Saturday, November 7, 2015

What Got Me Here!

I was thinking today about how funny it is that I always claimed to be worried about what other people thought of me but not to the degree that I would strive to be the best me possible. I mean think about it… I have been over weight and out of shape for years. And while I claimed to be worried about my image it never fueled me to workout. And really, why fight the laziness that I had regarding my weight when I have an adoring husband who has no problem with my size. “I will love you no matter what you weigh, Lovely.” Those words are pure kryptonite I tell ya.

So one day, I woke up. I decided to stop worrying about everything externally. Like seriously S-T-O-P worrying. I’ve not stopped caring but I have stopped worrying. I decided to work on being the best me possible. Now, if you are interested in my journey of a mentally stronger, more spiritually sound Tahnika please check out the previous blog posts. Hopefully, they are mildly entertaining. This blog post is about how I’m striving to get physically fit.

I read a post recently about tips to help you get fit. They were good. We’ve all heard them before. But none helped me get fit. The truth of the matter was I had to decide I really wanted it. I was tired. Like really, really tired. And I was willing to do whatever it took to get there.

Here is what helped me:

WORDS HURT… or they can help

Someone once said to me that we had to settle it, we were never going to be a size 8 (me) or 2 (them). It is what it is. Of course I agreed and went on to talk about how my hubby said he’d always love me. But inside I thought, why… why will I never be a size 8? So when I started working out I remembered that statement and decided to prove it wrong. As I’ve lost, my hubby has even come clean stating he will always love me no matter what I weigh but a healthier T has made him a happier hubby. It’s been amazing!

The mirror and camera SUCK… or they can seal the deal
Ever thought you were super cute and passed a mirror… saw something sticking out and realized it was a new fat roll? Well, I have! Like MANY times. When I started wearing my long cotton dresses and they no longer hid my rolls I knew I had to make a change. When I realized my face was showing my weight gain… I nearly died. I was like really T? But when I went to look at pictures and found hardly any of myself with my daughter I was too through. So I decided to work on it. Now I’m like full body pic please!

My family and friends know that before anything goes in my mouth it’s getting logged into my fitness app. I have tracked my calories for 160 days. Before I thaw any food for dinner I log what I have in mind. And sometimes I have to alter my meal plan. If I have a dinner party, date night, dinner plans out or at a friends house I eat very low calories all day. I limit myself to no more than 1300 calories a day and for me that’s perfect. I am never hungry and I eat three meals and three snacks a day. Proper planning is required when you want to lose weight. There really is no easy way out. You have to plan ahead, sometimes days ahead when the weekend comes into play. Your family isn’t eating clean… yep, that was us in the beginning. Well, they ate one thing and me another. And slowly as I started seeing results it caught on. Now everyone eats healthy!

Scales are the enemy… NOPE, your BFF
I have heard repeatedly that you shouldn’t weigh everyday because it doesn’t reflect “true loss” and can be discouraging. Whatever! I have weighed everyday for nearly a year. It has been the single most helpful motivator. More than compliments!!! Why? Because you can correlate the impact of what you’ve eaten with its effect on your body. When I eat a big salad – with low cal/fat dressing twice a day I gain. Now, I log the calories from my salads so I know they aren’t bad but I can’t handle two big meals in one day. I’ve seen the negative impact time and time again. Weighing helps me keep that in check.

Plus… If you have EVER tried losing weight you cannot tell me this is true. You lose a few pounds, noticeable pounds, and you feel like a new person. You get a strut. You up your sass appeal. Hair and, if applicable, makeup are on point! You feel amazing… because you are well on your way to fit’dom. That infamous “fit kingdom” that we all aspire to reach. In your mind, you have a ticket on the gravy train. And then real gravy is placed in front of you. What do you do? Oh you eat it… honey please! You. Are. In. Control. You have lost weight and people are saying YOU LOOK GOOD! You got this! And two weeks later, not a gym have you seen. And a month later you have not only gained the weight back but she brought her man, too. Yep, you are even bigger! WEIGH EVERY DAY PEOPLE! Had you been weighing you would have noticed that Mrs. Gravy and her man Mashed Potato took up residence. They are living with you while you are trying to get rid of their sorry butts. So you work HARDER at the gym! You want the recent gain gone AND SEEING THE SCALES helps you push yourself. It also shows you how much bad stuff jacks up your weight loss and motivates you to make better decisions.

