Posted in Achievement, Healthy Living, Inspiration, Mindfulness, New Thoughts, Self-Care, Women's Health

Fitting Forty: Re-Born!

Happy first post of the year! This post was done this date accidentally on purpose. Accidentally because I almost forgot I self proclaimed today January 29th was my reborn date and on purpose because it makes sense for my first post is on my self-proclaimed my reborn date.

Why do I call today my reborn date? I am so glad you asked! Four years ago today, I took my life into my own hands.  I was 467 pounds. I was recently released from the hospital because I was having heart palpitations. I thought I was having a heart attack because of the severity of my symptoms. The doctors decided to keep me overnight so they can run more tests. It turned out that it was just my blood pressure elevated that caused the palpitations. The doctor prescribed me another medication to take along with the ones I was taking at the time. After they handed me the prescription, they told me if I did not do something about my weight, it could be worse.

I had to get serious about my health or I was not going to survive long. After much mulling and reflection, January 29th, 2014 was the day I joined the gym at my workplace and made appointments with doctors at the University of Chicago to get my health together.  I got on a nutrition plan, checked in with a doctor for 6 months, and lost 75 pounds by October of 2014. I then had surgery to help me lose the remaining weight and I have not looked back since.

I often get questions about my weight lose as in what did you eat, what exercises did you do, who helped you etc. I answer all of them truthfully including having weight loss surgery. I talk more extensively about my weight loss journey in a book that I wrote called “Fightings and Fears” which will be release later on this year. The question that I get the most is how did you start? I answer that question as well but it is not the way people expect me to answer. I tell them that I changed my mind.

If you look up the definition of being reborn, you will see a rebirth or rejuvenation. Other definitions are in the sense of a more religious experience often time depicted in Christianity as accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. My favorite definition is actually to become alive again after death. See, when I say I changed my mind, I am actually saying that I decided to live. My first mindset was of death. It was of death because I was destroying myself with my bad habits and not taking care of myself. When I decided to live, I become alive again. I decided to treat my body better. I decided to eat better, I decided to get help. I chose life. I became reborn.

I have been living this reborn life for 4 years. My physical abilities have grown tremendously but that is not the surprising part of this journey. The most profound part of this journey is I think differently. My mind has no limits. I actually believe I can do anything I put my mind to. I believe that because I chose life. When you choose life, you choose to be the best you YOU can be! It may be a simple concept, but I have found that most humans are more comfortable with holding on to complex issues rather than cleaving to simple wisdom. Choosing life isn’t difficult but it can be uncomfortable especially when you have done things certain ways for so long. What say you Beloved? You ready to choose? Are you ready to be reborn?

  • Camm
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Posted in Achievement, Healthy Living, Inspiration, Mindfulness, New Thoughts, Self-Care, Women's Health

Fitting Forty: Blow Your Trumpet!

 

In case you did not know, 2017 is coming to a close. Shocker! With the close of a year; one may start to look at how they are closing the year, making New Year’s resolutions (behold the new gym memberships), reflecting how the closing year went for them, or all the above!

2017 was rough for a lot of people. I know this because I see this in almost every other social media status I read from January 2, 2017! I guess January 1st wasn’t as bad.

All bad joking aside, 2017 was rough. For me, I know that I lost dear friends that transitioned, dear friends have lost parents, and I found myself reflecting on my own Father’s death because New Year’s Day 2012 was the day he died. I would find myself getting extremely depressed. That ebb was coming to me but I was reminded, and I quote, “We owe people, so we pay by continuing on”. With that being said,  I close my eyes and I think of my accomplishments and I can hear dad saying, “You did good kid”.

It felt a little funny affirming myself at times because it was like I was bragging or I was being high minded.  I recently read an article on Forbes.com entitled “5 ways ‘Humility’ is keeping Women Stuck and Afraid” by Kathy Caprino. One of the things she said was, “Women are being trained by society to be modest, unassuming, to avoid being seen as haughty, proud or assertive. Despite how far we’ve come in supporting the equality of both men and women, we haven’t yet challenged this concept well enough, that in order for women to be considered feminine, appealing, or acceptable, they have to be unassertive, submissive, agreeable and pleasing at all times. And men are not receiving this same cultural message”.

I do not disagree with this quote but I would argue that the “training of modesty or humility” by society is not just an epidemic placed on women alone. I also feel this is training that is pushed even more so on people of color especially black women. I could go on and on about that but I will save my thoughts for another blog post. In the meantime, look up the hashtag #blackwomenatwork to prepare.

Here is the thing. There is absolutely, positively, vehemently, NOTHING WRONG WITH BOASTING IN YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS! NOTHING AT ALL! YOU SHOULD DO IT EVERYDAY! EVERY HOUR! HELL, EVERY MOMENT YOU CAN SPARE! There isn’t anything wrong with telling yourself that you are awesome, wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, or one of my favorite words…DOPE!

