Thursday, September 4, 2008

My very first video!

I made this video all by myself! I can't believe it, it was SO easy! HoopMamma is so proud, man.... So I hope you enjoy it. There is one move in there that I am especially proud of. I found that, when I forgot that the camera was there, I could really rock out and get into it. HoopMamma is otherwise a little video shy.

What I learned through this process is that filming myself gave me particular insight into what I am doing really well (that I hadn't previously realized) and what I am not even aware that I do (that doesn't look so hot). It was fairly confronting, but I must say that I really enjoyed it. 

The HoopMamma blog will be moving to the Hoopnotica site very soon! Yeah! We are so professional, right? Right. I will let you know so that you can re-subscribe (well, I at HOPE you subscribe).

And for those of you interested, I am hooping to Ozomatli.



Friday, August 29, 2008

Breakin' it Down... All the Way Down... to the Pelvic Floor Muscles

I was having lunch the other day at a popular beach taco joint, having a (light) beer with my hubby and enjoying a meal away from my children. I saw a girl that I knew from a "previous life"; one where I was in college, and cocktail-ed at night. She used to be really thin, but now was... well... not. Let's call her "Becky" for purposes of this story, shall we?

So, Becky was with some other friends (who were all about the same build); a bunch of girlfriends out lunching, and I was spying on them. They were all tan, and had lip gloss on. They were smiling. They were seemingly unaware that they had all gotten fat since the last time I had seen them. Becky was wearing a strapless terry cloth dress, exposing her cleavage, arm fat, and neck... and she didn't seem to care. She looked comfortable in her skin.

They all looked happy. And in this happiness, they looked really beautiful. Watching these ladies gave me some insight into beauty; its really not "what you got", but how you carry yourself. Confidence. 

  My whole life I have always believed that the taller and skinnier women are the most beautiful women who exist. I will never be those two things- and lately, I have come to terms with my limitations. I am incredibly beautiful... and I really mean that. Its not that I am really better looking than anyone else; but I am confidant. In this confidence I glow: and it feels really beautiful to be me. If I spend my life lusting after some look I am never, ever gonna have... then what does that make me? I'll tell you what it makes me: UGLY.

And so I hoop. 

Hooping makes me stand up a little taller, and be more confidant. I actually feel radiant.  HoopMamma has seen great things happen to women who hoop. Beyond my own need to lose weight, women have written to me with amazing accounts of overcoming disease, becoming stronger, and learning to connect with others. I read these stories alone at my desk; share them with Rayna and Keaton; or sometmes with you in the HoopScoop (Hoopnotica's monthly newsletter). Sometimes they make me cry. Learning to hoop is a powerful experience; and the results are always life changing and positive. 

There has been so much positive energy around me lately; with all this Olympic medal-winning;Obama -Speaking;and Burning Man going-ON... I feel this nice change of pace occurring for HoopMamma. Something really big, and great is about to happen. I can feel it. Go HoopMamma, Go Obama, Go USA...!

You know, 10 pounds is a lot of weight. It really FEELS like a ton of weight. I am not so sure that my "before pictures" can attest for it yet, but they will soon. I can't wait to share them with you.

This is usually the point at which HoopMamma quits. For some reason, I get cocky, and start cheating, or putting exercise off. Writing this blog gives me a sense of obligation and accountability: I cannot cheat or divert my attention from the goal, because I have a promise to whoever has read this. I highly recommend shouting out into cyberspace whenever you have something to declare, man. Its like in doing so, I cannot back down- to do so would make a liar out of me. And if HoopMamma is one thing, its good for her word. I am no liar.

A response to a Mamma who wrote to me last week (you know who you are):
Q: "Ever since I gave birth to my little bundle of joy, I've got an ass that won't quit (and I don't mean in a good way). Is there any particular method of hooping that works better in targeting this area (waist vs. thigh?)"

And, upon further HoopMamma inquiry: 

"Okay, it's been 18 months since I gave birth. I am 5 feet tall and weight 133. According to all the health experts, this is considered obese. My goal is to lose 13 pounds, all of which is in my mid section, but primarily in my bootay."

