Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Jun 01

Move that body while you still can!

I think we can all agree that sometimes, the fear of the unknown can keep us from doing things that we know may actually be good for us.  I seem to have a head as thick as a brick because I find myself experiencing this concept over and over again.  When I’ve completed a task that I had to FORCE myself to do, 99% of the time I am glad that I did it.  Why is it so hard to listen to my instincts?  Don’t I know myself better than anyone else?  When that nagging thought keeps looping over and over again saying, ‘You should really do this…..you should really do this’ why do I hesitate?  It frustrates me beyond belief.

Perfect example:  how long have I been talking about going to Hot Yoga? I was too embarrassed to look back to previous posts so I don’t know how many times I’ve posted about it but I do know it’s been several.   I asked a couple of people about Hot Yoga last year, specifically, ‘What’s it like in there?’ My only response:

It’s freaking hot!

Every time I pictured myself in Hot Yoga, I thought of one of those sweat lodges where people feel like they’re going to pass out from the heat.  Denied water and any way out, the room becomes more and more intolerable with each downward facing dog. You are like a wilted plant on your mat, melting in a puddle of your own sweat.  Great analogy, huh? Don’t you wish you had my creative mind?  Not!

Well, I finally got off of my rear end and decided that this was the week to get in that class.  Here’s the pep talk I gave myself that got me there:

In four days you won’t be able to get off of a toilet without assistance.  Don’t you want to appreciate every move you can comfortably make with your body between now and then?

Good God, yes

So, I went.  And you know what?  I loved the class (shocker, huh?)

Things that I wish someone had told me about Hot Yoga.  If I’d known these two things, I’d have gone a long time ago:

1.  For someone with Raynaud’s Syndrome (an annoying condition where your hands and feet are cold 90% of the time) a class like this is sheer bliss.  The air feels like a warm blanket on a chilly night.

2.  I cannot get over how much more FLEXIBLE I am in this class.  No one told me that I’d be able to sink into poses that I have trouble doing in a 70 degree room.

3.  It wasn’t that hot.  The temperature was around 103 degrees with 30% humidity.

I am going to miss yoga a lot while I’m recovering.  And the interesting thing is, I’ve been trying to find some information on when it’s safe to begin reintroducing yoga after major abdominal surgery – I cannot find anything.   Weird. I know that twists and backbends are going to be out for a while, but really – I have no idea what’s safe to do and what isn’t.

Patty’s funeral was on Wednesday.  It went well as far as funerals go, I guess.  Her children gave me a photo that I forgot was ever taken.  It was a picture of us at Patty’s 90th birthday party:

Such a good photo of her.  My sweet lady.


I’ll check in with you all once more before I head off to the hospital.  Have a good weekend.


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  1. LOVE the photo! It’s so nice to see Patty (and you…you look fab!). I almost tried hot yoga once…but then didn’t. One of these days. I think I’d love it too…

    • Ellen says:

      beginner’s hot yoga, Karen. I guess the full-on hot yoga classes are up to 1.5 hours long and each pose is done twice. These are done just once which I think is perfect for right now.

  2. Jan says:

    What a beautiful photo of both you and Patty. She looks so sweet (and very happy to be posing in a picture next to you). :) I love it!

    So glad you enjoyed Hot Yoga! I’m very proud of you for stepping outside of your comfort zone yet again and making it happen.

    Continuing to pray for you as you get ready for your upcoming surgery.

    • Ellen says:

      Thank you, Jan. I am glad that I tried it. I’m in tune with a lot of things that my body is capable of doing right now and trying to appreciate every little thing. Even weeding, which is what I did today!

  3. Connie says:

    Great photo! You both look very happy to be together! What a great thing!

    I’ve only heard great things about hot yoga although I’ve never tried it myself. I’ve heard the same thing you experienced – that you can get deeper in the poses because your muscles are warm. When I was taking yoga the room was around 80 to 82 degrees (which is just warm – not hot) but the instructor did that so we could get depper in to our poses. Makes sense when you think about it. I’m so glad you enjoyed the class and I hope you can do it again soon.

    I wish you luck with your surgery.

