Monthly Archives

January 2018

Inspiration and Motivation

I Need My Homeo!!!

January 28, 2018

The month of January has come and gone.  What are some things that you have done as you embraced the journey of self-transformation? 

At the beginning of the month,  I invited you all to join me on this “no sugar journey.”

How did you do?

Were you able to resist the sugar call late at night… or at the crack of dawn? 

Did you have some weak days where you just gave into your desires? 

Desires… we want what we want and very often we give into our desires with little thought of the ramifications that come along with our decisions. 

My very first blog of the New Year entitled, “Our Worst Enemy” talked about the debilitating effects of sugar.  I embarked upon a “no sugar challenge”, where I pledged to eliminate processed sugar from my diet. 

Welllll……..I was doing awesome… up until last Wednesday when I ate 4 homemade cookies back to back.  It was like an over indulgence… fulfilling an immense craving.  After 4, I still wanted more, but I had to stop myself. 

After a thorough assessment of why I fell so hard in the home stretch, I realized that I wasn’t in a state of balance.  I totally omitted cakes, cookies, and candy from my diet. I also consumed miniscule amounts of sugar (from smoothies). 

Starving myself from sugar made me want it more and more.  At first it was easy to resist, but soon after the urges became so real and a piece of fruit did not cut it. LOL.

As I pondered some more, I came to a deeper realization.  I realized that in order for us (you and I) to be our very best selves, we need to establish a state of homeostasis… in essence we need complete balance. 

Life is filled with a plethora of foods, and activities. If we don’t seek to establish a state of balance, we are setting ourselves up for failure.  

As most of you know, my family and I are now vegans… well better vegans than last year…. ok, ok…. still aspiring, but you get my point.  Lol. We’ve been vegetarian for 9 years but now we’re committed to living a vegan lifestyle.  

While becoming a vegan has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, it has also been one of the worst.  

The reason why I say this is because  I have been suffering a great deal from excessive bloating and discomfort that has become rather overwhelming. I’ve learned of the association between beans, lentils and nuts which include almonds with increased bloating, and gut problems. The discussion on the reason to why these foods cause this reaction will be saved for another blog in the near future. 

Being that these foods are not agreeing with me, I need to find a balance with the foods that I presently eat.  

That is my current challenge.

Pray for me y’all!!

Balance does not only equate to food but to everything in life.

As I continue on this journey of self-transformation, I am learning that I need to have balance with my relationships. I am often found running around with my kids, teaching a class, being at home doing my motherly duties, or teaching at homeschool. I am not one to go out and socialize with the friends that I have and that is terrible. About a week ago I had the opportunity to go hang out with a couple of my friends at a bowling alley where we fellowshipped, laughed and watched a boxing match. I didn’t have my kids with me and I was able to be free and tap into the self that I had not seen in a very long time. It was at that moment I realized I needed to find balance in my relationships. Even though it’s understandable that I have responsibilities, I also need to ensure that I make time for relationships as that will help me to establish mental homeostasis. Most people who don’t socialize tend to feel lonely and isolated and sometimes even depressed. As I look back retrospectively, I can attribute some of my sadness and loneliness to the fact that I didn’t do anything. So, if you find yourself imbalanced socially like me, let’s get it together.

I am going to try harder to incorporate socialization in my life so that I can be a balanced person.

Another area where I feel that I might have some balance issues is in my activities, specifically exercise. I enjoy working out and I know that it is good for me. However, the thing is that I work out 5 to 6 days a week which takes up a lot of time that I could be using to do other things that need to get done. As a result, I find myself always rushing, feeling like I don’t have enough time, and just overwhelmed. Who said that I had to work out 5 to 6 times a week?

I need to find balance there. If I work out a little bit less I would have the time to do more things, I enjoy doing. 

The last area I feel that we need to find balance in is getting adequate rest. I know for a fact that there are not enough hours in the day and there is just so much that needs to be done. However, if we do not receive adequate amounts of sleep, our body will not be able to maintain a state of homeostasis. This imbalance will create an environment for disease to develop and will cause us to get sick. If we are sick we will not be able to do anything that we are staying up late to do. So, I am doing my best to make sure that I get to bed at a reasonable time so that my body can rest and heal and rejuvenate itself, so that I can be of good use the next day.

