Tag Archives: health

Embracing The Journey

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Sugar coating my story may make it more comfortable to read and digest, but then what point would there be in sharing it?

Like many girls, I grew up in a home that idealized the “model” body and so perpetuated that as what was beautiful. This meant that from a very young age, when I hit puberty to be exact, I began to hate my body. This hate created a cycle of criticism and degradation.

I’m sure I’m not the only girl who stood in front of the mirror and said to herself,
“You’re fat.
“You’re ugly.
“You look like a boy.
“You should starve yourself.
“Or throw up your food.
“Your thighs are too big.
“Your hips are too wide.
“Your arms are too flabby.
“People are disgusted by your presence.
“I’m sure they can’t even look at you.
“Or they make fun of you behind your back.
“Why don’t you look like her?” and the list of criticism never ends.

My family perpetuated it. I remember my mother telling my sister she couldn’t have any new clothes until she lost weight. And when we would workout, the family would stick around and poke jokes at us and make fun of us. Laughing at how we jiggled as we exercised or making running commentary and criticism at whether or not we were following the video workouts correctly.

It’s no surprise, I developed a very bad relationship with my body that resulted in no self-esteem to speak of and a total of zero on the self worth scale.

At the age of nineteen, I moved out on my own. I developed the vicious cycle of dieting, working out and binging.

The goal was always to become skinny.

Oct 2016

My relationship with food was one of reward and then punishment. I’d look at people who were skinny because they had eating disorders and wished I was one of them, not realizing the severity of those disorders or the fact that I may already have one.

To top it all off the self degradation continued around the clock. It led me to date a man seventeen years older than me- who I had no attraction to- just because I believed I didn’t deserve better. It led to wearing clothing I hated because they covered all the body parts I despised. It led me to seclude myself from others because I was sure they saw me through my eyes as well.

Shopping focused on how much the outfit covered because I didn’t want people to look at me and gawk at my fatness and my cellulite. I’d wear pants with a knee length dress over it because I hated my knees and thighs. Shopping led to more binge eating because it was such a miserable experience and I’d go home thinking there was never an end to this misery and so who cares anymore?

I considered suicide multiple times. Often while driving I would think to myself that I could just drive off the ramp, or into that tree at top speed.

Oct 2016

The degradation didn’t stop at my physical appearance, but seeped into my emotional and mental state as well. My life felt pointless. I mean, who feels purposeful when they can’t stand the body they are born in; they can’t stand the mind they have; they can’t handle the emotions they feel? All of which put them in a cycle of self loathing.

Now that I think on it, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I started to turn things around. A number of things happened in my life that began to show me that I was worthy. Body Positive memes, pictures of beautiful plus size models, learning how to wear makeup, finding one or two outfits that made me feel good, starting a romantic relationship with my crush. All these things gave birth to the faint whisper in my mind, “Maybe you aren’t all that bad.”

Four years pass. I broke up with my boyfriend who had been my crush all those years ago. I no longer had a man who complimented me and loved me even when I felt fat and ugly. I no longer had my rock to keep me from diving into the deep end of my pool of self degradation.

April 2016

I joined a crossfit gym.

It had a six week introductory program that held their members accountable. I still wanted to be skinny. I still looked at the other women in my program and wished I looked like them. It was something to do. To keep me distracted from my personal life that was falling apart.

Joining this gym exposed me to women who were muscular and strong. They flew on the bars and lifted weights I never imagined a woman could lift. I remember staring, wide-eyed at these women. They were beautiful. Not Victoria’s-Secret-model-skinny-beautiful. But strong-fit-kickass-beautiful.

I believe that’s when I started to shift my views on what beauty I wanted to embody. I don’t think I’ll ever not want to be skinnier- that’s imprinted into my psyche so deeply it’ll take a lot more time and effort to be rid of that, but I now want something more- I want to be strong.

With this mindset my dedication to Crossfit was iron clad. I started off working out three days a week. After the six week program was up, it became 5-6 days a week. Crossfit showed me how to measure my progress beyond the numbers on the scale and I became addicted. I created a spreadsheet of all my personal records or PRs and consistently updated it, seeing that I was getting stronger and the weights kept getting heavier. Before I knew it, I had also lost over twenty pounds. Though the scale was a victory, the other measurements of my progress were my focus.

Summer 2016

As time passed, I saw my friends and coaches constantly getting injured at Crossfit and this scared me. I didn’t want an injury that would force me to stop working out for weeks at a time. I couldn’t go back to my life before this. So, I varied my workouts with weightlifting and yoga.

Creating a variety of workouts and programs for me to choose from was possibly one of the best things I did to keep me motivated and dedicated. I would assess my energy level and my needs for the day. Did I want to be part of a class and workout with others or did I need the solitude with music as my company instead? Do I have the energy for a vigorous workout or do I need to focus on strengthening and stretching? The answer to these questions provided the workout I would do that day.

