How I Lost Weight By Quitting The Gym and Whole30

 

For years I obsessed

with body weight and workouts.

I used to wake up every morning at 5 AM

and spend two hours at the gym before work Monday through Friday

I did 10 Whole 30s over the course of four years

I completely change my eating habits

yet still nothing “happened”.

 

Through all of my hard work, I still felt “not completely me”

 

I developed irrational non-negotiables for cheese and bread

but instead ate endless amounts of Laurabars and Paleo desserts.

 

I took many progress pics over the years so I could see all of this hard work pay off.

Surely it would all be worth it once I looked “better”.

But I didn’t enjoy working out. At all.

Whole30 was making me sorta crazy.

I felt restricted. Not free.

My own choices felt hard… not easy.

 

So I stopped working out.

I quit my job and left the life I knew.

I stopped freaking out about bread and cheese and beer and beans.

I stopped obsessing over the rules of Whole30

and how many squats will lift my ass an inch higher.

 

I stopped so I could start living my life.

 

Earlier this year I stepped on the scale out of curiosity

and I saw a number I haven't seen in probably 10 years

I was kind of in disbelief so gave it a redo

Same number, same me.

I didn't feel like I'd accomplished anything, because I wasn't trying to.

 

I’ve just been living a life that feels good

And this body of mine followed suit.

 

The only change I've made is:

my relationship to myself

 

Asking:

What do I want?

How do I want to feel?

Am I full?

Do I feel the need to move? to sweat?

What do I need right now to feel good?

 

I eat in the moment now. I'm not worried about my food choices for the next 30 days, I'm just interested in now. This is my story - and only a short piece of it.

My experience is mine and we are all different, but I do believe one thing to be true for us all:

Working on relationship to self will do more for you than working out, eating Whole30, or reading any damn book.

 

What’s your relationship with yourself like?

How might you treat yourself like someone you love?

 


Life Advice from a 27 Year Old

 

I woke up to the smell of homemade sourdough baking in the oven. It was 9:13am and I reached for my notebook tangled in sheets and blankets.

 

27.

 

What is it like to be 27? I’m not sure. I’ve never had this age cross my mind. 23 year old me would say, “Age doesn’t matter. I just feel alive.”

 

22 year old me would say, “OMG I don’t eat bread!”

But with time comes experience. More words on pages and more thoughts in my mind.

My 27th birthday has been nothing short of magical and simple.

I woke up and wrote. Just like I do every morning. But today was supposed to be different. I was going to write something profound because I am now 27. Surely.

Instead I wrote about the smell of fresh sourdough baking, the sound of the shower flowing in the bathroom, the birds chirping outside, my ovaries and fear of “getting old”. I wrote about my old friends and friends I hope to meet. I wrote about me.

“I am a woman who lays in bed most days thinking about who I am.

I’m free - to do and be whatever I please. That’s wild.

I love and care and feel so much.

I’m self published. That’s badass.

27… nothing is really coming to me. Nothing wildly insightful anyway.”

But, I was wrong this morning. My life is wildly beautiful.  

Chandler and I sat here tonight wondering what life will be like in 10 years. I can’t even imagine. The past 6 months have been a dream. The past year? Insane. It’s incredible… this life I’ve been given.

As I read a new book and wrote this morning, this question came up, “What makes me different (from others)?”

I wrote:

I quit my job because staying was scarier.

I’m writing in bed at 10am while others are working.

Any coffee less than amazing makes me turn my nose up.

I’m not concerned with working out or sweating really.

I write a lot and it lights me up.

I’m unsure of how to make friends as an adult.

I did 10 Whole30s and now I eat bread and cheese and drink beer.

I’m not regular. I’m quite odd really.

I’m in love with flowers and birds and the sky.

The beauty of nature makes me cry.

I’m not afraid to tell my partner what’s on my mind. We actually talk.

I’m energetic and positive. And I get excited easily. It’s a lot for some. And, it’s me.

I can be bratty in my head, making up fairytale stories, but I’m grateful as ever.

I will not hustle.

I will not strive.

