Posted in Encouragement, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, People, Relationships

Do You Without Apologies


Over the past year my daughter has lost nearly 40 lbs! For a long time she was beyond okay with her curvy figure. But when she decided that she wasn’t, her battle with the bulge that all of us go through began. Her first sincere attempt to lose weight was her senior  year of high school. My dad bought her a treadmill and, much to my dismay because of our downstairs neighbor, she would use it every morning at 5am. She increased her water intake, drank green tea, and carried healthy snacks with her to school. By the time prom came, she’d lost some significant pounds. Then came college. Yes, the freshmen 15 and then some. When she crossed a number on the scale she never thought she’d get to, she got serious. Enter weekly meal planning and prepping, 4-5 days at the gym, which included burning 1000 calories per workout. She still has a ways to go to reach her ultimate goal but there’s no stopping her now. It’s no longer about a special occasion but how she wants the live the rest of her life.

My sister, who is 7 years my junior is on her own fitness journey. According to her FB posts, she’s been regularly attending a cycling class and cutting back on guilty pleasure of a 16 oz of soda a day with her favorite potato chips, Ruffles. On the last day that I saw her for my son’s birthday, her weight loss was evident too.

While I’m genuinely happy for both of them, I can’t help but remember their reluctance to get on the fitness bandwagon with me about ten years ago. Though I’d been exercising since I had my daughter in 1995, that was the first time that I was committing time to the gym. Before then my fitness regimen included laps around the building at work, doing exercise videos over lunch in our building fitness center or at home.

At that time, however, my daughter was a cute, chunky teenager who liked the attention her thickness elicited from teenage boys. And my sister was a recent college graduate focused on preparing for her career. Neither of them had fitness on their minds.

Now, my daughter more than my sister, is always trying to get me on her bandwagon. She insists that I have time to go to the gym 4-5 days a week. She insists that I can discipline myself to prep my meals for the week like she does. She insists that I can burn 1000 calories in one workout. She insists that I can walk on 15 incline on the treadmill.

She may be right. However, if I don’t want to, it’s not going to happen. Just like when I wanted exercise to be a priority for her when it wasn’t. I’d share with her easy ways that she could exercise and be less sedentary, like walking the dog everyday, twice a day on weekends. But she wasn’t having any parts of that. Even now. Although she hits the gym 4-5 days a week, she still likes to lay around the house in her downtime when I’m the one who can’t sit still, always have to be doing something.

I’ve learned through our family fitness experience that everyone has different goals and priorities at different times in their lives. You can’t force yours on somebody else, nor can they force theirs on you. What my daughter can do with her time as a 22 yr old, single young woman and I can do with my time as a 41 year old, wife of an ill husband, mother of a 13 yr old boy, full-time employee, and a writer are two totally different things.

She and I have different priorities. As a young woman, her goal is to get her body tight and right to enjoy life as a 22 yr old. Mine is to lose the extra weight I’ve gained over the last 3 yrs since my husband took ill and still have time for things that are just as important to me like my writing and getting my house organized. While she doesn’t mind going to the gym 5 days a week, my desire is to be at home. Not driving from work, to my son’s school, to home, then back to the gym and back home. Just typing that exhausted me.

I crave any kind of simplicity in my life that I can get. Since the beginning of April, I have been exercising at home. Sometimes in the morning but over the last couple of days in the evening.  Lost about 4 lbs. It’s not a lot but I’m encouraged that the 3-4 times I got on the scale in the month of April, the numbers never increased! That’s a good thing.

Now I won’t be canceling my gym membership any time soon. It being only $10 a month is part of the reason. For now, I’m going to do what’s been working for me and I encourage you to do the same. Do what works for you and let others do what works for them.

P.S. One thing I did pick up from my daughter is tracking my progress on a visual board in my bedroom. I write down the days I exercise including what I did (i.e. circuit training, walking). The visual helps me to realize how much or how little I’ve done.  You can try or not…if you want to ūüôā

Til next time,

Naturally Yours,

LA

Posted in Fitness, Health, Inspiration, Lifestyle

Wellness Wednesday–To Dust I Shall Return

I know it’s been awhile since I posted for Wellness Wednesday. A great part of that is because pretty much lost my mojo for, not only my fit at work program, but fitness altogether. You see, for the last twenty years I’ve been trying to lose weight. Since the birth of my first child, to be exact. Trying to attain this magic number on the scale or some perfect number inside of a pair of pants, a dress, or a shirt.

