Tag Archives: health

Is There Such A Thing As Being Fat And Fit?

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the #PSPfit #LiviLaunch party this weekend at their local Lane Bryant store, I’m working on an event recap now… stay tuned! Now for today’s post:

Every few weeks an unfamiliar face will approach me at the gym. The conversation usually goes something like this,

Them: Hi! So, I just wanted to come over and tell you what an amazing job you’re doing. Keep it up, okay? You’ll get there!

Me: Ummm…okay, thanks!

You see, I am a super-active girl who enjoys dancing, sports, and various bootcamps. I am also plus-size. Most of the regulars at my gym know that I’m the plus-size girl who works out like a beast, so they let me do my thing. But, the people who have recently joined the gym treat me like I’m a walking “before” picture from an episode of The Biggest Loser. But some of us are fat — and fit.

One thing big girls often hear is something to the tune of, “you need to get healthy and lose weight.” It’s usually said as one word: “gethealthyandloseweight.” Statements like this make the assumption that fat and fit are mutually exclusive. They are not. Statements like this make the assumption that skinny and healthy are synonymous. They are not. There are skinny people who have heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes. There are fat people who run 5K races, avoid junk food, and get clean bills of health from their doctors.

When I began the healthy curves journey that I call #PSPfit, Plus Size Princess Fitness. I set three goals for myself: eat clean, train dirty, and love myself at any size. I had been working hard to be the skinniest version of myself since I was 12 years old (spoiler alert: I gained more weight than I ever lost), so my commitment to those three things completely changed my mindset and I set out to be the healthiest version of myself.

CeCe Olisa #PSPfit Healthy Curves at Every Size
I was already in the gym four times a week, so that was an easy habit to keep, but I amped up my workouts by adding intense cardio and tons of strength training. Then, I put on an apron and got cooking to ensure processed foods were eliminated from my diet. I also made regular mani/pedi appointments and went shopping for cute plus-size gym clothes (Yep, I took the “love myself” partvery seriously).

My health began to improve in unexpected ways: My skin cleared up, my period became more regular, my eczema went away, my sleep improved, and my energy skyrocketed. Oh, and I lost 55 pounds.

Sure, weight loss was a part of my health improvements, but here’s the thing: In the past, I’ve lost more than 80 pounds and still had bad skin, annoying eczema, and terrible sleep patterns. So, weight isn’t everything. It’s certainly something, but it’s not everything.

I can do jumping jacks, pushups, planks, side planks, swim laps, and keep up in bootcamp classes galore. I eat green smoothies and cook yummy, clean recipes. I life a fit lifestyle, I’ve shed dozens of pounds, and I’m still a big girl. Even though the numbers on the scale continue to slide down, I’m pretty sure that I’ll always be a big girl. So, what does that mean? Is being fit what you look like, or how you live? Is it what size you wear, or what you can do in the gym?

I’m starting to realize that a healthy, fit lifestyle will enable my body to find the appropriate weight for my optimal health. Being healthy and fit is about choices and I’m making good ones. So, the next time a newbie at the gym assures me that I’ll “get there,” I can remind myself that I am already.

Read more of my articles for Refinery29 here

click here to register for the #PSPfit challenge

Plus Size Fitness: Our #PSPfit Fall Fitness Pre-Game Challenge!

Alright ladies, The Fall Cycle of #PSPfit bootcamp begins on October 28h. Beginning next Sunday, I’m going to start doing a #PSPfit Pre game challenge on instagram (follow me @PlusSizePrincess). If you’re up for it you can join me from anywhere in the world.  We’ll stay in touch on instagram and twitter using the #PSPfit Hashtag!

A lifestyle change is all about small adjustments that add up, so our pre-game is simple but ohhhhh so important. Hydration, Exercise and Rest create the foundation that gets me in the zone to crush workouts, let my body recover/release toxins and lets me look my best while I do it.

My Plus Size Fitness Basics

During the #PSPfit Pre-game challenge:

-We’ll be drankin… We’ll be drankin (100 ounces of Water each day)

-We’ll up in the gym just working on our fitness (four workouts per week, 30 minutes minimum)

-We’ll be waking up with cartoon birds chirping around our heads (6-8 hours of sleep each night)

If you live in NYC and want to step your game up a little more, I’m starting a #PSPfit Team NYC weekly workout group 🙂 Join the team for $25/month and work out with my trainer for an hour every Saturday morning @ 11am, rain or shine!

