I was doing so well.  I ate clean, didn’t drink alcohol and cut out processed sugar in January.  I did yoga for 28 straight days in February, while I continued to eat clean 80% of the time, maybe more; and though I did drink a couple of times, it was not a big deal.  Then March arrived and I didn’t have a planned challenge set up for myself.  Big mistake.  I fell off the sugar wagon in a HUGE way.  I know I’ve written about my addiction to sugar in the past, but for the life of me, I cannot find that post.  If I repeat myself, please forgive me.

So, the first week or so of March, I did okay.  Not doing yoga every single day meant that I could finally get more walking in, which I love and is necessary for my overall health and well-being.  I continued to do Bikram on Wednesdays, mainly because my Groupon was good for two months and I figured, why not use it?  I am definitely not crazy about the class, though the sweating is a good thing.  As it turned out, today was my last day at Coronado Hot Yoga,  unless I wish to buy a class card, which I don’t.  I have another class in mind for Wednesdays, starting next week.  But enough of what I did right.  It was the stupid sweet-tart jelly beans that knocked me off the sugar wagon, which resulted in me going waaay wrong.

Easter is a big problem for me.  Halloween I can get through without too much of a problem, simply because there are no jelly beans, at least not ones that call to me, to have to contend with.  Easter, though, is a whole other story.  And as I was innocently walking past Rite Aid, I went in and, lo and behold, Easter candy.  And not just any candy, but SWEET-TART JELLY BEANS.  So I accidentally bought a bag.  I took it home, opened it up and ate a handful.  ‘Yuck,’ I thought, ‘these aren’t even that good.’  I then proceeded to throw the rest of the bag into the garbage, and just for good measure, I made sure there was no way I could retrieve them from said garbage.  I then thought, ‘well, this is good.  I ate them, they didn’t taste good, so I’ll be fine.’  Wishful thinking!  A few days later, I bought another bag.  I went through the exact same process, ending with me dumping them into the garbage.  Again.  I did this, oh, three more times until I developed a taste for them again.  What a dumb thing to do!  And my hot flashes came back with a vengeance.  Lovely, just lovely.

So, I’d go through a bag in a few days.  I decided that maybe this wasn’t horrible, not great, but not so bad.  Oh, I wish this was the case.  Then the day came when I bought a bag and ate the ENTIRE thing in one day.  Well, crap!  Again, I told myself, NO MORE.  And I’d go, maybe a day or two, if I was really lucky, and then those stupid jelly beans would somehow get in my shopping cart and come home with me.  Not wanting to be impolite, I would, of course, eat them all, yet again.  Then I decided that I would just have to get through Easter.  At this point, it was less than a week away, and once Easter is finished, the stupid Easter candy in the stores is gone.  Thank God!  But wouldn’t you know it, the day after Easter, all Easter candy is half-price!  Are you kidding me?  How am I to resist half-price sweet-tart jelly beans?  I did my best to stay out of the store where they lay in wait for me.  You can guess how well that worked.  Not so well, unfortunately.

I will say that even though there were four bags of those pretty jelly beans, I only bought two of them.  I almost bought them all, but I somehow had some sense left and just got two bags.  In the end, I ate three-quarters of them before throwing the rest away.  Again, I made sure that fishing them out of the trash was not an option, because I’m pretty sure I would have otherwise.

Now, I have to get off sugar again.  Really?  Didn’t I just do this?  Why is it so hard for me to not eat processed sugar?  Why do I seem powerless over jelly beans?  Even when eating them makes me feel like crap?  Sugar truly is a drug to me, and my body reacts accordingly.  Maybe it’s like rehab, and how it sometimes takes more than one or two or three, or more, times for it to stick.  Dang!  I guess there are worse thing s to be addicted to, but, for me, this is pretty bad.  As I sit here writing this post, I keep having hot flashes.  They suck!  A lot!!

I have my work cut out for me, yet again.  I also realized that as much as I love yoga, and practicing it five days a week is much more doable than every day, I am still not getting the exercise I really need.  Other than my ashtanga class with the fabulous Steve Hubbard in Pacific Beach on Saturdays, I really do not get much of a workout.  I decided I need to give up my Tuesday and Thursday beach yoga classes so that I can walk more.  This means I will be cutting my yoga down to 3 days a week.  Hey, if I didn’t have to work, then I could do both.  The reality is I do have to work and the relatively late start times of these yoga classes is making it impossible for me to keep doing them.  I can leave to walk much earlier, which means I’ll be home earlier and can get to work before 10 or 11 each morning.

I know that these problems I am experiencing are, as my friend Stephanie Spence calls them, Prada problems.  Still, figuring out how to make my life work for me is an ongoing challenge.  Fortunately, I am up to it.



