Friday, September 2, 2011

For Food Freak: The Princess & Pilates

Food Freak asked in the comments section of the previous post:
Sometime, when you're in the mood, could you dedicate part of a post to what Pilates is, how you discovered it, how long a session you do it, how often, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. LOL.

I'm not in the mood. BUT, I'll do a quickie now before bed--well, as much as I can do anything "quickie" style--and refer folk to the PHAT PILATES page (see tab to click under blog header). It has pics of me doing it and you see what a session is sorta like.

I knew about Pilates for decades. Back in my younger days, magazines often featured celebrities and trainers who did or taught Pilates. It was a fashionable exercise in NY and LA with the models and actresses. I used to see pics of people in magazines in the TEASER pose. :)

I never did it, though. But as I came to feel more and more that since I could not seem to get a handle on dieting, I could try to stop being a couch potato. Try exercise FIRST, and see if that helped. I also wanted to build muscle. I was terrified of the hanging skin post big weight loss, and I wanted to build a better architecture under the fat to support loss with , maybe, I hoped, less shar-pei skin.

I began Pilates on June 30, 2008. I was in the 270s; highest weight doing Pilates was 278. It was very hard for me to get my courage up. Took months of thinking about it, driving by this particular studio a mere 5 minute drive from my house. Finally, I called and asked if they had anyone with experience with obese clients. I ended up seeing the co-owner of the studio, Liza.

I began 3x a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) for 55 minute sessions.

In the beginning, thought I was gonna die. When you're that big and that out of shape from a completely sedentary and reclusive lifestyle, going into a studio with bona-fide dancers and models around you is intimidating. When you're that big and out of shape and have emerged from self-hiding with bad joints and asthma, getting through nearly an hour of ANY exercise is hard as crap.

I persevered.

Money considerations meant I had to decrease my visits to 2x a week (which is where I remain) after 9 months or so of my starting date.

My development was slow, but sure. I felt a difference in a matter of weeks in terms of better flexibility and after months, the well-being and strength were increasing. I used to let my hubby carry in groceries. I got tired walking half a block. I now can walk and walk and I can carry ALL my groceries myself in ONE go (the clerks at Publix still marvel at how much I can carry and keep asking if I'm not SURE I want a cart). I don't use a cart. I take bags and just load them up and grunt my way to the cash register, loaded up. :D

Sex improved, too. Seriously. You get flexible, strong in the core, that helps in the bedroom. And as I got stronger and felt more able to DO stuff, I DID more stuff. Went out and did things I hadn't in years out of distrust of my own body's ability to move and endure  and shame of my girth.

Strength. Flexibility. Focus. Mindfulness. Balance.  Gentle movement. Breath control. A growing sense of mastery. Reconnecting with a body that one can become alienated and distrustful of. It feels good.

Anyone can google Pilates and read about its founder and principles. I encourage it. I chose it specifically because of my issues (bad knees, asthma--which at that time precluded aerobics, safety concerns). I was the biggest person who went there. It took guts. And I'm proud of myself.

The reason I posted the PHAT PILATES blogs/pics was so other big gals would not be afraid to TRY Pilates. Yes, you'll flop around like a wounded turtle on the machines when you're huge, but a good instructor and accepting environment make it worthwhile. And the machines are fun. I LOOOVE the Reformer and Cadillac. I love how they made my legs look and built up my core.  I love how she modified for my belly and thighs and neck fat. Any really well-trained and experienced instructor can modify for obese clients. If they can't modify, they aren't for big folks. And they work with body imbalances and there's no fear other than one's own neuroses. ; )

Anyway, not so quickie, but there it is. It's a great form of exercise for introverts like me, as it's very inward focused, very mindful. And for folks with bad backs, knees, etc...very easy on the joints.

Food Freak, that okay? ; )


Food Freak said...

OMG, you are so good to me! Thanks a million for telling me your story. It sounds like your instructor really knew/knows what she's doing, that's for sure.

I also have to think you for not only taking the time to write all that, but for staying up late to do it. You shouldn't have done that, but as I get to know you better through your writing, and your being so open and honest in your writing, it's no surprise that you did it.

I'll check out your link, definitely. xo

Suzan said...

I adore Pilates. I started doing it way back when in NYC. I was into ballet and figure skating, and it was the number one exercise of choice for skaters and dancers.

Out of all the fitness methods I've done, I feel that Pilates is the all around best, and the only one I've been able to stick with over the years.