Right now, we can accommodate 15 girls, so the first 15 girls to register will be our first Team NYC members! The Registration link will go out on Friday afternoon at 12pm via email only. Be the first to register by joining the priority invite list:

Join the #PSPfit Team NYC Priority Invite List


 

 

#PSPfit: Tweets of the Week (Pets, Families & Smoothies)

You girls inspire me every day with your #PSPfit tweets.  Here are some of my faves from this week:

 

 

I guess you’re inspiring the folks at Weight Watchers Magazine too, because #PSPfit was mentioned in their Jan/Feb 2014 issue as an inspirational hashtag to follow!

“#PSPfit: Steal the get-fit secrets of plus-size women” Um… how amazing is that?? Healthy Curves at Every Size is something to be celebrated and the fact that +size women can be considered fitness experts with “secrets” worth stealing… I’m just beside myself. Should we tell them that our number one secret is that we love ourselves at ANY size? 😉

Registration for the January Jump Start ends in a few days… click Here to Join us

PSPfitWWmagCollage

#PSPfit Clean & Green Boot Camp (21 Days for $21)

Greetings from California, hope you’re having a fabulous holiday! I’m hibernating with my family but I did want to check in with you girls on #PSPfit stuff.

How has your holiday food/fitness been?

Bad news from my end, I’ve been breaking out, my eczema is acting up and my period started three days later than it should have. A year ago that wouldn’t have meant anything to me, but working with my nutrition coach is allowing me to understand that my body tells me when I need to get my act together, especially when it comes to my eating. While I don’t regret the good times and good meals I’ve had over the holiday season, clean eating is definitely what my body needs, especially as I try to manage my PCOS.

Excema, acne and an out of whack menstrual cycle is my body saying “Excuse me, those holiday indulgences are messing with your #PSPfit groove!” and just in case I didn’t get the message, I jumped on the scale last week and I’d gained five pounds… womp womp!

There’s some good news, which is that Abra (my nutrition coach) is designing a January detox for me and its going to be 21 days of what she calls “clean and green eating”. I’m excited to get back to my morning smoothies and home cooked meals so I can regain clear skin, timely visits from aunt flow and drop this holiday weight.

Anyway, I was wondering if we could use this 21 day session to test some #PSPfit boot camp changes.

I want to see if we can bring the price down even more… the whole point of #PSPfit is to make professional nutrition coaching available/affordable to any girl who wants it, so I’d like to test out doing 21 days with Abra for $21. If enough people sign up and I can still manage to pay Abra for her time with us, we’ll keep the $21 rate for future boot camps too. *fingers crossed* (Click here to spread to word)

Registration for the $21 #PSPfit Clean & Green Boot Camp will begin on January 1st. We run bootcamps via email/private facebook groups so you can join from anywhere! As always, we will open the list via email, so remember to pre-register here. Boot Camp will run for 21 days from January 12th-February 1st.

Are you down for a January detox?

Questions? Leave a comment or email me: fitness@thebiggirlblog.com

I’ve Lost Weight and Still Feel Like a “Big Girl” (Curvy Convo)

Hey CeCe,

I’ve been reading your blog for quite awhile now. I recently made a decision to lose weight earlier this year. I did a complete diet change, and I have been working out constantly. As of now I have lost over a total of 60lbs.

I am fine with not being skinny. I am more concerned about being healthy. My problem is, I can’t adapt to the “new me.” I guess I shouldn’t say new me because I’ve always been the same person.  Family and Friends constantly compliment me over this major transformation.
Of course, I say thank you and tell them what I’ve been doing to lose the weight. However, In my mind I’m still that “big girl”. I can’t seem to shake her out my life. She’s like a shadow I can’t hide from. I can shop at new places, and my body is more womanly than ever.
How do I learn to let her go? What makes it so hard to say goodbye to the old you?
 
Signed- CL
Hi CL,
I know there are some girls reading this who have lost significant amounts of weight… I’m really hoping they’ll leave comments for you down below because they probably have some great advice for us.
You and I have been emailing a bit over the past week, thanks so much for being patient while I  learned how to work my camera and filmed a video response for you… The video is blurry (augh!) but I’m still learning…so, here you go!

From the emails you’ve sent, you seem like a cool and confident girl. Please remember that you haven’t changed and from one size to the next, who you are wont change. We often ask people to look past appearances and see the person inside… I think we have to remember to do the same for ourselves.
Like I said in the video, treating our former/heavier self like a horrible person discounts all of the amazing things we’ve accomplished at a larger size. Life doesn’t begin when we lose weight, so we have to remember to honor all the different stages of our lives that help us to become who we are.
You’re a valuable person at your current size and you were a valuable person 60 pounds ago.
Hope that helps (…anyone else have thoughts for CL?)
xoxo,
CeCe
CeCe@thebiggirlblog.com

Hey CeCe! Where Can I Find Plus Size Gym Clothes? (feat. @LaneBryant) #PSPfit

So… every time I renew my dedication to fitness, it starts with a shopping trip for new gym clothes. Having a cute outfit is a good excuse to go anywhere, and the gym is no different. #PSPfit Pre-Thanksgiving bootcamp is starting in one week, so I’m pulling my new outfits together as added motivation (register here for virtual boot camp and here for NYC boot camp).

