Who’s Making Your Child Fat? 

“Listen To The Kids, Bro” – Kanye West 

I’m a firm believer that it’s our job to leave the world better than we found it. And one way to do that is by paying more attention to the rise in childhood obesity. I know, I know, nothing’s more precious then a “chubby baby” but… nothings more devastating than watching a kid deal with: self esteem, weight, health issues either. 

To be fair, it’s not all “our” fault, society, media, social construct, and even economical status play a part, let’s dig in. 


Try watching TV with a kid, you might loose your mind on how many times McDonald’s big ass arches flash across your screen. Now take into consideration that More than 80% of all advertisements in children’s programming are for fast foods or snacks and for every hour that children watch TV, it’s said that they see an estimated 11 food advertisements.

Systematically, Low-income youth and adults are exposed to disproportionately more marketing and advertising for obesity-promoting products that encourage the consumption of unhealthful foods and discourage physical activity (e.g., fast food, sugary beverages, television shows) I want you to count how many food ads you see during some of the shows minorities tend to watch. Just use VH1s Love & Hip-Hop as an example. 

Fast food is big business, Americans spend more than $110 billion annually… let’s highlight a few. 
Popeye’s Chicken 

 Black folk support this place like they own the farm the chickens were raised on … and yet, not ONE franchise (that we could find) is Black owned or operated. So basically a bunch of people not from your community are placing Popeyes on every corner of underprivileged neighborhoods and keeping us fat. 

McDonalds :

These guys have employed images of poetry-loving, “uppity” blacks to help push this product, just think about the 2004 commercial in which Mary J Blige sold her soul to help McDonald’s reach some street cred to secure its stronghold on minority consumers. 


The gap between healthy areas and poor :

When available, healthy food may be more expensive in terms of the monetary cost as well as for perishable vs nonperishable items. I’ve been thinking about this since my vegan post and it’s often times overlooked. The potential for waste in certain foods is very real in underprivileged communities. 

While on the other side: refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally inexpensive, and readily available in low-income communities. So, Now take a Households with limited resources to buy enough food, logically they will try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing cheap-filling food. (My childhood) my mom basically tried to maximize “calories per dollar” in order to keep all three of her kids fed. This brings the childhood obesity full circle in a way. 

Strategic locations: 
Low-income communities have a lot more fast food restaurants readily in the vicinity , one great example of that is our public schools. So not only do today’s kids have to fend off the lunch lady from putting 3-day old sloppy joes on their plates, when they walk out side they’re faced with 4 bodegas, 2 McDonald’s, 3 Chinese restaurants and 11 pizza shops ( interestingly enough, none are black owned). At this point, beating obesity is a gift, not a norm.

So I say all that to say this…
Don’t always listen to the kids, bro. Educate them on making healthier choices and take the extra step in showing them a healthier lifestyle from working out to nutrition. 

* runs down the block to play laser tag… like the good old days with dial up Internet, no ipads, and no Netflix * 

Epiphany on a Sectional Plate

  

Saturday I ran my second half marathon, (I ran the first one just 2 weeks prior). It was hard  but mainly because I ran on a sprained foot, (don’t ever do that, it’s dumb) and partly because I didn’t eat enough food.

  
What my race taught me was maybe I have to change the way I look at food. Maybe food shouldn’t just been seen as this treat. Maybe I need to start looking at food as fuel and think of my body as a machine. And when you think about it your body is a machine and the food is fuel to keep it moving. When you give a machine only what it needs it runs more efficiently and with more power.

But that concept is a little hard for me because what you need may not always taste good. At least thats what people tell me. I like what tastes good and that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for me. But that doesn’t mean what’s good for you can’t taste good either.

In talking with some friends yesterday, I noticed that I ate better when I was eating off my sectional plate. And by better I mean waaaaay less take out. Now don’t judge me I was eating off a sectional plate because I didn’t want my food to touch not for portion control. But now because I don’t I feel like I’m losing that sense of portion control. I think I over eat now and that’s probably what most people consider their regular meal.

