Don’t Dim your Light

We hear this often yet we still do it or allow others to do it. It’s easy to live under the radar than to let your light shine. As A PK (preacher’s kid) we would sing this little light of mine. Than I remember them changing the words to this big light of mine. It’s important to know that your light is big no matter what you do in life. You matter. While you are out here shinning your light, don’t dim them either.

light painting at night

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I was on social media like I am often. A woman who had lost weight from eating clean, working out, etc made a video because she was receiving backlash from showing her progress. I was like why in the world are you dimming your light? She literally showed each stage which meant if there was a “hater” all they had to do instead of complaining was get off their do nothing and make changes for their own health and get their own progress. We know social media isn’t for common sense.  I was taken back. There are folks that would get mad at a woman getting her life together and shedding pounds. Mind you it was after the birth of her second child. Every woman knows how hard it is to lose “baby weight.” That however didn’t stop women especially from tearing her down.

So that bring me to life off the gram or off social media. How often do you quietly work in silence but when it comes to showing that progress we hide? I often have done it by layering up if it’s from clothes to layering and hiding behind modesty. There is a time and a place for all of it. Living unapologetically is the way and anything less is dimming. You can be great and sometimes its okay to let folks a glimpse into your happiness. There is nothing anyone can do to stop real joy. So don’t cover it up just because the ones who haven’t realized the investment into their own happiness. Don’t dim it just because a few folks will get mad at your progress. Don’t dim it just because the ones “still talking” but ain’t doing will get jealous. Let me do it all. Shine your light.

Someone needs to see you walking with your bright light. It gives courage to those who need to make change. It gives courage to those too scared and afraid to take that first step. For the few that will look down at you, there are 10 that will be encouraged. Don’t dim your light! Shine!

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Monday Motivation: National Weigh In Day

Good Monday morning to you. How are you working through your first week of the New Year? I am hoping your motivation is still going strong. I hope to use this platform to encourage you to live your best life. With that in mind, let’s talk about National Weigh In day and how that can be a great motivation for this fine Monday.

For one Weigh In day is about checking in on your weight. Although you can be any size that you want to be, we all know that a healthy lifestyle filled with balance is important. Skinny doesn’t always equate to health. Skinny folks can be super unhealthy. How you manage your weight will have an adverse affect on the quality of life that you lead. I know some folks that their weight prevents them from enjoying life. They can barely walk without catching their breath, can’t go to amusement parks, have a slew of health related illnesses that could be better managed or even eliminated. With that in mind, there has to be a way to be able to step it up.

blue tape measuring on clear glass square weighing scale

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I have shared many times before about after the birth of my youngest who by the way will be 5 in a month, I struggled up and down with my weight. There is no such thing as baby weight once the baby is no longer a baby. We love to say that because its true having kids takes your body through it. It takes more than 9 months to restore your body back to pre-pregnancy weight. Beyond weight being an issue for me I found my body not responding to things the way I needed to. I was miserable. I wanted to wear my clothes better and everything was “when I lose weight, I would.” However many years later I still had this baby weight that was being compacted by depressive moods and unhealthy eating habits. I went to work and at  a health fair and almost busted out crying after realizing I was over 200 pounds. Regardless of BMI, I knew I wasn’t healthy. So after that devastating blow, I got into action. I changed my eating habits and on my own lost 20 pounds.  I decided I needed more support so I joined Weight Watchers and lost more weight until overall I had lost almost 60 pounds.

It felt great to see my feet. It felt great to be able to see my body change over time. It wasn’t a quick fix. It dropped it  over time and that is how I have been able to maintain it. I still do weekly weigh ins on myself. I still watch how I eat and the reasons behind it. I have had a few stressors happen in life and anyone who eats for emotional reasons know that you have to be vigilant about your emotional and mental health in order to forego eating for the wrong reasons which is usually the number one reason behind gain weight. Food doesn’t solve your problems. Food isn’t going to help you if eaten wrong.  It will make things in your body go left real quick. The freedom that I feel now that I have a healthy relationship would food is amazing.

