Start Weight: 316
Goal weight: It was 185 at the beginning of my journey. I did reach my goal weight at one point, but as I have grown throughout this process the goal for me has become a more realistic and forgiving desire to be healthy and happy.
Current Weight: 200
What Inspired you to start your wellness journey?
I was, unfortunately, in a bad space in my life at the time. I have always been overweight since I could remember. So it wasn’t anything that was new to me. It was my norm. In 2010 I lost my older brother in a tragic car accident. It was unexpected and extremely traumatic for not only my family, but for the community. It literally knocked me off my feet. From February 2010 to September 2012 (when I decided to start my wellness journey), on top of losing someone that I loved, I had high blood pressure for which I was taking multiple medications and I was pre-diabetic. It seemed like everything had fallen apart and the pieces were strewn all over the place. I was only 21. I didn’t want to be living or feeling the way I was. I knew that if I continued down the path I was on, no good would come of it. I had to do something. So I set a goal. The goal was to get my blood pressure under control and get off the medication. In order to do that I knew I needed to lose weight. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do it. I just knew I would figure it out along the way. The only thing I had to do in that moment was START.
In addition to exercise and changing your diet what have you done to mentally keep yourself on track?
I am glad you asked this question because, in the beginning of my wellness journey, I had no idea what would become of it or where it would take me. I just knew that I wanted to feel better. When I say feel better I don’t just mean physically. I wanted to feel better overall – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I knew that eating better and moving more would help me get the weight off which would help me get my blood pressure under control. What I didn’t realize was that the entire journey itself would be more of a mental journey. The the nutrition aspect in mental. The physical exercise is mental. There is a saying that you have to change your mind to change your life. I came to learn that this is absolutely true. Creating new and healthier habits is a mental process that takes time but can be done. There is no way that I could have gone through this wellness journey and still be where I am today over 7 years later without changing the way I think. There has been a lot of talking myself through it, a lot of tears, a lot of journal writing, and a lot of prayer. Everyday day won’t be great, but it is worth it. You have to have patience with yourself, be more generous with yourself and trust the process.
Black Women have often been underrepresented in specific areas in wellness – for instance yoga/meditation. Do you think wellness has a diversity issue?
Yes. I believe that in mainstream media they don’t promote or cater to black women other than those who fit the same mold as the typical skinny fit white woman predominantly used in marketing – I suppose a different color of the same thing. This is thankfully changing, but only a bit. I don’t always see images within wellness of people who I can personally relate to or resonate with. I would love to see more Black women on the covers of fitness magazines or more stories being covered about black woman in wellness. But our time is coming. It is a barrier that will be broken in a big way. But on the other hand in the age of social media, there are many beautiful black women that you can find within wellness – but directly to women, not really changing the business culture of it.. Everyday I’m finding someone new to follow that motivates and inspires me on social media. It’s a great outlet when used in a positive way.
Your Journey has inspired many people in your hometown. Why are health and wellness conversations important in all communities?
Conversations can be a great catalyst for many things including health and wellness, but it’s the action that comes from these conversations that matters the most. I truly believe that when people know better they will do better. A lot of times people just are not informed on certain topics. None of us are born knowing these things, and a lot of us were raised in cultures and communities where this information simply wasn’t available to be taught. So how can you do anything to better yourself or the people in your community if you are uninformed? Starting conversations about health and wellness gets people informed. The more conversations we have, the easier it becomes for people to talk about certain issues, or even become aware of things that they may have had no idea was going on with them. When you become aware and become more comfortable because things are being talked about more, you may be more likely to seek help or make better decisions for yourself and your health. Conversations educate and prompt action. Action saves lives.
You recently started your own initiative “Beautifully Told Lifestyle” to help encourage other men and women to get fit. Couple that with a full-time job, how do you make time for wellness in your own life?
First, I make myself and my health a priority. I make the time for it. Whether it’s meal prepping for the week so I stay on top of my nutrition or if it’s getting up early to get my workout in. I make it a priority because I know where I once was and I don’t want to go back there. Second, balance is key. Everyday won’t be a great day, but that is a part of the process too. BeautifullyTold Lifestyle is about celebrating yourself. The good, the bad, and everything in between. It’s all a part of your life, and your life is your story. No matter what you may go through, your story is BeautifullyTold and should be celebrated.
What is next for you in your wellness journey?
Keep fighting the good fight of life. Starting this wellness journey and losing over 100 pounds wasn’t easy, but it was easier than keeping it off. You don’t do the work to lose the weight and the work stops. It is a way of life. The work continues but now the work isn’t all about the weight. It is about the overall feeling of my health and wellbeing. I want to continue to share my story in hopes that it will inspire others to start their own wellness journey. I’ll also continue – it’s all connected! – developing BeautifullyTold Lifestyle into a great outlet for people to get the help they need with their health and wellness.