Tuesday, December 15, 2009

T-Tapp for a Busy Season

Much has happened in my life since my last post. My first grandchild was born (welcome to little Henry Judah on November 14!) and due to some complications I immediately flew to California to help my daughter and her husband. I spent two weeks in California and got home the day after Thanksgiving. In the midst of the busy-ness of the holiday season, my daughter and son-in-law decided to move back to Oklahoma to be near family with their new little son. They are staying with us until they get on their feet and we are enjoying taking turns holding month-old Henry!

It's always a little disconcerting for me (and my family) when I am gone for a length of time. For me there is an adjustment period when returning home to my busy household. Even though my family keeps the house up while I'm gone, there are always things to catch up on and rearrange to my liking, not to mention the necessity of cuddling up the little ones, talking to the older ones, and spending time with my man. My family even decorated for Christmas while I was gone (a first!) but I needed to finish the project and tweak here and there. Adding three household members was a project in itself with cleaning and rearranging. Let's just say I've been unusually busy.

I admit it's been a struggle to keep up with workouts. Time is definitely an issue but let's face it--we usually make time to do what we want to do. So part of the struggle is mental as my list gets longer and longer and my mind is spinning with to-do's. But the reality is that when I skip too many workouts I start feeling rotten--sluggish, creaky, tired and flabby. What to do?

Short workouts to the rescue! Basic Workout Plus, MORE and TappCore are my go-to workouts for stressful busy seasons of life. The year I was losing weight I got in 4 short workouts a week and still lost inches through the holidays. Now that I'm in maintenance, three short workouts are enough. I'll take advantage of New Year's motivation to ramp it up a bit in January, but for now I am thankful for an efficient, effective workout that keeps me feeling and looking good in (literally) just minutes a week!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Those Fabulous Forums

From the very beginning of my weight/inch loss journey, I was active on the T-Tapp forums. At first I was the excited newbie, reporting every inch lost and every new change I noted. Then I was the question asker, as my knees got sore or I wondered about the nuance of a move. Meanwhile I did searches on topics, printing some for my notebook (see an older post about the notebook). Eventually I moved on to answer questions here and there or give a little *gulp* advice of my own. But the absolute benefit of the forum was the accountability and encouragement it offered.

I got to know other T-Tappers who understood exactly what I meant when I spoke "Tapplandia" language. You know, BWO+, PBS, back fat, third butt cheek--all those mysterious acronyms and body parts we didn't know we had. I really felt like they cared when I was discouraged and they were happy for me when I lost a size. I actually read a bit before my morning workout, to get motivated and *in the mood* for T-Tapp. The trick was to read a BIT, not get lost in posting and reading for hours (and then feel like it counted for a workout, lol)!

Someone once asked me how I had to time to stay on the forum all day. Excuse me? I pop in here and there throughout the day, but seldom have time to s-t-a-y on for a length of time. But now that a new chat feature will be enabled, ahh, the temptation!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Power of Success Stories

This morning I watched "Meet the Team" on my trusty old Basic Workout Plus DVD. It brought tears to my eyes, just like it did the other 20 times I've watched it. Today I watched it for some motivation to work out, as I'm recovering from a virus and am struggling to find energy. It did the trick.

Before I ever did a T-Tapp workout, the success stories motivated and encouraged me. I pored over the book, looking at the photos and reading the stories. I lurked on the T-Tapp website, reading old 60-Day Challenge and Testimonial Tuesday stories.

I bought the "Lost 100 Pounds" issue of People magazine and studied the photos and stories. I was particularly fascinated by the changes in people's faces when they lost weight. Being of American Indian descent, extra weight made my face round so I hoped to find my cheekbones again (I did). I cut out those pages and stapled them together and re-read them occasionally as I lost weight.