A: HoopMamma wants to tell you that you are not alone. And though I do not know you, I will speak to you as though I am your best girl on Earth (ie. You're not going to like all of this)
Girl, your weight is not all in your bootay. It's not only hangin' out in your mid-section. That 13 pounds is ALL OVER. Its in your neck, in your arms, all the way down to your toes... and yes, it is also in your a$$. Regardless of where you want it to come from first, you have to take ALL of it off in order to get to the parts you really fixate on. In your case; your a$$. In my case, my belly and my a$$. 

I could tell you that hip hooping and waist hooping are great, and that doing them at high speeds will massage away cellulite while reducing your waistline. And hooping will do that; but it will work all over your body, as it is a powerful fat-burning tool.  Go and get yourself a heart rate monitor, and wear it while you work out. This way you can see how many calories you burn. Hooping burns 3-600 calories per hour, while toning every muscle in your body. The best part is that hoop dance engages your pelvic floor muscles. That's right, ladies... SEXY SEX. And when you are dancing, you are not even thinking about kegels, right? The muscles that are all loose and stretched and damaged from the kid are being lifted and tightened every time you take a step. So if you don't know how to walk and step from side to side, let that be a new focus for you. If you tighten all you got down there and add a squat you'll really be in business. For HoopMamma, these are the exercises that are repairing the double C-Section damage. 

At 30 minutes per day, HoopMamma is using 300 calories a day (or 2100 calories a week). There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat; so from there you can decrease your caloric intake or exercise more. Your choice. My goal is two pounds a week; so I do the hooping plus I cut my diet by 1400+3500= 4900 calories a day. Which means I need to cut 700 calories out of my diet every day. (Don't worry, for the rest of you reading this, there will be no quiz).

There are no exercises that you can do that will only affect one area: you must work out the whole body in order to see results.

Your body is a holistic unit; every muscle connects in some way to the other ones; a beautiful machine which responds to your needs as your life changes. Your body is a reflection of how you use it, and you are in control.

Our booties are mostly muscle; and they don't call it the "maximus" for nothing... slap a few pounds of fat on it, and you got a bootie that "just won't quit". We get a certain amount of this natural padding without being "overweight", and some of us naturally carry a little more than others. Even when our bodies are in perfect balance, our booties may not look exactly the way we want them to. It is when we are certain that our weight is appropriate that we may turn to specific exercises to "firm and tighten". 

When we carry children, and deliver children, our hips (and therefore a$$) does seem to get a little bit bigger. I think that we have all experienced the joy of that one. I know HoopMamma has; twice. And we know that this is to make room for baby. But how do we "snap back" from it?

I know that it is an ancient practice in many cultures to "bind" your hips after childbirth, and I totally believe in it. My holistic Mamma friend told me all about it back in the days before celebrity Hollywood got a hold of it (and endorsed it). But I never did it, and so I am left with what I got (as punishment?). Bummer for me? Perhaps. Perhaps my body will have wider hips. Deep down, I know in my heart that the "hip spreading" is an excuse, and that I just need to lose weight. 

HoopMamma believes and forgives us Mammas for all of the excuses we create for ourselves. Change is so uncomfortable; we are powerful women who do amazing things everyday. But when it comes to working on ourselves, it is easy to claim that we "don't have time". Or even better, "this shouldn't even be this way, it's not fair".

Excess fattiness can be controlled; less input, and more output.  Eat less; exercise more. Once you lose whatever weight is left from carrying your bouncing bundle of joy, your whole body will thank you (your a$$ included).

Loving you (and your a$$),

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

9 minutes of Hooping Bliss

I was a total MOOD today. I can't explain it, and I have no excuse. 

But I'll attempt it anyways.

I wouldn't hoop. "I just didn't feel like it". There was no talking me out of it, I just didn't care today. I even sold myself on the idea that it is "ok" to take a day off from my commitment. Lemme tell you somethin: It's really NOT okay. HoopMamma lives life on a series of slippery slopes: One excuse bleeds into another, and one day I find myself 30 and "still" overweight. Well past the whole "post partum" thing. II am ready to own that I am professional procrastinator, and it stops right now. Or else it will continue and I will be 40 and "still overweight"...and then "50 and still..." Blah blah blah. 

So no, it is NOT okay. I will be the role model for my daughter that I want to be; this includes being active, eating healthy, and having a body which reflects it. I will not allow myself to continue with the bad habits which prevent me from attaining my goals. 

