this isn’t an ordinary body love post

I’ve been overweight/obese all my life. I actually don’t know who I would be if I weren’t. There have been many times in my life where I have said “Ok, I’ve had it. I’m gonna lose weight.” And my solution has been paying others for their diet plans that I didn’t want to follow (sorry Weight Watchers) or doing exercise I didn’t like and didn’t want to do (sorry, BeachBody/Insanity). Not once did I try having a relationship with my own body. Not once did I check in and have a day where I slowed everything down to try to figure out what my body did like and didn’t like. Not once did I relax and stop stressing about the entire process of the weight loss.

Now before I keep writing this beautifully sappy love story with my body. I don’t want you to develop the expectation that it is either over or reached a happy ending. I want you to know that currently I have lost 15 pounds and then got back 10 pounds when I moved across the country. So I am still knee-deep in this journey. But I have a couple of revelations I need to share for those who need this inspiration.

Now before you go and say well you haven’t succeeded so I’m out. Wait. Read how cool the process is tho. A couple of years ago, I was preparing a farm unit to teach to my 1st graders and I was really invigorated to make those kids more responsible with their foods. This, ultimately, led me to become a vegan. YEP! I SAID IT! Cue the twisted, confused, judgy faces. It’s okay, hopefully you go on a food journey too (esp. if you live in the United States or very frequent visit McDonald’s or other fast food establishments) and find how your foods are affecting your body. Nevertheless, I learned through watching documentaries such as FedUp, Food Inc., Cowspiracy, Fat,Sick and Nearly Dead, parts of Earthlings, and Okja that our bodies really go hard for us. Whether we are overweight or underweight, whether we are athletes or monks, whether we are know nothing about the functions of our bodies or are doctors and nutritionists, we literally have amazing-ness inside us. (I want to put a disclaimer here about humans who were born with disabilities or whose body’s have developed a certain illness, that I am sorry that this is your body journey and I can see how this post would upset you but I pray that you eventually reach a place of positivity with your temple.)

Okay so here are some ways in which the body goes ham for us.

Since I have always been overweight, as previously mentioned, I have mostly studied how to lose weight. And in the above mentioned documentaries, some would have doctors talk about reasons that the body does what it is doing in the first place. For example, they would say that the overweight body would overproduce white blood cells (the cells responsible for attacking anything they deem harmful) in order to protect said body from sickness, inflammation and preventing disease. Doesn’t that sound great?? Except that having too much white blood cells is also an issue because there are studies that prove that higher white blood cell count is linked to risks of heart attacks, death, cancer, etc. (link to see a video by NutritionFacts that has many studies to prove this point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8UB-WNlyVE) Bahhhhhhh, isn’t that the worst? But you really can’t blame the body here when it produced white blood cells to help prevent inflammation to a very important part of your body. So really it comes through for you even at the risk of its own downfall. Another example is that the body would use fat cells to cover/overtake those weird lab-made ingredients that the body doesn’t recognize which we eat in those processed foods. This was huge news to me. So imagine you just ate a donut, right. And the frosting is a new weird flavor like the red, white, and blue flag. Now you’re not sure where or how they made the blue or red flavoring but you eat it. Now majority of the energy in your body, once the donut was consumed, will go to breaking down that food and retrieving what it can, in terms of energy and nutrition. But then it encounters the red and blue flavorings and instead of using up more energy that usual to fight the chemicals in the flavoring (because maybe you have to go to work right after snacking on the donut and will need energy for that) so the body decides that they will take the red and blue flavoring and store it in a fat cell and deal with it when it is not so busy. This means that if that flavoring were to have cancerous properties, as an example, the body just reserved it in one spot as opposed to that cancer taking over several areas of your body and multiplying quickly. For this to work, your body is going to make and use your fat cells aka why you have fat. So who knows the kinds of diseases that that fat is protecting you from. That’s why during certain dietary changes such as going vegan or fasting, there is always a detoxification period where you feel supa terrible. And that is the release of all those chemicals. And yes, if you can’t pronounce it or readily tell me what plant (slash animals for those non-vegans) that food comes from, it is a chemical.

Another way the body really takes care of you is during fasting as I mentioned above. Fasting, as you may already know, is a supa old method of wellness and health for the body. It is a break. That’s it. You are giving your body a break. And it will thank you for this break immensely. I mention fasting because I’m learning so much about it currently but really any dietary change such as a vegetarian or no-Meat Mondays or portion control or actually being a vegan will have a similar gratefulness within your body. It just depends on how hard you can go, if you can go full vegan, then you will get full on benefits. If you start small, then small changes it will be. But anyhow, fasting will let the body really focus on the areas in you that it’s been wanting to tackle and fix. People usually recommend a long-term fast (basically any fast that’s longer than 3 days) because in those 72+ hours, your body is working through things and letting things go (like those chemicals) that will make you feel terrible. But after those hours, your body has an easier time eliminating useless/harmful things (including that fat). So can you imagine that all you stopped doing was putting food in your body for a while and your body is still not upset with you and figures out how to heal you? Crazy, no?

