So if you’ve been following me and my fashion for a while, you’ll not be surprised that I was totally geeked out upon learning that my beloved Anthropologie was planning to launch a plus size division. It claimed to garner the same high-quality boho-chic trends that I’d come to love and wear – that is, as long as the material had enough lycra for these hips. And in most cases in the past, it did not. But over the years, there were still a few pieces I’d been able to slide my way into, and I’m happy to say those are still in rotation. However, knowing that the store I’d frequent if only for the sale racks (because the way my account is set up) would soon be carrying plus made my already anxious budget scream a little bit louder. Sorry, not sorry. Momma’s going shopping. Continue reading “Anthropologie goes A+!”
What’s better than a little black dress? Black separates! Especially when you want to have a little more control over specialty sizing (read: your waist to hips ration is off the chain). That’s what I wore to a special assembly event at Stanley Theater in New Jersey this past weekend. It was pretty chilly, but didn’t warrant boots and I still wanted to be modest and cute. I highlighted the all-black attire with yellow suede wooden-heeled pumps and blue fringed earrings with yellow and highlights.
Details on where to purchase these or similar items below. Continue reading “What I Wore: Black Pencil skirt and Yellow Pumps”
So I have been on a mission. This mission has been started and stopped many times before (like for years… don’t judge me) but this time, I feel like I’ve actually gotten my mind and body on the same page. Like, they’re friends now. And if you’ve been on this mission before, you probably know exactly what I am talking about. Continue reading “Scale Wars… Issa Journey.”
So I was scared. Or maybe like anxious, a bit more than nervous, definitely uneasy. I had shadowed Patrice for the past two months as an internship was the last step to finally complete the qualifications for my Personal Trainer certification. So I knew her. I knew her workouts. Shoot, I helped teach and coach her workouts. But I wasn’t a client. At least not yet. Not until now. Now, I would be on the receiving end of those “keep going, butt down, c’mon don’t stop, work, work!” So yea, I’m not gonna lie. I was scared. Or, maybe like anxious. A bit more than nervous, definitely uneasy.
I’ve had trainers before. More than a few. Ones I remember more interested in taking me out than working me out, one that pushed me so hard I threw up in the locker room and could barely walk for two days, one that made me feel like I was wasting my time and my money… just never a great fit. And although I knew Patrice was an excellent trainer, I’d put her more in the “throwing up in the locker room” category (sorry, P!). She was tough. And even though I work hard and am very dedicated, I have weak forearms and weigh 240lbs. I have hips, curves, tummy, and booty and although I can style and clothe this body of mine like nobody’s business, fashion doesn’t exactly equal success in the gym. In the gym, every roll, jiggle, and bounce would work against my jumps, sprints, and lifts. And I thought about all of that on my way to the gym.
But on the way I continued. Taking my fear and stuffing it into my gym bag, I stepped up in there like I was born to sweat (knowing good and well I tossed and turned the entire night before).
And Patrice kicked my tail.
No, for real. It was brutal. Pound for pound, she made a big girl work. Jumps, squats, dumbbells, running, it was not a game. And like I said – I’m not new to working out! But this was a bit different. Not harsh, or mean, but tough. Really tough. I thought I was prepared but the truth is when you’re you’re never really prepared. Never really ready. You just have to decide you want to be better, and go forth in that direction. One foot in front of the other, come what may. Once you make that decision, that no matter what happens, you will conquer this task, climb that mountain, whatever is it is – then you move. You jump. You squat. You climb. You cry. You run. But you move. And move is what I did. For that hour and 18 minutes, yes I counted, I moved. And it was hard, and it was grueling, but I did it. Then the day after that, I did it again. And then a few days later, I was back again. And that was almost three weeks ago. Yea… I’m kinda proud.
So I am not a size 12. Nor a 10, nor a 6, nor a 4. In fact, if you take a 1 and put it in front of that 4, that’s where you’ll find me. 14. Not Macy’s or Nordstrom 14. But Fashion to Figure, Torrid 14. And that’s when I’m not moonlighting at a 16. Cute and funny, curvy and confident (most days), active and creative. All words that could aptly describe the woman I am and strive to be. So why does a 34 years young woman who once walked in fashion shows as a full-figured model now pursue a career as a fitness consultant and personal trainer? Four words: because I want to.