  
So for tonight’s dinner…

  • 3 barbecue pieces of chicken (2 wings and a leg)
  • 2 medium roasted potatoes
  • 6 asparagus stalks

Everything was grilled. I like grilling it’s easy and quick. All of those things are good for me and will fuel my body so that it can function at its highest peak. Just remember that each meal is a new opportunity to start over.

 

My Confession…It Works

  

Confessions… I’m seeing some more noticeable changes. 
My clothes, specifically my blouses/ tops are looser. My pants are much more comfortable in the waistband. And I’m starting to see more definition in my core. Yes my core, it’s actually there under the cookies, cakes, donuts and other bullshit. 

And with that being said I have a confession…
When I first set out to do this challenge I didn’t really take it as serious as I probably should have. Granted I was writing this post for those of us on the chubbier side of the fitness spectrum. 

I knew this would be a challenge for someone who loves food more than themselves and has literally stopped talking to people over food. 
Yes I have a problem. But the deeper I delved into this, I’ve learned that the kitchen is about 30% of the equation, while emotional/ mental and spiritual health make up the other 50% and exercise is 20%. How you feel can play a huge role in the things you consume. I’m living proof of that. I mean shit I celebrate Taco Tuesdau religiously like it’s an actually holiday, it’s on my calendar for goodness sakes. 

Like I said I have issues. But here we are 2 months later and I’ve loss about 3 1/2 inches from my waist. I never wondered if I could lose the weight, it was about keeping it off. 

And while I just killed this half marathon on Sunday, I have another one in 2 weeks and I think about how much I could do with less fat around my core. 
Visceral fat, (that blubber we have in the midsection smothering our very necessary to function organs) is a motherfucker to lose. But how bad do you want it gone? The fat at the bottom of your abdomen is some of the hardest fat to lose and can lead to FUPA if it continues to go untreated. (If you don’t know what FUPA is look it up…). 
Anyways, I’ve always been an advocate for not depriving yourself of deliciousness in favor of being cranky and “slim”. Not I. And you don’t have to calorie count. It’s just about common sense. So as I embark on the last month of this journey, this week will be the last time I give updates on my waist size until the end. Notice I haven’t given any updates on my weight and for good reason. 
Am I finally taking this challenge seriously? 

I’d say I have been for the past 3 weeks or so. 

It’s a little hard sometimes bc I do need to eat more calories during my training season, which is now for me and into November. 

  
What am I doing differently from here on?

Cutting back on sugar. That’s basically my drug of choice. I’m down to 3 days a week. When I started this challenge it was 6 days a week. Don’t judge some of you drink 6 sodas in a day. 
It’s been said it takes 30 days to establish a habit. But what you have to remember is this isn’t a habit this is a lifestyle change. It’s like getting off drugs. 
  
Nia Raquelle is Brooklyn native, currently having a secret love affair with desserts while in a long term relationship with long distance running. 

Follow her antics on IG, EatWithNia, SnapChat, GarminConnect – EatWithNia

And you can challenge her to a run on the Nike+ app – NiaRaquelle. She might beat you though. 

Snacks Save Lives 

Irresponsible snacking is the diet killer. And when I say diet I don’t mean that temporary “get slim quick” starve yourself for 3 months diet. I mean diet as in this is what you eat daily-may it be good or terrible. 

Anyways, having a treat or something bad occasionally is fine, making it a daily ritual, not so much. When considering your snacks keep in mind. A snickers bar is not a good snack, nor is potato chips or any other sugar laden “food”.

So here are some nutritious, tasty but low cal snack options that I’ve been using over the last couple weeks of this challenge. 
  

Peanuts and all their nut cousins (I try to get low sodium options) – I like pistachios and peanuts 
Fruit – I like apples, plums, kiwis, grapes, and berries
Raw veggies – broccoli, peppers, carrots 
Shrimp cocktail – I can get fancy. 
Popcorn (2 cups) – for Netflix and chill nights. 
Pretzel
Salsa & chips!
Guacamole
Humus 
Yogurt- I ideally try to keep it Greek yogurt. 
1 packet of instant oatmeal, yes, I know old fashion oatmeal is better, but God is still working on me. 

