Hey there! How are you? I cannot believe I’m about to share this with you, but the guilt is eating me alive. There is something I’ve been struggling with lately that I have a hard time talking about, and it’s really starting to have a negative impact on my health. And overcoming this struggle in isolation is just not going to work. The only way for me to get past it is to just be open and honest about what I’m going through. So…here goes.
You know how I have these Five F’s that I’ve centered my platform on? Well, if you don’t know, my 5 F’s are Faith, Family, Fitness, Food, and Fun. Well, I have been on the STRUGGLE BUS with one of these F’s. Like at this point, I don’t even think I’m on the bus anymore. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve fallen off of the bus. The bus then ran over my foot. Then, the bus backed up to come and get me and accidentally ran over my other foot. The bus driver then realized I was a lost cause because I couldn’t walk, and he just drove away. Yep. That is exactly how it happened.
Honestly, I’m embarrassed. I feel like a fraud. How can I tell the world that this is a big part of my life if I’m not actually being intentional and making an effort to invest time in it? I haven’t made any worthwhile investments in a long time. So, why am I frustrated with the results I’m getting? Alright, alright. I’ll tell you which F it is. The F I’ve been struggling with…is fitness. I’m smack dab in the middle of a fitness struggle. HELP!
That’s right. The secret’s out now…in more ways than one. As you can see in this photo, Pop Secret is also out, and it (along with other yummy yet not so healthy snacks) has taken over my life. The fitness struggle is REAL. Let me start from the beginning of how it all happened.
I was working out consistently with very little to no motivation from outside sources. I was actually waking up multiple times a week to make it to a 5AM Camp Gladiator class. And on the days that I couldn’t make it there, I would turn on Daily Burn and get in a good workout at home. I was working out 4-5 days a week without fail. Until I got a new job.
October 2019: This job required me to be at work earlier, and it was further from my house. For the first few weeks, I still got up and made it to Camp Gladiator, but I had to leave the class early in order to make it to work on time. That is, until the stress of my new job and my absolutely toxic supervisor began to have a negative impact on my mental and emotional health. I had no motivation. I was depleted. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Waking up in the morning was a chore because I knew the nonsense that awaited me when I arrived. By the time I made it home from work, I had nothing left to give.
As bad as things were are work, there was a bright spot. It came in the form of new friends. A group of five beautiful women who refer to ourselves as “The Heffas” (don’t ask LOL). There’s absolutely no way I would’ve made it through my time there without them. My favorite part of the day would be the times we were able to all sit down and eat lunch together. The flowing conversation and moments of hysterical laughter gave me LIFE! Sometimes, the fun police would hear the joy reverberating through the hall, bust into the room and shut it down with some random, minuscule task for us to do (insert the BIGGEST side eye you can find).
We were determined to make the best of a not so good situation. We leaned on each other, prayed for each other, and celebrated each other every chance we got. These ladies have become my sisters, and two of them, along with their families, have even joined my church. Having them by my side made my days more bearable, but my motivation to prioritize my personal fitness was still lacking.
Now…what I’m about to share is a little…how do you say…embarrassing! Two of my best friends were getting married (I hooked them up, by the way!), and I was the Matron of Honor. I had already gotten fitted and ordered my dress for the wedding before I moved over to my new job. You probably already know where this is going.
Those who follow me on social media know that I LOVE food. Good food can change my whole attitude. However, the food that makes me feel the happiest is usually not good for me. So, what do you think happened when I got into a new job, where I spent the majority of my day, with a toxic supervisor who sometimes drained the life out of me? Yep! It was on and POPPIN’ during my lunch breaks. Two-piece Tuesday at Popeye’s was a regular occurrence among other greasy, fast food delicacies.
January 29, 2020: It hit me. I’ve been eating bad, not working out , and I’ve probably gained weight. Oh snap! My dress for the wedding!!! LAAAAWD! PLEASE tell me I can still fit it!!! I immediately tried it on when I made it home, and my husband could not get that thang to zip! Ok, ok, don’t panic, Jo. Stay calm. Do NOT tell Amanda (the bride). She has enough stress to deal with. You just gotta get yo life and lose this weight. I only had a little over four weeks to make it happen. So, I got back on the keto diet because that was the only thing that I KNEW would work.
February 3, 2020: While I was on the keto diet, The Heffas were super supportive. They made it easy for me to eat right at work (outside of the days they ordered my favorite food…pizza). I stuck to the diet with no hiccups. When the week of the wedding came, I tried on the dress with my fingers crossed. My husband went for the zipper and BAM! That bad boy fit perfectly! Thank you, Jesus!!! I looked good, and I felt good. When I get down to my desired weight, I love the way I look. My clothes look better on me, my face slims down, and I feel beautiful. I was determined to keep it together. I loved this healthier version of myself. The days of the fitness struggle were over!