(Okay, glad we got that out of the way- now, where was I? Right- )
HoopMamma was really a grump today. For all intensive purposes, I shouldn't have been. Probably something hormonal. I yelled at my Pop; ignored my hubby; was at best amicable with my children; and couldn't say something motivational to my staff if my life depended on it. Hooping was out of the question.

Recently, I began really seriously taking a look at what I eat. I am eating less, and really controlling my diet in a way I have never done before. Don't misunderstand me here; I have been on a "diet" since I was 13. So I should be really good at it by now, right? Lets hope so. 

So in addition to what I buy, I have made a few changes to the way I think about dieting and food. Here they are:

I don't say dieting; I say reducing. I am in a state of reduction.

I don't have to eat anything if I don't want to. This may sound simple, but it is revolutionary for me. In the past, I have always eaten food for all the wrong reasons:

"Its lunchtime". 
"I ordered it, so I might as well eat it." 
"I am not going to eat for a while, so I better eat now."

I mean, what the heck are those? Who planted those terrible thoughts in my head? No matter, really- I am not going to enforce them any more, man. HoopMamma is getting off the train right here!

So I don't eat when I am not hungry, and I catch my negative thoughts more often to turn them around. 

Maybe all this "self-growth and empowerment" is making me grumpy. Or maybe it's Aunt Flo, threatening an early visit.

In any event, it took me all day (until 7:00) to get in a good Hoop. I finally was able to snap my head out of it long enough to put on some Sheryl Crow and grab my new Cosmo hoop. And it was just enough... I feel so much more relaxed and cheery. I am still not talking to my hubby and children; I 'll blow kisses from a far.  But tomorrow is another day. And 9 minutes of hooping bliss was all I need to rest my head on the pillow, and drift off to sleep stress-free...

By the way, I did take my "before " pictures last week. I have decided not to share them until I lose my 15th pound. That way I will be half way there. And these before shots are juicy, man... HoopMamma went all crazy and showed off her back fat- its really bad. Maybe I'll pin them to my wall, and use them as motivation. Because I sure as hell am not gonna show YOU (until I got a better "after shot"!)...


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Brittney Might be Cheezy, But She's a Mamma, Too

The thing is, I could really, truly LIVE off of cheese and cheese alone. Brie, Bleu, Cheddar, Swiss.... Jarlesberg, St. Andre. I really like cheese.

But I am down another pound this week- seriously. This morning, I woke up before everyone else, and the house was quiet. I devised a list of songs that I really jam to, and made sure that I had at least a half hour of music. This morning, my list was mostly mainstream hip hop/rock:

Shut Up and Drive (Rhianna, 3:32)

Wait a Minute (Estelle, 3:41)

Umbrella (Rhianna, 4:36)

Gimme More (Brittney Spears*, 4:13)

American Boy (Estelle, 4:45)

**HoopMamma is now officially giving people permission to admit that Britt is not half bad. 

You gotta know that I get that the girl is a couple french fries short of a Happy Meal. Done. HoopMamma tends to believe that the poor lil' darling is a victim of the world; a real nobody living in a "somebody's" body. I won't even get into her personal life right now, as I am sure I know only half of the story. In regards to her music, I am sure that someone else is really puttin the works behind her songs, and that she just shows up. I bet she has trouble even doing that. 

HoopMamma feels sorry for the BritMamma. I wish I could show her how to hoop. I think it could really help to heal her in a big way. I guess dancing to Brittney is fulfilling to me, because its my personal shout-out for all the Mammas that have ever struggled in the popularity contest. I am routin'  for her. Besides, her music makes me feel like I am 19, and really it's all about ME.

HoopMamma says this about music: Enjoy hooping to what's not cool or what is.... WHATEVER. Just hoop.

Hooping has brought me to a whole 'nother level when it comes to music. I am open to SO many astists that I never would have heard on the radio. Don't get me wrong, I am a total moron when it comes to differentiating between the genres of alternative independant-types: Electronic, Emo, House vs. Deep House; Drum and Bass vs. House..? I dunno; I world vs. imported? Yeah, it sounds just about as ridiculous as it is. I have learned so much about music through hooping and iTunes. I allow myself to purchase 1 new album a week. It is important to me; I really love exploring through iTunes, and finding music to hoop to. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about my music, so long as it really, literally pulls me to my feet.