  

If you want to put things into high gear, portion out your snacks for the week, so you don’t over eat. Keeping yourself full also will prevent you from over eating. And don’t eat till the point you feel stuffed. Snacks between meals will provide you with the necessary nutrients so you don’t over eat. 
  

I figure I’m eating 1200 calories for the day,( everybody’s intake is different ) use them wisely. Don’t waste them on things like greasy chips and candy. 
  
Nia Raquelle is Brooklyn native, currently having a secret love affair with desserts while in a long term relationship with long distance running. 

Follow her antics on IG, EatWithNia, SnapChat, GarminConnect – EatWithNia
And you can challenge her to a run on the Nike+ app – NiaRaquelle. She might beat you though. 

Is Stress Weighing You Down?

  

Usually when people think of stress related weight, they think weight loss. But stress can also make you fat. And I don’t mean 5 or 10 pounds fat I mean like 25+ pounds fat. 
I know this because I’ve lived it. I’ve spent the last few weeks focusing on emotional and mental health because it can and does significantly impact your physical well being. 
In 2009, I weighed 188 pounds and I didn’t even know it. Now if you recall I’m 5’2 so think about how much weight that is on my frame. I had no clue I weighed that much. My eating habits weren’t that different than my current ones, small and balanced portions. But I did eat more sugar back then in comparison to now. And it wasn’t until my then boyfriend blatantly called me fat one day did I realize that I packed on the pounds. Unlike most people, I was at advantage. Usually when I gain weight it’s evenly distributed throughout my body, so I didn’t really notice the weight. I went to the doctor shortly after and sure enough 188 pounds sat there mocking me on the scale. My doctor was scared for my healthy bc she said my test results showed that I was otherwise healthy and she didn’t understand how I got so big, so quickly. 
So now I became self conscious of my weight and trying everything to lose it, even those weight loss pills, (by the way they don’t work). 

Nothing worked. Six weeks after my doctor’s visit I break up with my boyfriend and two weeks later people start telling me I look like I’ve lost weight. I get on the scale it reads 142. I immediately contact the doctor. During our visit she tells me she believes the weight gain is stress related. 

  
And after two weeks I lost 17 more pounds. Which is absurd! Who would’ve thought such s thing was possible. 
Why does this happen?

According to WebMD, stress releases both the adrenaline and cortisol hormones. Adrenaline gives you the energy meanwhile cortisol helps you to replenish. So basically, elevated cortisol levels will leave you feeling famished causing you to eat more. Furthermore, chronic stress, (and this is particularly common with women), can cause one to store visceral fat. 

See below….

  

  
So what can you do?

Well as I’ve told you over the past few weeks shit happens. Life happens. It’s about how you handle it. Monitor your stress and energy levels. Channel that energy into something that will makes you less stressed. 
Now I’m not saying all your fat comes from  stress related issues or any of it. For that matter  But there’s a possibility that some of it can build from here, just be mindful. 

  
  

Nia Raquelle is Brooklyn native, currently having a secret love affair with desserts while in a long term relationship with long distance running. 
Follow her antics on IG, EatWithNia, SnapChat, GarminConnect – EatWithNia

And you can challenge her to a run on the Nike+ app – NiaRaquelle. She might beat you though. 

Energy… I don’t have any

So I’ve been going through some shit, some real stressful shit. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the mental dedication to stick to my exercise regimen. Sometimes, it only takes one thing to throw a wrench in your day or mood and you’re just completely out of it. That’s what happened to me. I was emotionally drained from this week’s on-going drama. Needless to say I only worked out on Monday.

And you know what? This is normal. This will happen. So don’t panic, it is normal for real life to get in the way and take over. Don’t beat yourself because you weren’t able to make it to the gym or you ate terribly. It happens and again it’s normal. You have to take care of you and those real life issues in order for you to get those abs and stay on that healthy eating track. Stress can make you fat. I’m speaking from experience, (I’ll address this next week). This goes back to my post, last week of Eating Your Feelings.

