2016 Was Not So Bad Regardless of What Facebook Says

2016 has been a trying year for all. There have been disappointments, deaths, and disasters. Not to mention the rise of the Donald. Social media posts show heartbreak over celebrity deaths. Someone has created a GoFundMe account to protect Betty White. Many people are eager to see 2016 go in hopes of a better 2017.

If you really think about it, there have also been joys, births, and good times. Isn’t every year a mix of triumphs and disappointments? It is called life. We as humans increment the vastness of time into yearly increments. Perhaps it gives us some sense of control over the uncontrollable. The truth is – bad stuff happens and so does good stuff. Your happiness cannot hinge on the nature of what is happening around you.

I have been cooking lately. Well, learning to cook. Yesterday, I decided to do it big. The meal planned – fried pork chops, mashed potatoes from scratch, and roasted garlic asparagus. I prepared by reading highly rated recipes. I watched how-to videos on Youtube. I was PREPARED. Armed with ingredients, knowledge, and determination – I was ready. I started cooking. Everything seemed to be going great. Food looked good, smelled even better. After much sweat, I was finally finished. I fixed my plate. It looked good enough for Instagram. I cut into the perfectly browned pork chop. It was too salty. I felt the wind escape from my sails. I was not only cooking for myself but for my boyfriend, too. I was near tears. My friend said that is was okay. He stated that the only way to learn is to try. I began to feel less terrible.

That is my 2016 in a nutshell. It started with great aspirations. I even had a plan, a vision board even. I tried my best and still some things failed – relationships, promotion attempts, finishing my second book, weight loss. It was like those Facebook videos you watch of someone taking off in a race and then some invisible leg extends in front of them and they trip and fall. It feels like the fall is so hard because the person running was moving ahead at full-speed expecting to finish first.

I had started writing a great story based on my childhood adventures – over 10,000 words. I had written some wonderful poetry almost 30 pages worth. I went to Texas for a work conference and lost my thumb drive. Talk about tripping over an invisible leg. Man, I was hurt. Thankfully, the 10,000 words had been backed-up on the cloud. The poetry only exists in my head and heart.

I am ready to start again.

If you have been graced with another day of life, you have another chance to get it right. Some failures require some hard work. Others require some downtime for healing. No matter how comfortable, resist the urge to stay here. This place is meant to be temporary. You have to get up and keep running.

2017 is what you make of it. Start again. Be enthusiastic again. If you should fall, get back up and continue.

Half-time – Where Do We Go From Here?

The half-way point of anything can be confusing to the unfocused mind. You are not where you started but you are not quite where you would like to be. You ponder:

Is the glass half-empty? Is it half-full? Are we there yet? Are we there yet now?

What do you do?

You keep moving.

I have had many rest stops on this road to fitness. I know full well what the side of giving up looks like. I long to see that place known as the 'Finished Line'.

I look at myself at lot in the mirror. Partly due to vanity. I can cop to that. I am a woman and it comes with the territory. I looked at myself today – full-length. I curled both my arms. I noticed a change. Am I back to stopping traffic with my walk? Not yet, but I am not where I once was. I am stronger, faster, better. I am winning.

I have previously fallen into the trap of complacency. Feeling so high that I have lost a few pounds that I decrease my committment and intensity only to fall by the wayside feeling defeated. Not this time. I have an actual plan of attack.

I encourage myself daily. I have accountability partners. A group of my friends and I do a daily fitness challenge. We check-in with each other on Facebook daily. It is fun and useful.

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the change in yourself – body, attitude, confidence.

There has been some residual effects. I do not accept the poor treatment of others becuase – through fitness - I have learned to make myself the priority. I can say no to food and as an extension no to other things that are not good for me or that are not in my best interest. I have found that people who you love the most can take advantage if allowed. I have found the cure for this. It is the word 'no'.

I am feeling pretty confident about the rest of my journey. I know through it all God is with me. With Him on my side, I cannot, WILL NOT, lose. Except pounds of course. lol

It is like the lyrics to an old song my mom would sing while cleaning the house:

 "I don't feel no ways tired./I've come to far from where I've started from/Nobody told me that the road would be easy/I don't believe you have brought me this far to leave me."

Fitness 2013 – The Brilliance of Not Giving Up

I had just written the perfect post about not giving up and facing obstacles when my computer froze! The entire brilliant piece was deleted. Here I am starting again.

 Talk about practicing what you preach!