In order to be our best self, we have to find a place of balance. We need to find a place of homeostasis. I challenge you to continue to re-evaluate your life as you self-transform and find ways to make sure that you are living a life of balance.

Love yourself

Love is still the answer 

~Candace Mezetin

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Inspiration and Motivation

Shake My Money Maker

January 25, 2018

Shake my money maker! Yup…you heard me correctly. Nowadays, I really like to shake my money maker. You might be wondering, “What in the world is Contessa talking about?” “Does she dance for money?” LOL, before your thoughts continue to run wild, let me explain.

Almost 6 months ago I began a new journey of eating differently by adopting a predominately plant-based diet. At that time, I was so tired of feeling sluggish, and I was tired of my bulging belly. As many of you may or may not know—I also recently gave birth around that time. Yes, I know that it takes time for your body to bounce back, but being that I had previous fat there, this new fat was making matters worse. I usually tend to carry a smile on my face, so my pain and frustration of feeling physically inadequate would be hidden. Looking in the mirror at my body was very difficult…all I saw was a fat, out of shape figure.   Honestly, sometimes looking at myself made me want to vomit. Dealing with that along with all the other stressors in my life was not fun at all.

Well, after I made the decision to give up all animal products, I became determined mentally to succeed at being more physically healthier. Then began the hard part…sticking it out and not quitting. Let me be very clear…animal products are so tasty and addictive and giving them up was a challenge. Nonetheless, like I previously stated I was committed to the cause. Soon days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and now I am writing this article with nearly 6 months under my belt of being a healthier individual. In terms of the losing weight, I battled with seeing that scale go down for many years.   Oh, the 120’s were a mere figment of my imagination as that weight range was strictly confined to my late teens and early 20’s.   The 130’s I have not seen since I had my first son…uh huh over 9 years ago—until now.

About a month ago, I pulled out my handy dandy scale, and with great anticipation, I stepped on it.   As the numbers began calculating I closed both eyes—afraid to see what the results would be. However, I soon mustered up the courage and peeked, and to my great surprise, the scale said 139.   I was so happy!!! Was I seeing this correctly…did the scale actually say I was in my 130’s again.   It has been a tough road fighting the battle of the bulge and for once since my late teens and early 20’s I felt as if I was winning.

Yes, so the money maker that I am referring to is my body. That is my money maker because I use it to earn a living and to take care of my family that I love with all my heart. This body is also used to spend time with my beautiful friends as well and to make an impact in the lives of so many people. It is truly my greatest asset. I shake this body of mine as I dance around joyfully, knowing that I am doing the very best that I can to try and take care of it.

This month SisArias focused a lot on inside transformation. However, today I wanted to bring to light the importance of outward transformation. The reality of the situation is that our outward appearance does matter, and it does have a huge influence on our self-worth. Let us all take the time to really think how we can improve our overall health. By focusing on that aspect, the outward transformation will certainly take place. On my journey of becoming fit again, I have learned that the win does not go to the most swift, but to those who are steady and who pace themselves. The idea is to embody a spirit of endurance.

You know that I love to check-in with my longtime friend Merriam-Webster to get his take on what he says about certain words. He defines “endurance” as “the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially: the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity”(Merriam Webster Dictionary, 2018). To make up one’s mind to fight for your health is the foundation to building endurance and a lifelong commitment.  

As I progress on becoming a better me on the outside, I am also incorporating more days of physical activity. Yes, because diet and exercise do go hand in hand. However, please remember this saying that my younger brother who is a fitness trainer always tells me “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”. This is very true…I am a living example of this.   Alright, so as 2018 continues on please take the time to put more emphasis on achieving a better you as it pertains to your external structure a.k.a. body.

Please comment and let us know, what are some changes that you have made or planning to make in 2018 to obtain your ideal you? We look forward to reading and sharing your responses.