How can this motivate your Monday?  Attack your weight head on. As devastating as it to see that number, get on the scale and find out where you are. Once you know the number, what is your plan? Do you need help? Can you change how you eat? The answer is yes you can. Meet with your doctors and get a physical. I did that right off the bat. Knowing my numbers and what I needed to do was great. My doctor supported me through my whole process. I was able to be honest and open with her and myself. That honesty helped me to get my life in check.

Beyond the Scale

What I learned in Weight Watchers is off scale victories. Sometimes that came in with how my clothes felt on me even if I got on the scale and didn’t see a big decline in my weekly numbers. I learned that my new bad wasn’t as bad as my worst. So when I found certain weeks eating more than one treat I didn’t beat myself up. Also getting my emotional and mental health in order actually helped me a lot further than counting points for chicken and any other food I ate. Eliminating things in my life that triggered me was key. Eliminating bad snacks from my sight and packing my food for my full day to prevent me from letting the fast food demon take over, was key.

Also what weight is on your heart? I attended counseling, a lot of it, over the past 2 years. I needed help to see people in a different light. I needed time to really get over some pain and hurt that I wasn’t doing a good job getting past. Anytime you find yourself snapping out, speaking out of a disrespectful tone, etc. its time to face the music. I did that and together I would say over the weight of a scale, I was able to conquer me.

What do you want to under control? What areas are you overweight in? Work? Relationships? Stress? Work on those areas. Work on yourself. Work on what you need to be successful!

Happy Monday! It hurts to be honest with yourself about the things that are weighing you down in all aspects of life, but its necessary to deal with and put a real life mirror up to the areas that you hide behind. Work though them and know it’s not an overnight process.  It’s going to take some time but you got to take your life back! You got this!

PS. I know going to the gym is scary but so is that number climbing up each week. If the gym gives you anxiety do work outs at home. There are cds or even YouTube that can assist you but you have to be vigilant to get them done. When you get home, don’t sit down. Get right into your gym clothes and do it before the “I’m too tired” to work out excuse takes over.  Dedicate and stick to a schedule and do not take NO for an answer!

Better Breakfast Month

There are so many holidays in the month of September. I do think it’s a good idea that they whomever makes these days made better breakfast to be in September. It’s a good idea because it correlates to kids going back to school!

food gourmet on top of brown table

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We no that in the United States unfortunately some kids struggle with meals. This really ought not be but it is a reality for some. Breakfast is super important. As an adult it’s hard for me to concentrate when I’m hangry. (Angry + hungry) how much more for our children? I know some folks really can’t eat breakfast. I am not one of those people. I would encourage the non breakfast eaters to at least eat fruit.

Eating better starts with choices. Having a variety of choices comes down to being prepared. Instead of sugary foods invest in whole grain options. I would suggest prepping it ahead of time. Time is the biggest issue with breakfast.  Not having enough because the stress in the morning and trying to be on time sometimes clashes. I get that!It’s easier to grab on the go.  The same breakfast sandwiches you can purchase at a fast food place can be made at home. Invest in fruit. Invest in cereals with less sugar and be creative. You can have fresh fruit in your oatmeal or cereal as an alternative.Make the time to prepare things at night meaning packing bags can help cut down on time.  If you have lunch and breakfast prepared you can be more in charge with what you place in your body.  Often times we shove food into our body and grab food from vending machines because of not being prepared.  If you have a family if you mirror the change you want to see it makes it easier for others around you to align.  Not all food that is grab worthy is bad.  You can grab yogurt and eat that with some granola and fruit and have that be better than a sugary donut a diet soda.

