live sacred dc

34 Days of Self-Care Inspired by Live Sacred DC

Right around the time I felt my rut coming on, a fellow local blogger, Chelsea announced that she was hosting an intimate event called Live Sacred DC. It was held at Take Care Shop in Georgetown. The name alone drew me in but the space was perfect. A Take Care shop, you can find plant-based goods for hair, skin, body and home. The decor here is very simple with lots of natural elements and scents to compliment the products sold.

take care shop dc

When you think of the word sacred, you think pure and divine. These are words that should be associated with self-care. Because at our most pure self, we will find peace and happiness. Live Sacred DC was held on the last day of the summer to literally and figuratively start off a “new season” with intent and a conscious mind. We did exercises together prompted by The Happiness Planner. I am horrible at using planners but something really intrigues me about this one. I was fully committed to the handouts. So much that I can honestly say I became more aware of who I am because I had to fill in the “blanks”. We were encouraged to share what we wrote out loud with the group. I was totally comfortable with that because what happened at Live Sacred DC, stayed at Live Sacred DC. I felt like putting things out in the universe made it official. Like sending out positive vibrations because as they say…”ask and you shall receive”.

Live Sacred DC

A lot of us talk about self-care but aren’t embracing the things that keep us healthy and grounded on a consistent basis. Self/care isn’t just a one-time thing that you do. There are a lot of distractions and challenges in life. Naturally, we will be evolving and adapting to the changes and obstacles that come our way. Therefore, our work on staying pure and keeping our peace needs to happen for the rest of our lives. So in the spirit of putting things out in the universe, I am sharing my mission to reboot myself for the next 34 days. I will be refocusing on getting my mind, body and soul right as I turn 34. 

Happiness Planner Happiness Box

I left this event realizing that I can not take proper care of myself if I don’t know and accept who I am. It is only through self-respect and appreciation that I can live sacredly. We ultimately neglect ourselves if we live to please others. But we can not be better for others if we are not our best selves. So I am committed to being mindful of my actions and doing what truly makes me happy and healthy. As a gift from Live Sacred DC, we received The Happiness Planner “Box of Happiness”. One of the items in this box was a 30-day prompted self-awareness journal. I will be using the exercises to assist my self-care reboot as I journey into my 34th year. Although I will not be sharing every detail of these exercises, I am confident that the prompts will inspire blog posts and actions to come. So stay tuned…

In addition to the journal, I will be going back to morning meditations, healthier eating, and a new fitness routine. My goal is for this to be an #OperationSnapBack like never before! Once this 34 day project comes to an end, I will be sure to share my experience here with you all. 

Special thanks to Chelsea and Joanna for hosting the event. Word on the street is that there will be more. Keep your eyes open for it HERE.

Would you consider yourself to be self-aware? What are some of the things you practice as a part of your own self-care?

operation snap back

Operation Snap Back: No Need to Start Over – January 2017

It’s been a while since my last Operation Snap Back update right? Well I started the new year with a sinus infection so I am finally getting back on track. Things have been going well. Not to sound cliché but I am excited to be starting off 2017 in the best physical shape of my life. I am currently down 23 pounds from last year and I finally have a little muscle. Although it wasn’t a goal, I went to the gym every week no less than three times. In fact, I ended the year going 4-5 times a week on average. It wasn’t about losing weight or having a flat stomach anymore. Working out simply became a habit of physical and mental therapy for me. These are the results:

 

operation snap back

 

People often ask what my routine is but it changes so much. However, I normally split train. Sometimes it depends on my mood what I do but I am mostly consistent. As you know, I am not a professional but here is an idea of what I enjoy and incorporate during the week:

Warm up (5-10 minutes) + Weights  + Abs* + Cardio (20-40 minutes)

  • Cycling – Once a week
  • Yoga – Once a week if am available when offered.
  • Boot Camp – Once a month. This is an intense full-body class. So with split training, it tends to be too much sometimes. I just listen to my body.
  • Legs – Twice a week. Squats, Leg Extensions, Lying Leg Curls, Abductions and Leg presses. With presses I go real heavy (up to 360 pounds). It’s not as scary as it sounds.
  • Arms – Once or twice a week. Lateral Pull Downs, Dumbbell Rows, Bicep Curls, Shoulder and Bench Presses and Tricep Press Downs.
  • Abs* – At least twice a week if not a little bit everyday. Leg Raises, Toe Touches, Planks and Crunches, I alternate doing exercises on the floor or bench/tower.
  • Cardio – Everyday. Outside of the bike, I alternate with the Treadmill, Elliptical and Stairmaster (my favorite).

