I’m taking the DDP Yoga challenge

Originally published in The Kingston Whig-Standard on March 15, 2013. All rights reserved.

First in a series of columns by Kingston Whig-Standard columnist Jan Murphy, who is chronicling his battle with weight loss and using DDP Yoga.

The words Jan Murphy and yoga have been uttered in the same sentence about as frequently as the words bacon double cheeseburger and healthy eating.

In fact, I would wager to say the only times my name and yoga have been uttered in the same sentence have been by my wife, who has periodically preached the practice of yoga throughout our relationship.

She might as well have been telling me to stop writing about and watching professional wrestling. Not gonna happen.

Well a funny thing happened …

Just this week, I blended my passion — wrestling — with one of hers — yoga — and opened a new chapter in my life.

As anyone who follows my writings with any kind of regularity knows, I have been embroiled in a nearly decade-long battle with my weight.

When my younger brother died in a car accident seven years ago this month, the tragedy drove me into a funk that saw my weight balloon to just over 300 pounds.

The following January, I set out, with my bro as my inspiration, to get myself in shape again. With the help of then YMCA trainer Steve Couto, I would lose more than 60 pounds in roughly 18 months, chronicling my journey along the way.

Alas, it didn’t last.

Injuries and terrible eating habits, along with laziness, have caused my weight to fluctuate in the last five or so years, culminating in my hitting a new high last winter, close to 320 pounds.

Following another gruelling slo-pitch season, in which my now seemingly chronic patellar tendonosis made playing ball nearly impossible, I decided to get back to the gym.

Beginning in October, I got back to work, with moderate success to date. While my weight is again down below the 300-pound mark, and I have added some muscle, I continue to battle my knee injuries.

As much as I love running, I’ve been limited in how much of it I can do as the stiffness and knee pain afterward usually lasts persists for a few days. (It should be noted that I’ve sought various treatments for my ailing knees, with varying degrees of relief).

The bottom line for my long-term health, my knee injuries and my ball career is simple: I need to lighten the load, as they say, and take the weight off, and thus the pressure off of my knees.

It was while researching for an interview with legendary pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page about his DDP Yoga that I first began to question whether I needed to rethink my position on yoga.

I mean, here was a man I could relate to after all, both because, as a fan, I followed his incredible career, and because he too had overcome a debilitating injury. DDP used yoga to overcome a career-threatening back injury.

Following his hall of fame-worthy career, he developed and finessed his DDP Yoga (ddpyoga.com), which has helped every day folks like Arthur Boorman to legendary — and troubled — pro wrestlers like Jake The Snake Roberts and Scott (Razor Ramon) Hall. Boorman, a disabled veteran of the Persian Gulf War, went from nearly 300 pounds, and in need of leg braces and canes, to now weighing 197 pounds, in four years using DDP Yoga.

Roberts has lost 60 pounds and overcome alcohol and drug addictions under the tutelage of DDP and his program. Hall is currently living with the duo at DDP’s so-called Accountability Crib in Atlanta, doing the same thing.

As for me, despite my wife’s repeated urgings to give yoga a try, I always ignored her pleas. Honey, I like my crow well done, please …

I’m not going to attempt to pull the wool over your eyes here. The fact that this product was the brainchild of someone whom I admired greatly throughout his career certainly intrigued me.

And after researching DDP Yoga for the interview, and then speaking to the incredibly motivational man himself, my curiosity became full-blown interest.

I spent much of last weekend reading the book that accompanies the program, familiarizing myself with DDP’s entire philosophy. More on that shortly.

Last Sunday, I said goodbye to my old lifestyle, and hello to the new me.

Take that Sunday, for example, as a glimpse into my world. Breakfast was a coffee, hardly the staple of champions. Following a cafe lunch with my wife and daughters that featured a club sandwich, with mayonnaise and processed cheese, french fries, a side of gravy and diet soda to drink, I came to work. Over the course of the rest of that day, I scarfed down four Easter-themed peanut butter treats, some leftover chicken that was covered in a stuffing-based sauce, some carrots, fruit and water.

I’m not saying my diet was this bad every day, but it certainly wasn’t leaps and bounds better.

Knowing I had set a Monday start date for DDP Yoga, perhaps subconscously I was enjoying some last-minute pleasures, but as I write this, I feel shame and guilt even looking back. And that, to cop a line from DDP, is a good thing.

Not only am I doing the DDP Yoga itself, but I’m using its accompanying guide to give my lifestyle a much-needed and serious makeover, particularly where it relates to eating.

The DDP Yoga guide covers everything from DDP’s career to the DDP Yoga programs to an extensive food guide to sample meal plans, recipes and a journal to chronicle your journey.

I will explore the guide further in the coming months as I will provide regular updates on my progress.

Armed with a new attitude, DDP Yoga and a history of winning willpower battles (I quit smoking seven years ago this month), I was ready to begin.

If that weren’t enough, Page himself texted me on Sunday evening after seeing some of my tweets about preparing to set out on my journey. He asked me to call him. He wished me well, gave me a few bits of last-minute advice and completely put kicked my motivation into high gear.

This is not uncommon for DDP Yoga users. I follow Page (@RealDDP) and DDP Yoga (@DDPYoga) on Twitter and have personally witnessed Page respond directly to scores of followers, be it an inspirational message, an answer to a question or just some words of encouragement. For someone lacking a little motivation, or sitting on the fence, this type of interaction can be huge. It sure was for me.

On Monday, I set out on my journey, after my wife photographed my before pictures for the teamddpyoga website, where users can interact, share stories and more.

In my next column, I’ll share with you my early experiences with the program, both the DDP Yoga itself and my revamped eating habits.

Until then, wish me luck.

j[email protected]