Get Some Self-Esteem Girl!

No truer words have been spoken.

I just came home from a date with someone I really believed was my boyfriend. We started telling each other “I love you,” and this time around (we have done this dance for a while now), things seemed to be good between us. I thought we had grown in the last few weeks in our 20+ year…whatever this is or was or what I kept fantasizing it to be.

The truth is (deep breath) he is not the one. I have history and great sex with him. I won’t bash him or label him the bad guy in this. I accepted him back into my life against my better judgment. Tonight I just feel numb.

I allowed everything. There is no one to blame. I settle for temporary comfort and in the process, I lose myself and a bit of my dignity. Am I ready to give this up? I am not sure. I just know that tonight was over the top, and I need to build my self-esteem.

I am not sure how I may do this. I know that the position I have played in this relationship has not done wonders for it. I play the part of nurturer, giver, understanding and patient girlfriend, loving friend, devoted “wifey” without demanding or expecting much in return. And that needs to stop.

What the core of me truly desires is opposite of what I am allowing in my life. I fantasize about the type of relationship I want, what it feels like to part of that, how expansive it is, how incredibly fulfilling. What I do not acknowledge is the relationship must begin with me.

I don’t know what it feels like to be loved by someone like me. I mean, I love with all my heart and am extremely loyal and generous with the person on which I am fixated. But I don’t know how it feels to have that love and devotion directed towards me. In other words, I don’t know how to love myself.

Unhealthy relationships fill the void. If I am too busy fixated on another person, food, changing jobs, blaming others, dwelling in the past, etc., I don’t have to do the work of loving myself. I have been searching for a man to do it for me, which is silly considering I had a very loving relationship with my father. My father set the bar so high and loved me effortlessly that I assumed that if I was just as devoted to my boyfriends, they would love me in that same way.

I didn’t learn how to love myself. My confidence and esteem was dependent upon others. Tonight would never have happened if I loved myself. It was the worst. Although I am numb right now, I know the pain will surface at some point. So to prepare for it, I am coming clean about my needing to boost my esteem and start loving myself.

This is day number one.

Can You Stand the….Pounds?

Let’s face it. For some of us, lugging around extra weight can be depressing and a chore. Extra weight can have us hiding out, refusing to participate in, say, LIFE!  Sure there are plus-sized sistas whom we admire – Jill Scott, Queen Latifah, and Monique – HOWEVER, these sistas have what some of us lack: CONFIDENCE and SELF LOVE.

So what’s our problem?

Loving ourselves through any difficult process can be tough task without being taught HOW or if it wasn’t instilled in us at a young age. We at Get Fit Black Girl have been there, and we’re still learning and growing. We know it takes guts to stand in front of the mirror naked and look at all the battle scars (rolls and flab) left on our bodies after years of emotional eating. And yes, we did this to OURSELVES. The scars are reminders to us that we don’t love ourselves and are afraid of others loving us too.

When you think of it in terms of love, weight DOESN’T matter. Our plus-sized sheroes listed above are a true testament. Jill, Queen Latifah, and Monique all loved themselves first before slimming down. And even though they shed the weight, they are still not what Hollywood considers the ideal body type. However, we sistas see their beauty in their smiles and that glow. We recognize that beauty from within. We celebrate their ability to translate their self-love into taking better care of their health, which started with weight loss. And as our plus-sized icons have demonstrated, we don’t have to be a size 2 to be sexy AND healthy.

So how can we love ourselves? Well, it doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’ve used food to hide the very problems you eat over like we have. One of the first steps we’ve taken towards loving ourselves is to take inventory. The inventory consists of all the hurt, pain, anger, resentment, sordid secrets, and guilt we carry around our waists, our arms, our abs, our thighs, and even under our chins. Loving ourselves means we must acknowledge it all. Unless we are able to come to terms with it, we will never be able to fully look at ourselves in the mirror, much less love what we see.

Know that the first inventory will be shocking, painful, and may create some emotional discomfort. That’s okay. Be concerned if you feel nothing. Call your BFF or that person in your life that you can trust, and bear it all. Cry it out, talk it out, and if necessary, talk with a counselor. The goal is to release the bad to embrace the good. What we’ve been hiding is our true selves, and we avoid life because we don’t know who we are.

If you’re unsure on how to begin an inventory, create three columns on a piece of paper (better to get a journal) by drawing lines vertically down the page. Head one column, “What/Whom I am resentful at.”  Label the second column, “The Cause.” And the last column, “It Affects My.” Be as detailed as possible. You can even divide the columns even further to pinpoint underlying emotions. For instance, if something happened that affects self-esteem, it may be tied up into how you behave or react. The exercise requires complete honesty, full disclosure, and a willingness to accept. Then repeat the inventory template for anger, fear, and yes, even sex. If you still need help, email us at getfitblackgirl at gmail dot com for templates to help you get started.

If one inventory is not enough, do another. Keep doing them until it becomes natural to feel GOOD! Do a daily inventory to make sure you’re emotional fitness is in tip-top shape! We no longer have to be a slave to food, nor do we have to wait until we lose weight to put ourselves on a pedestal. We deserve love and happiness. Why not start claiming it now? Why not feel good NOW?

