Word Up!

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How much care do you we take with our words? Do we think that an apology or plea for forgiveness somehow erases the words that have escaped our mouths? Do you ever contemplate the weight of your words?

I’ve come to learn that I love words and they mean a great deal to me in every aspect: I love reading them, writing them, learning them, studying them, reciting them, teaching them; devouring them and memorizing them; processing them and all at the same time becoming puzzled over them.

I believe that my affinity for words is why I put such weight on them … a person’s word means everything to me. What do you say you would do? What did you tell me happened? And how did you verbally respond with your words in the moment?

Subsequently, it is not shocker that my closest friends are those who honor their words. Not that things – i.e. plans – don’t change but that they take great care in communicating that. The people I hold closest to me are honest; I never have to question what they are telling me. AND people that have been in my life the longest don’t resort to using hurtful words when they are upset, angry or indifferent.

The challenge with this is that everyone uses and sees words differently. Therefore, for some words are just words … nothing more, nothing less … their actions speak louder than their words. Or some don’t really consider minor untruths as lies … hmmm. And for many, works spoken in the heat of the moment are to be left there and never considered again. But on that last point specifically, I think those very words are – if nothing else – a minute imprint of what our hearts really feel, think, want, speak … embody.

I’ve thought about revisiting the weight I put on words, but have decided not to. Because I can :-). And I will continue to use and choose my words carefully … and love and keep near those who do the same.


Community Spotlight with Lady Dunstan

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Community Spotlight with Lady Dunstan.

Ego Trippin’



The ego can be an awful thing! I am secure and assured in being confident … but being egotistical is a different beast altogether.

Last year I began pursuing a new field in hopes of making an integration with my current work. This field is completely novel to me so it’s like being a child – starting all over again. With that said, I have done fairly well in my studies. I love school, I love to read and I absolutely love to learn … this has carried me, even in difficult courses.

With all this said, this time around in graduate school has brought new things that I have never experienced before, like a “C” on an exam and a paper returned to be rewritten. What the fuzz??? A rewrite???? I have NEVER in my life …. Let me pause and say that I am not sharing this out of some sense of brilliance. I actually don’t think I am that smart, but I do work my a*! off in school and that is what I give credit to for doing well academically. So it has taken me some days to realize that my ego got in the way. I wasn’t devastated – yes devastated – because my paper was so wonderful (Once I got over myself I actually reread it and it WAS pretty crappy). Nor did I immediately and readily admit to myself that I finished the paper just hours before it was due, hence failing to give it the time it needed. Instead I immediately resorted to ego trippin!!!

Now as I sit here rewriting my paper – and taking a moment to share with you J – I am in a better place. Ego checked. Working hat back on. Moving forward.

Thanks for ego CHECKS!!!

My Journey Continues




me after The Color Run

For my fellow bloggers, you may be able to relate in re how difficult it can be to write openly and honestly … to reveal without hesitation. With that said, I continue to press through this series.

As previously mentioned, I started my formal fitness activity regimen when I was in the 9th grade. The following year I opted for cheerleading – doing things that are fun is a common theme for me when it comes to physical activity. Since that time, I am usually doing something – yoga, walking, dancing … something. But when I stop I really stop. I mean rrrrreeeeaaaaallllyyy. And when I revisited my journey I realized that – unfortunately – it usually takes me about a year to get my mind and body back in the zone to start a routine again. I need not tell you that a lot can happen in one year.

So at the beginning of this year I hit my one year mark. There I was over 200 pounds – almost 220 to be exact – and not feeling my best. 2012 was a tough year for me and even with me going back to school, something that excites me like nothing else, I found it difficult to consistently get back into my groove. But I was determined to get it together.

The New Year brought with it a 3-week fast. I really focused on getting my mind, heart and body in shape … I needed a total make-over. I was so out of shape that even my minute workout routine felt like a lot: 15 minutes of gentle yoga 3 days a week and a commitment to take the stairs at work and home (about 6 flights one way in both locations). After about 3 weeks, I was able to complete a 30 minute yoga session and I found a wonderful Zumba class on campus. Another 2 or 3 weeks later, I found out about a West African dance class … my world was beginning to change! Simultaneously, I’d bought a NutriBlend and had begun blending at least one meal a day. Breakfast consisted of a standard serving of nuts, fruit and coffee and dinner was a hearty 2-3 servings of vegetables, beans and an additional whole grain. I started logging all my meals and snacks on MyFitness Pal. By the end of February I was in to a good groove and could finally see the results. It was also around this time that I started doing Bikram (hot) yoga. One additional step was rejoining a gym. This opened up a whole new range of workout options.

