Know When to Fold ‘Em

imageI shocked a lot of people when I divorced my ex. He was a charismatic and successful corporate exec—well-known for his wittiness and charm. Due to his fast-tracking career path, we moved around to different states, which allowed us to meet many different people and cultivate a variety of life-long experiences. College friends, neighborhood families, and colleagues perceived us to have a marriage that was enviable. People sought advice from us on how to achieve what seemed to be such a difficult feat. Therefore, it was shocking to so many people who knew us (or thought they did) when we divorced.

On the outside, we seemed like the perfect couple. We were the attractive, engaging couple that attended all the company events and neighborhood parties with enthusiasm and warmth. Hand-holding and light smooching was the norm wherever we went. It wasn’t contrived…it was natural for us—more so than any other married couple we’d ever encountered. Behind closed doors there wasn’t any drama, either. We rarely argued-only had some disagreements—and I can count those on one hand. However, about 5 years into our marriage, a storm began to brew…a thick, dark and devastating one…the kind of twister that makes the news…the kind that did, eventually, make the news.

I weathered these storms in a world of my own. The support groups that I dabbled in were uncomfortable for me. I was in denial—“I’m not like them—I’m not going through what they’re going through—I’m stronger than they are…I’m going to fix this problem on my own…get my wonderful life back” Not only did my pride get the best of me, but also my obsession to rewind time—to bring the sunshine back to my world–consumed me. I remembered thinking, this can’t be the fate of our marriage, and our seemingly perfect family and my life. How can this happen? The world I suddenly found myself in was very surreal. Had I been living in a mirage for the past 5 years? I was not prepared for battle. The years to come were emotionally devastating. A vicious cycle of destruction. However, I fought for our family–an additional 5 years of struggle. I held on so tightly that it lead me to the brink of a breakdown. Ironically, I seemed to be the only one in the marriage suffering. I lived in my own private hell.

I’m a fortunate woman, though. I lost. The storm took its own course. I had no idea what I was up against, so God guided me. Surprisingly, the strength that I needed to overcome the storm came with the death of my mother. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how a loss would be a gain. My beloved mother was my best friend and the strongest person I’d ever known. While holding her hand, she transferred her strength to me in her last breath. Almost immediately, I was able to finally see my world and get the clarity that I needed.

I changed my strategy. My perception of victory changed. There was no stopping me then. I knew exactly what I had to do. You have to know when to keep trying and when to quit fighting. I Folded My Cards. I LET GO. Once I did that, my path was then brand new…and so refreshing. Who knew I’d be here today–happy and living my best life-ever.

Top Reason Women Should Work Out

imageLike most Stellas,  I’ve read gobs and gobs of books, magazines, internet articles, etc… on why I should exercise—the benefits, etc…The main goal for most of us is to LOSE WEIGHT.  I mean, why else would we workout (lol)?  All the exertion…depleting our energy…sweating out our hair…taking time out of our busy day…just so we have hope that we can possibly look like the “image” that we have in our head.

That image—may be the size we were in high school…it might be the size we were before we had our first child…or it could be the size of Halle Berry!

Obviously, imagery doesn’t work. Been there, done that!

Why?  Imagery doesn’t work because as we age (and we all age day by day) our bodies change, too.  Truth of the matter is—brace for it…we will never be the same size as anyone (including ourselves)-from yesterday, last month, last year, or ten years ago!

