Putting All Your Faith In Fitness - A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Putting All Your Faith In Fitness

At The Gym
At The Gym

Me, at the gym at midnight.. because I was too lazy to go earlier like I should've!

You know, I get it.

If I’m having a long day, I may forget to eat. That hunger hits me. I wander over to the donut table in the break room. I take the first bite… and the angels sing.

The chain of events is something like this: The problem presents itself. I take action. Immediate results. Immediate as in… right then and there.

Let’s see if we can apply the sentence in bold to another hypothetical imaginary situation.

I gain 40lbs. I “forget” to keep track of my fitness. The warning symptoms hit me. I start to work out. First day on the treadmill, and…

…nothing? What do you mean, nothing? Aw screw this, where’s the donuts?

I mean, I get it. The problem presented itself. I took action. Where are my immediate results?

What do you mean, I don’t get any immediate results?

This is why it’s so hard to stick to our fitness routines. We could work and work and work and work and work… and see nothing for weeks. It starts to feel like all of our hard work is in vain, and we only fall off with fond memories of how we busted our tails, failed miserably, and will probably skip giving it another shot. Whereas, if I am starving and I scarf down a giant triple whopper (1,200 calories, 88g of fat, 1,600mg salt)… I get my immediate satisfaction. Like, right then and there.

I am here to tell you, as straight-forward as possible. Screw all that.

If there is one thing that I have learned and am still learning, it’s that fitness requires a level of faith far beyond hope and silent thoughts. It requires you to put your all – your 100% – into something you may not see for weeks or, in cases like mine, months. It requires you to believe in yourself, what you are capable of, how you care for yourself and your ability to seek out and find what you need to better yourself. Fitness requires faith… in yourself.

You have to believe in yourself. Believe in your efforts. Believe that your goal is one worth achieving, because you are worth the effort it takes. It might not give you the same instant satisfaction as a donut, but consider the feeling you get when you turn that donut down. You slayed Goliath! You got a monkey off your back.

If the problem is the lack of instant gratification, get it from a good strength training workout. Get your satisfaction on the elliptical trainer. Get your release from some quick in-house cardio. Get your gratification from the pride you feel when, instead of devouring the entire pint of ice cream, you get a glass of water instead. (Yes. I said water.) Find new fitness-related ways to get your satisfaction, and you will always win. Every time.

So, just dive head first into it! You know you shouldn’t be eating [insert item you know you have no business eating], so put it away/throw it away and feel good about it. Heaven knows I’ve thrown away my fair share of food! You know you shouldn’t be skipping the gym, so go and feel victorious about that battle with the treadmill! You may not see the results today, but you will feel them today… and see them tomorrow! What helps you stick to your routine?

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now lives in New York with her family, and is working on her 4th, 5th and 6th certificates.

47 Comments

  1. bri

    April 5, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    GAH! THANK YOU for saying this! i know i’m an instant-gratification junkie and this weight loss thing is hard… i’m from the “no pain, no gain” school of thought so if after a good workout i’m sore all over, i know i’m making progress (or at least i’d like to think i am!)

    • Erika

      April 5, 2010 at 10:31 AM

      I despiiiiiised the “no pain no gain” mentality… until I saw what that “pain” brought me! I work it out until I can barely make it to the bed! That’s how it goes! That’s MY instant gratification right there! I’m so glad you said that!

    • Lakita Brewington

      March 15, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Thank you for posting this! You are an awesome motivator!

  2. Tina Fite

    April 5, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    Erica,

    Why are you talking to me? LOL I am trying to get off of Facebook right now so I can hit the gym but am having a tough time doing it. I am one of those who changed both their eating/exercise habits and have seen quite a few changes since starting 5 weeks ago, mainly seeing the scale go from 318 to 298 in a matter of 3 weeks! Anyway, I love this post and I will hit the gym with this as extra motivation because, girl, you are SPEAKIN’ to ME!!!

    Thanks again!!

    • Erika

      April 5, 2010 at 11:47 AM

      Tina, I’m talking to me, too! I can understand!

      Is facebook going to help you lose those last little pounds you want to get rid of? ‘Cause if it would, I’d expect we’d be paying a pretty penny for it!

      And as sad as it makes me to say this… Get off my site and go, girl! (But come back! LOL!)

  3. Nea

    April 6, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    This was right on time! I just bought a new scale and realized after working out 5 days a week for 6 weeks…I havent lost ANY weight. I was so discouraged, near tears, and about to say screw it. I got the email update and couldn’t believe it. Thank you soooo much. I needed to hear this to stay on course.

