Can you get fit by "Relaxing!"?

My own experience is that getting fit is a daily process.  It begins with what I choose to put into my body, how much, and how often.  Beer and bread seem to be my downfall.  Recently I was in Sweden, and salty licorice snuck into the over indulgence habit.  I was walking everywhere, and I still began to feel sluggish.  I was at sea-level, coming from about a mile high, in Boulder, CO, and still I felt tired.  So, I let myself sleep in.  This is SOOO good for all of us.  Now, while I still have stress, rest is best.  This began to shift my overall, energy level back to normal, and I was able to squash that little voice in my head that says, "You are lazy if you sleep in," even when "I" have the time to, like on a vacation. 

TaDA! Ok, I am a work in progress when it comes to cutting carbs, but I do like to move my body.  Sure, I could start lifting again, and spending the 3 hours a day, 5 days a week my body requires to be at 150 lbs, but I am not there yet/again.  My TOP 5 types of exercises are based in relaxation, but not in the way you might think. 

#1 - Walking - This stems from how my own adrenal process over activates.  I can jog, but I often feel it in my knees, and in my bones, later in the day or even the next day.  Here in Boulder, Colorado, I am extremely lucky enough to have great hiking trails, minutes from where I live.  Walking up is my favorite, down is better with poles.  I do tend to hike with what ever shoes I have on, even Tevas, even sandals.  No excuses is my motto.

#2 - Swimming - Oh how I love salt water pools!  Floating is the best.  Seriously speaking, I love swimming, and I can still swim a mile in under 45 minutes.  I swam for years growing up, so distances are not so hard for me, even when I have more weight on me.  It helps lube my joints, lifts my soul and I always feel lighter after an hour in the pool.  Most people I know, who didn't grow up swimming, usually spend about 20 minutes in the pool, doing what ever stroke they feel comfortable and safe in water doing.  Point is, we are water beings, and there is a feeling of relaxation in it, even more so while weightless in salt-water, or just floating in water.   Side Note: The ultimate floating experience is in a float tank, a super salt water experience that creates the feeling of being weightless.  This is wonderful for the soul, to be able to just let go, and relax.

#3 - F*Yoga (Feldenkrais) - If you have never done this form of Yoga, you are missing out.  You lay on the floor and follow isolated movements, using one side of the body then mirroring it.  It feels amazing.  It's relaxing, and sometimes, people even fall asleep.  WHICH IS GOOD!  Resting and feeling being held by the ground and gravity, helps your body rest, which fights dis-ease built by stressors in your life.  Ethan Cowan just started his F*Yoga class again on Monday nights at the Integral Center.

#4 - Kaiut Yoga - This one is new to me, but it releases so much built up emotion held in the joints, and creates so much space in them, that I have to include this on my list.  Example: Before my first Kaiut class, I was thinking about how I wanted to start biking again, but felt this block in my legs to to just that.  Then I showed up to this random yoga class that I had heard changed peoples lives, and within minutes, I knew I was in for a ride.  Oh yea, Kaiut is has legs up on the wall, letting gravity do the work, and using small movements, and breath to release whatever it is you are holding in your body.  Those are my words, not the instructors, my experience, not others.  We did do this Leg work on my first day of Kaiut, and that was when I felt so nauseous that I felt like I was going to throw up.  I went toward that felling, used my breath, and found deeper spaces inside myself, in my knees.  It was sooo hard, yet sooo simple.  After that, I rode my bike 20 miles the next day.  Holy wow.  That is cool shit.  There is Kaiut Yoga at the Cultivated Healing Studio in North Boulder above Lucky's Bakery, 4 days a week.

