Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"You Look Good Fat!"

Over the past few months, I have had an epiphany. I realized that I have never truly been able to take a compliment. Mostly though, I had a hard time taking a compliment whenever I felt like I was fat. I have had friends tell me, “girl, you look so good! I need to go workout with you!” And though that is what they said, this is what I heard: “Girl, you look good…fat!” So why did I hear that when that is not what they said? Because of my mentality and view of self.
I recently heard Jesse Duplantis say: “you lose weight from the inside out.” Though he is a preacher of the gospel, I received this “health principle” as truth. It is an undeniable truth that weight loss, as well as sustaining that weight loss, starts in the mind. If you never change your mind to being dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, you will never consistently do it. Likewise, if you don’t change your self-view of yourself, what will happen is that even when you get to the size you want to be at, it will still not be good enough (that was always my case). Because if your motivation is skewed, it will constantly be a “yo-yoing” of weight loss, to weight gain, with an emotional rollercoaster of your self-image based on your size.
For years, I struggled because I was caught up in the “scale cycle.” I would weigh myself daily, and if the scale did not say what I wanted it to say, I became depressed. My whole day changed, and even my outlook on life and self changed. In essence, I was a slave to the numbers on the scale. I am not quite sure of when it happened, but after much prayer and reading the right things and believing them, I started to change my mind concerning myself. I was able then to get on the scale, and if it didn’t say what I wanted it to say, I WAS STILL OKAY. That was a huge step. I began to say to myself, “Jenelle, you are not where you want to be yet, but you know how to lose weight. Keep doing what you are doing. But embrace yourself as beautiful exactly where you are at.” I had to learn how to love myself no matter what size I was. Now, this was not an excuse to stay where I was, especially being overweight and at risk for many health issues, but it was rather inspiration to believe that I could look good at the size I was, while working to be at the size I wanted to be.
This blog is not really so much about changing your mind to lose weight, though that may be what you need. More so, it is about changing your view of self while on your journey to getting to where you would like to be. So I want to give you 7 ways to Embrace Yourself by Changing Your Mentality:
1.        Accept a compliment for what it is; even if you don’t believe it. If someone sincerely gives you a compliment, take it. If someone says to you, “You look really good!” In response, don’t say things like, “who me?,” or “I have gained so much weight so I am surprised to hear that,” or “naw honey, I need to lose weight.” Though those statements may have truth in them, you don’t have to embrace them. Love yourself and accept compliments. Allow them to build you up and see yourself in a better light. If others see something good about you, why shouldn’t you?

2.       Let your self-esteem wrap itself in love rather than your size. My view of self should not change based on my size. I should love myself and embrace myself no matter what size I am. Wives and husbands do it all the time with each other…why shouldn’t you?

3.       Read some inspirational books. If you have a poor self-image, you need to fill your mind with words that encourage you and motivate you to change the way you see yourself. “So Long Insecurity,” by Beth Moore is a good book for this. “Battlefield of the Mind,” by Joyce Meyers is also good. There are many great books out there for helping to change your mind. Find one, read it, and believe it. One of my favorites is the Bible. If we start to see ourselves the way God sees us and loves us, we will greatly improve how we see ourselves.

4.      Talk positivity to yourself. I taught a nutrition education class to women at a church, and during a session on body image, I challenged the women to look in the mirror and say positive things to themselves concerning their physical attributes. For several of the ladies, this was difficult. Others found it to be weird. Many found it to be enlightening. Try it for yourself. Try looking at yourself and saying “(Insert your name here) you are beautiful! You have beautiful (Insert attribute here)(i.e., eyes, ears, face, nose, etc.)!