I’d always admired runners. Envied those who did track and field. Long, lean bodies that moved with ease. I’d see them in the mornings as I’d commute to work and think I wish I was out there running, too. But I was a thick girl and the way my body was set up…. (cue Kevin Hart). Still, even though I didn’t run, I played basketball, football, tennis. I was active, but thick. In fact, I don’t remember ever being small. I was smaller than I am now, but never small. And that was hard growing up. I still loved me, curves and all – but I hated not being able to shop in the same stores as my smaller friends, my sister, my mom. I don’t have any horror stories of being teased or bullied about weight, but I do remember always wanting to be fit. To not have to wear suck-it-in shape-wear with a fancy dress, or to not have my thighs chaff under a sundress on a hot, summer day was a dream. And as the years grew longer, I grew wider. So I dibbled and dabbled in different diets, work out plans, gym memberships, bandwagon fads, soups, juices, pills, you know – stuff. And needless to say… (don’t make me say it.)
Enter the curvy girl revolution. Despite my silent battles with my up and down weight, I still remained at least from the outside looking in, extremely confident. I had become a self-published author and spoken word artists doing college tours and national features. I traveled internationally, climbed up the corporate ladder in the field of IT, developed my skills and credentials as a freelance makeup artist, held somewhat healthy relationships in love (that’s for another blog story lol), but I mean I was seemingly doing well! I even had the opportunity to walk in several fashion shows featuring full-figured women. Not just local mall type stuff. I mean real events: lights, runways, cameras, promotions, money. And it was amazing! I met some of the most beautiful, confident, strong, and talented women. Some of them I still have the pleasure to connect with, and admire. I think deep curves and wide hips are a beautiful thing, and I want my curves to stay! But when I looked back, especially at the footage from poetry and fashion shows I would do, I was always a bit uncomfortable with the silhouette I saw. I was fabulous – please don’t get me wrong. Mama stayed fly. I highly believed (and still do believe) you can look good at any size. But for me, personally, I wanted to look good at another size. A healthier size. And for me that size, fully equipped with wide hips, shapely curves, and all things lovely didn’t have a number, just a feeling.
So I went to work on attaining that feeling. And like most journeys on the road to success, my path has not been a straight one. But in addition to working out and cutting out (or back on) fast food and sugary sweets, I came into contact with JJ Smith and her 10-day green smoothie cleanse, which accelerated my weight loss and my confidence. After about a year of teetering back and forth between her green smoothies and other health tips I found along the way, I managed to drop a good 30-35lbs along with inches. I drank more water, my skin cleared up, and I gained muscle. And since consistency is one of the things I struggle with greatly, I probably would’ve had more progress had I stayed the course. But I say again, the path is not straight. At JJ’s health conference in the summer of 2015, I took the training to become a certified Green Smoothie Personal Coach and spent the following year helping over 20 individuals detox, have less brain fog, more energy, lose inches, and on average 10-15lbs in 10 days. I LOVED the way that felt. It wasn’t even all about the weight loss – those 10 days helped people feel better and have more confidence that small changes could bring about great results in their lives, if they wanted them. Even though I was still on my journey to a better me, I realized I could help others on their personal journey as well.
So that same year, I enrolled in the Personal Fitness Training Certification program offered thru W.I.T.S. at the local community college. I didn’t necessarily reason at the time that I wanted to be a personal trainer. I mean I was still well over 200 lbs, and still am, but I knew I wanted to learn more about fitness and how to push myself to reach the goals I had set. Can I just tell you that was an emotional 9 weeks of training? Not only was I the largest woman in class – I was the largest person in the class! Try sitting in a room with physically fit people talking about fitness and then dealing with your own internal feelings of “why are you even here?” I definitely had to overcome a few challenges to make it thru. But I did. Even with continuing to work my 9-5 and keeping up with my spiritual volunteer work, I studied hard, paid attention, and aced both my written exam and practical. The only thing left to officially become a Certified Personal Trainer was a 30hr internship with a more experienced certified trainer and a quick class on CPR.
