In Honor of Sacrifice

“Remembering those who paid for our freedom”
(Author unknown)




In keeping with a routine, I would usually post a new blog on Sunday.  In honor of the sacrifice men and women have given us serving in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, I humbly post this blog in their memory on this special day.

For me, it’s somewhat similar to the journey I accepted in pursuing and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.  I know it needs to be done. At times, I feel like giving up and saying “enough is enough”.  The vision boards I have of my future and acknowledging the present moment keep me going.  Above all, prayer changes things and people.

There are times where I feel that I’ve accomplished something and other times when I’ve stumbled, acknowledge my mistakes, work at solutions, and keep going.  I did go through a couple of drive-through restaurants this week or contacted a delivery service.  I do know that I am working to make better food choices (example: no french fries, sodas, or desserts with my salad or grilled sandwich).  As I sit here and type, I am eating my home-cooked meal:  another round of collard greens w/ mixed vegetables all cooked in a crock pot; low-fat yogurt with some almonds for a snack, and I have my water.




I actually worked out on another Sunday. This time, I bought two new DVDs:  “The Biggest Loser Cardio Max Workout” with Bob Harper and “Bellydance Fitness”.  I don’t think I’ve sweat so much in my life (LOL).  If you ever watch “The Biggest Loser” you know Bob doesn’t play and he NEVER wants you to stop working out; continues to tell you to push yourself.  He’s not just talking to the ones that work out with him in the video, but his attention is also on the viewer watching and working out at home.  As of today, I am still recuperating from the workouts. I think I found some muscles that I never knew I had (LOL).

It’s a true sacrifice to develop and be consistent with a workout routine and eating healthy.  I want to be able to live longer to enjoy life and see the plan God has for me and work it.  Will I lose the weight I desire to overnight? NO! Just as it took a while to gain the weight, I will dedicate as much time–if not longer–to lose it.

I’ll continue to reflect on this day.  So many men and women sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the “unalienable rights” as described in the Declaration of Independence:  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  In the meantime, I think as an individual, I owe it to myself to live a healthier lifestyle so that I am able to enjoy the unalienable rights.


Not Giving Up….Still Pushing

Jesus said to his disciples:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You have faith in God; have faith also in me” (John 14:1).

I’m grateful that I survived another week of accomplishments and challenges!  In my human capacities, I started off well then fell short of getting into bad habits (I can’t seem to stay away from drive-thru restaurant french fries but I know it CAN be done LOL).

This week, I maintained my workouts at home; with a free exercise class; and taking advantage of public transit since the gas tank was low.  The workouts began with latin dance, bellydancing, and a cardio blast.  I wore my new T-shirt that you see in the picture.  I was very pleased that I was able to keep up with the cardio (LOL).

Next, I took a free Zumba class with a former instructor.  If you remember from a previous post, I had a membership at my employer’s fitness center, but the wallet was taking a serious hit.  The instructor had us working out from beginning to end for 45 minutes—no stopping.  I needed to soak in the shower instead of stand up in one (LOL). The dance classes don’t seem like a workout.  The key is to keep your abs tight and continue to breathe.  Zumba works out the total body.  I truly enjoyed the class!

It was obvious that my gas tank was getting low.  In order to save my tank, I used public transit to get to and from work.  I wish I could do this on a consistent basis, but it’s unfortunate that contractor employees are not able to benefit from transhare funds—funds given to full-time employees to encourage use of public transit. Overall, the day was beautiful, and I managed to clock in 8,491 steps total on my pedometer…YAY!

I haven’t given up on my journey to pursue and maintain a healthier lifestyle. While I was listening to a service online in Chicago and doing laundry today, I made my dinner in the crock pot:  collard greens and stewed vegetables with some herbs/spices.  It smells pretty good and I’m looking forward to eating it.  I honestly enjoy cooking at home.  At times, my schedule may not allow it, but I force myself to get some fruits and vegetables to have for lunch and dinner.  You become creative with your meals.  As a matter of fact, I knew someone who made their dressing in a crockpot.  It looked good, but I MUST stay focused.

I ask those who read this blog to continue to pray for me as I go through this journey.  When the goals are reached and maintained, I envision the results of hard work to be as beautiful as a rainbow.

Keep Pushing…..Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Well, I managed to survive my first week of commitment.  However, there were challenges and slips along the way.

I took the advantage of free exercise classes being offered at my place of employment (I like the word “free” LOL).  The classes were core conditioning and line dancing.  I was a member of the fitness center at work but the costs were hitting my wallet.  I still receive email messages regarding the changes; new trainers; opportunities for new and/or free classes, etc.  The free class offerings were part of a “Springing Into Health” Initiative.  I enjoy dancing because it doesn’t seem to feel like a workout.  However, I realize that I TRULY need to get back into shape.

I spoke with both of my former instructors in both classes. I shared with them about my blog and my re-commitment to pursuing and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.  Both said that I was missed. I may decide to take on personal fitness training with one of them to continue my motivation.  One of the employees who regularly comes to class noticed me and said “It’s been a long time”. With all that’s going in the world, it’s nice to know that people remembered you or that you were thought of.