I personally achieved milestones in 2017 that I never thought I would be able to reach. I got a new position in the company I was working for which caused an increase in salary. I participated in 10 5k’s this year adding up to over 35 miles ran and raised money for the various causes the 5k’s were for. I participated in singing background for 6 amazing artists in Chicago that ended up in a web video series and singing on stages in front of hundreds of people. I danced on stage with Jody Watley (google her millennials!)  I maintained a healthier lifestyle and managed to keep very little fluctuations in my weight. I added more strength training to my workouts so I got stronger and developed more muscles. I began adopting more self-care practices. I started writing more which resulted in this blog and a book I plan on releasing in 2018. I hosted a comic con in a different state that attracted fans from all over the United States. I hosted a podcast with the creator of the Motor City Black Age of Comics and Urban Style Comics that has a solid following of thousands. I traveled, A LOT! I also managed to record a song that ended up on International Radio that stayed in rotation for the better part of December! Mind you, I screamed when I heard the song playing because it blew my mind that was happening!

Despite the roughness, 2017 also was pretty good to me. If I would to garner anything from this year, it would be to walk forward and hold my walk in sustaining energy and power! I don’t walk in this forward motion for kicks and giggles. I walk forward because my gifts and talents are also a source of inspiration for myself and others. I hear that on the regular that I am an inspiration. Do you think that does not make me feel good? Of course it does! But it isn’t just so somebody else to tell me things to make me feel good. It’s so I can look at myself in the mirror and say YOU DID THAT!

Confidence and being proud is not wrong nor is it a lost art only bestowed on a few. It is there for anyone who sees it and runs with it. We forget to toot the proverbial horn that we own at times. I will do my best not to forget any longer. So if you ask me, “Are you humble?” My answer would be an emphatic “HELL NO”! I am DOPE! Not only am I dope, I continually look for ways for my dopeness to increase and spread to others! I am fearfully and wonderfully made so why would I be humble?

I know I lost a few of you there but stay with me. The definition of humility is: A modest or low view of one’s own importance. I do not have a low view of my importance because to say I am not important is a lie. To have a low view of myself is an insult to the one who created me! Again, if I am fearfully and wonderfully made, why would I be humble? To put both views in the same statement would be an oxymoron resulting in an untruth. Does this viewpoint mean I think I am better than others? No it does not. It means that I recognize the greatness in myself (my potential) and I en-devour to sharpen my greatness every chance I get.

Do yourself a favor. Before this year is up and you start singing “Auld Land Syne” (A song that NOBODY knows all the words to especially after consuming one too many adult beverages), look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you are awesome! Better yet when you tell yourself that, believe it. If you don’t believe you are awesome and start making it a habit to tell yourself you are awesome, you will start to believe you are AWESOME! Carry that belief into 2018 and beyond!

Like Dad would say, “You did good kid!”

 

Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes on Google Android 8.1

Have a Happy New Year!

-C A M M

 

 

Posted in Inspiration, Mindfulness, New Thoughts, Self-Care, Women's Health

Fitting Forty: Know Your Worth

I remember well the night my Father died. It was a Sunday and first day of the new year in 2012. He was very quiet that day, as he had been since his illness progressed. I would look in on him from time to time. My mom went in a few times as well to make sure he was doing okay. Later that night, I was getting ready for bed. My mom came downstairs where I was and looked very strange. I returned her gaze with fear for the worst and asked what’s wrong. She replied, “Cindy, I think your Father past away”.

I remember leaping out of bed which was an amazing feet for me since I was over 460 pounds at the time. I ran upstairs into my Dad’s room and yelled at him. “Wake up!” I screamed, but I did not get a response. I started to shake him violently screaming at him to wake up, but I again no response. I then realized that the day I was preparing for, but not really prepared for finally came. My Father died.

I immediately fell to the ground. Screaming, wailing, and beating the floor were my actions. Inconsolable was my place I resided and for a moment it seemed I was not coming back. I then remembered I had work to do. I had to get up and start contacting the different parties on my “In case Dad dies” list. I had to call the hospice nurse to confirm he was dead. Once she came over and confirmed his death, I had to call the cremation society to have his body removed. In tandem, my mom and I started to call family members to also tell them the news and to let them know what the future arrangements were.

The night my Father died, I died too. It was some years later that I realized that I did in fact die. The reason why is because the person I was then versus now is very different. I was a person that was very reliant on my parents. I second guessed everything I did. I was also constantly seeking the approval of others. When my Dad got sick, I had to grow up fast. I became everything to him. I was the caregiver, the chauffeur, the cook, the accountant, the decision maker, everything. In a way, we switched roles and I was the parent whether I wanted to be or not. When he died, and ever since, I could not stay in a sadden state no matter what. I had and continue to take action.

I noticed now that I am a person that is constantly doing. Even after I get news that does not sit well with me, I make myself keep going and I make my circle hold me accountable to keep going.  I tell you no lies, it is hard to do. I am human. I feel, I hurt, I get sad, I get low, and I sometimes want to quit, but I can’t and I won’t. I have to, I must, go on.