It’s time to heal ourselves, Sistas!

It’s time to love ourselves!

The Cycle

Sooooooooo….um…how’s that New Year’s Resolution working out for ya?

For many of us, we talk a good game after the holidays. It usually starts around Christmas with a “vow.” We agree to marry our commitment to work out and cut out all the “wrong” foods from our diet. We signed up for gyms and/or registered for classes at the local YWCA. J-Hud turned many of us into Weight Watchers converts; we ran to Jenny Craig after Mariah, in her infamous high-C notes, screamed at us, “YOU CAN MAKE IT!!!”; and Janet sweet-talked us into joining Nutrisystem, despite her showing no before-and-after photos. It didn’t matter. We took her word for it and joined. We returned to our powdered drinks, our grapefruit, cabbage, and/or water diets.

For the first couple of weeks, we were going strong, committed, and lost a few pounds. Life was good! We were going to finally get back into those jeans, that dress, that bra! We felt great. Then things started to wane. Mariah was starting to get on our nerves, Janet lied to us about the food tasting so great, and we started to hate on J-Hud. How DARE she turn her back on her thick sistas? Then slowly, the bad habits returned. We gained all of our weight back, and for most of us, PLUS more. Jill Scott, Queen Latifah, and Mo’Nique all moved to the slim side of town, and sadly, so did our excuses for carrying around extra pounds. WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO OUR THICK WORLD????

Don’t despair. The upside is that you are not alone. We’ve all experienced this, THIS being “The Cycle.” We make these grand promises to ourselves to lose weight, get into shape, and then cave into bad habits. We feel defeated, which affects our attitude and confidence. Then we find ourselves at the bottom of a carton of something either gooey and cold or hot and fried. So, what can we do to avoid this cycle? Well, before we can discuss how to avoid the cycle, we have to understand the reason behind the cycle.

Our bodies are designed to use and store the nutrients from foods for energy. We can’t starve ourselves, Sistas. We have to EAT. From a biological perspective, when we starve ourselves, the body goes into “protect mode.” It will hold on to every bit of energy it has stored, which, in our case, is our fat. Our metabolism slows down, and our systems begin to break down. We feel sluggish, tired, and irritable. There is no way our bodies will have enough energy to complete regular activities much less go to the gym to work out. When we restrict ourselves, we feel deprived. We will ignore hunger, which is the body’s signal to find food, or find nutrients. At some point, we will compensate for depriving ourselves. We will overeat, usually “comfort foods” such as cakes, breads, pastas, chips, and French fries. Right? Then we find ourselves right back where we started.

So what do we do? Eating too much is the reason for the extra pounds; right? Yes and no. Yes, eating too much high-fat foods can lead to gaining weight; and no, eating too many fruits and vegetables does not lead to gaining weight. Our bodies need the nutrients from foods, not the food itself. While our appetites may tell us we want that cheesecake; our hunger tells us we want the carbohydrates, fats, and protein, or essential nutrients. Eating a wide variety of low-fat, low-calorie foods packed with nutrients is the best way to keep our bodies satisfied. We can do this by making small changes in our diet and avoid diving into a restrictive eating plan that doesn’t satisfy. If you don’t normally eat seaweed sandwiches, why choose a diet that only consists of seaweed sandwiches? If you normally eat hamburgers, substitute the beef patty for a grilled (not fried) turkey, chicken, or veggie patty. Choose a whole-grain bun and nix the cheese. Use fresh baby spinach instead of iceberg lettuce, and use mustard instead of mayo. Bake sweet potato fries instead of frying white potatoes. Have a glass of iced tea instead of soda. Ingredients matter, Sistas! Making small, permanent changes to the diet can prevent the cycle of yo-yo dieting.

Just as our bodies are designed to use and store energy (from eating nutritious foods), our bodies are designed to MOVE! However, we don’t have to jump into an Iron Maiden competition our first day. Start with 10 minutes every day. We may tell ourselves we don’t have the time, but everyone has 10 minutes. Physical fitness can happen ANYTIME. Dance, jump, electric slide while you do housework, take the stairs, or go for a walk on your lunch break at work. Whatever you choose to do, sustain it for 10 minutes, then add more minutes as you get stronger. Once your body adjusts to 10 minutes, you will want to do more. That 10-minute walk will turn into a 20-minute walk. You will eventually work your way up to an hour. You’ll begin to look for activities to challenge your strength and endurance. Don’t forget to mix it up. Boredom can kill an exercise routine. Just do YOU. Do what is interesting and fun to you. Do something that you will enjoy and make a part of your lifestyle. If you don’t like to join gyms, then don’t join gyms. If you love in-line skating, grab your skates and hit the beach!

Remember, Sistas, it took some time to pack on the pounds. It may not seem like it, but it’s true. So relax. It will take some time to lose it. Be kind to yourself and love yourself throughout the process. Maintaining a great attitude is half the battle! We’re in this together! Start slow, make small changes, and enjoy the weight-loss ride.