April… Friday the 13th… Oooo weigh in

Photo curtesy of Your First Figure Competition fan page on Facebook.

My first blogged weigh-in of 2012. You might be thinking, “damn girl, you waited until April? The year damn near over!” Well before you even go there, I somewhat have just cause: procrastination, over doing the cheat days (having at least 2 a week) and missing two workout days (or more) a week. I know… shame!

Before I knew it… it’s April, and bam! I’m still chubby with only 2 pounds gone to show for the days I did bust my behind and ate right. How frustrating?! Needless to say, I really didn’t have a reason to post… except to say that I’ve been cheating. Actually, I think this is the second post where I say something to this affect. Anywho… I’m never giving up!

I had my body fat percentage done for the first time and I’m at 35.6%. According to BuiltLean.com, anything over 32% is obese.

Chart from BuiltLean.com


Weight: 205.6 lb.


Waist: 42″

Chestt: 41″

Left thigh: 26″

Right thigh: 26.5″

Left arm: 14.5″

Right arm: 14.5″


Chub Around the Waist: belly fat, potbelly, love handles and back fat

Muffin top, spare tire, the keg, extra cushion for the pushin’, whatever you might call that layer of fat plastered around your midsection, it seems to have no problem sticking around for the long haul. Either you’ve tried extra sit-ups or some gimmicky belly fat targeting diet to get rid of it, but there it is to greet you in the morning and spill over your pants.

Front view of the muffin top

I’ve been tucking mine away for years now. Belly fat, love handles, and back fat stack on my body when I gain weight. Yeah, I love my thick, shapely legs and blessed buttocks, but boy do I hate my midsection fat… Eww! I often wish that I were one of those thick women that are blessed with flat tummies and thick thighs like Buffy the Body and Tiara Kristine.  Many of us attempt to obtain such figures by believing all we need are grueling crunches.

Unfortunately, we have been brainwashed into believing that we can gun through 100 sit-ups a day and wake up with sexy abs after about a month or so. But I have learned that the secret to sexy abs begins way before you even think about hitting the ground for a crunch.

It begins with a healthy body and fat loss. Thanks to my mom’s keen eye for effective and wholesome fat loss routines, I learned this at a fairly early age.  As my mom watched a hefty 245-pound teenager wobble around, she realized she had to do something.

My 285 pound mother and I then started to follow the work and cleansing routine of health guru and author Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, and her Fat Flush PlanWe fell in love with the program as the pounds seemed to fall off effortlessly. Now I’m pretty sure that there were rough times, but the end result was so lovely, I don’t even remember them.

245 at 14-years-old. My mother put me on the plan when I was 17 I believe.

After Fat Flush Plan: At 160 to 170 in my early 20s

Like any well working machine there is a requirement of maintenance and we didn’t really work through that portion of the book. Within five years I put on weight until I was a little under 220 pounds.

Despite my weight gain, I found the book extremely helpful and truthful. There was a section in the book that explained the need to incorporate the different phases into my lifestyle. This is obviously what I did not do since I am here with another fitness journal dedicated to weight loss.

What’s the chub around your waist?

An Unhealthy Liver

  • The idea of the Fat Flush Plan is to support the liver, aid it in cleansing for the elimination of excess water weight, make one aware of food allergies, and regulate insulin levels.  What I need to do is cleanse my liver and eliminate excess weight in order to get rid of the cellulite and midsection fat.

Whole wheat

  • Another approach to belly fat is the elimination of wheat as explained by renowned cardiologist William Davis in his book Wheat Belly. I’ve never read the book, but have found that going without wheat has helped my digestion and helped in weight loss.
  • According to Davis, wheat can cause rashes, high blood sugar, and stomach fat. He has found that wheat is the “single largest contributor to the nationwide epidemic”. Go figure. I’m pretty sure we’ve heard plenty of times before to load up on whole-wheat products for weight loss.  You could have actually been making your weight loss journey much harder.

Read description of Wheat Belly

An Excess of stress hormones

  • I’ve also came across the work of Dr. Russel Farris and Dr. Per Marin in their book The Pot Belly Syndrome. I’ve started reading this book, but I have not finished yet. According to a product description on UndergroundWellness.com, the book explains that the potbelly is a metabolic disorder initiated by “long-term excess of the stress hormone cortisol.”
  • Potbelly Syndrome, or PBS, leads to obesity of the abdomen, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Read description of The Potbelly Syndrome 

Plantain: my favorite breakfast carb

I LOVE fried plantain with breakfast, but they also go awesome with spicy cuban black beans and some brown or wild rice.

According to info I found while following nutrition guru Isabel De Los Rios, a post-workout meal should contain carbohydrates so that muscles can heal and the process of weight loss can take place. I usually mix it up between quinoa or a smashed yam with coconut oil, sea salt and seasoning. My favorite though has to be fried plantains.