I refuse to force

what’s not right for me.

I will not torture myself

with the standards of others.

I have softened.

I am me.

I am only here right now.

 

I called my grandma as I drove home from spending the day with my mom. We caught up and she joked about being 88.

88. What?! And here I am... 27.

This life is wild. And this is all I’ve got for you this year.

No “26 lessons I’ve learned in my life.”

Just the beauty of slowing down and living. Actually, really living.

 

Do that. It’s incredible.

-H

 

Hailey HeishmanComment
3 Things to Know Before You Start Yoga

 

I walked into the unbearably hot room with my friend Amber, we rolled out our mats, and braced ourselves for our first Bikram yoga class. It was so hot I kind of wanted to run out the door. But I wasn’t alone, so I stayed.

 

The teacher came in and immediately started class. It was kind of dark, we were all facing a mirrored wall, and I had no idea what I was doing. I remember trying not to look around at the others in class, but couldn’t help it because she kept saying all of these crazy yoga words.

 

By the time class was over I couldn’t decide if I felt invigorated or terrified.

 

Maybe you can relate?

 

I’ve certainly learned a lot since then and clearly didn’t stop practicing yoga altogether, but looking back there are some things I wish I would’ve known when I started. To help you avoid the surprise of a Bikram (or any intense) class, I’ve compiled a few things I wish I would've known before starting yoga.

 

3 Things to Know Before Starting Yoga  

 

There are sooo many styles of yoga

Like… there are “11 major types”, LOL!!! If you are jumping into a new class and like to avoid surprises, I advise doing some quick research before hand. It could mean the difference between a slow chill class and a sweaty intense Bikram class. I won’t bore you with a breakdown of all of the types, because that’s what Google is for, but these are the types of classes I frequent most: Baptiste Power Yoga, Buti Yoga, and any slower, meditative classes.

 

Yoga props are your friend

NO seriously. I think I stressed this enough in my yoga props blog post recently, but I mean it. Get yourself some yoga blocks and use them constantly. I used to get so frustrated in poses like twisting triangle and half moon because I just couldn’t find the alignment and balance and ease that I saw everyone in. In teacher training I learned how to use a block and those poses quickly became favorites of mine. Think of your blocks and strap as go-go-gadget extenders… they make your limbs longer, LOL! Also - If you’re going to a hot yoga class take a towel (or two).

 

You don’t have to be mega-flexible or super strong

There’s this weird misconception that you must be flexible in order to do yoga. I get it - damn advertising has skewed our views of who can do yoga (until late). Because of the power of social media and the incredible ability to build our own platforms, we now have access to seeing the entire world doing yoga. Seriously, just look under a few hashtags on Instagram and you’ll see all of the different body types, races, and genders showing off their practice. It’s beautiful really <3

 

Wherever you are on your journey, don’t give up. You’ll have really consistent months and then there will be times where you feel like you haven’t been on your mat for weeks. It’s okay. Your yoga mat isn’t going to get up and walk out on you. Just don’t forget to come back often : )

 

Good luck & Namaste!

 

 

If you’re looking to start your yoga journey and need guidance, Yoga Basics is starting on August 1st.


Yoga for Beginners: Necessary Props & Equipment
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When I started practicing yoga I had nothing but my pink $7 yoga mat and some DVDs I ordered online. I didn’t even know what a block might be used for, how a strap has many functions, or what a yoga wheel could do for me.

I practiced for years with just my yoga mat, oblivious to the fact that yoga props can make a profound impact on your practice.

The few times I was faced with having to use a yoga block at a studio I thought, “I don’t need a block!”. I felt offended by the item, rather than embracing the extra support. I soon learned that I actually (to this day) prefer a block in many poses and yoga straps are the bomb.com.

I constantly have students ask me questions like,

“Do I need a strap/block/wheel/bolster”

“Should I have one block or two?”

“What about mat towels and yoga socks and mat bags?”

 

I’ve also heard,

“I don’t want to buy all of this stuff if I don’t know how to use it”

“Can I learn first and then get the props I might need?”

“I don’t want to feel embarrassed because I need a block/strap during a class!”