 

operation snap back

 

Last year I set a modest goal to be 145 pounds by December 2016 and here I am starting off 2017 at 145.3 pounds. Not mad at all. I came from this:

There is no secret. Of course consistency is key but please believe that I have weaknesses and setbacks all the time. I don’t like to say I “started over”. I just KEEP GOING. You can do it too!  If you would like to share your journey and advice, feel free to join the Operation Snap Back ® Support Group and follow us on Instagram.

chickfila dc

Chick-fil-A Brings Three New Breakfast Items to the DC Area

This week I was hired to attend a private tasting at Chick-fil-A Seven Corners in Virginia hosted by WASH-FM’s morning show personality, Chilli Amar.  I was also provided compensation to cover this event. All opinions are honest and my own.

 

chili amar

 

Lucky for us, the DC area is one of the first markets to try Chick-fil-A’s updated breakfast menu. I know from experience that you NEED breakfast ASAP to survive the crazy morning commutes around here. So if you’re looking for a quick and protein-friendly breakfast, give these three new items a try:

 

 

chickfila dc breakfast

 

Show at the top of the picture above, we have the The Egg White Grill Bowl (Inspired by the latest sandwich).

180 Calories (29 grams of protein)

Below that, we have the The Hash Brown Scramble (Available in a bowl or burrito).

Bowl: 450 Calories (30 grams of protein)

Burrito: 650 calories (31 grams of protein)

 

chickfila berry protein blend

 

For those who prefer to sip their breakfast, above is the new Berry Protein Blend. This is sweet start includes chia seeds, ancient grains, mixed berries and yogurt. All are handspun with a guilt-less portion of Chick-fil-A’s signature Icedream®. I especially love the crunch of Granola added on top.

340 calories (23 grams of protein).

I also have two honorable non-breakfast mentions:

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superfood side salad

The dressing on the Superfood Side Salad REALLY compliments the kale. There aren’t many ways I enjoy kale but Chick-fil-a hit the nail on the head with this one.

 

chickfila dc
sweet and spicy siracha sauce
This was one of the three new sauces added nation-wide this year. I have been feeling spicy things lately so this one is a winner!

What is your favorite item at Chick-fil-A?

Operation Snap Back: The Breakthrough

Last month I told you I was done playing games. After a while you get tired of taking one step forward and two steps backs. Being fed up is how I lost 7.5 pounds this month – SEVEN!!! That is twice more than any month in 2016 (18.7 for the year). However, the first 10 days is honestly when I lost most of the weight. I focused on reducing portion sizes which is generally more of an issue than what I eat. As most of you know, eating tends to be an emotional sport for me and it’s a struggle every day to not rely on food to keep or celebrate my happiness. I felt like I was starving myself the first week but clearly I lived to tell you about it. 😛

 

OPERATION SNAP BACK

 

This month I started working out five times a week. Sundays and Wednesdays are my rest days but I usually cut the grass on Wednesdays (a little less than .25 acres). Then on Thursdays, I practice yoga. Thanks to my consistency, I finally have a smooth transition from chaturanga to cobra pose (go me). So yea, in total…that means I have three really intense workout days which includes one cycling and one boot camp class. I love both classes. My gym has some pretty amazing instructors that really push you to your limit. I do at least 20 miles with resistance in cycle and some crazy HITT stuff in bootcamp. I swear my instructor Jim makes me want to quit at least 5 times a session lol. Much love to Mark, Stephanie and Jim. 😉

 

OPERATION SNAP BACK

 

I finally started to work on my arms, back and core. I use to avoid those workouts because of how hard it was for me but I think I am getting the hang of it. I can confidently say I “lift” when I go to the gym now. Picture that… 😉

Oh and as flat as my stomach appears (from the side) there is still a good bit of fat to burn. I am grateful for the definition though. Thanks to weights, my body is getting toned and I’m not as “lumpy” as I was before in January. Now I know the reason why I haven’t lost a dress size… it’s because I was stuffing myself in things that weren’t my size to begin with. I am finally on my way to being completely out of a size 8. Just gotta keep pushing.