#5 - Hot springs - Hot springs generally are just thought of as a luxury.  I think they are essential to detoxing the body.  Used for thousands of years by native people all over the world, hot springs tend to show up where there is volcanic activity, and mountain ranges where minerals are found.  There are several free and costly places to visit out here in Colorado.  How is this an exercise?  It's not, but it is healthy, mineral rich and if you are social, you might even meet a friend.   Usually hot springs with a fee, will also have lower temperature waters, because the heat factor for those with heart conditions is not safe, but the mineral content of the water is still very beneficial.  Most hot springs are also outside, and have hiking trails not to far away.  Going to a hot spring in Colorado is usually around $20 a day.  Side Note: If the hot springs have an overnight option, and there are more than 2 of you, it usually pays off to stay the night.  Two people for two days at $20 a day = $80... Overnight stays are about $90 a night.  Totally worth it, because overnight guests can usually stay a little later and be the first to pool in the early A.M. hours.  

Burlesque... The Art of Yes, & The Removal of... Things

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine, invited me to Denver to try out a Burlesque Intro Training, at Bon Vivant Burlesque Academy.  HOLY WOW it was fun.  $15 for some wine, chocolate,  and a little history lesson about Burlesque.  Oh, as well as gloves on Boa Tossing and classy routines, to excite even the biggest critic in front of the mirror, ourselves.  Turns out it was an accidental "Janet Jackson at the SuperBowl" style incident in a Vaudeville Act, that brought about the American Burlesque in the 20's and 30's.  How exciting!  I love accidental profits! 

When I first planned on going to this class, I was a little nervous, no joke.  I am not particularly excited by my reflection in the mirror, nor do I have the best dance moves, aside from my single finger twirl-twirl.  Guess that is the point of the wine at the beginning of class, for those who might need a bit of liquid encouragement.  Alas, I realized that I have hips, and large bosoms, and well, I like to shake it!  Yes, I like to shake my ass, and bring my hips alive in circles and swirls.  I know this, because I dance when I clean my kitchen on the regular.  

We went around, one by one, and each had a few words of our expereince in this genre of theater, and why we were there.  I was captivated by the sounds coming out of mouths, instantly.  I could also see my stage performance unfold.  I heard the words, "no body shaming", that was my own ticket in.  I heard the words, artistic expression, and I was transported to a stage, where a banjo, mandolin, and drum beat slowly began to play.  I heard the words, "comical reveal", and as my hips shook to the base beat, my arms and body began a mating dance.  It was amazing.  Before I could even remove one thing, it was my turn to answer the question.  Yay day dreaming.  

My response was along the lines of... I suffer from severe body shaming.  I am testing out anything that brings me back into my body, and this is one of the most exciting ways to do it.  I like to be on stage, and my friend, Sheena, next to me, brought me here.  That was when we all got up and started to move our bodies, and began the class in embodiment.  It was great!  DD Honey B, is a TOTAL inspiration.  I am finally not afraid of BOA's and will wear one at anytime, for any reason, to show off my newly acquired skills.

There is place for everything, in burlesque.  Here is the Wikipedia first line definition:  Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects.[1] The word derives from the Italian burlesco, which, in turn, is derived from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery.[2]

I have so little sex in my life, that trying to be sexy, looked very funny in the mirror, but awakened something inside myself.  News Flash: I realized 3 things.  #1  I was doing this for myself.  #2  I am here to enjoy my body, however that shows up in my life.  Where ever it is at, here and now, until I die.  #3  I now have to add, "Large room with wall of mirror" to my "future home" list of amenities.  The mirror became my friend by the end of the class.  It is wonderful to be able to watch oneself get into the roll of dancer/ stripteaser.  Truth be told,  I was rewiring my brain with each step, and hip shake and face move, and barely noticed what I looked like in the mirror.  When I did look up, I was instantly reminded how my left is your right, oops, try that again, and again.  

Way fun, liberating, and a place I plan on going to more.  Bon Vivant Burlesque Academy is so much more than a dance studio.  Neo-burlesque on this side of the Atlantic, can be the removal of just one item, not your whole outfit.  This is like the tossing of old habits.  What if we all casually, and humorously removed items, or people, or thoughts, with the sassiness of a Burlesque Show?  Might there be more empowerment in our own raw truth of how we feel good, when we remove all judgment and judgements?  I ask you, what else is possible when we do this?

