Well, hello my fellow fitties! We are hours away from 2013, and I’d like to take a little moment to introduce myself and share with you my history in this great big world of fitness. Pronounced “Fit – Niss”… with a little thuggie-ghetto slang. You know, to make it more fun.
…Ok, here we go.
My name is Devin Lytle. Some of you might know me from Team Starkid and our silly online musicals. If you have a hard time placing which one in the ensemble I am, the characters I play are often Southern, lovingly oblivious, or vaginas. Currently, I live in Los Angeles with two cats (Mars and Bones) and two roommates (Evy and Katie), and I’m pursuing a career in film acting. When I’m not auditioning or working one of my many dayjobs (woof), I am pole dancing at a studio near my home.
Woah..back up. Say what?! Pole dancing? Cho Chang is stripping now?
Haha – not quite. Stick with me.
Back in 2007, I was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia. At the tender age of 17, I weighed in at around 110 pounds, which is a bit ridiculous for a girl who is 5’10. While many of my friends were battling with similar issues, we all were unaware and uneducated on how best to heal. My parents, too, were trying their best to understand the motives behind the disease, and oftentimes they became frustrated with my attitude towards food. At the end of my senior year, I started losing my hair and I was nursing a couple of bone bruises and sprained joints. The moment I was accepted at the University of Michigan, my parents made a bargain with me. If I could gain 10 pounds before my move in date, they’d let me go to college. If, however, I could not gain the weight, I’d have to check myself into a treatment center in Atlanta. Obviously, anyone could see the pitfalls in this agreement, but my parents were scared and I was desperate to go to theatre school. So, I gained the weight. And then the real problems began.
After months of therapy, years of breathing through the discomfort, and a lot of hard work, I can truthfully admit that I’ve been on the other side of the disease since 2010. While, I am in no way an expert on eating disorder treatment, I can confidently share what worked for me and empathize with the struggles surrounding this mindset. When I was in treatment, I had a hard time believing that one could successfully “be cured” from my disease, simply because I’d never met anyone who wasn’t a doctor or a therapist who had done as much. I hope to become a little voice of encouragement for anyone in this community who fosters these kinds of body issues.
Alright. Now to the pole dancing.
My senior year of college, I was cast as a stripper in a play called Self Defense: Or the Death of Some Salesmen. The lovely and very liberal University of Michigan paid for me to travel to Ysplanti for pole dancing instruction. After my first class, my body screamed in mighty protest. It. Was. So. Hard. And, god… I worked out everyday! So, I kept at it, and witnessed everything change. Push ups became a breeze. I could somehow run for 3 miles without stopping. I was almost able to do a split! Then, I graduated and moved to LA and was forced to drop the dance for a while.
Cut to August of this year. I’d just went through a massive breakup, and when I wasn’t crying into my cat’s fur, I was lying on our living room floor in despair. I wallowed like this for two weeks, which prompted Evy to run to the a nearby studio for help. She came marching home one morning, threw down some free day passes, and informed me that we were going to a class. And, I am so glad she did. Sure – pole dancing is sexy. However, the main focus of the movement centers around finding ownership of your body. Its about dropping in and turning your brain off. The dance, itself, is not choreographed. Its is literally letting your own musculature talk. After years of turning off my body because I was ashamed of it’s size, I personally enjoy letting it sing whenever I am on a pole.
I can’t wait to tell you all more about my dance. However, while my form of exercise is a bit shocking and weird, I encourage you to find a form of movement that inspires you. Its so easy to fall into a rhythm of going to the gym, running for 30 minutes, lifting some weights, and calling it a day. I believe that working out in this way becomes a chore. While yes, its good to be active, I challenge you to find the movement in your life that pushes you to grow – not just to tone. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to dance class. I call it my “church.” Furthermore, its easy for me to fit my exercise into my day because I love it so much. Yes, I still go to the gym, but not because I want to lose weight. I go because it facilitates my strength in class. Exercise bleeds into my dance which bleeds into my life and so on and so forth. So yes, I will be blogging about pole dancing. However, pole dancing is just a representation of how fitness can feed your soul.
So stay tuned, fitties! Every Monday I’ll be blogging about my experience and answering any questions that you may have for me. Lets be honest, Mondays usually suck because they are the beginning of the work-school week. So, lets begin our 7 day stretch with a little spice and a little inspiration.
I’ll end my post with wise words from our heavenly mother and goddess, Beyonce Knowles.
“Take all the rules away. How can we live if we don’t change?”
BOOM. Oh B. I got nothing else, y’all. Lets make some beautiful fitting it in moments together.