eight years later!

Well, I totally dropped the ball on my promise to do some “good ol’ fashioned desk job entries” last week.

It’s Monday. And I’m still working an office temp gig this week (which has just been extended by a few days due to an unforeseen circumstance in the office). It pays well and I’m enjoying the routine. In fact, I think it’s making me more productive all-around. Interesting!

That said, I’m also busy as eff.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that today is a special day for me. September 27 will always hold an important place in my heart because it’s the day I started losing weight in 2002. On this day eight years ago, I was a very, very heavy young woman. I weighed over 265 pounds, looked awful, felt worse, and had maaaybe owned three pieces of clothing I could fit into. It was a miserable reality.

Losing the weight and keeping it off hasn’t always been a cake-walk, but I feel so blessed to realize that eight years later, I’m so much thinner, happier, healthier and feel more at peace with my body than ever before. Changing my habits and behaviors wasn’t just a phase – I really DID it.

Do I still have to keep myself from eating too many french fries and force myself to workout? All the time. But those day to day mini-battles are meaningless (which is why I rarely talk about them) when compared to the big picture.

Eight years ago, on this day, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to change my physical reality. And I did. The old, fat me is screaming joyfully from the rooftops right now.

Moving on, here are a couple orders of business:

1.) My latest article’s over up at Spring!

2.) If you’re looking for a some direction in your professional or personal life my dear friend Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach (and one half of a coupla married cuties with whom Kevin and I love to double date), has partnered with her colleague and a very talented artist, Jessica Smith, to launch a brilliant new website and e-course called The Declaration of You! I love their plan and their passion, and I’m going to be taking the course MYSELF! So, maybe you should too?

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spring in july

If you’ve yet to check out Spring, the site I’ve been contributing to lately, get on over there!

It’s a lovely corner of the web created by four successful, passionate women – entrepreneurs and bloggers in their own right – who’ve come together with a singular focus on mind: To inspire you to “design a life you love.”

Obviously, I like that.

Throughout the month of July (which is coming to such a swift and sudden close, I almost can’t believe it!), I wrote four pieces on the theme of Self Care:

Self-Love Advice from a Former Fat Girl

3 Reasons to Skip the Gym

A Lesser Person Couldn’t

Without Condition

I’ll be back contributing to Spring in August on the subject of, what else, inspiration! If there are any specific topics you’d like me to explore or any questions you’d like me to ponder in my August articles, shoot me an email: jenifercurran@gmail.com.

who stands like that?

(image via Jezebel.com)

I’m not crazy about magazines like this one, but I’m not gonna lie – I totally read them from time to time. Like at the dentist’s office or the airport. Or when one winds up in my purse because somebody took money out of my wallet and handed it to the guy. Sheesh.

They’re candy, for sure. But I tend to agree with Jezebel.com‘s assertion that these types of magazines claim to be about women’s health, but are more often about how to lose weight, get thin and be a super woman while you do it.

Still, I usually feel hopeful when I open one up. Something on the cover catches my eye (“Get fit for life in 4 minutes a day and never break a sweat? NO WAY!”), but by the time I flip to the article, I’ve already seen 12 pictures of perfect women in bikinis who couldn’t pick a stretch mark out of a line-up, and four different “Lose 12 pounds in 2 Weeks!” diet menus that are so unrealistic for my lifestyle I might as well be homeless.

My self-esteem tries to pretend it hasn’t noticed the hot bikini babes or how different my thighs are from theirs, while I curse my inability to enjoy salmon. Or cook almost anything.

But, blah blah blah who cares, right? We’re all “victims” of our “culture” and who needs another blog entry about women’s magazines and how they make us feel bad about ourselves. (This won’t be the last one…)

I’m only bringing it up today to mention the following: Do you realize how far to the right Kim Kardashian is actually crossing her leg to achieve that weird angle? I mean, she looks good. But I guarantee, if you could see both her legs, they’d  look bizarre as heck. Who stands like that?!

Oh, magazines. We will never quit you. And you will never be honest with us. It’s the perfect dysfunctional relationship.

Pass the cookies!

feed yourself – a word about diets and cleanses

I don’t believe in cleanses. I don’t think they’re necessary. There, I said it.

I believe that our bodies like to eat, want food, need fuel, crave calories. I don’t believe in not eating for periods of time.

Yes, I realize there are certain cleanses where you do eat. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the ones where you drink juice.

I don’t have any scientific evidence to support my disbelief in cleanses. Although the Mayo Clinic does say, “The digestive system and bowel naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria — your body doesn’t need enemas or special diets or pills to do this.”

That. I like that.

Just Mary’s Mary Rambin is on a cleanse right now. I know she’s done cleanses in the past and I’m sure she’ll do them again. I don’t know her personally, I only read her blog, but I remember her once explaining via her blog her reasons for doing a cleanse and they all seemed valid and justified.

To each her own and I know Mary knows what she’s doing when it comes to her body.

Me? I don’t believe in cleanses.

While we’re on the subject of dieting and restrictive eating, I read something very interesting this week on Happiness Awaits, my friend Fitzalan’s blog. (Fitzalan is a great name, right?) In her post entitled “Nourishment” she talks about getting her resting metabolic heart rate tested. Here’s what she learned:

“I actually need 2187 calories a day…my goal is to maintain my weight. I have been getting ~1400 calories a day. I have basically been starving my body and that is why I am always exhausted and want to go to bed at 8PM.”

My jaw hit the floor when I saw that. She has been inadvertently denying her body almost 800 calories a day! I’m so happy for her that she discovered this.