Ten years ago I came closer than I’d ever been. Size 6. 135 lbs. Guess what?  Wasn’t good enough. Why? Because my stomach wasn’t flat yet. And I was constantly in the presence of women who had great figures.

The best part of that time was that I felt great! My mood was elevated. I smiled a lot more. 

Today, not only is my stomach not flat, it’s bigger. Boobs are bigger. Face is bigger. The only thing that’s decreased is my self-confidence.

That’s what happens when your confidence is placed in superficial things like the shape of your physical body.

On Ash Wednesday, my awesome bishop reminded me that, “From dust you came, and to dust you’ll return.”

This physical body is not meant to last forever. No matter how much we diet, run on the treadmill, lift weights, at the end of day–of our lives, actually-we’re returning to the dust from whence we came. 

I hadn’t been to an Ash Wednesday service is a few years but for some reason I was determined to make this one. God knew I needed to hear that message. I left that service with a new attitude!

Does that mean I miraculously don’t care about my physical appearance! Of course not! Heck, I went to Zumba last Friday and going again this Friday. 

I’m not suggesting that you don’t care about yours either. Just don’t let your confidence rest in that. It’s a challenge in this society where flat stomachs and small frames are glorified. Therefore, my daily prayers will include a request for my mind to ignore that garbage and focus on caring for and loving my body because it is a temple.

Size 6, 10, or 16, I’m beautiful because I was created in His image. So were you.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday–Putting the Brakes on Insanity

Doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results is one of the definitions of insanity, right?

So I guess I can’t expect to keep dabbling in such treats as these and think I’m going to see results of the exercises I’ve been engaging in with my Fit at Work project.

I’ll be honest. I added three of these treats to my breakfast of a hard boiled egg and fruit bowl this morning. These other two were intended to be an afternoon snack. Normally, I’d convince myself that, “It’s only two. And they’re mini cinnamon rolls, for heavens sake!”

This time, though, another thought occurred to me. “You’ve been rationalizing like this all of your adult life. But forty-one year old you can’t keep this up and keep this weight from piling on.” With that in mind, I dumped these little delectable delights in the garbage can!

Yay me! Gotta start somewhere, right?

What changes are you making to live a healthier lifestyle? Lose weight?

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Happy New Year!

Welcome back the Wellness Wednesday. I’m so excited to be here at the start of this new year 2017. Not only because it’s good to be in the land of the living, as the senior pastor of my church used to say, but because I’ve got a plan to shed these unwanted pounds.

A realistic plan. Not like that frivolous plan too lose weight at the start of the holiday season knowing good and well I was going to be baking….and enjoying those delicious deserts. 

Yes, that’s why you didn’t see an update on that journey. I didn’t want to leave you on a gloomy note for 2016.

But on to better things. The new plan is to implement my strategy of getting fit at work. Even more exciting than that is that the journey will double as material for a 2018 book project. Lord help me!

The jury is still out on whether or bot I’ll be posting  weekly entries about my progress. However, I will give periodic updates about that endeavor while talking about a variety of health and wellness topics. 

I’m not going to rag on 2016 for being an ineffective weight loss year for. Instead, I’m pushing hard not to let 2017 be a repeat!

What are your health and wellness goal for 2017. Share in the comments below. 

Posted in Fitness, Health

Wellness Wednesday–Year End Weight Loss Update #2

Down 2 lbs!

I’m so happy to announce that. Ramping up my exercise game to include 2-3 days of power walking has done the trick. Enlisting the help of my neighbor has made a difference too. This past Saturday I was laying in bed considering my options for the morning:

1. Go walking by myself (my neighbor had a personal training session scheduled that morning–more on that in a minute)

2. Go to my coffee spot to write, walking afterwards

3. Get up and enjoy the quiet of the house while my husband and son remained asleep

Before I reached a decision I received a text from my neighbor:

Are we walking this morning?

I’d like to say that if she hadn’t texted my I might have decided on one of the last two options and ended up missing my walking opportunity as the rest of my day was pretty busy.

Awesome exercise buddy, right? Well… unless she goes rogue. Lol!

