Weight dropping, spirits soaring

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

Originally posted in The Kingston Whig-Standard on April 11, 2013

It has been a long time since I’ve felt as good as I do these days.

I’m down nearly 13 pounds in just over a month (and 36 overall since last summer), my nagging injuries seem to finally be on the mend, my eating is cleaner than ever and my spirits are soaring.

The combination of DDP Yoga, a little cardio, some weight training and some treatments at the hands of Dr. Jacki White at Chiropractic Matters has me pretty optimistic about the looming ball season.

Let’s start with the DDP Yoga.

First, this program has completely and utterly obliterated every stereotype that has ever crossed my mind when it comes to “yoga.”

First, it’s intense. Such things as nine-second pushups, squats and other moves and holds are not only not easy, they provide one heck of a workout.

Second, my flexibility improves after each workout. I’ve notice an improvement with my balance, almost from the get-go. My legs certainly feel stronger five weeks in, and overall, I’m noticing my core strength is beginning to improve. With my belly shrinking at a decent clip, I can even feel some abs under there.

Third, and very unexpectedly I’ll admit, DDP Yoga is a fantastic, sweaty workout.

At this stage, I’m finding myself doing a short warmup program (Wake Up, 10 minutes), following by two other programs, usually Energy (20 minutes) and Fat Burner (25 minutes).

The first gets me limbered up, the second gets everything pumping, while moderately challenging, and the third pushes me to my limits at times, sometimes even forcing me to take an extra water break or two.

The fact that the sweat is literally dripping from my forehead, arms and elsewhere has dashed every preconceived notion I’ve ever had, or even thought about having, about yoga. But, as Diamond Dallas Page himself has pointed out to me on a couple of occasions, this isn’t yoga, it’s DDP Yoga.

Of course, as the old saying goes, you are what you eat. Prior to starting DDP Yoga, I was exercising, doing some running, and various other things, but I simply wasn’t taking my eating seriously. I was justifying what I was eating with the exercise. I was essentially exercising to allow myself to eat whatever I wanted. That would explain the moderate weight loss.

As I’ve written before, convincing myself that I could have a couple of chocolate bars, or the extra large french fries BECAUSE I had exercised that day or the day before was a terrible approach. I’m sure I’m not alone in this battle.

In the last five weeks, I’ve entirely eliminated gluten from my diet, almost entirely so I could force myself away from fatty breads, which were a major source of my eating before. I’m happy to report I’m still gluten-free, with an emphasis on happy. The weight loss has been a bonus.

I’ve also mostly (almost entirely) cut out the big, bad three. For me, those were chocolate bars (I still have the odd piece of 90% dark chocolate), chips (I’ve have tried some gluten-free ones) and pop. In fact, the only drinks to hit my lips in the last five weeks have been coffee (I enjoy my morning coffee), water (almost all I drink), unsweetened almond beverage) and a little milk here and there (mostly on my cereal).

If I had to point to the most positive change I’ve made, it would be the elimination of those fatty, useless foods. All were previous staples in my diet. The best part? I don’t miss any of them.

I’m also still enjoying the benefits of my green drinks. I try to drink one every day, if I can find the time to make one. The biggest benefit I’m finding with these is the incredible, healthy feeling I get shortly after drinking one. Oddly enough, given that it’s a drink, after I enjoy one, I find I don’t feel hungry again for several hours.

So where I used to have a sub sandwich or some drive-thru, I now have a salad (the salad bar at Farm Boy is unrivalled) or a sandwich (the Silly Yak makes a few tasty ones, on homemade gluten-free bread to boot) or I’ve even discovered a healthy and tasty gluten-free pizza at Pizza Pizza for a nice treat, among other things. I’ve also upped my intake of veggies and fruit, and I’m eating a lot of protein these days too, in the form of fish, chicken and eggs.

(As an added bonus, my mom took my shopping and bought me some new clothes as my old ones have started falling off me)

It’s no coincidence that as I’ve lost weight, and improved my diet, my overall health has improved.

And anyone who has followed my writings over the years knows I’ve been battling knee injuries for a few years now. Patellar tendonosis has made running, playing ball, even walking at times, unbearable. Treatments have helped alleviate the painful symptoms in the past, but universally I was told weight loss was crucial to overcoming the injuries for good. Boy is that the truth.

Enter Dr. White, who is treating me now for those pesky knee injuries (and a battle with runner’s knee) in an effort to see if the combination of weight loss, healthy living and treatments can put me over the top.

So far, so good, as the knees are responding well to the treatments, combined with the added strength and weight loss. I’m well aware that things could be much worse, but to describe chronic knee problems as discouraging or annoying would be a huge understatement. So finally having some improvement that feels permanent is massive for me.

With the ball season only a couple of weeks away, a real test lies ahead for me. It will be an opportunity to see if what I have accomplished in the off-season makes a difference.

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