IMG_20160618_123840A month ago, I decided to get really serious about dropping 15 pounds. It’s the 15 pounds of winter fluff that I acquired when I lost my mind over the insane amounts of cookies, cakes, brownies and pies that my mother made during the holiday season. Aside from having a wicked sweet tooth, my diet has never been bad. I’ve always been a healthy eater, but during the winter months, my level of physical  activity decreased to zero. So I had one of those moments when I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw, so I decided to get serious about changing it and also I thought about the massive amounts of money I would have to spend on a completely new wardrobe.

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So far, it hasn’t been an easy journey as I am working muscles that I haven’t worked in months. It’s amazing how quickly you can find yourself out of shape and not even realize how it happened. Walking felt different. I found myself short of breath after walking up a few steps. I felt weighed down. So I set a goal. My current goal is to jog at least 2 miles a day. So I go with my mother to the track at the nearest college in my area and I work my way to two miles. Some days it’s a combination of walking and jogging. Some days if my ankles are sore, it’s just walking, but the goal is to never end below 2 miles.

I came across an article on Bustle of a woman who tried an 8 minute ab workout for two weeks and documented her results. So I thought 8 minutes isn’t such a long time…why don’t I try it? So I do a freestyle series of 8 minute abs every morning as I listen to The Friendzone podcast episodes and then before bed at night.

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Berry & Banana Quinoa Bowl

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My mother and I have been doing the gallon challenge daily. I try my hardest to finish an entire jug of water and I can say that even though I’ve always preferred water over juice and soda…I have NEVER drank so much water in my entire life. Good thing I work from home because during the day, it’s hard for me to go anywhere given the frequent amounts of bathroom trips I have to make, but it’s worked wonders for my skin. It’s helped me shed five pounds of water weight (the hard part is keeping it off), and it’s reduced bloating. There are several health benefits to drinking water, but imagine how effective those health benefits can be when you drink ONLY water.

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Strawberry & Mojito Lime Chicken Salad

As I said, my diet has never been too bad, but it has gotten better. I’ve trained my tastebuds to want loads of vegetables and fruits. I eat salads often and try my hardest to shy away from the healthy, processed things every now and then I indulge a little bit, but I’m trying to break bad habits.

In comes the Whole30 challenge. This is a diet that’s intent on resetting your body. It follows the scientific fact that 80 percent of your health begins with the digestive system and your gut. So it’s intent is to cut out things in your daily diet that have a huge impact on the bacteria in your stomach. In conclusion to the thirty days, it allows you to start reintroducing those foods back into your diet, but it encourages you to listen to how your body responds to it in case there are things that you should definitely cut permanently. ***This is not a weight loss diet*** but after reading through testimonials some have talked about a flatter mid section. Click the image to read more about The Whole30 diet. I figure why wait until Monday when I can start tomorrow?

I will say that today when I look in the mirror, I can do it with a smile. I’m loving what I’m starting to see and I’m definitely becoming less critical of myself.

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Learn more about the Whole30 challenge here

 

 

The world wide web is a wonderful place to meet and connect with other people from around the world. It’s a great place to stumble upon some awesome missions and create some soul stirring movements. It’s a great place to reach out to someone and say “Hey, I love what you’re doing and I’m so here for it!” Which is where I happened to stumble upon Rob Veggies and his movement to bring fresh produce, nutrition awareness and education to urban communities through his love of farming and agriculture. So I’m inviting you to meet me in the trap where it goes down…the Trap Gardens that is, with Rob Veggies. IMG_1419

Trap Garden was founded in Nashville, Tennessee by Robert “Rob Veggies” Horton. Rob’s motivation as an urban farmer stems from his own experiences growing up in a St. Louis, Missouri neighborhood with few fresh, healthy food items. Frustrated with driving miles from his home to find a grocery store with fresh produce, he decided to stop complaining and alleviate the problem by joining a community garden. He started the Trap Garden in February 2015, growing his own vegetables and herbs, and providing assistance to others who do not have direct access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks.I had the opportunity to speak to him about his mission and what we can hope for in the future from the Trap Gardens.

Q: When we think of “trap houses” we think of the rundown and near abandoned houses where all the drug production goes down that no one pays attention to. Then there’s trap music that glamorizes that lifestyle. What positive connotation do you hope to achieve with the Trap Gardens in using that word “trap?” 

The Trap Garden focuses on the work ethic of a drug production operation.  Although they are not putting out anything good into the community, they are working long hours to produce and distribute those products.  The word “Trap” to me is about putting in hard work and dedication to produce the best possible product.  For me, that product happens to be vegetables, and I hope to be able to put the freshest vegetables into my community to help fight health disparities.

