Friday, February 27, 2015

Inspired, Healthy & Fit Living

I want to have a big conversation about INSPIRED, HEALTHY AND FIT LIVING for those living the lifestyle and those working toward the lifestyle, like me. Let's have a positive convo about our journeys, what has worked and what hasn't worked. I want to hear what you have to say!

To facilitate this I am starting something new on my FB page wall. I am offering bloggers an opportunity to share their best and most interesting posts to my wall. So if you have a new post or even old posts, that you would like to give more life, and they fit the below categories please feel free to post away.

Topics of interest include: Health, Fitness, Plus Size Fitness, Beginner Fitness, Wellness, Exercise Tips, Workouts, Positive Body Image, Self Acceptance, Healthy Recipes, Inspirational Posts, Weight Loss, Natural Health and Natural Beauty DIY.

Feel free to share your post asap here. Starting next week I will be re-sharing some of the submissions across social media. Its a win win situation!

Be the first to share as I am just opening for posting today.

If you have any questions you can leave a comment or message me.

I look forward to reading and sharing your post!

See you on the wall!

Gina


This post is also being shared at the Small Victories Sunday Link UpMommy Mondays Blog Hop and Tell It To Me Tuesdays Blog Hop

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Downside To The Upside

Isaac's Advice
I know I have shared with you some of my triumphs and victories in my journey to a healthier lifestyle. I have dispensed advice for your journey, encouraged you not to give up and we have laughed at some of my fitness adventures. The upside, you may say, but it would be an injustice to you and to the point of sharing my journey if I didn’t share the downside as well. Like today.


Today was rough.  


If I say I was just not feeling it today that would be true but not the whole truth.  


The whole truth would be that the thing was happening again.  At one point in my life it used to happen so often that I didn’t know it was happening.  It doesn’t happen so much any more and when it does, it doesn’t last as long as it used to.  I can look back over my life and see that it has been with me for a very long time. My first recollection of it was when I was in university in upstate New York. It was a very turbulent time for the state of New York with incidents like the Tawana Brawley Rape Allegations, the Bensonhurst Murder to name a few and the ensuing fallout and ripple effects. Racial tensions was high New York and the atmosphere felt hostile. All while I, a young, black, female, island teenager was alone in a practically all white institution.  It was a cold, dark, relentless winter.   It was so intense.  I wanted to see the sun so badly.  Eventually I took my passport, left all my belongings and caught a plane back to the sun.  It, lifted slightly, but I’m sure it was with me for the remainder of that year.


Today started like any other, but I knew it was different.  I could sense it, ever so slightly. I tried to ignore it and carry on with my day.  I called my husband to say hello before I started work at the office (coffee shop).  Even though we talked about many things he kept asking me if I was ok. Finally, I said it must be the weather.  It was a cold, gray day but I knew better.


I worked till it was time to pick up my daughter.  I was frustrated and felt like I hadn’t accomplished much so I wasn’t upset that it was time to go.  There were many things I could have done on the way home, but I opted I skip them. Trying would have been too much.  Once getting home my daughter scampered off to her Daddy and I marched around the house pulling the shades.  I wanted the sunlight to come in, even though it was gray outside.  I can’t stand the darkness. Hubby eyed me warily as I pretended to be ok.


Nap time came, none too soon, and hubby sat while I went to the store to get supplies for dinner. The pressure was peaking and I was cracking under it. I needed to do something.  I was irritated, frustrated, anxious and antsy and I knew what was coming next.  Yes, I should have prayed.  I should have done the things that I know that work but I didn’t.  It required more than I had at the moment.  The store became the escape.  I got the items for dinner, but I also got two pieces of fried chicken, honey BBQ chips and red velvet cake.  ummm!  Before I got home the chips were almost gone.  I set my meal up and a 48 oz cup of water (don’t laugh at my crazy) and I prepared to mindlessly watch some tv and banish these feelings.  Create some distance between me and whatever this was.  


