Bloated and Loving It (Sort Of)


So.  I taught a hula-hoop fitness class on Friday for the first time.  It was . . . hard.  Certainly harder than I expected.

All day Friday I was super nervous, so I ended up going to the gym's yoga class that's taught right before mine (wow, I still can't believe that I have a class!).  That ended up helping quite a bit as it was a very soothing, gentle practice.

Then I was up.  One person came in for hula-hooping.  I asked her to help herself to a hoop while I made a  bathroom run.  When I returned, to the studio, there was still only the one young woman there.  Talk about a low teacher-student ratio!  However, while this might be ideal for school-based education, it didn't strike me as all that great for a hooping class.  Still, I got started, and the first thirty or so minutes of the class flew by.

And then it started to drag.  Big time.  I deviated from my lesson plan and we worked on some off-body moves and I taught my lone brave student a small combination.  I couldn't tell if she was having a good time or not, but I began to feel like I was torturing her.

We made it through, and I hope that I didn't scare her off.  I tried not to feel too bad (as I learned from various yoga/hooping teacher friends, my not-so-fab first-time experience isn't that all that uncommon) and came away with some ideas about how to keep the rhythm and appeal flowing through the entire class.  I welcome any and all suggestions!

The hardest part of the class, however, had nothing to do with the instruction, or even hooping.  Instead, the most challenging thing was the mirrors.  Not only did I feel pretty doofy wearing this heavy microphone for a one-student class (so I could keep the music louder), but I kept glimpsing myself in the mirror.  And . . . it was bad.

Let me rephrase that -- it felt bad.  I thought I had been doing much better in my relationship with food and exercise, and I had been feeling very emotionally stable.  But then, according to my reflection, all that stability seemed to be hurting my body.  My stomach was flubby and larger than I thought it had been, and I just felt like I looked lumpy and all-around frumpy. 

My first instinct after class ended and my plucky student left the studio was to run for it.  Instead, I took a deep breath, put on some peppy music, and played with my hoop.  I videoed some of the practice session even though that meant preserving my quivering gut for all the world to see.  And, in spite of how dissatisfied I felt with my body, the practice session was fun.  It was so nice to have a large indoors space to go crazy in and not have to worry about sending my hoop crashing into something breakable.

That was going to be the end of my first-time-teaching tale . . . until this morning.  It seems that, two days after I thought my belly was more enormous than it should have been, I have my period.  That makes me wonder if Friday's lumpy gut was really the result of pre-menstrual bloating.

I keep forgetting that I have this monthly event occurring in my body.  When I began descending into anorexia-land, I lost my period.  Before these past few months, the last time that I had a natural period (i.e., not helped along by the hormones in birth control pills) was November 2006.  This summer, my period finally returned of its own accord and (so far) has kept coming back each month.

As much as I don't like the cramps and bloating that come along with a functioning female reproductive system, having a regular period causes me more joy than probably seems normal.  But each month that it returns is a sign that I've been taking care of myself (or trying my darndest to do so).  Each new successful cycle is a victory against lies, disorder, and mental disease. 

So, instead of despairing over my not-svelte stomach or curvy hips, I'm going to share my video of Friday night's hooping practice in all of its pre-menstrual bloat-alicious glory.


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