I fell off the wagon. A number of times. Usually before this point, if I fell off, I never got back on. If I binged after a week of healthy eating, I’d say “Fuck it, I just ruined the whole week. I’m not strong enough to control myself. I love food.” Or if I went a week without working out I’d tell myself, “You weren’t making progress anyways. It’s too much time and you don’t have it.”

April 2016

This time my focus wasn’t on punishing myself. It was on the rewards of getting stronger. So I would miss a few days and I’d tell myself, “I need to get back so I don’t lose all the progress I made. I need to get back so I can keep getting stronger.”

A few weeks ago, I had a friend visit me from out of town. I worked out three times in two weeks. And I missed it. It took me another two weeks to get back on the wagon. But it’s so fulfilling and satisfying to be back and so I refuse to beat myself up over the four weeks of rarely hitting the gym.

I quit crossfit.

It was perfect to get me the motivation and dedication I needed in making an active lifestyle a habit. But I realized I preferred working out in solitude and weight lifting was that for me. I won’t stop there though, because I don’t want to end up getting bored and falling off for good. I plan on getting into boxing and taking martial arts.

Variation is key. A healthy mindset is key. A good relationship with food and and an active lifestyle is key. A good relationship with your body is key.

These are so much to juggle all at once. For me, developing a healthy mindset and building a better relationship with my body were the first things I focused on (following healthy, body positive, plus size models and people on Instagram and Pinterest helped immensely- they were unapologetic of their existence and up until that point my life was one big apology). Then I developed an active lifestyle that became an integral part of my day. My relationship with food followed. I refuse to diet, but I do try to eat healthy for the most part and I am aware of my macros even if I don’t quite track them anymore.

Oct 2016

This doesn’t happen overnight. I haven’t reached my goals yet, but I’m more focused on the journey as opposed to the end results now. I’m embracing every change and every progression I make mo matter no small or insignificant.

This struggle is real. It’s tangible. It’s being felt by more women and girls than we think. Let’s share our stories. Let’s help uplift and support one another on our individual journeys. In the end though, to make any lasting change in our lives I learned that we must find the strength and motivation from within.

My brilliant photographer (IG & Facebook: Sierra Prime) asked me to write a piece about my transformation. This was the result of our colaboration.

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Why Makeup is so Important to Me

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Why Makeup is so Important to Me

I create this amazing picture and post of an item I absolutely love, but often find myself hesitating to post it onto Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As my thumb hovers over the “post” button, I am awash with worry. Am I posting too many pictures of this makeup? Am I being pushy with my love for this brand?  My biggest fear is that I’m becoming that dreaded spammer that everyone hates. 

Do my friends and followers think I’m spamming them? Do they feel I’m pushing them to buy a product they have no interest in? Am I blowing up their timeline? 

Surprisingly, there are many times I cancel my post and save it for later or for never (eventually being lost in the labyrinth my phone album filled with 6000+ photos). 

And the dreaded day came, an acquaintance of mine sent me a message on Facebook telling me that she didn’t know why she was seeing so many of my posts (aka it was blowing up her feed) and that she believes that I’m beautiful with or without makeup (as if to tell me not to try so hard- at what? I have no idea).

The new reveal that my favorite makeup company, Younique, came out with on July 1st (3D Fiber Lashes Plus) got me all excited again about sharing all these amazing products with my friends and followers. But it didn’t squash my apprehension and anxiety over how others will take it. Not one bit. 

Being the reflective person I am, I spent some time thinking about why this makeup is so important to me. Why I still post about it and haven’t given up on it yet (like I’ve given up on Pure Romance, for example). 

I definitely don’t wear it for others. Not for any man or any woman. I often wear makeup when I’m not doing anything or not even leaving the house for the day. 

And I love love love playing with my makeup and experimenting with it when I’m home alone. 

I started wearing makeup late in my teens (like 19 years old!). My family looked down on people who did and often scoffed at any “girly-ness” that is exhibited. The tomboy I was as a child wasn’t natural for me. It was forced. I admired the women and girls that got to do up their hair and wear makeup and dress fashionably, while my hair was disheveled (my father often called me a cheetah) and covered at all times when in public; I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup of any kind; and always dressed super conservatively. 

To top it all off, I had a terribly thick unibrow- a special gift from my father- and a mustache! Yes, a mustache! (It was such an embarrassment). 

So imagine having to maneuver the world of beauty and makeup when you’re already an adult. And not waiting that long because you chose to, but because you weren’t allowed to. 

These are some of the reasons why I embrace makeup and fashion and hold them so dear to me. 

I wear makeup for me, because I love it. Not because I wear it for others. 
But why Younique? 

I used to be a Sephora addict. Buying all this expensive makeup that I wear for maybe a month and then for some reason it no longer feels right and I no longer like how it makes me look. Not a single makeup product I bought from Sephora was ever used up in its entirety. I always ended up throwing the makeup away when (in the best case) I’d only used up half of it and (in the worst case) I’d used it a handful of times and then “lost” it in my makeup drawers and then had to throw it out when I realized it’s been expired for a year already. 