5.       Surround yourself with people who will continue to build you up. This can really be a challenge as you don’t always have control over who is around you (i.e., work). But whenever it is in your control, surround yourself with positive people who see great value in you. We are creatures of habit and also imitation. So if you hear others habitually saying positive things about you, there is an increased chance that you may start to say it and believe it…

6.      Get a reality check of what is really a normal size. Don’t use the television and celebrities as your target when looking at size. That is unrealistic. Many of them use extreme methods to get to their size. Many of their methods may be dangerous. Besides, they do not represent the general population. Set a “realistic” size goal…

7.       Lastly, if you are a heavier size, and are in the process of trying to lose weight, try to enhance your other physical attributes. Just because you weigh more and are trying to get to a smaller size does not mean that you have to let all other areas of yourself look bad until you get there. Get some nice clothes that compliment you where you are at (if you can afford it)! Get a new hairdo or a haircut! Women, put some makeup on! My point is, you don’t have to look a mess just because you think you are fat.  I have seen the show “What Not to Wear” transform all types of people into beautiful beings who seemed to feel better about themselves simply through enhancing attributes they already possessed.

I hope this blog helps you in improving the way you see yourself…until next time…

-Jenelle Robinson

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The best Christmas Gifts...for weight loss...

Christmas is Sunday. And just like Thanksgiving, Christmas day and surrounding days are heavy eating days. I like to call them “glutton days.” But this blog is not about eating. Nor is it about being a glutton. This blog is about giving. Yes, giving. This blog is about giving to a person who has told you over and over again that they want to lose weight but need help. I come across these people all the time. It seems they just need a jump start. And many will need it as they start 2012 off with a resolution of losing weight. So what better way to help them than to give them a Christmas gift that says, “I am helping you lose weight.” It would only be an insult if this person did not want to lose weight. But if you are like me, then you welcome anything anybody gives you to help you live a healthier life. So here are my 8 TOP WEIGHT LOSS GIFTS TO GIVE FOR CHRISTMAS:
1.       Resistance Band. I love using the resistance band…especially in my strength training regimen. When I was hit by a car while riding a bike, I could no longer run (see running blog). So I had to find other things to do to stay physically active. I found a pilates DVD that used the resistance band. This band changed my life. It strengthened my core like no other exercise has. If used correctly, this band will change a person’s life. It is a wonderful gift. Many are available with DVDS or instructions with different exercises to do for different parts of the body.
2.       Any exercise DVD by Jillian Michaels. This woman will work the heck out of you. I have tried 2 of her dvds (30 day shred, and Maximize Back in Action). She specializes in interval training. She incorporates cardio along with weight lifting to burn more calories and speed up your metabolism. This is a great starter for anyone wanting to lose weight. You feel like you have a personal trainer in your house. This is a great gift.
3.       Waist Band. These things are great. Though many say they only help you lose water weight, I will take all the weight loss I can get…when I need it…even if it is just water. I often would wear a waist band while walking or running, though it can get really hot and feel like it’s cutting your circulation off during running. So I suggest it be used more when walking. It will make you sweat out this world…this is a great gift for women who want to get rid of that stomach…it is definitely a gift that helps to shred the inches…
4.       Gym membership. Some people will never workout at home. They must leave the house in order to get any physical activity or exercise. Being at home makes them lazy when it comes to exercising. For these people, a gym membership is the perfect gift. What gym you choose will depend on the person and what physical activities they enjoy. Some like exercise classes, water aerobics, and an inside track with a basketball court. These will cost a little more. But for those who can just use the weights and cardio machines, you may find places for as cheap as $10 a month. I go to 10 Fitness, which is exactly that price. They have everything I need; and they offer Zumba classes at an additional charge of just $5 a class.
5.       Weight Watchers Membership. Weight Watchers has received great accolades as a weight loss program. I have found their nutritional part of the program to be sound and they offer much needed social support through weekly meetings. This program will help anyone jumpstart weight loss. The “point system” is a great alternative to counting calories, carbs, or fat.
6.       A digital scale. If a person wants to lose weight, they need a good scale to weigh themselves on a weekly basis. I suggest a digital scale because it may be more accurate, in addition, it gives weight with a decimal point. I will always take a 0.3 weight loss rather than a plain old 0.
7.       Healthy Cookbook. If the person you are giving the gift to cooks a lot, give them a healthy cookbook with some great options. There are many good cookbooks that offer modifications as well as healthy recipes where there is less fat, sugar and calories. Though you may not have diabetes, I still believe the diabetic cookbook could be useful for all people attempting weight loss ( Shop around for other cookbooks as there are many out there.
8.       Lastly, the greatest gift you may give someone may be pants, a shirt, or a dress 1-2 SIZES TOO SMALL. Whenever I have received gifts of this sort, it was inspiration to lose weight to get those clothes on! Matter of fact, I often buy clothes that may be a size too small in order to motivate me to lose weight to get into it (I have had one suit that I have been trying to get into for a year with no success; I am determined that I will get into it by fall 2012).

