My Body Story

I’ve had a number of experiences in my life that have shaped my body story and self-confidence over the years. It wasn’t how I saw myself, it was how others saw me that perpetuated my impressionable little mind growing up. Regardless of how many compliments I received, being “fat shamed” as a kid cut me so deep that it stuck with me for a long time.  I was very shy and relied on the attention of others to feel good about myself, so it was easy for me to accept when people called me fat because I didn’t have much confidence in myself to believe otherwise. But now that this journey of best self has led me here, I want to share with you a few of those experiences that played interference in my ability to see myself through my own eyes.

Fall 2001, I was a freshman in high school. My friend was visiting her boyfriend and wanted me to tag along because he had a friend she wanted me to meet. . . Y’all know how that goes. I could tell the boy wasn’t interested, but we both played along until we said our goodbyes (I had a similar experience in college). After we left, my friend called her boyfriend to see how things went. They didn’t know it, but she had them on speaker phone.  Both boys talked so bad about me calling me fat and ugly. That hurt, Y’all. I didn’t say anything. I just let them laugh and make fun of me.

I played softball in high school, and I can recall my teammates calling me fat as they would joke about how slow I ran while running the bases. I would laugh it off as all in fun or just freshman hazing but of course it bothered me. I also thought since it wasn’t just coming from the big-headed boys it must have been true, right?

On my 18th birthday (pictured in the green above), I went out to celebrate with family. We met up briefly with some guys that I didn’t know. I don’t remember the encounter, but I must not have said something nice because the guy called me fat. Now, if you look at the picture, then you can see I wasn’t, however, mentally I was.

In my college days (pictured in the gray), I was a dancer and was always concerned about how I looked in my performance attire. I can remember focusing way too much on what I was wearing rather than the dance routine.  I felt so huge and was always comparing myself to the other dancers.  Y’all, I was size 9. A SIZE 9!! I’m double that size now. Damn, I was really tripping, but I also really believed I was this extra-large person everyone told me I was.

Looking back at pictures from those times, I’m mad at myself for allowing other people who didn’t matter to infiltrate my mind and control how I saw myself. To control my spirit so much so that it was so hard for me to love myself or allow my husband to love ALL of me. I hated looking at pictures of me because the only thing I saw was how big I looked. And, I would question my husband’s attractiveness to me because of my size. Y’all, this weight thing consumed me. It wasn’t until I was completely honest with myself and started to peel back the layers of hurtful experiences that I really started to love myself for who I am right now, stretch marks and all. LOL.

So, let’s talk.  What’s your body story? Have you always been in love with yourself? Or, have you struggled to see your own beauty like I did?

Listen, I know that I’ll always be a work in progress and my body story will always be a part of me, but my body no longer controls me. I am the captain leading this ship. More than that, I have a daughter watching and emulating my every move. I am her example of what loving yourself looks like. Everyday we stand in the mirror with the messiest hair, crumbs on our faces, snot in our noses (well, her nose not mine. . . but you get the picture) and tell ourselves how pretty and smart and confident we are. I’m teaching her to see herself and love on herself so hard that no one can ever tell her who she is. When you look in the mirror, love on your flaws because we will never be perfect. We’re not supposed to be. And remember this, when you know your imperfections better than anyone else, there is no one who could make you feel less than the beautiful person you already are. So, please keep going, because you’re worth it!

💜 Tiarra

Motivation vs. Depression

Initially, I planned on blogging about a completely different topic but as I go through things, I think it’s important to talk about them in the moment. In some ways, it’s therapeutic, but mostly it’s because I know someone else is likely going through the same thing. If you follow me on social media, you’ll see a happiness in my pictures, a “glow” that quite a few people told me I had (that means I must not have had this glow before). It started a couple of months before my mommy vacay and before you ask, no, I’m NOT pregnant. I just had a different energy, a more happy and carefree vibe that a lot of close friends and family noticed. I’ll be honest, it felt great too. Well. . . things have changed or as I see it are back to normal.