With just the right amount of sweetness and delicious with coconut oil fried eggs and turkey bacon, plantain is a low Glycemic Index carbohydrate meaning it takes a while to digest, absorb into the blood stream, and gradually raises blood sugar. For my body type, this is awesome because I get hungry quickly, especially after a workout. The plantain keeps me feeling satisfied and helps my body utilize calories I already have stored. 

Plantain is also high in potassium, magnesium, and phosphate and contains vitamins A, B6, and C which are good for vision, healthy skin, and building immunity against diseases.

The green, unripe plantain is low in sugar and good for diabetics. But the ripe, yellow, or brown plantain is very sweet. I like to chose something in-between. The green plantains don’t taste good to me at all and seem much harder to cook while the yellow or brown plantain fry great and taste awesome. In between is where you find a cool amount of sugar for taste, but a good amount of nutrition for the purpose of rejuvenation and nourishment.

Here’s how I get down with the plantain:

What You’ll Need: 

  • 2 to 6 yellow to brown plantains – softer, darker plantains are sweetest while green ones are hard to peel and ideal as a starch like a potato
  • Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

What to Do: 

  • Wash plantain with a small dollop of soap or you can go the organic route and make a vinegar, banking soda, and water mix to rinse your plantain in 
  • Cut the plantain peeling down the middle of the plantain and peel away from the meat of the fruit like a jacket
  • Cut plantain into rounds. I usually cut down the middle lengthwise and then cut thick pieces diagonally.
  • Put approximately a tablespoon of coconut oil in the frying pan and medium heat until it coats the pan
  • Place plantain in the medium heat pan and cover; check every few minutes for sweating. I’ve found that plantains are ready to turn when they are sweating and the meat has a darker yellow tan. Or you can check for how brown you want it. 
  • Flip plantain over and fry on the other side.
  • Remove from heat and cool.

It’s actually a pretty simple process and really simple recipe. I usually fry 6 plantains at the beginning of the week and eat off of that.

Preventable disease? Not I!

Preventable diseases caused by poor habits

African Americans are more likely to die from preventable diseases, one of the leading causes being heart disease via hypertension, or high blood pressure. My family has been no exception. I’ve lost uncles and aunties to strokes, heart disease, and kidney failure. My dad’s side of the family, although rarely overweight, often suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.  In my mom’s side of the family, where obesity is a problem, diagnoses of high blood pressure are common and expected after fifty.

My mom was just diagnosed with high blood pressure and this diagnosis troubled me because of her dedication to health and working out. This dedication, however, has not necessarily translated into a healthy weight. My mom is overweight and has been battling obesity for a majority of her life. She’ll lose weight and gain weight. Dedicate herself to healthy habits and then fall off the bandwagon into mindless eating and limited activity.  This cycle has also been the story of my life.

High blood pressure plagues the African American community

My goal is to break the pattern of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure in my family. Plus, it seems silly to me to be diagnosed with a preventable disease: key word being PREVENTABLE.  Meaning this is a disease that does not have to be had. I refuse. My brother has also refused when he lost 80 pounds. I refused when I dropped 80 pounds and continue to refuse today as I work out and eat right.

I also refuse to be a damn statistic. I might be black, but I won’t be getting any high blood pressure or diabetes in my lifetime.  I also refuse to suffer with lung cancer and high cholesterol. Which is simple because all that means is avoiding the activities that cause them. So, I’ve quit smoking and now I eat correctly and workout. As simple as that. I think.

One woman over 200 pounds and another at normal weight. Notice the strain on organs, bones and muscles.

At the tender age of twenty-six, I might be speaking ignorantly optimistic. But armed with this knowledge in wholesome eating and the power of eating real foods, I might have a pretty high chance at achieving this goal.

Resolution FAIL?! Not this time!

Oh that silly resolution to lose weight. For the past 11 years of my life, weight loss has been a New Years Resolution. Well, except for those few years I spent weighing 160 pounds. But usually, the routine is to resolve to lose weight, do all my research, build my plan, and head to the gym, only to fail in a few months, if not in a few weeks.

I’ve found that my schedule and crazy commute becomes my excuses as to why I’m once again dodging the gym and stuffing my face. My workdays become overwhelming, the commute to class gets tiring, and before I know it, I’m back to eating one or two hefty meals a day, snacking on processed foods, and missing my workouts for the sake of getting in extra work.

Back in the Day

But this time around, I asked myself how important is my health to me. Am I willing to experience the let-down? Do I want to be upset with myself? Do I want to continue to desire something that is very much so in my reach? Or will I like to finally feel accomplished, proud, and healthy after reaching my health and fitness goals? I’m tired of looking at the calendar and realizing that I could have lost 4 pounds in the last week instead of feeling miserable from the bad eating habits and missed workouts.

