28 Day Fitness Program! (Fitazfk)

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SO I am going to Paris at the end of the month, so why not lose some weight before I gain it all back by eating bread, bread, and MORE BREAD *squeals*. Summer is also around the corner in Canada, so fitness becomes a bigger priority for me. If you read some of my earlier blog posts, you will know that I’ve been on a weight loss journey since August 2016. My starting weight was a whopping 236lbs (or 107kg).  Note: I am 6’1 so I was able to wear it well, but at my heaviest, I began to feel and look very unhealthy.

I opted for my usual gym routine which consisted of 3-4 days of both strength training and cardio, but slowly realized that I was hitting a plateau and have been for a while. My current weight is 204lbs, and I’m just DYING to get out of the 200 pounds club. I know it’s just a number on the scale and it’s about how clothes fit, but a girl can dream.

My sister actually discovered the Fitazfk program through Youtube and Instagram bloggers and has made it her plan to get my mother and I on board! The program runs for 28 days and the workouts are just under 30 minutes.

There are 3 phases in the program:

-Cleanse (probably the most difficult phase)

-Re-instate and Engage

-Balanced Nutrition

I just finished Day 1 and I feel great! The meal options aren’t too scary, and the workouts have 3 levels so it is beginner friendly.

For more information go to their website: http://www.fitazfk.com

Pressure to be perfect: Instagram Models

 

The women pictured above are beautiful, fit, financially stable, successful, and Instagram famous. I religiously scroll through their pages to admire their style, Instagram aesthetics, and bodies of steel. At first it was a way for me to hit the gym,  however the visual motivation worked…for about a month. The scrolling slowly became obsessive; not of the celebrity-stalker-creep variety, but the “I want to look like her, I wish I had her boobs, butt, thighs, hair, lifestyle, financial freedom…” variety. For most women, this is typical behaviour; society has flooded us with messages to improve this! lose this! eat this! It takes A LOT of work to feel genuinely happy with what we are born with. The advent of social media has amplified this notion to the point where I feel impatient to reach certain goals and milestones. It has amplified the need to look a certain way, and to market and present my social media pages a certain way as well.

I’m 24 and still in school, I work 2 part-time jobs, and I have started to model on the side. These women are in their early to mid twenties and thriving. I obviously don’t have a microscopic view into their personal lives, but by the looks of it, they are living their dreams and passions (and looking damn good while doing so). A close friend had a similar issue; she would follow and almost idolize these social media giants only to feel even more insecure and de-motivated. She ended up unfollowing them and following pages that inspired her personal goals. I still follow these lovely ladies, but have toned down heavily on the comparing and whining. Everyone has their time, mine will come and like the old saying goes-enjoy and learn from your journey.

What are your thoughts on social media insecurities? Do you have any?

 

-E

Rediscovering my feminine energy as a black woman

When I was 6 years old, I was the only black girl in my very white primary school (a private, Jewish school in South Africa), I was taller than all of my classmates, and I discovered that I was a bit of a Tomboy; I loved video-games and skateboards, but also enjoyed my disney classics and barbie dolls. I was shy and kind of introverted, but opened up once I got comfortable.

From a very young age I knew that I was different from my brunette, blonde, blue-eyed counterparts. I also knew that I had to work extra hard to gain the affections of my then school crushes. It never worked though. I always found myself crushing on a guy friend, only to hear “gross! you’re like…a bro!” or “I like Bianca”. Consequently, the bro I did eventually become. The Tomboy side of me seemed to be the most popular and hey, if I couldn’t get the guy, why not delve into his interests full force? In my disposition, it made the most sense. Guys never really had crushes on me, I wasn’t a soft and doe-eyed Bianca, or a cute and girly Michaela. Why is the above information relevant? because it would shape the girl I became in my teens, and the woman I realize I am becoming now.