In the few years I’ve been wearing makeup (before switching to Younique) I threw away hundreds (thousands?) of dollars on my makeup. Yes. Threw money away. I may as well just have flushed the cash down the toilet. (This is when I feel like I’m a telemarketer with all my cliches that ring so true)

Not only does Younique make the best mascara but I’ve used every single Younique product I’ve purchased. Until there wasn’t a drop left. 

I have so many reasons why I love this stuff and want to share it with everyone. And when I think about all of this, I realize that this is why I am so passionate about this brand. 

I wish I could get angry at myself for letting how others react to what I post affect me. But it is who I am. I care about how people perceive me and I care about what I do that affects them (even when they can just unfollow or unfriend me or choose to hide my posts).

I will continue to post on social media all about the wonderful brand of makeup that I use and I will continue to fight the apprehensions I have at how others will react. 

Pecan Carrot Banana Bread

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Pecan Carrot Banana Bread

This morning I woke up with the inspiration that I should make a fusion of banana bread and carrot cake. How have I never thought of this before?

For the past two years, whenever I noticed that our bananas were getting ripe (which was every time we owned bananas), I would tell my boyfriend that I needed to make banana bread. And for the past two years, I would just never get around to it and the poor bananas ended up in the trash.

This morning was different. I woke up to a text from my school district that summer school was canceled for today because of Hurricane Bill and for some reason I was inspired with the idea of carrot banana bread.

One reason I’d never gotten around to making banana bread over the last two years, was because my boyfriend isn’t a fan. I knew he loved carrot cake so I was hoping he’d enjoy this.


A quick search on Google, revealed that banana bread fused with carrot cake isn’t a new thing. But there were tons upon tons of different recipes. From decadent-clog-your-arteries recipes to super-healthified-doesn’t-sound-too-great recipes. I wanted something in the middle, that didn’t result in me having to go to the grocery store for more ingredients.


I had four extremely ripe bananas that were about to expire if I did nothing with them and a bag of carrots in the fridge. All baking ingredients were in my pantry. But I had no butter and I didn’t want to use vegetable oil. So I continued to search. I finally came upon a Carrot Cake Banana Bread recipe that looked promising.


I looked at the ingredient list and decided to play around with some of the measurements and switch out some of the ingredients to fit what I already had. Needless to say, my Pecan Carrot Banana Bread recipe was born and it is heavenly and delicious.

Here’s my version of the recipe:

Carrot Pecan Banana Bread

  • Servings: 8x8 pan or 2 loaves
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea or table salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup coconut oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar or turbinado (I did half a cup of each but will most likely split it ¾ of both brown & regular sugar next time I make this)
2 cup mashed banana from very ripe bananas (about 4 medium sized bananas)
2 cups firmly packed grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare pan by spraying it with Pam or a nonstick spray.

Into a large mixing bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar and banana. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix until just combined.

Fold in the carrots and pecans just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes then enjoy!

Refrigerate leftover cake up to 5 days.

 

The original recipe had an additional recipe for cream cheese frosting. As I stated before, I am butter-less and so I decided to forgo the frosting. It does sound good and will definitely take this recipe from bread to desert. I do wonder if the frosting will work if I switched out the butter with coconut oil. I’ll try it out another day.

 

The Gymer’s Struggle

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The Gymer’s Struggle

Before going to the gym:

  • I’m so tired.
  • I have a million things to do like wash dishes, do laundry and clean out that bottom drawer in the fridge- something is growing in there that isn’t supposed to.
  • It’s been a long day.
  • I can workout tomorrow.
  • I have to prepare for work tomorrow.
  • I have to cook dinner or grade papers or shampoo the rug.
  • I think I left my laptop plugged in.
  • I’m hungry.

On the way to the gym:

  • I really don’t want to do this.
  • I can turn around now and just go home.
  • Did I forget something?
  • Did I leave a light on, or the stove? I should just go home and check on that.

While parked outside the gym:

  • Do I have to go in?
  • *Checks email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, looks up sports bras at Victoria’s Secrets, checks the weather, bank account, and creates a meme about going to the gym*

While at the gym:

  • I am already out of breath and I just walked in.
  • Does that count as a workout?
  • I miss my couch.
  • Ok, ok! This isn’t so bad.
  • Sweating actually feels good.
  • Just one more squat. Ok, now one more.
  • I can do a few more minutes on the bike.
  • My legs feel like jelly, oh yes!
  • Stretching is heaven.
  • Am I already done with all my workouts?

After the gym:

  • I feel so good!
  • That wasn’t so bad.
  • I’m so full of energy now.
  • I love the gym!
  • I can’t wait to come back tomorrow.
  • Why did I not want to come here to begin with?