Weight gain is something many of us experience, especially when living the city life.
Weight has been an issue for me from a young age. I was five years old when my pediatrician diagnosed me with anemia.
I was prescribed iron for my deficiency. I couldn’t swallow pills, so I had to take liquid iron. I endured that awful metal taste for two whole years.
Ages seven through nine are when my body transformed from pale and skinny to overweight and doughy. At the time, I didn’t want to play outside. I much preferred playing video games and with my action figures (I had a wrestling organization with my toys) and listening to music. That’s not to say that I didn’t go outside and have fun, it was just not as often as a kid would normally enjoy.
That version of me could never even dream of being a healthy person, let alone being into yoga and stretching.
My sedentary habits would spill into adulthood and manifest when I moved in with my high school sweetheart at 19 years old.
I was inflexible, out of shape, and having weight issues. I injured my knee at work when lifting a heavy bag of cat litter, which led to me attending physical therapy. When attempting a hamstring stretch and failing, the physical therapist told me, “You are the least flexible 19-year-old I have ever seen.”
Inspired by the impolite comment made by a health professional, I enrolled in a stretching class at a community college. I only expected to go in and learn tools to heal my injury. I had no idea that this class would help change my self-identity and my life for the better.
The relationship with my high school sweetheart ended, which inspired me to quit drinking soda and eating fast-food. My weight was under control with my new diet of (mostly) peanut butter and jam sandwiches. I do not recommend this “diet” to anyone, but it was what worked for me at a time when I was extremely picky with food.
I became increasingly interested in improving my balance and flexibility, so I enrolled in a community college yoga class when I was 20 years old. I later added weight training to my routine, which got me into the best shape of my life.
Aside from alcohol dependency being an issue, I was living a relatively healthy lifestyle. I was in an Aztec dance group, going to school full-time, and helping take care of my nieces.
At age 24, I was pressured into a relationship that would last three years. My weight became out of control again. When I was finally able to let go of that relationship, I was able to gain control of my weight. I vowed to myself that I would never let myself get to that point again, and I would be proactive about my weight.
I spent the remainder of my 20s maintaining my optimal weight and even going underweight for a brief time. Now and then I would still do yoga, but at that point, it was difficult to get back into my flow after neglecting my body for a few years.
I was nearing my thirtieth birthday when I met the love of my life. I spent the 2018 holidays with her family, and overate at every gathering, in addition to drinking wine. Once again, I gained all the extra weight back.
A gym membership was my solution to this issue. I was able to get my weight down, but I was still overeating, which made it impossible to achieve my goal weight.
In February 2020, everything changed. My girlfriend became extremely sick, followed by myself in March. We’re not sure whether or not we had COVID-19 (as it was not possible for us to be tested at the time), but we sure had all the symptoms for two solid weeks.
Gyms were closed down in March, so I fell out of my good habits. With an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, I regained the extra weight one more time.
It was Easter Sunday 2020 when I had to face the music. My girlfriend and I were in the bathroom of her grandparents’ house when she pulled out the scale. I looked down in disbelief when I saw the proof that my overeating had become a serious issue.
This time around, I was experiencing severe pain in my neck and could barely feel my fingers. Yoga and exercise did little to improve my anguish. I was beginning to feel hopeless.
The despair and melodrama ceased when I saw a video on YouTube starring pro-wrestling legend Mick Foley discussing his experience with DDP Yoga (DDPY). If you’re not familiar with old Mick’s body of work, just know that the link attached to this article is not for the faint of heart, despite the inspiring story.
Witnessing Mick’s body transformation inspired me. He went from being obese and barely being able to walk to running and making a brief return to professional wrestling. I thought, If Mick can heal himself and improve his life after the many traumas he endured, then I certainly can do it too.
DDP Yoga is led by its namesake, Diamond Dallas Page (DDP), a former professional wrestler.
DDPY is a low-impact fitness and flexibility program that focuses on core strength development. The poses are based around yoga, but this is not a yoga program, it’s an exercise program.
One of the incredible things about DDPY is the fact that anybody can do it. There are workouts for those who are bedridden, have limited mobility, beginners, intermediate, advanced, and extreme. The beginner through advanced workouts offer modifications for poses and exercises.
Since beginning DDPY in May 2020, I have dramatically increased my cardio conditioning, strength, flexibility, neuroplasticity, spinal alignment, posture, and confidence.
In January 2021, I began intermittent fasting two days per week, but over the three months of this practice, it became increasingly difficult and always left me feeling fatigued. It did help me lose 20 pounds, so it was certainly helpful. I now do a nightly 12-hour fast as of April 2021.
As I am typing this article, I am five pounds away from my goal weight. This time I mean it when I say that I am now in control of my weight and my life.
Weight gain is something many of us experience when we are not properly educated about nutrition, physical/mental/spiritual fitness, and mindfulness. It is not always easy to stay on this path, and we all stray from our paths sometimes.
The moments where we fall apart are our opportunities for growth and happiness.
Through all the weight struggles and all the pain that accompanies it, I have learned to love myself through how I eat and how I treat my body.
My struggles with weight have come down to one thing: mindfulness. Mindful eating, meditation, and love.
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