Apparently I re-lit the fitness fire of my neighbor friend and she’s just jumping¬†feet first into her own fitness program. Since we started walking together, she’s contacted her personal trainer and started back this week. ¬†Already she bailed on me for one of our walks because she was meeting her trainer the next morning.

But to her credit, she hasn’t completely bailed. She still hits me up for a walk in between her sessions. Plus, she’s invited¬†me to¬†go with her. I doubt I will, though. I’m not one for personal training sessions. Especially those that cost per month because I wouldn’t be going that frequently. Not to mention I already pay a monthly gym membership (albeit $10).

Anyway, I expect we’ll still keep each other going. And if things continue as they have been, we’ll walk together once or twice a week. That works for me. Plus, I’ll always be grateful for her showing me just how fast I can walk around my apartment complex. In the cold too!

Considering myself on target with a good¬†exercise regimen, my next challenge is baking for the next and last holiday of 2016–Christmas. In 10 years, at least, no holiday has been void of one of my homemade deserts (cream cheese pound cake being the favored). But after the pounds my daughter and I packed on during¬†Thanksgiving, I have to decide on a healthy alternative. This should be interesting…

Stay tuned! Looking forward to more lost pounds. Oh yeah!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

P.S. Follow me on Instagram @naturallylajeff

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fitness, Health, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday: End of Year Weight Loss Journey Update #1

Dum dum da dum…

thanksgivingfitness

It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving and I have…news to report. Can’t quite call it good or bad news. More like smack dab in the middle news.

The week before the holiday I sent out an SOS of sorts to my neighbor friend to buddy up with me on exercising. She jumped at the offer. Within minutes of my text, she responded with, “Sure, do you want to start tomorrow?”

No, I thought to myself, but I texted back. “Sure!”

We’ve been on it ever since. That first day we did 20 mins of Tae Bo with Billy Blanks. Whew! Hadn’t done that in about 15 yrs. But I had to make it through. Couldn’t let my neighbor, who is at least 10 years my senior show me up.

For the rest of that week we walked a lap around our apartment complex and increased it to two laps the next week.

According to my analog scale, I dropped 1-2 lbs. That’s the good news!

Then came the holiday: dressing, crescent rolls, and the cake. Really, it was the cake that did me in.

The Saturday after the holiday I decided to check out the damage. If not for the walking that I did with my neighbor over that weekend, I would have surely gained more than the few pounds that I’d lost the previous week.

That’s the bad news. I’m right back to where I started two weeks ago.

Could be worse, though. Right?

What’s awesome is that today is Monday–me and my neighbor’s regular walking day. I’m looking forward to walking those 2 laps (maybe 3) around the complex.

What’s even BETTER??? There’s no more cake!

First shot at pineapple layered cake 


My perfect cream cheese pound cake.
P.S. I need some healthy desert alternatives. Please post ideas in the comments below.

Til Next time…

Naturally Yours,

L.A. 
 

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday: My Favorite Workout Spot

I’m going to be there every day at the same time for the same amount of hours. No matter how busy I get, there’s always time for fitness–I’m mandated to take at least a 30 minute lunch.  And it’s the only place that I can go where there’s no option to be anywhere else. 

Yep, you guessed it. My workplace is my favorite spot to work out. Even more so since I was finally granted the accomodation of a standing workstation. It’s a shame the company doesn’t provide them to all employees just because they’re better for you, but that’s for another post.

These here are so me:


I recently stopped exercising in private. Until a few weeks ago I kept my equipment–hula hoop, Dumbbells, yoga mat–in an empty office area. Then I realized I wasn’t using them as much I wanted to. Why? Honestly, sometimes I don’t feel like leaving my desk. Now I don’t hula hoop at my desk. That would be insane! God help me if I had a private office because I certainly would. In the meantime, thought, I do perform dumbbell exercises, lunges, squats, ab exercises, and I walk every chance I get: bathroom breaks, water runs, coffee runs, going to the prober and fax, talking to coworkers. By the time I leave work, I’m over the halfway mark to my 15k step goal! 

That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. No matter how many times my daughter tries to convince me that I can fit the gym into my schedule, I will continue to get it in at work. If by chance I get to the gym or do some increased physical activity after work, it’s just the cherry on top!