Some of these gifts may be insults if the people you give them to are not weight conscious, or are not trying to lose weight. So please make sure these are appropriate for whom you are buying them. Nonetheless, they are all great Christmas gifts and may give a person more than the satisfaction of getting a gift from you, but also the satisfaction of weight loss. Have a Merry Christmas! Jesus is the reason for EVERY SEASON!!!

-Jenelle Robinson
(P.S. I am accepting any and all weight loss gifts from blog readers…lol)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ketchup packages on my Fries...

Have you ever placed an order for fries, or chicken nuggets, and when you received your order, the ketchup packages were in the box touching the fries?  Or the chicken nugget sauce packages were in the box touching the chicken nuggets? I hate when condiment packages are touching my food. Mainly because I have seen these same condiment packages in random places in restaurants…the floor, on tables, in people’s nasty hands (where they pick all the packages up, then decide they don’t need all of them so they put some back), etc. I don’t like the fact that these same packages could be the ones touching my food…possibly carrying some awful type of bacteria. This brings me to my topic: Food-Borne Illness. Food-borne illness comes as a result of consuming food contaminated with harmful toxins, chemicals, bacteria, parasites, etc. Food can be contaminated with things like kitchen cleaning tools, lead (in some cooking pots/pans), copper, zinc, dirt, bones, metal shavings from cans, glass, hair, etc. Just about anything you can think of can contaminate your food. Now I know that this world is full of things that have these things on them and in them. I am not ignorant of that fact. I also know that our bodies were designed to protect us against certain bacteria, etc., and our bodies know how to eliminate them if necessary. I know these things. Nonetheless, I always like to decrease the risk of obtaining any illness from some less researched bacteria. Have you seen the movie Contagion? Then you may understand my point.  
Here are 7 things you need to know in preventing cross contamination…
1.     Cook your own food. You never know what is going on in the back of somebody else’s kitchen, so you cannot control what they are doing to your food.
2.    Inspect your food. If you are going out to eat (and even at home), look at your food closely to see if there are any visible contaminants. Smell your food to make sure it doesn’t have a funny chemical smell.
3.    Wash your hands in between dealing with raw meat and dry ingredients. If you are cooking something at home, always wash your hands in between dealing with everything.
4.    Keep your refrigerator temperature at 41 degrees. This keeps your food out of the temperature danger zone, which is where bacteria could develop in your food.
5.    Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood at the bottom of the refrigerator. We do not want raw meat drippings to get on other foods in the refrigerator.
6.    Keep fruits and vegetables separate from raw meats. I even tell the cashier at the local grocer not to put my packaged raw meat in the same bag with ANY other food. I take no chances.
7.    Get rid of refrigerated leftovers after 3-4 days. You can’t always see or smell if a food is spoiled, so do this to be on the safe side.

There are many more tips I could give concerning this, but these tips are what I found to be most interesting because a lot of us don’t pay attention to them. If you would like more information on this, or more tips, let me know, and I might create another blog about it (I taught a food safety class, and this is not even a fourth of the information.). Until next time…

-Jenelle N. Robinson

Friday, December 2, 2011

Running...for exercise...

