A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Monday, February 29, 2016

Glow Yoga

This past Friday night my gym was offering a “Glow Yoga” event. The purpose being to wear white or neon clothing, possible glow-in-the-dark body paint, and those little chemically glowing wrist bands, and light up in a dark room under black lights while doing Yoga poses.

It looks like this:

Gimmicky? Well, yes. But also very fun! I believe they intend to offer Glow Yoga once per month on the schedule moving forward, and I plan to attend again. I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the idea, because the class was totally full.

This session was a good deal harder than the beginner’s class I’ve been attending once per week. It was assumed that we knew the names of the poses (and I do know some of them now, fortunately) and how to get into and out of them quickly and correctly. I benefitted a lot from having a skilled student right in front of me who I could look at and try to copy, who was also nice enough to offer some quiet suggestions (yoga people are seriously a very helpful group of folk).

I’m growing stronger, so moving from plank position and down to the ground slowly without falling is a lot more possible for me. I can also hang out in downward dog position without shaking now, and do a series of moves that require the upper body strength to support my own weight quickly a number of times and not fall to the mat too much. I’ve never worked up such a sweat during Yoga before, it was really active!

My problem now is mostly my girth getting in the way. I have a good deal of natural flexibility, but anything that requires your thigh to touch your torso just isn’t possible for me because there’s just too much thigh fat and hanging belly skin/fat getting in my way. You’re supposed to be able to put your hands on the ground with your legs stretched behind you, then jump your feet to where your hands are. I think I’ve got the strength required to do it, but my body is just too unwieldy in shape for it to be possible. That’s frustrating.

Although I'm smaller than I was, I'm still the biggest person I see doing Yoga at my gym. I'm trying hard not to view my being biggest as a badge of dishonor or to simply ignore the fact because I KNOW it does not matter and nobody cares, but the lifetime of social conditioning that's told me to be ashamed of it is hard to undo and ignore.

I also encountered my first handstand, called crow. It’s supposed to look like this:

It starts with dropping down into a squat and at first I just stood there looking around while the rest of the class did so, thinking my knees wouldn’t tolerate a squat position. As everyone else then started doing handstands I finally got myself into a squat, being pleasantly surprised that I could do so a lot more easily than I thought I’d be able to. Then I just kept testing my weight on my forearms, gently, over and over as much as I could. My forearms firmly responded, “no” to my request that they support my entire body weight. So I’ve definitely got something to work toward there.

I’ve decided to switch to the harder class on my regular schedule. I liked being so challenged, and I liked working up a sweat. Two days later my muscles were still pretty sore, so I can tell it’s going to do me a lot of good.

And I’ve still got a long way to go.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


When I say the name of this recipe I always think of minions… 

I’ve seen a number of recipes for baked goods that insert smushed banana in place of the usual fats that make baked goods delicious: fats such as butter, milk, or cream. The bananas also take the place of refined sugar.

Curious (and very skeptical) I finally decided to try one out.

Look, I won’t lie to you. Bananacookies are not as rich and decadent as normal cookies. At the same time, they’re not bad. They have a spongy, more cake-like texture and of course they taste distinctly of banana, so if you don’t like banana you won’t like them. However, if you do – they’re a really nice little treat that has roughly the same nutritional impact of eating a portion of oatmeal and half a banana.

Sitting down with a little plate of cookies and a cup of tea makes me feel very psychologically satisfied, so they actually do trick my brain into thinking, “I’M HAVING COOKIES!” without the calorie and fat consequences of actually having cookies. I’m by no means anti-cookie, I just can’t have them three or four times a week and still expect any weight loss. A batch of bananacookies? I can.

I make my cookies with mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels (which I’ve found I can have in the house without binging on them… regular sized morsels I cannot – weird, huh?) and shaved coconut. You can have yours with whatever add-ins you would like. I’ve put many suggestions below.

The “dough” is a bit slippery, but easy to sculpt and work with. You need to form your cookies into whatever final shape you want them to be when you place them on a baking sheet, as they will not spread out like fatty dough does. You also need to spray your sheet with something before you bake them, they really stick.

Two bananas and a cup of oats generally makes around 12 nice sized cookies (for me, four portions of three cookies each). I find them to be a very satisfying treat without wanting to hork down the entire batch in one go. Since they don’t actually contain my binge-triggers of refined sugar combined with fat, they don’t set off binging behavior for me at all.

Here’s the recipe!

Oatmeal Banana Cookies
Yield: 12 large cookies (4 servings)

2 large ripe bananas
1 cup of oats (I've used both instant rolled and instant steel cut)
2 packets of artificial sweetener (omit if you're anti-chemical, I just like my cookies SWEET)
Possible Add-Ins (3-4 tbsp):
-Chocolate Chips
-Crushed Nuts
-Black Currants
-Shredded Coconut

Mush the bananas and mix together with the oatmeal, then fold the add-ins in. Since all bananas are different sizes, the needed measurements can vary. If it seems too runny and the cookies would flatten out too much, add in more oatmeal. And make sure to not add in TOO many mix-ins as the cookies won’t hold together very well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a GREASED cookie sheet.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Legends Football League

I just found out about the LFL and I’m simultaneously pleased and depressed about it.

I’m not a huge sports fan. My favorite sporting event to watch is the Olympics, but I’ve also been a fan of ice hockey over the years. I prefer watching women’s sports to men’s and the Olympics offers me the most of that since professional sports is still very much a man’s domain. The enjoyment of these things makes one of my favorite sports teams the women’s Olympic ice hockey team, and yeah it’s depressing that I only get to see them on TV once every four years. Athletic women are fast and agile which makes them particularly exciting to watch in a hockey game.

