Health and Wellness

Not What I Used to Be

The conditioned air of the locker room, calmed my heated skin as I left the sauna. I, usually, sit in the sauna after my weightlifting class. It is a combination of cardio and weights - emphasis on the weights. I love the class because it is tough. Just when I am about to pass out, I glance at the clock to see if I am close to relief. I am usually just about 15 minutes in. lol. I bear down and grind through. 

The sauna is my reprieve. The heat melts away the soreness in my muscles and the stress in my brain. Barring the the sound effect producing woman who seems to think that grunting while sweating burns more calories, I enjoy my time here. 

The orange glow of the sauna light reminds me of hot summer nights in Chicago.  Street lights in the city produce an unnatural orange-slice phosphorescence so bright it coats the sky and hides the stars. We kids would run down the street, circle the street light, and race back to the porch in a game of 'it'.  The goal was to make it safely to the steps without being touched by the child in hot pursuit. I would run until my breath was lost, only stopping when I had reached the safety of my front porch. My skin glimmered tangerine and wet with sweat. I would sit on my porch steps exhausted and happy. 

Sweating makes me happy. I know that it is the result of hard work that will pay in results given time. I happily left the sauna that day feeling accomplished. I passed by the successive mirror panels and that is when I noticed it. Visible on my form where the lines of muscle definition. I turned to the left side and then to the right - selfies ensued. 


Although, I am not where I want to be in my fitness journey, thank God, I am not where I used to be. If I keep running, keep sweating, I will make it to my destination and rest safely there. 

Weight Loss Is Simply Mathematics

After  many diets, books and fads, I had to face the simple truth. I am overweight because I consume more calories than I expend. Inversely, to lose weight, I must expend more calories than I intake.

Point. . . Blank. . . and the period.

Sure there are extenuating circumstances but nothing changes that fundamental truth. Slow metabolism? Expend more calories than you intake. Hate exercising? Expend more calories than you intake. Lost your dog? Expend more calories than you intake.

Well, you catch my drift.

I remember going to the doctor for my annual exam. He told me straight up that in order to lose the amount of weight that I needed to, I would have to exercise (walk specifically) 90 minutes 4 times a week. I remember thinking, how in the heck can i do that? I was barely able to walk 30 minutes at a time. I started slowly and gradually increased my stamina to 45 minutes. Good but half the mark.

At the size I was, walking 90 minutes at a speed of 3 mph would burn 797 calories. I started cardio dance class. One hour burned about 800 calories. So, cool. I can dance 4 times a week and be good. I was doing fantastic and then the stupid gym cancelled my class!!!!

One more excuse added and my workouts waned. I resolved dance class or no, I have to get it in. I started Get Fit with Fe, an accountability group. We complete challenges and post our daily workouts. I am a lot stronger now and can do a lot more than walk. I alternate between walking(trail or treadmill), Insanity, and Shaun T's dance dvds. I have also found some great free YouTube workouts. 

As for diet, it is all mathematics. Caloric intake 1500-1800 per day. Exercising adds numbers to my daily caloric intake. As long as I end the day in the positive, I am good. 

I achieve by lean protein, fruits and veggies. I keep food natural and preservative-free and cook my own meals. No junk food. Afterall, I am not a garbage dump.

How am I doing? Today, I put on capris straight from the dryer that I would have to hold my breath to fasten and they are literally falling off. I would say that that's fantastic mathematics.


This is an excerpt from Love Rain Down by Jill Scott and Mos Def. It is more accurately an excerpt from Mos Def's verse on the song:


"I said, “You are the beautiful, distress of mathematics.”
I said, “For you, I would peel open the clouds like new fruit.”
And give you lightning and thunder as dowry
I would make the sky shed all of its stars like rain
And I would clasp the constellations across your waist
And I would make the heavens your cape
And they would be please to cover you
They would be pleased to cover you
May I please cover you, please."


This verse makes me feel as pretty and good as eating right and exercise does. How is your journey coming along?



Don't Drink the Milk Or Eat That Cookie

My Get Fit with Fe crew is starting a No Junk Food Challenge om August 1. We have mainly focused on workout challenges but losing weight is a function of both diet and exercise. The challenge is 21 Days of no chips, cakes, and all the fun stuff we eat that has little to know nutritional value. The goal is to lose the haboit of eating non-nutritional food. 


The cool thing about diet and exercise is that you have absolute control over both actions. If I lay in bed an extra 30 minutes instead of knocking out my workout early, I made that decision. If I want to forgo cooking and grab a Wendy's value meal, *cue Bobby Brown* it's my prerogative. If it is to be, it is up to me.

The average person burn 100 calories in 15 minutes of brisk walking. An original crispy creme donut has 200 calories. Your daily 30-minute walk takes care of half of your breakfast (because you know you ate more than one lol).

Know the calories on what you eat. If you don't want it on your thighs, then don't put it in your mouth.

Show your age and laugh with me at this clip.


Emotional Eating - Suffering In Silence

Men Lie, Women Lie, the Scale Does Not:

I had been losing and gaining the same ten pounds for more than six months. I would lose the weight. Get excited. Treat myself (to food) and gain it all back. I would see the inflated number on the scale get back on track and lose it again. Being at the helm of a fitness accountability group, Get Fit with Fe, I had to lead by example. How can I have a fitness group and not be fit? Instead of getting discouraged, I decided to get real. 