What’s your favorite place to exercise? Share in the comments below.

P.S. If you like these posts please subscribe and share with your friends.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Fitness, Health

Wellness Wednesday–Progress One Meal at a Time

Ever start your day with a healthy green  smoothie or pack healthy snacks for the day like these:

only to get to  work and partake of the bagels and donuts the management team surprises the office with? 

 I’ll be honest. It happens to me all of the time. It’s hard to decline free goodies that don’t come often.

The good thing is that I learned a long time ago not to let one ( or two) meals ruin my day. My philosophy is that a healthy diet happens one food choice at a time. So as long as I’m incorporating good food choices throughout the day I’m moving in the right direction of a healthy lifestyle. And the more good food choices I make over time, the less inclined I’ll be to choose bad food.

In the meantime, I’m not beating myself up when I indulge in not-so-good-for-me food and I suggest you don’t either. Just keep doing the best you can and get better one meal at a time.

I’m always open for suggestions to do better on this health and wellness journey. Post yours in the comment section below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday: Diversify Your Workout

The experts say your body needs to be challenged with increased duration and/or intensity of exercises. I believe that to be true but I change up my routine more so to keep from being bored. If I’m bored, I won’t stick to it.
While walking is the main staple in my exercise arsenal, I diversify by:

1. Walking malls that include stairs and ramps

2. Attend Zumba class (when I’m in a funky dancing mood and don’t dripping in perspiration.)

3. Attend hula hoop fitness class. I was elated to find a class practically around the corner from me. It’s on Sunday’s so I can only attend once or twice a month when I’m not on ministry duty at my church.

4. Do apprx 2 wks worth of those 30 challenges (squats, abs, arms)

5. Pilates and/or Yoga (I prefer Pilates but need them both equally)

6. Stretching

Only thing missing from the above list is strength training. I’ll talk more about my challenges with this beast on my next wellness post.

How do you diversify your workout. Share in the comments below. Like and share the post!

Til Next Time,

L.A.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday: My Weight Watchers Results

 

Welp…my Weight Watchers session came to a lackluster end last week.

4.4 lb total lost

Nothing to write about but I’m encouraged enough to give it another try. Why? Because I’m no quitter! I can and will lose this stubborn 20 lbs.

Don’t worry. I’m not beating myself up too much for my little 4.4 lbs. After all, it’s better than I did 5 yrs ago when I tried Weight Watchers when I was only trying to lose¬†10-15 lbs. If memory serves me correctly, those end results were like a¬†1-1.5lbs.

But you can’t¬†attain a goal without a¬†strategy. Here’s mine:

  1. Renu Herbs Detox Trio-¬†After listening to Gospel sensation Yolanda Adams rave about the results of Robin Anthony’s Detox Trio body cleanse products for the last few years, I finally did the tax-refund-thing-to-do and splurged on¬†some products.¬†I’ve been wanting to do a detox for quite some time but have been put off by some of the requirements like…not eating. I don’t do well with¬†plans that don’t include eating throughout the day. However, with this detox trio,¬† I do have to eat as clean as possible and¬†for the last couple of days I’ve been doing okay.
  2. Weekly weigh in WITHOUT looking at the¬†results. Sounds like it defeats the purpose, right? Well, my¬†experience with Weight Watchers was every week that I lost, I followed with a small decrease the following week. SMH for real.¬†On our group’s Facebook page one member posted that she didn’t look at her results until the end of the 12 weeks. And she lost a whopping 14lbs! Maybe that method will work for me. In fact, when I’d lost weight in the past, I did it without weighing myself weekly, preferring a bi-weekly schedule.
  3. Making small¬†changes¬† week at a time. Right now I’m working on not eating after 7pm. Also, at work,¬†I’m drinking a 1/2 cup of coffee instead a full. Future plans include reducing beef to once a week, increasing fish, and going totally organic for fruits and veggies. The cleanse is helping me with that.
Our next session starts next week and I’m confident that I’ll have already lost 2-3 lbs from our last weigh in with the small changes I’ve already made. Plus the cleanse. I feel it working!
No worries. I’ll keep you posted. If you have any suggestions for small changes I can make, post them in the comments below. Share your progress or struggles, too. We can help each other.
Til next time,
L.A.