A while ago I was watching the Oprah 20th anniversary special dvds (judge not) and one of the 6 discs was solely dedicated to issues of weight and weight loss. Many people told their stories about how they did it, the emotional turmoil, the fortitude, etc. One story in particular stayed with me…it was a guy who’d lost a significant amount of weight and when asked about he described how he saw his end goal. He saw himself, under the layers of hurt and pain and his past, and when he saw himself he didn’t stop until the outside matched the inside, what he’d seen in his mind.

Listening to that then I thought of my own struggle. Actually, while I have been overweight from probably age 6 or 7 until now I never remember feeling so uncomfortable in my skin until recently. I have never not been in the “normal” range of clothes, though I certainly can wear some plus size things as well. I have not had significant health problems related to weight. Its only ever been about image. And while some part of me knew I should not be the size that I am, I could not imagine anything different. There was no picture in my mind of any other me.

Until yesterday. I’d gone with a friend to workout early yesterday morning. I’ve been fighting a cold since coming back to Chile and my body did not want to get up and go workout but I just felt like I needed it, so I went. I didn’t make it through the first set of exercises, lunges…but I stuck it out and within the hour I’d managed to complete the workout. It was a series of cardio (Spin) and strength training on a Gravity machine. However, it happened on the spin bike.

I was peddling and dripping sweat trying to talk myself out of quitting when I looked in the mirror and facing me was another me. A me that was strong, resilient, and capable and she was peddling. Asking my physical body to let her do it. So I did. I gave in and surrendered to her request. And while she was limited, still, by my physical body she got me through that climb. And those push-ups. And those planks. When I asked of her, she was there.


She let me know that she is with me and can get us through this. She is a warrior. That’s the best way I can describe her. I can see her so vividly in my mind now, since yesterday. When I got home I snapped a photo, “Day 1”

And I recognized that I have about 150 days before I go to Jamaica. Being on a tropical island in summer time, who wouldn’t want to be fine? But she isn’t stopping there. She’s already thinking the 29th year is her training year for 30. I closed my eyes and looked at her closely. She still feels separate from me, but she assures me she is within. She said: let me be strong, let me be dutiful, all you have to do is allow it, I’m ready. Let me.

I am not so evolved that her words didn’t scare me. Frighten me and want to sabotage by reaching for fast food just so I could feel in control again. But she did not leave. This morning she said, you’re sore, let’s go for a walk…

That, I thought, must be what he felt. When he could see it, when he could see his healthy, vibrant self he was seeing what I am seeing. And I wondered if I should even tell anyone; post any pictures or write any blogs. And she said quite plainly, those were you, but this is my first time. So here we are. Me and my two selves, plain as day in my mind and at each meal and each opportunity I have to surrender to one of them. I know that only when I give in to her, though, do both of us win.

Size doesn’t matter…unless you’re buying jeans

First of all…I’m ecstatic to be able to write this post, however I’m useless if anyone is looking at me for any kind of tips or inspiration.  You see, this here (in the picture) is me.  No I don’t normally make a habit of tucking in my shirt, but I was attempting to show off my jeans. More specifically how they are fitting (WELL!)  What most excites me is that these jeans are down a size from what I normally wear.  Allow me to tell the full fairy tell story:

It was the Macy’s one day sale…Fashion Valley mall was a ZOO! Seriously I though I wouldn’t make it out of the shoe section alive at one point.  Anyway I needed jeans. I didn’t bring any with me when I moved, and since when does a girl not need jeans?  I decided I would look for trouser fit jeans just because they can also be dressed up if need be.  Not for lack of trying, I was unable to find the “Women’s section”.  I was on the phone with Wifey at the time and I was complaining to her how I knew I wouldn’t be able to find boo-ish in the juniors section, even in large sizes the cut of Juniors clothes never fits me.  Well…I ended up in the Junior section.  They had a magical sign that said “Take an additional 50% off” that lured me in!!!  I found a pair of jeans in a size 18 and I thought, hm…well maybe these will fit, but I dunno because my hips and thighs are the last place I lose weight, I always lose from the top.  Anyway, I got two pair and then headed to the fitting room.  Where there was a line 15 people deep.  Not even known for my patience, I said bump this, I’ll buy them and if they fit great if not I’ll just bring them back.  Well I got home and they fit!  Woot!  Wearing a size 18 in dresses is one thing, but in JEANS is something all together different.  Looking at this picture I’m reminded of how short my torso is…”Are my legs REALLY that long?”