To be clear: I do not think women and men should ever play contact sports against one another and I am not advocating throwing women into men’s teams. The physiological differences between the two genders are too distinct to make that anything but a bad idea. But why are there no women’s professional leagues? I just don’t get it. I’m just as happy (actually more so) to watch two female ice hockey players body-check each other into the wall and I don’t understand why women’s professional sports (aside from tennis) remains apparently unmarketable. Athletic go-getter women impress the heck out of me because I’ve always wanted to be one, and I’m only just now in my 40’s learning how interested I am in honing my physical athletic skills. I spent my entire childhood wimping out to the tune of, “oh I couldn’t possibly do that!” Well, better late than never.

So when I discovered the LFL (Legends Football League) and that women are actually playing badass, full contact, tackle football against one another – I experienced a moment of glee and entertained the possibility that I might actually become a football fan!

Then I found out that their uniforms look like this:

It’s not that they don’t look spectacular, they do. Those players have the kind of physique I can only dream of having. But I can’t watch a football game with people dressed like that. I’ve seen clips and these women hit hard and hold nothing back, which is awesome, but when I watch I’m perpetually cringing over how foolish it is not to wear proper protective gear during a violent, full contact sport and wondering if they’re constantly distracted by the imminent danger of popping out of their bikini top.

I did a little digging, and apparently the LFL used to be called the Lingerie Football League and the entire purpose of it was hinged on the hope that one of them would pop out of their top, and fans could buy opportunities to tackle or kiss one of the players (that might still be going on, I’m not sure). So the fact that they re-branded the name and switched to sportier, beach-volleyball type uniforms is actually an improvement. However from what I was able to learn the players are still unpaid volunteers, so despite getting it’s start as a sex-selling sideshow this sport still isn’t apparently making enough money to support full time players’ salaries (or all the owners are just extraordinarily greedy, I don’t know).

And these women are talented enough that they should be able to earn a living being athletes! There’s a lot of women who are good enough and young girls should be dreaming of growing up to be professional athletes if they want to with at least the opportunity that the dream may one day come true.

Granted, the window of opportunity for anyone to be a professional sports player is extremely small, I think about the same odds as becoming a professional actor. But women’s sports are still so unpopular that (again, outside of tennis or being an Olympian) it’s not something that young women usually even consider beyond extra-curricular activities.

I love watching women play sports, and I’m far more interested in that then watching men. Am I the only one? Why are women’s sports still unpopular enough that we don’t have a women’s league Super Bowl, World Series, or Stanley Cup? I’d tune in.

I hope the LFL reconsiders what its players are wearing and eventually takes them as seriously as these impressive athletes deserve. I’d be there on Sunday nights, cheering them on. And I’ll continue to dream of my professional women’s ice hockey league while I wait patiently for the Winter Olympics to come around again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Meeting a Zumba Jedi Master

One of my Zumba instructors from Retro Fitness invited me to attend a “master class” this past Friday night with a “Zumba Jammer” named Raffaele Verrillo. In addition to teaching these master classes, Jammers often teach routines to other instructors, making them the teacher’s teacher. Aside from knowing that the master class would be 90 minutes long (instead of the normal 55) and more challenging with routines I was completely unfamiliar with, I had very little concept of what this experience would be like, so of course I signed up. Secretly, I was hoping that a Master Class would endow me with Jedi Master abilities.

Going in, I was pretty nervous. I’ve been doing Zumba since last August and I know my stamina, coordination and balance have all improved, but I’m a big girl and I’m forty-something instead of twenty-something, so I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to keep up.

Friday morning I was coming down with a fresh head cold and had barely slept the night before. I was really tempted to back out and stay home. But with a little encouragement courtesy of Ted, I threw on one of my nerdy t-shirts (REPRESENT***), strapped my nerdy glasses firmly onto my head, grabbed my water bottle and headed over to a local YMCA.

Oh. My. Gosh. Very high energy, very friendly, very positive, very Italian! I hid in the back so as to avoid any direct confrontation with our intimidatingly enthusiastic instructor (plus… I always hide in the back, that’s my spot).

He has a fierce look on in this pic but he was SO happy, crazy-bouncy, and nice!
But I kept up! The moves were totally doable for me, just with a ton of exuberance and a lot of instructor-audience participation involved. I dripped sweat onto the floor within the first ten minutes (I always consider a class successful if I notice I’ve sweat droplets on the floor around me). Raffaelle was up front, on both sides of the room, then he was in the middle of class, then splitting us into two halves for a dance-off battle, then doing the tango with one of the class members, it was nuts and wild and so much fun!

I was so proud of my instructor from Retro! (There were five of us total from her class in attendance). At one point Raffaelle called her to come dance with him up front and she jumped in with both feet like the badass Jedi she is. I’m clapping and grinning in the back of the room like, “YEAH – that’s my teacher!” Still no shouting or whooping on my part though, I have yet to overcome my verbalization aversion.

I would absolutely do this again, and I’m not calling myself a Zum-Newbie anymore either. I’m not a Zum-Jedi Master (and I sadly have yet to evidence any superpowers as a result of my adventures), but I feel comfortable at least calling myself a Zum-Padawan.

Me, my instructor, and four of my classmates with Raffaelle (and his Italian flag, of course!)

***I almost always wear nerdy t-shirts to workout in. If you're curious, this one featuring one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Who is what I wore to the Master Class.