Yoga, Caffeine, and Losing Weight

It has been almost two years since my life changed quite drastically after the first quarter of 2006.  At that time I was a little under 150lbs in weight, I worked out four to five times a week and despite mounting stress in life had been able to keep almost every part of my life in check.  However, after getting divorced and then changing jobs in the space of a few weeks, everything just sort of collapsed around me as I spent more of my time trying to stay afloat than anything else.  Fortunately, I was able to get hold of myself and after a period of grieving, emotional outpour, and adjustment I began to survey my situation and form a plan to start moving forward.  There was a lot of work to do and a metric asston of emotional baggage to sort through, but it was relieving to feel that I was on the start of the up-curve.  Thanks to superb support from my wonderful partner Meaghan, I now- two years later- feel as though we are approaching the final few items that need attention.

Part of working through all of these complex issues was prioritization and focus.  I was simply unable to solve everything at once and so selected several items to start with, shelving the others for review at a later date.  One of the things that got shelved almost right away was that of diet and exercise.  I didn’t fall into a fast food habit or buy shares in Doritos, rather my former fastidiousness on what passed for sustenance became a little bit cobwebby.  Furthermore, this was a less a conscious decision to become a fat lazy bum and more a natural consequence of the overwhelming task of recovering from what I have to say was without doubt the most difficult time I have faced in my life.  Fortunately, as time went on, the natural urges to eat more carefully and workout judiciously returned and grew.

Last March I gave up caffeine.  I have the tiniest amount of control freak syndrome in my personality and on very rare occasions have been known to stress out about a few things either at home or at work.  Caffeine exacerbates that behavior and I decided that I really didn’t need it so it may as well get the boot.  After about three weeks of pounding headaches and a fuzzy disoriented feeling (I was a pretty heavy caffeine drinked), I awoke one morning with more natural energy and excitement for the day than any amount of super-charged Mountain Dew could ever provide.  I managed to avoid caffeine completely until just a few weeks ago.  Fortunately, the situation that caused my relapse into the world of adenosine blockers has resolved positively (thank you to everyone for your support) and two weeks ago I cut out caffeine once more1.

The last two weeks have also seen my return to yoga.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I returned of my own volition as opposed to forcing myself to work out, something that has worked so much more productively.  Allowing my practice to return organically a couple of times a week has meant that I enjoy my time on the mat instead of feeling as though it is a chore to be checked off a list.  Similarly with diet, the cravings for healthier foods and smaller portions have returned because I enjoy the extra energy and lighter feeling that comes with it.  It took a long time to get here, but it’s really great to watch it happen without pressure.

In terms of losing weight, I have found that it comes as a consequence of the two points listed above.  I always snicker when I hear people say that they are “watching their weight”.  For me, no matter how intensely I stare at the numbers on a scale each morning they don’t seem to change day by day; I really don’t see that observation is making a difference.  Poor jokes aside, I have consistently found that by getting my life in a place where good diet and regular exercise come naturally, the associated weight loss follows without any additional effort.

In summary, the last two years have been hard and have taken their toll on me both physically and emotionally.  Thanks to the continued dedication and love I receive from my life partner each and every day and a lot of hard work and effort, the fruits of that labor are beginning to really show as I feel more energized and happier than I can remember for a long time.  It’s great to see it all start to come together.

1 The headaches only lasted for a couple of days this time.

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