More HoopMamma Picks:

I love the Hotel Costes Series (I think there are like 10 of them). My favorite is 8 and 9, but I really like all the albums. Also, I like the Verve remixed Albums; check those out for sure. And if you haven't listened to Thievery Corporation, then don't let another day of your life go by...

The nice thing about most electronic music (like the artists I JUST mentioned), it that you can listen to it in front of your kids. They might not dig it like Hanah Montana, but they won't be scarred by listening to it (Maybe no hooping to Notorious BIG, Mammas. Sorry.)

HoopMamma made the mistake of listening to "I See You Baby..." Groove Armada, in front of her 4 year old. Now her sweet little girl sings "...shakin' that ass" every once in an inappropriate while.

I hope that some of this rocks you, and most of all inspires you to hoop. HoopMamma sees you baby, SHAKIN THAT A$$!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Hippie Sh%$t, Revisited

This is my favorite time of the evening: The kids are in bed (and I am relatively certain that they are not going to come sneaking down the stairs right now). It is my time of the day that is all mine. This isn't always true; sometimes my hubby demands of my time at about this point. But he's not here, so this time is ALL MINE, DAMNIT!  : )

HoopMamma almost lost it today, man. I don't know what was up with today- it started out right, and then it sucked pretty bad. Rayna, Keaton, and I met at the Urth Cafe in Santa Monica for our weekly meeting/gossip session. I rode my bike there; the sun was shining, the birds were singing. 

I brought my Travel Hoop with me, and both the Ladies were impressed. Just this small change in my actions has helped me out in getting my 30 minutes in- I bring it strapped to my back in the Hoop Tote, and it has become a topic of discussion wherever I go. It also reminds me of my commitment overall: to eating a little less, drinking a little more water, and hooping 30 minutes a day. 

I also think that writing is keeping me in check. I really like feeling connected to all you Mammas. This is the stuff our company was founded upon, and is exactly the stuff I had lost contact with. I was really suffering from a case of the CEO-s; so ultra behind the scenes, that people really didn't know that I existed. Rayna and Keaton (you know them from the website, and the DVD) have always been the "faces" of Hoopnotica. This has been mostly because they are best "fit" for the job. I really didn't think it appropriate for me to step out on the DVD fitness platform. HoopMamma will be lots of things in her life, but never a fitness model. Really.

There is a downfall to this that I was not aware of until now; I wasn't keeping motivated by the people whose life we have played a part in. It was beginning to feel like Hoopdance was all work work, work. 

But anyways, just another little Thanks for giving me back the Love.

So I have built a Facebook page, and a MySpace page. I am really at the beginning of understanding these two things. Please invite me to be your friend. I have no friends, presently. Ya know, HoopMamma has avoided participating in the social networking stuff for a few reasons:

  1. HoopMamma's got a few blemishes from the past. I like to believe that I have moved on, but there are certain people that I don't want "finding me".
  2. I don't want people all up in my business; I saw my teenage cousin's MySpace page once- WOW. She's gonna look back on THAT one day...
  3. I am scared I won't be able to do it right- I know, sounds stupid, but there are only so many hours in my day.

I couldn't understand why it would benefit me. Except now, I do. What started as a business decision to "drive more traffic to the site" has become so much more. HoopMamma thinks everyone should experience this; and so I'd like to invite you to start a blog. Even if you don't already have one; make up a HoopMamma-like name, and lets go! 

30 minutes a day is really all it takes. I am down another pound this week, did I tell you!!?? Its so nice- my jeans are now loose, and I feel so much lighter on my feet. My face looks thinner, and I stand up a little taller. I am THRILLED that my plan is working!

I would like to encourage you all to recommit to the intentions we have set, and give yourselves a way to be supported:

Bring your hoop everywhere you go. For more on this subject, read my last post.

Subscribe to my posts, and comment on them. Send me an e mail; I read them and I respond. Sometimes not right away, but I respond.

Hoop Often. 

Teach others; invite your girlfriends or other moms you're considering befriending.

Write once a week for your own blog, or in a journal. 

