How I fell in love with my body!
I have been blessed to be raised by an amazing woman who always had an abundance of energy. I always remember my mom being active and hands on with us. She played with us and kept up with our hectic schedules. But I also remember her challenges with her weight, especially after her last pregnancy. I have seen my mother go from we can share clothes to I need a whole new wardrobe because nothing fits. Size 4 to size 14. I noticed what lifestyle, children, work, depression, and bad habits do to a woman’s body. From eating rice every day to working overnight, smoking cigarettes and having a third kid at 33… it all took a toll on her weight. This was lesson number 1.
Lesson number 2, came in a more positive way. My cousin was always known for her curvaceous body, big booty, and beautiful smile. Like me, she was raised with women who didn’t take control of their body and let nature take its course, although that led them to obesity and diabetes. She inspired me as she took control of her body at a younger age. She became super educated in nutrition and fitness and learn how to treat her body as a temple. When I gave birth to my daughter, I went from being 163 pounds to 180-184 pounds. I then went through a horrible year where I lost my grandfather and went through a break up. I remember going out with everyone one night in June and taking a picture that I didn’t even recognize who I was. I was pudgy, round, double chinned, and just fat! I didn’t like who I saw. I begged my cousin to teach me her ways and I promised her one night a week and cleaner eating. I worked out for a full year, and periodically gave up bread and rice. I changed my eating habits as I was taught rice goes with every meal… BUT IT DOESN’T! I gave up soda and I watched my juice intake. I worked out every Wednesday for a full year. Yes, I probably should have worked out more but hey... with a new born, and newly single, spare time was limited. A year later I found myself back at 163, and rocking a cute crop top. I gave my body patience, dedication, and hope. And it paid off.
Then it was time to take it up a notch. I was at a point in life where friends were busy, I was bored, and tired of my routine. Through Instagram I found a trainer that was holding fitness boot camps on Wednesdays. I thought to myself this was a great way to challenge myself. Be more social, change my work out habits, and tone up. April 2016, I showed up at Riverbank State Park in Harlem, conveniently 3 blocks away from my mother who would babysit or come watch me with my daughter. His and Hers Boot Camp became my thing. I loved it. I loved the trainer Brandon, as he reminded me of my brothers, and I love the people as it wasn’t pretentious, competitive, or snobby. Everyone who worked out came at all levels but with the mind state that we were going to do this together. When I first started working out with HHBCNY I couldn’t run the whole track, let alone ¾ of it. I couldn’t do 10 consecutive burpees, and I definitely couldn’t do 50+ squats. But I kept coming back. And each time I ran a little further, I did a little more sets, and I felt the difference. I also met amazing people who now I call friends. We would talk about everything at camp and more often than not laughed as much as we sweated. HHBCNY made Wednesday my favorite day of the week.
On March 8th 2017, HHBCNY held a special Wednesday Women’s Day boot camp. I was excited to see so many beautiful women come out and celebrate this day by taking the time to celebrate and love their temple. The amazing thing about this night was that I got to go with my cousin. The one that motivate me to start working out in the first place. Seeing her from the corner of my eye, and seeing all the new friends I have made, and seeing how far my body has come made me feel immensely proud and in love with my body. Brendon celebrated International Women’s day in the best way he could and I am so proud to have been amongst the 43 women who took over that field on a cold night but kicked ass.
As where I am now in my journey. After that camp I now take private training with Brendon to focus on my problem areas. I am 153 pounds now, which I haven’t seen in about 6+ years. I still have stretch marks, my stomach is not flat, my arms need more work BUT I feel amazing. My energy is on 1000 and I feel great all around. What else has changed has been my focus. I always worked out to look better in clothes, for vacation pictures, or to battle depression. Now I work out to build strength, to give my body the time it deserves, and to be healthy. I want my daughter to see a great example of what taking care your body can do for you.
I encourage you to love your body. To look at your body naked and understand this is your canvas. It takes time. My daughter is now 3 and I started with one day a week but I got to a better place, with time and patience. It doesn't happen over night and it does hurt but that pain becomes the pain you rather have than the pain from depression or low self esteem. No matter where you are, love your body first and then it will all set off. You will want to take care of it and teach others around you how to love themselves. I now love my Wednesday because I get to see my friends do something positive for themselves, and once summer comes... we will be one hot group!
Special love and credit to @getfitwitjsantana & @hisandhersbcny