In Alanon they say that you know you need a meeting when you start to get ‘crunchy’. The same thing can be applied to writing and exercising for me. For the last week I’ve felt pretty crummy. Whenever seasons change my body becomes very susceptible to viruses, so on top of the every day challenges I have with my health, I then come down with other things, which basically means I need to sleep, but a lot of sleep, like a lot more than normal people. I also took 2 heavy detox baths and went a little overboard with the epsom salt, so my body just needed rest. Learning to accept this fact and allow my body to rest, without feeling guilt or shame, is still quite difficult for me.
Before I got sick I was extremely active. Both my parents were active growing up, so exercise became an outlet for stress very early on in my life. Losing the ability to exercise was horribly traumatic, but oddly enough, I am beginning to understand part of why it happened.
Having grown up as a perfectionist, my body was never good enough. Looking back at this photo, taken when I bought my sample sale dress (which was 1.5 years before my wedding), I am reminded of how awful I was to myself. My ex-husband used to tell me I was tiny. I was, but I didn’t think it. Sadly, I just didn’t see it. When I looked in the mirror, I always saw something that could be improved. It took gaining 60+ pounds and practically dying for me to get to a point of acceptance and self love. That being said, this still isn’t easy for me. I don’t think as a woman in today’s society it ever will be, until we start sending better messages to our youth. It starts at home, in our schools, our communities, social media, everywhere. Fortunately, I think the tides are starting to turn now that we are in this transparency movement (e.g.: Selena Gomez, Caitlyn Jenner, Chrissy Teigen etc.). Enter TAM.
Tracy Anderson Method (TAM):
My journey with TAM actually started right before my wedding. My replacement for Chicago, whom I adored, was a health nut and had a Bachelors in Health Science (I think? Sorry Molls). She recommended TAM, which at the time, was just a DVD, as a way that I could exercise at home and on the road. I was scrambling to try and lose some weight before my wedding. The weight was just weird. Coming on super strong the weeks leading up to my wedding, which was beyond traumatic in itself. What bride wants to gain weight? Seriously though, it sucked. My body was changing and morphing into something I didn’t know, or understand, and as hard as I tried, I didn’t have much control over what was happening. In fact, the more I exercised, the worse I felt. I was also panicking because my boobs were just enormous. I could barely get into my dress; the dress that needed to be taken in when I bought it. Again, this was a sample sale dress (Priscilla of Boston), so it wasn’t like I was getting fittings over this period of time/weight gain. Thank GOD I never got implants. I would have had Kim K prego boobs and it would have been an even bigger disaster!
Be advised, Tracy Anderson Method is not easy. I could barely get through that DVD back then and couldn’t walk for days after starting it again this past March. But thats one of the things I love about Tracy. Her method is a journey. Its a process, but a gentle and loving process. Please also know I by no means claim to be an expert on her method. There are loads of women out there on IG and a wonderful ‘Tamily’ community that have been extraordinarily helpful for me, as the moves are difficult to master. That’s also what I love about the method. My cognitive symptoms have improved because you don’t get this down the first time. You have to practice and be consistent. You also have to get over looking ridiculous, because you will, at first, but with time you begin to get it. From what I understand, there are lots of TAM critics out there (as with any workout), but to me that’s just negativity. Find what works for you and respect what works for others (my motto these days).
What I do know, is that she is constantly evolving her method and from what I gather it’s changed a bit from when she initially launched the DVDs. A lot of people stream her Master Class, but for now this is working for me. I haven’t added the leg weights, but will. Doing her movements, repeatedly, for as long as you do, is hard enough without weights. Trust me, try it and you’ll understand. That’s another thing I like; her method is simple & doesn’t require a lot. All you need is 3 pound weights to start (then 5 pounds), leg weights, yoga mat & you’re golden. Ironically, this is exactly what my first LLMD in Cleveland recommended as a way for me to rebuild muscle structure. I have lots of atrophy in my back, specifically the mid left side of my back, so he suggested low weights with repetition. I was actively treating Lyme at that time, so getting out of bed was hard enough. Patience is the #1 thing Lyme patients have to master. So, for anyone with Lyme, fibromyalgia, or double winners, like myself, this is helping me. I encourage you to try it. But I’ll say this again, its not easy and there are days when all my body wants to do is rest. Thats the fibro talking, which is very confusing, because when you’re in pain and fatigued, you think you should rest. Its counterintuitive. If you have fibro, you feel me.
The hardest part is getting started, but once I do, I find myself getting lost in the music and my inner Erika Jayne comes out. Now, mind you, I’m in the privacy of my home, so aside from Pandi, no one sees this, nor will they. I can take breaks when I need to on her longer workouts, or focus on certain areas if need be, by doing her 10 minute workouts. Those 10 minute workouts are powerful, though. On my worst days, I know I can get through 10 minutes. What usually happens is I get through one and after that I feel better to do another 10. Next thing you know I’ve done 30 minutes. As long as I’m doing something, its helping and thats exactly the kind of mind set I have to embrace to beat this shit and reclaim my body. In Alanon they say that if you put your recovery first, then everything else in your life will be better. I’m constantly being reminded, by my body, that I have to put this first, before anything else.
Tracy is gentle and encourages you to listen to your body and take it at your own pace, which I’ve had to do. I alternate TAM with yoga (big Rodney Yee fan, also on Gaiam). While I haven’t had babies, and I understand why she speaks to moms, my challenges are just different (stretching critical for fibro). That being said, I’ve been loooooving her Post Pregnancy 11 DVD, which is currently on the Comcast Gaiam channel.
Last but not least, TAM has helped me rediscover my love for dance and movement. My mom had me in every dance class imaginable as a kid and I often wonder where my musical talents could have gone had I stuck with dance & voice (AKA not horses). In a way, Tracy has helped me rediscover me again. I’m never going to be that girl, in that picture, in that dress again, and thats ok. I don’t want to be that girl again, but I DO want that BACK back and I trust that Tracy (and yoga) will help me get there.
link to the 10 minutes workout DVDS