The yoga studio I most go to when not doing beach yoga is Mosaic.  Starting on the 21st of this month, they are beginning a 30-Day Challenge, which includes doing yoga for 30 days, eating clean, and meditating.   I thought I would participate, but after looking at the studio’s class schedule, I realized there was no way to make it work for me.  So I decided to make my own challenge.  I started on February 1, which makes today the eighth day of my challenge.  My usual yoga schedule for the last year or so has been beach yoga on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with the occasional class at Mosaic when it rained.

I love to walk, and as I’ve talked about before, pre-attack, I used to walk 60-90 miles each week.  The reason I got so much mileage is living on Coronado Island and walking everywhere.  My actual workout walk would be anywhere from 6-10 miles, depending on the day.  As I have also mentioned before, after my attack, my walking went to zero miles per week.  I could barely even walk to the grocery store in the middle of the day.  Eventually I was able to get back to walking, but only after the sun came up.  I have never gotten back to the kind of miles I used to put in.  That is partly because of not walking in the dark and partly because I’ve been really busy with work and don’t feel like I can take the time to walk when I need to be working.  In any case, my schedule of late has been walk on Mondays, walk sometimes early with my friend Mike on Tuesdays, bike to beach yoga on Tuesdays at 8:30a, Wednesdays sometimes walk, but usually this would be my off day, Thursdays bike to beach yoga at 8a, Fridays walk, Saturdays walk and Sundays walk to beach yoga at 9:30.  It may sound like a lot, but, really, it isn’t.  I need to move my body.  A lot.

For the month of January, I decided to drink no alcohol, eat clean, cut out sugar and processed carbs.  Though I was not 100% successful, I’d say I was better than 90% ‘good.’   I was actually in bars 3 different times during the month and drank only water.  That wasn’t as hard as it sounds when one of the bars I was in has drinks that are $15.50 without tax and tip!  Anyway, I chose to begin the year with a cleanse of sorts because I have yet to lose the weight gained after my attack.  And while it is not much, at most 10-15 pounds, and since I am tall and was thin to begin with, it’s not like I look bad; I am just not comfortable, and so decided that 2015 is the year to make it happen.  I have to say the biggest benefit of not eating sugar, which is what alcohol becomes, is very few hot flashes, and even the ones I’ve had have been tiny and not disruptive.  That alone should be enough to keep me from ever drinking again!  And to be honest, I did have one, and only one, glass of champagne on the 31st, so I did not remain alcohol-free the entire month.  I haven’t had anything since though, so that must count for something.

For February, with the idea planted in my brain to do yoga for 30 days, I decided to challenge myself to do it every day this month.  Saturday was an easy choice: go back to doing the ashtanga class I used to do in Pacific Beach.  Now I just needed to fill Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  The obvious choice for this was to do Bikram yoga at the studio here on the island.  Best of all, they have a 6a class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Perfect!  (I did a class there almost 2 years ago, and though I didn’t hate it, I had never gone back.  It really was difficult with hot flashes and made them worse.  I couldn’t see torturing myself even more so.)  I got a Groupon for $99 of 2 months unlimited yoga.  So, I had my schedule down: M,W,F Bikram, T, Th, Su, beach yoga and Sa ashtanga in Pacific Beach.  I figured the biggest challenge would be M,W,F, and oh, was I right.

I did okay on my first Bikram class last Monday.  Yes, I sweated buckets, but, thankfully, the heat did not give me hot flashes (must be the no sugar.)  Also, since I am a year more into my practice of yoga in general, I am simply stronger and better able to do the poses.  So, my first class was okay.  Since beach yoga is never a problem, Tuesday’s class was uneventful.  I did choose to walk to it, just to get some walking in.  Wednesday’s Bikram class had me wondering what I was thinking making this challenge for myself.  I was so sore.  I have been ‘Epsom salting’ myself on a nightly basis, which I’m sure helps, but I was really hurting.  I went to bed at 8:30p and slept 9 hours.  I also took ibuprofen in the middle of the night and woke up feeling much better.  Thursday beach yoga was good, as usual.  I wasn’t so much dreading Friday’s Bikram class as I was looking forward to Saturday and Sunday, which meant no Bikram.  Talk about a vacation!

Yesterday’s ashtanga class, which I had not been to since June, was awesome.  It is a pretty challenging class, but I love it.  This class is outside, on the grass above the ocean, not on the actual beach.  Steve Hubbard is the instructor and this class has grown from just a few at the beginning 7 or 8 years ago to over 200 people today.  There were between 230 and 250 yogis at yesterday’s class!  And today’s beach class was also wonderful.

Tomorrow it is back to Bikram at 6a.  I think, maybe, hopefully, the first week was the hardest.  While I cannot imagine ever loving Bikram the way I love doing yoga on the beach or my class in Pacific Beach, stranger things have happened.  I will continue to keep my mind open and enjoy the challenge I set for myself.

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The picture is from my Saturday class, taught by the wonderful Steve Hubbard.  I took this shot from Steve’s Facebook page.  You sure can’t beat the location!