In September, I will be focusing on cardio – aiming for at least 4 hours a week in addition to weights and yoga. My goal is to burn that last bit of belly and arm fat. Unfortunately Summer is coming to an end, but I won’t give up on my bikini goal. Don’t be surprised if I throw on an old bikini and post it in November for sh*ts and giggles. I worked too hard to let that dream go. lol

August has been significant for me. For months I looked in the mirror and saw the same body. Today I am finally seeing why I worked so hard. However, Operation Snap Back was never only about the physical. I have been struggling with a mental plateau as well so its really important for me to push myself outside of the gym from here on out. Although I haven’t reached my goal, I feel like I won.  IT WAS HARD AS HELL. Both my family and home has suffered from me putting myself first but being a little selfish is how I am here today. I have NO regrets because Fatima would not have been good to anyone sitting on the couch, feeling sorry for herself. There are a lot of things in my life that I can’t control but THIS was not one of them.

It may not take you 21 days, 30 days or 90 days but you CAN get to where you want to be. Our struggles and bodies are all different. Focus and appreciate YOUR journey and envy no one else’s because that will only slow you down. If you can “fall nine times and get up ten”, you are good! Oh and let me tell you… like most people, I saw Teyana Taylor’s Body in Kanye’s “Fade” video on MTV and I was inspired. Whether it has to do with her age, dancing, genetics or surgery – Her body is definitely something to keep you going. Thankfully I already like what I see. Stretch marks and all…

How are things going for you? I am looking forward to sharing what music I listen to at the gym very soon.

Are you documenting your health journey and looking to connect with other women? Just link up with using the hashtag #operationsnapback on social media and we will find you. If you are looking for a more intimate connection, you can also join us and our monthly challenges in our private Facebook group HERE.

operationsnapback

Operation Snap Back: Game Over

operationsnapback

 

I have been playing games with my goals for the past couple of months. I lost 2.6 pounds in July, went to the gym faithfully, completed the support group 25 mile challenge and my waistline is virtually the same. I would say I gave it my all but that would be a lie because I wasn’t mindful of my food intake. It actually frustrates me that I have to eat like a rabbit to get where I want to be but it is what it is…

Now that I have the fitness down, It’s time to finally get the diet on board. Game over. Are you with me?

I am finally ready to commit. I am looking forward to planning and being diligent like my girl Tia. I mean…she has 3 kids and does it. I can too, right? At this point I NEED to or I am going to be just like the rest of the people at the gym who go for years but look pretty much the same. -_-

The great news is that I really don’t look the same as I did in January but somehow I am still the same size in clothing. I want to lose one size – that’s all. I am not sure why this has been so hard for me. Perhaps I overworked myself in the gym. However I must say this journey has taught me a few things the hard way like…

  • My metabolism is not the same as it was 5 years ago. (why?)
  • Food REALLY matters. (but why?)
  • You can still lose a good bit of weight and still be the same size. (no, really…why?)

As much as I wanted to be stronger, being leaner is more important now. Working out like crazy has helped with my stress level but I am going to lose some more inches this month and seal the deal once and for all. So here we go…

One pants size.

I am going to break out the tape measure again for August and eat more salad…I guess. lol I wonder if I can cut out pasta for the month too? Hmmmm

 

operationsnapback

 

Are you documenting your health journey and looking to connect with other women? Just link up with using the hashtag #operationsnapback on social media and we will find you. If you are looking for a more intimate connection, you can also join us and our monthly challenges in our private Facebook group HERE.

 

operation snap back

Operation Snap Back: When The Going Gets Tough

 

I only stepped on the scale once this month in fear of being disappointed…and guess what? The one time I did, I was. I already knew I gained weight in May so I was just trying to get back to where I was April.

When I first started Operation Snap Back, Noah was 8 months old. By this first birthday, I surpassed every goal I ever had. That was 26 pounds GONE! This time around…I just can’t seem to get where I wanna be.