Even if you say come on “I can’t do that,” commit to a few days a week of making healthier choices. Once you see how much better you feel it may be an easier to make that change stick!  The benefits of eating a better breakfast:

  • Better Concentration
  • Aids in weight los
  • Helps in portion control for the day
  • Better productive day

Can you step your game durng breakfast?  Give it a try!

Crushed the Broad Street Run

So I am going to break down my personal run. This run attracts over 40,000 runners and is the biggest thus far. 10 miles all the way down Broad Street! However the same way I trained which is my pace, my race is how I finished!

Weekend of the Race

I wouldn’t recommend it but we ended up needing to attend a family emergency thus having to take an emergency flight out of town. I wouldn’t have it any other way for the ones we needed to travel for but catching a flight that got us back in Philadelphia around 1am on the day of the race is not how you rest up to run. I believe the night before the race you should really rest up to be up for early prepping. You should also make sure you set your gear and any essentials out the night before. This will eliminate the morning forgetfulness that creeps up as you rush around!!

Nonetheless I got up at 530 made myself some scrambled eggs and got ready! Shout out to my husband who got up with me and in his own way stayed with me during the race. More on him later!

Transportation

Broad street was totally blocked off so we rode the Broad Street line to get to the race. It was my first time! I was super excited just for that to be honest. I am grateful for having a car and the only time I’ve rode the bus was as a teenager in Lancaster. To me their bus lines are amazingly easy compared to Septa!! But we got there in just enough time to hop on! The train was full to capacity and yet in still folks were squeezing on! The energy was amazing. Some folks were eating. Others quiet trying to get their minds right. Others just holding on so they wouldn’t fall! Either way after 25 minutes we were at Broad and Olney.

Black Girls Run

Let me say again this is not a Black only group. It was made to make black women aware of the health issues that prevail us more than any other group. However they were essential to race day. I had the worst panic attack at work on Friday when I finally need to think about logistics. I sent them a message and immediately they swarmed me with so much love and support. When I speak to others about running issues to a non runner it’s different than when I tell a runner who is going through the same anxiety how I’m feeling. They got it and they helped me through that panic attack. Soon as I got off the train my BGR Girls were right there to hug and let me know it was okay. We also had an amazing stretch before we went to our respective corridors for race time!

Race Time Jitters

So as we finally pushed through the crowd I ran into my health manager from my previous job. She has been weighing me every week throughout this process. With the thousands of folks out there I had no anticipation of running or bumping into anyone I knew. It was refreshing to see her. As we made our way to our corridors which was color coordinated according to the time we were expected to finish, doubt crept in. Was I was able to finish? Was this race too much too soon?! Remember in 2017 I did my first 5K and this was a 10 mile run which is light years in comparison. However with my Husband by my side, when it was time I cranked up my music and was ready to go!

Music is how I trained. I knew by an end of a song where I was and this day was no different!! Each song added a certain level of “lets get this!” I felt inspired. There were many bands that played out in the street too! However their were background noise for me to keep on going!

Check Points

Running this race you’re able to see the city in one lump sum. So I had to go by my personal check points!! Let me say Temple is super big! That almost made me irritated. I wanted to be able to get through it but it took a little longer than I anticipated. My husband rode up on me twice. It was sweet hearing my name but it also pushed me. My husband doesn’t run so at the two times I saw him it made me think I was running slow. I told him this after the race. So after that he said when he thought I was going to be at a certain spot, I wasn’t cause I had beat him to spots and beyond! He had been riding the train to get to where he thought I would be. He was using the same tracker Racejoy that I was using so he knew where I was!

Mindset

Throughout the whole race I had to keep talking to myself. I never got comfortable. It wasn’t a matter of if I get through x amount of miles I’m good. I will say that the race provided a tracker and it tells you how far you have come. I didn’t hear when I got to mile 6 so I was relieved when I saw the 7 mile tracker! Like girl, you really did it. I never looked back outside of when my husband called my name. I didn’t want to see the crowds of folks coming toward me. It helped me to focus on going forward only. Different miles I had to say who are you running this mile for?! What would they say if they saw you right now?! Let’s move!

