So, I've been doing this lifestyle improvement thing for a couple of months now. I do have a lot to say about how I've changed from the vantage point of health and how I feel. But since I'm the first to admit that I'm hardly doing this for the good of my health, this post is a brief run down of how my figure is adapting. (Yes, this is superficiality incarnate. Feel free to skip this one... It's not exactly an opus.)
I'm one of those people who tends to gain weight gradually and evenly. There are obvious pluses to this tendency. Evenly distributed extra fat is easy to disguise. Alas, left unchecked, inevitably one wakes up one morning and looks kind of larger everywhere. It's kind of reverse analogous to that 100g skein of Abrazos I'm always nattering on about, the one I'm using to knit the Karner Wrap. I swear, I can knit for HOURS with that yarn - hours over DAYS - and every time I reweigh the skein the scale does not budge. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, the weight of the skein drops by 10 grams in an instant. Who can understand these mysteries??
Sidebar: I find it hilarious that I will not weigh myself (because I find it without merit) but I weigh my yarn obsessively. Obsessively.
At any rate...
A couple of months ago I took my measurements. It wasn't because I wanted to document them as a starting point of the New Regime. I constantly take my measurements to assist me in sewing. I noted however, on taking those measurements, that they were more robust than they had been in the 5 years I've been sewing. Which may have predisposed me to freak the fuck out and check out the local gym. Or maybe I was just having an enlightened fitness moment. I'll let you decide.
As you know I have no issues writing about my measurements - look back in the archives and you'll see numerous posts in which they arementioned with nary a care. But that was to support a discussion of sewing. I feel, honestly, bizarre posting about my measurements in the context of how I look and specifically in the context of how I'd like those dimensions to decrease. It seems a bit crass, no? Furthermore, when I discuss those dimensions in the context of wanting them to decrease, am I sending unintended messages to others about their own shapes? I mean, seriously, even though I seem never to post new photos of myself, there are actually hundreds of pictures of me (as recently as 2 weeks ago), scattered on the blog, taken over the last seven years. It's not like my appearance is a mystery.
In the interests of science, I've decided to share the info, though it goes without saying I am my own particular shape and size, and numbers are just useful from a relative perspective.
My "pre-Regime" measurements were: 34" upper bust, 38" full bust, 31" under bust, 31" natural waist, 35" lower abdomen/high hip (above hip, below natural waist - where most of my fat lives), 41" hips. Didn't bother with arms or legs.
Note: Each of these measurements was between 1-2 inches higher than it had been 2 years ago. I opted not to go back in the notes farther than this because I didn't think I'd like what I'd see. In full disclosure: I was 3 seconds from getting my period when I took these, and it was about 5 minutes after I returned from the food-fest that was Europe.
After 2 months of 60 minutes of yoga (which is mainly what I've been doing) 4-5 times a week (in addition to my 5ish miles of daily walking as transportation), my measurements are currently: 32" upper bust, 37" full bust (mainly from increased tone in my back), 29.5" under bust, 30" waist, 34" lower abdomen zone, 40" hips.
While no one's said: OMG, you look so fantastically toned and svelte like an actress in the movies!, a comment I've heard a few times is: You seem kind of smaller. Not thinner - smaller. Cuz when I lose mass, I lose it like I gain it - a little bit at a time, all over. And truthfully, despite my massive personality, I'm a slight-boned, short person. I am kind of small when I get back to basics.
FYI, I'm pleased with the trend. I'm not as toned - or as small - as I hope to be in another 2 months. But it's a move in the right direction.
I do want to focus for a second on what I've been doing on the mat - just to clarify that I'm working pretty actively:
- 3, 60-75 minute active yoga practices wherein I move constantly and with an active core (vinyasa, power, flow, modified ashtanga)
- 1-2, 60 minute moderate to restorative yoga practices (focus on forward bends and supported back bends)
Why, specifically, has this been effective to date? I really can't say. I'm certainly not eating less food. In fact, I'm loath to tell you that I've actually gone back to drinking booze mid-week. (What? I like booze and I have a teenaged daughter!) Maybe it's because I'm building lots of muscle mass. Maybe it has something to do with the endocrine-support element of yoga practice?
I do believe that I am experiencing these gains efficiently, with yoga, because my body is adapted to practice. My body knows how to move (even if it's not at its strongest). I am able to balance challenging postures with breathing which enables me to stay in those postures for a long time. I also have an entirely new perspective on practice - I'm doing it differently (an entire subject unto itself - but the gist is that I'm working less hard).
In terms of how I look (never mind the numbers): In my own opinion, I am definitely more toned. It's most noticeable in the upper abdomen, which has some nascent muscular ridges peaking out from under a layer of fat. I also see it in my arms and back. I've lost most mass at the under bust which means my band size is back at 30. I'll be fishing some bras out of the cupboard soon. It remains to be seen if the cups will also fit... I suppose if there's anyone who must restock the lingerie, I'm not a bad candidate. :-)
So, there you go. Anyone else on a New Regime? What have you noticed about changes in your own body? Are you a tape measurer, a scale-user or one of those who simply uses her eyes and clothes as evidence of change? Let's talk!