    • Ellen says:

      Thank you for the well-wishes, Connie. It figures that as soon as I find enough courage to go to that class, I now WON’T be able to go back for a couple of months. Sigh. Teaches me to stop putting things off!!

  4. Kyra says:

    Love the photo! I have the same syndrome with my hands and feet, so it’s tempting to try it, but I too have the claustrophobic fear of the heat, because I AM one of those people who gets easily overheated and to pass-out level pretty quick… hmmm… Might go poke around a bit more though.

    • Ellen says:

      I put my mat by the door; that way I could just slip out if needed. I might not enjoy it as much during the summer months, but in the winter when I’m ALWAYS cold – that class will be most welcome.

  5. Roxie says:

    I love a woman who will wear a hat! That Patty must have been something extra special – you look fabulous in that photo, too, btw.

    I hear you on the “feel the fear and do it anyway” thing. I’m so glad that you loved the hot stuff! My daughter loves it, too.

    I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you as you approach your surgery. It will all be okay – better than you ever expected – once it’s all said and done. You can do this, I just know it.

    • Ellen says:

      You know, people would stop us wherever we went – and I mean when EVER she wore that hat and tell her how much they loved it. She always wore hats, and looked great in them.
      Thank you for your good vibes regarding surgery. I cannot begin to describe how ready I am to get this thing over with. I will never put myself through this kind of waiting torture again if I have the option to do otherwise. The anxiety of it all has been crazy!

      • Roxie says:

        OMG, your “waiting torture” comment reminded me…

        My hysterectomy came as the outcome of cervical cancer and at I time when I was at Most Obese. Due to some insurance snafus there was a bit of a delay in getting things lined up for surgery. I was lamenting this fact to a rather ditzy, but sweet , woman in my office.

        Me: “This wait is killing me.”
        She: “One problem at a time, Roxie, one problem at a time”

        Another gem from same woman when all the office were gathered talking about dream vacations:

        Me: “I’d like to go killer whale watching”
        She: “OMG, would you be on the boat when they were killing the whales”.

  6. I adore that photo of you and Patty. It should totally be your Facebook pic if you had an account. (And if you do, you need to add me as a friend!)

    I used to do Bikram Hot Yoga several times a week. I loved it until I didn’t. All of a sudden the room got too hot and I couldn’t handle it anymore. Weird! Glad you went though!

    • Ellen says:

      She had such a good day that day. On her napkins were printed, ‘Only the Good Die Young’. She got a big kick out of that.
      I haven’t tried Bikram. Will have to look into that!

  7. Cindy says:

    Wonderful photo of you and Patty. You both are so happy.
    I don’t like hot environments. Why? Because I’ve been in a sweat lodge! I didn’t just feel like I was going to pass out…I thought I was going to DIE!! I asked to be let out. I was told “no.” I began to panic and asked again. Same response. I then threatened a lawsuit and seriously interrupted everyone’s meditation. ( I was desperate) I was let out. Oh, the horror. I was so embarrassed. I can’t imagine doing hot yoga for this reason. :)
    Praying you stay peaceful and confident these next few days before your surgery! You’re gonna do great!

    • Ellen says:

      omg, you’ve actually BEEN in a sweat lodge?? Holy cow, it’s a wonder you can tolerate heat at all. I don’t blame you for reconsidering hot yoga. I wouldn’t do it either. I think an experience like that would make me claustrophobic.
      Thank you for your well-wishes, Cindy. I’m more than ready to get in there and get it over with!

  8. Munchberry says:

    My she was spiffy. No wonder you adored her – she looked like a sweet and special character.

    You will not remember – but I can never get it out of my mind – I went to hot yoga. I so wish I loved yoga, much less that hell yoga. But I can see how someone with cold extremities might like it. Me, I sweat too much under the boobs. And elsewhere. That I will not bore you with. Ok gross you out with. And my sniffer is too sensitive for that environment. Need I explain? NO? Fine.

    Ask your doctor about the work out schedule and what you have in mind. If you go and feel crappy, you stop. I know – aren’t I the queen of insight?

    • Ellen says:

      Oh, but I DO remember the hot yoga story. Actually, it was shortly after I began reading your blog. I haven’t referred to it since but I recall something about the smell of a dirty diaper making you half sick and you had to leave? I don’t know why that image has stuck with me all these months! lol

    • Hanlie says:

      Munchberry, you just mentioned all the reasons why I probably wouldn’t go for hot yoga!