After having three children, I’d definitely have to say baby girl changed me the most. I loved being pregnant with the boys.  It was fun, my physical features didn’t change much, and I only gained a few pounds with both of them.  Now Ms. Logan, she was a different story.  She put my mind, body, and soul through hell while in the womb, so much so, I barely recognized myself. She was my physical and emotional roller coaster and even after almost three years, I still don’t feel like myself.

Since having her, I’ve struggled with what I would call depression. Having children just doesn’t change your lifestyle, it literally changes you as a person. Although not everyday is a sad or bad day, I’m pretty good at putting up a brave face. I can go days, weeks, and sometimes months in a great space but when I’m in a dark space, everything else is a spiraling domino effect. Crying all the time and panic attacks are pretty much the norm for me these days, so trying to stay motivated on this weight loss journey isn’t always easy.

I mean, losing weight is hard enough without adding other stressors to your life like depression while taking care of your family, right? The ups and downs and can really present a challenge. I’ve stopped and started my journey more times than I can count, but I never give up! Even when I’m not feeling like myself, I’ve learned to recognize and celebrate the small wins to keep me motivated and focused on my goals; for example, when I have a great workout, or when the kids sleep just long enough for me finish my yoga in peace, or especially when the scale finally tips in my favor are a few of my wins.

It also helps that I have people in my corner that get me and help me to find light and positivity even in the darkest places. It can be difficult for others to understand depression and that’s okay, but those people that get you and understand who you are will not let you down. Please don’t be embarrassed or too proud to share your feelings with someone who love and care about your well-being. Please!

So, let’s talk. Do you often feel depressed or just not your best self more times than not? Has it impacted your ability to stay motivated on your journey? Have you shared your feelings with someone you trust?

Listen. If you’re like me and seem to have more sad times than you want to admit, that’s okay! Please don’t feel ashamed. I think the first step is to be honest with yourself about your feelings so that you can figure out how to deal with them. Then, talk about it!  You’d be surprised how many people are also dealing with depression. Know that being vulnerable doesn’t make you weak; it makes you strong. And remember, being your best self is not just about the physical. . . it’s a harmony of you mind, body, and soul. Every part is intertwined and needs to be on the same page so that you can feel whole. For me, this journey is so much deeper than just the weight loss. Losing the weight is me shedding the toxins, self-doubt, low self-esteem, endless excuses, and depressive thoughts that weigh me down to prevent me from being my best self.  I want you to know that I get you and you’re not alone. So please, keep going. . . because you’re worth it!

💜 Tiarra

 

Vacation is Over: Back to Reality

So, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. Between my last weekend of mommy vacay, hitting the road to Minnesota to pick up the little ones, and snapping back into mommy mode, it’s been a re-adjustment to say the least. And you know the work doesn’t stop while you’re on vacation. Y’all,  I’ve been so busy! But, I wanted to update you on life after vacation and let me just say, with or without kids, bouncing back is not easy, especially when you’re on a journey of being your best self.

I ended my vacay with my mom and close friends in Ohio at the Cincinnati Music Festival. I promised Hubby that I would enjoy myself and not be so focused on diet and exercise. I can be pretty anal and obsessive sometimes, and I often beat myself up if  I miss a workout or eat foods that I should be staying away from. So, I was absolutely more relaxed with my diet than usual. I didn’t go crazy, but I also had no guilt, just fun.  I packed healthy snacks and chose healthier options when I could because that’s what I wanted to eat not because I had to. I figured vacation is the time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, so you shouldn’t worry about being so strict or rigid. If you’ve already created good habits, you are more likely to maintain them even on vacation.  Plus, most hotels have fitness rooms so you can keep up on your workouts.

But now that vacation is over, I have to be honest and tell you that I didn’t prepare much for my switch back to mommy mode. ( I know I know, I didn’t take my own advice).  I was too busy just being.  I’m  always the “responsible one” and can be really uptight about things, so I loved not being so focused on every little detail. I figured since I had such a solid routine, I’d just have to make a few adjustments. . .WRONG! If you’re a parent, then you know that kids waste no time getting back to business as usual, but a couple of months without them has me struggling to do the same. I’m using trial and error to figure out how to squeeze in some time for myself all over again. Balancing schedules has been a challenge, and these kids of mine know how to work a nerve, but the tools I’ve learned these past couple of months has helped me so far to not let it become too overwhelming.

