Food: It Affects Your Life.
November 10, 2018 | Aja West
So, for some reason, I have been talking about writing about my health and fitness journey for a long time. However, like with most things, I have procrastinated. Maybe the procrastination stems from the fact that I am a fairly busy person. Or maybe, I’ve been procrastinating on sharing because this post truly represents a lot of the changes I have made in my life – changes that I haven’t even fully come to terms with. I can say I have procrastinated mostly because this means I have to be vulnerable about the Ups and the DOWNS of my life. Even though sharing and being vulnerable can be scary, I am a firm believer in speaking my truth. So with all of that said, here goes all the feels:
After graduating from Tuskegee University exactly one year prior, I decided to finally get involved in the local alumni club here in Chicago. While in a meeting, one of my fellow alumni mentioned to another alumnus she was opening up a gym in the area and she wanted to invite everyone out for an orientation. Me, being the nosey person I am, I continued to listen and found out what time the orientation was. See at this point in my life I was already determined to make a change. Three years prior to this moment, I received a call that my older brother had a heart attack. I couldn’t believe it, at the age of 28 he was going through something that most people don’t even think about until they hit their 50s.
My Brother Loren and I the day before his Heart Attack
His doctor said the heart attack could’ve been caused by copious amounts of stress and his poor eating habits. So considering my brother had a heart attack, I had put on a little over 50lbs in 4yrs, and I was tired of not feeling comfortable in my own body, I went to that orientation and signed up, without hesitation.
The program I signed up for was a fat loss challenge, designed to help you lose 20lbs in 6 weeks. When I told a few of my friends about the program they didn’t believe me; they told me to get my money back before it was too late. But what my friends failed to realize was I was already “too late.”
Tuskegee University Homecoming 2015 🙃 I was a solid 244lbs
I was “too late” because I knowingly allowed myself to gain so much weight and now my health was on the line. This program was my only option – my saving grace.
So for 6 weeks, I woke up at 5 am every day, to make it to my 40 min workout class by 5:30am. I changed my eating habits drastically. I went for chips and cookies on a regular to broccoli and chicken breast. I went from working out maybe once every 2 weeks to working out 5 days a week! From drinking about 3 bottles of water a day to a little under a gallon a day. I went from not knowing what I was eating for lunch, to having every meal prepped for the week. For those 6 weeks, all that mattered was the food I placed in my body. I knew I needed to make a change BUT DANG! I didn’t know it was going to be THAT difficult. I was hungry, tired and irritable, but most importantly I was focused and determined! I had an awesome support group who motivated me the entire way!
My Support System: #530AmWarriors. Peep my lil Bicep tho 🤗
After the 6 weeks I lost 19lbs. I was mad as hell I didn’t lose all 20lbs, but that 1 pound drove me to complete the program 2 more times and to just keep going – keep fighting for my life. So 3 Challenges and 1 year membership later I’m down 60lbs! I am proud of myself for losing so much weight however my journey is ongoing. It has forced me to grow in so many aspects of my life. I still workout and push myself to eat right and remain focused.
(l-r) Homecoming 2015, TGFLC Christmas Party 2017; 60lbs lighter
My purpose is to share my experiences as to hopefully encourage or inspire someone else to change their life for the better. But there is one thing people must understand:
FOOD IS LIFE.
Photo by Thought Poets Opinion
Me, thinking about how Food is life 😉
Besides water, food is what keeps us alive. It provides us with the nutrients we need to function every day. So what you put into your body is what you get out. I’m not saying “stop eating the things you love,” I’m saying “Eat those things in moderation.” Yea I eat Kit-Kats and Smoked Gouda Triscuits from time to time (DON’T SLEEP ON THE SMOKED GOUDA BABY!); however, I know I have to eat more spinach and drink more water on those days. I have to have more ‘good eating days’ than ‘bad eating days’.
So just ask yourself the following questions:
Do I eat enough veggies?
Do I drink enough water?
Do I have more ‘good eating days’ than bad?
Do I have a solid support system?
Is it time to make a change in my life?
You don’t need to answer these right away, but always remember a) you are your own biggest critic
Photo by Thought Poets Opinion.
After you think about this questions, answer them with a realistic goal that fits your lifestyle. Understanding that your journey is unlike anyone else’s, focus on self improvement rather than peer comparison. The truth is it's difficult to do what is necessary to gain back control over your life, but it is in fact necessary. So fight for your life, and love every inch and curvy and fold of your body along the way. YOUR BEST SELF IS YET TO COME!
Photo by Thought Poets Opinion
Love You - A.G.W.