February 29, 2020: The wedding was beautiful, and the food was amazing! It was brunch themed so the menu was NOT keto at all. However, I indulged because it was a celebration. Plus, I was present for the tasting so I already knew the food was good. But…I think I overindulged. I was still off of my keto diet days later! A one day break from the diet turned into a few days which turned into a week and then spiraled out of control!
When I find myself in the middle of a fitness struggle, it’s so hard to get back on track. I’m sure I’m not the only person who can attest to that. But I was given a second chance to redeem myself! Just a few short weeks later, the city shut down due to the rona. I found my self stuck at home, away from Madam Killjoy, with no excuse not to work out. This was my chance!
March 23, 2020: My first day ever working from home. With all of the stress and emotions that came along with navigating life during a pandemic, everything is just a blur now. The stress was back, which always leads to bad eating habits. I tried not to let it get out of control. Although I wasn’t eating completely healthy, I was doing better than before. My family and I also started taking daily walks to keep from going stir crazy, so, I used that as my first step in the right direction.
April 20, 2020: My husband and I decided to purchase bikes. We were bored and wanted to stay active. I was a little nervous because I hadn’t rode a bike in years. As a matter of fact, I have no idea when the last time was that I had ridden a bike pre-rona. But they say you never forget how to ride so I got one. The bike collected dust for about a week before I actually put it to use, but once I did, I was so happy.
The feeling of the wind blowing on my face early in the morning. The uninterrupted time with my Gospel music. The fulfillment I got when I returned home with wobbly legs. I was BACK! I rode my bike consistently. If for some reason I was unable to, I could still depend on our family walks or an evening run with the hubs. Things were looking up for me! However, I wasn’t seeing any results because I was still stress eating. My fitness struggle wasn’t quite over. Le sigh…
May 25, 2020: The murder of George Floyd along with the subsequent events around the world took a significant toll on me. You’re telling me I have to add fear for my life and the lives of those I love on top of navigating a pandemic? My main motivation for incorporating health and fitness into my lifestyle is so that I can be healthy for my family. And to think, those same people could, at any moment, be taken away from me unnecessarily. Trying to digest that on top of everything else was more than a notion. I didn’t recognize myself. I had no joy. My emotions were all over the place. I was a mess. Fitness took a backseat to life.
June 9, 2020: My last official day of working for my previous employer. It took me a few days to fully climb out of the sunken place, but when I did, it felt amazing. I was free! I could breathe again. This was my time to bounce back. I knew I had a month off before starting my new job, and I was about to get back to being my best self, physically. It was also the perfect time for me to go hard and be more intentional with my social media platform. So, I started making connections in the community with Black owned businesses and highlighting them on my Instagram and Facebook.
One thing I’ve realized about Black owned food spots is that we don’t really do healthy food. While the food I was eating and sharing with my followers was absolutely delicious, none of it was healthy. However, I had gotten my joy back! Good food really does something to my soul. Not only that, I was also helping my people by spreading the word about their businesses and sending new customers their way. Eating good food and helping good people in the process. It was the perfect combination! But how would I do that AND push past my fitness struggle?
June 25, 2020: My first day back on the keto diet in hopes to end this fitness struggle. Some may ask, “Why keto?” I looked at a video of myself, saw how chubby my face had gotten, and was said, “NOPE! This fat has got to go ASAP!” Since I get quick results with keto, it’s the obvious choice. Plus, there are a lot of health benefits that come with it. I really want to adopt a keto lifestyle altogether, on top of getting back on my fitness game.
But how do you eat keto while supporting Black owned businesses? I don’t know. I’m determined to figure it out, though. I’m sure it’s going to be hard. I’ll have to alter things once I order them (remove the bun from the amazing burgers at Tchoupitoulas). Or I may just taste small samples of the non-keto items for the purpose of reviewing them for my followers. I don’t know what this is going to look like, but I DO know it’s going to include a happier, healthier me. Periodt!
July 1, 2020: Today, I begin a new fitness initiative on my Instagram page called 10 Minute Workouts For the Busy-Body! Not only will this help me get back on track, but it will also add a level of accountability. If my followers are expecting it, I have to provide it. If I don’t provide it, they’ll be asking about it. And I never want to let my followers down. This is the accountability that I need right now! In the process, I’ll also be helping other women who are in the same fitness struggle as me. And THAT is what it’s all about! I’m excited, I’m ready, and I’m focused! I’ve got this! WE’VE got this!
Dedicated and Determined,