Big Girls DO work out and we don’t need for us to be in sweats and a baggy Tshirt. We should have gear that allows us to bring all of our Plus Size Princess-ness to the gym so that they know we’re not playing any games… is that too much to ask? I don’t think so, but because people assume big girls don’t work out, it can be hard to find.

Thankfully, brands like Lane Bryant Active are changing that and giving me exactly what I need to amp up my gym swag. Do you see this halter top? The back is high enough to hold in my back fat and the front is cut well enough to keep “the twins” in while I’m doing jumping jacks!

CeCeLBMGPark

I paired the top with plain black Lane Bryant Active leggings, but they actually come with a pant that has a matching waist band (you’ll see those in the next #PSPfit workout videos on our YouTube channel).

I want to give all of you a chance to try on these pieces, so I’m going to be at Lane Bryant on 34th street on October 26th from 11am-1pm. Just come and try the clothes on with me, take photos and see how you look. Anyone who comes to hang with #PSPfit from 11-1pm will get 30% off of Lane Bryant Activewear (they made a coupon just for us!)

(If you’ve already joined #PSPfit Pre-Thanksgiving bootcamp and you’re an NYC, this will be our first meet-and-greet, you can see the other girls who you’ll be training with and finish any registration odds and ends).

Obviously I’m going to have prizes too, so here’s how you can win a gift card:

We’ll be creating a #PSPfit photo booth with instagram and anyone who’s snaps a pic in Lane Bryant activewear with “#PSPfit #LaneBryant” will have a chance to win gift cards!

Don’t live in NYC? You can still join the fun… just stop by your local Lane Bryant and snap a photo of yourself wearing your favorite Lane Bryant gym clothes on instagram with “#PSPfit #LaneBryant”

RSVP here for NYC and Non-NYC attendees so we know to look for you in the “#PSPfit #LaneBryant” photo booth stream… are you coming to the party?

Water Bottle

 

(Part Two) Listen to Your Body

I kept the fact that I was not doing well pretty quiet because I didn’t want to ruin my families time together (I can be prideful/stubborn sometimes… its something I’m working on). When my Mom asked for an update, I repeated what my doctor had said and told her I’d be following up with a cardiologist when I got back.

After a few relaxing days together, it was time for me to head back to the city. My sister Denise decided that she would fly back to New York with me at the last minute so we were doing the six hour flight together.

While waiting for our plane to board, something inside me compelled me to confess to my sister how awful I had been feeling. “Denise, for the past few days I’ve been really short of breath. I’m fine and when we get back to the city I’m going to see a cardiologist, but I just… thought I should tell you.”

Denise, looked at me with concern. “Okay,” she said slowly “can I do anything for you?”

“No, I’ll be fine.”

I slept most of the flight, it was winter so I had knee-high boots that I had taken off in order to be more comfortable. As people filed out of the plane, I wanted to put my shoes back on but I couldn’t move. I was too weak to bend down, pull my legs up or any of the subtle movements that putting on a pair of shoes requires.

“Denise,” I whispered. “I can’t put on my shoes, can you help me?”

The look in my sisters eyes was a mix of fear and concern that mirrored what I felt inside… something was terribly wrong. My sister crouched down and put my boots on for me, she pulled my suitcase from the overhead compartment and prepared all of our things. At this point we were the last people on the plane. I wanted everything to be okay, so I said that it was. I stood up and began to push my suitcase down the aisle behind my sister.

By the time we made the short walk to first class, I felt like I had no energy or strength left. “Denise, give me a minute,” I said sitting in a first class seat.

Then I fainted.

After being rushed to the ER in an ambulance and given multiple tests, it turns out that I had blood clots in my lungs, a pulmonary embolism. If you know anything about blood clots, you know that flying is the absolute worst thing you can do if you have them. This is why my situation came to a head after the long flight from California to New York.

Writing this story, there were plenty of times that I could have made different choices. Choices that would not have landed me in an airplane seat unconscious. If you read part one, you’ll remember that I basically told my doctor that I felt like I had a blood clot. My self-diagnosis was spot on, but I chose to follow what a doctor said even though it didn’t feel right. I could have gotten a second opinion, but I let a doctor minimize my symptoms and push me off onto a specialist even though I had a gut feeling about what was wrong with me.

I knew… my body told me what was wrong, but I didn’t listen.

I spent 10 days in the hospital, underwent surgery and once I got out of the hospital I had to give myself injections daily for weeks.