The "real people" success stories gave me hope and helped me set goals. Carol Severson, another homeschooling mom. Michelle Barbuto, mom of 6 (have you seen the woman's abs in her latest photos???!!!). Even Lani Muelrath, already gorgeous fitness diva, whose thighs shrunk from athletic ballerina to slender graceful T-Tapper.

Never underestimate the power of envisioning YOUR success story by surrounding yourself with the success stories of others!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fitness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

I returned from the annual T-Tapp Retreat in the wee hours this morning. Wow. What a week. I think this was the best so far in my limited experience of 3 years. Packed full of exercise, information, heroine worship :-) and the best girlfriends in the world.

This event reiterated to me the fact that fitness comes in all shapes and sizes. T-Tappers look darn good whether they are a size 20 or a size 8. T-Tapp helps you look good no matter what your size. It reshapes and tones you DURING the journey, not just at the end, and that end can be when you choose. Nobody says you have to get to your skeletal setpoint to be *done*.

I had the fun of being a "measurer" for the weekend. Participant's measurements are taken when they arrive and then again on the last morning. Every single one of my Tappers lost (lots of) inches and believe me, I'm an experienced measurer! A svelte and toned Trainer lost over 21" by the time the Trainer Retreat was over. I'll never forget one sweet and beautiful girl crying as I measured her on the last day. She had lost so many inches she couldn't believe it. I cried, too, as I witnessed the amazing effect of moving the body and seeing how the body responded.

Short Torso, Long Torso, Combo, tall, short--I think every age, size and demographic were represented and every single one looked great. What a retreat and what a workout!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

T-Tapp Notebook(s)

I am a notebooking kind of girl. I kept notebooks before I knew they would become a homeschool method. Cindy Rushton calls herself the Notebooking Queen (love that girlfriend!), but I would have to qualify for at least a Notebooking Princess. So when I began finding out about T-Tapp I started a notebook. Just a 1 1/2" 3-ring binder, the kind with a clear cover to slip a cover sheet in.

First thing in the notebook: blank calendar pages to keep track of workouts, brushing and short notes about how I was doing ("sore knees" or "did the whole enchilada!"). Next thing: copies of the measurement chart in Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes. From the beginning I kept careful records of measurements and weight. But I didn't take a "before" photo until I had lost 2 sizes and a bunch of inches, so don't make that mistake. Even if you don't show anyone, TAKE A BEFORE PHOTO! Yes, it's a little embarrassing for people to see my befores, but it's not too bad because I don't look like that anymore!

Then I began to fill the notebook with form tips. You could do this in a file on your computer, but I'm also a book kind of girl and I like to re-read with a colored pencil to make notes or underline. I had a section for material from online classes I took from Trainers Lani and Michelle. I had a section just for encouraging posts on the forum, or things that motivated me.

Last, I had a section for goals. Most of my goals were related to an upcoming event, like a wedding or a college reunion. It helped me to have smaller time frames and an endpoint. I didn't always reach the goal by the event, but I did a short time later, and still checked it off. I still have my goals pages. I like to look back on them with the satisfaction of a job well done.

The good thing about keeping records of both workouts done (not planned, DONE) and measurements is that I could see a correlation. We tend to think we're working out more than we actually are sometimes. Or somehow it seems that time spent posting on the forum with all of our T-Tappin' friends ought to count for a workout, ha! At any rate, times of slowed inch loss led to an investigation and voilĂ , no wonder, I only did BWO+ twice a week for a couple of weeks, duh.

The notebook "just growed" and eventually expanded into several notebooks, most of which I still refer to. T-Tapp was very important to me and it deserved some organization and documentation in my life to keep me on track. You might not be a "learner" type like me, but even a slim folder with calendars, measurements and goals will help. Sometimes our progress is nearly undetectable until we look at the numbers (or the photos--ask any 60-Day Challenge participant who was surprised at their comparison photos), and with a notebook you'll have the hard evidence.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Losing Weight and T-Tapp

I can hardly over-emphasize the importance of T-Tapp in my weight loss. I actually did NOT start out to lose over 100 pounds and reach a size 6 (and yes, I have more than one size 4 in my closet). I started out to feel better and lose a couple of sizes to look better.