Anyway, celebratory dance!  I know that most of my skinty friends, Wifey included, may not understand the victory that this is but trust me, its huge.  Speaking of which, she and I were discussing how uncomfortable ‘the weight pity party’ can be.  She was saying because in general she can’t relate, but I agree because even though I have my own drama with weight, I don’t want to sit and hear someone complain about how fat they are. That just isn’t fun!  So remember that peeps, next time you open your mouth to whine about your muffin top.  Unless its in jest (and even those in moderation) nobody likes a debbie downer.

A Conversation

Over the course of my lifetime I have had many conversations with God.  I have never, until last night, had a conversation with the God that dwells within me.  Let me first say that I was very hesitant on writing this post. I have not told anyone about it until now and I’m sure for most people it may be a bit on the edge of outlandish…but really I’m unconcerned. This blog is written for me.  And so…

I was on tumblr and I saw a picture of this tattoo, ‘let your fears go’ and I wondered to myself what it was I feared.  I’d told myself after spending virtually all day on the couch watching Friday Night Lights that I would go running at 8pm.  I closed my computer and headed downstairs to the gym. Before I opened the door I heard the sound of the treadmill going, someone was in there. I retreated.  Then, I asked myself again…here’s the convo:

Inner Me: what are you afraid of?

Me: I don’t want anyone to see me.

**Thunder claps, bells and whistles go off inside my head**

Inner Me: Why don’t you want anyone to see you?

Me: I don’t know…

Inner Me: Don’t stop moving until you know.

So then I started running. From my apartment running towards main campus you gotta go uphill.  There’s no way around it, and its steep and its unyielding.  My legs were aching and my breath was short when I asked again:

Inner Me: What are you afraid of?

Me: Being Seen! I said that.

Inner Me: Why don’t you want to be seen?

Me: I don’t know!!

Inner Me: Don’t you dare stop. Keep going until you know.

Up the hill, past the basketball pavilion, around the bend to the main entrance, up the hill past the student life pavilion,  past the university center I can see the Immaculata.  She softly demands:

Inner Me: What are you afraid of?

Me: Being seen…I didn’t know it. I don’t know why.  Maybe that’s why I’m running. Because I hate–

Inner Me: No. Because you love.

Me: Because I love me then (unconvinced).  I deserve better I guess.

Inner Me: Why do you deserve better?

Me: (annoyed) I don’t fail! I never fail. I’ve never failed at anything except getting this weight off. I didn’t fail at calculus. I didn’t fail at biology. I didn’t fail at graduating or friendships or anything. I DON’T FAIL but I’m failing at this. I always do.

Inner Me: Why didn’t you fail at calculus?

Me: I got a tutor.

Inner Me: Why didn’t you fail at biology?

Me: I stayed after…got help from the teacher. Okay I’ve asked for help. I get it, but I’ve asked for help with this too. I’ve asked people what worked for them, how they did it. I have tried but nothing ever sticks…it always falls apart.

Inner Me: Haven’t you lost 60 lbs?

Me: Yeah…

Inner Me: How did you do it?

Me: I starting eating differently.

Inner Me: Who helped you?

Me: Um…I don’t know. No one I guess.

Inner Me: no one told you to eat less junk? More vegetables? More water? Less fast food? No one.

Me: No one. I just knew it had to change.

Inner Me: Why do you deserve better?

Me: Because.

Inner Me: *waits*

Me: I am a divine being.  And I’m divinely made.

Inner Me: Go on…

Me: This body isn’t mine…its like a shell or a storm cellar. I’ve retreated here because…because I don’t want to be seen.

Inner Me: Rest.

By this time I’d made it clear across campus.  When I got home later I mapped it out and its about 1.3 miles. I got there in just over 20 minutes.  It felt like moments. I sat on the balcony and looked out into the ocean. It was dark, but I could see the city and Sea World all lit up.  I put my legs up on the railing, and I closed my eyes and prayed.  Meditated really…and when I felt the time was right, I got up to head home.  I walked with a clear mind until I got back to another hill.

Inner Me: Why don’t you want to be seen?

Me: I don’t know…I think maybe I let it take the pressure off of me; my body.

Inner Me: Explain.

Me: Well, like I don’t have to worry about attention or anything if I am not eye-catching.  There’s a lot I’m supposed to do. A lot I’m sure to accomplish, maybe people won’t expect it out of me if they can’t really see me.

Inner Me: because then?

Me: Because then if I fail, they would have expected it.

Inner Me: Will you fail though?

Me: No.  I never fail.

