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How Dr. Jackie Walters Overcame Breast Cancer (twice), Pregnancy Loss, and Infertility

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“You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved” (unknown). Dr. Jackie Walters has moved three of the biggest and heaviest mountains one could ever experience – two breast cancer diagnoses, pregnancy loss, and the news of infertility. Yet, she still stands tall with strength and grace. A DIVA – Dedicated. Innovative. Victorious. Amirable – by her definition. Bravo TV’s Married to Medicine star and OB/GYN has not only fought cancer as both a doctor and a patient, but founded the 50 Shades of Pink Foundation, to provide to other women moving mountains too. Read more about Dr. Jackie’s journey and how she couldn’t put up a fight with tears in her eyes.

Tell us a little bit about your foundation, 50 Shades of Pink, and its dedication to treating inner and outer beauty of breast cancer patients and survivors.

I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer twice. The first time was about 10 years ago and then shortly after that I was diagnosed a second time, which was a little shocking because we were told after chemo, radiation and surgery the first time, that the chance of it ever coming back was three percent. And I of course went through chemo and radiation [again], still worked and maintained a healthy lifestyle because it really was what I needed to get through all of that and still remain whole. During my chemo, I found that I would dress up; and then I found myself helping other ladies in the chemo to turn their scarves to this side or maybe do this or do that. So my feeling good was kind of where the theme came from, “if you look good then you will more than likely feel good.” We also know from research that if you feel good then you do good because you release all of the endorphins and it just makes a difference in your whole immune response.

So, with 50 Shades of Pink, I looked around and we had Susan G. Komen and in Atlanta there’s It’s The Journey Inc., and all of these different breast cancer foundations who would make sure that you had the important things like getting mammograms, and the ability to get to chemo but nobody really tapped into the part that is “woman” — in that is we lose our hair, we lose our breasts, everything that makes you feel like a woman — no one was really helping with that part. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I said “you know what?” breast cancer has so many colors and I don’t mean race; some women are diagnosed with this and they have to go through these things, and then some women are diagnosed very early and may not have to do much. So every ribbon told a different story, every shade of pink was in that whole spectrum.

For my patients diagnosed with breast cancer; I wanted to just spend an hour on the phone with them outside of the office, or at dinner just talking to them about the journey because it is a journey. And then I would give them a gift when they left, which was finger nail polish because during chemo your fingernails turn black; it just doesn’t feel cute at all. So I would do fingernail polish and lip gloss because you can have absolutely no makeup on and as a woman, you can put a little lip gloss on and you just feel better because you look better. I would give ladies just anything that I found during my journey that made me feel better. Eventually it got to the point where they would call me about their cousins or their friends, and my friends would call me about their friends, and husbands who didn’t know what to do for their wives. It became an important task for me to make sure that women [battling cancer] looked good. So with that plus my accountant saying you’ve been spending a whole lot of money on a whole lot of gifts, [laughs] and we decided that we would make this a foundation.

On Married to Medicine, your enthusiasm about fitness is bullhorn-loud and clear! How did you develop your passion for active living?

When I moved from Mississippi to Georgia, I connected with a group of girls and I’ll be honest; who didn’t look like me.  So coming from a small town in Mississippi, nobody focused on working out and eating healthy; eating fried and fattening food was just the way of life for me. And when I connected with these girls who were all into going to the gym — and you know, when you’re in Rome you do as the Romans. So I started working out and got really involved in eating healthy and I started losing weight and just felt better. I really got into fitness in residency and of course transitioning over into private practice. Then, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, it became a way of life for me; it wasn’t just about looking good anymore.

What I realized with my “Fit Is the New It,” is fitness is three parts — it’s your mind, your body, and your spirit. If you think about a tripod, if one leg is broken it’s not going to stand. For me, you can have a healthy body and a healthy mind but if you’re depressed, you’re still broken. You can be a happy person with a nice body but if the rest of the tripod is not working then you’re still messed up. So it’s a lifestyle for me and I’m trying to get the word out because with women – especially African-American women, heart disease, diabetes and obesity are interconnected. So I want to help women not only because I work with women every day, but I want the world to know that it’s not a diet for a period of time, it’s a lifestyle change.

Check out this clip of Dr. Jackie and her bullhorn!


Flip the page as Dr. Jackie discusses her personal battles with breast cancer, pregnancy loss and news of infertility!

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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.

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Cover Feature

Living Fit The Civil Way – How A Healthy Lifestyle Powers Karen Civil’s Success

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Photo credit: Noel Daganta

Karen Civil, Live Civil, Black Fitness Today

It’s another beautiful November day in Los Angeles, and it’s shoot day. Karen Civil is en route, and the team is preparing for her arrival. You can feel how the atmosphere changes when she walks into the studio. She brings an aura of confidence, yet calmness. Even while she’s ironing out details of her schedule for the rest of the week, she’s in lock step during shoot prep. Karen is like a chameleon who can rock many different looks and shine bright while doing it.