It’s been about 3 and a half months now. I try to workout 5-6 days a week and give myself a full day for rest and recovery. My routine consists of a variety of different classes and activities, including casual ways to sneak in workouts during my workday. On any given week, I have the options of spin, body pump, Zumba, Bikram, West African dance, and/or gentle yoga at home or in the gym. I just found a group that does yoga in the park on Saturdays throughout the summer and I am stoked :-).

I am working earnestly to recognize my patterns and do things differently this time. Last weekend I walked/ran my very first 5k! It was amazing!!! I am signed up for 3 more. I know this is a journey and I am committed to it. My hope is that I don’t have to get so far off track again before snapping back in to it. Wish me luck :-).

Bite Me!!!



Erykah Badu

Last week I was became engaged in a cyber discussion with a friend and one other about diet preferences. One of the parties is following the Paleo eating plan and the other is a nutritionist. I was talking about following a vegan diet and the young lady was giving me the details of the Paleo plan. The nutritionist chimed in and added commentary on chronic diseases and its impact on everyone. Her commentary ended with “eating all foods in moderation.”

There wasn’t enough space or time for me to fully comment. But what I did say is that I don’t want all things to be a part of my diet. And what a better place to elaborate than here on my blog J.

Let me first say that I have worked in the health area for about 12 years now – not that long for plenty for me. I have worked with people living with HIV and AIDS, cancer patients, and a host of other diseases and health challenges. My family has a longgggg history of chronic disease – many preventable. I believe – at my core – that there are some people who will do everything right and the body will still make a detour. I don’t believe that any one diet will prevent anyone from ever having to deal all and every with a chronic illnesses or health challenges. BUT I do believe that a healthy, fit body responds differently to illness – including stress! So my post here is simply about why I chose to return to a vegan diet. My concluding thought is that each person has to do what works for them and feels good to them … I am simply doing just that J.

– I have NEVER, ever been a huge meat eater. I think its okay, but it has never been a must have for me. Therefore, even eliminating things like beef and pork from my diet initially was not challenging.

– I happen to like green thinks … and red things … and purple things. I like crunchy food … food with flavor … grains. I genuinely like these things, so once again this was not that challenging for me.

– As mentioned in a previous post, I have to work very intentionally to maintain my weight. It just so happens that when I eat less meat and diary, this task is that much easier.

– I am a green girl. I recycle. I try to reuse things … cringe at squirrels crossing the street … donate articles a few times a year and try my best to eliminate my carbon footprint. In that regard, I believe that killing one less animal in some way – regardless of how small – is making a contribution to the world. I truly believe this.

– This year I took my first class in Buddhism. I’d read bits and pieces off and on for many years now, but this was my first real class. Reading for the first time so intensively about compassion for all being, including animals, really tugged at my heart. Entertaining the thought of reincarnation in various forms and thoughts of seeing me in all creatures just feels good deep inside. So why not aim to live in harmony – with other people and the earth?

–  It feels damn good to explore other food!!!!

– And finally, I believe that food is only one of the major things causes illness. I think we need to spend just as much time thinking about STRESS, our work environments, relationships and life purpose. To me and for me, these are all an equal part of the package.

So my friends, its not that I believe vegetarians or vegans are elite or innately more healthy (in many cases, its quite the opposite – unfortunately – with some loading on processed foods, including meat substitutes), I just believe that this lifestyle works for me … feels good to me and makes a small contribution to the world I want to see and be a part of.

My Journey …




I was – and still am – quite ambivalent about this post and the subsequent series I say I am committing to. I keep thinking “not another weight loss blog,” … “not another story.” I have read and continue to read dozens … so why another? And the only answer I have to date is to hold myself accountable. Of course, I hope to reach 1-2 who have been unable to find a story that resonates with them or to motivate someone to hang in there and not give up. But I have to admit – this one’s for me. What will follow will be a series of posts intertwined with my regular motivational, social justice, random thoughts posts 🙂. The first few will come a little more frequently as I tell my story and then they will taper off. For those who choose to follow, thanks for reading.