No one does. We get exactly what we want.  I said I wanted to get healthy, lose weight, get in shape…but more than that I’ve been wanting to stay hidden.  So I was failing on one level, but on the deepest level I was getting exactly what I wanted.  Now, I want something different.  I deserve something different.  As I moved I kept repeating to myself “I am a divine being.  I am divinely made.”  I asked for breath and the wind blew.  I asked for strength and I felt the ground bend to my will.  I got a cramp at one point and I slowed, Inner me said “Acknowledge it. It hurts. Keep going.” So I did.  This voice…it is my voice but it is soft and stern.  There is no arguing with it.  My voice is much more fickle and unsure.  Inner me is always certain and direct.

When I got home my entire body was vibrating.  I was a sweaty mess and collapsed on the sofa noticing how I could see the vibrations moving through me.  I told myself Thank You.

Me: Did I just become a runner?

Inner Me. You just became yourself.

Me: Even better.

Inner Me: Infinitely better.


What a curious voice

I was catching up on my magazine reading last night and I remembered Kourtney Kardashian being featured on this month’s Shape magazine, I wanted to pick it up but having just moved across the country funds are kind of limited and that $5 is a gallon of my bourgie organic milk.  So I googled and of course the article is online, as I read her interview and looked at the pictures one in particular called to me…

Its no secret that in my heart of hearts I want to be a runner. I tried to make peace with the fantasy and say that it just was not me, and that I should be whatever it is that I am instead.  But see…running calls to me.  It just feels out of reach (though it does not cost anything, nor require anything that I don’t already have: two legs, two lungs, two shoes).  I stared at this picture for about an hour, literally.  The fact that it was Kourtney (my favorite Kardashian) didn’t even matter, it was the essence of the picture.  The run called to me.

I happened to be talking to Deeds at the time and I asked him “I wonder why I want to be a runner so badly.” He responded, almost prophetically, “Its freeing. You just go.”  My language! You just go…he continued, “you get rid of excess when you run, when you stop everything important is hyped, like a support system to your spirit.”  I thought of that quote

The cure for anything is salt water–sweat, tears, or the sea.

“Yes.” I thought.  That’s exactly it.  Its healing, I’m craving it, that self-enduced healing.  I am not sad, or I would cry; but I feel free, so I want to be free.  To just go.

So maybe I’m not a runner yet.  I’ve still got time to be. I am always becoming.

…and purge

I remember the day I got told I had an eating disorder. I was completely taken aback and opened my mouth to retort but before I could further explanation came, “You’re a binge eater, non purging type. In the DSM it would be ‘eating disorder NOS.” That’s not otherwise specified.  Well…I didn’t even agree with that.  I’m still not sure that I do.  I mean at some point I think I was. At some point I ate because.  No further explanation, just because.  I was reading Peace Love Pretty Things and came across the following words in a guest post:

Scenario 3: Have your momma die when she was the only one on the whole planet to love you right. Taste every food on Earth to see if any are sweet as her. When you discover none are, never eat anything again (source).

I was a scrawny kid. Until I was five years old when my dad left. My dad left and I used to call him all the time and I missed him terribly because prior to that he was around a lot.  Then somewhere around age 7 or 8 he got remarried and its been uphill weight wise ever since then.  I think that my peak weights have come in times of separation now that I think about it.  When I first went off to college but before I made any significant friends.  Then again when I had to move back home and was going through depression.  I’m not sure what exactly I was looking for with food. Maybe I wasn’t looking for anything, maybe just the fact that it was there.  Maybe I never wanted to be hungry for food the way I was hungry for my missing people. Maybe.

Now I can sit at home and still only eat the regular 3 meals a day.  I didn’t used to be able to do that. I don’t feel the way that I look. I’m not sure how to reconcile it either.  How you train a body to match your spirit.  I told Deeds I’m going to go run tomorrow.  I can’t just do nothing, they have to match, I  have to match.  I’d gotten down to a whatever weight/size because I had a goal to fit (comfortably) into my graduation gown and it looked AMAZING.  So now a new goal…baby steps to small victories.

And to treat the disorder…

How to get rid of an eating disorder

Single Scenario: Remember, or if you never knew it, learn quickly, with the same fervor you destroyed yourself that you are one precious, precious something. Worth far more than a silly biscuit. Than anything that dissolves with a touch of tongue, a bit of teeth (source).

and I won’t be afraid to write about it.  This is my space. MY safe space where I can explore  to whatever extent I please every dream and every fear.  These are not excuses, they are just my truths.  I’m working on me. Slowly, but surely.