The Tao of Pooh.... Inspirational.

For most of my life I have struggled with my morning routine, my afternoon routine, and fitting in in general.  I read the I Ching, practiced it for several years, and joked about sitting still.   I have felt for many years, out of sorts.  The pounds went up and down, the happiness went to and fro and the money was either there or not.   I spend thousands of dollars on going to university, studying things that were interesting, time-filling, and appropriate in this "Busy Baxton" life of the West.   Many techniques, and retreats later, I walked into the library to return a dvd of "Shakespeare: Abridged", and left the library with The Tao of Pooh, an audiobook.  

He is round, this bear we know as, Pooh.  Simple, and in the "now", he is humble with himself.  Not needing more than what any of us need to sustain, us...  Friends, Good Food (Honey in his case), and a little adventure at home.    I got to thinking that instead of always wanting to get on a plane, what if today I approached it like Pooh, this day.  I cleared my calendar, and turned on my creative childlike self that I love so much.  The same one that I have been criticized for being, and the same one that inspires others to tell me to "grow up".   Excitement bloomed within me at everything that caught my eye, and "doing a whole lot of nothing became doing a whole lot of something".  A constant many moments later... I found that "I" was the joy I was missing in my life.  This was a week ago, and my life is so filled with magic, and happiness and wonder right now I can hardly contain myself.   A large blue dragonfly flew into my house and hung-out, I have found new watering holes less than an hour from my house.  My list could go on and on, and only in a week.  I realized, I mean, really saw how I have been "TRYING" so hard to put my round peg-of-a-self, into the the square hole, someone, somewhere told me to fill.  

The Journey.  Life is one fabulous journey.  I have known for quiet some time now, that the more sleep I get, the more relaxed into my body I become, that the more the universe manifests brilliance into my life.  It's kind of an opposite sort of thing.  It's slow. Slow moves forward, more than fast going backwards.  Maybe that doesn't make sense, but the fact that the slower I go, the more I do, does.  Once upon this last week, after finding my inner child, my inner peace came to me.  I have been and will always be OK, with me, just me.  With the way I walk, and stop a lot along the way.  With my quick to smile attitude, after something jarring has happened.  These are part of my unique me.  I have been adjusting my workout schedule to meet these new spaces, in hopes that a fun repetition might help my longevity and strength goals.  Simple Simple Simple.  If in knowledge we have to gain, and in wisdom we take away, then I want to take away 50 pounds of fat.  Hopefully in this journey of loss, I will have learned more about myself, and how this crazy body thing works.  "Goals are just Miracles with Deadlines" is a sign that has flashed in front of me recently.  What are your goals?  Are you being the you you know you are?  Are you open to the possibility of Miracles?  Just some thoughts.  Share if you want to, I love a good story.


I love this lady, and her video.... Repetition pays off.

Watch the link below.  This woman is like any other woman out there, with one exception.  She doesn't use excuses.  I love that.  No one is too fat to attend a yoga class, unless you cannot get there.  Seriously though, she is able to do half those poses, because she has a practice and shows up for herself.  Maybe she practices at home, or at her local gym.  It doesn't matter where she practices or when, just that she does.  What is your self-worth worth? # dailypractice is the key to happiness.





"Who is IN?"

I really like the notion of, "Who is IN?"  In you.  Behind all the bills you pay, how you pay them, or even how you present yourself in this world in your human stuff sack, called body.  The question, "Who is IN?" is really hard answer.  To answer this, you must remove all the identifiers floating around you.  Remove terms like, WIFE, MOTHER, SISTER, BROTHER, LOVER, etc.  Remove any negative thought you might have about yourself, and remove all answers that identify you as you.  What are you left with?  "What is IN?"