I love, love, love fried chicken, especially thighs, but I guess the years of eating boneless / skinless chicken breast have spoiled it for me.  The chicken was salty and fatty in my mouth.  Gina close the chips before you eat the whole bag.  The cake, the cake, I thought there is hope.  The first taste was like sugar shock.  It was way too sweet for me. I tried to force it, but I had to let it go. In the meantime somehow I had landed on YouTube watching Ledisi sing at The Potter’s House. By the end of the first refrain a tear ran down my face.  By the end of three views of her singing ‘Thank You Lord’ I felt a lift in my spirit.  I could take it from here.  I got up and threw the food out.


So what exactly was the problem?

  • Feelings of discouragement?
  • Feelings of inadequacy?
  • Was it a hormonal imbalance?
  • Worry?
  • Fear?
  • Tired?
  • Death?
  • Politics?
  • War?
  • Money?


It could be a little of all those things or none of those things as well.  The point is when I feel something and I have to learn to be still and feel it. All of it and walk it out.  At the root of the problem, I’ve been afraid of the feelings.  The intensity of them and where they can take me. To manage, I created a coping mechanism of binging.  There I said it (whew!). Binging - stuffing myself with comfort foods to numb myself so the feelings won’t feel so intense or not feel at all. The only problem now is that it doesn’t work anymore.

My husband told me once, “Don't be afraid to feel. Feel what you feel. Move through it. Don't get stuck". I will have to remember that as I learn to walk this thing out. I must learn to find the strength to do the things I know will help and to know ultimately that this too shall pass.

It was a rough day today, but by the time my family awoke from a nap, Mommy and Wifey was on her way back!

Here is the Ledisi singing 'Thank You Lord'. I hope it blesses you as it did me.



Are you an emotional eater?  How do you handle difficult emotions?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What's Up With Falling Down

I fell, but at least the view was lovely lol!
Events from this post were originally penned in Aug 2013 and have been reproduced on MirrowWatching.com for Way Back When Wednesday.

I was out running today and I fell. The experience was surreal, like instant replay on ESPN. So slow in fact that I had one too many thoughts as my status with the pavement changed from vertical to horizontal. My left knee, then the right one, left hip, hands, chest and face in that order hit the ground. Man, it really hurt. I laid there for a minute contemplating if I was ok. Oh my freaking goodness! I'm stretched out on the ground.

It is early morning on the second day of Cup Match in Bermuda. The streets are deserted but for one lone compact car that had stopped just up ahead. I decided I better see if I could get up. As I am lifting myself up I’m checking to see if I am still alive and I notice that I am lol. Oh ok! Some scrapes, road rash and tenderness in some spots. The compact driver, seeing me extract myself from the pavement, must have determined that I was ok and continued on their way. That was kinda sweet, I guess?!

As I brushed the dirt off my face I’m thinking, "what now?" I'm almost two miles away from home at o'clock in the morning on a holiday with no money. I can't walk that far (I'll explain another day). No buses are coming at this hour. The only thing left to do is run. I adjust my earphones and headed out. Limping yes, but running nevertheless. A smile eased over my face and I think, "Get it G!"

As I run I remember the last time that I had fallen.....

Picture it. Big girl on her hands and knees in the street, dazed, bruised and embarrassed trying to collect the contents of her purse that had scattered about the street in downtown Dover. How did I just fall off that sidewalk? There were people on the street watching and whispering, but no one was helping. Then I realized the lady in the car is not waiting to see if I was ok, but she wanted to park where I had fallen. I struggle up off my knees. Tights are ripped, but I gather myself and walk away. Home, at that time, is only half a mile or so away, but in my current state it may as well be two miles. As am crossing the train tracks it starts to rain. REALLY! Not that I am already upset, but of course there isn't any shelter to be found so I get wet. Knock, knock - your express delivery of depression has arrived. I know, I know. It's ok. You can laugh. The whole thing was just preposterous.