You could allow me to link to your blogs (and vice versa). Pretty please? Also, if anyone really understands the "right way" to do this in order to build more traffic, let me know? I am sure you are all more savvy than I... Together, we can really make a positive change in the world. Can you imagine if all the Mammas in the world hooped? MMMmmmm... the world would really be a better place. 

WARNING: HoopMamma is about to go HIPPIE
We could all set up Hooping groups all over the country and teach other Mammas how to Hoop. If I do it in LA, and you do it there, and she does it there...  

Hipie Love, man. I got such a core of Hippie Love; especially for the Mammas. And I mean it. So what if I backed up my words a little bit?

OK fine. I got hoops on it. Send me an e mail before 9/02/08 with your intentions and plans to share Hoop dance in your home town. Promise me that you won't give the hoops away, but that you will use them for sharing with others. I will send you up to 5 free hoops to do it with. You pick up the shipping. Deal?

Hoopnotica loves the HoopMammas.
Lemme know if you're down!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Crusty Old Lady vs. Matthew McConaughey

Oh Geez... My desk is such a mess. Oh well, there are worse things in life.

I had a great meeting with Keaton the other day, and we were discussing "the bigger picture" of Hoopnotica. I started this company on a feeling; the "feeling" that hoop dance gave me when I did it on a regular basis was holistic and powerfully transformative. It wasn't just one thing- it was so very many things, that changed in my body, in my soul... the way I looked at life just- shifted. Including hoop dance practice into my daily routine made me a better person all around- and that felt good.

It kinda snuck up on me. One day I realized that ever since I started this crazy "hula hooping thing", my life had mysteriously gotten better.

I have gone through good chunks of time the past four years when I didn't really hoop as often. Maybe once a week there, for a while. Sometimes weeks would go by, and my hoop would sit untouched. It would just stare at me. Until I moved it to the garage. 

I had really lost touch with the "big picture" benefits that hooping brings to my life. I had a million excuses why I didn't do it (HoopMamma is really good at selling people on her ideas...even better when it is herself that she am trying to convince... ) And I am not talking just about weight loss. I hate talking about hooping and weight loss.

Weight loss is just a side effect of what hooping really brings into my life. My attitudes about diet, exercise and the act of eating all work together harmoniously. Truthfully, I eat more like I am a food critic, than an "on the go" workin' mom. Maybe it is because my stress level has totally diminished, and the way I handle new stresses is dramatically different. I eat less and exercise more; but I have not changed what I eat or cook for my family. It is almost as if I am another person.  

I find myself more tolerant of everything and everybody around me. Like yesterday when this crusty old lady at the Farmer's Market made my girl cry. My sweet, loving, 4 year old little chunk of cuteness..... versus the OLD LADY. Old Lady selling what seems to be her personal "collection" of over-priced house plants out of the back of her honda civic. My girl steps up to smell a flower, and the lady tells her that she "can't smell 'em unless she's gonna buy them". And she wasn't nice about it. And then came the tears. 


Now, part of me still considered smackin OLD LADY up 'side the head. But the HoopMamma inside reminded me to relax. 

                                                                 (  )

I explained to Illi that she is a crusty old lady who is angry about something else in her life, and it has nothing to do with her. We then walked away, conspiring about what kind of things could have gone wrong in her life to cause her to behave so inappropriately.

I look in the mirror and see mostly the good things- this is new for me. It happens with photos, too. Whereas before I began the HoopMamma blog, all I could see was the cottage cheese above my knees, and the bulkiness around my waist, I see them with less charge now. They still exist, but matter less to me. Its nice.

(My body is getting smaller; its nice, too)

I realize something new about hooping every time I pick up my hoop. And this is the fuel of my blog. Sometimes I really don't have the time to blog about it. I do my best to remember so I can share it with you lovely Mammas when I can. Sometimes the whole day will go by, and I haven't hooped. I am tired, and have to really work to convince myself to hoop. I have to hoop, no matter what- it's the "big picture" that I am after, and for that I must stay true to my word. I very seldomly get in a solid half hour.

Tonight, HoopHubby is outta town with "the boys", and both the kids are asleep. I cherish this time "alone". Just me and my "blah blah blog".  And a growing collective of women whom I have never met, but seem to get me. Its weird, and its a blessing- I love it.

