Life by the Numbers

September 1, 2010
Abby Lentz

Often when I talk about the work that I do — teaching obese and overweight people yoga —  I use the phrase that doing yoga can help you reclaim your health. I believe that yoga as a tool for health is overlooked by most people of size because the general concept and current images of yoga seem to be for the already thin and fit. I know everyone can do yoga, regardless of size or circumstance. Yoga is a doable and sustainable launching point for a healthier body and lifestyle.

I talk about reclaiming your health on Better TV (click to watch)

However, I always leave the other steps to reclaiming your health up to you. Following your own path — doing what works for you. But as the Universe would have it, I decided to share what reclaiming  health looks like for me.

I had wanted this first blog entry to be a dancing cat video, to be light and cheerful, but my own recent circumstances have pointed me in a different direction of a more serious nature. So for this first entry, I want to share about my life as I’ve been living it by the numbers.

Those numbers being my weight, the 3 little digits that add up to be what I’ve used in the past to measure so much of who I am.

I’m a avid journal writer. I started writing about what’s up in my life in 1975, before I moved to Austin as a young wife and mother. Because of that, I can tell you what I’ve weighed at any time in the past 35 years. Moving to Austin, March 1976: 153.

The day I married Ron — more about my heart husband as this blog unfolds — but for now I weighed in at 195 that morning almost 20 years ago on 09/22/90. Dublin Ireland Marathon in 2000, a trim 184. Home from my last Kripalu training session June 2004: 214.

With Maribeth & Nathan '75

You name a date or event, and I can pretty much tell you what the scale had to say. Even more than my age, what I weighed defined who I was. Even my official HeavyWeight Yoga press release carries the number 232, which was only true at the time.

A few weeks ago I decided to put that habit and definition aside. Instead I wanted to look at different numbers. My cholesterol; triglycerides; blood pressure; sugar level, and waist measurement. Numbers that take time to change, that take a true lifestyle commitment to move. Numbers that won't trigger the emotional whiplash of stepping on the scale.

Except for measuring my waist, which is easily done at home, the rest of these numbers require blood work and medical interpretation. This summer, being at my top weight ever, I decided to go have this work done earlier than my annual checkup. The numbers were a mix of change, but one number that never really registered with me was my Cardio CRP. It’s a number that shows body inflammation. It can have simple causes, like my arthritic shoulder and knee, or something more serious, such as heart disease.

And so that’s the path I’m on today. Trying to discover what’s got this CRP number so very high at 9.2. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with you my adventure as I walk the walk to reclaiming my health. Right now I’m on the Dean Ornish reversing heart disease lifestyle: vegetarian diet, 30 minutes of cardio everyday and yoga/meditation. (That’s not teaching yoga, but actually doing yoga for myself.) I’m preparing for an Echo Stress test on September 15. There will be more numbers, different numbers to dissect and understand after that, but for now I’m just using a simple number of 1 — one day of reclaiming my health.


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