Naturally, now that she’s challenged with the goal of consuming MORE food, not less, she’s nervous, like many of us would be. She said, “Eating more in my head equals gaining weight, which is something I obviously do not want to do.” She’s consulting a nutritionist to find out the best way to go about it.

I don’t write about Fitzalan’s situation to wag a finger at her – she was doing what many of us do – striving to maintain her weight, to be able to have an indulgence every now and then and not have to pay for it later. She was doing what she thought was best for her body.

But she was unknowingly starving herself to avoid gaining weight. I think her story is important.

Ladies, let us not go crazy with the rules and restrictions and 2, 3, or 5 pounds. In fact, I’m going to lighten up on myself about by my own goal to lose 10 pounds.

UGH. WHO CARES!

(Let’s be honest, I’m still trying to lose 10 pounds.)

My point is, crash diets and cleanses and not eating and not eating enough and over-exercising and stressing the fuck (yeah, I said it!) out about it all has got to stop. It’s good to be mindful about your health and weight, but Love First.

yoga in your living room

Yoga Download is my favorite place to find good yoga classes on the web.

They just released a brand new class!! Gentle Hatha #3. Best of all, the 20-minute version is FREE to download. I can’t wait to try it.

I’ve tried a few other podcasts or live streaming classes on other sites over the years, but none of them compare, in my opinion, to Yoga Download. I haven’t been paid or compensated in any way to say this, I just really like their site.

I started practicing yoga a few years ago when I threw my back out (while lifting weights, no less) and found myself hobbling around like an old, grouchy police detective who carries a heavy gun holster. There was little else I could do in the form of exercise for quite some time, so yoga became a staple in my life. I think starting a yoga practice may have saved me from a lifetime of further pain and injury.

Sadly, I haven’t been doing any yoga for the last few weeks though, choosing to prioritize other things before my health, which is never a wise move. So when I turned on a 20-minute Gentle Hatha class from Yoga Download yesterday and laid down on my mat, I could almost feel my muscles and bones thanking me for the attention.

The 20-minute classes on YD are all FREE and they’re great. They’re simple to follow, come in all styles and levels and leave me feeling like I’ve done something good for myself, even if only for 20 minutes. Of course YD offers longer classes too, which are also very inexpensive. Oh and they have videos, if you’d rather watch than listen, and printable pose guides if you’re confused about what you’re doing! Fantastic for your living room practice.

best cheap yoga in nyc

Kevin and I like to talk about what we’d do if we suddenly had an abundance of money. I don’t mean millions (although, I think he’s hoping for millions), just enough to indulge from time to time.

One of the first things on my list is a monthly membership to one of my favorite yoga studios in NYC. Formal yoga classes in New York can be pricey – often more expensive than a gym membership. My favorite studio offers an unlimited monthly pass for $125. Oof. Too rich for my blood.

But there are ways to spend a little less on the best yoga classes in the city – if you’re willing to be flexible. (Pun delightfully intended.)

Best Cheap Yoga in Manhattan:

Ishta Yoga – (Update! I just got an email from Ishta – they’re offering a deal this Monday, May 17: an unlimited month of classes for $30. That’s a steal, since a month usually costs $125. Go here if you want to buy it.) This studio offers my favorite yoga class experience by far. The environment is calming, the rooms are big, the teachers are fantastic.  And they focus more on your relationship to your body, the earth, and your spirituality, rather than obsessing over making every pose perfect.

Unfortunately their single classes are the most expensive I’ve ever seen in the city. $22 for one class! (I treated myself to that price once, but never again. I just can’t afford it.) However, if you’re a new student, you can buy an unlimited monthly pass for $60! That’s a great deal. I took advantage of it earlier this year and it got me hooked on Ishta. They also offer a lovely meditation class with the studio’s founder, Alan Finger, included in the monthly unlimited membership, or $30 to drop-in.

Yoga to the People – Good, cheap “yoga for everyone.” They claim no celebrated teachers, no correct attire, no judgments, no right answers – just basic, happy yoga for anybody. For a mere $5, I love their hot power Vinyasa class. It’s an hour-long ass-kicking experience in a small, cramped room with people who’ve never done yoga in their lives alongside those who practice every day. Once you get past the hectic energy of the previous class leaving while your class enters, it can be a lot of fun. Most of the teachers are very good and they don’t take any of it too seriously. With three separate locations in town, YTTP also offers a “traditional” hot yoga classes (Bikram style), and a power Vinyasa class that isn’t hot (suggested donation!) – both of which are supposed to be great and are cheaper than lunch in Midtown.

Om Yoga – This Union Square yoga staple has been around forever. With dozens of master teachers and a lot of classes to choose from, it’s a great place to be a beginner or to deepen your practice. Their schedule changes every month and their drop-in prices are standard (between $14-17), but they also offer a “community” class a couple times a week for just $5. Taught by people just finishing their teacher training, the community classes aren’t as insightful as the regular ones, but they do the trick.

Kula Yoga – I did poses I’d never done before when I took a class at Kula. It’s often easy for yoga classes to feel very similar to one another; Kula’s innovative teachers make sure that doesn’t happen. Their drop-in fee is $18, but you can take advantage of their “new student special” and pay $30 for a three-class package. A sweet deal.

Vida Yoga – Located near the heart of NYU’s campus, Vida offers $5 classes for first-timers with a student ID, as well as a one-time week of unlimited classes for $10. This is the one studio on my list that I’ve never been to, but have really been dying to try. I’ll take advantage of that awesome $10 deal soon and I promise a review once I do.

I hope you won’t let the potentially high price of yoga in Manhattan stop you from seeking out good classes, great teachers and top-notch studios! You can practice yoga on any budget.

But if you come into millions, go ahead and splurge.