I have managed to eat healthy, but I did break down and visited some drive-thru restaurants (*sigh*). I think I am getting better of making healthier choices if I do manage to have a relapse.  For example, I went to Wendy’s restaurant and ordered a salad…no fries, frosties, or a hamburger.  I did have some chicken nuggets with the salad….TA-DA!

It seems as if I am still recuperating from the Core Conditioning class.  Maybe my sides are waking up (LOL).  I’ve been trying to work on my core and my lower back to lose weight from that area.  In addition, my goal to continue to drink more water on a daily basis.  I’ve stayed away from soft drinks and alcohol.  I do drink orange juice, almond milk, and herbal teas. If push comes to shove, I might have coffee but only as a last resort to wake up.  I did mention before that I need to increase my sleep time, so I can’t stay up after a certain time during the work week.  Sleep has become more important in my pursuit, especially with weight loss.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

I like the phrase “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”. Sean (P-Diddy) Combs is not the only one that uses it. I have a fellow college alum who has an organization in which he influences young males with positive examples of manhood; academic achievement; self-esteem and other areas of personal and professional growth.  The phrase for his organization is “Nfluence…CSWS” [Kind of catchy, don’t you think?] I thought the CSWS would be a good title for a new post.

As I continue this journey to wellness, I still remember the reasons why I’m doing this and I have my Vision Boards posted in my kitchen and my bedroom to remind me.  The images all symbolize where I want to be in life: spiritually, physically, and financially in the near future.  That’s why I keep pushing, or what has been stated so eloquently…P.U.S.H. — Pray Until Something Happens. I refuse to give up….CSWS!

If You Only Knew My Story..A Journey to Wellness

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well (3 John 1:2)

I begin in sharing my personal journey to good health with scripture.  As I get older, I realize how much I depend on God to sustain me and to help me move to a healthier lifestyle.

Since my undergraduate college years, I’ve battled with weight maintenance and loss. We’ve seen countless commercials, advertisements, and even reality shows—on the examples of good health and wellness.  I would start off well with consistency, then “fall off the wellness wagon”.  Let’s face it, I have an addiction to drive-thru restaurants; chocolate; baked tortilla chips and salsa.  This unhealthy cycle must be broken.  I am determined to do so.  A couple of experiences in my life have given me a “wake-up call” as to how precious life is.

On November 9, 2009, God called on my mother. Her passing was so unexpected. I envisioned after my graduation from graduate school several months later, she would see me walk across the stage; maybe see her daughter get married (God only knows) and both me and my brother would finally present her with grandchildren.  God saw fit where our mother needed to be.

My mother was a diabetic and had high blood pressure.  During the course of preparing for my mother’s “homegoing”, I decided that I was determined to break the cycle of being the next family member diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, or any other disease.  From that point, I returned home and joined the gym at work; watched what I ate; purchased DVDs and worked out with videos. The consistency was great….until the point that I could no longer afford the membership fee and I was procrastinating with my routines.  I noticed I was gaining weight and certain things were happening to my body that put me in shock. Now I’m developing arthritis in the knees; now certain clothes hug me instead of being loose in certain areas. My sleep patterns are really being affected.  As sung by the group Mary Mary, “I just can’t give up now. Come too far from where I’ve started from. Nobody told me the road would be easy, but I can’t believe he brought me this far to leave me”. 

On April 27, 2011, my home state of Alabama was again on the map for one of the worst tragedies in natural disasters.  My old neighborhood in Birmingham, AL—Pratt City/Smithfield Estates—was severely damaged by a tornado. My uncle still lives in the house where I grew up and was one of the very few houses left standing.  Unfortunately, several of my neighbors, church members, and friends had their homes destroyed. Even the apartment communities Mom and I lived in (Southbrook and Timber Ridge) are gone. Bethel Baptist Church’s structure is gone, and this church has a strong community outreach that has made a lasting impact. My neighborhood and other communities within the state of Alabama are totally unrecognizable.  I experienced a similar tornado in 1977 in the same neighborhood, but as President Barack Obama stated when he visited Tuscaloosa with Governor Bentley and Mayor Maddox, “I’ve never seen devastation like this.” Compared to the one in 1977, April 27th was much worse. Several communities in the state are completely off the map.

I am reclaiming my goals to pursue and maintain a healthier lifestyle as of today, Sunday, May 8, 2011.  In honor of my mother, the late Catherine Davis Richardson, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to present my first blog on Mother’s Day.  My goals are very attainable:

–To lose 20lbs. or more by September 2011

–To be able to wear a swimsuit without feeling self-conscious

–Continue to share my story to anyone who may be going through a similar experience

–To be in the best spiritual, physical, and financial shape

–To gain more than 7.5 hours of sleep

–Being able to take risks in life and step out on faith

I hope that you will join me as I share my journey to wellness with others through this blog. I am a member of a couple of groups on Facebook that I participate in. Taking this journey helps if you have people who are encouraging and will check you in love.

Ladies and gentlemen; cats and kitties; peoples and peopettes (in my JJ “Good Times” voice lol)—-WELCOME to my Journey!

–Stephanie Davis