“Live Like You’re Dying”: Health & Fitness

Hellooooooooo everybody! My, has it been a long time since I’ve posted! Do know that my absence has not been without just cause. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This blog is (for now) the primary operation of a larger project that I have been frantically working on for the past couple months. You see “Young Man Visions, Old Man Dreams” is actually a larger advocacy brand that seeks social justice in many forms (official website coming soon, but in the meantime check me out on Facebook at facebook.com/ymvomd). While I will always speak out against things like hatred and discrimination in search of unity and equality, I also seek to improve the lives of those around me in other aspects of life. This time around it is through health and fitness. The fact of the matter is that a lot of us lead unhealthy lifestyles and for a variety of reasons. Healthy foods and gym memberships are unavailable or ridiculously expensive. Time is scarce and we’re all so busy. But there is a way and it’s not as difficult as it may seem! Now, I’m no paragon of perfect health (I’m stuffing my mouth with sea salt and vinegar POP chips as I type…what? They’re good for you! Kind of…), but I do have a somewhat health conscious mind and I can definitely contribute a good deal of that to the influence of one of my good friends, Angel Callens. Angel (@chanicenykole on social media) has been all about health and fitness since the day I met her in the Auburn University Gospel Choir about four or five years ago (man, it seems like it’s been longer) and I can honestly say that I truly respect and admire her for being committed to healthy living. Recently Angel has taken her health and fitness game up a notch by expanding her already wide knowledge on shedding unwanted weight and getting fit while sharing it with those of us who also aspire to lead healthy lifestyles. This week I approached Angel about her healthy grind to find out more about the rhyme and reason behind the 75 pounds she’s shed so far this year:

YMVOMD: When did you start your weight loss journey?

Angel: I officially began my journey in January of 2013.

YMVOMD: What inspired you to start this journey?

Angel: My inspiration came from a place of determination. I was determined to do something about my weight. No matter how long it took I was going to get it off. It was weighing me down physically and emotionally. I was unhappy and food was my friend. I was in a state of depression for 9 months, and during that time I would go through phases of days without food followed by days of binging. I couldn’t continue to live that way, so I made the decision to do something about it.

YMVOMD: What do you in terms of working out? What is your regimen in that department?

Angel: I try my best to do a workout that incorporates both cardio and toning. Cardio alone is great for weight loss, but building muscle by toning will help you lose even more weight. I find HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata workout videos on YouTube. There is a brief warmup and then I workout as hard as I can for about an hour and a half.

YMVOMD: And what about food–what has your diet been like?

Angel: For most of my weight loss journey I have kept carbs at bay. Cutting out carbs worked wonders, though it is not a long-term solution. Protein is what I try to eat plenty of every day: eggs, lean meats, Greek yogurt. Of course I always include fruits and vegetables.

YMVOMD: What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced during your journey?

Angel: Physically, I have faced a few injuries. I had tendonitis in my knee that had me unable to workout for 4 months. I’ve pulled a couple of muscles from yoga that had me unable to workout for about a month. There were times when my budget for food was low, but I did the best I could with what I had. Also I’ve been heavily discouraged by plateaus. It seemed that no matter what I did, the weight would not come off. But I never gave up.

YMVOMD: How do you mentally prepare to take on the task of your working out and dieting?

Angel: In my mind there is a mental picture of my goal. It may be the goal for the day or my long term of what my body will look like when I’ve completed my weight loss journey. I do get on the scale every other day. If I’ve lost weight, then I have a little more room to not be as restrictive with my eating. I usually give myself 3 days to see progress on the scale. 3 days of strictly following my meal plan and working out. If I see progress in 3 days, then I cut myself some slack.

YMVOMD: What are some common mistakes that you see people often make when trying to lose weight? What would your advice to them be?

Angel: The “Diet Mentality” is the BIGGEST mistake people make when trying to lose weight. When you say “I’m on a diet” you automatically think that you have to cut out certain foods forever in order to lose weight…either that, or you think that you have to eat some crazy combination of foods or just one type of food for a long period of time to lose weight, i.e. The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Oatmeal Diet, etc. Sure you may need to cut BACK on some types of foods, but you don’t have to cut them out completely in order to lose weight. Another mistake people make is thinking that there is a Quick Fix for losing weight…diet pills, shakes, and every other diet fad out there. Some of them may work, but what happens when you can’t get long term results? You have to learn how to deal with real food in the real world. Learn how to use food for your benefit and stop being afraid of it.

YMVOMD: What’s one thing you never skip in your workout and why?

Angel: I NEVER skip squats…because I want a big round booty. Who doesn’t? Hahaha!

YMVOMD: Besides the obvious health reasons can you think of any other reason to take on a fitness minded lifestyle?

Angel: You will be happier. It may be because of your great accomplishment of losing weight, or because of the natural great feeling you get from working out. Working out and eating well relieves stress, anxiety and depression. I am living proof of that.

YMVOMD: And now for some “fun” questions…what’s on your workout playlist?

Angel: Trap music and Dubstep. If I had to pick any particular artists, I’d go with Skrillex, David Guetta, Baauer and Major Lazer.

YMVOMD: What’s your favorite healthy recipe?

Angel:First of all ANY kind of smoothie. Just toss in a fruit, yogurt and a big leaf of kale in a blender and go! Besides that my favorite meal is breakfast and nothing says breakfast like a bowl of cheese grits. These aren’t your ordinary grits–these are cauliflower grits!

Cut 1/4 of a cauliflower head. Put in a food processor and process until it is small grain-like pieces. Place in a boiling pot with 1 1/12 cups of water. Boil the cauliflower until all the water is gone. Add 1/4 cup milk, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and stir. Tastes like the real deal. Creamy and cheesy without all of the carbs.

YMVOMD: What’s your favorite workout/part of your workout?

Angel: I enjoy Zumba and Crunk Fitness…any type of dancing workout (probably because I can’t dance, hahahaha.)

YMVOMD: What is one thing you would tell someone who is on the fence about starting a healthy lifestyle?

Angel: Your life doesn’t have to be the way it is for the rest of your life. It can change. YOU can chance. No matter the obstacle, whether it be physical, financial, or mental. No matter how slow your progress may be. just know that YOU CAN DO IT!

Left: Angel, April 2012 Right: Angel, April 2014

Left: Angel, April 2012, Right: Angel, April 2014

Welp! There you have it folks! That’s my fraaand and doesn’t she look fab?! Make sure you check her out on Twitter and Instagram at the handle @chanicenykole. She and I are both busy working on projects and developing web presence, but her meal plan and fitness coach brand “Change Of Plans” does have a mailing list and you can subscribe by clickinggg here. Seriously if you have any questions feel free to reach out to her through the aforementioned options or email her at angelcnc88@gmail.com. She’s more than willing to help and she’s VERY accountable, Lawd knows she stay on my behind. HA!

I hope guy guys enjoyed! Keep your eyes peeled for more “Live Like You’re Dying” posts that emphasize seeking and living a full and peaceful life in the trying days!

Have a good one, y’all!

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