They say:

You can out-train a bad diet.

This saying makes me feel disappointed in myself. That somehow I did something wrong and wasted my time. It’s not a secret that I love to eat but I promise you that I am not a sitting with snacks at my bedside every night. In fact, my diet is very similar to what it was three years ago. I am working out twice as hard yet the results aren’t the same AT ALL. For that reason, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt after I eat and it won’t go away.

I don’t want to eat like a rabbit.

But I don’t hold my belly fat with two hands either.

The struggle is real.

Perhaps my success had a lot to do with breastfeeding because I saw more results with only half the effort back then.

So I guess I do have to give up something…. I just don’t know what (food) it’s going to be.

Just so that we are clear… this is not a self-hate post. Some people may never be happy but I was VERY happy with my progress three years ago. Let’s face it… Even when we love ourselves, some of us would just feel better, strong(er) and not to mention sexi(er) when we reach our goals. Whether or not you agree, goals DO come in the form of a shape or number – which gives us an amazing feeling. If that is you… I am just here say “me too!”.

It is OK to want something you once OR never had.

With that being said…back, arms and abs… I am coming for you!

 

OffThePotomac_OSB

 

This month I was also tagged in a push-up challenge for veteran suicide awareness. I attempted the standard push ups but I didn’t like my form…so I did it again, modified and Noah had me cracking up while he was counting my reps. Just take a look and listen carefully.

 

 

Check out my friend, Tia’s update HERE!

Do you like to share your health and fitness journey? All you have to do is follow or tag #OperationSnapBack on Instagram to connect with other woman and be featured. If you would like to keep your progress more private, we have a closed support group on Facebook for women only. I will check in again with you all next month.

Dirty Gitl Mud Run DC Baltimore

Dirty Girl Mud Run 5K: Before, During and After

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For the Dirty Girl Mud Run, I was more concerned about what I would be wearing rather than my physical abilities. I could tell from the videos and pictures that wearing pants would be a bad idea. It would only make you heavy. Plus it’s easier to get mud off of skin than clothes. Regardless, I still made sure to only wear clothing that didn’t mean much to me anymore. Short-shorts, old sports bra, old sneakers, old training gloves, and of course an OPERATION SNAP BACK tee. 🙂

You will see that I also had a sandwich bag and athletic pouch to hold my phone. I took a risk but that was the only way to assure that I had pics to show later. Besides, this wasn’t a timed race so I could afford to take my time and be careful. There was also NO WAY I was getting mud in my hair. Especially when we were going to the Lewis Book Fair after. So I layered my hair with a stocking cap, swim cap and then a soul cycle bandana that was given during the White House Easter Egg Roll. It worked!

Needless to say, I felt prepared. This year the Dirty Girl Mud Run was held at High Point Farm in Clarksburg, Maryland – About 30 miles from D.C. and 50 minutes from Baltimore.

Dirty Girl Mud Run DC Baltimore

Parking was $10 and check-in was super fast. A quick scan with the iPad and we were set!

Dirty Girl Mud Run DC Baltimore

Although my husband and son came along, we still used bag check so they could move around freely. Bag check was not as hectic as the picture seems. Our bags were tagged corresponding to our bib numbers, including our name and telephone number as a backup. Security checked each bag for matching numbers on the way out.

Dirty Girl Mud Run DC Baltimore

There were a few pre-run activities but we just chose to take a few pics and hopped right onto the next wave! My teammate for the run was Nosa. She is one my college buddies who lives Off The Potomac. Nosa is also the Executive Producer and Director of the documentary series My Africa Is. #ShamelessPlug but now back to the mud run…

Dirty Girl Mud Run DC Baltimore

The first challenge made me feel real silly. Nosa gracefully hopped while I just held on and climbed for dear life. I blame my short legs. Here are a few more clips from the other challenges. There were 14 obstacles all together.

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Hot Mess was the only challenge I could remember the name of. The fire wasn’t that high. I only jumped for the camera. 😛

Dirty Girl Mud Run DC Baltimore

If I could complain about one thing, it would be the lines. After the mud slide we waited 20 minutes or more to climb up another rope wall and slide down a poll. Meanwhile, I could feel the mud drying all over over my body. Not to mention I wasn’t quite sure if I was smelling manure from the farm grounds or the “mud”on my person. 0_O.