When the services and the burial of my Father was finally over. I realized that I was still grieving. I decided to get therapy. In those sessions, the therapist allowed me to get my feelings out whether I had to cry or cuss. She also taught me that in the mean time, my Father would had wanted me to go on and live my life. From that point, I started learning ways to give myself care. I had to re-learn prayer, to meditate, to journal and other vehicles to take myself to a place of wholeness.

In the process of becoming a whole person (which I still am learning to do), I learned my worth. I tell myself you are good, you are wonderful, you are amazing, and you are loved. You are passionate and you can do anything you set your mind to do. This is not being haughty. This is staying in the practice of loving myself. These are tools I use to continue.

Life is difficult at times. It can be stressful and overwhelmingly cruel but it is worth living. In the most difficult times, its important to care for yourself, affirm yourself and love yourself. I heard someone say that no one has to care. They don’t have to care about your accomplishments, your well-being, nothing. But here is the thing, even if no one has to care, YOU should! You should care enough for the entire world because when you do, others cannot help but to see the light in you. Keep going. Don’t stop. Practice the principle of specificity (Specific adaptations to impose demands). You will make it to your destiny.

  • CAM

 

Posted in Healthy Living, Post a week, Self-Care, Women's Health

Fitting Forty: All for Health’s Sake

An integral part about getting older is really being conscious about your health and well being. Let’s face it, you are no spring chicken and your body sends subtle (and no so subtle) hints this is the case. I know for me my hints come in the morning. Picture the sun starting to send it’s rays through your bedroom window. Your eyes start to flicker as you hear a faint tune of Morning Song by Grieg playing in your head (at least you wish because what you actually hear it that stupid alarm on your phone going off at 6:00 am in the morning!)  I am sorry, let’s go back to the ethereal scene. You then smile thinking of how great it is to be alive, how you are going to just Carpe Diem the hell out of the day, and then you decide to sit up and hear CRUNCH! That will be the sound a few joints you have to rub while you desperately try to gather yourself out of bed! Yeah, that did not happen when you were in your twenties! That was a case of cold reality hitting you in the face like a bucket of ice water!

This comes with the territory. Joints not always responding like how you want, your body not really doing what you want it to do, and you wanting to find some relief in it all. You think, should I exercise? Should I eat better? Should I go to the doctor? Should I drink this entire bottle of wine I picked up from the grocery store on my way home from work (Riesling being the favorite.)? I am going with wine!

Although wine is good choice for any occasion, getting older means being more serious about how your body is functioning. Since this is all about being 40 (read the title), I personally met another health milestone I had to take care of. The dreaded mammogram! Now, the only reason why I call it dreaded was because I would listen to my mom describe to me in mitigated detail her experience with mammograms. She described the cold plates. The two plates coming together like a car compactor smashing your breasts together and squeezing your very existence making you regret being a woman! Also, the walk of shame leaving the room because you subjected yourself to this torture!

I had all of these thoughts in my head when it was time to get my mammogram. I first had to get over the whole I am actually old enough to be considered to get this done part. When I got through that, I had to get past all the stories and the building fear coming to roost in my throat! “Okay Cynthia”, I said to myself, “Put on your big girl panties and take this like a soldier!” I step in the lab where the machine is, follow the instructions of the lab tech, and went through all the different positions and squeezing. My conclusion was that the mammogram was not that bad. The lab tech was also very nice and walked me through everything because she knew it was my first time and I was a bit nervous. But can you blame me???

Accepting this whole mammogram business is all a part of being very aware of your age and health, at least it was for me. Leading up to the mammogram, my doctor and I had a chat about what women of my age should be doing in order to maintain their health and well being. Here are a few things women in their forties should be doing:

  1. Do regular check ups with your primary care physician to make sure they have a base line for your overall well being and can monitor any changes. This should be done at least once a year.
  2. When reaching your Forties, get a mammogram to make sure your breast health is in order. If the breast have no abnormalities, this does not have to be done for another 10 years.
  3. Do self checks breast exams. Feel for any lumps or bumps. If you feel one, see your doctor to check them to make sure they are not cancerous. Often time lumps and bumps can be a result of acne or just cyst that are harmless, but it is good to stay on the side of caution.
  4. Stay on top of your pap smears. My doctor said you should getting one every 1 to 3 years. Also if you are sexually active, make sure to get tested for any sexually transmitted diseases. Getting tested should happen every six months to be on the cautious side.
  5. Adopt a healthier way of eating and exercise. The older you get, the more you are subject to heart disease which is the number one killer of women but often times can be prevented by making changes in this area to keep your heart healthy and happy!
  6. Find a way to live a more stress free life. Pick up a hobby or do something for yourself to make you feel good! No one can be better to yourself than you!

Getting older is inevitable but it does not have to be a strain or something to loathe. The best way to embrace your age is to make sure your health is in order. I said it before, I am in better shape and my health is better now at 40 than at 30. That is only because I decided to take the necessary steps to get that way. It was not rocket science, it was just taking one step at a time. Remember, only you can make this life the best for you. No one else can do it for you. You only have one life to live. Make the best of it!