An accountability partner – try the WORLD!
People have told me that I don’t have to put all my runs on Facebook. To which I want to say, “on who’s FB page?” I mean… it is mine! I swear! And then I want to get gangsta and add, “And if I put ALL my workouts on Facebook you’d really be hot!” See, I tried the one or two partner approach. This was really just my way of saying, girl if I fail don’t talk about me… just eat with me. And that’s what would happen. So I decided I had to be public with my fight. Those days I thought about quitting I remembered how I’d talked about my last workout. So I fought through the sluggishness and worked out. It has helped me so much!

Sooooooo, where am I today?

Today, I’ve lost 45 pounds. I’ve gone from a size 18 to a 12. And I’ve lost several inches. I run much faster and completed 3 half marathons in 7 weeks. And I’m holding my planks longer. I thought this picture was so cute because it’s true.

It’s true, your speed really does not matter because the body will naturally progress. Looking back, it didn’t matter that I started running at a 20 min mile pace. As your body gets used to running - it will do better. Mine has and I’ve cut my pace in half! My body wanted to be better and YOU will simply want to do better. And then you will not want it any other way, simply trying to be the best you possible!!

The journey continues… I call these my before and “getting there” pictures. I have not reached my after but I will get there. And yes, my sweet angel baby is posing with me in this picture. Love her!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Balancing Act

I’ve always allowed myself to be driven by fear. Fear of many things. Crazy things. Why would I / should I even care kind of things. Just fearful. I’ve dealt with it along my journey in life; but, as I sit here mad that I might not be able to workout today I had to stop and ask, “what the heck is going on, T?” A mere aggravating moment or… a fear?

“Fear, chaos, and paranoia are illusions that can turn into a psychological hell and last an eternity.”

I made a cup of coffee and stared blankly out the window and answered that question as honestly as I could. I’m so dang scared of gaining weight again. I’m scared I’ll fall back into self-indulgence. I’m not sure I can lose weight by eating right alone. I am fearful I’ll never get to my goal weight. I’m scared I’ll get another blood clot and be sidelined. I’m just scared of being that “dark-skinned girl with the big booty” my whole life.

After I answered that question I looked around my house. It’s clean, but not as clean as I normally keep it. My daily prayer and meditation… it’s happening, but not as regularly as it was happening. My time to breathe, read a book, sew and craft… not happening at all. And as my husband left this morning he politely mentioned a few things I've been promising to get done… but have neglected. In truth, my drive to lose weight is all that’s really on my mind.

This pretty little flower was growing on my okra branches. I took this picture because I thought it was kind of cool. I found out it's a strangling vine. It's beauty is intended to kill life. I’ve knocked my life off balance because my world has become like this flower. In my mind, "Skinny T" means a prettier T - even if I've strangled the life out of everything else to achieve it. You all, I'm being honest and very vulnerable today. Matthew 16:26 reads, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” I’ve been down this road before and it profited me nothing. A “Skinny T” was becoming my everything. But at what cost was I willing to get her?

On Tuesday, September 1, I shared on social media that this was a new month with new possibilities…fun times ahead! Today, I choose to live that post. My possibilities are wrapped around ensuring that my life is in balance. I will get to my goal weight but not by sacrificing everything else around me. I will still eat clean, run and workout; I will stay mindful of what it takes to reach my goal. A balanced life is not an excuse to slack off now!!! But I will also be mindful that I have a life to live with responsibilities that are equally important and deserving of my time. A balanced Tahnika is a healthy Tahnika – and that is my ultimate goal!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Weight, What?!