So, let’s talk.  As we wind down from vacation season, how are you adjusting back to your normal routines?  Did you take time to prepare? Or, did you just wing it like I did?

Listen.  As we get back into the swing of our normal routines, try not stress too much about the pieces that don’t fit anymore. Flexibility is your best friend! Thankfully, our spiritual, mental, and physical journeys are guiding us on a path to keep us disciplined. So even when the balancing act gets tough, don’t lose sight of your goals and the progress you’ve already made. It may take you a moment (hopefully a brief one) to get everything and everyone back in sync, but make it happen. Let nothing stop you and make no excuses!

And as always, keep going. . . because you’re worth it!

💜 Tiarra

Getting Over a Rough Week

You’ve seen those post-workout social media posts with people (including myself) smiling and “feeling pumped” sharing how energized and motivated they feel after their workouts. Is it fake?  Nope. But not every workout will have you feeling like rainbows and sunshine. Even if you give it all you’ve got, you may still leave feeling worse than when you walked in. It happens, and the best you can do is keep going. So, why am I sharing this? Because, check-in week was a very rough week for me. I mean the whole week! My energy level was so low; I had a lot of aches and pains, and I just didn’t feel good after my workouts. I mean, I got through it and even pushed through the pain, but I mostly just felt frustrated with my broken-down body.

Growing up and to this day, I promise there is always and I do mean always something physically bothering me. It could be my back one day or a headache the next. It’s usually random and hard to explain. My husband looks at me crazy half of the time, but the rare times I see a doctor, there’s always a name for my random ailment or pain.  I even did physical therapy last year for my ears. MY EARS! I had to do vestibular rehabilitation therapy to correct my dizzy spells and balance issues of all things.

I also had a loose bone in the back of my ankle surgically removed last year, because it was causing inflammation to the nerves in my foot. My feet burned all the time and one year post-surgery, they still burn from time to time. So, when I’m working out on certain machines or wearing the wrong shoes, I’m in a lot of pain. The surgery also put a lot of stress on my knee making it more difficult for me to push myself as hard as I would like to. It was so frustrating that several times last week I had to stop mid-workout just to stretch. Ugh! My body always seem to put up roadblocks when I’m trying to lose weight. The devil stay busy, y’all!

To add insult to injury, I was on week three of zero pounds lost. I felt like I was doing everything I was supposed to do, but it just wasn’t paying off.  Let me tell you, I was so worked up and frustrated that I had an anxiety attack.  That’s when I realized I needed to take a moment to calm the hell down and reflect. I recognized that every week will not be perfect, and I needed to intentionally think positively going forward. Clearly, frustration was getting me nowhere. So, I listened to my body, put my ankle and knee braces on and kept it moving! I also did yoga exercises that specifically focused on relaxation, stress & anxiety relief, and I finished the week strong!

So, let’s talk.  Do you feel good after every workout? Ever had a rough week like mine?  How do you motivate yourself to keep going?

Listen, the more you know the more you grow. (You know I love a good proverb). Yoga has taught me that when I’m holding a difficult pose and really feeling the burn to focus on my breath and ignore any distractions so that I can keep going. Don’t let the devil distract you!  However, understand that you will have a bad day or even a bad week. It will happen! But remember, the more negative energy you pour into it, the tougher it will be to pull yourself out. I probably will always have random aches and pains that I can’t explain, but I will continue to listen to my body and not make any excuses for it. So, when you having a rough day or even a rough week, focus on your breath, let go of any judgment, and keep going. . . because you’re worth it!

💜 Tiarra

When You Fall. . . You Gotta Get Back Up

So, my workout partner and I were in between a set of triceps extensions when she said with a big smile, “T, we really doing this.” I laughed at her excitement but also felt her genuineness about our commitment to being our best selves. We’ve really been listening to our bodies and to each other to figure out what’s working for us and what changes we still need to make both in the gym and in the kitchen to reach our goals. I’m so proud of us 😆.

