Luckily for me, I have 2 bestest friends who can enlighten me about my research questions. So, it's Lakapati and Grace today; then probably Rebecca Jane Weinstein tomorrow!
Meet the Triumvirate: Lornadahl, Lakapati and Grace
Taken during Lakapati's Wedding in December 2010
Lornadahl: You've moved weight divisions. How did you do it and what for?
Lakapati: I've moved from being okay to overweight to slightly overweight and still losing weight with lots of ways over the the last 6 years, most of which are temporary and unsustainable (i.e. diet pills, cigarettes and not eating, etc.) but what is working and sustainable is overhauling my perspective on health in general.
I realized the holistic approach (mind, body, soul, spirit) is the only way to go. I quit all my addictions--smoking and food (read Confessions of an Ex-Smoker and I Quit Smoking...Now What? to know more about her journey); I commissioned the services of an integrative doctor to help me detox; now being raw vegan from someone who just ate less meat (pork-free since 2008) and more organic vegetables; rooting in faith and practicing charity with other belief systems which differ from my own; exercising more by developing routines through learning Kali and yoga, and rebounding (this I still need to be more disciplined). It's an ongoing and continuous journey. I did for no one else but myself and I do it in my own pace.
Meet Lakapati, 70 pounds lighter after her wedding
Lornadahl: How did faith partake in this journey?
Lakapati: Faith became a very intrinsic and essential part of the journey. Everything else is immaterial without proper grounding in faith. I can make all these changes but without a purpose aside from superficiality. Only through faith can one understand what one person stands for and understand his or her life's purpose. I now understand that I want to be healthier because I need to live longer. Why live longer? Because I have to be a great example of a life well lived reflecting the love and grace I received through the years hoping to impact as many people as I can. Without faith, I don't think I'll even conceive of such thoughts; I'll be nothing but a ship without an anchor.
Lornadahl: What's rebounding?
Lakapati: Rebounding is the act of jumping on a rebounder (small trampoline).
Photo nabbed from this website
Grace: The issue on weight began early in my life as I was an obese kid as soon as I turned twelve. I shed pounds significantly during high school when I played and competed for volleyball, then gained weight again when I entered college, lost weight again unhealthily through diet pills and crash diet bordering on starvation. It was losing and gaining then losing for no reason back then, except during college when I was doing it for vanity purposes. It was only after school when I slowly paid attention to it. I gained more weight than I ever gained my whole childhood and college years put together when I started working for media. I was eating too much, smoking heavily, drinking too much. It went on to my next jobs and I was really tipping the scale. My turning point was 2008 when my physician diagnosed me for something deeply connected to my lifestyle, which, if left unchanged, will cause me several cysts and possibly cancer.
From 2008 to present, I lost a total of 70 pounds. How? By changing the way I view health and being 'fit'. I'm still losing weight gradually - in a healthy and sustainable way now. I realised my views on attractiveness, fitness and health are mostly wrong. It's not about the figures on the scale, it's about looking at yourself as a wholistic being - mind, body and soul connected. When you begin to plant the desire to take care of your soul, then you start with the body.
[Smiling] Grace Today
The weight loss is a "side effect" of the inner health you practice. All of us may be doing the same workout routines but with different intentions in mind. The intention is not to flaunt, but to work on balance from inside out. Motive colors everything.
After the episode with my doctor, I altered my lifestyle. I adopted a moving lifestyle: stairs instead of lifts, walking instead of cabs, I started practicing yoga. And when you start yoga, everything shifts. You pay attention to what you eat. I continued being vegetarian but with a different mindset so I started eating healthier and I started meditating. A changed mindset is the only sustainable way to being healthy. Break the old views, have a fresh and guided look at health and yourself as a whole, and everything follows.
Grace during the recently concluded Global Mala Yoga 2012
Lornadahl: Did faith partake in your journey, too?
Grace: I always have faith that any person already know what to do in life, all s/he has to do is to remember it. We have this deep disconnect with our own selves and we forgot our natural state. We have a lot of re-learning to do. It is natural for us to honor ourselves, this is where everything begins, we honor ourselves, we honor others, our planet. It's really simple and nothing supernatural or religious about it. Everything in this earth is connected and taking care of ourselves is our moral duty. My faith has everything to do in this journey.