Priceless Gift

I just plopped down on the couch to write this and as I started formulating my thoughts I thought I was ready but as I searched my mind for a title, something stirred in me and I was moved. So imagine me writing this crying warm, wet, happy tears.

I’ve been keeping a secret from you guys. For the last three weeks I’ve been waking up at 5:30am and hitting the gym. Week one I worked out every day for 45 minutes, I’m not keeping very good track of all my stats but I can tell you my mile was at about 14 minutes.  That would put me at nearly 45-50 minutes for a 5k which is not particularly awesome, that is what some people could walk it in.  I didn’t think about that. I can tell you that I would do 3 minutes at 4mph at an incline of 2 (on the treadmill) and then 2 minutes (roughly) at 2.5mph at an incline of 7.  My neighbor has been going with me as well, so we would just do cardio for 30 minutes.  I also tried Zumba a few nights a week too. Little did I know it would be a complete workout as well! its 1 hour of pure cardio dance.

Week 2 we started adding circuit training. We would do arms and abs (I’m pretty strong but I’m not trying to build muscle, I’m trying to do toning so I’m doing high reps at a low weight) or legs.  I gotta say I love legs, and I like a nice hard workout that leaves your legs feeling like jelly.  I enjoy sweating it out and then hitting squats, leg press, inner and outer thighs, and everything in between.  Arms…that’s another story, and so are abs lol. She’s a typical girl and pretty much wants to run and do crunches but I had her try some arm stuff–it did not work out LOL so we usually just do our own thing after running.

I’ve still being getting up and running, and I’ve been going to Zumba two times a week at least, and I’m not sure how many inches or how many pounds or anything that I’ve lost. I can tell you that I’m getting better at it.  I feel better when I work out, my day goes smoother. I eat breakfast and am less inclined to eat junk throughout the day.  I drink more water, I have more energy…all the things you hear, they’re true! LOL. This is day 23, so it should be a habit by now right?  I haven’t shared it because…well I talked so much about my goals and it was disappointing to me that I hadn’t stuck with anything but have been talking about it for ages.

I feel like I’ve given me to myself.  I’ve done something that is just for me, that makes me feel better, look better, live better, be better.  I am elated that sometimes I wake up a little sore and I know the only cure for it is to keep going.  I just tell myself to keep going. I say it on the treadmill, I say it at minute 5…15..20…25…I’m down to about a 12 minute mile at no incline, but I want to train at a higher incline so that when it comes to a race I can be okay.  I tell people that I’m working out because I’m moving to the beach and they laugh. But the truth is, I just needed something for me.  That belongs to no one else.  Its so important to take care of yourself, and I have really come to understand that that needs to be priority #1.  I can do everything else better when I’m better.

Body Image: Dubb on Dubb

Our image of ourselves are often skewed by the media and what it deems beautiful. Our little girls grow up thinking that if they are not a size zero, no one could possibly love them. It’s so unfortunate that we don’t love ourselves enough to see the beauty in our bodies.

1. Since you started blogging has your image of yourself changed?

Yes; but not because of blogging or the blog community just because I’ve been blogging for what? Three years now…and I started blogging when I was in a severe state of depression lol so yes, its changed.  I would say I love and accept myself more fully now.

2. Are you self-conscious about any aspect of yourself? If so, do yougo out of your way to avoid it or do you post it/talk about it anyway?

Mmm my arms are my least favorite body part and always have been, I really don’t even like them touched. Bleh! I don’t not wear short sleeves or dresses because of it though.  I think everybody has something they want to work on or that isn’t their favorite but that’s not going to stop me from living life!  I talk about weight and struggles on here all the time so definitely no avoidance. If its on my mind it comes on on this blog.

3. Based on how you are feeling now, what do you think the futureholds in the evolution of your body image?

It really can only get better from here. I’m falling in love with me, what better gift could one ask for?

4. Do you photograph yourself for your blog? If so, how do you feel about the experience when you’re having your picture taken? If you choose not to post pictures of yourself, what prompted that decision?

All the time! I actually don’t like other people photographing me because most people just snap the camera. Your eye could be weird looking or shirt could be wrinkled…they just don’t care.  I love natural pictures but unless I’m getting my on pappz that’s just out of the question. So I’ll stick to self timer.  I never really think twice about it once the pictures are up.  It does make me laugh the things that people love vs. what I love.

