Toning my Mind, Body, and Breasts

I hope you’re here for my mind and not my breasts. 😉

The title is a bit misleading, so allow me to elaborate.

Over the next month (possibly longer), I’ll be blogging about my mind, body, and … something else. I’m calling it the Mind Body Series. The “something else” is a by-product of the work I’ve been doing to improve myself mentally and physically.

For this post, I’ll talk about toning my mind and body and only touch on my breasts.

Hmm … that didn’t sound right. What I mean is, I won’t be offering any tips on how to make your breasts perkier or firmer, in case that’s why you stopped by.

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (USA | Canada | UK), it’s important that I highlight this worthy cause in any way I can. Since I was diagnosed in 2000, both detection and treatment have improved significantly for those with breast cancer.

It’s encouraging to read about the progress over the years and know this disease may someday be eradicated—in my lifetime.

breast cancer awareness month

The stuttered beginning of this post provides a small indication for how I’ve been feeling the past two years—hesitant and unfocused. It’s affected every area of my life, most notably my writing. I’ve pushed ahead as best as I can, but it’s been a difficult time not knowing how long the lethargy would last.

In essence, when would my mind bounce back to the way it was—to when it was sharp and clear, without the filter of cobwebs behind a thick fog, buried under a rock?

See? I need major help with my metaphors too.

empty brain

On paper, my thoughts were dysfunctional and incomprehensible to me. Others did not seem to think so, but I’ve always been my own worst critic. The words rang hollow. At times, I felt like my brain was empty of thought. This, of course, was impossible. What offered me small comfort was knowing that I can write. I had proof of it in my previous books even though my perception of my writing had changed. When I used to read my old work, I would think: “Ha! I can write better than that now!” and feel good that I had improved.

Now, I did not recognize myself in my writing. I felt like an imposter, which wasn’t all that different from how I felt when I first started writing fulltime. Call it self-doubt or a crisis of confidence, but whatever it was, it gripped me in a headlock and was not letting go.

For the better part of this year, I’ve limited my blog to music posts and author promotions. I figured I couldn’t mess those up too much. Penning an original and personal post had become increasingly difficult. I wrote the last one when I returned from my grandmother’s funeral, and that was nearly ten months ago.

If it were not for R.B. Wood’s WordCount Podcast and Toby Neal’s Lei Crime KindleWorlds series, I would not have done much creative writing at all. Both of them gave me opportunities to write—at least in the short fiction format.

Regardless of how I felt, it was important that I kept up a daily writing ritual, so I turned into a robotic vomiter of words for the sake of meeting word count.

word vomit

I tried to maintain discipline, anchoring myself in the knowledge that these words were not without merit. The problem was, none of them were in the proper order for my next book—A Fragile Truce, which was to follow Stranger at Sunset, released 2014.

I had planned to launch the second book less than a year later, followed by book three shortly after that.

The pressure to meet my deadline prompted me to withdraw from social media for a while, but that didn’t help.

What was happening to me?

Was it the dreaded writer’s block (which I had vehemently denied even existed?)

writer's block

Or was it something more sinister?

Following a couple of trips to see my doctor, he diagnosed me as severely anemic. My iron level was non-existent and my blood pressure so low he was surprised I didn’t faint. I was 50 at the time. It made sense I would be experiencing hormonal fluctuation and other symptoms of life change. Still, I never thought it would affect me with such intensity—to the point where both my mind and body felt foreign to me.

I know every woman goes through this, and some I’ve spoken to have much worse symptoms than me. I was also reminded that fifteen years ago, my oncologist told me there might be lingering effects from my chemo treatment. I guess I had chosen to ignore that little piece of information. Unfortunately, it was impossible to ignore the connection between changes in my body and how it affected my ability to communicate – both verbally and via the written word. I never used to struggle to find the right words. Now, It’s on the tip of my tongue syndrome occurred more often than I cared to admit. My vocabulary plummeted, which meant writing took longer since I needed to consult a Thesaurus more often.

Something had to change, but what?

meditator

Since my mid twenties, I’ve meditated regularly, which I owe to saving my mind from becoming even more erratic than it already was. What I didn’t realize was the process of stilling my mind (sitting for long periods in meditation) was not fully serving me at this stage in my life—not physically anyway.

I’ve never really had to exercise. Moderate physical activity was enough to keep me in good shape, but I knew I needed to do more. I felt sluggish and heavy. I couldn’t sleep.

In February, against my doctor’s wishes, I decided not to take iron supplements and instead, started a regimen of Chinese herbs. They have helped me regain much of my energy. I don’t have that lethargic feeling anymore, and best yet, my foggy brain cleared up as well.

chinese herbal concoction

Concoction of dates, goji berries, and dong quai

I also did something opposite to what my doctor recommended. He wanted me to take it easy with exercise. I understood his rationale, but I listened to my body, and my body told me it needed to move. It needed to move A LOT. I felt manic when I made the decision to join a hot yoga studio in the neighbourhood, like I had been on ice for far too long.