And here it is, almost a full year later and I have just now finally started my internship. In fact, I have til the end of May to turn in these final requirements or my entire course will be null and void. I know what your thinking: Why did I wait so long to get it done? Sadly simple: I let my own fears and insecurities get in the way of finishing what I started. Even though I was confident in the beginning, as I backslid in my nutrition and workouts over the months, I allowed negative thoughts to creep in and remind me that fluffy girls aren’t personal trainers. Sure, I inquired of a few gyms on the recommended list – left voicemails and sent emails to potential bosses. Even reached out to trainer or too I knew personally. But when they weren’t returned for whatever the reason, it was as if they, too, were looking at all this chunky and saying to me it couldn’t be done. A bit over dramatic, I know. But it is what it is, and it held me back. The further away from my classes I went, the less likely it felt like I could be qualified to train.
However, sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Negative thoughts or not, I spent a lot of money and time and energy in those classes and I was so close to the end. I realized I had motivated a lot of people on my journey – and they were rooting for me and waiting for me to succeed. Shoot, I have a list of people right now who are waiting for me to start accepting clients. So I got on with it. I put out a call to all my Facebook friends to shout out their favorite trainers. I sent out messengers, a call for help, and followed up. And even though I still received a few no’s, that eventually led me to the awesome Patrice Jones, personal trainer at Shytimba Extreme Fitness. And with our crazy schedules, it was a rocky start for us as well now that we’re connected, she has been nothing less than amazing. I’ve already shadowed her on a few training sessions and eagerly look forward to doing and learning more.
So what to say to wrap up this incredibly long backstory? Follow your dreams just sounds way too corny. That just won’t do. But what I will say is set a goal and embrace the journey. Sometimes in order to get where you want to be, you ultimately will go thru a few different rounds of what you thought you wanted to be. I know I did. And that can be a hard realization. To put so much into something and then realize hey, I think I want to do something else. But it happens. It’s happening for me right now. I’m a thick, fluffy girl who loves her curves but also wants to be more fit. One who doesn’t much care for a thigh gap but wants to run a 5k without stopping to walk. I am excited. I am scared. I am optimistic. I am a lot of things. But I think what I most am is determined. And as I continue on this journey of fluffy ‘n fit, I promise to take you with me for the ride.
xoxo from your future Personal Trainer,
I promise you I awoke with the best of intentions. And yes, I know it’s Monday. What’s the cardinal rule? Never miss a Monday. Never. So even though I went to bed with a slight headache already fully aware I’d want to sleep past the third alarm, I knew come morning I would throw on my workout clothes and be prepared to sweat at some point during the day. I mean look at the photos… I’ve been doing pretty well. Kind of. But here it is almost 9:30 pm and I am still in these blasted workout clothes… sans sweat.
Now why am I confessing my workout (or lack thereof) sins on the worldwide net? Accountability. A girl has goals, and missing today does not get me any closer to that for which I am striving. And, ok… if I’m going to be totally honest, my eating wasn’t on point either. I mean some of it was. I just cooked and polished off this grilled skinless chicken breast and roasted brussel sprouts and it was delicious! But the leftover mini-cupcakes and cookies from Sunday’s cook-off, also delicious, were on the menu as well and for that I pat this belly in shame.
Oh the struggle for the thicky with goals. But I digress…
In a few days, I travel for a friends wedding and cannot guarantee I will be on my A-game. A long-time girlfriend I haven’t seen in years is hosting me for the week and she already informed me plans have been set and the wine has been bought. So rather than beat myself up on what’s looking to be an amazing trip, I have devised a game plan for once I return. Total beast mode. Nutrition. Training. Sweat. Because while I love being a full-figured cutie, health over beauty so I will tame these curves and lift those weights. It’s all set and I am looking forward to it. Truthfully.
But til then, I hang my head in sugar-coated shame and apologize to the www for missing this Monday. I’ll do better tomorrow. Promise.