  4. cjbrownsc

    April 6, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Great post, Erika!!
    You were definitely speaking to me when you said “I start to work out. First day on the treadmill, and… nothing? What do you mean, nothing? Aw screw this, where’s the donuts?” LOL
    I have been doing cardio for about 6 months and have lost absolutely no weight. I couldn’t figure it out until I read your post and it all came to me – the dagnabbit ‘donuts’ in my life are countering the cardio that I do!! Why didn’t I see this before today?! Surely I can’t be that stupid – or can I? LOL
    It’s amazing how I can so easily eat 3500 calories and gain a pound, but it is so hard to lose a pound. Immediate gratification is a ‘mother, isn’t it?

  5. Celeste

    April 6, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    It’s hilarious that you would post a piece about instant gratification. That is typically my downfall every time I get “on the wagon”. The donut/mac and cheese/whatever calls me then its “oh well, it ain’t working anyway”. But I feel so much better when I deny those things, not forever but just for right now, and come away feeling like, Yes, I can do this. For me it also comes down to good ole self control. I feel like, If I can control this, I can control anything, cause as everyone knows, the food monkey is a slick one and stays plastered to your back if you let him! LOL

    Thanks for reminding me of continuing my journey with integrity. I started going to a gym, got a trainer and yes, there is plenty of pain! But I also feel stronger everyday and don’t feel like I’m going to pass out like I did the first time I worked out. That’s progress- and I’ll take it!! :)

  6. Therese

    April 7, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    Great post! I have been really frustrated lately as I have been doing the Insanity workout for almost a month and while I look a bit leaner, I have lost no weight! Grrrr….Clean diet, 5am daily ridiculously difficult workouts and –NOTHING on the scale.

    But America does need an intervention when it comes to food that we have no business eating. I blogged about this recently: http://brazentherese.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/this-just-in-fast-food-will-kill-you/

  7. BAnjeeB

    April 8, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    This is something I repeat to myself daily and try to remind others when they get down on themselves. Thanks for this.

  8. Talitha

    April 9, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    First time at this sight. Truly enjoyed this article it is the exact thing that myself and co-workers fight with all the time. We have a good eating week and make sure we exercise – get on the scale at work and then want to abuse the scale. Nice site. Thanks.

  9. Lish

    April 12, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    This post was hilarious!

    This is such a great website very informative thank you for all of your hard work!

  10. Kjen

    June 24, 2010 at 6:28 AM

    I loved how you explained what a necessary role faith plays in your exercise regime. So many other articles would have nagged me about the need for discipline, when really, I think that faith is the foundation of discipline. Because you have to ‘know’ somewhere in your heart that your actions do affect you, that it matters which decisions and actions you take.

    Some days, like right now, I find that i have to look at pictures – Beyonce, Kim K. to motivate me away from the computer. Other days its the thought of fitting into certain clothing. In the beginning, but after awhile, I just like to exercise. Its part of my day and I notice I actually feel better if I do and feel guilty if I don’t. This is a cycle that I go into every few months – I never seem to feel the same about exercise all the time.

  11. Tina

    October 4, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    Great post. It is not instant but totally worth while. Crazy but I don’t check the scale rarely weigh in, but earlier this year my cousin prompted me to hit the track like I used to because I had really gained alot of weight. So everyday all through the Winter I went ut, I walked, I came home, I walked the next day and the next, this summer I started running, like really running. I knew weight was coming off but it wasn’t until this weekend I weighed and saw that I had lost 50+ lbs. Crazy!!! Grant it I knew I was slipping in a size 10 rather nice, but it was a day by day slow feat, but I did it and I must say I rather love the burn fro running and I get up and do it like brushing y teeth.

  12. Sarah

    November 15, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I know this is a super-late comment, but it’s a new realization for me:

    There’s another set of weight loss numbers that matter for me; in fact, the primary numbers that really matter for me: the ones associated with my cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and thyroid.

    I’ve been having obsessive moments with the scale, which is hovering around 200 (I started at 239). I have this NEED to get it below 200…but at the same time, I’m reaching a motivation slump and have barely been exercising (still doing my healthy eating, though).

    But, last week, I had my 6-month bloodwork done to see if all of those important health numbers have improved…and I have the feeling that those numbers, not the numbers on the scale, will be the thing that helps keep me going.

    So, I figure that if I have to fixate on a number, I may as well fixate on one that really means the most!

  13. Kamla-Kay

    February 6, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    I totally love this post! It speaks to me! I am the epitome of instant gratification in ALL areas of life…i used to be so consistent at the gym, but in the last year, the lack of results keeps me slacking off ever so often and then when i go back i have to start all over..it’s a vicious cycle!! I’m going to take this post with me for the next month and hit it with all I’ve got. Thank You!

