I am giving in. I can’t take it anymore, I’m tired of hiding my two loves…writing and fitness. Everyday, I go to the gym, go to work and during those 12-15 hours, all of these thoughts are swirling through my head. I see or hear something that starts a spark in my brain and fuels to a raging fire. All the while I am thinking, “gosh, I wish I could share this information with an unlimited number of people.” The other day I was speaking to a coworker and I ended up showing her my “fat” picture. She was shocked to say the least. She encouraged me to share my story…so that is what I am going to do.
In 2007, I reached my highest weight of 224 lbs! It really hit me when I was in the store one day trying on clothes and I could no longer fit into a size 14. At that moment, something switched in my brain and said, “Vivian, what is wrong with you? How did you let yourself get to this place?” Sometimes we lie to ourselves and say that everything is okay when it really isn’t. We know that we have reached the edge, not only reached it but fallen over it, tumbled, scraped our knees, and just as we are about to twist our ankle we can make the decision to stop, get up, or give in. Well, I decided to stop! I made up my mind that day to lose weight and get healthy. I started going to the gym, changed my eating habits, and my lifestyle (which included getting rid of some people that were a part of my life at the time). (Just a little note about these people…they were the ones who told me, “oh you look fine,” you are not fat,” “why do you want to eat healthy.” Tyrese Gibson was on Wendy Williams talking about his new book and he made a great point by saying that if you look at the people around you, that can give you very good insight into what type of person YOU are. If your friends are negative, always telling you to stop working so hard, have no goals, and settle…well then maybe you need to drop those friends. You will be a better person for it.)
My change was very gradual, I still ate fast food but I made healthier options. Instead of a Whopper Meal, I got a plain burger, no bun, and small fries. Eventually I got to the point where I started taking my lunch to work 95% of the time. I dropped to 175, added weight training to my routine, and starting eating even more healthy which meant cutting out a lot of processed foods. (Thanks to the help of Rephel, my wonderful boyfriend. He introduced me to free weight lifting, and clean eating.)
I enjoyed my new body for a while but slowly started putting the weight back on. I stopped working out as much and for a while did not do anything. When I did get back on a fitness plan, I turned to running. Now running is awesome, it has so many benefits and it is great for your heart and overall health. However, one thing I did which was a fatal mistake was to neglect weight training. Never, ever, ever, think that cardio is the only way to go, no matter what ANYONE says. You have to be well rounded and do it all. I trained for a marathon running two halfs and a few 5ks. I dropped a little weight and was in my 160s but I was flabby. I looked heavy and was not really in shape believe it or not. All of that running, and I was not in the best shape I could have been in. During my 2nd half marathon, I felt a pain in my left knee that never went away. It got so bad over the next few months that I went to the doctor. Overtraining, not doing strength exercises and not eating right had taken its toll on me. My body just finally said it could not take anymore. I went through therapy and began building my self back up and guess how I did that…strength training! Go figure! Anyway, I still cannot run like I used to but it is going to take a while to get back to that point.
Now my focus is on HEALTH, NUTRITION, and GETTING IN THE BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE. Running will always be a part of that, but I have expanded my viewpoint to include many more things. I am much, much happier now. I don’t feel pressure to always run but do it when I am in the mood and it is fun now. Oh believe me, I can still burn up the road but I don’t let running consume me.
So after all of that rambling, why am I writing this blog. I want to encourage YOU! No matter what your goal is, you can do it! If you want that banging body, six-pack abs, round butt, or sleek arms, you can have it. You have to first believe it in order for it to happen. Do not listen to what other people say…you can do what you want. We always underestimate ourselves. Especially Black Women. We settle, or feel that being “thick” is cool. Being “thick” is unhealthy and will cause you to dig an early grave if you continue to sabatoge your health in order to have thick hips! I am tired of seeing Black Women in the gym just doing the bare mimimum. We have so much more potential and deserve the best including the best health we can offer ourselves. Let’s get up and go get it!
This blog will provide my daily ramblings about fitness, nutrition information, workouts, research, and anything else that can help you to reach your goals. Before you begin on this journey…let me give you a few words of advice that you need to heed before you start.
- Ask yourself if you want a lifestyle change or a temporary diet. If you answered the later, you are sure to fail. In order to be successful, you have to change your lifestyle…we don’t diet, we eat right and make wise choices EVERYDAY.
- You need to develop a thick skin. People are going to criticize you, make negative comments, tell you that you can’t do it, and sabatoge your success if you let them. Don’t let these people get in your way. NO ONE CAN FORCE YOU TO DO ANYTHING. You have a choice in what you do every minute of the day. I’ve had people (strangers, co-workers) tell me not to lose anymore weight, say that I can’t get six pack abs, talk about the food I eat, say that I am not enjoying life and much more! All because I choose to be healthy. Be ready, because it WILL happen to you too.
- Share your story. Sharing and talking to other people that have the same goals as your own really help. Join an online community where people post thier stories.
- Calories Count. You need to be aware of what you are putting in your body. As time goes on, you will be able to gage the amount you eat, but if you are new to this, you need to log ALL of the food that you eat. You will be amazed at how this helps you control your food intake. The truth hurts, and when we begin to see it in our face, it helps us face it. Try http://www.caloriecount.about.com .
- Workout HARD. I’m sorry but walking on the treadmill at 2 miles per hour is not going to cut it. You need to sweat! Get off your butt and get in the gym. You can take classes, run, lift weights, do yoga…whatever, but whatever you do, do it HARD. You can’t maintain a healthy weight without exercise.
- Eat clean. You cannot eat burgers fries, chips, drink soda, eat cake and still think you can get the body you want. You have to make smart choices and eat healthier foods. It is okay to have a so called “treat” every now and then but you can’t make that an everyday habit. Anyone who tells you that you can is lying to you. You need to face it now, that is why I said before, if you are not ready to make a lifestyle change, you might as well stop now. This is not for people who don’t know what they want. You have to want it and you have to actually work and make good choices to get it. Hopefully I can help you along the way.
- Accept compliments. Although you have a few nay-sayers, you will get more compliments from people, even complete strangers. Accept them graciously…don’t go on about something you don’t like. If someone says, “oh you have great arms or nice legs,” say “thank you.” Use that to continue on your journey but please stay true to yourself.
- Immerse yourself in it! You cannot be successful if you never study your craft. Fitness and nutrition should be your second spouse or first if you are unattached! Lol! You need to be married to your passion! It becomes a mainstay in your life. Just like your man or woman deserves attention and love, so does your body. You need to feed it with knowledge. Research different workouts and fitness tips so you know what is fact and fiction. You will have a lot of people telling you what you should do and they don’t even workout or eat right, have never studied nutrition or fitness, and somehow they know everything about what you should be doing! The next time someone gives you a fitness tip you can really break it down for them in an intelligent way! Knowledge is power!
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”-Bruce Lee