How did I stay focused? Well, I ate good. If you’re not going to work out you definitely need to keep your eating in check. First off on days you’re not exercising or you don’t exercise period, you need to keep your caloric intake to a minimum. Now as I told you guys before I don’t calorie count, but you do know for the most part when you shouldn’t be eating something.  So here’s what my meals look like on a non-exercise and exercise days, on top of the 3-5 cups of herbal tea and 1-2 liters of water daily.

Non- Exercise Day:

  • Breakfast – oatmeal and croissant and green tea
  • Snack – fruit
  • Lunch – 1 protein, 2 or more vegetables (generally a chicken wrap or left overs – see my Instagram for left over descriptions)
  • Dinner – 1 protein, 2 or more vegetables and 1 starch

Exercise Day

  • Breakfast – oatmeal and croissant or egg and bagel sandwich with green tea
  • Snack – fruit
  • Lunch – 1 protein, 2 or more vegetables (or tacos)
  • Pre-workout snack – Clif bar or bagel (depending on what I’m about to do, if I’m running it could be either and if it’s cross training it’s a Clif bar)
  • Dinner – 1 protein,  2 or more vegetables and 1 starch
  • Dinner 2 – carbohydrates or fried rice (this is only eaten late on Friday nights so that I don’t wake up starving early on Saturday mornings for my long runs, which require that I have some extra gas in the tank)

As we already know you can’t just exercise away your fat, you have to also change your eating habits. So if you’re not going to exercise, keeping up with those healthier eating habits its a great start to getting those abs.

Eating My Feelings Part 5

Between social media and fitness magazines I’m surprised more people don’t suffer from depression. These outlets make a “30 day weight loss” transformation seem so easy. And while I understand that dedication equals results,  I’m here to tell you it’s not that’s simple when factoring the lifestyles of many .  The one thing I don’t see often discussed is emotional eating. So, this week I’m not going to talk about my progress, but rather I want to address a common road block.
  

When people often think of emotional eating, it’s generally associated with depression and morbid obesity. You can be pleasantly plump, like myself, or severely slim and be depression free all awhile  being an emotional eater. This is probably the number two reason, besides the fact that I’m addicted to sugar why Im still having a hard time successfully changing  my eating habits.

  

See I don’t just indulge when I’m having a bad day, sometimes I do it because I’m celebrating a good oneListen, I can find any excuse to justify eating some bad shit. I’m learning how to stop. And it’s something a lot of people  deal with but don’t openly discuss. We have to find a better alternative to obtaining that comfort. It’s hard because certain foods release endorphins or give you sort of a high and have you feeling all warm inside. And once you get that feeling, well it’s pretty damn hard to resist, especially when you’re having a shitty day. So I get it. However, it’s not getting you or me any closer to that flatter tummy.

  


What is my strategy?

  • Stay away from certain restaurants
  • Leave  my wallet when I go out or keep a limited amount of cash
  • Using exercise as an outlet instead of food
  • Making healthier food choices
  • Drink more water 

While I’ve been under much less stress in comparison to the months prior to this project, I find myself eating less and less due to bad day and more because I feel the need to reward myself. You know, like “hey Nia you did great today on your run, killed those splits, you should try out that new donut shop.

So right now I’m just focusing on changing that behavior, and hopefully that will help these abs muscles struggling to poke through my fat. In the meantime, I’m not watching the scale, just focusing on changing these habits that will help me get closer to that goal.

  
Nia Raquelle is Brooklyn native, currently having a secret love affair with desserts while in a long term relationship with long distance running. 

Follow her antics on IG, EatWithNia, SnapChat, GarminConnect – EatWithNia
And you can challenge her to a run on the Nike+ app – NiaRaquelle. She might beat you though. 