5-lb-dumbbell

I started going to classes two, three, then five times a week. One of the classes is a Body Tone class which is fitness inspired. We work with weights, loud music, and the pace is breakneck. I imagine it’s what “Bootcamp Yoga” would be if there was such a thing. In the beginning, I couldn’t even do half the moves of the hour-long class. I am now happy to say that after eight months, I can complete the full class—with gusto! I’ve even moved up to using 5-lb weights from my original 3-pounders. Though that might not sound like a lot, performing repetitive weight-bearing squats, lifts, and sit-ups in 35C (95F) heat is exhausting. I walk out of the class drenched but feeling happy and invigorated. The workouts have also helped me sleep much better.

I returned to my doctor recently for a follow-up appointment and told him what I had been doing. He was fine with my approach though a bit concerned I had lost 10 pounds since I started yoga. It shocked me, really. I don’t own a scale, so the only time I ever weigh myself is at my doctor’s office. It was never my intention to lose weight, but despite my thinner body, I felt stronger than I have ever felt in my life.

All good news, right?

Well, there is a small downside to the story … and that’s where my breasts enter into the picture.

Or more accurately, it’s where they make their exit.

Those 10 pounds I lost came straight off the top. I didn’t think it was possible to go down a size from a 32A bra, but it is.

The main casualty of this weight loss is now I have to get rid of many of my bras. I love beautiful lingerie, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I own several push-ups that feel like they could double as a football player’s shoulder pads. They transformed me from a 32A to a 32C—a two-cup increase. Woohoo!

bras

These babies could stop bullets!

When I fitted myself with these push-ups the other day, I laughed my ass off! I thought I was going to topple over. Suffice it to say it looks unnatural for me to have such large breasts now.

Did you ever think you would be so intimate with my intimates? Heh.

It’s been a trying and interesting time. I’m not one who complains, but I wanted to let readers know why I haven’t been able to deliver on my trilogy. At the same time, I also wanted to thank you for reading my meanderings, now and in the past.

The good news is I’m on the mend.

My mind is much improved with Chinese herbs and meditation. My body is leaner and growing stronger with yoga, and last but not least, even though there is less to them now …

love your breasts

Stay tuned for the next instalment of my Mind Body Series when I talk about travel and returning to a magical place—Bali.

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34 Comments

Filed under Revelations & Humor, Craft of Writing

34 responses to “Toning my Mind, Body, and Breasts

  1. Totally second that. I believe in Chinese medicine and in listening to your body. Thanks for this inspiring post. I’m sure many people need to read honest accounts like this to feel encouraged. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent. I believe you’ve passed over the final hurdle, opening up. Now with a strong body, renewed enthusiasm and smashed barriers, your writing will improve dramatically. You already know how to work, now you will show us that beautiful mind.
    And btw, some of us reading this want to know more about these Chinese herbs. We’ll try anything, although I look silly in a push-up bra.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, opening up … it’s never easy. I’m one of those who suffers quietly and hope it passes before anyone notices.

      Thank you, Joe, for your kind words. I’ll have to learn more about Chinese herbs before I can write about them, but that’s a great idea for a post. My mother is the one who provides all the lessons to me for what I should take, and when.

      Yeah, a push-up bra would not be a good look for you!

      xo
      eden

      Like

  3. Well, when I read the title I saw, something, something, BREAST… You know I’m joking. Very well written and interesting post, Eden. I too suffer from some of what you’ve mentioned. Vocabulary loss among them. And I too use alternative meds to stem the flow of loss and they do help. I love it when you share and BTW I like your 32c’s

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi sweetheart! I love when you joke! Thanks for reading and commenting Dannie. I know I haven’t written a personal post in a long time, and it’s good to do so again. My memory is not what it used to be, but like everything, I suppose it worsens when dormant. I was in a fog for sometime, so I don’t think I used my brain fully.

      With the herbs and yoga, I’m moving again and it has helped immensely. I’m just not the most patient person, so it’s irritated me that it’s taken so long, but I’m getting there!

      As for the 32C … hahah, I’m in the market for something MUCH smaller, but a 32A demi bra seems to do the trick for now. All that padding on the push-ups was just TOO MUCH!

      xox
      eden

      Like

  4. Brenda Perlin

    Doctors don’t know everything and that’s why they call it “practicing medicine’ as they are mostly not trained in nutrition, exercise or Chinese herbs. Sometimes you have to follow your heart and your own best judgment. Sometimes your body tells you what you need. So glad you are getting what you need and strong enough to have searched for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Berlin, good point about “practicing medicine!” My GP is a nice man, but he knows my history so he defers to me on certain things.

