Here’s the last episode in the Changing Lifestyles series. You may remember how I told you all about how my move to New York threw me off and why I gained weight and how I ended my negative thought cycle to finally find some balance.

This last chapter is the last chapter because it explains how I became Gwyneth Paltrow. Not as blond, but just as dangerously Perfecta.

That said, I have an appointment to the hairdresser tomorrow. I might become a blonde…

Naaaah, I’m kidding.

So… A moral tale.

Once upon a time, there was a young (yeahhhh) girl who loved chocolate and cigarettes but hated exercise. All exercise except for snowboarding and go-karting and of course, surfing, which she was a professional at, but besides those, all exercise was such a chore that she had to come up with a final solution:

She’d just never exercise.

She really liked exercising yep, in her daydreams. But she just never had time. She only had time to smoke cigarettes outside the cafés, but not for exercising. And on top of that, she traveled a lot, and with all those trips, how can you expect to exercise regularly?

Run! You can run everywhere, right?

Not good enough. Running messes up your joints, everyone knows that. And it’s no good for your breasts! And really, running… I mean c’mon, could it get more boring?

Use the gym in the hotel!!! Easy.

Not so much. I love sports… Real ones, that is. Not machines. They just won’t do. Pfff! I’m not gonna go all hamster on a cardio machine.

Do some yoga!

Nope. It’s boring and there are so many people who eat organic food in there. And plus they say the most annoying things like “Namaste” and “Ommmm.” Can they just say “thank you” like everyone else? And what the heck is that anyway, ommmm?

So yeah, you get that this young girl is me and you get a taste of the 18,000 excuses I find for not exercising.

From time to time, in a Gwyneth Paltrowed haze – once every three months or so – I would toss on my running shoes or hop on my yoga mat and of course, I would hate it even more, seeing how absolutely out of shape I was.

I could have kept on like that for a very long time.

The real problem actually was my stress level. I was always somewhat of the anxious type, but the more time passed, the worse it got.

Like I told you before, it was during my trip to Australia that it all came to a head. And being so far from everything, yoga – and the meditation that goes with it – was the only thing that calmed me down.

But how do you do yoga all by yourself? I started looking around on the internet and I found the coolest thing. It’s called MyYogaOnline and it’s simply a site of yoga videos. You chose your level, what type you want to practice, and one of the really well-known teachers gives you a class.

I started with the 15 minutes classes. After about 10 minutes, I was so bored I’d start thinking about which restaurant I was going to go to that night, what I was going to post on the blog or if I had locked the door to the apartment. I’d often quit half way into the class. But there was no one there to judge me. And even 5 minutes of yoga did me some good.

Once I got back to New York, I kept with it. The positive effects on my mood were amazing. Ask Scott, my yoga changed his life too. I wasn’t as anxious and stayed relatively calm in the face of problems. I was feeling good and so well rested.

I went to one class a week. It was tough… I’m not flexible at all and I didn’t have any muscle to sustain my downward dog. Sometimes I’d just quit in the middle of the class and ran back home.

But despite it all, I continued on.

Because at the end of class, I was always smiling.

—–

So it was in Paris, if you remember well, that I started changing my way of eating. The day I decided to stop eating bread, I also decided to start running. And I don’t really know why.

I bought a bra made of reenforced concrete. I put Florence and the Machine in my headphones and out I went running, so totally inspired.

So totally totally tooooooootalllyyyy, inspi….

I didn’t even make it through The Dog Days Are Over.

It’s the first song on the album.

I’m not kidding. I made it about four minutes before I was swimming in sweat. After about 8 minutes, my legs couldn’t move anymore I was so out of breath. So terrible. I got back to my house hiding behind my iPhone.

But same story there… I don’t know why, but I continued on.

————-

Months passed. I did yoga when I had time and a little bit of running when I needed to release the pressure.

I still didn’t feel at all sporty. I was still the worst in every yoga class I went to and none of my jogs lasted more than 25 minutes.

But I continued on.

———

And then summer arrived and that’s when I was transformed into Gwyneth.

I don’t know what happened… I just suddenly started loving all of it.

Without really realizing it, my muscles got stronger and I was getting more flexible. The frustration turned into pleasure. I swear, I never thought I would’ve loved exercising.

Maybe I need to make you a little table so you can understand. I don’t know Gwyneth personally, but she seems really perfect, always in tip-top shape, well put together… She’s a good cook, she’s cool and smiling… and so yeah, I guess the opposite of me is what I’m saying.

Gwyneth, I love you and you really seem nice. But you just seem too perfect!!! You piss me off you piss me off you piss me off…

That said, I kind of shifted from the right side of the table to the left. Not saying that there’s anyway I’m getting up at 4:30 in the morning to do my sun salutations (Gwyneth, is it true? You seriously do that?), but I bought some cute outfits to go to the gym in – and a pink yoga mat (I have an exercise personality totally the opposite of my daily persona. I let the Jane Fonda part of me come right out. A pink yoga mat, can you imagine? Oh man…)

So that’s how you become all Gwyneth Paltrowed and how you too can become annoying – the kind of girl that says, “I love yoga! I love running! Wahoo!” (in a high voice of course) – so just a warning, this next paragraph is going to be a little annoying – (well, I should say, this paragraph would have TOTALLY pissed me off before I transformed into Gwyneth Paltrow).

But seriously, it’s true :

In yoga, you don’t look at yourself in the mirror. You get really concentrated on your movements and breath and let yourself get into an almost meditative state. You don’t question why you’re doing what you’re doing, you just are.

For one hour, ou are neither laughing nor cynical, nothing. You are just present.

And that’s what’s so fantastic about yoga. Not only does it blow off steam, strengthen muscle and stretch you out, but take it a step further and it gives you a totally new mental strength that changes your life.

“The important thing is just to continue on.” The wise words from my philosophy teacher back when. I’m almost positive he wasn’t talking about yoga, but still, it stuck with me and it fits.

We’ve reached the end of my Changing Lifestyle series. On that note, I leave you with that as all these good vibes have made me want a glass of red wine. Yeah, it’s 5:30, what have you got to say about it?

Gwyneth might not approve.

Translation : Tim Sullivan