Dirty Girl Mud Run DC Baltimore

But you know what? If it weren’t for this line we would not have made a new friend. Meet Bri. She is also a mom working on her “Snap Back” so we welcomed her to Operation Snap Back with opened arms.

imageAs I am uploading this picture, I see we had friendly photo bombers in the back. Hilarious.

I wasn’t going to mention this part but we took the detour for the last challenge and half mile. Not because it was hard but because we had already been on the run for over an hour and my son was getting restless. Honestly that was the only time we ran seriously. It is not easy running in mud at all. In fact, it was almost impossible. Many women fell and lost their sneakers on the trail.

But we did it! Nosa and I are officially Dirty Girl Mud Run Certified.

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Washing up was rough. The water was freezing, there was no more LAVA soap and I left my own soap and phone with my husband. Nosa and I just did the best we could to clean ourselves and headed on home.

Now I can cross “mud run” and “obstacle course” off of my bucket list. Mud is disgusting but it was oddly fun and it felt good to run for a cause. We even donated our shoes at the end. Nosa and I caught up on life, laughed with other women and helped others overcome their fears. DGMR has even motivated me to try a competitive run in the future.

Last by not least…. My son was so proud of his mom. He begged me to help make a sign he could use to cheer me on. So the night before I created the sign per his instructions. Everyone loved it so much that we made it on the official Dirty Girl Mud Run Snapchat account.

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What was I saying? I wasn’t ready. :-/
My only wish is to have more team members next time. Will I do it again next year? Only if you join me.

Dirty Girl Mud Run Medal Have you done any runs lately?


If you have a blog sharing your health or fitness journey, don’t forget to link up with Tia and I below.

Operation Snap Back

Breaking The Plateau + Prep For My First 5K Obstacle Course

This month the Operation Snap Back Group took on the challenge of drinking more water daily. I love water but realized that I only average about 60 oz. a day when I don’t try. It has been a challenge keeping it around 80 oz. I fail with that most days because I simply forget to hydrate in general.

However, I am back to making progress. I didn’t hit my goal this month (again) but I am down another 4 pounds. Yay – that makes just about 15 pounds for the year. I have to admit, it’s hard to see or feel the change. Seriously… I haven’t lost a full pants size yet. Gaining muscle this time around is bitter-sweet mentally. It puts a whole new perspective on “Snapping Back” for me. This month I have been doing better with my diet though. I have chosen salad more often which has contributed to my caloric deficit. That was hard. When your friend sends you this picture, you know you have a problem.

 

I hate salads

 

I will get it together Meryl LOL (Burgers aren’t even my thing but I would probably take that over a salad).

For April, I have been working out less but smarter. I have a good balance in my schedule so I only workout out 3 or 4 times a week (opposed to 5 times). For that reason, I am no longer split training. Now I do two full body workouts and one heavy cardio a week (cycling). Earlier this month, I signed up for the Dirty Girl Mud Run. This obstacle course requires good cardio and upper body strength. So right now that is my focus. I don’t want to over train my body because want to make it to race day injury free. Lately I have been having some weird feeling in both of my knees. It’s not painful – just like a pulsating feeling. So I am taking easy on the running. The race is May 14th and I already know what I am wearing for my run. Here is what I plan to have:

  • Running shorts

  • Old Sneakers

  • Operation Snap Back Tank

  • Training Gloves

  • Swim Cap, Scarf or Hat.

  • Cheep Sun glasses

  • Towels

  • Baby Wipes

  • Change of Clothes

I wonder if I could bring my phone in a fanny pack??? Probably not worth it right? lol Anyhoo…

So here is what I am looking like these days. COME ON BELLY!!! 4 pack come through. I see you.
Operation Snap Back

 

It would be nice to have quick results but I will take slow and steady if that means no salad pain. Besides, I like to save all my energy for boot camp. That class is HITT all the way through. We are jumping and running all around the room. I swear what the trainer expects is almost impossible but I try. I don’t know why..

 

Operation Snap Back

 

 

Oh yea, that’s why… The punishment is worth the results.

You know you want to link up! Drop your latest health or fitness post below.