I now feel united with my body, where once it had been an enemy that I battled with, and I fought dirty. Now, I am motivated by a desire to make my body healthy and strong. I respect my body and I want to treat it as well as possible for my long term health. When I am trying to get something out of my body these days, it’s on the order of mastering a new Yoga pose, or completing a feat like a full marathon. I am not trying to bow to some societal pressure like getting a “thigh gap” or hitting some arbitrary number on a scale. In fact, because of marathon training, I recently gained a few pounds, and I was delighted, because I know that weight went on as muscle and it means I am getting strong enough to run a full marathon.

I am not at the summit of perfect mental health. I still struggle with overeating and sugar-addiction, but that is now purely a physical issue. What I mean by that is that I will eat my way to the bottom of a packet of gluten-free, vegan cookies because sugar is more physically addictive than heroine. But I am not eating my way there in some vain attempt to find love or fill some empty part within myself. I have love, and that love comes from within. I love myself and I love my body. I am happy and I want to continue to get strong, inside and out. I will address my sweet tooth in an effort to be healthy. But that’s all it is now: a garden-variety sweet tooth. I am no longer bulimic. I never again will be bulimic. Nor am I depressed, or unfulfilled, or suffering from body dysmorphia.

I don’t know what about DDP Yoga worked for me where other exercise systems, school counsellors or psychologists failed before. I know I have enjoyed the fact that DDP Yoga is fun, effective and challenging. I have felt so grateful for the fact that DDP is unique in how genuine he is, and how legitimately concerned he is with the health, well-being and success of those that do DDP Radio beyond just getting us to buy his program. I have certainly been honoured by receiving praise from DDP from shout-outs on DDP Yoga all the way to winning the DDP Yoga challenge, and the trust that has been placed in me as a representative of DDP Yoga. I know my physical goals were met because of the completeness of the DDP Yoga exercise and nutrition package, and from a connectedness to the community at Somewhere in there is the magic that led me to exorcise my inner demons and fix my mental health once and for all, but I don’t know what specifically accomplished it. But it was accomplished. And for that, from the bottom of my increasingly strong heart, I will be forever grateful to DDP, Craig Aaron and everyone else who has made DDP Yoga what it is.

Thank you.