5. What would you want every person who struggles with body image to take to heart?

Love yourself the way you are, where you are.  (Amen Lucy!) Stop calling yourself fat, its not funny or “self aware” its uncomfortable and everyone around you thinks you’re weird because of it.  Stop talking about how small you are, same with uncomfortability only most people just think you’re obsessed with yourself.  Its just not necessary to over verbalize what is already in plain view, and no matter what you say other people will have their own opinions anyway. So just work on the love and acceptance, that will radiate and even if you’re too fat or too skinny people will see the inner beauty.

Recent photo *Deeds* loved (haha)

recent photo *I* love

Recent photo *everyone else* loved


God is NOT a mystery

Whoever said God works in mysterious ways was NOT paying attention.  In case you don’t really read my blog, I’ve been on this whole rollercoaster with my weight this weekend/week.  I didn’t even realize I was actually losing anything until yesterday.  Anyway, so BFFK sees my blog post from yesterday with my 5k goals and she tells me about the Dawg Trot.  I ask her the details and its kind of marinating on my mind all day.  **sidebar: Yes, I know that its UGA but I don’t and will never hate UGA–far too much family history. I will not, however, ever be a UGA fan lol**

So, I get home and of course, check my facebook and have the following message from an old HS classmate: hey girl… dont know if u remember me or not we didnt really talk in school but i seen your pics and u look great!! how did u lose all your weight? My first reaction was to laugh because I just don’t…feel like I’ve “[lost] all [my] weight.”  So far to go! Anyway, so after responding to the message super flabbergasted…I registered. I signed up for my very first 5k.  I’m so excited I dunno what to do with myself.  Oh yeah, wake up tomorrow and start TRAINING!

God is speaking to me. I’m listening. He’s revealing a plan for me, I’m following it.

Where its due

Earlier today I wrote that post and I was feeling really down, honestly, because its something I just cannot figure out.  Then…something happened. Deeds sent me a picture that I’d sent him a while ago near the beginning months of us-ness. He said it was one of his favorites. I’d sent it to him as an anti-nassy pic lol, but what struck me immediately was how much different I look now…I quickly went and put on the same outfit, and snapped a quick picture and looked at the two side by side.  Now..these pictures are taken with a non-fancy camera phone, haven’t been photoshopped or edited (except for me melding them side by side) they’re simply just me.  I look at it and I feel three things.

Hopeful because I see that I can do it. I see that I have been doing it.  My habits pay off and I need to give myself some credit.  Not eating meat, not eating fast food, not drinking sodas or sugary juices, getting in a gallon of water a day, upping my green intake, vitamins…it is all paying off.

Broken because I couldn’t tell without the pictures.  I couldn’t see the difference in myself. I couldn’t feel the difference. I am stuck in a mindset that numbs me to some things and I wish I could just wake up.  I have to give myself time I suppose.  I’m not going to keep crying because I mess up, I’m going to give myself a break; oddly enough the thing I ask clients to do at least 5x a week.  I am human, an imperfect human.  Love, however, is perfect.  So to combat the broke me I will love myself more fiercely.

Overwhelmed because (and perhaps this is superficial) he loved me then just as much as he does now.  I (the all encompassing I) am not three numbers.  I was watching Biggest Loser and one of the contestants said (of Jillian) “Everytime she tells me I can do something, I can…I need to start telling myself.” I feel that way of Deeds.  So…while I do still want to do my 5 and 10ks, lets give a little credit where credit is due.  Jess you haven’t been slacking or sitting still…but its time to pick up the pace, that’s all.

self rev

I looked for a picture more perfect than this, with a black girl…but, nothing gave me what this one did-so I had to keep it.

It started innocently enough, I wanted to write a blog about this thought that I had this week. I came to the realization that thin doesn’t mean better. I know that seems…whatever but for the longest time it appears that’s what I believed.  Being a certain size would make me better, more _______ (you name it).  I never knew I held those beliefs until this week.  I was watching the Portia deRossi interview on Oprah and O questioned her current diet and exercise plan and she said, I don’t diet because I refuse to limit and restrict myself.  Food has no control over me anymore.

So, while I went to google image search to look for a “healthy black woman” I got exasperated an asked myself, “Why doesn’t anyone look like I want to look?!” Then I asked myself, “Why don’t I look like I want to look?”  Not in an accusatory way, but truly an inquisitive wonder. Then I cried.

Whats the difference now?  I want to feel better, not be better. Looking a certain way is just that.  I am letting go of the fallacy that being smaller means anything else than being smaller, it will not make me smarter, or wiser, or a better friend.  Pushing towards evolution, revolution…and I’ll never stop pushing.