OCCUPATION: Business Owner
HOMETOWN: Chesapeake, VA (originally from Philadelphia, PA)
WHAT IS YOUR CLAIM TO FAME? I’m a stroke survivor
HOW MANY CHILDREN? 3
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TREAT/ CHEAT MEAL? HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE A CHEAT MEAL? My secret has been not to deny myself of anything. Even if I really want cheesecake, I’m ok with having 1 fork and immediately throwing the rest in the garbage. I just need the taste. My family and friends literally listen to me order out and say out loud “oh she’s not gonna eat that”, so they can have it. It works for me.
HOW DO YOU EAT WELL AS A MOM ON THE GO? I’m so health conscious now that I pack snacks everyday because I want to make sure no matter where I am, I have foods that I want and that are healthy. I only buy nutritious snacks, so the kids are limited to choices from home. Nutrigrain bars and granola bars are favorites in our home. There are always nuts, fruit and a variety of flavored rice cakes. I must say we have become accustomed to healthy eating.
WHAT FOOD CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT? My guilty pleasure is canned mandarin oranges. I don’t know why that seems to be an addiction of mine.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLEAN MEAL? Baked Salmon and fresh spinach sautéed with garlic.
ARE THERE ANY FOODS THAT YOU AVOID AT ALL COSTS? Red Meat, Pork and Dairy we simply don’t eat whether at home or anywhere. Krispy Kreme I refer to as the devil Loll! I figure 1 glazed doughnut has roughly 200 calories and I wouldn’t just eat 1 and I would probably want the chocolate icing. Those calories are adding up just thinking about it, so I just stay away from them.
WHAT’S YOU FAVORITE EXERCISE? Group exercise classes are so much FUN! It doesn’t matter if it’s Salsa or Hip Hop, I love the energy of everyone having fun and getting the cardio workout.
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED? I keep about 9,000 stored photos on my cell phone. I’m that friend that takes pictures of everything and creates a photo album for it on Facebook. Because I lost a lot of my memory with the strokes (2) I’ve suffered, I like to look at old pictures often, I think to subconsciously remind myself of experiences. Seeing older pictures of myself overweight is a motivator, but also seeing a picture from yesterday and my face looks a little plump is an immediate motivator to not slack off exercising or eating right.
IF YOU COULD ONLY OFFER ONE TIP TO A MOM TRYING TO GET BACK INTO SHAPE WHAT WOULD IT BE? Don’t ever compare your failures to someone else’s success. It’s a set up for disappointment. Track your progress in a journal. On your weeks where it looks like you’ve done poorly with eating or exercising, look all the way back to the beginning of your journal to remind yourself just how Far you’ve come.
WHEN YOU FEEL UNMOTIVATED WHAT DO YOU DO? Sometimes that may be a good excuse to get some much needed rest. I have found that our bodies will find a way to get what it needs from us, but other times when it’s truly just not being motivated. I push myself by saying over and over “I will act how I wanna feel until I feel how I act”. It’s my internal “fake it till you make” mantra.
HOW HAS TRANFORMING YOURSELF PHYSICALLY MADE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE? Transforming physically from a size 16 who was always out of breath, tired, not to mention hypertensive, and moody to now a vibrant size 8 who in addition to loving my exterior am also much healthier. I have more energy which allows me to do more activities with my kids vs just watching them do them. My transformation has allowed me to inspire my children to become healthier. I am walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE RECIPE TO SHARE? Absolutely! I love to cook. We’ve cut red meat and pork from our diets completely along with some dairy products like milk (from a cow) and cheese. One thing I’ve fell in love with are marinades. Marinades make my family think they’re eating something different every night of the week. One of my favorites is a honey teriyaki marinade. It’s for meat, but in addition I will stir fry fresh veggies with it. All you do is spray your pan with a little non-stick spray then add your veggies and pour marinade to your liking. It’s a fresh new taste as a side or meal.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF WISDOM OR ADVICE, POSSIBLY SOMETHING THAT HELPED YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW? Yes!
- I would say whatever your goals are, run your race and stay the course. That means don’t worry about what the person 2 lanes over looks like…Stay in Your Lane and Run Your Race!
- Figure out early on what your goal is (ex: Lose 20lbs) then determine what obstacles could possibly stop you or slow you down.
- Defeat those obstacles now by preventing them. Ex: I might need help with the kids to workout. Solution: Hire a babysitter just for when you workout.
- Never Quit!!! It’s okay to start over, as long as you don’t quit.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? If I could have any superpower it would be mind control. Everything stems from the mind. Those 2 strokes I had could have easily taken me out, not just physically, but cognitively and emotionally. I would want mind control super powers to change people’s mindset to make healthy life choices.
WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT STROKE? That the face of stroke isn’t your grandmother, it’s me at 27 years old. Stroke victims can be in their 20’s and 30’s. We have to prevent it not pray we make it afterwards.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE PART OF THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION/AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION’S STROKE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN?
It means everything! I asked God on many occasions why me? Why did I have to go through this at such a young age? Why did I lose everything and have to re-learn how to walk, talk, feed myself, drive or tie my shoestring? Once I started sharing my story and seeing how people were influenced to change their eating habits, I said “why not me God”. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has given me a platform to save more lives and for that I am eternally grateful that my journey was not in vain.
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