From the very beginning I was active in the T-Tapp online forum community. I say community because it is truly a great place to receive encouragement, information and accountability. I started a T-Tapp notebook (hmm, an idea for a blog post) and kept careful records of my measurements, weight and workout schedule. I'm a true Combo so I had to lose about 18" or so to lose a size, so no "2 sizes in a month" for me. My records kept me motivated even when I got stuck in a size 18 for three months. I was still slowly losing inches so I knew I was making progress. If I had been relying on how I felt or my clothes I probably would have given up in despair.

Plain and simple, T-Tapp reshaped my figure and helped me look good AS I lost the weight and that in itself was motivating. I remember how exciting it was to have a waist again. I remember the day my thighs didn't rub together any more. You can do a search under my forum name "fruitvine" and read those 2007-2008 posts and follow that journey, since I'm a real person. Someone I know said if they hadn't seen it happen before their very eyes they would have thought my photos were digitally edited and my story was "yeah, right."

T-Tapp reset my metabolism, gave me energy, resolved my blood sugar and sinus and knee issues, and made me strong and flexible. Oh, and did I mention that my hips are smaller than before I had 12 babies?! You don't get that kind of results from weight loss alone. Teresa Tapp said "IMO, too many people put more focus on food and supplements instead of moving their bodies," and I have to agree. I know that without T-Tapp and its skin brushing, my body would look very different after massive weight loss.

T-Tapp has also been the major factor in weight and inch maintenance. I recently had the experience of a medical restriction on exercise for a month. I gained a few pounds and inches (and my eating didn't change). I felt sluggish and creaky and emotional, as I am in the throes of menopause. But after about 2 weeks of *consistent* movement (MORE, OIP, and other moves here and there), the inches and pounds are coming off.

Okay, end of commercial. Actually, when I start counting the benefits and effects of T-Tapp in my life I sound like an infomercial! But I don't have to make it up--I lived it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Random Thoughts on Eating

Okay, I've put off this post as long as I can. I just feel so darn unqualified to write about diets or food or nutrition. My only qualification is that I've lost more than 100 pounds and kept it off for over a year now, so keep that in mind. I can only share what worked (and continues to work) for me. So here are my random thoughts--not a plan, not a *way of eating*, certainly not a magic forumla.

--There's no way I could stick to a restrictive food plan for very long because I have to feed a family of nine every day and more on weekends.

--I couldn't stick to a restrictive food plan for the rest of my life because sooner or later I would throw off the shackles and go hog-wild and EAT whatever it was I wasn't supposed to have.

--If you tell me I can't have it, I want it.

--If you tell me I can have it, I might or might not want it.

--I eat only when I am truly hungry, and stop when I am full. Politely full, not stuffed to the gills.

--Food is always available. If I'm hungry again, I'll just eat again. I don't have to be afraid.

--Food is not my friend. The only *need* it meets is true hunger. Not emotional needs, spiritual needs or social needs.

I remember feeling so shocked when I first realized how often I was eating because the food was good or it was my favorite or it was there or I was lonely or I wanted to pamper myself, etc., etc., etc. I once told my husband during the years of babies and toddlers (uh, 25+ years) that "eating is the only fun thing I do." That makes me sad now. But at the time I truly did not realize what I was doing.

It amazes me how complicated the diet world is. Everyone is looking for the miracle, the pill, the plan. I lost all my weight eating pizza, hamburgers, french fries and ice cream. And of course, apples, natural peanut butter, cheese and almonds. Just food. Sort of The Casual Approach to God Made/Man Made eating, now that I look back on it. I would go a couple of days and eat God-made food because that is what sounded good, then stop by Braum's for a peanut butter hot fudge sundae. And eat the peanut butter and hot fudge and whipped cream and cherry first, because I never knew when I would get full and stop eating.

