Monthly Archives: May 2011

1

The 2004 Calendar

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My transformation didn’t happen over night. Like most people I had to hit my own rock bottom before I decided to take control of my own health. For me it was Postpartum depression.

I was 32 years old and had just had my 4th baby. PPD was settling in again. I knew the symptoms far too well. Unfortunately I also knew that each time it got worse and much harder to get out of it..

5 pregnancies, 4 babies and 1 miscarriage. Each one took me to a darker place then the previous time. Most people didn’t notice since Im very good at saying “Everything’s Great!” with a big smile plastered across my face.

Then my ex’s job relocated us away from my family,  my support system, and that’s when my dark hole grew out of control.

I’d moved around before, 49 times precisely…(my ex played professional baseball) But I’d never moved with four small children and being depressed. All my prior moves were temporary relocations, this was not. ~Hole got darker. We moved from sunny South Florida to gloomy New Jersey with winter fast approaching. ~Hole just got deeper. Moved away from my family, my Cuban culture, my language, my food, my soul. What runs through my veins and defined me at the time…being Cuban. Hole is now ginormous.

I gave it a full year but found myself completely hopeless and my desperate pleas for help fell on deaf ears. I ran to my GP and she diagnosed me with PPD. Gave me a prescription and told me to shut down my factory. “No more babies for you. You may pop’em out just fine but this is affecting your brain chemistry.”

I started taking Wellbutrin and then moved to Lexapro and others trying to find the right one but they just numbed my pain. Yet each month I did as I was told to do. Run to the GP. Answer some questions about my meds. Grab my script and run to the pharmacy. And each month I prayed…I want the old Josette back! The cheery and energetic Josette!!!! What’s it gonna take!?!!?!?

There was no support from my immediate family. My ex told me “meds are a crutch” and my mom’s response was “You don’t need medication, you just need to pray your rosary more often.”

I knew I didn’t want to live dependent on anti-depressants forever. This was not living. This was barely surviving but no one was throwing me a lifevest. New home. No family. Husband never home. No friends. No culture. No language. Tired of feeling tired and hopeless and to top it off, I was overweight, which depressed me even more!

I decided to do some research of my own and had found articles on how food affects your mood. I was willing to make changes but I also knew my history with dieting….I was a huge yo-yo dieter!! Always started out like a racehorse but would fizzle quickly with a bunch of excuses and just quit.

I knew I had to do this slowly in order for me to stick to these changes and eventually wean myself from my medications.Every diet I’d ever done always had a “You can’t eat ____ on this diet.” whether it was carbs or fat or fruit or protein or dairy… blah blah blah!! I don’t know about you but the moment someone tells me “you can’t eat bananas on this diet” I become obsessed with them!! I don’t care if I haven’t had a banana in years, if you tell me from now on you can’t eat them I will want a banana badly!! And I’ll see them everywhere!! Banana bread. Banana pudding, banana muffins, banana splits!!! JUST GIVE ME A FRIGGIN BANANA!!!!!!

It was Christmas of 2003 and I had just bought a a 2004 calendar. I sat down and decided to make 1 change a week. I wrote it down. Every Sunday night. Make 1 change.

My first change was switching my Peppermint Mocha creamer for skim milk. That was it. That’s all I changed that first week of 2004. My second Sunday I switched my before bed hot cocoa and marshmallows to diet hot cocoa and fat free whipped cream. Third Sunday was eat breakfast as soon as I got out of bed. I use to just drink coffee til lunch time.

At this point I had started going to the gym, taking aerobics classes daily gave me an instant mood booster. I knew exercise was important for me since I had been diagnosed with scoliosis at age 9. My doctors told me I needed to exercise everyday. Not exercising was NOT an option for me.

A few weeks later the group fitness coordinator approached me and told me I should become certified to teach aerobics. I was floored and thought, “NO WAY!! i don’t even look like a fitness instructor! Have you seen me?!?!?” But he convinced me to start studying and he would help me prepare for the test.  I remembered having fitness instructors who weren’t very fit but they were still amazing motivators and then I thought, “Why not me?!?!?”

This was a huge log thrown into my healthier me fire!!!!

