I remember learning about Kwanzaa when I was in Elementary school and my favorite principle was always: “Kujichagulia: Self Determination – To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.” When we don’t know ourselves we find ourselves seeking guidance and validation of true self from other people such as family, friends, colleagues, or social media. Kujichagulia has always fascinated me because defining myself and truly knowing myself has been so important to me in my search of true happiness.
Let me introduce myself, my name is Melissa Taylor, a 28 year old African American female from Maryland. I work as a Consultant, which can be a very stressful job. But it has amazing work-life balance which gives me the opportunity to work on things that I am passionate about (however we will be working on reducing the stress that I allow to impact my health). Over two years ago I made the decision to start my fitness journey which I will be honest and say has been difficult mentally and physically. But that may be the case for a lot of my readers who have been struggling to lose and/or maintain their weight to reach an ultimate goal. I began to gain weight as an adolescent after I decided to quit a lot of the activities that my parents put me in as a child, but the weight gain never really phased me until I was in middle school. That was when I became self-conscious about my body. The one area that I became negatively obsessed with were my arms. I would go shopping and make sure that everything I wore was either quarter or long sleeved AND yes even in the summer. Could you imagine how odd and embarrassed I would be going to six flags in 90 degree weather with a quarter or long sleeve shirt on? But at that time I couldn’t care less because wearing my arms out was not an option.
I broke out of this phase the summer before college and ventured into short sleeved shirts. During college, I worked out here and there but I wasn’t consistent. It wasn’t until I was about 26 years old when I realized that ABSOLUTELY NO CUTE CLOTHES WOULD FIT that made me come to the realization that something had to be done. I began to work with trainers who would tell me the do’s and don’ts of what needed to be done to reach my goal weight. So I did whatever they told me to do physically and changed my eating habits slightly and the weight began to fall off but eventually it all stopped because I hit a plateau. I wasn’t mentally prepared for hitting my plateau because I thought I was working so hard to achieve my goals; working out twice a day and two days a week with my personal trainer. Honest moment, I was faithfully going out to eat with my friends, runs to Chick-fil-a multiple times a week, and I was still socially consuming an abundance of alcohol on weekends, but come on I was working out 6 days a week so what was going on? I started to google workouts thinking that I just wasn’t going hard in the gym but it wasn’t until half-way through my fitness journey that I faced the mere thing that I was trying to avoid, my diet had to change because weight loss happens 20% in the gym and 80% in your kitchen. I had to get my nutrition in order. I had no idea where to start so I turned to Google to understand the basics of nutrition. I became so passionate and obsessed with figuring out what I needed to incorporate into my life nutritionally to live a healthier lifestyle. Instead of Google, I decided to further my knowledge by taking a Nutrition course that allowed me to receive a Nutrition and Wellness certification to become a Nutrition Counselor. Let’s face it, I am in no position to Counsel anyone about the facts that I have learned during my course without adapting what I have learned into my own lifestyle. It is all still theory to me right now and I am still trying to figure out how to personalize that theory into my way of living.
What is Tailored Lifestyle? My personal journey (and possible inserts from others) of what I am doing to take control of my happiness by making my passions and destiny manifest into my reality. This is my journey of applying what I learned in my nutrition course and tailor it so that I can incorporate it into my lifestyle. I no longer want to lean on fad diets to lose weight, but I am ready to make healthier choices to change my life. This blog isn’t written to criticize anyone’s path, tell you how to live, or what foods you should eliminate from your diet. My goal is to hopefully assist you in your journey by sharing mine. By openly discussing successes and failures of my journey so that you can avoid simple mistakes that I have made and that I will make. Lifestyle changes are hard to make and sometimes we need accountability partners, so if you need an accountability partner (I am always looking for support) feel free to connect with me via Instagram, Facebook, or email (I promise I am responsive on any type of written communication, I promise). Don’t worry Tailored Lifestyle won’t be all nutritional and fitness, it will encompass a variety of things.
Starting this journey is very exciting, however, I do not want to make the same mistakes that I made two years ago when I initially decided to focus on my health. I realized that I was so obsessed with changing the physical that I neglected to mentally and emotionally prepare myself. I never took time to self reflect on my capabilities nor assessed the conditions that would contribute in my success and failures. I thought that if I worked out hard, ate properly, and drank my daily water limit that, that would be enough to still allow me to reach my goal weight and have those cheat meals (which always would involve French fries) and consume as much alcohol. I thought “all my hard work in the gym will still pay off right?” WRONG (hence why I haven’t reached my goals yet, smh) With that being said before I begin my journey, it is very IMPORTANT that I self-reflect and assess those conditions that will contribute to my lack of staying on track with my nutrition/fitness journey (please take time out and also assess these factors):
– Physical environment- External environment that cues poor eating habits, as well as aspects that remind you to eat appropriately.
– Social environment- Social situations that support poor eating habits and identify people who support good eating healthy.
– Cognitive environment- Thoughts and Feelings that negatively get in the way and positive ideas that can be used to promote positive habits.
In the next blog I will reveal what I have gathered about my environments and share pics of my recent travel adventure :). Have an amazing week.