Okay, so that's a start on the random thoughts. More random-ness to follow.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Finding Time to T-Tapp (and Homeschool)

One of the questions I get asked is "How do you find time to T-Tapp?" This post will be especially geared to the homeschooling mother and those with large families, as that is my situation and therefore, my experience.

When I began T-Tapping I had eight children still at home and the youngest two were one and three years old. Six were school-age and it was just before The Summer of the Weddings (two of my children and one nephew got married within two months of each other, and we were heavily involved with planning, sewing, shopping and cooking). Obviously I was busy. Heck, I'm busy on a slow day with no outside events. But I found T-Tapp and thought it would be a good way to look better for those weddings. Little did I know what a life-changing, body-transforming ride I was in for!

What worked best for me was to T-Tapp first thing in the morning, before my day got busy and exercise got relegated to the "maybe later" pile. I got up early, ate breakfast, did my quiet reading/journaling, and then laced up my shoes. Yes, actually changed into semi-cute workout clothes. It was part of my exercise ritual and made me feel official. Often things didn't go quite as planned so I exercised then showered while the children did their chores. If you say "well, my children won't leave me alone" or "they won't do their stuff if I'm not there" then that is another subject entirely. I'm just sharing what I actually did. Did school start late sometimes (often)? Yes. Did we still get school done? Yes.

I have noticed over 23 years of homeschooling that every year there are one or two children who are more needy in certain academic areas. I spend a little more time and effort helping that child overcome their weakness. Teaching a child to read, concentrating on spelling, and moving forward in math all come to mind. Well, that year was my year to lose weight and get in shape. It meant rearranging the schedule and committing to take the time for a season. It's a little different now that I'm in maintenance, but the losing stage took studied determination and focus.

One of the bestest things about T-Tapp is its efficiency. When my mind was whirling with thoughts of the busy day ahead and adding an exercise routine seemed overwhelming, I told myself, "ANYBODY can do 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes." Eventually during the summer I did longer workouts a couple of times per week, but during the school year I only did 15-30 minute workouts. Occasionally I did a lunchtime or afternoon workout, but the vast majority of the time mornings worked best, before the questions and distractions and responsibilities took over my brain.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ladies, I've Been Consistent

If you've watched the video on the T-Tapp website, you heard me say in the second half, "Ladies, I've been consistent." While I was standing in line that night I wrestled with myself about whether to say that because I didn't want to sound smug or haughty. But my eyes got bigger and bigger as I heard one person after another say, "Welllll, I really haven't been consistent....." so I just had to share that "secret" of my success. Notice I didn't say, "I've been perfect" or "I put my entire life on hold so I could T-Tapp" or "I also did extra cardio, lifted weights and did Pilates three times a week!"

So what do I mean by consistent? Well, I looked back at my calendar pages from the months between Safety Harbor 2007 and Safety Harbor 2008 to find out exactly what I meant. Here's what I found:

Nov 07: BWO+ or Ladybug BWO+ 4x week
Dec 07: "
Jan 08: "
Feb 08: "
Mar 08: "
Note: The holidays and an unusual number of illnesses for me and my family, including Influenza Type A, limited my time and energy--but I still lost inches, albeit more slowly for these months.
Apr 08: 2008 60-Day Challenge began
Week 1 - MORE, BWO+, HTFS, Tempo Arms
Week 2 - LB BWO+, SATI, Arms, HTF, MORE
Week 3 - Arms, LB BWO+, HTFS, SATI, MORE
Week 4 - SATI, Arms, LB BWO+, HTF
Week 5 - SATI, LB Floor, Arms, LB BWO+
May 08: 2nd month of the 60-Day Challenge, so I did a more rigorous schedule, including Tempo Arms at least 2x week and an Arms 5-day bootcamp
Jun 08: First week I took off completely due to travel and fatigue--the longest I had ever taken off since beginning T-Tapp. To my surprise, I lost 5 pounds.
Weeks 2 - 4 - One long workout, one HTF, and a couple of shorts (usually BWO+ or MORE)
July - September, more of the same