I’m fine now, fully recovered and the doctors have no idea why I clotted again since I wasn’t taking birth control or anything and all the tests that they run come back completely normal. I can’t thank God enough that my sister Denise was with me and I didn’t have to go through this alone. This experience is what made me fully commit to losing weight, its the only variable in my health that needs attention.

According to the APS foundation, each year, more than 600,000 people in the United States have a pulmonary embolism, and more than 60,000 of them die. Most of those who die do so within 30 to 60 minutes after symptoms start.

My symptoms went on for close to two weeks, including two 6 hour flights so I thank God constantly that I lived through a PE.

Listen to Your Body.

Listen to Your Body (Part One)

The following post is an elaboration on something I mentioned briefly at the beginning of this post in 2011. Very few of you caught what I mentioned, but those who did wished me well and that meant so much to me. I was pretty much traumatized by what happened and haven’t been able to blog about it until now. I shared this story briefly during Love Songs & Curvy Conversations on Saturday and so I will go into detail here for those of you who missed it. -CeCe

Climbing a short flight of stairs at work, I was winded. Like, really winded… my heart was racing and I couldn’t catch my breath. Once I got to the top of the stairs, I slowly walked to my desk to rest. Yes, one flight of stairs caused me to sit down and rest at my desk.

I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t figure out what.

I had been taking vigorous classes at the gym that lasted an hour and had no problems getting through them, so why was a single flight of stairs suddenly a problem for me?

Later that evening, the walk from the train to my house was also very difficult. I was trying to walk at my usual brisk pace, but it felt like I was running a marathon. The more I thought about it, the only time I’d ever felt like this was in 2006 when I was taking birth control to regulate my period. As most of you know, I have PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. Birth control/metformin is a common prescription combination upon PCOS diagnosis. While taking birth control, I developed a blood clot in my leg (you know those fast warnings they list at the end of prescription drug commercials? yeah, those things actually happen). Anyway, we caught the clot early and after taking blood thinners for six months, I was given a clean bill of health and instructions to NEVER take birth control again, which I adhered to.

When I got home I called my Mom. I was due to fly home to California a few days later and I was scared I’d have to cancel my trip.

“Something’s wrong with me,” I said, then I gave her the rundown of what I’d been experiencing.

“CeCe, that doesn’t sound good at all. Can you get an appointment with your doctor tomorrow?”

“I can, but I don’t want to,” I replied.

“…why?” my Mother asked.

“If I go to the doctor and tell her that I’m out of breath when I go up a flight of stairs, she’s just going to tell me to lose weight.”

My Mom sighed deeply, “She might say that, but that’s not a reason to not go. You have to make an appointment tomorrow” I heard in her voice that this was non-negotiable, so I agreed and hung up with her.

My experience with doctors is that “lose weight” is their advice for anything I bring up to them. Even though I never had “fat person” health issues… no high blood pressure or cholesterol, etc. I felt like doctors never dug deeper when it came to my health, they just looked at me and the number that came up on the scale and felt that they saw the root all of my problems.

The next day, I went to see my doctor as promised. I told her what was happening to me, she took all of the initial reads of blood pressure, heart rate and temperature.

“I’m getting winded really easily and that’s not normal for me,” I said, “the only other time I’ve felt like this is when I had a blood clot in my calf from taking birth control.”

She asked me to take off my shoes and climb back onto the doctor bed in the room. The simple energy it took to follow her instructions made my heart race. “See, even doing something as simple as taking off my shoes makes me feel winded,” I told her. She took a look at my legs, “you seem fine… no swelling or tenderness, right?”

“Right.”

“Well, its probably your thyroid,” the doctor said, pumping hand sanitizer into her hands.

“My thyroid?” I said. I’d never been told I had thyroid issues before although I had an inkling that thyroid problems were considered a fat girl health issue, but I wasn’t sure. The doctor didn’t seem to think I was dying, even though the thought had crossed my mind.

“Do you think I’m okay to fly to California tomorrow?”

“You’ll be fine. When you get back, lets make an appointment with a cardiologist too, just to be safe. Of course, if you feel really terrible go to the ER.”

I feel really terrible now I thought to myself, but I didn’t fight her to do more. She was the doctor right? Even though my body was talking to me, the doctors voice rang louder. To be completely honest, I didn’t want anything to be wrong with me, which is probably why I accepted the doctors casual diagnosis. A girl in her 20’s shouldn’t be having crazy health issues and I’ve always been healthy and active despite my weight. I was fine… just my thyroid… I’d deal with everything after I flew to California and back.

“Okay,” I said and left her office.

Do any of you feel like your doctor can’t see past your weight?

(You ca read part two here…)