Silence, and meditation are ways I have found that I find the strongest version of myself to answer this question.  IN, can be a radical notion of yourself as a bright light, bright as a 10 AM morning son.  Or maybe you you find a fish?  Who knows!?!? 

So, today I challenge myself, to sit for one hour, each day, and breathe in "Who is IN?" for 30 days.  I will let you know what I come up with.  Shanti Shanti...

The Climbing Gym

In the Canyon the day I bought a bigger harness, as I had gained weight, and no longer fit my smaller harness. 

In the Canyon the day I bought a bigger harness, as I had gained weight, and no longer fit my smaller harness. 

Yesterday, I woke up at 5 AM and thought to myself, today is the day to start going to the climbing gym.  NO lies, I had a bit of anxiety about going.  About a month ago I purchased a larger climbing harness when one of my best friends, Phillip attempted to climb 30 pitches on his 30th birthday.  Even buying the harness, I was a filled with emotion.  Luckily, Patrick, who is an extremely helpful and encouraging climber who works for REI Boulder was there to help me, without judgment.  My harness is hot pink and I love it. 

My Mantra getting to the BRC: "The journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step."

Ok, harness CHECK.  Climbing shoes, turns out I own 2 pair, CHECK.  Punch Card at the BRC, (Boulder Rock Club), 5 punches left, CHECK.  The basic Know-How of auto-belaying, CHECK.  Coffee in me, CHECK.  Water bottle, CHECK.  Time on a Wednesday before work to go to the climbing gym, CHECK.  Way to get to the gym, yes, CHECK.

The hardest part of my day yesterday by far was making it to the BRC.   Once there I used my breath to bring my mind back into my body.  I harnessed myself, put on my shoes, and walked in.  My heart racing, I stared at the wall.  I stared at the auto-belay.  I clipped in.  Another deep breath.  I climbed to to the top, and climbed back down.  My mind ran wild, "Shit, do I weigh to much for the auto-belay?  Surely they would have looked at my 5'3" 188lb body and told me something, like you are not welcome if I was too big."  Breathe!

A new Mantra entered my mind... "Climbing is a self-practice."  Like yoga, I am not to compare myself, like life, I am not to compare myself.  "Life is a self-practice."  I must have repeated this mantra, "Climbing is a self-practice," a hundred times in the 30 minutes I climbed 5 routes. 

I did finally lean back and let the auto-belay catch me.   It was fun.  I love climbing.  I wanted to be careful that I wasn't hurting myself, but I also wanted to allow myself a good workout.  Body resistance of any kind triggers the body to want to off load the poundage.  Fun Fun.  I left feeling accepted.  Even though I was surrounded by thin, fit people, I too am a fit person.  I am just not as thin as those around me.  However, I am a strong woman, who loves climbing, and the thrill and fitness it provides. "CLIMBING IS A SELF-PRACTICE" 

Life lesson for today, I am the only one who needs to accept me.

Chubbiness & a Doctor Visit....

I want to preface that I love going to the Doctor’s office, the Dentist’s Office and the Orthodontists. Oral surgeon, not so much. I recently went to my local Physician Assistant for my annual visit, and was shocked by her words. Yes, I am 186 pounds at a mere 5’2”. Yes, you have checked my thyroid and it is fine. Yes, my liver is functioning and my cholesterol is in check. Yes, my heart is ok, and my blood pressure and heart rate are normal. Yes, I exercise regularly. Yes, I eat organic veggies, and have a “Clean Diet.” Yes, I am OBESE. That word, OBESE is really a jarring word. I have belly fat, fact. I have extra pounds on my body and I constantly feel like the Michelin Man, or a female version of the State Puff Marshmallow Man. I feel the effects of not working out 2 hours a day, and have struggled with my weight for soo long, that it probably causes more stress and raises my cortisol levels, causing more belly fat.