      I’ve learned to listen to my body more often in recent years, and I never take a doctor’s word as gospel — not anymore, since I was misdiagnosed for cancer. I do follow my heart, but I also know when I don’t feel ‘right.’ It’s hard to explain, but just because I’m not overweight does not mean I’m strong, and now that I have lost weight, I feel infinitely stronger.

      It’s like my body tightened up into my core, and muscle replaced fat and I feel more powerful now.

      My hope is this help me focus again, and my writing will follow from there. Thank you for commenting, hon xoxo
      e

      Like

  5. Oh my friend I had wondered about you for a while. I have had a similar odyssey (though not breast oriented) and had begun to question my ability to create anything worthwhile. I started a very serious exercise program a year ago this month, and while I have not cleared up all my fogginess, it has helped me feel much better physically and emotionally. I wish you continued success and thank you for your inspiring story! xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Alex, yes, I’m still here and alive. 🙂 I had a feeling about you too, and I noticed the change from your workouts. You look slimmed down, fitter, and happy. I know men go through this too, hormonal changes, mid life, call it what you will, but that ‘foggy brain’ is a killer. It really made me feel like I was losing it at times.

      Thanks for commenting, dear friend. Great to see you and appreciate your kind words,
      eden
      xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. MaryAnn Forbes

    I am so glad you are feeling restored and happy that you have discovered what works best for you. My mind is in a rather dark place right now as my husband is very ill and refusing medical care. He is a wonderful man yet much too stubborn. I’m sorry. It wasn’t my intention to share that although sometimes it just feels “good to talk about it.
    Thank you for your post; I will be on the lookout for more. Continued best wishes on your journey. Peace.🌹

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh MaryAnn … firstly, thank you for commenting. I so appreciate it.

      More importantly, thank you for sharing something about yourself that is very difficult. I cannot imagine what you must be going through.

      You are ALWAYS welcome to share with me, either in public forums or privately. Sometimes, it helps just to know you have someone who is willing to listen, who will not necessarily offer feedback or a solution, but just an empathetic ear. When I was going through treatment for breast cancer, I joined a group (reluctantly at first) to find out how I could better live with the effects of chemo. I was so impressed by the women I met, and for many years after my treatments were over, I still went to the sessions to offer my own story and share with women who needed some guidance. I know the power of sharing.

      All too often, women suffer alone because they are so incredible at coping with everything. They multi-task and take care of others before they ever think about themselves. Please think about yourself, MaryAnn. You are worth it.

      Sending you love and light, and open arms should you wish to reconnect here, on FB, or via e-mail. eden (dot) baylee (at) rogers (dot) com

      xox
      eden

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Efrain Nadal

    Many things are difficult and all the time we need to face new challenges. I ‘m really happy for you that you are able to find a good balance in the yoga; you will see that eventually everything is going to be in line and you are going to find your words. I know, I know, I have my problems with words too, well, mostly with distraction, now I can’t keep my focus to much in a project. But let’s back to you, you are wonderful, smart, and of course, beauty and sexy so this is just an adjustment. BTW, I can use some of those Chinese herbs; you know where to send the info. And for your bra, just throw them away.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Efrain, dear friend 🙂

      You always make me laugh with your wonderful humor and wisdom. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I will have to give away my bras, many have only been worn a couple of times. Can you believe I was a bra-hoarder considering I hardly had breasts to fill them out?!

      I will have to write a comprehensive post about Chinese herbs I think. It is an interesting subject, and a worthy one to share.

      xox
      e

      Like

  8. You’re doing great, lady. Continue to take care of yourself. You’ve always been an inspiration to me.

    I know, it’s a good feeling when I take a shower and can taste the salt in the water that runs off my head., that everything is still working well enough that I can still burn enough energy to produce the sweat.
    Just read a line that kind of hit home for me. “He had some of his best ideas when he wasn’t thinking.” Elmore Leonard

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Tim! I miss you, lovely man.

    Thank you for the words of encouragement, and I love the quote from Elmore Leonard. It made me both laugh and think. He was a wise man indeed.

    Your visual of the shower and salt was excellent. I certainly sweat when doing hot yoga, but there was a time I would not sweat even if I sat for an hour in a sauna. I don’t think that was a good thing! Now, it seems my body is expelling toxins as it should, so I am getting rid of a lot of crap, hehe.

    I hope it means I have more room for the good ideas to enter.

    🙂

    xo
    eden

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It wasn’t just your breasts that lured me here, Eden, honest! In fact, believe it or not, it wasn’t your breasts at all! ‘Knowing’ you as I do, it was the mind and body thing; something that I can totally relate to.