In closing, I am definitely looking forward to your company, as we “Shake our Money Makers” together in complete victory…$$$. Who Hoo! Can you hear the music?!

 

~Contessa Thomas

 

References

Merriam Webster Dictionary (2018). Definition of Endurance. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/endurance

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Inspiration and Motivation

Reprogrammed

January 21, 2018

I’m trapped. 
Stuck behind these fancy clothes
The panty hose
What else?  God knows
The fancy mop
Pinned tight on top
Of my head
My plastered smile
MAC all the way….
Who am I?
The dangling rings 
The perfume stings
I’m ready for the show…
Where did the real me go? 
I’ve created an image
Of who I think I should be
Totally transformed
Lost identity

I’m trapped. 
So much noise raging in my head
Anger,  happiness ,sadness, defeat 
Joy,  sorrow,  my life feels incomplete
So much to say
Silence on my lips
Cheesing on the outside
Bleeding from within. 
The pain so great at times
And I bear it all alone
No one sees me
No one knows…

I’m trapped. 
Society’s portrayal
Personal dismayal 
Can’t seem to find my niche
Constantly surrounded
Still yet,  all alone
Not even sure if I know who I really am and where I want to go.
Always giving of myself
And it never seems to be enough
Squeezed and pitted
Drink and enjoy
My life is unfitted 
For what my heart is yearning for

It’s about that time…
To be rewired
This person I’ve created
Is about to be expired

——————————-
Self- transformation
It’s your rebirth
Complete illumination
Rejuvenation from mother earth
Take a moment
Feel the breeze
Bask in the sun
Sit back and believe

You can step out of the old
And into the new
Redefine your purpose 
Redefine you. 

You don’t have to look like
Society’s epitome 
Create yourself
And be that self
Live proud,  strong and succeed. 

Release your thoughts
Into an actual sound
Scream it loud for the world to hear it. 
Scream it loud even if the world can’t bear it. 

Never be afraid 
Be the best
Forget the rest
Erase the finesse 
Make it plain 

It’s time to be reprogrammed
Out with the old self
In with the new

I’m done.

~ Candace Mezetin

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Dream Big or Go Home!

January 18, 2018

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men, and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

The above words are taken directly from the end of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech “I Have a Dream”.   Monday, January 15th, marked a day when the world celebrated his birth and the ultimate sacrifice of his life that he gave to this country in his fight against inequality. Literally, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated for his beliefs and dreams of equality that he had for this great country America. As I sit back and reflect on his life, I am encouraged. I am inspired by his drive to fight in a peaceful manner, and him never backing down from what he truly believed was the right thing to do.

In light of self-transformation, being reminded of his life gave me a well needed inner-self boost. You see, these last couple of weeks I have been faced with some major, yes I do mean huge— personal mountains that I have to figure out a way to overcome. I won’t sit here and pretend that there have not been a few days over the past two weeks that I felt like crawling into the deepest and darkest hole and staying there forever. However, this past Monday, I was reminded that I have to stand up and fight for what I personally believe in, no matter if the whole world seems to be against me.

There are times in our personal life journey that we come to a major fork in the road. Facing that fork in and of itself is quite difficult. In addition to facing that fork, filtering in or out the many opinions of others can be very overwhelming at times as well. Nonetheless, through Dr. King’s life and achievements, I was reminded that at times you have to take adversity by the horns, look it directly in the eyes and say “I am not afraid of you and you will not get the best of me!” I also learned that at times we have to dig our feet in the ground and not budge no matter how much our family, close friends, the public, the church, or anyone else tries to force us to act in the way that they deem feasible. From my personal experiences, people closest to me have used guilt tactics, intimidation tactics, blaming tactics to try and weaken me and break me down. Well, guess what?!? I will not be pushed around any longer to make anyone feel better about themselves. I am so exhausted trying to give of myself in order to win the popular vote. No more…new year, new me.  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., thank you for standing up for what you believed in, despite the large majority of individuals being against you.

Thank you for never falling prey to the intimidation and mental, emotional, and physical abuse that was at times thrown in your pathway to trip you up.

