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Tanya Winfield Explains Why She Had To Lose In Order To Win

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She was a fan favorite on this past season of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” Tanya Winfield, former Chief Operations Officer of the legendary Chicago based Harold’s Chicken, was a successful millionaire businesswoman and entrepreneur, but could not find success in taking care of her health. The mother of three, including one toddler, had developed detrimental eating habits, was experiencing high levels of stress and feared that her life was in jeopardy. She became so determined to transform her health that she auditioned for “The Biggest Loser” and earned a spot on the show. Not only did she receive the opportunity to renew her health, but she also renewed her soul and learned that experiencing abuse as a child also contributed to her obesity. Read or listen to our interview with Tanya as she discusses her life, career, forgiveness and future plans to create healthy soul food eateries around the country!

BFT: So as a successful business executive and entrepreneur we may look at your lifestyle and say that there’s nothing to change, you what else can Tanya possibly do. So why did you feel differently about that?

TW: Well, the biggest thing is because I was dying and it doesn’t matter what your career is or how much money you make, if you’re not healthy none of those things matter. So for me it was about really trying to live longer not just for me but for my children and to have a better quality of life. That was the biggest thing.

BFT: As a former COO at Harold’s Chicken Shack how did that role as demanding as it was contribute to the challenges you faced in terms of your eating habits?

TW: Well the biggest thing was of course I was in the stores often and so I was around the food and one of my responsibilities really was to make sure the quality control component was where it needed to be within the company. So quality control meant tasting the product but for me it was more than just tasting the product, I was eating the product. [laugh]

So it really was a matter of you know if you have a food addiction and you work in a restaurant you’re going to have some major problems and at the time I didn’t realize I had a food addiction, I was just eating, I was just living my life, everybody has to eat, you have to eat everyday but for me it was excessive and so having that food addiction and being around that type of environment all day, every day definitely was a challenge for me. Now that I look back on it, it was definitely a challenge. I use to see it as a convenience, you know I’m hungry hey I’m in one of my stores I can eat but it definitely was a challenge and it was one of my downfalls, if you will because it wasn’t something that was conducive to where I was mentally and emotionally at that stage.

Yes, so it definitely was a challenge for me and I had to kind of break away from the activities of all that to get myself right and to be able to balance it mentally, emotionally, and physically going forward.

BFT: So many people love Harold’s, even President Obama have raved about the restaurant but is it true that you’re adding or that Harold is adding new healthier menu items?

TW: Well I can’t say that, Harold’s is but as a licensed owner of Harold’s, I am…that is my pledge.

We’re in the community and we’ve been in the communities for the last 60 years and how dare I change my lifestyle and not try to share that with the community and so that is a passion of mine. So every store that I own will definitely always have grilled chicken, salads, as well as wraps, and that’s all under my Livin Soul brand which is my new brand that I created.

So that’s what I’m going to do in every store, every Harold’s Chicken Shack that I own and that I open.

It’s important that we give people options. That’s the biggest thing, I’m not going to force it down their throats, I’m not going to do any of that but I am going to give them an option and what’s working for me. I’m a serious entrepreneur, I spend a lot of time in any business that I own and so it’s also for myself, I want to make sure when I’m in any of my restaurants I have healthy options that I can go to while I’m there. I don’t want to leave my restaurant to go to another restaurant to get healthy food. I should be able to offer that to myself and to my customers.

BFT: So as a successful entrepreneur your career has built over the years to be you becoming a high level business executive, what was that journey like for you? 

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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.

Celebrity Interviews

Future NFL Hall-of-Famer Edgerrin James Talks Running 500 Miles in 365 Days

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No matter what he does, Edgerrin James knows how to lead. During his time in the NFL, James averaged 4.2 yards per carry and is one of the all-time leaders in career rushing yards. Although retired, these days, the future Hall-of-Famer also rushes toward opportunities to give back. A beloved member of the University of Miami community, James contributed the largest-ever donation of any former athlete that has ever attended. He is also the founder of the Edgerrin James Foundation and the Edgerrin James Youth Football Skills Camp.

Black Fitness Today caught up with James to learn about his recent decision to embark on a 500-mile journey this past year, and what set him apart in his training as a professional athlete.

Why did you decide to embark on your 500-mile journey across the country? What has the journey taught you?

I always like to challenge myself. Running is something I’ve always hated doing, so that made it pretty interesting! This experience has really pushed me because there’s no reward at the end of the [500-mile journey] except the fact that I did it and I was consistent. There were many times I didn’t feel like running, but once I agreed to do it, I knew I had to accomplish it.

Tell us more about your partnership with Adidas.