That day I was publicly humiliated, my spirit was broken and my ego was bruised. The experience was so traumatic for me that I was determined not to let it happen again. I'm sure between that fall and this one 12 years have passed, but my whole world has changed. As it would happen, I did fall again, but the only thing bruised this time are my knees and hips. Nothing a little dip in the salt water (ocean) can’t cure.


Have you ever had an embarrassing fall?  How did you recover?

This post is being shared on Work Out WednesdayWellness Wednesday and Fitness Friday, link ups. Be sure to check them out to find great posts on exercise and wellness.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dear Body, A Love Letter

This is the season of love for the romantics.  Some will give chocolates in heart shaped boxes, red roses and teddy bears to prove their love.  Others will take the big leap getting engaged and promising to love each other through sickness and health, richer or poorer, till death they do part. The big commitment.

Well, I've decided that I'm going to take the plunge as well.  No, no, not that plunge.  I'm married.  Seventeen years in.  Hi Hubby!  No, my plunge is a commitment to embrace my body.  To love my body just as it is. See, I only realized in my forties, that I suffered from low body confidence and I was not conscious of the fact of not being happy with my body in general.   I am convinced that all the years of criticism and ridicule by family and peers together culture and media bombardment has had a subliminal effect on me.

From young, it seemed that everyone wanted to talk about my physical appearance.  Even when the comments were good they seemed to be indicating that something else was wrong.  My height for my age, my pretty complexion (Check my About Me pic out.  Can you believe that I believed until about four years ago that I was dark complexioned?) The size of my breast and upper arms that come from Grandma.   My flat butt.  Gorgeous legs with duck feet. Beautiful head of hair with a moon forehead. Stunning smile, but you show too much gums. And what is up with the people who like to commentate on how fat you are getting and then when you start loosing weight, you are looking sickly. LOL!  Looking back at this barrage of constant labeling, comparing and shaming left me thinking that physically I was lacking a something.

Did I think I was attractive?  Yes, I did, but I will admit that it was more about the  quality of person I thought I was than how I looked.  For those reading this post that know me personally, probably can't believe I had these issues because I carried myself so confidently.  I am confident, sexy and brilliant and all that goes with it.  I just had some body image issues and I was not at peace with a portion of myself.

So why this post and Love Letter to my body?  Now that I am aware of the breach I want to embrace all of me.  The total package, mind, body and spirit.  Not because 100 plus pounds are gone (but losing the weight did bring attention to the fact that the issue was not the weight), nor when the last 70 leave but right now.

Two things happened that brought awareness to my state and changed my vantage point:
  1. At 338 lbs, I did not know that I had the mental capacity to change my physical circumstances. Discovering that I had the power, learning to use it and watching my body respond has been an amazing discovery and experience. 
  2. Secondly, After facing infertility with obesity and a geriatric pregnancy (as they called it lol wow! Where is the bucket of ice cream?) working against me, I conceived, carried full term and birthed my one and only.  Watching my body do what it had been told it could not and would not do was phenomenal.  My body did that.  
These two events seemed to break a spell, a paradigm, a belief system concocted by others and embraced by me.  It was these two events which have awakened a greater purpose for me within my body which supersede the ringing comments and my own thoughts from yesteryear.  The other voices no longer matter.  I have another more meaningful and impacting experience within me. So when I look in the mirror, I see me now.  The real me and I can honestly say, I look good.  Thank you Body.


In the spirit of the season, do you want to write your own love letter to your beloved? You can find some great tips here and here.

**Update** This exercise proved to be fruitful and so enlightening for me that I have decided to do it each year. Dear Body, A Love Letter Vol. 2


You might find this post at any of these parties!
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Do you or have you had a disconnect with your body and are working to or have overcome it? Leave a comment a let me know how you are working it out.


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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

WAIT, Don't Give Up Yet!