Thank you for being strong and making the ultimate sacrifice…by giving your life so that certain individuals could have a chance at equality.

Thank you for showing the world, that love does not mean that you have to be a pushover.

Thank you for the mental reminder that dreams do come true.

Thank you for giving individuals like me the inner courage to stand proud and tall, in spite of the adversity that seems to loom continually over our heads.

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for “Dreaming Big”!

I encourage all our readers out there to stand strong in what you believe in.

Please note: Standing strong for what you believe in, does not entail violence or hate towards other individuals. Following the example of Dr. King, stand up for what you believe in with love as your foundation. Self-transformation—becoming a better you, and helping those around you to grow as well is the message I am conveying in this article.  

So why wait…start right now!

Dream big and help others to do so as well!

 

~Contessa Thomas

 

References

 

Teaching American History.org (2018).   “I Have a Dream” Speech. Retrieved on January 17, 2018 from http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/i-have-a-dream-speech/

 

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

Finding Yourself

January 14, 2018

Self- transformation.

I’ve been thinking about the meaning of that word lately.

If you break it down, self refers to you, and transform means to change, modify, or replace. So, therefore, self-transformation is the process of changing oneself.

For many years, I found myself busy doing a lot. I remember when I was in high school; I was a straight-A student, which meant that I had to study a lot. I was also heavily involved in extracurricular activities, which included student government where I served as the secretary and vice president. I was also a part of the basketball team and the softball team as well. After graduating from high school, my track record of being heavily involved in multiple activities did not end. In college, I found myself being involved in various clubs and organizations. I served as the gospel choir director and as a resident assistant (RA). All of this was accomplished while studying (OT) occupational therapy. Side note, the OT program was a dual degree program where I earned my bachelors in health science and my Master’s in occupational therapy at the same time. My life consisted of constantly doing something. There was rarely a moment where I was found hanging out, sitting down and chilling (unless I was with my boo a.k.a. boyfriend). 

My overcrowded life was not only applicable to my school life. I was also heavily involved in church. I served many years as the youth leader, praise team leader, choir director, children’s ministries leader, and much more. I always had something to prepare and plan for. 

When my children came into the picture, my life got even busier. On top of the many different activities, , I was now responsible to raise children. So once again my life was cluttered with even more “busyness”.

It became rather difficult juggling motherhood, wifehood, and all of life’s other responsibilities successfully. I usually managed to get everything “done”, but it was a stressful and grueling process at times. At times, things were neglected and put on the back burner. There were even times when my family suffered because of my numerous responsibilities. 

Last year, 2017, I was homeschooling and leading out/working in the children’s ministries and music department at my church. I was also assisting with a variety of other tasks there as well. My life was so busy.  

As 2017 was coming to a close, I started to reflect and assess myself from the “Inside Out“.

I realized that I looked well on the outside, and I seemed to have it all together. I thought that I was doing a pretty good job of keeping myself together, but in all actuality, I was crumbling on the inside. 

Life was no longer “fun” for me.  Everything that I had to do started to feel like a “burden “. It broke my heart that I felt that way about the things I once enjoyed doing.  At that moment, reality hit me…I was doing too much.  

I felt so disconnected from life. I literally had no time to stop and smell the roses, because every second of my day was accounted for.  There was no time to reflect and experience life…”carpe diem”. I no longer had time to enjoy my family, friends, relationships, and myself. I literally had no time for self-reflection.

Towards the end of 2017, my church was electing new officers to serve for the new year.  I’ve always held a position in the church for as long as I could remember, but that time …I struggled.  I wanted to serve for the 2018 term, but I wasn’t sure if I should.

I began to pray and ask God for guidance and wisdom, and he used one of my close friends, Ricky Venters to impart some powerful words of wisdom into my life.  He said to me, “Just because it’s a good thing doesn’t mean it’s good for you…”

Those words rang in my ear as loud as a screeching siren, and as strong as hurricane winds.