In yoga, the first thing my teachers taught me is grounding. No matter how ugly you look in a pose, keep grounded no matter what. My faith is my grounding in all these changes I made. In everything you do for yourself, if they come from a deep true intention, everything moves towards that goal. Everything falls in its place ultimately.
Lornadahl: Wow, your stories inspire me. In case you're not yet aware, your examples affected how I treat my own body, too. I'd say I feel better now. Would you agree that obese people find it hard(er) to achieve orgasm? Can you compare your sexual experiences in term sof the big O when you were still obese and now that you've lost weight?
Lakapati: Basing it from my experience, no. Challenges with orgasm are rooted in more complex reasons rather than excess body weight. Being overweight or weighing less had nothing to do with my experience. In hindsight, I only had problems with reaching orgasm when I don't feel like doing it, whenever I'm very stressed and when I know deep inside I am doing it for the wrong reasons. Generally speaking, outside of that, it's all good. There is no difference between the big O then and the big O now aside from the fact that I'm doing it now with my husband. Heaven on earth.
Grace: I don't think this is accurate since sexual problems are caused by several other factors, such as hormonal conditions. Although obesity is usually linked to unhealthy lifestyle and overall, the quality of lifestyle (or health) affects a person's ability to orgasm. Mental states like stress, for example.
Photo nabbed from this site.
Lakapati: In the past, yes, it was a concern. I definitely stopped having sex altogether, even right at the middle of it. If my partner feels I have to lose weight for his enjoyment, then he does not "deserve" to do it with me.
Lornadahl: I suppose this "requirement" contributed to the break-up?
Lakapati: Goes without saying. And his non-payment of a P20,000 loan sealed the deal.
Grace: Personally they don't affect much. My own perception and my own view of my body image have more effect.
Lornadahl: But it still affected you somehow, right? I think there will be moments it helps that your partner validates your own appreciation of your body image. Would you agree?
Grace: Yes, I would agree, for although orgasm is still possible, the tendency of not having an appreciative partner is to find other expressions of these sexual energies (somewhere, in other activities or other partners). This, I think, lowers the quality of the whole experience. Though strictly speaking, weight and partner's perception do not directly impact the ability to orgasm.
Lakapati: To add to what I said earlier, although it is a PLUS to have my partner(s) love how my body looks, it is nothing but a bonus. I know I am beautiful in more ways than one, the only opinion that really counts is mine. The rest either complements or disagrees. And I tend to believe that women who fail to orgasm under these circumstances are more often women who lack self-esteem and/or do not know how to orgasm. If you don't accept yourself, there's no way you are going to orgasm.
Lakapati: "I know I am beautiful in more ways than one..."
In my estimation, this Lakapati's sexiest candid photo to date
Grace: Yes, they have. Not very good in concealing as well. If you go to gym, most of the people you see around are men. Almost all men I know want to remove their flabs, develop their upper body and triceps, they want strong leg muscles, they like expensive perfume or nice hair. Basically we're both in equal footing with men in terms of wanting to have good body image. The only difference is the "perfect" image educated to us as to what makes a "perfect" man and woman.
Lakapati: Men have body issues and, to add to what Grace said, a lot of men do compensate with "overdoing" a ton of things to hide their insecurity which highlights their personal body image concern(s). It's ludicrous. Men try to hide it by developing a huge ego as cover up.
Do men have body image issues, too?
Photo lifted here.
Lornadahl: Of course, that's a huge turn-off, right? Do you think a woman is also supposed to boost her partner's ego underneath the sheets?
Lakapati: It is a turn off especially if the guy tries too hard by saying he's "all that" and more. Just like the guy you interviewed from Facebook. A woman is NOT supposed to boost her partner's ego underneath the sheets or vice versa. If people desire flattery and ego blow-up from lovemaking then really, it can't be called lovemaking, it becomes a trough where horses/pigs feed from.
To be continued...