You wanna know the trick to hooping everyday (ready?): Bring your hoop with you. Its really much harder than you think. I mean, if you have a big, beautiful Limited Edition (or other handmade) hoop, then I can see where practicality is an issue. But if you have a Travel Hoop and HoopStrap or HoopTote, then you can bring it with you everywhere. I even leave mine in the car. The really difficult part is giving myself permission to bring it along. The conversation in my head usually goes something like this:

HOOPMAMMA: "Should I bring my hoop with me?" 
GABRIELLA: "Umm... to watch old horror movies in the cemetery? I am not so sure you are gonna need it."
HOOPMAMMA: "But what if I do? There is gonna be a DJ before and after the flick... might be cool...?"
GABRIELLA: "It is not gonna look all that great with your outfit. Besides, you're wearing _____. You can't hoop in _____, can you?"
HOOPMAMMA: "Sure I can!"
GABRIELLA: "Sure, you could. But are you sure you want to?"

Okay- this is where my behavior has had to change. The answer at this point is, "Go get your f*ck!ng hoop, lazy a$$! Just bring it with you- no one is going to force you to use it." If you don't like the cussing at yourself, then modify your own commentary. The basic idea is this: My days are always packed; I need to bring my hoop with me wherever I go in order to squeeze in 5 minutes here, and five minutes there. If I were you, I would walk away from the computer RIGHT NOW and put your hoop by the door. RIGHT NOW.

I read an article about how Matthew McConaughey stays in shape. I was surprised by how interesting the read was. He does one activity for a limited time, like surfing every day for an hour, or 250 push-ups a day. My favorite part was that he says to himself, "McConnaughey, get off your a$$", or "Listen, McConnaughey....". I love that he refers to himself openly in the third person. HoopMamma doesn't know anyone else like that. 
So sometimes I say to myself, "Listen, McConaughey... take your damn hoop with you and shake your booty when you can." I like calling myself McConaughey. I make a good McConaughey (to shamelessly go where no Mamma has gone before...!)

I hoop in the parking lot in front of the preschool while I am waiting for my daughter. I hoop at my parents house while they entertain the kids, I hoop while they hit the park playground together. I am always within eye/ear shot of them, don't worry- but I like to hang out in the shade of a tree, instead of on the sand, and hoop. Sometimes I will bring my hoop to a party and dance. Or to the "Hollywood Forever" cemetery.


Hooping like this becomes a lifestyle. I have begun to identify myself, and others as "hoopers". I even tried to trademark the word "hooper" (didn't quite work- how the HELL did Paris get away with TMing the "that's hot" thing?). Hoopers hoop all over the place, and people LOVE it. I really should be bringing more hoops with me around town, but HoopMamma is too lazy. 

I love to do little impromptu "performances" in front of people who know me, but have never seen me hoop before. Its really fun to watch their expressions. Its hot; I know it. This is one of the pleasures of hooping that I didn't really "get" until I had been doing it enough that my moves shocked people. Remember the way you felt when you first saw someone hoop? Well, you can offer that feeling back to the world every time you share it with others. Its the easiest way to become the sexiest woman in the room (even if its just for 30 seconds). I have watched "Plain Jane" types become "the hot girl next door" so quickly... I have never experienced anything like it before.

Hoopdance keeps my life in order, smackin me into shape from the inside- out. It drives my hubby nuts (in a good way)when I hoop. Hooping does wonders for my love life. And that's all HoopMamma will say (on the World Wide Web) about that right now. 

It is SO good that my husband never touches the computer, let alone reads my blog.... HoopMamma reads to him only what she wants him to hear.

So anyways, where was I? Oh yea- the secret to hooping every day. Bring your hoop with you wherever you go. Remember that, if you have a full-size hoop or any collapsible hoop other than the Hoopnotic Travel Hoop, don't try leaving it in the car. The summertime heat will warp it in a heartbeat. The travel hoop we designed at Hoopnotica won't warp because it is in segments; I really do prefer it to other hoops. I find that I can hoop more slowly (the special grip tape), and that the knees and thighs are easier overall. I like my Limited Editions (I have a nice collection) for my home use; I love them all equally for different reasons.

Bring it. Use it. Live by it.