Stress-Loss vs. Weight-Loss


Let me start by quoting Timbaland and Aaliyah. “It’s been a long time since I left you, without a dope beat to step to…step to.. step to.”  Yes, I haven’t blogged in years but I’m a firm believer in “if you don’t have nothing good to say….” I’ve got something good, shall I say great to say.  I hope it frees your hearts and minds in the areas of weight-loss and achieving your fitness goals.  Ok…are you ready…..”RELAX!” Yes, relax yourself.  Studies have proven that people who sustain high stressful lifestyles are more likely to have high cortisol levels which results in weight gain.  Most of my clients think that the first step is hiring me to train them.  After three weeks, they may feel and look better but they are disappointed because they are not skinny.  The first step is to make the decision that you want to be healthy, define the specific goal, create a wellness plan (hire a coach if needed), and RELAX.

First, let’s breakdown the the most important step, “decision.” This occurs when you make up your mind to do something different.  Your thoughts create a belief system that determine your words, actions, habits, and lifestyle.  The end game of weight-loss is to create a new lifestyle or a new blueprint for the way you want to look and feel.  This thought changing process will not happen over night.  I always ask my clients, “how long did it take you to gain this weight?” Most of them respond with “years!”  Therefore, you shouldn’t expect to take it off overnight.  We have years of misinformation trapped in your mind.  We have to train and educate it.”  We need “mind-time.”  Yes, its recommended that a person must spend a minimum of 300 minutes per week to achieve weight loss and/or create a deficit of 3500 calories in order to lose a pound.  But you also need to spend time each day, re-thinking, re-training, and challenging your mind to produce healthy thoughts.  In order to achieve this, you must RELAX.

How to Relax

Find a place, create a space in your home where there are no interruptions. It can be your bedroom or office where  no spouses/partners, kids, family members, and definitely co-workers are not allowed to disrupt your thoughts.  Change the atmosphere, light candles, play classical or relaxation music.  Breathe deeply, close your eyes, give all of your troubles to God(if you are a believer) and picture the  ideal day in your life.  The ideal image of yourself, where you are happy, healthy, glowing, and feeling comfortable in your skin.  I ask my clients to start with 5 minutes a day for one week.  Once you become addicted to meditation and relaxation, you will crave it for 15 minutes or more each day.

I know you have busy schedules and you really want to get off the high blood, cholesterol, or borderline diabetic drugs.  I know you want to enjoy shopping again or feeling comfortable in your favorite outfit.  I know you lack energy that you desperately need to spend time with your kids and family, but you have to incorporate “mind-time” in your stress-loss and eventual weight-loss goals.

Miss you Aaliyah…you were “one in a million!”

Stop saying that!- By Jowanda Durham

Stop aiming for perfection!  I’ve been training people for a while and I’m tired of the self verbal abuse. We are all guilty of it. I personally have this annoying little piece of fat that causes the ugliest dimple on my upper left hamstring. I don’t care if I fast, workout like a maniac, or do cardio 2 hours a day- it will be there in the morning. I’m very fit. I lift and run with the best of them and my body is not perfect.

Enjoy every victory!

I love it when my clients lose inches or a few pounds. I really love it when they reach a new fitness plateau. I always congratulate them on the small victories. But every time I compliment them I hear “yea but I still got that little jiggle under my arm” or “my thighs are still too big” or my favorite “I still won’t wear a bikini.” Ok, take a deep breath. The proper response to any compliment is “thank you.” That’s it. Stop talking about the parts of your body that you hate(and no one else notices).  If someone says your arms are great- take it! Don’t remind them that your left butt cheek is still drooping.  Let’s think about this curse of perfection. If you dwell on the negative little parts of your body, you are saying that you want to be perfect. Nobody is perfect and no one has a perfect body. You can ask every magazine out there to release their pre-touched photos to confirm that truth. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with striving for optimal fitness and expecting great results. But the end game can not perfection. Perfection is an unrealistic, unobtainable, and stressful desire that will rob you of the small victories. It has taken me a lifetime to realize that I’m not working hard for perfection. I’m working hard to enjoy life for another glorious day. I’m currently six pounds heavier than my “perfect weight.” I’m in better shape, more defined and a little thicker- in all the right places. I’ve received more compliments and I feel awesome! I actually like these extra pounds. I look stronger and my face is fuller. My doctor gave me a clean bill of health and my cholesterol and blood pressure is superb!

