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My name is Natasha and I would like to share my weight loss story to inspire anyone that feels there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

I had my fourth child at 36 and the pregnancy did my body in — I weighed almost 200lbs where my regular weight averaged around 135 to 140lbs. I was miserable; I never thought I’d be a size 14, and I hated getting ready for work etc., because that meant I had to look in the mirror. One day I woke up and was just tired of not loving myself — I knew better than that; I knew I was a child of God and that my size didn’t reflect who I was on the inside. At that moment I decided to change; I started waking up every morning and would look into the mirror and say “ I love you Natasha”, and eventually I started falling in love with myself — the REAL me which then allowed me to take care of my body in a way that I never did before.

I started with one healthy habit at a time. The first habit was drinking a gallon of water a day for 21 days.  After I had that down, I started working out – one thing about going to the gym was I knew I had to find a gym nearby so there would be NO EXCUSE for not going. Once I joined the gym I also promised myself; no matter how crappy I felt I would still walk through those gym doors five days a week  (I still have to honor that promise at times). After I got used to working out, I then began watching my calorie and carbohydrate intake with the ‘MyFitnessPal’ app on my phone.

I believe it starts with accepting yourself first, and when you really love yourself you start to value how precious it is to be alive — you start breathing different and you’ll learn to watch what you put in your temple for fuel. This is a passion of mine, to help, and to inspire.

I’ll love to answer any questions you may have or just to encourage you along your journey.

Facebook: MsNatashaJones

Do you want to share your health and fitness journey or know someone who does? Submit your story to be featured on our website!

 

 

Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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Fitness + Health

James Edward of Atlanta, Georgia Is Down 130 Pounds!

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In roughly one year’s time, James, a professional background singer, has found a new voice in promoting healthy living. Today, he is more than 130 pounds lighter than he used to be. Showing no signs of slowing down, he is currently committed to staying active for at least 60 minutes every day for 60 days as a part of the #60for60 challenge.

Progress. I don’t think there will ever be a day where I will say “I have arrived.” I feel great. My eyes are more open now than ever before (mainly because I lost weight in my eyelids but that’s neither here nor there). 

Great job James!

Follow James’ journey on Instgram at @jedsings!

 

jedsings

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Fitness + Health

Heather S. Takes Fitness From “Hobby” To NPC Bikini Competitor

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Heather Sumpter

This month we had the opportunity to chat with NPC competitor Heather S. about her fitness journey from getting started to how her life has changed since taking on a healthier lifestyle. Read Heather’s inspiring interview to get the lessons she has learned along the way, tips on how you can not only start your journey but also stay on track and see how what was once “just a hobby” for Heather has now become a lifestyle! 

How would you describe your life before you began your health and fitness journey?

Life before my fitness journey was a normal college life. Although I majored in exercise science, I was not exactly 100% healthy. I would eat whatever I wanted, go out on the weekends and drink, and think I could exercise it away. I was never happy with my body and could not figure out how to fix it.

What led you to want to change your life?

I always read the fitness magazines and wanted to compete. After college, I wanted a hobby to occupy my new-found free time. Once I started researching about cleaning up your diet, I knew this would be a challenge but I was determined to try it. Everyone laughed at me when I told them I was going to try to compete because they knew me as the “foodie” who loved her happy hours. I was always trying some new diet and failed. This gave me more motivation to prove them wrong.

Heather Sumpter

How has your life changed since your transformation and journey?

It has given me a complete change for the better. I am healthier than ever and love the way I look. I have more energy and have not been sick since I have started this in 2011. I use my knowledge to inspire others. I no longer drink alcohol and feel better for it. I have found my purpose and live my life fulfilled because I am helping others change their habits through my example.

Have you experienced any difficulties on your journey and if so, how have you been able to overcome?

At first, my friends did not like or understand that I did not want to go out anymore. I felt pressure to drink and party like my old ways and sometimes felt left out but I knew if they were really my friends they would stick around. I would also get comments about how I was too skinny and how I did not eat (even though I eat 6-7 times a day). In the black community being ‘thick” is something that is praised and people seemed offended I did not want to be like that. I just realized that people will always criticize the unfamiliar and people eventually came around when they saw this was permanent.

Many people feel they are too busy or have too many obstacles as to why they can’t make a lifestyle change or live healthier? What excuse busters or advice do you have?

It’s important to be organized. If you have to make a schedule for yourself to make the time then do it. If you want something, you will find the time. Just like you find the time to go shopping or out with friends. 1 hour of exercise is only a small part of your day. Most of the time we spend Saturdays or Sundays relaxing and watching a movie; why not take that time and prep your food for the week, which saves you even more time to finish tasks during the busy week.

Keep your gym clothes in your car to remind yourself to go before or after work. A lot of black women give me the line “I’m not trying to lose my butt!” Curves are beautiful, and exercise makes them even better. In fact, I have more curves and booty than before. Don’t make excuses on why you can’t because there are so many reasons why you can.

Heather Sumpter

How do you keep your body in shape? What is your typical nutrition regimen?

I stay in shape by doing cardio consisting of running distance and sprint intervals. I also like to incorporate HIIT and plyometrics. As for resistance training, I lift weights five days a week working a different muscle group each day.

I prepare all my meals for the week on Saturday or Sunday. It is important to have a plan for becoming successful such as, I eat about 6 meals a day with a 40/30/30 split of protein, carbohydrates and fat. I eat mostly clean foods and stay away from sugar but I do allow myself to have one free meal a week.

What are your favorite indulgences?

I love peanut butter and chocolate covered almonds

What advice would you give to those who are looking to improve their health?

It’s not going to be easy at first. It will take time and you will have to make sacrifices. Be patient and don’t try to rush it. You will be thankful later.

How can people learn more about you and what you are up to?

You can follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

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Fitness + Health

Transformation Story – Cookie Miller

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@cookiemiller

A family history of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and breast cancer – Cookie was well on her way to much of the same as a prediabetic. Being made fun of and getting laughed at because of her size, did not stop her from improving her health and reaching her goals because she was determined to get the “last laugh.” She is now encouraging people to make the same decision that she did – simply put, she says “change your mind, change your life(style).”

@cookiemiller

For the not so nice girls who started at me in  disapproval when I walked into the gym: instead of staring, you should’ve smiled with encouragement because after all, I was doing something about it. To the guy who told me I looked like a “linebacker” during my senior year of high school. In the hallway! In front of everybody! I sincerely thank you – in fact, thank you all who have criticized or judged me for being obese. It is all thanks to you that I’ve been able to build the thick layer of skin that I have now. Thanks to you, I no longer concern myself with other peoples’ insignificant opinions of me; because of people like you, I am inspiring others; now, what is it that you do again?

Look guys, if you’re on a weight loss journey, my best advice to you is to worry about You! Disregard the criticism of others and NEVER give up! Build yourself a thick layer of skin and work [your hardest] because in the end, you get the last laugh.

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