Completion

With any race you want to finish and finish well. I definitely did that! My goal was 2.5 hours I got done at 1.59 and I wanted to do the Tootsie Roll! Everything that I had fought for in those moments on the ground had finally come to an end. I have to shout out to the angel who saw me struggling at the last minutes and grabbed my hand. It was just like one of those race movies where someone comes and helps you to the end! That man said to me, “Sis, we got this let’s finish this!” He grabbed my hand and we sprinted them last minutes to the finish. Thank you angel for that! I looked to find him but couldn’t locate him but he was amazing in assisting me at the end when my mind was all over the place and my body was so worn!! Seeing the end when you’re tired didn’t make me feel like yay you’re almost done. My whole body hurt too much but I knew all of the miles I had ran, finishing was a definite.

What I learned

One of the first things that came to mind was Girl, you did that! I will be 37 on Thursday and I conquered this race before it. I can do anything like run a long ass road in Philadelphia! I ran 10 miles today and that in itself is worthy of a dance!

Two is that it will soon be a year since my hysterectomy and I’ve hit so many personal and health goals since then! I think I’ve had more ups than downs and it feels good!

Three what can’t I do?! I had folks like ok you’re racing and?! My response is lace up and let’s see what you can do?! This is not an easy task! It’s not easy at all! Not everyone can just run it! So it’s an accomplishment to say the least!

Four, where is the next race?! Weirdly enough I am currently Googling another one. My goal is to do a half marathon and then off to a full marathon!! Being in great shape is a continual journey and races for me keep me accountable!

Shout outs

Let me shout out my amazing family who have had to deal with me refusing to abbreviate from my schedule of training. Yes even in the Winter months when I would hear you can miss a day and I didn’t listen to it! Also for putting up with my eating which won’t change because for me it’s a lifestyle change and not a diet! For reminding me to focus on me and no one else!!

For me 3 little people who call me Mom! You guys have no idea of how I thought of each of you. I will be using this against your “I can’t” moments! There’s nothing you can do and you will achieve anything you desire!

To my amazing friends! From the start of this morning, I was flooded with messages of good will today! To everybody Facebook and other social media messages too thanks! During my last few miles since they were tracking me too, although I didn’t open my phone during the actual race, hearing the notifications knowing it was y’all made me feel like a badass!

To my husband, Marques: your pop ups today were amazing! For you tracking me thank you! For getting me anything I thought I needed thank you! For fulfilling my post race requests you are the real MVP! Also for making sure my bath was drawn and even helping me out of my sweaty clothes thank you. It’s these moments that are real relationship goals that can’t be documented or photographed. Being my number one supporter and fan today, thank you!

To my trainer! You are the real MVP! Pushing me past myself and telling me to shut that crying up thank you! You saw that I could do it you didn’t accept my excuses! And for reminding me that the body does what the mind wills! You pushed me through my mental setbacks!!

To my BGR family thank you for the weekend runs to get ready as well as the continual all year runs that keep us race ready all the time!

To my doctors at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for making sure that I was healthy before and during this race. Every test done to ensure I was race ready thank you!

To every volunteer at the Broad Street Run, super thanks. Y’all were out there on the scene making sure every racer felt supported all weekend long!

To my readers, thank you for allowing me a few moments into your lives! I hope regardless of how you may struggle with any health issues or weight issues that you see someone who pushed through it and proved to herself first that she was important enough to be her own priority!

All pictures were taken by my husband Marques! I refused to be on my social media during this race! He had the sideline view and sometimes a runner’s view since he was on the scene with me!!

One year down… weight loss-chronicles

Welp a year has come. I have managed to keep my weight off and in addition I’ve managed to fight through the ups and downs along the journey. I’ve lost around 70 pounds to date but it wasn’t easy having to turn my back on dairy or indulging in my favorite comfort food in excess.