How To Naturally Get A Bigger Butt

  

Everyday I go online and look at fitness topics and the one topic that is consistently number one is ” How To Get A Bigger Butt” now, I wrote about this before and explained that a large part of this is genetic. But, since y’all don’t care about your aunts hips I figured I’d cover the fitness side of this spectrum. So let’s dig into what it’s going to ” really” take to get that ass you want.
WORKOUT 

It’s going to take a combination of cardio and weights to build a bigger butt. In order to change the body you must challenge it past what it’s accustomed to, adding heavier weights will build lean bigger muscles . Cardio such as running and walking doesn’t really challenge the glutes enough to change the muscle, unless your sprinting( CC: every track runner in America ) but they can be used for fat reduction. Stair climbing and incline hill walking are a bit more effective, but no substitute for the weight training. When it comes to weight training you have to exhaust the muscles so lifting semi-heavy for a high number of reps ( 12-15) is how you create change. Gradually start adding heavier weights to your routine in order to make this work and contract the flute muscle by squeezing them on all extension motions.

Routines :

Hell raises are the perfect exercise for a rounder butt. You can do it without any equipment or if you want a faster muscle growth in the hamstrings and glutes you can use ankle weights , resistance bands, or the weighed machine at your local gym. 

Get down on the ground on all four in a tabletop position. Push one leg backwards toward the ceiling, keeping it bent at the knee at a 90 degree angle. When you reach the top of your movement flex your glutes for a second. Start lowering your knee back at the start position as you exhale and cross it over the opposite knee. Start with ten repetitions for each leg and slowly increase the count as you feel stronger.

  
* couldn’t find a black women doing this, damn you google *

Side plank abductions:

1. Start in a modified side plank position, with your top leg extended over your bottom leg

2. Lift your top leg as high as possible and then lower it back down.

3. Repeat and then switch sides.

  Glute bridges : 

1.Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.

2.Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.

3.Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.
 

NUTRITION :
So now that we covered a bunch of workouts that I personally cosign for getting the butt you want. I also want to explain that exercise alone isn’t enough. You also have to pay attention to your diet. If you’re familiar with fitness trends, you might think this means to eat more protein. While it’s true you need more protein in order to help build your muscles, protein won’t help your butt in specific. Loading up on extra protein simply won’t help your butt get bigger by itself, though eating protein right after working out is a good idea.

  
One thing you will want to do with your diet is to change up the kinds of carbohydrates you eat. Try to cut out as many refined carbs as possible. That will help keep your weight and your shape at a decent level. Also, pay attention to where you tend to store fat. Many women store fat around their hips and their butt, which means that increasing the amount of calories you take in will help you get a bigger butt if that’s how your body works. However, if you store fat elsewhere, then losing weight first is a better idea.

  

Now that you have the tools, go fourth and prosper … Sundress season is coming.

My 1st Month Results Are In…

First, I want to tell you guys I ate 5 tacos today along with oatmeal for breakfast and it was delicious!
Secondly, the 80/20 eating plan is working for me… so far. Why? Because while it has restrictions I’m still able to eat clean along with food that I probably shouldn’t be eating and still be “healthy”.
It’s a good balance. In my experience the reason most people fail at weight loss is because they place their self on such tight restrictions.
Honestly speaking, This is hard, This lifestyle change (I hate the word diet) is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Easily top 3. The hardest part of all of this is deciding if I’m going to have a bad meal or sugar. I generally choose sugar because I’m an addict. And yes you can be addicted to sugar (hello soda and juice drinkers, I’m talking to you).

Have I made progress?

Yes! I’m drinking more water than I use to. That’s saying a lot because while I don’t drink soda/ juice unless I’m out at a restaurant with other people. I generally drink, tea and seltzer. I’m also finding it easier to say “No, ” and for me, that’s something that’s really hard to do. They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit I think it takes me 45 days

Notice any changes?

Wellllll I’m glad you asked. Monday I was doing some cross training and let me set the record straight. Every year during my training I say I’m going to incorporate cross training and never do. This year I did and it’s been brutal. I did 45 minutes using the Nike NTC app and while it did kick my ass I wasn’t  burnt out AND I was finally able to do a modified push up properly. So while running has always been somewhat “effortless” cross training and strength training hasn’t, but it’s getting easier for me. While most people may not count that as progress in this journey it’s a sign that my fitness is improving and that’s a good thing.
I’m also happy and shocked to report that my waist, ahem is now 33inches. (Personally  I think that’s slightly flawed) it could be the result of stress. I haven’t seen any weight loss which tells me that I’m losing water weight in my waist which is a great start( it’s only been a couple weeks ) I’m curious to see the results in another four weeks. I wasn’t expecting this much change within a month but now I’m optimistic.