And with that, it’s been four weeks since my weight loss journey reset, and it’s time to check-in😬!

First of all, I feel great! I’m still learning so much about myself and my body, yet I feel good about the direction I’m going in because my mind is not cloudy with doubt or excuses. It’s definitely been an easier journey for me to stay focused this time around just by doing what I set out to do. I literally had to change the way I think before putting my plan into action. Now, here I am a month later moving forward and not looking back! Let me just say, my husband loves my body as do I, so I feel comfortable knowing that my body goals will only enhance what I already have going on.  It is not my goal to be thin but to be at a more healthier weight.

So, what are my body goals?  Weigh 165 pounds and 32 inches in the waist, which would put me back at my college weight (before the babies 😩). Therefore, I need to lose 75 pounds and 20 inches – totally realistic and absolutely attainable, right? I haven’t set a goal date; however, because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. After all, this is a lifestyle change not a race.

Where did I start? Well, like most, my new year’s resolution was to lose weight. So, on January 8th, I stepped on the scale and got going on my resolution. I weighed in at 240 lbs and 52 inches.  My drive only lasted a month weighing in on February 8th at 235 lbs and 49 inches, a loss of 5 lbs and 3 inches! That’s great, right? But, I didn’t stick with it and honestly, I don’t know why 🤷🏽‍♀️.

Where am I now? On June 24th, I weighed in at 235 lbs and 47 inches. It’s pretty amazing that I was able to maintain my weight for 4.5 months and lose 2 inches without even trying. Today, on July 23rd, I weigh 231 lbs and 44.5 inches. A loss of 4 lbs and 2.5 inches this month and 9 lbs and 7.5 inches since January.

Honestly though, I’m slightly disappointed that I’ve only lost 4 lbs, and that was within the first week. I’ve plateaued for three weeks, and I’m sure it has a lot to do with my daily yoga and increased strength training. I’m increasing muscle mass faster than I’m burning fat or something like that 🤔😂. I’m still super proud of myself for maintaining consistency and not giving up for one second. Besides, losing 9 lbs overall is still a major win 🙌🏽. Hell, I usually struggle just trying to lose a couple of pounds.

So,  let’s talk. How many times have you gotten back up after falling down? Are you pushing yourself especially when you hit a plateau? Are you celebrating your wins no matter how small?

Listen, the amount of commitment and discipline it takes to change your lifestyle is enormous and it definitely ain’t easy. It took me months to lose these pounds, but so what?!  My YouTube yoga instructor says in just about every video, “Let go of any judgment you might have,” and she’s absolutely right! Don’t waste time on how many times you fell down. But did you get back up, though? Be in the moment and celebrate what you are doing right now! And, remember to keep going. . . because you’re worth it.

💜 Tiarra

Don’t Fail to Plan

As a parent, it’s easy for me to create and stick to routines for my kids. Wake up time, breakfast, school, dinner, bath, bedtime, etc. Like clockwork, we naturally follow a schedule for our kids because it flows and seem to make the day go smoother. But, how many of us can say we stick to the routines we create for ourselves? I mean, I know we follow a typical schedule that coincide with parenting and our work-life, but what about the routines that you have in place just for you?

Working out, following a hair regimen, or hell, just washing, toning, and moisturizing my face always seem like a challenge, especially when I have three small humans not giving me any room to breathe. It’s difficult for me to find a moment to workout at home when Hubby is still at work and it’s bedtime, but the boys keep coming out of their room to use the bathroom, because they’re thirsty, or to ask a question they already know the answer to. And, I hadn’t had time to wash, tone, and moisturize because that requires an extra few minutes, and baby girl is whining for my attention. Where do we find the time?

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I’m just now realizing that taking some time for me is not selfish; it is absolutely necessary for my mental and physical health. I know that once the kids return, I’ll have to adjust my routines dramatically and the amount of ME time I’ll have will decrease significantly, and I’m okay with that. I mean, I’m a Mom. . . it is what it is. However, being a mom isn’t an excuse for me to not figure in some me into my hectic schedule.