 Long story short. I had a rough time during my workout and contemplated quitting. I was tired of overcoming one challenge only to fall short on another.

 Then I had an epiphany. If I am tired of starting over, I should stop quitting when things become difficult; or when facing a significant setback, like losing my post a few minutes ago.

 Weight loss and fitness Is about consistency. A preacher once stated that success comes by doing what you are required to do regardless of how you feel. I felt like giving up. Many excuses ran through my head but I have given up before. I know the outcome of that. I want to feel the outcome of not giving up. I want to see the other end of being consistent, disciplined and working hard for a fitness goal.

 I am out of time so this post, while not as long as my original, is still kind of brilliant in its brevity.

 Do what you need to do to get what you need to get regardless of how you feel.



When It Comes to Weight Loss Advice, I Am Missouri

As you are well aware off, I am on a weight loss journey. I am sharing my experiences with my readers and everyone I know in the hope that it will help inspire others.

One of my pet peeves, however, is the person who always knows a little more than you.

Do you exercise and diet to lose weight? Well, you should diet and exercise if you really want to lose weight.

Get it?

People love to give advice, particularly, unsolicited advice. Everyone has all of the answers. I do get it. I really do. I am partly to blame because I am a little obsessed at this point. In my excitement, I share my journey. I love hearing of new methods, recipes and workouts. . .

. . .however. . .

I will take your advice with a grain of salt until I see some results. Hey, if you were interviewing for a job, you would throw in some examples of how you are driven by results and all that jazz.

Call me Missouri. It is, after all, The Show-Me State.

I have written all of this to say, do not let the unproven advice of others take you off track. Surround yourself with people who are happy for you and will encourage you. . .like me 🙂

Anyway, I am wearing my jeans that had been hanging in my closet – brand new- for two years since we are talking about results and all.

What weight loss milestones have you passed?

You Don’t Have to Work It Off If You Never Put It In

The cool thing about diet and exercise is that you have absolute control over both actions. If I lay in bed an extra 30 minutes instead of knocking out my workout early, I made that decision. If I want to forgo cooking and grab a Wendy's value meal, *cue Bobby Brown* it's my prerogative. If it is to be, it is up to me.

The average person burn 100 calories in 15 minutes of brisk walking. An original crispy creme donut has 200 calories. Your daily 30-minute walk takes care of half of your breakfast (because you know you ate more than one lol).

Know the calories on what you eat. If you don't want it on your thighs, then don't put it in your mouth.

Show your age and laugh with me at this clip.



Brace Yourself It’s Going to Hurt

Growing up, it was a compliment to be a curvy woman. Coming of age, I quickly learned that to be a 'brick house' was the business. With this mentality, it easy to ignore your growing BMI (Body Mass Index) and health warnings. I have heard others state that those health charts did not apply to black women because we are naturally bigger girls. Comedian Monique had a stand-up centered around applauding the plus-sized sister.

I have since learned that this is just not the truth. There comes a point in life when you have to face that fact that you are over weight, the fact that you cannot go up a flight of stairs without becoming out of breath. You have to look in the mirror and honestly say to yourself, "That ain't baby fat, that's fat, baby." 

Mo’Nique Weight Loss before and after photos

The truth hurts.

Like truth, exercise hurts. Reread that sentence and let it settle in and then – GET OVER IT! Anytime you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, it hurts. By hurt, I mean muscle discomfort. If you have joint issues or back issues, see your doctor. Whenever you begin an exercise regimen, see your doctor first. Please know this: when you begin, it will hurt.

 When I started to jog, it was quite a task for me. The first five minutes was painful. I pushed through the initial hurt. I began to experience the release of endorphins. These chemicals are released from the brain to reduce the feeling of pain and increase mood. I started to experience a euphoria described as a 'runner's high'. Source: WebMD The body is well-equipped to deal with pain. Don't let it stop you from becoming a better you.

I faced the painful truth that I was no longer 'curvy' or 'thick'. I was fat. lol This enabled me to think clear-headed about my choices. I was able to go to the doctor and get a health assessment. I read books on nutrition. I stopped buying junk food. I am eating better and exercising. It all began with the truth, exercising and eating right,  and getting through the pain of it all.

There is a good feeling on the other side. I feel great after a workout or run. I understand that the initial discomfort will dissipate and on the other end is a feeling of satisfaction. I have not reached my goal weight, yet. When I look in the mirror now, what I see is progress. That is enough to keep me going.