Re-cap of the Thirty Days of Yoga Challenge

This has certainly been an interesting month-long challenge. In the latter half of the month, my resolution to do yoga daily completely fell apart. I could blame it on being busy with exams and moving, but in reality, the truth is that I grew tired of it and didn’t prioritize it. Towards the end, I was just doing a few quick yoga stretches each day, and there were a shocking number of days that I missed altogether.

That being said, I don’t feel that it was a failure of a challenge. I learned a few things this month, which I think were in part because of my yoga experience. I have been able to overcome my emotional eating quite a bit, which I’m very pleased about, and I’ve been paying much more attention to my body. Yoga is not something I would want to do on a daily basis, but I think that if I do it even once a week- or just stretch on a daily basis- I would still reap a lot of benefits of it. Practicing yoga really helped to relax my mind and allowed me to understand more about myself and my body:

1) Frequency of eating: Dr. J emailed me a while back to tell me a little bit about the Warrior-style way of eating. The idea behind this type of diet is that you allow yourself a window of about four hours each day in which to eat. During the other 20 hours, the person following this kind of diet fasts. It’s not something I would normally condone, because I’m a big believer in grazing throughout the day, but as I listened to my body this month, I realized that  I don’t graze quite as much as I thought I did. I actually tend to eat most of my calories within the first five hours or so of waking up. This made me realize why I have so many difficulties with going out to dinner, for example- my body isn’t used to eating less throughout the day (as I try to do, if I know that I’ll be eating a lot later on), so then I just wind up eating my usual amount in the morning in addition to the big dinner. That’s rather problematic for maintaining a healthy weight! I’m not entirely sure what I plan to do about this, but it was interesting to at least be aware of this and recognize that my eating style has evolved from what it used to be. I’ve been deliberately trying to renegotiate my eating patterns, and I’m slowly weaning myself off of the habit of eating most of my day’s worth of food by noon.

2) Sleep: Yes, you knew I was going to bring up sleep yet again. My nightmares didn’t go away from practicing yoga, but I found that it was easier for me to fall asleep at night than it has been. It was nice to not toss and turn, lying awake for hours before falling asleep. I’m certain that it was at least partially related to my mind being calmer. It may also be because I’m now in my beautiful condo which I love :)

3) Stress: Finishing university classes, writing exams, finding someone to sublet my apartment, and moving from my apartment to my new condo meant that the stress was really piling on this month. Reminding myself to breathe really did do a lot. Taking those 10 or 20 minutes each day in the first half of the month to practice yoga and stretch my body and my mind relaxed me so that I wasn’t freaking out quite as much as I might have been. I tend to “freak out” more on the inside than the outside; I don’t usually show my stress to other people. However, I found that yoga was a good release to allow me to not get stressed on the inside, either. I wasn’t feeling as though I was hiding stress: I felt as though my stress was honestly diminished from the calmness that entered my life from the yoga. It seemed to me that I was more relaxed as time went on, so I think that even though I was practicing yoga less, it still contributed to helping me to learn how to relax at any time during the day.

An article about intuitive eating appeared a while ago at Confessions of a Compulsive Eater (if you aren’t already reading her blog, go check it out! It’s fantastic). It served as inspiration and motivation for me to listen even more to my body. My emotional eating patterns aren’t completely gone, of course, but listening to my body with the help of yoga did help me get a better understanding of it. And for that, I am grateful.

Are you a yogi? Did you take up this challenge? Have you heard of the Warrior-style way of eating?

18 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t exactly consider myself a yogi, or yogini for that matter, but I definitely have a passion for yoga, a lot of which you listed.

    Besides nutritional ones, I doubt that I could do an exercise challenge that required seven days a week for a month or more. It’s not because I don’t think I could do it, but more because I know that I’d eventually become resentful of the challenge during those moments when I simply didn’t feel like doing it. I exercise because I enjoy it, so I’d hate to temporarily ruin it because of something so silly!

    I used your challenge as an inspiration to return to yoga because it can be such an incredible addition to my day. It helps me deal with stress, sleep more soundly, and even eat more intuitively. How? I think the last one can be attributed to the way in which yoga views the body as a temple to be cared for and how much yogi wisdom places great importance on being kind and forgiving to oneself and others. It really has helped me to appreciate my strength, my soul, and my entire well-being. Oh so deep on a Monday morning :)

    By the way, no I have not heard of the Warrior-style of eating but it is similar to the way I eat. I’m a three-square-meal kind of girl ;). Have a great week Sagan!