(Webster 1828 edition) –
a ponderous mass; something heavy; pressure; burden

(Merrian-Webster) –
a measurement that indicates how heavy a person or thing is

Sometimes I take a look at myself in the mirror and wonder how on earth I got to this size. It’s been one wild [sad] roller coaster ride. Up and down my weight went on the scales. Each pound gained adding more depression that I’d have to mask with my fun, vibrant personality. Surely, I could keep faking it. Who was I kidding?! One mention about how nice I looked and it poured out of me.

"Girl, I wish I was your size!"
"If I weighed what you weigh I’d never workout!"
"Ha, thanks, but I’ve got to get control of my weight."
"You think so, with these thighs?"
"Oh my goodness, if only my butt was smaller."
"Oh I hate pants. I love skirts and dresses because they are so girlie!"
"Honey please, I know I’m a biscuit!"

The negativity never ceased in my mind. I saw it when I looked in the mirror, tried on clothes, and took up the entire chair. (Side thought... I always thought it was cool to sit in a chair and still have some of the cushion show. I’m getting there!) Simple things like seeing my shadow and its size in comparison to my smaller, more petite friends made me put on a bigger show. “Make’em think you’re happy girl! Never let them know you hate your body.” Sadly, it never was enough to make me change. So bigger I grew.

Significant emotional events can make or break you. They can alter your reality, your life, your points of view for better or for worse. You can choose to dwell in what feels like the depth of despair or rise from the ashes as a new being. I decided to take control of my life. Every-single-aspect-of-it. It started with learning to love me. It took lots of tears, lots of honesty, realization AND acceptance of truth. As my internal woman grew stronger, my self-assurance grew, and as the authentic Tahnika emerged I took a good, long look in the mirror. Blossoming to well over 200 pounds, I looked at a picture and saw a face I no longer recognized. I decided it was time to fight the biggest battle of my life. My weight.

Anytime I’d attempted to fight this battle I was pretty hush hush about it. But as I previously blogged, I have been extremely public this FINAL go-around. It’s quite therapeutic because for every post made on social media are 10 [plus] doubtful thoughts all belonging or coming from me. (So when you say to yourself, ENOUGH already with the posts, remember these are helping her and maybe someone else fighting the same battle.) My happiest posts are pictures of my entire body. They are so dang liberating! And then there is this one – a picture of the back of my body.

But let me tell you, not an hour after it was posted I caught a glimpse of myself sitting down and there it was… that dang extra layer of fat in my lower back, upper gluteus region. What is this to me now? FUEL! Had I not been cooking dinner I would’ve made the following post…

…reminding myself that this-is-war! And while I can enjoy the victory there is far more fighting ahead.

I’ve received calls, texts, private messages and public social media posts from friends sharing what an inspiration my public journey has been to them. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THAT WITH ME!!! I never went into this thinking I’d inspire anyone. I just did what felt right. To those whom I’ve partnered with, know that we will reach our goals. And to those brutal cold months ahead… I’m ready for you!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dropping LBS Baby

So lady, you’re working out and losing weight… why do you have to broadcast it to the world?!

Since as early as 5th/6th grade, I have battled with my weight. I never saw myself as small. I saw myself as a “thick chick.” I’d like to point out that at one point when I was seeing a big girl I was fitting in a size 3. That was 8th grade. As I went through high school the battle grew worse and by the time college came and I was being referred to as the “dark-skinned girl with the big booty” I was just done inside. Mind you, I weighed 130 pounds. Hardly a “big girl” or a “thick chick”. It would be easy to point fingers about why I lacked self-confidence but at the end of the day the only question I needed to finally answer was “when am I going to face this battle?”

I started facing it this year. I’d finally gotten tired. And here is what I was tired of. I only fit into plus-sized clothes and would drop my head as I walked into plus-sized stores – praying no one saw me. I could no longer wear my wedding band and my wedding ring fit so snuggly I just stopped wearing it as well. My clothes consisted of cotton skirts and dresses because everything else was too tight and uncomfortable… they showed too many [fat] rolls! My shoes no longer fit. My bracelets no longer fit. I stopped going out because I felt like people were thinking, “wow, she let herself go!” And worst of all – I would NEVER take full body pictures. I have this beautiful family and I hid in pictures with them.