 

Looking back on my own resistance with this stuff I smile and let my students know that props are YOUR FRIEND and we should all be using them to explore our practice. Period.

Also, they are worth it. Regardless of if you get yours on sale or buy the fanciest blocks that exists (which isn’t necessary), you’ll be glad you have them!!

So, what are the best and necessary props and the nice-to-have but don’t exactly need to get started?

You will see various opinions on the Internet and a lot of them are swayed by a brand partnerships, like “you must have these pants, they are the best!” *likely a clothing company endorsement* or “this mat is the only mat you should own!!” *likely a mat endorsement*. Be wary and do you research before buying.


Recommended Yoga Props for Beginners (and items you don't need just yet)

This is my honest, unsponsored-list of items you need and might-need for starting a yoga practice, in order of importance:

Must-Have Yoga Props & Equipment

Yoga Mat

My first yoga mat was a $7 yoga mat I picked up at TJ Maxx. It was great for starting in my basement and practicing on my own terms. But, as soon as I took it to a Bikram yoga class I realized how much I sweat and decided I needed a grippier mat. I then bought my Manduka pro. This one was also great for my home practice and slower, restorative flows. I used this mat daily until I took it to a hot yoga studio where early in the class the teacher gave me a mat towel because I was sliding around like a baby deer learning to walk on ice. Needless to say, I've been working with a business partner to bring an awesome mat to the market that you can actually afford, works with sweat/any practice, and does good in the world! *This is the mat I have now but it is a prototype (a.k.a. not for sale just yet). 

A note on mat towels: You will need one if you don't have a grippy mat and sweat a lot. So, it's up to you depending on your personal needs ;) 

Advice for purchasing:

  1. Research online first - Take note of price points you're comfortable with and features that you might be looking for (weight, length, thickness)
  2. Go to your local sporting goods store or yoga boutique and touch the mats! Feel there top coat and weight.
  3. Then, decide whether you’ll purchase from a local store or online.

*You can also do mat rentals at studios and “test-drive” them that way

Yoga Blocks

You need them. Two of them. Sizes, shapes, designs, and material differ so do you research here too. Foam blocks are the most common but you will also see cork and plastic blocks. I have all of the above. The foam blocks are the most comfortable, lightest in weight, and easiest to use during practice. They are also usually the least expensive.

Yoga Strap

Yoga straps are great for getting into poses that you can’t quite reach for yet (dancer pose, extended knee/toe raise, king pigeon, and so on). Straps can also be used as a mat strap (no need for a yoga mat bag then, huh?). That’s how I use mine. I loop and knot it to be used as my mat sling and then take it off, unroll my mat, and practice. This way I have it with me and it helps keep my mat rolled up in between.


Nice-to-Have Yoga Props & Equipment

Bolster

Bolsters are wonderful to have if you’re going to have a regular home practice. I use mine daily for different reasons. But, if you are going to a studio that has bolsters then I wouldn’t think it necessary to buy one as you’re getting started.

Yoga Wheel

A yoga wheel is wonderful for opening your shoulders and chest, practicing inversions, and learning new “tricks”. I didn’t get a yoga wheel until a few years into my practice and I still don’t use it as often as I thought I would. They are a little pricey and definitely not necessary for practice. If you want one (like everything else) do you research before you buy : )

A note on yoga clothes:

This is a very subjective and personal matter (oddly enough). You can find good yoga clothing from $10 - $200 depending on where you look. I think the most important thing is to make sure you are comfortable in your clothing (seriously, like make sure they fit and you’re not constantly pulling and adjusting throughout your practice). Whatever you need to buy and wear to limit your distractions is up to you. I do recommend doing some research on actual clothing companies before buying from them. believe this should be thought about in all purchases, but want to emphasize here too :)


Want to learn more about Yoga Basics? 

Sign up for my free 5-day yoga training where you’ll get my complete step-by-step system for:

  • figuring out how to start a yoga practice that's right for you, 

  • understanding what all of the yoga props and accessories are for,

  • and, get actionable advice on how to begin your journey.