I could out exercise anyone. 2-3 hours in the gym was nothing for me to do. Insanity workouts became a breeze. I could see muscle definition but that number on the scale did not move past go. Had I reached the dreaded PLATEAU? 


To be totally honest, my exercise was on point but my diet was not. I would still have my Doritos for dinner days or my pint of ice cream moments. Really, Felicia? To keep it 100, I had no idea of how many calories I was consuming. I ate when I felt like it. The big problem with that strategy - I always felt like eating. I ate when I was feeling good and when I was sad. I have a sedentary day job and I would snack my way through the day. All of this led to one thing - the scale not moving in the right direction.

What is Emotional Eating?

The breaking point came when I went to the doctor a few weeks ago. The nurse says, "Your resting blood pressure is a little high. It was a little high when you were here last time. We can give you meds but we recommend trying a lifestyle change first."

What the what? I would NOT be taking medication for something I could control. First, I had to admit that I was out of control. The past few months have been pretty emotional. I was gearing up to move back north when my plans were suddenly postponed. My relationship(s) - a bit rocky. I ate to cope. My epiphany - I was an emotional eater.

Emotional eating occurs when food is used to manage emotions.

“Sometimes the strongest cravings for food happen when you're at your weakest point emotionally. You may turn to food for comfort — consciously or unconsciously — when you're facing a difficult problem, stress or just looking to keep yourself occupied.” Source

My snacking was driven by my emotions. The times I was in control of them, I was on target with diet and exercise. When my feelings got really hurt or I felt really disappointed, I ate more of the wrong stuff. Salty, fatty snacks, literally, made me feel better. 

The Tools I Used to Get in Control: 

I started journaling my truest, rawest emotions. I realized that I was allowing someone outside of myself and circumstances outside of my control to overwhelm me. Eating was my coping mechanism. Eating as therapy was making me unhealthy. 

I did the thing I had dreaded for so long. I started to count my calories. I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app to assist me. I decided to just log what I ate naturally. The first weekend was difficult. I had the evidence staring me in my face. I routinely ate over 2000 calories a day. When I was working out 2 hrs 4-5 days a week, I did not see the weight gain as I was burning off those calories. The days I slacked off, the weight showed up faithfully.

I started being more faithful in my morning meditation and prayer. In my alone time with God, I started to feel a great sense of peace. God really began to show me how I was contributing to my own unhappiness. I needed to re-focus – first on Him and then my projects. Instead of snacking my way through the work week, I began listening to Psalms on YouTube. I am telling you the peace of God filled me up more than any food could. Feeding on the word of God and prayer made me stronger. I could say no to cravings. I could honestly track my food intake via the app. The scale started to slide down.

I am still a work in progress. My relationships are still challenging. I know how to cope. I pray. I exercise. I refocus. I hustle.

I feel in control. 

I Wanna Be Your Motivation - Weight Loss

I always liken losing weight to a fitness journey. It is a path you chose to take and will be on for life. Daily you take steps toward your goals - plural. The destination is a constantly moving goal line. There will be obstacles and pitfalls. Knowing this going in will better prepare you to handle the challenges along the way. 

I have a pair of jeans that I wear regularly that, once upon a time, hung in my closet for YEARS! Yes, you read that correctly, years. I made my goal to fit into those jeans. To meet that goal I took steps toward it - literally. I began walking. I started walking around my apartment complex. I became stronger, faster, and bored-er. lol I had to up the ante. I found a cool trail with hills, dips, a pond. I started to incorporate jogging. Those pants became to big and had to be worn with a belt. 

Cheers, yeahs!! Right?? 

No. I still have about 50 lbs to lose. I have reached the dreaded plateau. I  began falling back into bad habits - laziness, emotional eating. On top of that, I got a really bad sinus infection, a first in years! I put on those jeans and the his were not as loose as they had once been. 

STOP THE FREAKING PRESSES. Failing to remain consistent - for whatever reason - causes you to lose momentum and even regression. I knew I had to get back to the basics that helped me get into those jeans. I needed to rev up my fitness effort. 


RRRev - Reinforcement, Repetition, Reaching Goals. 

I have a lot going on - book launch, 9 to 5, praise and worship leader, and life navigator. There are a million things that vie for my attention and energy. I am learning that working out, meal prep, and being healthy CANNOT be placed on the back burner. 

Reinforcement - 

I need constant reminders - daily affirmations and inspiration. (re-read prior paragraph). I actual love my scale, some disagree. It is a daily reminder to make smarter choices. I operate a Facebook accountability group, Get Fit with Fe. There have been so many days that I did not feel like working out and the thought of the group compelled me to get off my butt and do the work. 

Repetition - 

 I heard a preacher state, "Success comes from doing what you know is right regardless of how you feel." I would like to add that doing what you know is right over and over and over again, yields results. 

Repetition  is how you build muscle and stamina. Step-by-step and rep-by-rep, my body has changed. This also works in reverse. Chip after chip will get you wider hips. 

Reaching Goals - 

After I got into those jeans, which are kind of out of style now, I needed to set new goals. I had a trainer for a few months. The experience was ambivalent. The trainer did assist me with proper form and how to safely push past my limitations. That became my new goal - workout past the point of discomfort and past the point of exhaustion. As a result, I can run longer, workout harder, and do more. I have built some good muscle definition, too. 

My goal now is not to fit into a pair of jeans. My goal is to be that fit chick who loves working out. I want to be the girl who gets excited about new green smoothie recipes. My goal is a metamorphosis all documented on this blog.

Please share this blog with some one who needs a little motivation.