If you are like me, you entered this year with all types of plans to change various aspects of your life. You were gong ho!  I, for example, declared, “This is the Year of My Health!”  My plans included: get the last of the weight off, eat better, exercise more, cut out fast and processed foods, etc and etc.  How is that going for me, you may be wondering?  Well, if the truth be told, not that good.  Not good at all. January has turned out to be the month of trial and error and I'm willing to bet that it is not going that great for some you you either.  You attempted a few things.  It worked for a few days or weeks, but now 30 something plus days into the new year, you are feeling overwhelmed and just not that into it anymore.  Either you are ready to throw in the towel or have already.  So how are we going to turn things around?


Here I have listed 4 Simple Actionable Steps which should help us get on our way:
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4 Steps to keep your #newyears #resolutions on track (tweet this)
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1. What Is Manageable For You 
Ask yourself, what is manageable for me right now?  Example:  cutting out fast food means cooking more and preparing food in advance.  Do I really have time in my current schedule to factor in a food prep day?  If the answer is no or that you are unwilling to do the research to food prep than even though that resolution may be a great idea with excellent benefits maybe now is not the time for you to add that to your lifestyle.  Maybe instead of no fast food my resolution should be adjusted to making better food choices until I can work the next step into my lifestyle.

2. Scale Back
I’m a passionate go getter.  Once I set mind to something I’m off to the races.  It has its good points and its bad.  Sometimes I don’t take all the necessary factors into consideration.  In my plans for exercise for the new year I prescribed it as if I had been beasting the whole time.  There was no consideration given to the fact that I haven’t exercised solidly for a good five months and I have suffered injury which will affect my abilities.  So from the door, trying to keep up with my exercise routine was more than I could handle and frankly, mentally overwhelming.  Now that I have had the chance to reevaluate my situation, I know that I need to build up to that regime and scale back.

3. Create An Action Plan
So you have figured out what is manageable for you and where you need to scale back, now you need to create and action plan.  A how - am - I - going - to - get - this - done plan.  I went from doing nothing to trying to doing everything.  It added pressure for me and the family as a whole.  Since that was not working now I am adjusting things in my calendar to fit in what I need. Here is what I changed:

  • I schedule my exercise as an appointment with enough time to drive to the gym, shower and get back to my tasks.
  • After dropping my daughter off to PMO I take that time to go a light jog or walk, get some of the shopping done, organize or write. Not waste it away!
  • I have learnt that it takes a bit of time, but I am so much better prepared and relaxed when I use my meal planner to help me plan and shop for meals.  No more panic of what are we going to eat.   


4. Create A Mantra
With all I have happening on a day to day basis my intentions for the day need to be clearly stated up front before the day gets started.  To do this I have gone back to a tool that has worked great for me in that past and that is creating and using a mantra as part of my morning devotions.  A mantra by definition is a word or formula that is usually sung as an incantation or prayer. Well, there aren't any magical spells being repeated around here, but my mantra helps me to focus on my personal intentions for the day.  Example: my issue is a lack of consistency and my corresponding mantra is, "I'm a consistent individual in thought, word and action.  I finish what I start."  That spoken acknowledgement is my, release of sorts, of my intent for the day.  Your mantra could be a snippet of your personal mission statement.


And in closing, Your resolutions may not have been the same as mine, however, I hope you can see how these 4 Actionable Steps can help you to stay on track.  Whatever your situation may be!

 
I encourage you to Never Give Up!  Some things seem to take forever and look like they are never going to come to fruition.  I have been at this self development / weight loss journey for some time now.  Initially, I thought it would be as simple as putting the work in and doing the math, but for me it has taken a while with lots ups, downs and struggle.  However the lessons I’ve learned about life and myself are invaluable which I think has been the true treasure.  So I say to you, anything worth having is worth fighting for and I encourage you to fight for yours!

Please comment below.  I would love to hear how you are holding you to your resolutions and if this post has helped you in any way.


This post is also being shared on Mom Blog Party