I do live in the FLIGHT mode most of my life, as I am raising my 14 year old son, and have raised him, for most of his life with no financial or support from his father. This IS stressful too. In my 20’s parenting felt automatic, as did my excitement for exercise, especially as I approached 30. Then a bad relationship, build the extra pounds, as I over ate and drank too much beer to comfort myself after moving my small family of 2 over a thousand miles away from the network of friends and family. In my early 30’s I found my stride again, and by eating nutrient dense food and daily exercise I lost about 40 pounds. I have since gained back over 2 years those pounds and I have yet to find my stride again. Losing weight feels like a brainteaser, as the simple tools that used to be so helpful, make me feel like I need to upgrade to full-on power tools, battery powered, plugged in and air-compressed.

Without losing faith in myself or myself, this seems to be the single hardest struggle in my fight to regain my “FIT LOOKING” body back.  It is a mind training that I have lost. There is a psychology about this disconnect, between what I know I must to do lose weight, and what I am actually willing to wake up everyday and do.   A TOTAL Disconnect.  

When did this happen?  Was it when I physically turned 30? Was it when I watched all my single mom friends, and girlfriends who ran and are tall and already thin..., find new husbands?  Was it a decision that my EGO made with my psyche in a war to turn my strong warrior like feminine body into a blobby, fat sagging, cellulite filled Old Maid? Have I simply become LAZY?   Because when the doctor says, “You are Obese”, the later are what it feels like she is saying. OBESE OBESE OBESE! YOU LAZY woman you! If your thyroid is fine, you must be lying about what you eat and how much you exercise. LIAR LIAR LIAR, you are a LAZY LIAR! This is what I am hearing.

I know that I am projecting, and that these were not her words. Her words were simply, “You are obese.”  Which was said to me while she was feeling my abdomen.  Which is true, by all current medical standards. Which is true when I look in the mirror at the hanging fat on my mid-stomach and lower abdomen, just above my beautiful vagina. Which is true when a handsome man overlooks me, and only talks to the woman around me, and TOTALLY ignores or interrupts any attempt I have at entering the conversation. Which is true when the ladies my age (37) are either married or dating on the Friday nights I fill with various fun with my co-op mates, or other friends.  Which is true when am having dinner with my coupled up friends, or at a show, and I am the only single friend at the table or in the group, aka the sympathy invite.  

Why? Well everyone knows that Aryl is lazy, and cannot get her shit together, to LOOK more attractive, to BE more attractive.  When I read articles about great woman, and their list of accomplishments starts off as "Wife", I am enraged.  That one word is what it is all about right?  WIFE.  Women spend thousands of dollars to look good to get a HUSBAND when they are young and in their 30s.  Waxing, lazer, tummy tucks, boob inplants, breast augmentations, butt implants, etc...  WIFE is insulting to those who are not WIFE.  So when I go to the western doctor in an honest attempt to understand my 37 year old obesity, her telling me that I am not so big to get my stomach stapled, (WHAT? That answer came out of no where), and that she didn't have anymore time to talk, that I would have to come back.... My answer was ... "Cannot you refer me to an endocrinologist to verify my Cortisol levels?"  Her answer was not now, make another appointment.   In essence, I should just give up now and Nun it! Now, these are a bit of gross exaggerations, but this is how my OBESENESS feels to me.  Lonely.

Fact is, I am stronger than most men.  My son calls me “Macho Mom”, and I am still stronger than him. I am healthy on the inside, and on the INSIDE. I am aware of when self-doubt comes in and I am as equally aware when others project their deepest fears upon me. Yes, I am a chubby version of the St. Pauli girl, YES, I am. My breasts also weigh 10 pounds EACH! (So, 20 of my 186 lbs, is OH, wait, BOOB!) That puts me at, roughly 166 lbs, which is still obese. Mind you, my swimming mile in a pool is still 43 min, I run just under a 10 min mile (jogging) and I breathe better at altitude.  Fat is painfully present, but I still feel like a unique gift to the world, as you should as well.