IMG_1396Q: Can you describe what the process was like when starting Trap Gardens and how it had been received since in your community?

After making the decision to start the Trap Garden, the first steps was finding property to grow on because, my apartment complex did not have any land for me to have a garden.  During the search for propeIMG_1857 2rty, I not only found land but a mentor as well to teach me some of the basics for starting a garden.  The land where the Trap Garden was started is at my alma mater, Tennessee State University and my mentor is an African American male who has retired and since became a master gardener.  

My mentor challenged me to learn about the planning process before planting and gave me the tools (literally) to be successful. Our organization and it’s mission has been well received by the community.  The first year I brought friends and community members out to the Trap Garden to learn about the planting process and well as discuss the importance of growing our own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. That led to others being interested in volunteering, helping, and partnering to establish other Trap Gardens in the city.
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I had a very candid conversation with my significant other last night about my struggles with weight, body image and self-esteem which all date back to my teen years. I’ve put on weight. I can create all types of euphemisms for it and say I’m pleasantly plump, or I have “relationship weight” or I’m healthy and thick, but truth be told I just have a portion control issue and since being back in my hometown, I’ve become dormant because there’s nothing to do here. There’s a lot less activity in my life. There’s a lot more unwanted responsibilities. I eat more, I move less…which is unacceptable. Since I can remember, my weight has been on a constant roller coaster ride. When it’s down, it’s extremely down, but when it’s up, it’s the most depressing thing ever. The holidays happened. Thanksgiving came and it was cookies and pies and cakes and brownies. My birthday came and it was cake. Christmas came and it was cookies, and cakes, and brownies and pies. New Years came and it was cookies, cakes and pies and brownies and before I knew it, the hardest things for me to do was pull my pants up over my rump or zip my skirt up around my waist. It was gradual, but it seems like it happened so fast. I’m barely hanging on to my size 8 jeans…barely, so I decided during that conversation last night there were some changes to be made. So we’re doing this together. He too shared with me his struggles and it was nice to know that someone was understanding and on board with the movement. So OPERATION FIT commences!

I know this will be difficult for me because for the first time in three years I have this weight on me. Living on my own made it easier to maintain a small size because I shopped more consciously and was more active. I walked everywhere so I didn’t workout. Now I have to be more intentional about what I eat, I have to make being active a habit now, but I’m glad that I don’t have to walk the journey alone.

We made the decision that this was going to be our lifestyles. Not just a routine we adopt until we reach our goal weights so we wanted to adopt some things that appeal to the mind, body and spirit. We established some ground rules.

NO Junk Food

If we are going to make healthy goals towards losing weight the first to go was the cookies, cakes, pies and brownies. I have an extreme sweet tooth which makes this the hardest thing I’ll be doing. No more late night snacking. No more mug cakes, no more cookies and no more brownies and mindless munching.

Getting Active

My work doesn’t require me to leave the house. So I often find myself in couch potato mode. The weather is changing and getting nicer and even though the sights aren’t grand here, getting out and going for walks, jogs and making it to fitness classes at LEAST three times a week is necessary. I’ve already signed up for classes and a gym membership, but on days I can’t make it, there’s a nice park in my area that I can walk. No excuses Deja!

Set an Appropriate Bedtime

My sleeping patterns are all out of wack. Some nights I don’t sleep. Some days I sleep in. Some nights I sleep fine while I’m up all day. Setting a standard and appropriate bed time is crucial to a healthy metabolism. I’ve realized that the later I stay up, the more susceptible I am to the late night snacking. It’ll start with grabbing a handful of crackers, then cookies that my dad likes to leave on the kitchen table and cups of sugary juice and then individually wrapped cakes. There’s also boredom eating.

Diving Deeper

I’ve realized that since being here my morale has been extremely low. It’s affecting my writing and my entire creative process as a whole. Some days I feel dead on the inside. Like I’m just floating through the day. So setting aside time a day for meditation and reading scripture is important to a healthy lifestyle. When your spirit is well, so is your mind.

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I’ve tried gym buddies, accountability partners, etc but when they disappoint me I always end up disappointing myself. Sure I’m doing this with my boyfriend, but if I don’t take my own initiatives and motivate myself, he can’t do it for me. I’m learning to depend less on people and more on myself because at the end of the day I am responsible for my own health.

Today is Day 1 of my journey and the cravings for sweets are intense, but it was finally great to get outside from some fresh air and vitamin D.