Finding Positivity for my Body Through Fitness
Diet and working out has always been apart of my DNA. For as long as I can remember I’ve been on some plan to eat less and move more.
I have memories of being in my living room with my mom as we moved to Richard Simmons to dance off the pounds. I can even remember my mom trying any and everything as she too was trying win the win the battle of weight loss in her life. So I thought well this is what you do. You go on fad diets, exercise like crazy, lose some weight, gain it back, and repeat.
It wasn’t until I found myself well over 300 pounds, and struggling to breath as I ran up the stairs to attend to my crying baby. I knew I had to make a change. I had to do something different. I decided that day to take control over my life and actually do the work to be healthy, not just for me but for my daughter.
The journey began, and it wasn’t bad, there were a few dark days filled with “I can’t do this” but after a year I dropped 50 pounds and had an awaking that my body was beautiful. That I was beautiful! I learned to love it, treat it right, and be proud of it. In finding this new self love for myself I realized that I love fitness. Yes I said it. I love fitness.
It makes me happy!!!! Surprisingly I tried all types of exercises, to see what I would like. I feel in love with running and dance fitness. Two things that were totally out of my comfort zone.
I was so pumped after I ran my first half marathon that I wanted to tell everyone about the running group I joined. I remember showing up for the first time, the group leader looked like me, and she was a marathon, dedicated, go hard or go home runner. She is tall almost six feet and just as curvy as I was. She explained that she had been running for years and this was the only time she could quiet the noise in her mind. She taught us proper techniques of running, and most importantly how not to get hurt. She truly understood what I, and a lot of the ladies were going through when it came to running. The beautiful thing is that there were women of all shapes and sizes out to do one common thing be healthy and move! It’s been three years now, and as I prepare for my next half marathon in seven months, I will never forget the impact that Adina Howard of Black Girls Run made on my life.
My second love – dance fitness, happened by pure accident. I changed gyms trying to find a place where I could call home and stumbled across a zumba studio, where Healthy Living With Monique was birthed.
Maureen, the studio owner who always has the best playlist, and the freshest choreography helped me fall in love with dancing. She would pull us on stage and have each student do the routines with her. I found my self going to the zumba studio sometimes seven days a week not only to workout, but because as I looked around the room there were people from all walks of life, small and not so small, young and old. Sometimes you almost forget that you were there to workout. I would get lost in the music, and feeling was so free.
One day she introduced a new dance fitness program called Mixxedfit. She explained that Mixxedfit was a people inspired dance fitness program that incorporated dance and boot camp toning. When the first song came on I was hooked and I knew I had found what I had been looking for. After a few months of learning new routines, I was told the studio was going to hold instructor training and that I should become an instructor. Immediately fear started to take over and ran through my mind.
Before the eight hour instructor training Mixxedfit had a master class where local instructors come out to support the new instructors coming into the program. My mouth fell open when I walked through the door and the instructors and master educators were all shapes and sizes. The master educator Tiffany Barnes who is tall and curvy, with knee supports on hit the floor and the everyone went wild. Her body moved like she was one with the music not to miss a beat. Every step perfect and on point. She explained that her knees had been giving her some issues but for the love of Mixxedfit is why she does it. I knew at that that moment that I found my tribe.
Looking back at where I came from I’m thankful for the journey. I’ve been able to find myself through the joy of fitness. I encourage everyone to step out of your fitness comfort zone and try a new fitness activity once a month. You might be surprised by what you find. Not sure where to look. Check out Superfit Hero’s body positive fitness finder to find a body positive fitness instructor near you.