In primary, middle, and high school I was always deemed the strongest because of my height and build. I was automatically put into the category of “strong black girl” by my classmates and teachers alike. I loved being picked first for sports teams, I would choose the all boys soccer team over the netball team, and I was just overall more masculine than the rest of my female classmates. On the flip side, I started modelling due to my height, so for once I felt a little more beautiful. That however, was short lived because I had to lose an unhealthy amount of weight. For a while I never paid attention to it, I thrived even. It was go go go and do do do. I got good grades and won trophies and medals for my athleticism. A part of me though, never really felt complete. I was so disconnected from who I really was. I’m not saying all I wanted in life was a boyfriend and to become the girliest girl alive, I just knew that at the core, I didn’t feel like myself. Media/representation/stereotypes had a great deal to do with it as well. Of course, at 14 you expect to have a movie-like high school experience, you expect things to magically fall into place but they didn’t. I felt more and more insecure about my height, blackness, and my body. I hated being called Venus or Serena when I went to play Tennis (P.S. I love it now ). At the time I didn’t realize that I could be a multi-faceted black woman and just a woman in general; I could just be the muscular Tennis prodigy who was also a Tomboy. I would be independent and strong. Never weak or vulnerable. I wasn’t as beautiful or as cute as my white classmates. I was the comic relief, but not the love interest. My role model was (and still is) Lara Croft, Tomb Raider who was played by Angelina Jolie in the movie adaptation. She is smart, strong, and stops at nothing to get what she wants. She is also sexy, charming, and white. I didn’t love myself a whole lot, and it took a toll on my self-esteem, and manifested in my late teens and early twenties. I would give too much, try to prove myself a lot, I needed constant validation about my looks, and would end up bruised, bitter and confused.

After a ton of self reflection and google searches due to experiences with men, and life in general, I came to the conclusion that a) I needed to fall in love with myself fully otherwise I would never be happy and b) I was subconsciously plugged into my masculine energy all.the.time. For newbies on this topic, Masculine energy is about doing, getting it done, logic, structure, reason. It’s rigid but forward. Feminine energy is about being, beauty, receiving, creativity, movement, flow, nurturing, love etc. It IS NOT gender specific; there are feminine men and masculine women. It is about energy, and I felt like mine was way off.  I wasn’t living in the moment, I was constantly anxious, and self-deprecation was my favourite hobby. Masculine energy thrives when I am at school or work. I however took that energy into potential relationships and friendships. They all failed because I was doing ALL of the work. I was attracting the opposite of what I wanted therefore I relied on that energy to plan most of the dates/outings. I would be the one doing all of the texting and calling. I took that energy to how I felt about my self. “If I DO this, I will become happier, thinner, wealthier.. I will be loved by him”.  Now I am learning to let go, and to receive more. I am learning to become open to numerous possibilities. I am slowly learning to take care of my mind and body for myself first. I am learning about the type of masculine man I would like to attract so that I may complement it with my feminine energy. I am learning to fall in love with every part of myself. I am learning that I can be a 6’2, black, athletic gamer who wants to get shit done, while simultaneously being a woman who is soft, loves to relax, feel good, feel beautiful inside and out, and receive as much as I give.

Things that have helped me harness my feminine energy:

  1. Movement: I workout more, I dance more, and I have started Yoga!
  2. Embrace my sexuality: Just feeling good and confident about your allure….feeling like a Goddess.
  3. Learning to receive: being grateful for anything that is given to me (covers a spectrum of things. My biggest one is relationships)
  4. Having more “me” time
  5. Taking care of something: for me it is plants, and making sure I always have a clean space
  6. Being in Nature
  7. Shopping for clothes
  8. Getting hair, nails done. Taking care of “Her” 😉 
  9. Eating Healthy
  10. Smiling more and being polite, being graceful
  11. BEING MYSELF
  12. Allowing to feel something, understanding it and letting it go (especially if it is negative)
  13. Create: write, compose, sing, draw etc. create something unique or that expresses a part of you

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photo credit: pinterest.com

Weight Loss Journey (so far)

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Proud moment:

I have officially lost 25lbs! ( 11.5kg). I am currently at 209-211lbs and want to reach my goal of 187lbs in the next 6 months. It was a very slow process, but very worthwhile. I have always been the athletic type; In South Africa, I grew up playing Soccer, Tennis, and I was also a long jumper/track athlete. I’m tall but was extremely toned and slender. My move to Canada in 2009 changed a lot of things, I stopped playing sports completely, and slowly gained about 30lbs over a span of two years. I never noticed it until I tried on jeans that were my “initial” size which evidently, would not even get past my thighs.

