How to “Physically” Beat Depression


I want to start off by thanking Kid Cudi, while I recognized his genius from the first time I heard “Pursuit of Happiness” last week he penned a touching letter to us about his health. It made some of us happy(for him), some of us cry for him, and some of us pray for him. But the most important thing this letter did was open up a much needed conversation in the black community about mental Health. And while still taboo, it was good to see. 
Being black in America alone is a large part of the Depression and anxiety we face daily, now try adding the stigmas, cultural pressure, cops, and even Sallie Mae to this pot.. we almost feel hopeless at times. 

With all this happening, it got me thinking, health/fitness and mental health are synonymous and while I love talking about coconut oil and sugar in fruits I realized that I can’t ignore the importance of my own mental health along with yours. So with that being said, let’s cover some of the best workouts to do to help with depression and anxiety… I figured I’d help how I can. 

1) Running. 

All our lives we’ve heard that running is the best workout you can actual do, it’s ability to reduce cravings, burn calories, and lose weight is almost second to none. And while this is true. Running also has positive effects on mental health. This workout can cause lasting changes in our ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, both during and after exercise. The mental benefits can be especially powerful for people who suffer from depression. Researchers also found evidence that running can work in a similar way to antidepressants, alleviating major depressive disorder by promoting the growth of new neurons in the brain.

So wether you’re running away from cops or in a 5k… it’s healthy. 

2) Hiking. 

If you find your self near the waters of lake Minnetonka and the beautiful mountains around it, take a hike. Studies say that being around plants, trees, and especially decaying trees can help reduce anxiety because these plants emit chemicals to slow down the process of their decay, which appears to slow us down as well. Along with higher memory function, according to research done in 2009 people who (nature) walk at-least 20mins are said to have lower stress hormone levels and even felt less anxious. Who would have known, if you want to be healthy, do white people stuff. 
3) Yoga:

Personally I go to yoga for pretty women and to be more flexible but I can’t deny that every visit left me feeling mentally better than I was when I came in. Due to findings that yoga reduces depression, anger, anxiety, and neurotic symptoms. In 2007 it was listed clinically as a method to treating depression( literally). 

This is attributed to the deep breathing, and center of self awareness. It’s very hard to feel down when you get to be in a quiet space were you can slow your heart rate, breathing patterns down… all while watching people stretch. 

4) Weight lifting/cardio @ your local gym
This is really simple, hence why it’s last there’s a study that links to an Improved self-esteem as key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine… I understand drug users now. 
Honorable mention: 
A List of some other specific workouts you can do: 

Golfing 

Low-impact aerobics

Playing tennis

Swimming

A lot of irony some of these sports, seeing that a lot of them aren’t in “every”community. This again speaks to the black experience. 

Hopefully this list helps you.. yes, YOU. You’re not alone in this fight. We all struggle and while talking about it might not be easy. Finding a space to allow your body to control your mind for a while, can help.
Trust me, I know. 

LYBF episode 1 – The Journey 

so, over the last couple months I’ve been working with Taqee Bond of Word Of Mouth Radio on a great project. He came to me in January and told me he wants to change his life around and needs my help. We decided to document his weight loss Journey into a mini doc. The reason this is important is because right now is someone who is struggling wight weight loss and needs motivation. This is his ” Last Year Of Being Fat” and for anyone watching this is your last year accepting anything that you have the ability to change! 
Yesterday you said tomorrow… Now time to get to it! I’m really proud of this documentary. You guys will get a look into the up and down struggle of dealing with weight, food, and me. 

Hope you enjoy episode one! And stay tuned for his story as it unfold over the course of the next couple weeks. 

Redemption

  
Everyday that you wake up is a new opportunity to start over, and that includes eating cleaner. Don’t wait until Monday (unless of course it’s Sunday when you’re reading this) or New Years. That’s too long. Hit that reset button tomorrow or now even. I say all that to say, I’ve hit the reset button quite a few times during this journey to healthier eating.

And until you get to a point where it becomes second nature, or the new norm, you can hit the reset at any time. In fact even when you have made healthy eating a habit, you can still hit the reset button! There’s always room for improvement.

I’ve been meal prepping/ planning off and on for the past 6 weeks as well as limiting my take out. The good news is despite the roller coaster of life I’ve been on for most of this challenge, it’s working. I do see the changes in the way my clothes fit, and more importantly how I feel.

  
I often say don’t beat yourself up and I mean it. All that self loathing just deters you, giving you less and less motivation to want to do better.

With all that said one meal at a time you can see the change .

 

 

 

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. 

LIFT THE FORK: The Leftovers (Bonus Footage) w/ Kris Kasanova

  

The Feedback and love for episode one has been great!! And because you guys have been great supporters we want to leave you with some “food for the soul, you do the dishes” moment with Kris Kasanova at Natural Blend in Brooklyn! We got to touch on some deep topics about hip hop and being healthy. Enjoy. 

  

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