Health Journey of a Plus Sized Yogi

I feel like I need to start off by telling you the beginning stages of my health journey, in order for you to understand where I am at now.

In May of 2014 I started a journey.  I was at my heaviest weight, and my sister and I planned a Chicago weekend trip with our mother and her mother in law for Mother’s Day.  I had never been to Chicago before, nor did I know what to expect. For one, it was AMAZING, everybody was so nice and I just loved the experience of seeing the skyscrapers, the river, the lake, and even trying out the amazing Chicago deep dish pizza, and of course the the hot dog vendors in the park.  Secondly, we had to walk EVERYWHERE! When you are overweight it can be a struggle to walk very far, and I had just turned 28 a couple weeks prior to this trip, so to me this was a huge wake up call. I was miserable. I wasn’t prepared, and let’s not even talk about that major chafing happening when your legs rub together from walking all day. PAINFUL, it almost took away from the experience of traveling and going to a new place.

When I got back from the trip I was determined to lose weight.  DETERMINED. So I started walking and doing some yoga through YouTube.  I decided that I wanted it off, and fast, so I decided to go to the doctor too and get on some prescription weight loss medication.  I have an impatient personality, and I am trying to work on it, but I wanted to lose weight, and I would do anything to get to that goal, and FAST!  I had been on this medication before, and it worked in the past, and I just assumed I gained the weight back after I was off of it because I didn’t work out. So I knew this time I was going to try harder, and stick with it.  Nothing wrong with that, right? Wrong. I was on and off this medication for a year, and I believe this medicine was my weakness, I felt like if I just take this magic pill I wouldn’t have to do anything else to lose weight, besides walk.  I could still eat terrible, it just made me full faster, or not even hungry. Fast forward a year- I lost weight, I was still walking, still doing yoga and enjoying that, but my side effects from the medication were pretty scary once I actually started paying attention to them.  I was having heart palpitations, though my blood pressure remained fine and was being monitored by the doctor every month. I had mood swings like crazy, depression was at an all time high,though yoga seemed to help a bit for a short amount of time, and constipation like no other. Y’all don’t realize for me to talking about that, it must have been pretty serious.  So for that entire year even though I was losing weight, and exercising, I was even more miserable than before. I was in pain, and was having some very dark thoughts. I don’t know what brought any of them on, or where they came from, but it was terrifying. When these “freak outs” started, I couldn’t stop them. I was mean, hateful, and just plain rude. I didn’t like who I was becoming.

It was time for me to get off the pills, and start doing the same thing minus them.  Nothing really seemed to keep the weight off, or make me feel good inside,except for the blips of yoga I would do,  because I was still battling this depression, and when you have negative self talk it can ruin any part of happiness in your life. November 2015 was the month I decided to give into the many messages I had received from my friend, annoying me, and give this “Pink Drink” a shot. I saw a pretty fast change in my friend Marianna, and I knew I had to at least try it.  The first month I lost some weight right off the bat, and I was floored because all I did was drink my Pink Drink and exercised just a little bit. I needed to know what this company was all about, so I did some research on Plexus. What I thought was a weight loss company, was actually a whole health company that had products that had helped so many people with pain management, weight loss, energy, blood sugar stabilization, etc…  My thoughts started changing about the quick fix, “impatient” mindset that I had (I still do in some areas) for so long. So I started taking the Triplex system in January of 2016. Immediately I noticed changes in how I slept, and how I was going to the bathroom and most of all I knew that I had found something to help my mood swings, I was happy, I was living again, and I haven’t had nearly as bad of “dark moments”, nowhere near what they were like. I knew this was what I needed to continue to do to get my gut healthy and to eventually have whole body health. In August of 2016 I was able to get off of my anxiety and depression medication.  That was a HUGE WIN for me, If you would have asked me a year prior I never would have thought that getting my gut health under control would help this, I would have told you that you were wrong.

