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Sunday, August 19, 2012

How I lost 30 pounds...(you asked, and it's not what you think)

Thank you all so much for your feedback and responses to my recent blog "I lost 30 pounds...Oh No"! It has been a big leap of faith to live my relationship with my body so transparently and I thank you for all your support. Many of you have asked me, “’d ya do it?”.  Here's the story:

    • I went to Costa Rica and became a certified Qoya teacher. I now teach Qoya every Tuesday. Qoya has completely revolutionized my relationship to my body and exercise. Because of that, I now look forward to exercising like I look forward to a massage.
    • I read Kris Carr's Crazy, Sexy, Diet, really jived with her philosophy, and have started eating a ton more whole foods, raw veggies, and drinking green juice.
    • I really upped the ante of love and passion in my life, my marriage, my friendships and my career. Like, REALLY upped the ante.
    • I'm working with an amazing therapist, which has led to more truth telling, and less smiling while flipping the bird under the table.

  • The list goes on and on. My point is, none of the things on this list, nor the weight loss itself, would ever have transpired without one thing.

    Prescription Drugs. :)

    Not what you were expecting to hear? Me either. Here’s the story.

    My whole life I have experienced moderate to severe depression  (I know, who hasn’t?).  The last few years it got more severe as it began to be served alongside a hearty serving of nighttime anxiety, which led to intense insomnia. Pretty much everyone knows what it feels like to be depressed, but this was depression resulting in an average of 4-6 hours of sleep every night for a good three years.  I would sometimes catch up on weekends, but most of the time I walked around in a state of bitchiness at best, what-the-fuck-is-the-point of-even-living at worst. It was like I had forgotten how to sleep.

    Sleep is an essential bodily function, like being able to pee.  Imagine if you just somehow forgot how to pee. The thing about sleep though, is you can survive without it, unlike being unable to pee.  So for a good two to three years I would chase my tail each day and night, lying awake, praying for sleep.  I’d wake up a few hours later in an absolute panic that I hadn’t slept, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to sleep again that night, and the cycle would repeat. This fear would paralyze me throughout the day, and the lack of sleep made me an absolute grouch, anti-social, and opened the door for severe depression.

    I tried everything I could think of. Therapy. A new king size bed.  Quitting my corporate job that stressed me out so much.  Rescue Remedy.  Gemstones under the pillow.  All of these things would help temporarily, but each time it was like getting a taste of my tail only to have it slip through my teeth once more, when I’d find myself wide eyed and awake at 2am yet again.  

    Now, you might be thinking, “girl, go to the doctor!” I wasn’t raised by hippies, but I do seem to have this gene that leads me to believe I should be able to fix everything with my mind and behaviors (or at least by taking some herbs).  If I just started eating right, exercising each morning, taking the right supplements, meditating, doing the things I really wanted to be doing with my time,  took a watercolors class, did a cleanse at an Arizona spa...I’d be able to work it all out.

    Thank God for my husband.  Imagine this poor guy having to deal with a cracked-out insomniac, clinging to her gemstones and chamomile tea as he gently nudged me for two solid years in the direction of getting medical help.  

    Sleep aids? I think not.

    Antidepressants? Oh no, I am not letting the pharmaceutical companies catch me like a fly in their spider web.

    Seeing a psychiatrist to examine my family’s history of depression and mental illness? And then take some magic pill to make it all go away? No thank you.

    Wait a minute.  What if there was a magic pill that could make this all go away? Not exactly make it all go away, but at least get me sleeping again. If I could sleep maybe I would have the energy to do something other than barely survive.   And what if there is something going on in my body where I was not getting enough serotonin or whatever.  I mean, even my therapist told me it is not normal to wake up every morning with a feeling of absolute dread.

    So finally, I surrendered to the experiment.  I moved the gemstones to a pretty bowl on my nightstand and I went to see a psychiatrist.  After a two hour evaluation, his response was basically, “How has it taken you this long to come see a psychiatrist?” He gave me some Prozac and Klonopin and told me to come back in a month. I figured, let’s give this a go for a year or so, and see what happens.  It can’t get any worse.

    That was about six months ago.  I’m happy to say, the experiment is working. I sleep like a dream now. But not a drugged-out, “Can’t sleep without me pills!” sleep.  I am back in the pattern of going to bed, reading or watching Downton Abbey repeats, and just nodding off.  I wake up refreshed and ready.  This morning I have already practiced my Qoya routine for tonight’s class, made lunch for this afternoon, and a green juice for later.  I’ve dressed cute for the day, and I gave myself the luxury of 30 minutes of writing instead of 30 minutes of Facebook.  Because I am rested I now have the energy now to do all the things I described in the bullet points above which, yes, led to my eventual weight loss.