The next time someone compliments me, I’m simply going to say “thank you.” I haven’t forgotten that dimple on my hamstring but I ain’t worried about it!






One of my favorite groups in the 80’s was “The Time!”  Lead singer, Morris Day was infamous for his favorite slogan “what time is it?”  I’m going somewhere with this…..what time is it?  Is it, waiting for every New Year to make another stupid resolution time?  Is it, after my birthday, I’m really gonna go to the gym, time?  Or is it?  Once my period is over, I will stop eating chips time?-Wait, that’s me!  Is it, next year I will save money?  Is it next week, I will tell the ones I love how much I really love them?  Is it, once I get my act together, I will have the courage to end this bad relationship or situation?  Or is it, next week I will meditate in the morning and start praying for others and not just for me time-ouch! It’s time to do all that you can do each day because tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.  It’s time to eat more veggies today because high blood pressure meds or just feeling gross in your clothes has taken its toll.  Look, nobody is perfect and every step up is a process-but when are you going to start?  I’m talking to myself.  When am I going to start saving and putting money away for that awesome investment account?  When am I going to visit my niece and nephew at their college (wait…they might not want that)?  When am I going to start that small business that I’ve always dreamed about?  I don’t know when you are going to do it…but if you are able to do anything you better do it now.

In April, I challenged all of my clients and friends to join me in the ultimate 21 day fitness challenge.  Studies show that it takes 3 weeks to create a habit. The guidelines go against the grain.  There is no crash dieting allowed, no starvation tactics like quitting carbs and good old-fashion exercise is required!  There is also a prize for maintaining your results after 30 days.  Isn’t that original?  Eating clean, training hard and looking great. Where have I heard that before?  Join us.  You’ll probably cheat and eat sweets a few days, you might say “to hell with working out, it’s raining!” and you just might feel better, tone your body, and lower your cholesterol?  The possibilities are endless.  I know that nothing will happen if you don’t start.

I’m here to encourage and convince you that it’s not too late to live a healthy life.  Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it to fit in your favorite jeans….but just do it!



Dessert anyone?
Dessert anyone?

Three years ago, I lost my first love-my dad.  He would wake up early in the morning to take me to school (I missed the bus again!) before working 12 hours a day.  He and my mom worked side by side in a barber shop just so they could provide for their six kids.   During the wake process, my father’s extended family fed us reeeeeeeeel good.  I’m from the south so when I say fed, I mean it!  They offered their condolences with a box of fried chicken, collard greens, potato salad, fried fish, cornbread, biscuits, homemade cakes, banana pudding, and the infamous macaroni and cheese.  I never thought that I would have an appetite during this tragedy-but I did.

There were two things that comforted me in my grief: (1) my faith in the Lord and (2) potato chips!  When I finally settled back home I had developed a slight junk food addiction and 6lbs.  I’ve always been fit but I finally understood that food will satisfy you-temporarily.  It’s the perfect vice.  It’s legal, there is no age limit, and you can eat as much as you want whenever you want (unless Mayor Bloomberg cracks down on your soda consumption).  Food was masking my pain and satisfying my appetite.  Two months later, I picked up a Muscle and Fitness Hers magazine and I took the “Transform Your Life Challenge.”  I decided enough was enough and I wanted my abs back!  I followed the work out plan of lifting weights for 4-5 days a week and meal plan of 1500-1900 “good calories” daily.  I lost the fat, the chips, and gained my confidence.  My body looks better today than it ever did in my fast metabolizing junk food twenties.

I still miss my dad.  Father’s Day is very difficult for me but I have decided to continue his legacy of faithfulness and generosity to others.  You cannot fulfill your purpose if you are unhealthy.  I challenge you to examine the role of food in your life.  Are you abusing it out of pain, boredom, disappointment, busyness, or fear?  If so, it’s  time to tame the tummy and “train that body!”