<When the student is ready, the teacher will appear>

i met a personal trainer who was getting his PHD in Physical therapy. This guy looked like a complete muscle head but man he knew his stuff inside and out. He could tell just by looking at you if you needed more protein, carbs or holding too much water. It was amazing!! He became my mentor for the next 3 years and I learned so much about food and all the science behind it.

Winter came and went and I grew stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. I felt better than I ever had in my entire life and was confident about getting off medications under my doctor’s supervision. The fog had finally lifted. I could see clearly and for the first time realized Id been going through my entire life feeling like crap but never knew it because I never felt this great before. I didnt know the difference!! What a life changing moment for me. And I knew from this moment on I would never go back to eating the way I use to eat. Just for my mental sanity alone I wouldn’t. I couldn’t!!!!!

You know the feeling of finding an amazing pair of shoes or an incredible bargain and you want to share it with the world?? That’s how I felt about my nutrition transformation and I wanted EVERYBODY to feel this awesome!!!

I want you to look and feel amazing no matter how old you are. I now know after living clean for seven years…Reading, studying, conferences, workshops, certifications, nutrition IS the key to health. And I confirm this every time I eat a cheat meal and the food doesn’t agree with me. Every fried food, sugary treat, processed garbage makes me ill from head to toe.

Because I’ve kept food journals, I know exactly how food affect my mood, energy, libido, focus, sleep, workouts, hormones, weight, skin, hair, EVERYTHING!!! Food is MEDICINE!!!!! Food can give you life or suck the life out of you!!!

But remember, it all started with a calendar and one change per week.

 

6

The cherry front loader

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They say divorce, death and moving are the three most stressful situations in life.
Well I’m here to tell you that is so true. I went through all three at the same time exactly 2 years ago.
My ex moved out in February of 2009, sold our home in April, my grandmother who I lived with during my 4 years in college died May 4th and I moved Memorial Day weekend. Crazy huh?
In the midst of all my chaos I was rushed to find a place for me and my kids. There was no money to buy a home, not even a condo. No family to move in with temporarily since my family lives in Miami, and I had to stay in town for my children’s schools.
There were only two options, a 2-bedroom apartment and a 3 bedroom condo that had no washer and dryer. Tough situation considering I have 4 growing children and we lived in a 5,600 square foot home. My concern was where would the kids adjust better? The apartment was small but the convenience of the washer and dryer were huge, considering the amounts I do each week! But the duplex had a big yard and it was set in a neighborhood where I knew the kids could make friends.

My mom was horrified I’d given up my brand new ginormous cherry colored front loaders in the sale of my house.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been in an unhappy relationship but I hoped and prayed things would change, that they would get better. But in the end, no amount of money in the world was going to change my marriage. No big house, nice cars, front loaders, nice vacations, new jobs…nada.
So I settled on the duplex and took the smallest bedroom. I gave the biggest to my 2 oldest daughters. The younger two share the medium size room. We adjusted pretty well considering we went from 4 bathrooms to 1 and 1/2.
And soon enough we started our weekly runs to the laundromat. I was concerned about how the children would handle this huge lifestyle change. After all, they never did any laundry before, never even folded a t-shirt!
Tuesday and Friday nights became laundry night, every child was in charge of a basket and had to do their homework while we waited. If we finished the night without fighting then they got to visit the dollar store next door.
This became our family outing for almost 2 years and believe it or not, my kids actually enjoyed and looked forward to laundry night. Winters were difficult because of all the snow we had to plow through to get to my truck. (I don’t have a garage here) And of course, there were the many times I’d leave the detergent and fabric softener in the trunk only to find it frozen solid and useless for laundry night! My kids gave me a lot of crap for that. LOL!

I recently renewed my lease here and my landlord was nice enough to add a hookup and installed a small washer and dryer, with a rent increase of course. I was initially thrilled with my new convenience but I have to admit I enjoyed having the bonding time with the kids. A few weeks ago my son Jackson told me “I miss going to the laundromat Mami. We had lots of fun there. Reading the newspaper, going to the dollar store, bothering the owner and it smelled like soap.”
I know in my heart these are memories my children will cherish for the rest of their lives.
I was so foolish to think staying in an unhappy marriage would be good for the kids. I never wanted them to want for anything or be inconvenienced. As a parent all we want for our children is their happiness, but how could they be happy if I wasn’t setting a good example? All they had ever seen was smoke and mirrors.