I persisted on to pray asking God for a confirmation. Unspoken of at that time, I asked God to show me a cat walking in the street. A couple of days later after forgetting my prayer, God showed me a cat walking in the middle of the street and it stopped there.  The cat laid down on the road and rolled around from side to side.  A car came, honked its horn, and still, the cat did not move.  The car eventually drove around the cat.  
I watched the cat from my car amazed at God giving me the sign I asked for.  After I drove off, the cat stood up and walked away.  
After that sign, I knew that God wanted me to step back from my responsibilities. 

As I mentioned before, I’ve been accustomed to serving for many years, so while I said no to one major position, I agreed to take on two smaller ones instead (I know…I have a hard time letting go…LOL). After consenting to take on those new roles I felt a heaviness enshroud me.  I felt as if I had made a mistake, but I was ready to push my feelings aside and proceed.

As the last week of December 2017 progressed, and as I was starting to plan out my positions, I was unsettled in my spirit. For the first time in my life, I did not feel as if I could do it.  I asked God for one more final sign… and you guessed it right…I asked Him to show me a cat again.  Sure enough, the cat showed itself again, but this time it came to my doorstep and looked me directly in the eyes.  

It was then I knew that I needed to let it all go.  It was hard, but necessary because internally, I was a mess… I’m still a mess.  

I’m juggling so many things all of which is affecting me at my primary responsibility, which is homeschooling my children.  

The other day, I was conversing with a friend of mine who asked me what I liked to do for fun and to relax.  I could hardly answer the question!!!!

I need to find myself again.  

It’s 2018, and I have begun the process of internal cleaning.  It’s time to unclog myself. For the first time in over 10 years, I am not officially holding a church position.  I have cut back on doing too much. I have refocused myself to give 100% to homeschooling my children.  

Letting go of some things have actually reduced my stress. Imagine a small car carrying loads of people…(i.e. clown cars). There is a great deal of stress on that poor vehicle.  The moment all those individuals exit the car, the stress on the tires, and frame of the car is automatically released. Letting go of some responsibilities and modifying my life has been a source of relief that I desperately needed.  

Dear friends…

Life has a way of cramming us and bombarding us with so much.  While it may seem innocent at first, it can easily become a stressful situation.  

This year, as you seek to become a better you, find yourself.  As mentioned in Contessa’s last blog, “Inside Out“, start that cleansing process from the inside out.  Find yourself.  Who are you?  What do you actually enjoy?  Is your life balanced?  Are you stressed? What changes can you make mentally, physically, and spiritually?

It is my plan to find Candace Mezetin this year.  She’s coming out of her hiatus because it’s a new year and I’m looking forward to creating a new me. 

Finding yourself is a manifestation of loving yourself!!

~Love is the answer 

~ Candace Mezetin 

 

 

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

Inside Out

January 11, 2018

At the end of December, I started to watch a T.V. show called Chicago Med. I know many of you may think that I am late when it comes to watching this show, and to be justified you are correct. The T.V. series is now in its 3rd season. However, as the saying goes “It’s better late than never”. With that said, I truly enjoy watching this series.   It reminds me of the show Grey’s Anatomy, but it portrays real-life situations a little bit more. In fact, the writer for this show is the same person who writes for the T.V. criminal series “Law and Order”.

Chicago Med is a show that follows the professional lives of emergency room (ER) physicians. It captures their emotions, their inner struggles, their professional challenges and so much more. I completely love how the writer and producers capture the very essence of human nature from the outside in.   As I diligently watched each episode, I started to recognize one common theme.   I noticed that every patient that would come into the emergency room appearing to be more stable on the outside often tended to have the worse outcomes.   At first, I thought it was just coincidental, however, as the series progressed I immediately caught on to the underlying theme.  

As I was dropping off my children to school yesterday morning, my thoughts were running wild. At that moment Chicago Med came to my mind along with self-transformation. It really hit me hard that no matter how great we may look on the outside, what really matters most is our inner condition. That inner condition is quite general in the sense of it including our mental health, physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health. The world overall tends to focus initially on the outward appearance and judge individuals from that point onward. That is why I feel that so many of us tend to put so much emphasis on how people view us. Additionally, we also spend our entire lives trying to appear outwardly together often neglecting the inside.