You will notice that I mixed up workouts quite a bit. I liked the variety, it kept things fresh, and it worked my whole body in different ways. But I suspect that the actual workouts I did are not as important as the fact that I DID workouts, 4-6x week. Was my form perfect? Heck, no--but I didn't flop through or watch TV while T-Tapping, so I did my best and went to my max. And T-Tapp did its max on me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thought Check-Up

In keeping with the power of our thoughts, let's do a quick check-up. We can play a little word association game, or rather phrase association game. Pretend I'm the psychologist in a leather chair, clipboard in hand, reading glasses on my nose. You're reclining on the leather couch, with hands comfortably folded, feeling relaxed.

Me: time to workout
You: I don't have time
Me: time to T-Tapp
You: I'm too tired
Me: it's only 15 minutes
You: I don't wanna change clothes
Me: lace up your shoes
You: I'll do it later

You get the picture. The thought of what we should do is answered by the thought of what we *feel* like doing. Those darn feelings! Life is full of feelings. Going with the feelings leads to feelings we don't like, i.e., six weeks of not working out leads to creaky mornings and fat jeans. So we get feelings either way. Choose carefully which feelings you listen to and follow, for the Pied Piper of Feelings likes to lead you where it wants to go, not where YOU really want to end up.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Set Up Your Space for Success

I'll take a little detour from the power of thoughts to some practical things I did at the beginning of my T-Tapp life. From the start I took it seriously and set my physical space up for success. I got my own cute little flat-screen TV (with the all-important remote!) and DVD player and set it up in a corner of my bedroom on the desk where I apply makeup. As a detour from a detour, I stopped putting my makeup on at the bathroom mirror and created a space for this ritual several years ago as a celebration of femininity, but that's another post and possibly another blog. :-)

I cleared out a bedside cabinet for my T-Tapp DVDs and found a place for my brush. I bought a few workout tops and shorts at cheap places like Walmart and Ross, but they were *real* workout clothes nonetheless. I knew that a baggy t-shirt and sweat pants would not make me feel as "official" and they would make me hot anyway. In the summer I was grateful for the ceiling fan, and if I worked out elsewhere I had a portable fan. My first week of T-Tapp I wore some cheapo cross-trainers but my feet killed me. Forum posts directed me to Skechers 2250's and they changed my T-Tapp practice. I am now on my 4th pair, partly due to the fact that weight loss and T-Tapp caused me to lose 2 shoe sizes.

I was fortunate to have a large mirror in my bedroom sink area but if I hadn't I would have bought a mirror for the back of the door. A mirror is invaluable in helping with form (but NOT in watching yourself brush, see post below). Our rather small bedroom has a king-size bed but it is set on an angle. Through furniture re-arrangements and acquisitions over the past couple of years, my T-Tapp space is always a consideration. It doesn't take much space, but I'm very tall and very long-legged so finding a spot where I won't hit the ceiling fan or door frames is sometimes a challenge.

I mostly T-Tapp in my bedroom to this day, but occasionally I feel claustrophobic so I work out in the den. This doesn't happen often because I have to dodge little children, answer vital questions like "is it time for lunch?" at 8:02am, and grab the white-out from an artistic 3yo. Did you know that white-out dries like cement on skin in seconds and does NOT wash off couch cushions? At least in my bedroom, for those few minutes, I don't have to know.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Mind of a Woman (T-Tapper)

Before T-Tapp I actually prided myself on not obsessing over the scale or diets, and most of the time I had no idea what I weighed. Of course I was very busy, but part of it was denial. So it was a bit of a shocker to begin my T-Tapp journey with weighing and measuring. 52" abs?! Oh. My. Word. Then there was the mirror and the workout clothes. I bought actual workout tops and shorts to motivate me and see my form, but the view was pretty discouraging. My husband finally told me to stop brushing in front of the mirror because I would get so depressed about my appearance. I went from hiding my body from myself (you know, get undressed in the closet) to scrutinizing every lump and bulge. I hadn't paid much attention to sizes before, but then I began to covet the next size down.