  2. I am with you on the stress. Every time things are stressful in my life, I turn to yoga and journaling. Yoga clears my mind and writing down every detail of the stressful situation helps me manange stress. Besides I find that no matter how much people love you, they get tired of hearing about the same thing over and over again (especially if it is an ongoing situation). They might never tell you to stop talking, but I can recognize a empty stare when I see one. Sometimes when I see that I have been babbling along the same theme for months in my journal, then I know it is time to change it.

  3. That is wonderful, Sagan! I LOVE yoga, but I am not sure how good I would be if I tried to do it every day. I definitely agree that even just stretching is beneficial. For me, just calming my mind is a HUGE benefit of yoga. I’m glad it helped with your stress level, especially with finishing up school AND buying your condo! Every time I take a yoga class, I try to remember how calm I feel in that moment. It’s hard for me to transfer that feeling when I’m experiencing it during the day, but I am going to work very hard on this!

  4. Hi Sagan!

    Actually it doesn’t matter if you eat the first four hours of the day, or the last, or in the middle, it’s still a 20/4 style. I was listening to Dr. Oz this morning and he was saying to eat several small meals a day and never to be hungry. I don’t care what someone does really, because if that’s the way they need ot eat to be alright, why not, but what’s wrong with being hungry? If pressed, I really think the healthiest way is no more than two meals a day. I do think we can adapt to most any style, but once we have adapted, change is always a challenge. As for Danielle, if she doesn’t eat her three squares in a four hour window, she’s not anywhere close to warrior.

    The problem for you is society, not you! If everyone you associated with ate as you do, it would be fine. One of the best things about eating 20/4 is you don’t need to deal with food for much of the day and can do things with your life besides eat :-)

  5. I didn’t do this challenge, but I can see where with all you have going on it would be a hard one to concentrate on fully. I haven’t heard of warrior eating but I think I kind of do that. I tend to eat from 10ish to 6 and then stop. I hate going out to dinner in general, but it really throws me off if people want to meet at the restaurant at 7:00! Too late for me.

  6. Danielle- I think you’re right; it does keep our mind in that “body is a temple” perspective, which is a good thing! And I find that the exercise challenges ARE more difficult to do than nutrition challenges for that very reason: it’s not as much FUN if I tell myself I *have to* do a certain type of exercise every. single. day.

    Cammy- Me too. It’s wonderful WHILE I’m doing it, but when I think about it before/after, it’s not quite as appealing.

    Asithi- Ahaha, very true about the blank stare. I TRY not to babble on about the same concerns to loved ones, but sometimes it just slips out… over and over and over again. Journaling is good to prevent that.

    Mary & Holly- That’s a big part of any healthy lifestyle: just doing what we can and working our hardest.

    Dr. J- Yes, I know that it can be done at any time of the day- the morning is just that way that *I* do it :) “The problem for you is society, not you! If everyone you associated with ate as you do, it would be fine. One of the best things about eating 20/4 is you don’t need to deal with food for much of the day and can do things with your life besides eat”: this just set the bells ringing. YES. And it can be difficult to try to adjust to society’s way of eating… because society sure isn’t going to adjust to mine!

    Diane- It throws me off too. Even if I have dinner plans ahead of time, I still find it really difficult to consciously make the decision to arrange my eating habits around that… I’m much better at going out for breakfast or lunch than dinner :D

  7. No society will not adjust.

    “If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

    If a person does not keep pace with their companions, perhaps it is because they hear a different drummer. Let them step to the music which they hear, however measured or far away.

    He lived his words too :-)

  8. I’m so intrigued by intuitive eating!! (Not so much by warrior eating – sorry Dr. J!). I find it interesting how everyone has their own patterns of what “right eating” feels like for them – kudos to you for paying attention to yours. I really think that’s half the battle!

  9. Im an intuitive eater who is renown for saying IM SOOO GOING TO FIT IN MORE YOGA THIS MONTH. REALLY. TRULY. STARTING NOW!!!

    :)

    I would love to do a 30 day yoga challenge for myself.

    would you mind? If I blogged about it a little I mean? would you wanna join me again? a different kind of yoga perhaps?
    oooh all dvd?

  10. Love2eatinpa- During the times when I’m feeling low with emotional eating, I head to YOUR blog for my inspiration. Truly.

    Dr. J- I like that!

    Charlotte- It fascinates me every time I hear of a different way of eating/exercising that “works” for someone… there really is no one size that fits all.

    Westwood- EVERYTHING has a name ;) (rhetoric is tasty). I want to go to power yoga with you sometime!

    Miz- YES. That would be awesome! I am IN :D

  11. Well, looks like it WAS a success, in that it helped you to get what you need, even if you didn’t manage to follow all your guidelines…but those rules exist to help you achieve those goals that you mentioned, which you did! Best of luck on the continuation of your journey!

    p.s. where do you live? Go get some real good gyros! ;-)

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