Category: Health & Wellness

Physical, emotional, and mental wellness tips for plus-size professional women.

Shake Yo’ Thang: An Interview with Curvy Rhythms by Tekora

curvyrhythms1So, if you are a member of my meetup group (and I know you all are!), you know that one of the weekly activities is "Curvy Rhythms by Tekora" - a dance-based fitness class designed expressly for women plus-size women! Recently, I had the chance to interview Ms. Tekora herself to get the low-down on her Curvy Rhythms class and how you can get the most out of moving your body!

tekoraWhat is "Curvy Rhythms by Tekora"? Curvy Rhythms by Tekora is a group fitness class known as a 60-minute groove session. The class creates a dynamic and exciting space to exercise based on the principle that fitness can be fun. The routines feature aerobic/fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body. You will discover the workout is great for both the body and the mind. People of all shapes, fitness levels, backgrounds, and ages come together to move to the rhythm of a variety of music. When you enter the class, the positive energy and non-intimidating atmosphere will be the foundation for an amazing experience.

What inspired you to launch this class? I wanted to start a fun way to get people to get up and move, and what better way to do that than with good music! Movement is what our bodies were designed to do. If we don't use our muscles regularly, we run the risk of them not working as well as needed. Also I wanted to show others that fitness doesn't have to be a daunting experience. I love the fact that I am not what society views as the typical fitness instructor. When people take my class I want them to see, I am curvy and I am fitness instructor.

Does someone have to be super "fit" or coordinated to really enjoy the class? My class is designed for all fitness level. I show modified steps for those who need them. The only rule is keep moving. Your heart doesn't know if you are doing the salsa or old school running man. The important thing is to keep your heart rate going.

curvyrhythms1What tips would you offer to someone who is thinking about trying Zumba or any other fitness class? Go into the class with an open mind. Don't look at others in the class and compare what they are doing to what you are doing. Everyone is on their own personal fitness journey. There's no perfect step.

If you currently have a health concern, that results in you seeing a doctor regularly, let her/him know you are starting a fitness regimen.

Where can my readers keep in touch with you via social media? I'm on Instragram at @curvyrhythmsbyTekora as well as Facebook.

Well, there you have it! This summer, Tekora is teaching classes most Saturdays at the Robert J. Pietro Community Center in Laural, MD. Click here to get more details and sign up for the class. Hope to see you there!!!

Monday Morning Memo – Erykah Badu on Fear

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"My biggest phobia is being afraid." - Erykah Badu
Regardless of the controversy stirred up by her most recent tweets on "modesty," I have to admit that with today's Monday Morning Memo, Ms. Badu makes a lot of sense. When I look back over my life, all of my biggest regrets are about what I did not do because of fear, rather than those things I attempted and failed at....Here's to a fearless week, ladies!

My Thoughts on Death, Loss and Grieving.

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Except for the weekly Monday Morning Memo, things have been rather quiet around the blog lately. Today's post, which was inspired by the recent loss of my grandmother, gives you a clue as to why. Thanks for hanging in there with me during this time.

Every day you hear news about somebody dying.

Fourteen civilians died in a terrorist attack abroad.

A young mother was killed in a car accident during yesterday's rush hour.

An elderly man passes away quietly after a long stay at a nursing home.

Yes, it seems like news of death is a commonplace occurrence that rarely causes one to bat an eye...that is, until, it hits your own household. Suddenly, your world has been rocked. Your heart has been broken. It's completely, irrevocably shattered. And, what's worst of all, only a few people seem to notice. The world doesn't cease to spin on its axis. In its rudeness, the sun keeps on shining on what feels like the darkest days of your existence. Even the friends and family members who offered words of condolence and a comforting presence eventually stop calling, texting, and visiting.

Make no mistake -- this post isn't meant to be an indictment of anyone or anything. I know that you can't expect everyone to halt their lives just because your world has stopped. However, the stillness of the last several weeks and the experience of grief has taught me a lot. It has taught me how to hold those I love just a little bit tighter and to not let the everyday annoyances of modern life get me down. It has also taught me a lot about how to live now to preserve memories for the future. So, here are just a few of my thoughts....

  • Stuff is just stuff. As my parents' pastor loves to say, "I never saw a U-Haul behind a hearse." And even though there is a catharsis that happens when you find yourself sorting through all of the personal items of the deceased, the process makes you realize how irrelevant a lot of the "stuff" you purchase ultimately is. You cannot take it with you may want to rethink if you even want to purchase it or not. (Somewhat counterintuitive thinking for a fashion blogger, I know....)