  9. Hmmm…. I never considered it before but I am very inflexible. Hmmm. Hope all goes smoothly with your surgery and you have a speedy recovery.

    • Ellen says:

      I think you might just love it, Karen – especially if you’re not very flexible. I was amazed at the things I could do. It makes sense, actually – but I never considered it until I experienced it. It’s like you own a different body for a while! lol

  10. I can’t even imagine how much you must treasure that photo of you and Patty. You both look radiant, and isn’t that the best way to remember someone?

    As for the hot yoga, I’m not sure where I got the idea that it would be hot AND humid. Good to know it’s not, in case the 10% chance I’ll actually go to a hot yoga class comes to fruition. :)

    • Ellen says:

      No, the humidity is low – thank goodness. Otherwise It wouldn’t be very much fun – to me, anyway.
      I really do adore that photo. I’m searching for the perfect frame for it.

  11. LauraJayne says:

    I love hot yoga too, and I’m so glad you tried it! For me, it’s exactly what I need to keep myself present in the class instead of letting my mind wander which it often does in less intense yoga classes. I need it mentally almost more then I need it physically.

    Thinking of you these next few days. XO

  12. Vickie says:

    Did you look for relaxation yoga and chair yoga classes in your area? You will be able to do the first one before any other classes and the second would be a good bridge class before regular classes. In my area we also you yoga classes designed for people with serious illnesses that might also be a good bridge back.

    I had to wait 4 full months to be released back to exercise long ago after sinus surgery. I broke my foot a couple weeks ago and was back to modified in less than a week. It does vary wildly based on the part of the body.

    I know yoga people who should be able to give you an idea. I am at mayo with youngest, will send emails and get back to you as soon as I can. If surgery stirs up your lower back in anyway, makes things feel different, go work with a physical therapist who specializes in athletes (not getting people on and off the toilet). It is my firm opinion that EVERYONE dealing with a tender spot anywhere on their body should work with a good PT.

    • Ellen says:

      Vickie, thank you in advance for anything you may be able to find out. My instructor told me that there is a ‘senior’ yoga class and they all sit in chairs. I wish there was one specifically for those recovering from illness or surgery. Still looking into that but haven’t found anything yet. Maybe while at the hospital someone will know about that.
      Thinking of you; hoping you all get to head back home soon.

      • Vickie says:

        Chair one might be perfect

        • Vickie says:

          Heard back from one instructor and she shed some light as to why you have not been able to find info. There are too many kinds of female surgeries now for there to be a simple answer or set of answers. She listed all the alternatives for hysterectomies and it was a very long list. She said to talk to your doctor’s office. In my area we also have physical therapy office which specializes in women’s issues. This is things like strengthening pelvic floor, bladder control, etc. I know women who have had pt there and it has really helped. I think that type of specialty would have good information for you.

  13. Hanlie says:

    I love the picture of you two! You are so photogenic and she looks like quite a character.

    I will think about you this week. Good luck with the surgery and the first few days of recovery!

  14. Joan says:

    Both of you look lovely and happy in that photo. My wonderful 72 year old yoga teacher suggests doing yoga moves while you recover… In your mind. She swears that picturing your body doing the moves mindfully (which takes as long as physically performing the poses) will actually provide you with benefit and speed up your healing process. I haven’t yet had occasion to try this out myself.

  15. NewMe says:

    Great picture of you and Patty! What a wonderful memento.

    Ellen, I’ll be thinking of you often and looking forward to hearing from you once the surgery is behind you.

    I wish I could give you some advice on when you can resume yoga. Perhaps the people over at the international Association of Yoga Therapists (iayt.org) could give you some advice. But definitely be careful how fast you go back to your activities. Don’t forget what a good exercise simple walking can be!

    All my good thoughts to you!

  16. Goodnuff says:

    I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I put your surgery on my calendar, Moody has asked twice..”who is Ellen?” I will be looking forward to an update just as soon as you’re ready to give it.
    I love your picture. Your smiles made me smile!
    You lost me at hot! Unless that word is followed by ‘men’ I’m not interested 😉

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