Inspired by funhealthfamily, I’ve decided to pick back up with the blogging as well and confess the reason for my hiatus. That way I continue to feel held accountable for my lacking. I would say I can check myself, but as you can probably tell, I’m sometimes a softy when it comes to myself on slacking with my goals.

This slacker period has also helped me realize how miserable I feel when I don’t work out and eat right. I’ve noticed that with regular workouts and a healthy diet, I don’t need much sleep and wake up energized. Not that I’m going to start skipping on sleep, but I can now do five to six hours and wake up ready for the gym. I can sometimes function off of four hours, but I only do that for a few days.

To Keep Me Motivated:

TMI but…

I will not stop showering if I missed a shower, so why will I stop working out when I miss a workout? 

Just Eat(ing) Real Foods (JERF) 2011 Results

Weight loss that worked for me

During 2010, I came across fitness trainer and health expert Sean Croxton and his wonderful cyber world of Underground Wellness. Deemed unconventional, Sean Croxton takes a holistic and organic approach to obtaining optimized health. He encourages his followers to break free from the old ways of weight loss. Calorie counting is discouraged, fats are promoted, and low-fat is not brought up unless it is being discredited.

Most recently, Croxton has summarized his message, and the message of other organic and holistic health experts, into one simple concept; just eat real food (JERF). That means leaving behind anything that has been heavily processed. Eating fruits, vegetables, sprouts, raw nuts, cage free/vegetarian fed meats, roots, and raw dairy is considered JERF. Any food with more than three ingredients is a no no unless it is a recipe, of course.

In 2011, I adopted this simple, yet extremely effective method of obtaining health. I lost an average of 2-5 pounds a week and did not find it hard to stick to my routine, because I was hardly ever hungry when my body was not supposed to eat. I also worked out regularly and drunk half of my weight, in ounces, of water a day.

At the beginning of 2011, I weighed 235 pounds. I tried eating primarily raw foods, then I tried being a vegetarian, and lets not forget about that incredibly intense juicing fast. Since I hate being hungry, I probably stuck to each attempt for about a couple of weeks to a month.

But with JERF, I lost weight and felt much better daily. I had energy to work out and I did not waste sleep counting calories or reading ingredients. I also found that weight did not accumulate on me excessively when I fell off of my journey. My weight did not go higher than 208, which is 10 pounds from my lowest weight in 2011, and sometimes decreased. Despite that fact that I was eating out more than 3 times a week and stopped working out completely. With other diets, I would have most likely put on all of the weight I lost in a short period of time.

Slow Down, Shop Smart

Cheapest trusted Plantains

Today I picked up some produce at one of my favorite stores, Real Produce. Real Produce, in San Jose, is small and the customer service is always awesome. Also equally awesome, if not more, are the prices!! I LOVE THE PRICES!

I have yet to walk out of this shop spending more than 20 bucks. Here is where I found that buying leafy salad greens by the bulk is a whole heap cheaper than buying the bags at the supermarket. I would love to say that everything is cheaper here than at the supermarket, but that is not the case. I can usually remember the price range of a veggie or fruit and decide to go elsewhere. Real Produce, however, remains my first stop. 

It is definitely important to shop around when beginning a wholesome eating lifestyle. Especially if your pockets are about as tight as mine. When I first decided to change my lifestyle, Wholefoods freaked me out. The price of vitamins and supplements also discouraged my intended changes.

Then I discovered the power of being a good shopper. I pay attention to prices and do not hesitate to pass an item. I also found that doing research on vitamins, supplements, and cleansing or detox supplements saves a ton of money. I save by reading ingredients. If the cheaper item does the same thing as the more expensive item and still has a lot of the essential nutrients I was looking for, I go with the cheaper item. Obviously. 🙂

It is essential to begin with a plan to avoid picking up produce and other foods you will not be able to eat in time. When I first started out last year, I found that I purchased food too enthusiastically instead of slowing down for an informed and cheaper trip. At first, I probably lost about $5 in produce every two weeks to mold and my left-overs occasionally went bad. As a busy student, intern, and academic assistant, I was barely at home to eat what I brought.

When I shop I consider how busy my week is, what I have time to prepare, and how much do I actually eat. On busier weeks, anything that decomposes quick or needs a considerable amount of chopping, I don’t purchase. I also found that dried fruits and raw nuts are my friends. 😀

As you explore the world of wholesome eating, and leave behind the heavily processed foods, you will find that what you spent on frosted flakes, pizza rolls, and trips to burger joints, can easily fund better choices. You might even find yourself saving some money.

Good eating for under 20 bucks