Here is why that’s true:  The miracle of growth in our bodies—the skin, muscles, bone changes—due to aging—is ever changing.  Every individual’s human body evolves—regardless of how much “conditioning” they do to it.  How we feed our bodies, strengthen it, stretch it, all factor in to the changes—good and the bad. Let’s say you kept your size 2 jeans from high school and twenty years later you decided to work diligently (however you decide to do this) to lose all the weight that you’ve gained to get back to size 2.  You’ve reached your goal…so now the day you’ve been waiting for two decades later–has arrived and you get to slide one leg…then the other leg…into those size 2 jeans.  OMG-YES!  THEY FIT !!! Whoo Hoo! It feels so good to be able to button ‘em up!  You then reach for that pic that you’ve kept in your high school journal—you know, the picture with those jeans on posing in the arcade room at the mall—and wait a minute…wait.  You realize that… you don’t look the same in them.  WTH?  Now, although you still should be very proud of yourself for reaching your goal, you can’t help but to be a little disappointed because that “image” that you had in your head, did not come to fruition.  There are few more “bumps” now and curves (or loss of curve) than what the picture had.  The jeans don’t “hug” your body in the same form that they do in the picture. UGH

So your new size 2 body —will not look like or be shaped like –the size 2 body you had before baby #1, or in 11th grade, or Halle’s size 2, etc… That’s why it’s your “new body”.  Maintaining this size might be difficult-but can be achieved…there is a price to pay, though.  Pay the price for the right reason though…not for any DELUSIONS, any MAN, any JOB, anyBODY else

This is not to discourage.  I want to always encourage all of us women to consistently workout, stretch, and eat right.  I’m writing this article for one reason.  And this reason is going to make the difference between completely giving up on exercising and starting today on the journey to committing to exercising.

One Reason:  Exercise for HEALTH BENEFITSNOT TO LOSE WEIGHT.  Now, I’m sure many of you are gasping at that statement-wondering  why I would write “not to lose weight”.  Well, the fact of the matter is—please remember this—you can lose weight by diet alone OR diet and exercise in combination…but you CANNOT LOSE WEIGHT with exercise alone.

Many of us think that we can eat what we want—or “eat in moderation” blah blah blah—and exercise every day…and lose weight.  The ironic thing is, we probably know by now—somewhere in the back of our minds that this really isn’t working.  Then we get discouraged (because the weight is not coming off like we expected) and then we JUST QUIT altogether.  This is why exercising for size 2 doesn’t work: DIET IS MORE IMPORTANT than exercise—when it pertains to LOSING WEIGHT.

So, let’s put that diet stuff to the side for another day…sometime when I get enough motivation to talk about that helluva word d-i-e-t. UGH…

Anywhoo—ladies, maintaining our health is VERY IMPORTANT.  Our kids need us to stay around…they need to be raised by loving mothers…US.  We need to do whatever it takes to prevent (or postpone) whatever susceptible diseases or deficiencies that our body might be retaining.  We need strong hearts (exercise reduces our risk of cardiovascular disease), strong minds (exercise improves mood and alleviates depression), strong bones (exercise increases bone density) and ENERGY (exercise boosts our endurance).  So HEALTH should be the reason to HIT THE PAVEMENT (walking trail) or the ASPHALT (track) or the RUBBER (treadmill) MOST DAYS.(When I say “most days” that means 5-6 days per week). (Zumba is fun too—my instructor thinks she’s Ciara)-lol

It’s not easy (I struggle with this continuously) but it can be done.  Getting into a routine—same time of day, etc…is the key.  You and I will reap the rewards—the health benefits—from working out.  Let’s commit to this.  And if we “fall off the wagon” with exercising, we SHOULD NOT get discouraged….It’s not how many times you fall off—its having the courage and will power to get back on– that makes the difference between success and failure.                                             image        

What are the prerequisites for happiness?

There are none.

Well, maybe a few…

1) View life with the “glass is half full” perspective. Always have hope & faith.

2) Surround yourself with positive people who are trying to be their best. The “others” are like cancer… They spread their disease of self hatred.

3) Learn to love yourself. Your imperfections make you perfect- don’t worry about what he/she says about your intelligence, weight, personality, or lack there of. BE WHO YOU ARE and care for yourself.

4) Only make time for the people who will love you back. PERIOD.

5) Manage your money well. YES…money is a necessary factor in happiness– not the whole- but definitely THE HALF. In addition, you cannot manage your money well if your partner is a financial parasite.