Still another even cooler example is also really sweet. Your body is forgiving. It literally forgives you. Unfortunately, I don’t really think that the body forgets but it definitely does forgive. You can literally play with your body to figure out your relationship with it. That’s how so many people know they have a certain sensitivity to things such as wheat or gluten or dairy. If you eat something, then don’t, then eat it again, it’s a kind of experimentation that allows you to connect inwards. For me, I tried it with sugar. I would have a lot of candy (Lord, please remove Halloween) and almost immediately, I would wake up with my parenthesis line around my mouth deep and dark like it has always been there. So next is to turn it off, I tried scrubbing, exfoliating, creams, lotions, my oils, etc. Nothing worked. So then Halloween passed and so I didn’t eat as much sugar and like magic, it got lighter and lighter til it faded away like it had never been there. So when I finally got the pattern, I ate more sugar to verify. Yep, it came right back. And now, I am super aware that sugar has an intense reaction on my face. And you best believe, I am working on lessening and lessening that addiction. Also, for any natural hair sistas and brothas out there, did you big chop or transition? Because if you transitioned (as I did), there is a moment where your hair literally changes up on you. From the damaged ends and stringy straight strands to full on “S” or “C” curls or kinks from top to bottom with shine and bounce. And you’re like wwwwhhhhhhaaattttttt, I loveeeeee itttttttt. So even after hours, days, month and even years of creamy crack and/or heat damage, your body/hair still said, “yes, I will come back healthy because you have been treating me right”. That’s AMAZING to me.

I hope you can see what I’m saying. Your body is really your A1, day 1. It will look our for you. Just give it the fuel.

Humanly yours,

JMMZZ

Finance Goals…

Hey, I’m back. I hope y’all have been great.

I have recently started a journey that has helped me so much and like many, I want to share it. I definitely want to start with recognizing the privilege that exists from me being able to talk about and experience this journey and how I pray my advice is not limited to a certain group in the world. My journey concerns finances and how to begin incorporating it into your life especially but not limit as a minority that made it to college and has started dabbling in the “real life” everyone keeps talking about.

My bestfran from college calls me up for our usual complain/check-in/holdin’-each-other-up conversation and mentions that she wants to get her credit on point as her New Years resolution. This, unbeknownst to me, changed and challenged something within because before I knew it, I was also a part of this resolution and incessantly researching ways to make it a positive reality for me. I went from avoiding things like budgets and finances and those icky adulting things to embracing that which I am not familiar with to full on trying to flex it in my life. Now before I get too ahead of myself, I will say the PC spiel: I am not a guru, a certified anything, or here to guarantee that your life will be altered with the same profoundness but I will say that hopefully what I did made sense and it feels easy to follow.

Background:

  • Been working since 14
  • Always gave paychecks to family or spent it on nothing but transportation and unhealthy foods
  • Never heard of budgets or under(over)stood what the purpose of money was, except for good ‘ole capitalism
  • Went to college fully believing scholarships and working as having a relationship with money

After the dramatic research of what finances are and knowing that I wanted to increase my 500-something credit, I asked myself where can I start. Well, Youtube, that’s where (btw check out my channel: jennymena). I can’t even recall the amount of videos I watched. Some a waste of my time because of people who really thought I would pay someone to help me fix it. But most were really helpful to provide with a list of things to do to improve them over time. These things included paying more than the minimum balance as many times as you could to lower the credit card balances, setting automated balance transfer to my savings account, and learning to budget. DUN DUN DUN

I said the word, didn’t I. But yeesh, that one word creates so much FREEDOM and KNOWLEDGE. I can speak more about this in a later post (budgeting post).

Anywho, that’s the backstory that has led me to creating the following 2018 Financial Goals:

1. Double my savings account by the time the year is up.

I was super surprised with myself with this step because I thought it was nearly impossible to follow Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and get 1 grand into my savings account. But I cheated and used my tax refund and boom, I was there. But now to need to increase that is pretty scary. My goal is to make it a conscious and unconscious plan. Conscious plan: write down how much is necessary every month to move to savings. Double check intermittently that I will make the goal. Unconscious goal: set up automated transfers where I do not control when it leaves so that I cannot manipulate my money.

2. Finish all of my debt except for my car and my credit cards.

This is an intense step. I just calculated this into my budget that began having a serious income problem. So I picked up delivery service jobs to help make sure that every paycheck was taking care of bills, necessities and debt. My car has a predetermined end date of my birthday in 2019 and credit cards will be there to help me until I no longer need them.

3. Do 2-3 life inspiring things.

This one is really scary and exciting. I hope to travel, try new events on eventbrite or meetups, and gain a lot of health and wellness. I would like to travel to somewhere in India or Cambodia. I have already been to a number of meetups and eventbrites but hoping that I can do something powerful with that information. For example, really working on this blog and my Youtube channel (jennymena) would be the application of my knowledge and that is supa scary to me because it could be such a win or an embarrassing fail.

4. Start a ROTH IRA before my birthday comes.

I really hope to do this because the power of compound interest is really something. So I figure that if I am working really hard to understand money that it should start working hard for me both in the investment and retirement arenas.

5. Help a family member financially consistently 3-5 times.

This goal is one of my heart’s truest desires. I have a hard time being happy in my success when I look around and am alone in my joy. I rather be there in the trenches with someone who will come up the success ladder with me. Thus, my desire to help out a family member consistently so that there is this sense of community and financial progress within those around me. I also would like to see dreams of my family come true like my mom who just bought her first house and is trying to pay it off. Doesn’t that sound like a bomb place to start?

Wish me luck and positive vibes.

Humanly yours,

JMMZZ

P.S. all bolded links will be added in due time. Apologies, just getting started in the blogging game.

 

My writings

Here I would like to share some of the aspects of my life that I believe will help others self-navigate. I’m a big proponent of “sharing is caring”  and I really do think that while I’m not the oldest person filled with all the wisdom, I might have just one jewel that is worth sharing.

Here I touch on subjects such as finances, professionalism, self-care, etc.

Click on the links (when they become available) and read more on each of the above mentioned subjects. Hope you enjoy reading my content, thanks for stopping by.

Finances

 

Professionalism

 

Self-Care

 

Humanly yours,

JMMZZ