So right now, I wake between 5:30 am and 6 am to get going on my morning routine. I wash my face, brush my teeth, then right to the kitchen to wash down my vitamins & supplements with my apple cider vinegar drink.  Next, it’s yoga time! I do a video and a half on YouTube totaling about 30 minutes. (I promise I feel super relaxed and calm after yoga). Afterwards, I hit the showers and get ready for work. After work, I workout with my gym partner then home to make dinner.

I tend to get a bad case of anxiety whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. I mean, it can creep up on me very quickly and takes a while for me to calm down. So to help, I prepare my lunch and snacks at night so that I’m not rushing in the morning. It helps me to stay focused and disciplined, and it keeps the stress level down. There’s so much to do and so little time in the morning so if I try to do it all, I’ll either be rushing or I’ll tend to forget something. It’s important for me to start my day with more zen and less stress so the easier I can make my life the better. Figure out what works best you. I can tell you that it is so easy to slide back into those old habits when you don’t plan ahead.  I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan then you’re planning to fail.” Don’t give yourself any excuses to fail!

So, let’s talk. What does your routines look like? Are you finding even a little time for yourself to just do you? If not, how can you squeeze a little more of you into your busy schedule?

Listen, I’m a little anxious about the huge re-adjustment ahead for me in a few weeks. Within the past 4 weeks, I’ve created a habit that I’ll have to alter to meet the needs of my family, but preparation will ease my anxiety in making the transition back to Mommy life, as I’ve already started thinking through some of those changes.  Routines will help you to stay on track and hold yourself accountable, and you know I love accountability, because it helps to maintain discipline. However, understand that things will happen that will force you to adjust your routines for the day, the week, the month or forever. Don’t let that stop you. Remember, the only thing that is constant is change. So, keep going, because you’re worth it!

💜 Tiarra

Workout Partners are LIFE

So, I shared my excitement about getting healthy and getting back in the gym. I really  pushed myself and went at it alone because my friend and workout partner, who’s also working towards her own goals, was on vacation. Well. . . she’s back and taking no prisoners! I felt so good about the hard work I put in on my own; I thought I really pushed myself, but working out with her made my workouts feel like a warm up.

In the past, I preferred to workout alone probably because I had no clue on what I was doing and didn’t want to be embarrassed. I remember the times being in the gym hoping to not run into anyone I knew while using the same equipment over and over again. I was afraid to look silly trying something new or that I wasn’t physically capable of using yet.  Welp, those days are looooong gone!

I love the dynamic of our workout partnership. Some days we come prepared and some days we just wing it.  I’m usually the one rolling my eyes because she’s telling me, “Don’t stop. ” “You have to push yourself.” “Keep going, T.” I always feel like she’s going so much harder than me. We have similar goals, but I swear she kills it! I mean, there’s no competition between us, but seeing her running on the treadmill just one more MPH than me pushes me to get to her level.

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In my opinion, having a workout partner helps to keep the workout fun and interesting. You get to catch up a little and laugh a lot. If you’re working out with someone you trust, its easy to laugh at yourself and with each other when you make a mistake or look silly trying to lift more weights than you can handle. It’s also nice if to have someone to show you how to adjust the seat on a machine that you could never figure out how to do on your own. The best thing is you get to people-watch together to figure out which workout to try next.

So, let’s talk. Do you prefer to workout alone or with a partner? If you don’t have partner, what steps do you take to hold yourself accountable to keep focused on your goals? If you do have a partner, are you pushing each other and giving it your all?

Listen, workout partners are not a requirement but for me, it is absolutely motivating and encouraging to have someone pushing me toward my goals, especially when she is right along side me busting her ass too. If you’re in the gym, then you’re already holding yourself accountable to whatever goal you are trying to achieve but as a bonus, your workout partner doubles as your accountability partner! I know that consistency and commitment are no easy feat, especially as it relates to a lifestyle change.  Even the strongest-willed person may face some challenges but when you’re not alone, its so much easier and can make working out seem less like a chore. Whether you have a partner or going at it alone, be proud of yourself and keep going. . . because you’re worth it!

💜 Tiarra