    (and yeah, ima attack that eating thing too..lol)

  14. Miesha

    February 8, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Thinking about how I WILL rock the flyest little sundresses this summer is what keeps me on track. Superbowl Sunday was a test. Although I was at work, my co-workers decided to order pizza and have a mock party. They were actually trying to use peer-pressure to get me to eat some (bastards), but I rebuked them, lol. All I kept thinking was “Your gonna regret it. If you don’t eat it, you’ll be so proud of yourself”. And I was right! Since that day, I’ve been turning down unproductive choices left & right because, now, I know I can do it!!

  15. Avien

    April 10, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Seriously happy I read this today.. I was really about to give up this weekend and this article just gave me some motivation. I have to remember my goals and stick to it. Some weeks I dont see any results, not weight loss, no physical inches loss.. and I seriously get upset and want to give up. But I have to keep going for myself cause Im worth it.. Thank you for your wonderful articles.. I read this site everyday now since I found it on facebook… much love.

  16. Shana W.

    April 28, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Greetings, I so needed to read this(I did so twice)to fully let in settle in : ) I’m so grateful that I came across this website, you’ve managed to become an individual that I am now drawing Inspiration from without a doubt(they say energy doesn’t stay in one place)and it is true without a doubt because since I’ve been reading and exploring your site its like having you & encouraging words MOTIVATE ME. Once again THANK YOU, I started my journey(again)yesterday & I fully intend on following through with it—with the help of you & your website!

    XoXo
    Continue all the great work you’re doing!

  17. Tonja

    June 21, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    You made me cry ( it’s a good cry) because I am that person looking for instance results. Thank you I know it take a week to put it on I know its not going to take a week to get it off. lol

  18. Summer

    June 24, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    OMG! I am very new to working out. Actually this is only my 2nd week (3 days/week). I’ve lost one pound (was very discouraged but not now knowing that I eliminated 3500 calories in a week!) and my goal is to lose 2 lbs next week. I don’t know where that pound went because I look the same. I guess my expectations were too high? LOL! I thought I would work out and see immediate results like you said. I’m so thankful for this post and glad I read it. “Have faith in your fitness”… that is so powerful! I can’t see the changes now but I just have to trust that my body is changing. I definitely feel it but soon I’ll be able to see it. That’s amazing! Thanks for the encouragement and reality check!

  19. Marquita

    July 8, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    I am glad that I read this article. Instant gratification in terms of eating foods that I know arent’ good for me. This article really puts everything in perspective….Awesome!

  20. Lisa

    July 14, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Erika–I concur with all that has been said by you. At first it doesn’t appear like anything is happening and then 3, 4, 5 then 6 months pass by and folks are praising you, asking what you are doing, complimenting, you, etc and you may say to yourself I don’t see, or I don’t feel it and then all of a sudden it hits you…..the new YOU. After all the weight gain was gradually a process and so may be the same route for weight loss…but WAIT it out. :o)

  21. Camille

    October 11, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    I just want to say thank you for this article and your website in general. I try to read at least one article here each day to keep me on track. By visiting this website i realise that i am not alone in my struggle and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am 5’5 and 170lbs…which is not grossly overweight but i now that i can do/look and feel better. Ultimately i would like to lose about 20lbs or 25max! Its difficult because of my build, i have really really thick thighs (you can see them thangs from outta space). My eating habits aren’t alwys the best but i do like exercise…especially spin and weight training. Anyway, I just want to say thank you because your positive words and even the stories shared in the comments feed have awoken my determination to get fit. I will keep at it and get fit.

  22. Stefanie

    October 11, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Another inspiring post! Thank you for your encouragement :-)

  23. AJNorm

    October 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been on this site for oer a year and just read this! I just told my fiance and bestie this isn’t working so why bother. It’s like you know what to do but when the weight doesn’t fall right off you give up. I’m usually using that excuse to go to the Chinese buffet *sigh*. OK Erika I hear you! I’m not going to keep making excuses. I won’t get any results doing nothing.

  24. Karyn

    January 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I needed to read this, because I like many others need to see the results right away. I’ve been there where I’ve worked out for weeks and not lost a pound, but what I’ve discovered recently is that I’m not really working out as long or as hard as I needed to be to lose the weight. I just recently became vegetarian, and for some strange reason I thought that I just needed to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, or a 30 minute fitness dvd at home, 3x a week and the weight would just miraculously melt off like it did when I was eating fish and chicken and working out for an hour and a half 6 days a week, because after all I’m vegetarian now lol. I was in for a rude awakening, because when I put in an hour on the treadmill for the last couple of days, and came home so sore I could barley walk, guess what happen? In two days I lost 3lbs. So I guess I said all that to say this, being as out of shape as I am, anything I did I thought was a lot or enough….it wasn’t. I know it’s different for everybody, but this is my personal experience that I hope will help others..

  25. Mary Ann MacKay

    February 7, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Today is the first day in several months I have been able to avoid the temptation of sugar, and it feels so GOOD to be able to say NO!!