I have realized through my own personal journey of self-transformation, that our inner being often suffers greatly. This has led me to sit back from time-to-time and honestly evaluate myself. I force myself to think about the individual that I truly aspire to be in a holistic sense. I must admit this process is not easy. Nonetheless, being difficult or challenging is not a good enough reason for me to neglect my inner state of health. I do not want to be like those patients that come through the Chicago Med ER department. In particular, those persons who look okay on the outside, but their insides are a complete mess—to the point where they are literally going crazy or succumbing to their internal injuries.  

Another theme that I also picked up on was that the ER staff would usually do the most superficial and basic tests on the people who looked ‘okay’ on the outside. Furthermore, these people included those who had a few minor scratches, and who could express themselves clearly. Everything looked so promising with them until everything quickly took a turn for the worse. I correlate this to the individuals who smile and laugh and appear to be so happy on the outside. As a result of their outward perfection or togetherness, others often neglect them or write them off as being okay. In my own experiences, this often leads to major internal deficits across the board.

Yes, so what am I trying to say here? My point in writing this article is to bring awareness to the fact that self-transformation should begin from the “Inside out”, not the other way around. In this New Year, let us all take a moment to sit down and carefully evaluate ourselves from the “Inside out”. Almost everyone I know sets these personal promises called “New Year Resolutions”. Usually, these resolutions begin with outward self-transformations, like losing weight.   However, what I am asking our readers to do is to take a moment and mentally, spiritually, and emotionally prepare for the weight loss journey that you may wish to embark on—or any other desired path you wish to transcend on.   I strongly believe that is why most individuals don’t attain their New Year resolution goals. As humans, we want to look the part, but do have what it takes as a whole to sustain it.

Again, I encourage all to take the time to work from the inside out on ourselves. If you cannot do it by yourself and realize that it is becoming too overwhelming, then I recommend soliciting the help of a support team. This support team can include your family, friends, church members, medical professionals…even SisArias United!    Contrary to what many of us are led to falsely believe—we DO NOT have to do it all on our own. I also suggest looking in the mirror at yourself and asking your reflection the following challenging self-transformation questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I truly want in this life?
  • Am I happy with myself from the “Inside Out”? If no, what steps can I take to achieve that desired state of being completed from the “Inside out”?

I am determined to achieve my desired goals for 2018. I know that it will not be easy, but I am in it for the long haul. I know that focusing on my outside appearance is only a small fraction of the bigger picture.   I am dedicating myself to work on me from the “Inside Out”.   In the end, I know that the results achieved via this route are more likely to last throughout my lifetime.  

Life is a game—play it wisely!

~Contessa Thomas

 

 

 

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Our Worst Enemy

January 7, 2018

“Welcome to the Sunday evening news delivered to you from SisArias United.  This is Candace Mezetin reporting live from my home to yours.

Viewers, please be aware… there’s a dangerous villain lurking around our homes.  He’s pretty much-taken residence there.  He’s cunning and deceitful.  We believe that he’s good for us, and he makes us feel so good, but in truth… He’s dangerous….

If you spot him lurking in your cupboards, or refrigerators immediately report him to the trash cans. You must stop him before he stops you.

This is Candace from SisArias United with your Sunday evening news.”

There’s a famous saying, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer…

Well, most of us, if not all of us keep our enemies close…I mean literally. He’s in our purses, back-packs, cupboards, refrigerators, candy jars… he’s always on our minds. He’s in our teas and coffee mugs…. omg, he’s everywhere!!

Our enemy is right there with us…

His name is Mr. Sweets…also known as sugar.

Ever heard of him before? 

The American diet is loaded with sugar!! Sugar is found in so many foods, in so many forms, and can be easily overlooked.

According to Hughes (2017), the average American consumes about 20 tablespoons of added sugar per day, in comparison to the recommendation of 6 tablespoons for women and 9 tablespoons for men.

Sugar is commonly found in sweetened drinks and sodas, all kinds of candy, processed goods, and sweetened dairy products. Sugar can also be found in bread, protein bars, fruits, and even in tomato sauce.