The trick as a More to Lose person was to appreciate how far I had come and celebrate the changes I was feeling and seeing. There was a temptation to feel like I wouldn't look good until I reached goal. When I wore a size 22W I thought a 14 was model-thin and I would have been very happy to squeeze into 14s. When I wore a size 14 I thought only a 10 would make me happy. See the trap? As women we are so hard on ourselves. A man can look in the mirror, flex his muscles, and think "hey, baby, I'm lookin' good!" A woman looks in the mirror and thinks "this cellulite is horrible and my inner thighs are flabby and...."

The MIND and THOUGHTS are the place to start. How do you feel if someone says something critical or unkind to you? Your spirits fall, your heart pounds or maybe you get angry or want to give up. Guess what? Studies show that your body reacts the same way if YOU say critical or unkind things to your self. Same goes for saying positive and encouraging things to your self. Your heart soars, you feel like smiling and you want to rise to the occasion. Sure, those discouraging thoughts pop up, but you just don't go there. Don't water and fertilize them. CHOOSE to be kind to yourself and be hopeful.

I've got more to say about this, so stay tuned. Time to get back to the Extreme Laundry Challenge of getting out the summer clothes and putting away the winter stuff!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More about The Beginning

One thing I did from the very beginning was to keep careful records. There was something satisfying and motivating about filling in calendar pages and writing down goals. The fun part is that I have those records to look back on now. Through my inch loss journey I was able to track results and get a true picture of the results of workouts. When inch loss slowed or stopped all I had to do was look at what I had actually done in the last couple of weeks. Somehow we tend to fool ourselves about what we're REALLY doing when it comes to workouts, so the actual proof was helpful and eye-opening. Someone once said that we think reading about T-Tapp and posting on the forum means we're spending time doing T-Tapp but the only thing that gives you results is pushing *PLAY* and getting off the couch!

More coming soon on some of the emotional and mental challenges I faced as a brand new Tapper...

My first week with T-Tapp: the nitty-gritty details!

258 pounds, size 22W. 42" waist, 52" abs, 49.5" hips. I sat at the computer browsing through one of my favorite blogs, "Large Family Logistics" and read an article about the author's favorite "stretching exercise" called T-Tapp. I clicked on the link and looked around the website. My heart began to beat a little faster with hope--was it possible? The success stories were impressive, but I was skeptical. Still, my curiosity was piqued so I read some more. I decided to order the Total System and promised myself that I would do the 15-minute workout. After all, I reasoned, ANYONE can do 15 minutes a day.

Here are actual notes from my records of the first 10 days:
Day 1 - received package; watched "Yes You Can" DVD and Instructional #1
Day 2 - Instructional #1 first time! (shaky & nauseated) Brush and salt bath
Day 3 - Instructional #1, Brush
Day 4 - Brush, Instructional #1
Day 5 - Brush, Instructional #1, 1/2 set HoeDowns, sore
Day 6 - Basic Workout, 1/2 set HoeDowns, Brush, knees sore
Day 7 - Basic Workout, 3/4 set HoeDowns, Seeing results! Firmer thighs and arms, cellulite and stretch marks smoother
Day 8 - Instructional #1, Brush, (no knees on Plies--sore & crackling), new shoes--Skechers Energy
Day 9 - Basic Workout, Brush, first third of Instructional #2 and 1/2 set HoeDowns
Day 10 - Basic Workout Plus, Brush, salt bath, measured: -5 inches, -1 pound!!

By Day 16 I had lost 14.5" and 4 pounds. I felt better than I had in years. I was hooked!