I. Was. Miserable. Tired. Depressed.

What motivated me? I saw an old classmate post before and after pictures and inquired about her journey. It took a year for her to lose and she did it the good old-fashioned way. Clean eating and working out. No pills, no diet plans. I’m an authorized distributor of Advocare so I did want to incorporate it into my new lifestyle. My other motivation was my family. I wanted to take pictures – full-body pictures and not freak out when I viewed them. But my number one motivation? I refused to let my sweet Pepper grow up hearing me talk about my weight issues.

All good but why share? It frees me! It’s my outlet. I never have shared my workouts because I knew they would stop. I also thought people who shared their workouts just wanted to brag. I chuckle at that now. This from someone who LOVES Facebook! Life has a way of sitting (sometimes knocking) you down and saying (sometimes yelling), “get a grip!” I post about my workouts and my weight loss journey as a way to shun my thoughts of laziness. “You wanna chill girl… yeah, no one thought you’d stick with it anyway.”

Sharing my journey helps me stay consistent. I post for me. Not for you and certainly NOT for any accolades. Hand to God. I truly post for me. Most posts occur when I am in the car at the gym, eyes wanting to shut, legs aching, and feelings like I can’t do it. So I find a motivational post and get out the car. Other posts occur after a workout when I’ve fought for an hour or longer WITH MYSELF. Thoughts of stopping and walking. Thoughts of how many miles are left. Thoughts of you likely walk faster than you run so why bother.

This weight battle is serious for me. It’s not fun or funny. It’s not going away over night. And so my openness about it is extremely cathartic. It’s a release. It’s me screaming back! It’s me taking control and working to win the battle once and for all. Here’s to healthy living, clean eating, nearly 30 pounds lost, and nearly 80 consecutive days of logging every bite I’ve taken!

I. Will. Drop. The. LBS!!!!!!!!!!
#droppingLBS #mommycanrun #halfmarathonmind

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Beautifully & Wonderfully Made

Now that I am a stay at home mommy I have primary responsibility for teaching my daughter. I feel like I am doing a pretty good job. I am working on her ABC's and 123's, her colors and her shapes. We were rocking and rolling with our various field trips and fun playdates. Life was fine. But then something hit me...

When my sweet Pepper and I completed various craft projects my first comment was, "We are doing this for Daddy!" It became a daily comment. Then I noticed I was saying it about everything:

"Let's clean the house so it's nice for Daddy."
"Daddy will fix it."
"Let's paint Daddy a picture."
"Give Daddy the project we made him."
"Did something hurt you? Daddy will take care of it."

Innocent, right? Well, in all fairness, it was innocent. But I realized that I was molding my daughter to believe all we [women] do in life are projects or activities for Daddy, a man. They [men] come in and save the day! Now don't get me wrong... I LOVE that my Pepper has a wonderful male role model in her life. Her Daddy is absolutely spectacular. But it was like I fast-forwarded her life 20+ years and saw her working hard to please men and seeing women as a lesser being. I saw her thinking she couldn't be a strong female lead like her male counterparts. I saw her thinking male dominated fields were "just a fact of life" and I saw her settling for less than her abilities. Maybe my thinking was extreme but it was enlightening nonetheless.

As I looked back over my life I noticed how hard it has been for females to get along and/or work for each other but how easy it is for women to follow men. Maybe it's because we grew up trying to please our fathers and fighting with our mothers. We looked to our brothers and our fathers to protect us, you know, being "the weaker women" we were. We grow up being criticized for our tender female hearts and learn to accept our brothers who were void of emotion. My husband and I had great intentions but fear our outcome was not what we wanted. So we changed things.

I pulled out my toolbelt and started fixing broken toys. He started having her color pictures or create projects for Mommy. When she falls we both help her "tough it out". When her heart feels tender, together, we mend it. We aren't doing any role reversals or other life-altering changes. We are just aware. And we hope that our awareness helps her realize that she has the power to do or be anything she desires... regardless of the fact that she's a girl.