Category Archives: Health and Beauty

I took my fat a@@ to the gym

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I took my fat a@@ to the gym

Finally, after years of absence, I signed up for a gym membership.  We have a lot of heavy-duty equipment in the house. However, I just can’t will myself to step on the treadmill or elliptical machine.  Tired of all the excess weight I’ve put on since 2012, I decided “enough is enough”.

While I have been slow to actually focus on my health, I can say that recent health issues have really kicked my a@@ into high gear with regards to taking better care of self.  I can honestly say that if I didn’t have a child, I would continue as normal. However, the thought of not being around for my daughter makes me sad and slightly depressed.  I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Sure. However, the thought of dying young because I couldn’t stop drinking sodas is not something I can live with on a daily basis.

It took very little research to decide on a gym. Cheap was the only requirement.  I went online after reading a billboard advertising a new member deal and VOILA!  I’m officially a member of the gym.

It’s already hard enough to go to the gym, but to walk into the gym on the first day and have the customer service look at you like you have 2 heads really made me want to walk out of the door. I was met with a lukewarm greeting at the door and I had to ask for a tour after I indicated I joined online.  The tour was a big disappointment.  Locker room under construction. No locks for sale for the lockers. Restroom entrance has a big tarp covering it. “These are all aesthetics”, I say to myself. “You don’t need any of these things to work out”.  However I walked back out as quickly as I came in.

Day 1. Failure. I’ll come back when I have a lock for my stuff.

Day 2 (not sequential). I return back to gym as I received a text message that there was a problem with my payment.  Hmmmn – my bank shows a charge from your organization, how could there be a problem when you charged my card.  Patience. I must practice patience.  Card re-processed. Head to bathroom. Tarp on bathroom. Locker room still under construction. “These are all aesthetics”, I say to myself. “You don’t need any of these things to work out”.

This gym is the “Home of the Judgement Free Zone.” Yeah right.  Who are you kidding? I’m judging everyone in here and I haven’t even started 1 workout.  I’m looking at them and I KNOW they are looking at me.  I head over to an elliptical machine. About the same time, a girl jumps on to one next to me.  Phone in tow, without hands, she is going full force on that machine as if her life depended on it.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to balance myself as I’m looking for a safety harness while also pushing 5 different buttons trying to make the machine “go”!  WTF really? I felt like I needed a degree in computer science to work the machine.

After 10 minutes I literally thought I was going to die. Meanwhile girl next to me is not about to stop any time soon.  After cleaning the machine (I learned gym etiquette in my previous gym life),  I roamed the gym looking for my next target.  I settle on some leg machines. I watch the lady to my left and the lady to my right.  I had to perform minor gymnastics to even get into the machine.  Once on the machine, nothing. “How the Fu@K do you work this machine?” Ugh…I really don’t want to ask anyone, but I nervously ask the lady next to me and she briefly coached me.  Ok it’s working now – kind of.  After 5 minutes, I moved on. Treadmill it is.  Easy enough. No running for me as I’m an accident waiting to happen. 15 minutes and I’m done.  I walk out the gym slightly satisfied while also feeling like failure.

The next day I hate like a pig. There is always next week!

Do you have any quirky or funny gym stories?

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

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The month of October is just about over and I would be remiss if I did not mention that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with the 15th being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I candidly wrote about my late term pregnancy loss last year in the post Ambiguous Loss. That was the start of the healing process. Fast forward a year later, I was fortunate to have another child. As joyous as it has been to be a mother to a living and breathing child, I still think about the baby I lost and it still hurts like it happened yesterday.

Throughout the month of October, my Facebook timeline was filled with quotes and articles about pregnancy and infant loss. I decided, now more than ever, to not scroll past the posts. I was going to read and participate in the conversation.

Last year I joined the Facebook group Hannah’s Heart and Love – Baby Loss. I was encouraged anytime I read a post from this group. When they posted an invitation for an event to remember our babies, I made sure my calendar was clear. I’m not one for support groups or openly talking about my feelings but something deep down urged me to go so that I could mourn healthier (yes there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with grief) and so that I could be emotionally available for my new baby. I’m so glad I went.

As I walked through the door, I was immediately hit with somber music. It took enormous inner strength to not break down and cry as soon as I entered the building. I knew this event would revive some painful memories and I realized, through the interaction of others, that I did not have to be strong all the time. Crying is ok and remembering is crucial to healing.

Breaking the ice was a bit difficult. What do you say to other families whom you know have lost a loved one? One person pointed to the program and asked me which child was mine and I ackwardly asked someone when did she loose her child (she had not lost a child. She was just volunteering). Eventually the conversations started flowing and I was amazed at how effortless these families discussed their tragedies. They discussed everything from hospital experiences, post death pictures, and medical diagnoses. They were happy to talk about their children. They were not ashamed or afraid to share their stories. I met a family who had twins and only one survived, and another family whose baby lived for just an hour. Then there was myself, whose baby was born still.

A year ago, I was offended by people outside of my close circle asking me what happened to my pregnancy. It was personal and their questioning was intrusive. I had no problem discussing the loss with my close family and friends when asked, but I did not immediately bring it up for fear of creating a somber environment and not wanting people to think I was fishing for sympathy.

After talking to the other families, listening to poems, and a message from a clergyman, I realized that no matter what gestational age, a pregnancy loss must still be acknowledged. Too often people will say “I was only a few weeks pregnant.”  Be it 1 month or 6 months, the unborn child brings so much hope and anticipation to families. For women, every pain and discomfort is a reminder of life forthcoming. When that child is gone from your body it is heart breaking. I also learned that we must, including myself, speak about the loss in the effort to help other who are going through similar situations. As an African American women it is even more important. Still births affect African American women at a higher rate than other ethnic groups.

Support is fundamental for the entire family. Although women carry the children, fathers have also lost a child. Other children must be brought into this grieving process as well as other relatives like grandparents.

There are tons of resources for anyone who needs support. Hannah’s Heart and Love – Baby Loss provides care packages for women who have lost their babies as well as books and other useful resources. Throughout this journey, I have also found the March of Dimes to be a wonderful and supportive resource.

Many thanks again to the organizers of Hannah’s Heart and Love – Baby Loss for organizing the event and helping us to remember our babies.

We remember our babies on the tree of lifeimage