I started gaining confidence in my life, in my health, just in me in general.  I had always been so negative towards myself that I never really sat down and thought about what I could do, there were no limitations. So I started a bucket list.  One of the items at the top of my bucket list was to become a Yoga Instructor when I lost more weight, so that people would trust me. *WRONG THINKING, WHITNEY* Little did I know that I would actually set out and accomplish this goal within a couple of years of putting this in my bucket list.  
I am all about getting feedback, and support, so I used my Facebook and Instagram accounts as an outlet for my health journey, and yoga, and I had so much support from friends and family.  I am truly thankful, because on days when the negativity would try to rear its ugly head, I would think about all the people that were rooting for me.
My aunt had been liking my posts, and encouraging me, and at our 2016 Thanksgiving dinner she mentioned to me that she had an opening in her Yoga Teacher Training that coming January.  I immediately was like no way, that’s way too early, I am still “fat”, people would laugh at me, I am not good enough for that…. Though deep down inside I had this shimmer of hope, wondering, “what if?”
During this time I was also in my last year of school, to get my Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree, so not only was it terrible timing, but I just couldn’t go to 2 schools, could I?

I kept thinking about Yoga Teacher Training, and wondering what would happen if I just decided to do it.  I wasn’t used to actually doing something I had wanted inside my heart. January rolled around and I was enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training, scared, defeated before I had even set my foot in the mansion.  Yes, my Yoga Teacher Training was in a Historic Mansion in Atchison, KS. ❤ ❤ ❤

The first weekend was here, I had forgotten to order my books, so I already had a negative feeling building up, and our first night was a get to know each other, discussion night, and my teacher asked me why I was doing this training.  I immediately started crying, and saying I was here because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this, and that even though I am plus size, I am capable, and it does not define me. I honestly don’t even know why I cried, I just was scared of what my kula ( new yoga classmates) would think of me.  I looked different than all of them, and I had never taken a yoga class other than YouTube. Talk about a fake, huh? That next day we did our first vinyasa flow. Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about a shock when you are used to a basic stretching class through YouTube. Just ask my husband what happened next. I called him at lunch, I WAS QUITTING.  There is no way I could do this. It just wasn’t for me, I am not good enough, or strong enough for this. I am a fake.. But somehow I managed through the first weekend.

The second weekend rolled around, still had doubts, but decided to push through, same thing..called my husband, I was quitting.Third weekend, It was getting a little better, I was trying out different styles of yoga, and we were required to take at least 2 classes a week outside of YTT, so that started getting me more familiar with yoga.  By the 5th week I was defeated again, I wrote a “I am quitting” letter, told my aunt (She was the assistant teacher) that it just wasn’t for me. I am not going to be a good teacher, so I shouldn’t waste my time…. But I pushed through again.

YTT was from January 2017-December 2017, one weekend a month, with a one month break in August, so by the time August rolled around I was thankful for the break, to get some clarity.  Not knowing what I know now, I thought the discouragement what I felt the entire time was my body telling me to quit, but it was actually a self journey I was going on, to learn how to love myself in the present, love myself for any flaws I may think I have.

Things ended up getting a little easier for me after my break. It might have been knowing that in the very near future I would be graduated from college and have more time to focus.  My mindset change shifted tremendously when we started learning more about restorative yoga, and we started doing more of those classes. I knew this is what I wanted to teach, and what I wanted to share with others. There is something about being able to get people to relax, and to calm them down after a busy day, week, month, etc.  It just makes my heart happy to see the release of tension in their bodies.

I graduated with my bachelors in graphic design in September 2017, so that gave me the last few months of yoga school to really concentrate on yoga, and what my heart needed. My confidence was raising though fears were still lingering in the background.  In November of 2017 I started teaching classes on my own, in my own studio……. Remember, this is the girl who said she was quitting for the first 6-7 months of yoga school.

I graduated yoga school in December and became registered with the Yoga Alliance.  I have been teaching yoga ever since, focusing mainly on restorative or yin yoga. I still struggle sometimes with image, but try not to let it overtake me. I have had more people say they are glad I am not perfect, it shows them they can do this too and that I have inspired them.

I am a true believer that things come into your life when you need them, and they are there for either a lesson, or a blessing. If I never would have went to Chicago with my family, and had the horrific journey on a weight loss medication, I would have never found Plexus and I wouldn’t have got confidence to apply for Yoga Teacher Training, and I would not be a yoga teacher today and be learning to love myself more everyday.

Yoga is for EVERY. BODY.  I am proof of that right here.  If you’re ever in my area feel free to stop in to one of my yoga classes and restore your mind with some nice calming yoga.  

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