The Adidas partnership was good for many reasons. They provided some nice uniforms for my youth football team from top to bottom. That’s more important than anything — to lace a team of inner-city kids with custom uniforms meant a lot to me and the kids. Another reason is the relationship with the University of Miami; that’s my school and I rep the gear faithfully. So it’s only right I locked in with Adidas. I’m glad the deal worked out and look forward to building on that relationship.

edgerrin james, fitness, black fitness today

You mentioned that you’ve always hated running. Did that have any impact on you while playing football in terms of how you approached your training?

Basketball was my go to sport. It is fun and exciting  and also gets you in shape. I used playing ball as my running to get in shape.

What was your favorite off-season training routine?

I’ve always liked the late-night sessions in the off-season. I would train before going to the club or after leaving the club — sounds unusual but it was the best for me. I didn’t drink and was well-rested before I would go out. My training was always very quiet with no distractions. During the day I would go to the University of Miami and get it in with the younger guys in the hot sun.

In addition to your 500-mile journey, how else do you stay in shape these days?

I always work out three to four times a week. Nothing hard, but I consistently get some type of work in.

What role does nutrition play in your everyday life? What are some of your favorite healthy foods and foods you can’t live without?

I don’t worry too much about what I eat. I just make sure I maintain a certain weight and follow up any heavy eating with a nice workout to make sure I’m back on track.

edgerrin james, black fitness today, edgerring james camp

Via Naples News Daily

Many people know you for your accomplishments on the football field, but many don’t know that you are also passionate about giving back. What are some of your initiatives? Why is philanthropy so important to you?

My purpose is to empower my people and all people that share stories similar to mine. Too many times, you see other cultures having success and wonder why not us. It’s up to us to look out for us and when you see examples, it makes it really real to the younger generation. It also gives them realistic goals to chase without making the excuses. I’m just trying to be an example that’s tried and true without any excuses. Just hard work and determination…

What advice do you have to young men who are looking to follow in your footsteps?

Learn as much as you can and just become a good example for the next generation, understand how this world works, and play the game of life to win!

What is the legacy you want to leave behind?

The legacy I want to leave behind is that I did things the right way and never tried to be anyone else except myself, that I showed people you don’t have to conform or be something you’re not to be successful, and just put in the right work and let everything else work itself out.

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Celebrity Interviews

Carmelita Jeter Talks Personal Connection To Breast Cancer and Her Fight For a Cure

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carmelita jeter, carmelita "the jet" jeter, olympian, fastest woman alive

There’s still no faster woman alive than Carmelita Jeter. We will always remember her amazing achievements on the track as a world record holder with three Olympic medals. You may even remember her signature pink cleats she wore during some of her races. But the story behind them reveals an inspiring journey. In 2012, while training for the Olympic games, Jeter’s aunt — Brenda Washington — lost her battle with breast cancer. However, Jeter found new strength and turned tragedy into triumph. From partnering with NIKE to nonprofits, Jeter has become an outspoken advocate for breast cancer awareness and is dedicated to using her platform to fight for a cure!

In 2012 as you prepped for the London Olympics, your aunt, Brenda Washington, passed from breast cancer. And much like you did, people have to find the strength to pick themselves up, go to work and continue living after tragedy. How were you able to find that strength?

I was able to find the strength to keep going from my family, my coaches and my agent. At the time, I questioned my faith a lot. I just couldn’t understand why God would take her away from me. But I concluded that if my cousin Lachondra (her daughter) was able to be strong, I could not be weaker than her, for her sake.

What’s the best advice you can offer for supporting family members who are battling breast cancer?

The best advice I can give is to stay very close and experience moments with each other, even if it is just a small gathering at a relative’s house where everyone brings a dish. Also, never be afraid to speak about the person that is sick or has passed away. You have to keep their spirit alive.

You’ve partnered with various non-profit organizations to raise breast cancer awareness. Tell us a little bit about some of your partnerships including “The Pink Jet” with PINTRILL.

I partnered with Pintrill who made a Hot Pink Jet and a bracelet made from MyIntent with the words, “Mind over body,” inscribed. I’ve been the ambassador for Susan G. Komen’s Circle of PromiseInitiative that was based on African-American women getting tested more frequently.

In what ways did your aunt’s battle with breast cancer impact you on and off the track?

My aunt Brenda Washington’s battle made a huge impact on the track for me. Nike, my sponsor, made me my very own hot pink signature spikes in her honor. Every time I lined up to compete, I ran for her.

carmelita jeter, carmelita "the jet" jeter, olympian, fastest woman alive

What advice would you give to African-Americans in the fight against breast cancer?

The advice I would give African-Americans would be to not give up, and remember to stay a unit.

What are some tips that you can offer in helping with early detection and decreasing the rate of diagnoses?

My major tip would be to stop thinking African-Americans don’t get breast cancer. Also, stop thinking that you have to be over 45 to get diagnosed with the disease. We need to be more educated on the topic and we need to stop being afraid to go to the doctor. Go to the doctor and get checked up regularly!