Everyone has their own method of preparation for photo shoots. We can imagine that in being a cover girl for a fitness mag, she wanted to be ready. But, her lifestyle, work ethic, and commitment to maintaining good health and a solid physique proved to be a perfect return on investment on shoot day.

The Elizabeth, New Jersey native now residing in Los Angeles is one of the best digital strategists in the game.  Even if you still don’t know who she is by now, you probably know her work and have seen her footprint. Check some of her most notable receipts:

Remember when Weezy went to prison? Karen was responsible for the creation of his fan site weezythanxyou.com, that kept his fans connected and brand intact during his incarceration. This was crucial because it was before social media gave us all direct access to our favorite celebs and entertainers.

You know all those Beats by Dre ads with notable athletes and entertainers wearing the headphones while getting a glimpse into their journeys? She spearheaded that campaign.

The booming success of mainstream artists like YG, Nipsey Hussle and Dave East and more, link back to her, as she has elevated these artists into formidable brands.

One of Karen’s platforms, karencivil.com, which kicked off in 2008, has been unique in the hip-hop industry because it is credited with introducing now global superstars to the world before anyone else including Drake, J. Cole, and Nicki Minaj.

Karen and her team launched the LiveCivil playground in Haiti, the place of her roots, to create a safe place for children to be able to play and express themselves.

Karen Civil is not only holding her own in a male-dominated industry, but is setting the path that women — and men — want to follow.

What enables Karen Civil to be the powerhouse that she is goes beyond her knowledge, experience, and connections. It is often said that our health is our greatest wealth. How can we live out our fullest potential if we aren’t healthy enough to do it? This is an idea that Karen takes very seriously; it gives her balance and a solid foundation.

Self-care has enabled her to successfully fight her battle with anemia, and maintain not only a solid body, but a solid mental state – something so crucial in the industry she dominates each and every day.

Flip to the next page to read our interview with Karen to find out what fitness means to her, why she felt it was best to let go of her vegan lifestyle, what keeps her grounded, and advice she has on brand-building.

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Cover Feature

How Will “WillDaBeast” Adams Beasted His Way to Becoming One Of Dance’s Biggest Influencers

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Willdabeast Adams

Will "WillDaBeast" Adams

He’s elevated dance. His style is highly sought-after. You’ve probably seen a viral video already showcasing his ridiculous choreography. Will “WilldaBeast” Adams is our Fall 2017 cover and we are excited to share the story of such a dope guy with you all! He’s leaving a mark on the industry that will make it tough for others to make any better.

Growing up as a military brat was difficult for Adams. Moving around often, and not feeling a sense of belonging left him questioning his purpose, as he knew he was meant for more. Once he found his love for dance, he took a leap of faith, trusted his talent, and moved to Los Angeles, to become a professional dancer to artists such as Usher, T-Pain, The Black Eyed Peas, working with TV series such as GLEE, X-Factor and more. He’d later go on to build his dance empire immaBEAST that has global impact. His annual conference BuildaBeast Experience 2017 going on now, is hosting over 1000 participants daily, representing countries all over the world.

The energy Adams’ choreography brings is so infectious, you may find yourself watching his YouTube channel for hours, or deciding to try some of his choreography yourself – be careful though – we’re not responsible for any pulled muscles or sore joints that may come from trying to move like that! The fitness level he showcases is one to be admired!

Dance as a career, or outlet, certainly has its long-term benefits. But even dance as a form of cardiovascular exercise, or stress-reliever, can improve our overall physical and mental health. Scientific studies show that dancing helps improve our core, overall coordination, fight symptoms of depression, and can even keep our brains from aging!

Adams’ chatted with us about how he stays in great shape, what sets him apart, and what empowers him to be a beast!

Willdabeast Adams

What was life like for you growing up?

Life was confusing for me growing up. I moved around a lot of places, because I was a military brat. I lived in Virginia, Florida and Indiana for 12 years. I learned to love all people, try new things and was super involved with sports, as well as arts. But I always felt out of place and that I was destined for something more.

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Cover Feature

Laura Govan – Finding New Strength and Power Through Fitness

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Laura Govan, Black Fitness Today, fitness magazine, celebrity fitness

Laura Govan, Black Fitness Today, fitness magazine, celebrity fitness
She’s fierce, fly and fit! Not to mention down-to-earth and open to sharing her journey.  Mother, author, entrepreneur and actress Laura Govan is no stranger to the camera and having her life scrutinized for the world to see. But fitness has become a passion, an escape and a way of rebuilding for Govan, who has transformed her figure after giving birth to four children in a span of five-and-half years.

Unhealthy eating habits led her doctor to inform her she was at risk for developing diabetes. She decided enough was enough and she wanted to get her weight, her health, but her mindset back to where it needed to be.

Laura keeps her workouts fresh and unique, from training in the gym, to Yoga, to basketball skills and drills — she makes sure to keep from plateauing.

Hit the flip for all things Laura Govan and fitness + an interview you don’t want to miss!

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