I have ran in 5 half marathons in my lifetime…one every year since 2005 (except 2009; I was in an accident where I got hit by a car while riding a bike and could not run for several months). I got into running in 2004, where I met a running group who ran 3 days a week. At the time, the most amount of miles I had ran was about 2. I had always thought that was pretty good. But this running group that I was introduced to averaged running 3-4 miles during the week (at each run), and about 6 miles on Sundays. That was a challenge for me. At least I thought it was. I remember running with them during the week, and for the first time, I was able to run about 3-4 miles each time. Then, I remember going with them to run one Sunday evening. And to my surprise, I was able to run 6 miles straight without stopping. It was amazing to me. It is amazing what you can do when you are doing it with the support of others. What was even more amazing was the way weight dropped off of me.
Running is the only exercise that I have ever done that has consistently made me lose weight. I have tried a variety of exercises including step aerobics, cardio-kickboxing/taebo, weight lifting, P90X, and Insanity. These were all fun and entertaining, and very challenging to my body. But it seemed that the only exercise that has always helped me to drop weight fast is running. Now I will say that participating in those other exercise activities definitely helped me run faster and have more endurance. But running has always been key for me.
On that note, I strongly advise you to make a goal of running in a half marathon. Maybe that is too strong of a goal for some of you, so try a 5K first. But those who believe they can train for a half marathon, start training. Lest you be intimidated, let me make this clear: I have never actually “RAN” the whole half marathon. There are many times where I have stopped and walked anywhere from one minute to 10 minutes several times throughout the race. The last race I was in, I ran 9.5 miles straight, and stopped for about 5 minutes, and then continued running the rest of the way. I had the fastest time I have ever had…2 hours and 18 minutes. In actuality, compared to many other runners, that seems to be pretty slow (10 minutes and 30 seconds a mile). But it was a challenge that I overcame, so I believe that counts for me.
If you say, I am just a walker, great! That is a start. What I would advise you to do is incorporate short bouts of sprints or jogs into your walking routine. For instance, if you are walking 1 hour a day, I would advise you to run 1 minute every 5-6 minutes of your walk. That way, you will get in at least 10 minutes of running. This will help get you started on the path to running on a consistent basis. It will become easier and easier. However, if you just want to walk and do the short bouts, that is fine. There are many people who do that the whole half marathon. Matter of fact, there are many who walk the whole MARATHON (26 miles). (FYI-I have no interest in running or walking a whole marathon. I am dog tired by the end of the half marathon, and don’t understand how people can keep running after 13.1 miles).
So what should you expect during the race? You should expect it to go by fast. Seriously. There are so many people walking and running, you will see the mile markers fast. You should also expect good music and entertainment as many groups will be located on your route. You should also expect family and friends (if they come), and people who you don’t know to be cheering you on.
So what should you expect after completing a half marathon? Maybe money if you are fast enough in your age division. But you may not want to bet on that as people travel from other countries to run in these races and win money (mostly for the whole marathon). So again, what should you expect after completing a half marathon? You should expect a pretty medal and some food. Other than that, your body will feel like jello. Your knees will be sore. Your body will feel shook up. You will more than likely me soaking wet (depending on the season). Later on, you probably will be sitting on the toilet for a while. Nonetheless, I am willing to experience all of this in exchange for the feeling I feel after crossing that finish line. It is an adrenaline rush! It feels so good! It feels like you have accomplished the supernatural! (lol). I wouldn’t trade that feeling for much of anything. I’m telling you, everybody should have the experience of feeling this at least once in their lifetime. It feels so good…
If this has motivated you to start training for a half marathon, 5K, or even a marathon, I have some resources below that may be of help to you. I hope this has been beneficial for you. Until next time…
Use this site to create your own running route within your neighborhood or surrounding areas.

This site contains a training guide for those who want to start training for a race.

Find races in your geographical area…

This site contains a list of races all over the United States.

-Jenelle Robinson