When I first began to lose weight it was more about me attempting to grab my life back. Here I was almost 36, out of shape, miserable in my own skin, and most importantly unhealthy. I have a fluctuating body type. So this simply means that I can go up and down at any given time if I’m not careful even with working out and eating right. To combat that I used the techniques that I leaned in my Weight Watchers class to change my relationship with food.

Depression

It’s one of the worse cause of weight loss to me as it’s more than size, it’s more of a mental road block. It can allow you to have knowledge of what you should do or even should be but it is one of the hardest things to “shake.” Depression had set in quite a number of times and I wore it proudly everyday in each outfit and every look. I tried to over dress. So I wore clothes that were too big. In my mind I needed to cover up my body so no one would see it or see me.

Big isn’t Always Better

Watch out for the big girl is a bomb club mix. Watch out for the big girl

It’s also how I felt I was being viewed by others. There isn’t one thing wrong with big and sexy if done right. I’ve seen some of the most empowering heavy set women who own their sexiness better than a girl on the runaway. However when you aren’t meant to be a certain size your ability to hold on to a sense of sexiness goes out the door. I tried to own it but couldn’t. I wasn’t supposed to be the size that I had gotten. All I did was complain, compare, and fall deeper in the hold of depression. I was over 200 pounds and I wasn’t pregnant as I was being described. I had let myself go.

Lows

We all who have been on a weight loss journey remember the days of counting calories or points. In the beginning you are super excited and then it wears off as you try to re-enter a normal life with normal eating habits. At least that’s what I thought. When I had a high it made me excited but those lows, were a bit much. Feeling like I couldn’t get it together made my low days that much worse. I found myself justifying my emotions as excuses to eat what I knew I shouldn’t have to deal instead of staying the course. The only thing that kept me was learning not to let these moments keep me there and is I had a donut or something bad earlier in the day I didn’t have to wait until the next day to reset.

Pictures Please

I took and continue to take pictures even on the days when my stomach peeks through. Having kids allows them to be great props. However it’s just another mechanism to cope. It was either use the kids or be the photographer and not have to be in the pics. When I first started losing weight I got folks saying why are you taking so many pics. Imagine another grownup asking another grownup why something that didn’t take anything away from them a series of questions?! The pictures are now and was then a way for me to see my progress. I always check the neck and face. I’ve had days when people’s comments seemed to get under my skin and I had to remind myself why I was losing this weight. It wasn’t for likes but more for me to like myself when I had no clothes on. It’s easy to dress your body type and blend, but to like what you see, naked and vulnerable isn’t.

Wardrobe Change

When I first lost weight I was scared, judge-mental and excited to get new clothes. I’ve had to take quite a few outfits back for still buying the clothes that wasn’t my size. Losing weight is great until you can’t lose the weight in your mind. Thank goodness for friends who literally pushed me away from the old size and into my new size. I struggle every time still with clothes. I’m stuck in the middle of yes grab the smaller size to Girl don’t show too much!

So yes I’ve got all kind of tips to help with weight loss but….. the reality is that the journey is up and down and good and bath. The best part isn’t just the weight loss but the ability to be able to be healthy inside and out. For the first time in my life between Surgery and weight loss I’m not anemic. All of my tests are normal. I’m not ashamed to step on a scale and I feel great!

So if you’re struggling with seeing others lose weight and feel like you can’t commit you may be in a situation where you won’t have a choice. You will have to push past bad habits, denying yourself of your wants, feeling defeated to days where after all of your hard work the scale just looks at you and doesn’t move. Whatever your journey presents know that you can do it! You can fall several times throughout but I would rather fall then drop out of my own race!

Take each day and moment at a time. Reset many times! Don’t fall apart as you make change your bad isn’t your worst. Work on portion control and definitely work with your doctor to eliminate or add what you need for your health concerns. Don’t get caught up in diet fads. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. It will look different even if you follow the same rules.