    Now, let me make one thing VERY CLEAR.  This is not an ad for prescription drugs. I am not saying that everyone should go get some Prozac and in turn we’d create world peace.  It is simply a transparent account of my journey with my health.  And how interestingly, the thing we resist the strongest, even if that thing might be the easiest way out, is often the very thing that will create real, lasting change. Again, I’m not saying it takes the pharmaceutical industry to create lasting change.  I’m simply saying that this step, which I resisted for so long, is the one thing that has finally worked.    

    There will come a day when I’m ready to stop taking these drugs, and I will probably resist that for way longer than I need to as well.  But this has been a powerful learning experience: the thing you think is the last thing you need is at least worth a try.  

    I know this is a charged topic.  And I want to hear from you.  What has been your experience with making big life changes you resisted for a long time, and what finally worked? Leave me a comment below.

    There are two more chapters coming on this topic. The next is how you can use the art of seduction to make those big life changes with ease and grace.  But that one my doves, you will have to wait for. Unless you want to jump right in with me in September's Seduction Is A Spiritual Practice.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    I lost 30 pounds...Oh No!

    I definitely used to "Mousercise" with Mickey
    Mouse Clubhouse.  If only I could find that photo.
    So.  Recently, I lost 30 pounds.

    I remember sitting in front of the mirror at 17, pinching my belly, rounding my spine as much as possible to get my belly to look like Jabba the Hut, praying that I would be struck with enough self hatred to lead to an “ah ha!” moment. One that would make me say “enough is enough” and result in me losing 30 pounds like those lucky bitches I read about every month in Self magazine. When I was 17, and I saw my precious teenage body changing and growing beyond my control, I decided that 170 was the weight that I would start seriously considering suicide.  I got up to about 170 at age 18, and then dipped down to 150 after a summer of, well, drugs.  For me, at any point in my life, a significant weight loss can be a big deal.

    After my teen years, I went deep down into how I felt about and treated my body.  I did A LOT of inner work to change how I felt about my curves. I did have a miraculous transformation, but I didn’t lose a single pound.  What changed was my belief about beauty, bodies, being a woman, everything.  One of the results of this work was becoming a burlesque performer.  As a woman with a curvaceous, voluptuous body, burlesque taught me that it is not the flat stomach or the perky boobs that make a woman.  It is her smile, her light, and how much she loves herself that will determine how the audience, and the world, feels about her. This was a huge lesson for me that spilled over into every area of my life.  

    As I was performing and teaching my burlesque/seduction classes,  my weight vacillated between 165 and 175.  I was fine with that, and my students loved it.  They loved my body.  They loved to watch me dance and perform and seduce.  I didn’t have the “perfect” body, but I sure as hell didn’t care, and that opened up the possibility for them to not care either.  Many women told me how watching me perform profoundly changed how they felt about their own bodies.  Once, after performing at a dear friend’s engagement party, an icon from the fashion world came up to me and said “Kitty, your body makes me want to gain weight”. Wow, I thought.  My body is powerful.

    So, after making some changes in my self care over the last few months, imagine my surprise when I hopped on the scale at the doctor’s office and the nurse reported in a blase tone “151”.  
    What?  Check again. That’s not possible. How could I have lost 25 pounds? I knew my clothes felt smaller, but Jesus! For a girl who used to weigh herself before and after a poop just for the satisfaction of seeing the ounces go down, this was going to take some adjusting.

    The most shocking thing is, after a lifetime of weight loss being a holy grail, my first reaction was to hearing that number was “Oh NO!” Who am I without my total voluptuousness?  My body is my edge.  I mean, who is going to trust a girl that promotes body adoration if she herself doesn’t have a belly paunch? And what about my acts? I will no longer be making a political statement with my body, I’ll look like I’m just doing it to look pretty! And what about when I meet people and tell them what I do? With fat on my body I felt protected.  Like, “yes I teach seduction and striptease to empower women, you got a problem with that?” Without that protection I felt like I would be judged as slutty, vapid, without substance.  Just another skinny girl trying to make women conform to what the culture says their body should look like.

    Then I heard a voice (inside my head): “Hey cutie! Knock, Knock! Who’s thinking these things? Them, or YOU?” It’s kind of funny and really humbling when you realize that after dedicating your life to women loving their bodies, you actually judge the living hell out of women with bodies that look more like the culture’s feminine ideal.

    So this is my next life lesson.  Learning to love my body at any weight.  Even a lower one.  Of course I enjoy feeling more comfortable in my clothes, feeling lighter and stronger and more connected to my body.  But what I am working on right now is that I do not need my body to speak for me.  My body is going to change and evolve with me throughout my whole life. I have a voice.   I have a life I am living.  I have thoughts, dreams and opinions to share. So as I go on being myself, let’s just let her be herself too.

    You also have a voice,  thoughts, and  opinions, and I would love to hear them.  Leave me a comment on loving bodies of all sizes, your experiences with changes in weight, or anything you
    would like to share with me in the comments below.  

    And, if body love, body worship and body adoration is something you could use a leg-up with, join me for Seduction Is A Spiritual Practice, September 14th and 15th.