My story

I started running track when I was in the 9th grade. However, it wasn’t until I became a cheerleader – and probably liking boys a little more J – that I had my first thoughts of dieting. It was never anything serious, just obsessive thoughts about how I looked and comparing my body to that of other girls. It’s funny because when I look back at my high school pictures, I’d LOVE to have that body … just didn’t seem thin enough at the time.

It wasn’t until I started college that I really began dieting. I’d lost about 20 lbs the summer before while being with my family in Philadelphia (tons more walking and healthy eating) and was motivated to keep it off. In an effort to combat the infamous Freshman 15 I drastically limited my food intake. The following summer I gained everything back and then some. I kept the weight on during my sophomore and part of my junior year, and then I snapped out of it. What followed was another 12 years of on again, off again (thankfully more on than off). I’d gain up to 40 pounds and then work earnestly to get it off. On and off again … on and off again. It wasn’t until recently that I finally realized that major life changes really seem to set me over board, particular moving (which I have done quite a bit).

2012 was an extremely challenging year for me and once again the weight was back on. I think I could have gained a lot more, but the one of the things I had on my side was my commitment to return to a vegan diet. I spent the entire year phasing out meat – and eventually diary – from my diet. I think this made a huge difference. I’ve tried lots of different things: Weight Watchers, binge diets, buddy systems, online tracking tools, YWCAs and work fitness programs. But this time around, I am doing it for keeps!

By January of this year, I was ready to get started. For easy reading, I am writing my steps below in list form:

– I made a commitment! Every day was a new day – every meal a new mean (learned this from Weight Watchers). No matter how far I fell off, waiting until the following week to restart was and is not an option!!!

–  I found an excellent support system!!! Between my colleague and friend, MyFitnessPal and a few Facebook groups, I am surrounded by amazing people who inspire, motivate and support me. It has made a world of a difference.

–  I have approached this as a lifetime journey, therefore the changes I have made are things that I believe I can live with. No more extreme diets or radical eating patterns … just plain ole’ basics.

– I indulge in nonfood rewards. I started booking a regular spa appointment, buying an article of clothing, accessory or gym attire … I found ways to reward myself that don’t revolve around food.

–  I made small AND large goals – both scale and non-scale related. Of course I want to lose weight, but I also want to feel better … more confident; look better in my clothes; have more endurance; honor my body. These are all the things that motivate me and keep me going. The scale can be fickle :-).

–  I realized that I need variety. I can’t do the same thing day in and day out. Therefore, I joined a gym, found a community dance class, joined a couple of physical activity MeetUp groups and use Groupon frequently to try new things. This helps me keep it fresh and keep my body confused :-).

– While I read other people’s stories, I had to and have to do what feels great to me!

Here’s to blogging my journey …

My Confession










I few months ago, I started sending a friend Random Confessions. I can’t say exactly why I started this practice, but after I started I had a hard time stopping. This was and is a huge deal for me because I consider myself to be a pretty private person; not because I am not open to people getting to know me, but because I don’t think my life is that interesting AND I question what people do with information that has no direct influence on their lives. Nonetheless, this became a fun exchange between my friend and me so I thought I’d post some teaser things here. Enjoy :-).

I like short dresses … they accentuate my legs

There is a certain explicative that I am very fond of. I am almost ashamed that I like to use it as much as I do.

Much the same way that I feel about some songs … I hear them and cannot get them out of my head, but I’d never want my mom or professors to know I listen to these songs so intently ;-).

I do really well with clear guidelines and rules when it comes to eating … moderation doesn’t quite work well J.

Some pp are in to shoes or handbags, but I really love jackets/blazers and coats.

Burning incense helps me relax.

Dancing is my medicine.

I like to host.

It’s no secret that I LOVE to read.

I’ve toyed with teaching, writing, dancing and yoga for about 15 years now … I think I am on to something.

I like clothes that move.

I love random color mixtures, although I am not always daring or brave enough to wear them.

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