Okay, here’s the truth. I love teaching fitness classes and participants love me just the same. My dream is to travel the world as a health and fitness spokesperson. As a mom of six, I am in great shape but I train hard to look even better. I mean, it’s one thing to be an instructor, but it’s something completely different to want to be a fitness model and spokesperson. And even though I’ve dropped four dress sizes and watched my husband lose 55lbs on the Project 10 Challenge, one thing I’ve never learned to do was to “eat clean.” I had never even heard of such a thing until I dramatically changed my eating habits on the Challenge. I thought we were doing good. Until now. I mean I’m happy about the improvements we’ve made. I’m happy to be considered the “Cardio Queen,” but I’m finding that to truly change the way I look, I must change the way I eat, and that means finding out about certain foods I never would have considered.
My latest discovery?
Microwave popcorn is a health nightmare! Somebody please say it isn’t so!!!
How did I discover this? Well, like the old expression states, I, the student must be ready because teachers have been appearing in my life. And they haven’t sat me down with the harsh facts on poor nutrition, they’ve just slowly and powerfully made their presence known. And one way this has happened is that I’ve become observant of others’ food choices and why some people look amazing, and others, not so much.
For instance, just today I was looking at a friend’s Facebook page, and she had a beautiful picture of quinoa stuffed sweet peppers. Looked amazing! Except I’ve never tried quinoa, which I am not opposed to, but in the comments, she added that someone had prepared this dish for her and they added corn, but she eats no corn. Now this was interesting to me because I know this person is a cancer survivor, so I couldn’t help but wonder why she wouldn’t be eating corn.
Flashback a few months ago when my trainer told me one of the worst foods I could eat was corn, and especially microwave popcorn. Now, I heard him when he told me that, except, I wasn’t trying to hear him when he told me that, because almost each and every day of my life I make a bag of microwave popcorn around 3ish. And I do mean, almost each and every day of my life!
Thinking about my Jamaican friend and her quinoa dish and my trainer’s admonition from month’s past, I decided to Google “Is microwave popcorn bad for you?”, and why on Earth did I do that? I didn’t want to hear the truth. I want to have my afternoon treat! I love it!
Except there’s just one small, well actually, a big problem I have that I hate to confess to anyone, and that is: I hate the look of the cellulite on the back of my thighs more than the taste of the microwave popcorn. So, stumbling across my friend’s food photo and Googling this topic has humbled me.
Okay, Lord I hear you. It’s time for me to learn how to eat clean.
I’m actually pretty excited about this, but at the same time, I’m really pretty scared. I mean, I’am an African American woman who has grown up with the same cuisine most every other Black person has. I mean, I love greens and ham hocks, but I humbled myself and made the switch to smoked turkey tails. I love homemade macaroni and cheese and limit that now to just the holidays. I used to love fried chicken, which I completely gave up on, but I would continue to try to eat at Harold’s (Chi Town you know what I mean) but after giving up so many other things, Harold’s makes me ill now.
What are my last vices?
Microwave popcorn and an occasional diet soda.
I know someone will educate me about this as well, but take it easy on me. I’ve just received a resignation letter from my afternoon friend, Mr. Microwave Popcorn, mind you, and I just picked up another box today at the store. <Insert sad face here.>
But I am determined to live the life of my dreams and not have to hide behind knee length workout pants for the rest of my life. I don’t want to preach to others about the health and diet changes they need to make and not know, or face, the agony–and excitement–of changing too!
Some day I will be on stage in shorts endorsing some cool fitness outfits unafraid to show my hamstrings, so I’m going to open myself to new possibilities in my diet, not only for my sake and my thighs, but to also be a model first and foremost for my six daughters. I know it may not be easy. But it will be worth it.
ABOUT ME: Over ten years ago, I stumbled into the world of health and fitness. At the time, I had just had my fourth daughter in January, and by Spring could not fit anything in my closet. I joined a gym and began exercising with my co-workers in Deerfield at Bally Total Fitness when it opened at 5:30AM, and I lived on the North side on Fullerton and Ashland, some 20 miles away. I was desperate and determined. From there I began to teach step aerobics classes at Chicago State University where my mom worked, when an instructor cancelled at the last minute. Aside from taking a few classes at the Ballys in Deerfield, I had no formal teaching experience whatsoever. From there, I’ve gone on to acquire the American Council on Exercise (ACE) Group Exercise and Personal Training certifications, as well as certifications with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) for Group Fitness, the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) for Water Fitness, and many specialty certs for kickboxing, pre-and post-natal moms, dance, and the like. I went on to further my studies by earning my second graduate degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the California University of Pennsylvania in 2007, with my first degree being in Writing from DePaul University (1999). I love teaching and writing and the freedom it allows me to be available to my six daughters in which two are adults, two are teenagers, and the last two are twin 5yr olds. As mentioned, I attribute much of my latest health successes to the simplicity of the Body by Vi Project 10 Challenge and thank God that I am now in a position to help millions of others improve their health in the face of this daunting obesity epidemic. I am vowing to improve my own personal nutrition so as to stand against hypocrisy, but to also embrace the fullness of life God has for us all as He said in 3 Jn 1: 2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”