    I’ve also committed to getting back on my exercise program – 2 days in a row so far, even with my broken toe :)

    You know, I worked to hard to lose this weight to let myself get back to where I was. I’m committed to staying thin and healthy!

  26. Yoli

    February 8, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    THANK YOU! I SOOOO NEEDED TO READ THIS TODAY!! I have really been slippin!!

  27. Vanessa

    February 9, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    This was so on time!! My mom, who has health issues and needs to lose weight, came to me for help last week and I was struggling on how to tell her that this will take time. I’m printing this out!

  28. Danita Ogandaga

    March 16, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Thanks for this article. It was inspiring. I’ve been on my weight-loss journey for some time now, steady and slow am realizing that it is a sprint. No matter what, I won’t stop. Thanks!

  29. Keyea

    April 19, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    I’m always looking outside of myself for something to motivate me and as cliche as this may sound, the anwser has been within me the entire time, I guess it’s just a matter of me recognizing this gift of “faith” that God so freely gives. Thank-you!

  30. Marci

    April 21, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Thanks Erika! I really needed this!

  31. Val

    May 5, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    AMEN!! Thank you for this. My trainer and I had a “Come to Jesus” Meeting last week, because I was dealing with this same situation. I have been working out for months and have seen little results. But, I am going to stick with it as I made a promise to myself when I turned 30. Thank you for your site!!

  32. Curlsz

    June 3, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Sadly I see people workout and workout and their bodies change very little because they aren’t eating the right diet, that saying abs start in the kitchen is solo true!!

  33. Tiggerlane

    June 19, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    THANK YOU for this! I, too, am into the “instant gratification” trap…and I have been slacking on the workouts, because my scale just doesn’t move. Now, after two weeks of not working out and abandoning my healthy eating – oh, it’s moving alright, in the wrong direction again. Thank you for the motivation, for being REAL…and for motivating me to get BACK into the gym…TODAY!

  34. Susan

    July 1, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Wow! did I need this article this morning, I was feeling like skipping my workout. I have been working out for 6 months now. I have reached some of my goals and have toned up but those abs still are not where I want them and I keep thinking how long before I see results. I have to just keep working and not give in to the food.
    Thanks for the push it helped off to my 9:45 class!!!

  35. Kasandra Bush

    July 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Thank you Erika and I love all of the comments!

  36. Laurie

    July 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    The office candy bowl is tempting me today so it helped to read this! I’m armed with my apple I bought on break if the naughty craving hits.

  37. Theresa

    September 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Great post!

  38. Marie

    September 19, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    God knows I needed to hear this today!!

  39. renee

    December 16, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    I had my come to fitness/health moment in June of 2012. Therefore I began my journey then and to date I have lost 45 pounds. The entire month of November I lost 0 pounds. In fact, I gained about 3 pounds. I remembered reading this article and continued to put my faith in my fitness. The month of december I’ve lost about 12 pounds so far. Thank you so much for writing this article. You definitely helped me to push through that month of November and reap the benefits later. Thanks Again!!!

  40. Lynaya

    May 27, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    My gratification comes in sweat. It comes in pain from workouts and what I call small victories: ordering salad instead of a burger, turning down a second helping…those things gratify me.

  41. Mina

    June 6, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    With my busy lifestyle, what keeps me going is the energy I get from working out. I LOVE TO SLEEP so if I skip more than one day of working out I would come home at 6, sleep at 9 and wake up at 8. EEEK! Exercise keeps me going and I love the feeling of sleeping just 7 to 8 hours and waking up more refreshed than not exercising and sleeping 10-12 hours.

  42. Michelle

    June 18, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    This is a lesson that I learn and re-learn everyday.

  43. FRAZ1C

    September 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I know that if I don’t work out (constantly skip or quit), I am guaranteed not to reach my goals. But, If I keep pushing, at some point I will reach my fitness goals.

  44. cvchamilton

    January 26, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Erika – I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and sometimes I think you’re reading my mind! I’m 50+ years old and started my fitness journey about 3 years ago. I began by walking and eventually started running a year later. I’ve completed several 5k and 10k races. Last year, I joined a gym and added cross-training (Pilates, Zumba and cardio) to my routine. I know I will never look like I did in my 20s, so my goal was to become more active, especially as I get older. I have struggled with my weight all of my life, so the difference this time is a lifestyle change – not a targeted weight loss goal which always ends up with a shot term fix and eventual weight gain. While I’ve only lost about 20 lbs – my body has changed significantly and I feel great! The eating part has become a natural progression as well. Since I’m more in tune with my body, I think twice about what I put in it now. My point is, this should be a long-term journey – do what you like – just do it! Be good to yourself and good things will happen!
    Thanks again for the inspiration – I always enjoy reading your comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>