  • Put names, dates, and notes on everything. This one is pretty self-explanatory. From now on I am putting dates and little notes on everything - birthday cards, pictures, etc. It will give more meaning to these items when I find myself going through them later.

  • Your job title is not who you are. Beyond the names of family members, obituaries typically only have the vital statistics - date and place of birth, where you studied and worked, etc. While it can seem so important to you in the moment (or perhaps not important at all), your occupation and job title do not define who you are. They do not capture your character, personality, or other attributes.

  • Never ask someone "How are you?" Even though it's simply a knee-jerk reaction, never, ever, ever greet someone who you know is grieving with the question, "How are you?" Because, unless they are some sort of sadist, they are not doing well at all. They are sad and hurting. Perhaps they are angry. No matter what, they are definitely struggling. So, instead of asking "How are you?" simply say, "I'm so sorry" or better yet, "Please let me know how I can help."

  • Go get your joy. No one lives forever. And life is often filled with troubles and struggles. So, it is your job to squeeze every ounce of joy out of life that you can. Experience every good thing that life has to offer. Keep positive people around you who support you and add value to your life. You don't have to cut people off but realize the role that different people have in your life and govern yourself accordingly.

  • Keep your financial house in order. There is a reason you see so many GoFundMe funeral funds. Funerals are, really, expensive. And, of course, the timing is unpredictable. So, even though you and your loved ones might have insurance, it is absolutely critical to have liquid cash available. It can take weeks or even months to receive funds from an insurance claim...and that's even assuming you have easy access to the insurance policies, bank accounts, etc. So, keep that information available in a place where your loved ones can find it easily. (Books like When I'm Gone: Practical Notes for Those You Leave Behind are great tools to help families be prepared for incidents like this...and, make no mistake, death will come to visit us all at one point or another.)

  • Those are all of my thoughts for the moment. Definitely not the most articulate post, but something that I felt it was important to share. I welcome your thoughts on this very sensitive issue.

    Special thanks to Jenni of Comme Coco for her words of encouragement and support during this time of loss. You can read her reflections on the loss of her grandmother here. Also, sending extra special prayers to Arlett of Chasing Joy on the recent loss of her mother.

    Monday Morning Memo – As Long As I Try

    Lena Dunham OlderLena Dunham Older
    "As I get older, I'm realizing more and more that it doesn't really matter if I'm good at it, it just matters that I try. My own effort, my own willingness are becoming what's appealing to me." - Lena Dunham

    Lately I've been getting back into working out...not just yoga, but cardiovascular exercise. And I ain't gonna lie. It's not fun. And I don't necessarily look good doing it. I look very much unlike the person I normally perceive myself to be - someone who is confident, successful, and in control.


    In the gym I am uncoordinated. Sweaty. And, I daresay, weak.

    But, every time I go, I grow a little more confident...a little stronger. Most important of all, I learn that I can succeed in this area too. Not just in school or at work, but even when it comes to my physical fitness. As long as I keep showing up. As long as I try.

    Monday Morning Memo – Nobody Told Me I Couldn’t Fly

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    "Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway." - Mary Kay Ash

    As a woman.

    A woman of color.

    A woman of size.

    I'm not supposed to like myself.

    Or love myself.

    I'm not supposed to be successful.

    But, I never knew that.

    So, here I am.

    Liking myself.

    Loving myself.

    Shining in success.

    Monday Morning Memo – The Other Part of Success

    "Failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of success." - Arianna Huffington


    Do you ever find yourself struggling, feeling like you will never achieve your goals? Even though it is very difficult - and even annoying at times - I try to use these opportunities as fuel to my fire. To remind myself that this is what I'll talk about someday when I'm being interviewed about my "overnight success." Heh.

    So, if you're having a hard time right now, remind yourself that this is just part of the journey.

    Curvy CEO Asks…What Are YOUR Weight Goals?

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    What are your weight goals?

    Are you actively attempting to lose weight?

    Are you working just to maintain your current weight?

    Are you just living your life and not thinking about weight at all?

    Right now, I would fall into the second category, with a bit of leaning towards the first. Although I would love to say I'm trying to lose a bunch of weight, right now my head is just not in the game. And that is the result of a sense that long-term, massive weight loss is not really realistic for me. I hate to think of torturing myself to lose weight only to gain it all back - and then some - shortly thereafter. So, for now, I'm focusing on maintaining (i.e., not gaining) weight. As I slowly add more activity and healthier (not healthy, per se, but healthier) eating into my life, I focus moreso on longevity and maintaining a decent quality of life. (In recent months, I've seen friends and loved ones struggle with the debilitating impacts of no physical activity and poor eating. That, if nothing else, is a good motivator for adding in some health and wellness activities into my own life.)