To make matters worse, trying to identify sugar on a nutrition label is like trying to find Waldo (LOL). There are so many hidden names for sugar and unless you know the name of them, they can be easily overlooked. Common names for sugar are agave nectar, high fructose corn syrup, palm sugar, cane juice, and sucrose.

Sugar affects your body in so many ways. Gunnars (2013) explains in detail 10 reasons why sugar is bad for our bodies. There is also a plethora of information on this topic. Please see references at the end.

So…why IS sugar (mostly in its processed form) the bad guy?
Brain

When we eat sugar, there is a release of a hormone called dopamine that makes us feel good.  Dopamine is usually released from artificial sugars like candy bars.  Being that foods like fruits and veggies don’t give the brain that “rush”, we are less likely to crave those things. Instead, we want cake, ice cream, candy, and other processed goods. The cycle never ends and we constantly crave foods that are not good for our health.

Mood

Taking in too much sugar will give our bodies a quick energy surge also known as a sugar high.  This is because the sugar levels are quickly raised.  As quickly as they go up, sugar levels also come down causing jitteriness and anxiety.  Too much sugar has also been shown to increase the risk of depression in adults. 

Teeth

Sugar is a causative factor for rotting teeth.  The bacteria that live in our mouths LOVE sugar! This causes the development of cavities.

Joints

Sugar has also been known to cause inflammation which causes joint pain to become worse. Other studies reveal that increased sugar intake increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Skin

Sugar is known to make you age faster, and this is due to inflammation. Sugar attaches to proteins in the bloodstream and it causes harmful molecules called “AGEs,” formally known as Advanced Glycation End products to form. The job of these culprits is to do what it says… age your skin!

Liver

Too much sugar can cause the liver to become insulin resistant, which is dangerous because insulin is needed to help blood sugar convert to energy.  When too much sugar is in your bloodstream it can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Heart

Too much sugar in the bloodstream will cause an increase in insulin in the blood.  The extra insulin can have a negative impact on the arteries. Insulin actually causes the artery walls to grow faster than normal. This causes them to become tense which adds stress and damage to the heart. Eventually, that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Research studies have shown the correlation of greater incidences of heart disease with high sugar consumption.


Pancreas

Every time you eat food, the pancreas secretes insulin. If we eat too much sugar and our body no longer responds to insulin, the pancreas will continue to produce more insulin. This will overwork the pancreas and eventually, the pancreas can stop working. This can lead to the onset of heart disease and diabetes.

Kidneys

The kidneys become affected with the onset of diabetes. Kidneys have the wonderful job of filtering blood sugar. Once the sugar levels are high, the kidneys allow extra sugar into the urine. Once the kidneys are damaged, the blood filtering process is impacted and gradually kidney failure can occur.

Body Weight

Sugar consumption is strongly correlated to weight gain. Research studies have shown that individuals who consume sweetened beverages are likely to weigh more. Too much sugar is stored as fat and this storage is more likely to occur in the mid-section…. belly fat!!!

This brings me to my next point…

I’m tired of working out, and still seeing that bulge. I’m tired of feeling insecure about my stomach, and the pockets of fat that I have.

It’s a new year and its one of “Self-Transformation”. This is our theme for the month of January. We are working towards being a better version of ourselves, and this includes physically.

I would like to invite you to join me for a 4 week No Sugar Challenge adventure where we will eliminate sugar from our diet.  I’m not talking about naturally occurring sugar that comes from fruit.  I’m talking about added sugars and sugars that come from processed, packaged foods.

Starting Tomorrow, Monday, January 8 until January 29, we will not consume any processed/packaged foods and sugars.  That means no gum, no candy, no cakes, no processed foods like chips, and cookies.

To make this easier for us all, we will commit to eating fresh, whole foods and nothing else. All that is allowed are fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts/seeds for vegans and meats, eggs, poultry, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds for all others who eat meat and animal-based products.

We have to be sure to drink only water, teas, or smoothies that are made with water, greens and fresh/frozen fruits.

This may be a different way of eating than what you are accustomed to, but if you want to help your body to function optimally, it’s a good idea to detoxify and remove the artificial sugars that cause our bodies to go haywire.