The Truth About FitTea’s

*puts on bullet proof vest, jumps into armored vehicle, uses the megaphone to tell you all…*
 FIT TEAS DONT WORK! 
Soon as the weather broke, so did my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. It went from seeing pictures of my friends, trainers, and classy ladies that worked the night shift at lust to a cesspool of propaganda, and liars( might be the devil).

One thing I’ve realized while being a leader in the fitness industry is that selling hope is as American as Apple pie. Cashing in on the millions of men and women with body insecurities is now a 42 billion dollar scheme. So, just in time, right before the temperature rises to a consistent 85 degrees and the 

bikini bodies are all out on displayed in every Instagram post . The re-emergence of Fit Teas and detox teas are now at an all-time high.

 All showing amazing weight loss transformation photos and (corporate) testimonials about the success of their product.Some of them promote “100% natural” ingredients, “formulated by experts”, and the best one is : 

 “literally drink away your body fat”.

Now, I would be lying if I said I didn’t get the appeal of this ” miracle drug”. We live in a microwave society were we don’t cherish the process as much as we do the product ( I blame Dr. Miami) so when something like this comes along and flashes all the things you want out of your fitness life in a magical tea bag… Why wouldn’t you jump on it ? 

  

Simple, Because your reading this blog post. Here’s the lowdown on why detox teas aren’t all they’re cracked up to be:

They are diuretics
Most detox teas combine caffeine and diuretics. What that simply mean is, you’ll flush out a lot of water weight but it will have zero to little impact on your actually body fat. When taken in strong enough doses they can start removing fluid from organs too. Given that our bodies are roughly 60-70% water there’s a lot of 

potential for fluid loss, so the scales will show you that you’re lighter and you’re a ” new you” but since You’re also likely to find yourself suffering nausea, headaches, dizziness and lack of concentration due to dehydration. It’s a good chance you end up stopping, go back to a normal eating routine, and gain some of that weight back. 

Prepare to spend a lot of your time like this..
  
They are laxatives
We are so hungry for results, we don’t care what we put into our body; irony. Now, If you look at the list of ingredients you’ll notice most detox teas contain senna – a natural laxative. This means that your body will expel whatever is in your bowel; water, faeces and natural bacteria. The intestinal tract contains approximately 2-3kg of good bacteria lining the bowel and anywhere between 2-10kg of faecal matter at any time, which is why “genuine”

testimonials talk about noticing a decrease in bloating – their abdomen is actually flatter because their intestines are now basically completely empty….However removing the beneficial and protective bacteria compromises your ability to digest and 

absorb nutrients and eliminate food-borne pathogens, and unfortunately this can take months to replenish itself. So in short, want a flat stomach, let’s take out your entire stomach. 
  

You have to exercise and eat right for it to work 
The tea companies recommend you do a teatox while following a healthy, nutritious diet. 
* blank stare * 
Soooo, if they diet and exercise… AND TAKE THE TEA!!!!!!! They can lose weight ?

Ohhhh! It’s the tea!! All of life problems! Can be solved with this tea!! You apparently need all three to lose weight according to them. 
* blank stare *
Because, if they just diet and exercise they can still lose Wei… Never-mind 

Your body already has a detoxification system
It’s called your liver, and it does an amazing job of filtering and removing toxins without any herbal help. And while some of the teas may contain compounds shown to stimulate the liver, it would do its job just as well without the tea by simply no longer putting a major strain on the liver by the using – alcohol, illicit drugs, cigarettes, medications and excessive sodium.

What have we learned today? 
Instagram is a liar. You know what to do if you want to lose weight and get in shape, stop settling for 15 seconds of (already) fit chicks telling you to use a product they were paid to endorse and never used. 
* heads back to the explore page… God bless lust entertainment club