You can’t find happiness in a beautiful cherry red front loader but you may find it at the local laundromat.
Funny how life is….

0

Prickly People

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Last week I was listening to Chalene Johnson’s Car Smarts CD on Prickly People and something really stuck to me.
Why do we keep prickly people in our life? Especially if they’re not a family member?
I can understand if said prickly person is your mother or brother or sister, unfortunately we don’t get to choose our family. However, we do choose our friends and the amount of time we spend nurturing these friendships.

Prickly people are those who are just flat out drama, negative energy, always finding issues with everybody and unloading blame on others. “Woe is me” is their daily mantra. I’m sure you can rattle off a few names right about now.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about lending a helping hand and being supportive to those in need but when “prickly people” feed off us, suck the blood out of us, leaving us asking ourselves…”And why am I friends with this person again?!!?” It’s time to ask yourself, how badly do you need this person in your life? How are they improving your life by being in it?

At first you tell yourself you won’t let their negativity get to you, that you can handle it and it really is no big deal. But in time your immune system breaks down and they become an infection. Now you find yourself avoiding them, not answering their calls or their text messages. You know what I’m talking about, you hear the ding on your phone and see it’s a text message from them and you cringe and say ‘Shit. What now!’ You know I’m right.

So why do you keep them around?? Do you think they’ll change? That it’ll get better? You know in your heart they wont. Prickly people suffer from lack of self confidence and nothing you can say or do will help them acquire it. Only you can give yourself self confidence. You are your own biggest cheerleader and it’s hard enough doing that without prickly people in your life. We need our energy to deal with our daily life! Between kids, activities, careers, home life, relationships that are worth nurturing, we have no time for prickly people!!!

Did you know You are actually being selfish by keeping these prickly people around? As they continuously feed off you, they find a way to bring you down consistently. They keep you from growing as a person. They don’t want to see you change so they bite back in some way, shape or form.

So, the next time your ‘virus’ calls on you, ask yourself how much time and energy you’re willing to sacrifice when you and others could be benefiting from your awesomeness. ;)

1

WATCH ME!!!

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“Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” ~ Voltaire

I will be closing my doors to Get Josette studio in North Attleboro as of May 6th, 2011. I will however be opening new classes at the Milford Youth Center at 24 Pearl St. in Milford. (I’ll have more details on that this week)

Without going into too much detail, because it would quickly turn into a spanish novela… let’s just say I have removed a huge thorn from my side today. It’s disappointing, but none the less, it has given me clarity on what I need to focus on as I move forward in my journey towards owning my health and fitness business.

I realized today I don’t need a studio to be a fitness instructor, nutrition trainer and motivational life coach, I can help more people through the power of the internet! The magic of video!!

Motivation is a habit we must nurture daily, just like showering, exercising, eating right, brushing your teeth…etc. And I am here to help you make each day count. Make you realize there’s always something to be grateful for even on your most difficult days. It’s easy to focus on negative things and allow them to bring you down but I’m gonna help you flip that switch.

One of the things I can confidently say Im good at doing is motivating others. I’m a great cheerleader. I can’t do back handsprings or toe touches but I don’t take no for an answer. “I can’t” is not in my vocabulary. More like “Why not?”

I am driven to helping other people because I’ve seen too many not believe in themselves. I’m not a natural at many other talents, but tell me I cannot do something and I’ll say, “WATCH ME!”
I firmly believe happiness is 3 easy things.
Lending a helping hand when someone is down. High fiving them when they’re standing next to you, and pushing them forward when they’re ahead of you.

I personally experienced all three things today thanks to my boyfriend Chris.

He picked me up this morning after the news of closing my studio. He let me mope and boohoo about it for a while. Then he shook me and made me realize this was actually a blessing and I should be grateful it happened now. And now as I’m blogging he’s sitting next to me, cheering me on. He believes in my dreams and knows they are my reality already.