Keep up with Jeter’s work in the community and dedication to fighting for a cure!

www.carmelitajeter.com
Instagram: jetg5
Twitter: carmelitajeter
Facebook: carmelitajeter

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Celebrity Interviews

WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie Talks Hall of Fame Inductions and Healthy Partnership with Boston Market

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Lisa Leslie, WNBA, women's basketball, boston market

Lisa Leslie became not only the most recognized player in the WNBA, but changed the face of women’s sports. As a two-time champion, three-time WNBA MVP, four-time Olympic Gold Medalist and eight-time all-star it should come as no surprise that Lisa is being inducted into both the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on June 13th and September 11, 2015 respectfully. As a wife, mother, Olympic athlete, model, author, speaker, and businesswoman, Leslie is a true leader and pioneer. But part of her success and ability to be Superwoman is through smart choices and taking care of her health. Recently, she teamed up with Boston Market in celebration of National Rotisserie Chicken Day, June 2nd – to celebrate the healthier cooking method. Read our interview with Lisa as she discusses her upcoming hall of fame inductions, teaming up with Boston Market, and a list of her favorite healthy rotisserie chicken recipes.

BFT: Things have changed since 1985 when Boston Market first opened its doors, the obesity epidemic being one. As a spokesperson for Boston Market why did you feel it was necessary to join in promoting healthier eating?

LL: Absolutely. I feel like we are in a time where we can no longer accept the bad food that is bombarding our community. Boston Market is definitely taking a stand with the new brand promise, All Good. The fact that you can find fresh, never frozen chicken with no added steroids or hormones makes Boston Market a frequent stop for me. As a working mom, I understand the importance of healthy food and trying to make healthy choices for my family. The Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken is not only yummy by itself but can also be used to make a variety of other meals, salads, tacos and enchiladas.

BFT: We were surprised to learn that Boston Market offers more than 150 meals 550 calories and under! When you’re on the go what is your favorite menu option at Boston Market?

LL: My favorite is breast of chicken with a wing, the green beans, sautéed spinach, which is only available at select stores, and yams. I try to load up on vegetables.

 BFT: What are some of your favorite Rotisserie Chicken dishes and recipes?

LL: I love to use Boston Market rotisserie chicken in many different kinds of recipes. First, it is great by itself with some healthy sides. Then I can use the leftovers for additional meals, like Chicken Wraps and a great Waldorf Salad.

BFT: As a pioneer of the WNBA, how does it feel to know that you are being formally inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in less than two weeks, June 13, 2015 in Knoxville, TN?

I am really humbled and excited to be a part of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It took a lot of hard work but I did not get here alone. I had so much support from teammates, coaches and family. It seems unfair that only I get an award.

BFT: This September you will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, “the highest honor in Basketball.” Many players dream to one day be in your position. What type of work, training, dedication, support etc., did it take to get you to this point?

It takes an abnormal amount of focus and dedication to your craft; it takes about 10,000 hours of repetition to become good at anything. I had a great support system as well, from my mother to my family to the coaches and teammates I played with throughout the years.

BFT: When you think back on your career and your many accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

LL: It is hard to choose one thing: I am proud of being a mom. I am proud of being a wife and businesswoman. I am proud of my basketball career and philanthropic work.

BFT: What do you want people to take away from what you were able to accomplish during your career?

LL: I would love to be known as a person who really gave her all in everything she did, as a wife, mom, athlete, captain, teammate, businesswoman. Along the way, I have met some wonderful people. I have helped people and received so much in return. I am just thankful for the journey.


 

Here are the recipes:

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

1 whole Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken, picked and diced in small pieces

2 tablespoons canola oil

8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup carrots, diced in small pieces

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup roasted peanuts chopped in half

1 head Greenleaf or Iceberg lettuce, separated into whole leaves

1 – 8 oz. pouch or 1 cup of your favorite Hoisin Sauce

Directions

Heat oil over high heat in large frying pan or wok

Add chicken, all vegetables and half of the peanuts, stir fry for two minutes

Add 3/4 pouch of Asian sauce, bring to a simmer, add green onions and remaining peanuts

Scoop the mixture into a lettuce leaf cup

Drizzle the remaining sauce on top

Waldorf Chicken Salad

Ingredients

1 Boston Market Rotisserie chicken, picked and diced

½ cup apples diced

½ cup celery diced

¼ cup grapes cut in thirds

¼ cup walnuts chopped

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, chill and serve on bread, croissant or on a bed of lettuce. Serves five to six.

Tip

This recipe calls for one whole Boston Market Rotisserie chicken but if you want all white meat buy two whole chickens and use dark meat in another recipe.

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