You can also take this a step further and weigh yourself to start and again when you are done to see if you did shed some pounds. That is usually a bi-product from sugar elimination.

I’m excited to start this No Sugar challenge, and I’m even more excited that you’re doing it with me.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at sisarias2@gmail.com.

Love yourself and start your self-transformation for this New Year, 2018!

“New Year…New You”

~Candace Mezetin

References
Hughes, L. (2017). How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body? Retrieved from
https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/how-sugar-affects-your-body

Gunnars, K. (2013) 10 Reasons Why Sugar is Bad For You. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-disturbing-reasons-why-sugar-is-bad

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Inspiration and Motivation

Unlocked

January 4, 2018

“New year, New you” has been our ongoing theme for the last two weeks, and now the New Year has finally arrived. I do not know about you, but I definitely had a great time ringing in the New Year with my family and my sisters along with their families. One special moment that I will forever remember was at midnight when I was standing in my bathroom with my older sister Candace and younger sister Alice. At that moment in time, a major physical change was taking place.   Hmm…I can feel your mental wheels turning as you think…what kind of physical change was this? Well, my younger sister Alice honored my wish of cutting my locs really short for the New Year.   Yes, on the brink of 2018, I decided that it was time to unlock a major piece of the old Contessa, with the hope of embracing a newer me.

A little history behind my hair—I began to lock my hair 9 ½ years ago, right before the birth of my eldest son, Christian. I can vividly remember how excited I was to finally go completely natural after years of relaxing my curls.   Uh-huh, at that moment I decided to embrace the young lady that God truly made me to be—in regards to my physical appearance. Over the nearly 10 years since I had my locs, a lot of major changes have taken place in my life. These changes include, but are not limited to:

  • The birth of my three children
  • Graduate studies
  • Over 10 years of marriage
  • Major life changes that include professional, spiritual, mental, and emotional growth.

As my sister cut through my locs, and as they fell to the bathroom floor, all I could think of was the weight that seemed to be lifting off my shoulders, both in a literal and figurative state of speech. A physical transformation was taking place on the outside, while a mental, spiritual, and emotional one was happening on the inside.   After my sister had finished cutting my hair, I stood there looking in the mirror as I was mentally registering my new appearance. I believe that my older sister sensed my inner struggle and quickly began speaking words of encouragement to me.

I was so grateful for that boost of confidence because in truth I was frozen in a moment of neutrality, waiting to do an inner shelf shift to either the positive side or the negative. Thankfully I went the way of the former.

In light of my recent hair transformation, I feel encouraged to be a better me in this New Year.   Despite all the ups and downs of 2017, I gratefully embrace the opportunity in this New Year to do some amazing and life-altering things. For the year of 2018, SisArias United’s blogs will highlight monthly-based themes.   For the month of January, our theme will be “Self-Transformation”.   In other words, how do we work on improving ourselves in order to “transform” into the individuals that we aspire to become? To take it even a step further, after we have achieved our personal goals, in whichever capacity that may be…how do we then embody being a “Transformer”? Yes, how do we pay it forward, and help those around us to attain their own goals—hence helping them to also transform? Deep thought right?!

Personally, my aim is to grow spiritually, professionally, mentally, emotionally, and physically. One of my first steps is to finish constructing my vision board. As my sister mentioned in her previous article about vision boards, it helps tremendously to see your future goals written down. It serves as a daily reminder of the pathway that you must stay on. Hmmm, so let me get those mental wheels turning by asking the following questions:

  • What are 5 goals that you would like to achieve for the year 2018?
  • Are you truly happy? If no, what steps can you take in your daily life to help you reach that desired state of happiness and fulfillment?
  • What is one thing that you do not want to carry into this new year? What steps can you take towards dropping any undesired baggage?

Truth is, we only have one life to live, and we all should want to live it to our greatest potential. Let us all take the time to use 2018 to build a life fortress—one that will last a lifetime. The challenge awaits each and every one of us…so let us give it our best efforts.

~Contessa Thomas

 

 

 

 

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