    That got me to wondering - what are your weight goals? And why?

    Lose Weight to Find Love? A Relationship Expert Weighs In

    At the end of last year, I read the book Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do by Dr. Duana Welch.

    I cannot tell you how much I love this book . . . mostly because it provides a bit of hope for women like me. You know, the ones who have spent years with their nose in a book, then suddenly looked around and started to wonder if they’ve let the opportunity for love pass them by. In Dr. Welch’s case, she found herself a divorced single mom with a freshly-minted Ph.D. in Psychology living in Texas. Not content to rely on popular wisdom, which would tell her that her chances of finding love were slim, she began to research the question herself. After applying the same research skills she used to get her doctoral degree, she uncovered the scientifically proven methods for finding and maintaining love. The result was not only her happy marriage to her husband, Vic, but also her book and her blog,

    Recently, I reached out to Dr. Welch to ask her thoughts on whether plus-size women (and men, for that matter) should lose weight in order to improve their chances of finding love. After all, that’s the first piece of advice you get from every magazine, talk show, and concerned friend or parent. Here is what she had to say:

    "You're right that many experts might counsel plus-sized folks to shed pounds. Will losing weight help? Yes, you'll likely get more attention from more people, at first. But really, I rarely advocate losing weight, and here's why.

    "First off, set-point research and weight-loss science both indicate that almost all of us will eventually return to our pre-loss weight; even most people who have liposuction or lap-band surgery eventually regain every pound, and then some. We can very gradually live our healthiest lives--eating sensibly, exercising daily--and this will bring us to our best selves. But our best selves, for many, are still plus-sized. There's no point in attracting someone who will perpetually badger us to get down to the weight we were when we met them, or privately wish we were thinner. Live reasonably, and love who you are.

    [caption id="attachment_10433" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Duana Welch of Dr. Duana Welch of[/caption]"Second, women tend to be far less "fatt-ist" than men--so guys, just be yourselves. And men tend to be more forgiving of extra pounds than women think they are. In studies, when men are asked to circle the silhouette they find most appealing, they don't choose the waif-thin, but instead, most prefer an average-weight woman. Women are working hard to lose pounds they (a) won't keep off and (b) often didn't need to lose to be optimally appealing anyhow.

    "So here are my tips. First, go with that attitude you already expressed: Not everyone will want your curvy figure, and that's okay. Some will--it's those men you want. There is no point in trying to appeal to people who want someone skinny. Next!

    "Second, be healthy--so you will feel good, and so your waist will look good. This means that you need to exercise half an hour a day, sleep 7 to 8 hours a night, drink about 64 oz. or more of fluids including water daily, and eat reasonable portions of healthy food (eating until you feel about 80% full is a good guideline). Men vary quite a bit in the weight they prefer, but men's preference for a waist that is smaller than the hips? Is a human universal. Even blind men can feel out the same shape that sighted men prefer! Turns out, although this (like all other human mating psychology) is non-conscious, men are tuning into and turned on by the shape that denotes optimum fertility and health: a waist that is 30% smaller than the hips. But that's their ideal; men go for any waist, effectively, that is discernible. When you are healthy, your curves will reveal your waist. Allow your clothing, likewise, to accentuate it!

    [pullquote]Want to hear even more on plus-size dating from relationship experts? Don't miss out on the Curvy Lingerie Shopping Soiree & Curvy Love Relationship Panel on Saturday, February 6 in Washington, DC! Panelists include a matchmaker, dating coach, and married podcasting couple. Plus sips, sweets, and shopping! Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Get yours today at![/pullquote]"Third, emphasize your face. Recent research shows that men who want a quick lay focus more on the figure than the face. But the Mr. Commitments of the world--the ones who want you in your totality, and not just your sexuality--are much more prone to be focused on your face.

    "So that's it. If you are living healthfully, accept and love who you are rather than fighting an endless battle to be someone you're not. Emphasize your waist and your face. And then, await He Who Loves It All."

    I love this advice...especially since it confirms a conclusion I reached a while back. Always nice to have an expert opinion to back you up *lol*

    What are your thoughts on this? What has been your experience - dating with and then possibly without excess weight? Feel free to share in the comments section! Also, if you have other questions for Dr. Welch, feel free to contact her directly. She is super-friendly and also responds very quickly (and thoroughly, I might add).