    That “looking back and reading some of my earlier writings and not recognising myself” feeling! I absolutely identify with this, particularly for me in the past couple of years. I have put this down to the fact that singing has demanded much more of my attention in the past couple of years and was diverting my creative energies, in a good way.

    In my view you have handled this like the woman I know you to be, head on, taking no prisoners, with conviction, courage and purpose. Ringing the changes from a well tried and tested routine is sometimes the only answer, particularly, it strikes me, in the creative arts.

    I have recently proved to myself again that I can still write and turn in a good piece of work, albeit not published yet. Well done, M’am. Well done for tackling the changes in your life so well. In this virtual world, where we interact, it is most definitely your mind that attracts me, and, even though I have seen the occasional photo of your body, I frankly don’t give a damn about the size of your breasts! Rock on, Lady, rock on!

    By the way, I did have a problem, at first; couldn’t quite see you hiding behind a cobweb, underneath a rock. Then the penny dropped. I realised it was a journey, a progress toward that hidden state, toward that ultimate hiding place! But then I saw you, like Superwoman, stand up, lift the rock above your head and propel it back into the crater whence it came! Brava!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. John! Hello lovely man, thank you for commenting.

    I suppose when you have competing talents as you have — poetry and singing, it’s never going to be easy (or even possible) to devote energy to both of them in equal measure. I’m not surprised, though, that you continue to excel in both.

    Following a routine, regardless if it was going to get me to the end goal of my next book was important. I knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to write the book, but I didn’t want to stop writing. It’s important to keep going.

    I will be forever grateful for serendipitous encounters via social media. It’s what connected us many years ago — a meeting of minds. I have hopes that one day we may actually meet in person. It certainly is NOT impossible.

    As always, appreciate your support, thoughtfulness, and kind words, John.

    xox
    eden

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I love that you listened to your instinct and followed what your body was telling you. When you know how to listen, your body will tell you. I have epilepsy and, at times, it’s a challenge to know when to rest and when to push through. But it’s also a lifelong lesson, to learn to listen to my body.

    The photo of your bras made me laugh so hard. I have a couple of bullet-stopping ones just like that, haha!

    Looking forward to reading more from this writing series of yours, Eden. Thank you for your beautiful words.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Letizia!

      Thank you for your comment. I didn’t know you have epilepsy and so appreciate your wise words in sharing your experience. #Hugerespect.

      It’s not always easy to listen to my body, but it’s worth the time to do so — a lesson I learned when I was misdiagnosed as not having breast cancer.

      Those bras! Funny you have them too, hahah! I’ve switched to a demi lightly lined bra and look much better. (At least I think so) Heh.

      Thanks again for dropping by Letizia, always great to see you,

      xox
      eden

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It sounds like you’ve moved in the right direction. Love that play on words, Eden!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Haha William, welcome back dear friend. You know I love playing with words, happy you liked! xox
    eden

    Like

  15. It’s great to read a more personal post from you, Eden. I always enjoy them! So glad you have you have taken your health into your own hands and feel better. Doctors have their time and place, but I think we know our bodies best.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Hi Britt, thank you for your comment! Yes, I trust my instincts on my body. I didn’t always, but it was probably because I wasn’t listening as closely as I should. I have great respect for the medical profession and feel fortunate that I have had good doctors (for the most part). I also understand doctors do not know everything, and patients can help in their own healing.
    I look at it this way – I am part of my own medical team, and there will never be a bigger advocate for my health than me.

    Great to see you 🙂
    eden

    Like

  17. Pingback: Toning my Mind, Body, and a Trip to Bali |

  18. Wow. I’m just catching up. I think the hot yoga and the weight loss is great. My mom was a big believer in Chinese herbs. Her mom knew a lot about them. I hope you continue to heal and get healthy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Matt, I’m finally responding. I just caught up with you and your travels and pictures. LOVE them, keep them coming! Thanks for the kind words, and we’ll be in Asia around the same time. I hope you continue to have a wonderful time and eat lots!

      xo
      eden

      Liked by 1 person

  19. This was a great post that reaffirmed my belief in the power of yoga and meditation along with green tea. Fortunately my doctor also believes in them. BTW, you are a great writer!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Lori, great to meet you and learn your story. I’m following your blog now. Yes, green tea … I drink copious amounts of it and love Matcha and sencha combined. Thank you for your compliment about my writing. It’s great to get affirmation once in a while. 😉

    Like

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  24. An holding post! No, I am not referring to your breasts. As a writer, it always helps to know I am not the only one who spends exasperating lengths of time hopelessly wandering in the fog. Glad to see you are returning to form. I’ll be closely following this series as you journey on

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Dennis, thank you for commenting and appreciating my ditzy humour. Believe me, there’s a lot of fog in my head some days, but it’s beginning to clear. Hope it’s the same for you. 🙂
      eden

      Like

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