Welcome! To the Fat Girl in Boulder™ Blog 2.0

I started this project about a year ago, after I had put on a good 35-40 lbs from the previous year.  Two years later, I am beginning to lose the weight again, and felt compelled to share my story, as I know I am not the only one who struggles with weight. Here is a little of my story, and how to got to this place.  Most of the topics in the following posts will be personal observations, and my work arounds, and inspirations that follow.  

Losing the weight to begin with is a lot of hard work, and I am sad to say, I don't know when lose a bunch of weight, as I still feel blobby in my body, after having a child.  Long story short, after moving to Boulder, breaking of an engagement, and finding myself a single mother again, living on CU's Boulder Campus at 32, surrounded by other single mothers working on their PhD's, tall thin, short and fit, many were married, EVERY photo I saw of myself with these fun, talented brilliant and beautiful people, reminded me of a swollen, Kewpie Doll/Cabbage Patch Doll version of myself.  

All of a sudden, I reconnected with a friend who more or less, drove me to the gym, scolded me when I ate to much, and drank half my beers, so I didn't, etc.  Yep, I lost almost 40 pounds in about 1.5 years.  Now to do this, was a bit fantastical and I felt very supported.  I biked everywhere, got massage and acupuncture regularly, discovered Network Spinal Awakening, and Somatic Therapy that helped relieve trauma in my spine, and all the negative emotions held there, forcing me to face deeply rooted insecurities and fears.  Then my little brother died.  He was the only family member, that I really felt connected too.  He was married and had just had his 3rd child, when he passed away at 26 years old.  My fancy road bike, I called Charlie, that I had ridden and spun at least 20 pounds off over that year,  was stolen from a secure Park & Ride.  My world began to come apart. Things that I loved where literally stolen from me, and my heart ached with grief and loss.  I was over committed at CU Boulder, had begun a massage program that was teaching me more about my essential being, than any other school had, but I was rapidly losing my financial security and carving my debt valley like a raging river floods.  I left CU, dropped out of my classes, began to travel and could barely show up to the Healing Spirits Massage Training program's, 5 days a month curriculum.  I had lost the weight I had gained being in an unhealthy relationship, but found myself struggling to make the progress I wanted, in my world.   Even though my son was doing OK, I felt his struggles as well.

We persevered, and a couple months later, I was finding my stride again, biking and volunteering at a farm, house-sitting in the mountains, working a fun little temporary job for a software company, and preparing to spend my summer in Charleston, SC doing more house-sitting for a friend's friend at the end of James Island.  With my son on his summer visit with his father, I was free to enjoy summer 2013 with my best friend, and the charming south!  While I was able to keep up some of my daily exercise regiment, my anxiety came back, and food became a bit of comfort filler. After having some stressful house-guests visit, I thought dating would be fun, and I went on a lunch date, was roofied and raped.  I put the almost 35 pounds I had lost the following two years back on in the following two months.  My son and I came back to Boulder, CO ended up living with a friend, and trying to find permanent housing during the flood aftermath.  I am mentioning the series of traumatic life events, because these events matter.  How I dealt with them matters, and my health, both mental and physical matters.  We all have levels of stressors in our lives, and the willingness to share, going towards the uncomfortable, however uncomfortable, brings love and compassion towards the self.  I find that for me, this willingness to face my own hurts, begins the real healing, alleviating using food as tool for comfort, melting away my need for depressive self-loathing episodes engrossed in destructive behaviors, and helps me to achieve the highest form of myself, and live my life, in happier, more fulfilling ways. 

My son and I, ended up in a Co-op, where I have been blessed to grow, and heal over the past 2 years.  I have noticed my own patterns and insecurities, and where I seek out co-dependent relationships, as well as the divine nature, and helpfulness, of a good Psycho-Therapist.  This blog is definitely a form of therapy for me, and I hope woman find some form of comfort knowing they are not ALONE in the struggle for health, on all levels.