Stress from the move, picking universities, and never making time to workout made the weight gain more evident. By the time I was in my third year of Uni, I gained 30 more pounds and went from 190lbs to 220lbs. I wasn’t doing very well at school, my best friend was dying, and I was dating the most terrible human being (that is another blog post in itself HA). Last year, I was at my heaviest, a whopping 236lbs! I only realized this after my trip to Cuba with my family that August. I looked back to pictures and a video I had put together, and saw just how much weight I put on. I felt disgusted, but also motivated to make a lifestyle change. For now I workout about 3 times a week, but the most important change for me has been the food. I loveeeeeeeee food, but that love came with grave consequences. Ask me to jog for an hour, do 100 squats, dance till I pass out- I’m your gal. However, ask me to eat a salad instead of a cheese burger, or Greek yogurt instead of vanilla ice-cream?….*crickets*.

I will probably do another post on exactly what I did to lose the weight but in a nutshell it was:

Portion sizes

Food choices

WATER AND GREEN TEA (no juice, no soda, sometimes milk)

Cheat meals (don’t go overboard!)

Cutting down on refined sugars/sugar in general

Cutting down my carb intake (huge one!)

What are your weight loss tips and tricks?

 

 

E

Goodness in a Glass (Not Wine hehe)

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This is definitely one of my favourites; it’s easy, nutritious, and delicious! Yes, enter the breakfast smoothie. I have been on a good health kick for the past month due to several/obvious reasons. In total I’ve lost 25lbs ( 11.3kgs) on my fitness journey, and I want to lose about 20 more pounds to reach my “ideal” weight (I’m currently 6’1 and 210lbs). Breakfast is one of  my favourite meals of the day; Greasy bacon, fried eggs, pancakes, pork sausages- HEALTHY EATS ESTHER OK ANYWAYS, I’ve been mixing it up to watch my fat and carb intake in the morning. Sometimes my favourites aren’t good for my cholesterol, and in general make me feel groggy and too full. I personally love the mix of berries and bananas with some vanilla flavoured almond or soy milk! mmmm yum.

what are some of your favourite combinations?

E

30 days of Yoga!

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I have decided to embark on a different type of physical journey! My workout routines are usually strength and cardio-based, which makes me one of the least flexible people on the planet (I’m not kidding). I pride myself on my athleticism, but ask me to touch my toes and the outcome is comical to say the least.

Besides flexibility, I have also decided to start Yoga as a way with dealing with anxiety, and stress. I find that my regular workouts do release SOME of the pressure and mental strain, but I need something a little slower, that allows me to focus on what’s happening on the inside. The twenty-something curse of being overworked and underpaid is starting to take a toll on my physical and mental health, so I’m hoping Yoga, journaling, and prayer/meditation eases the load.

Day 1 is complete and I feel pretty good about it so far! I felt a little stiff and out of place, but like everything else, I have to take it a day at a time 🙂

E

I’m good, you?

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For the gal on the go, sitting down and having a quiet brunch with a good read is at times, a rarity. 2016 has proven to be a very hectic-but good year so far. I’m chasing my dreams for I am a natural go-getter. This is good for my future endeavours which include graduating, modelling/Acting, achieving my fitness goals, and taking my blogging/Youtube a little more seriously.

At times however, I feel mentally, physically, and emotionally depleted. I forget to live in the moment and to surround myself with loved ones. my hobbies start to feel like chores, and my fatigue starts to show through my actions and take on life.

Sometimes it’s good to just take a personal day (or 3 hehe), and do what makes you happy; whether it’s seeing a movie with a good friend, writing, reflecting, watching TV, reading, yoga etc.

For me personally, it’s having that alone time to process my current emotions, physical state etc. I find that I am more creative, more relaxed, which consequently leads me to becoming more productive when I do get back to work. I love to write ideas, play my guitar/sing, and watch A LOT of self help Youtube Videos.

Hope you are all having a good, well-deserved personal day like me 🙂

 

E