3 Ways to Feel Less Awkward at the Gym

I will never forget my very first trip to the gym. I almost died. Okay, I’m being slightly dramatic. But, seriously, I was close. The personal trainer on duty gave me a tour of the gym which ended at a huge indoor basketball court in the back of the facility. Just like in any other scary movie, no one else was around [insert suspenseful music LOL]. He pulled out a bunch of equipment so that I could get a sample of his workout routine. After jumping jacks, push-ups, jogging, sit-ups, and a little medicine ball action I was done! He challenged me to do one more exercise before throwing in the towel. The guy stacked about four steps on-top of each other (you know, the ones from step aerobics classes) and instructed me to step up and down as quickly as I could. I can’t recall how many repetitions I did, but it was enough for my knees to call it quits! Before I could scream for help I fell completely to the ground. It was awkward, I was embarrassed, he felt terrible, and then I signed up for another session. I write more about how my dad helped me find the perfect gym in an older post.

Going to the gym especially as a plus-size woman can be uncomfortable and certainly have its awkward moments. Here are three tips to help you feel less awkward as a plus-size woman and kill it no matter what your size.

1. Bring support…and I’m not talking about your best friend.

As a plus size woman, my shirt always seems to ride up, or my leggings always seem to slide down (either I don’t have enough hips or my waist is nonexistent…not sure which one yet!). A good body shaper makes me feel more secure when I exercise. I can’t get into the trend of wearing a full-on waist trainer while exercising like some women. That makes me feel too restricted. I prefer a light hold such as high-waist panties. I have at least five pairs of the high waist panties by Catherine’s. They provide just enough hold so that my stomach is secure when I jump around and I can still breathe. It also gives me coverage when my t-shirt decides to ride up and give everyone a show (and it always does). Love them!

2.  Look fabulous.

Recently, I started stocking up on fitness attire and athleisure (yup, that’s a word). I tend to go harder in the gym when I look fierce. Granted, I do not put on full-on make-up or style my hair perfectly, but I do make an effort not to look like I live under a bridge. I try to avoid wearing my do-rag, satin scarf or rollers and at times I will even slap on a little clear lip gloss. I know you may call it vanity. Yet, when I catch myself in that mirror I want to say, “Yaaaasss” and not, “Ew.” I firmly believe that when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you will work harder! Here are a few of my most recent gym staple pieces. fashion layout workout essentials

Featured in the image above: 1. Lane Bryant Pleated Back 2. Lane Bryant Mesh Legging 3. Lane Bryant Tunic Hoodie 4. Lane Bryant Active Legging  5. Catherine’s Hi-Waist Brief 6. RainbeauCurves Headband

3. Skip the gym altogether.

I low key hate the gym. Not because I dislike exercising, but because the gym can be boring for an extrovert like me. It is very difficult for me to put in ear-buds and hop from machine to machine by myself. On most days I like to interact with others. I’m also a bit competitive so I tend to push harder whenever I exercise with someone else, but that’s not always an option. Let me tell you, I am lit when I’m in a group-fitness class! (Dear younger Millennial, did I use that term correctly in this sentence? LOL). Personally, I am obsessed with dance fitness—this one is my current fave. Try a new group-fitness class, go hiking, or surf YouTube for free workout videos. My YouTube fitness-bae is Keaira Lashae!

I hope these three tips to feel less awkward will help you get over your fear of the gym and learn how to be comfortable no matter what your size. If no one has told you this yet today, know that you are enough and perfect just the way that you are! Let’s get healthier together, I’ve got your back.

PS – If you need an exercise buddy, join me and my friends at a Lose with LeeAnn meet-up. We are popping up at locations all around. Hope you join us! I’m always looking for great, healthy ideas. Did I miss a tip that has helped you? Leave a comment below.

Best!

LeeAnn

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re Able!

LeAnn Sims

We know God is able, but do you know that you are?

I spent my morning crying about how I feel like I’m slipping backwards in my stamina to continue on my weight loss journey. It takes effort and focus! And I don’t feel as focused as I was a few weeks ago. I see the signs….sipping a bit of juice here…snacking on foods outside of the plan there. I can’t afford to draw back.

So as I started to slip into a mini depressing whining session to God, He stopped me in my tracks. “You are able.” That threw me through a loop. I am used to me saying that to God. You know the song, “God is able to do, just what He said he will do….He’s able!”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhxT6d5UYcU?ecver=2]

But what about me? There is a scripture in the bible (Philippians 4:13) which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” right? Can means able, right?

There’s another scripture (Mark 9:23) which says, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him (she) that believes!” God tells us over and over and over again in His word that we too are able. And with Him…His strength, grace, empowering presence in your life, you are able too.

So today, I challenge you as I challenge myself to stop the pity party, quit the self doubt and believe that you are indeed able!

How to get your husband to lose weight with you

fitcouple

My husband and I have been together for five years, and married for three. Very early on in our relationship we exercised together, juiced, and cooked our own meals. We made plans to lose weight and lead healthier lifestyles. Fast forward through long distance dating, engagement, wedding, two homes and two jobs later, our plans were still just plans. Busyness aside, we have completely different approaches to weight loss. He is a, “let’s hit the gym hard at 5:00am, seven days a week,” kind of guy. I am a, “let’s take a stroll together outside while we chat about life and goals,” kind of gal. Even though we had dreams of using the hashtag #fitcouple on the ‘Gram, something was not clicking. I quickly learned that I may have been the barrier to our success. I’ll share 3 tips I initiated as a wife that shifted us from day-dreams to action:

  1. Stop telling him you’re going to do it, and just do it.

I told my husband every other month about my plans to get serious about weight loss. Being the collaborative wife that I am, I invited him to join me on the journey. I waited for him to get as excited about it as I was. I envisioned us adding workout days to our family calendar together; flirting in the kitchen as we meal prepped; and posting couples’ exercise videos on YouTube for all to see. When he didn’t demonstrate the same level of excitement, I’d quit or not even begin. Finally, I decided that I would do this with or without him. I settled in my heart that changing my habits was for me and not for him. I know he’ll love me regardless. Once he saw the grocery bags full of protein shakes, veggies, and boneless chicken on the counter he quickly got onboard because he knew I was serious!

2.  Give him space.

If you’re anything like me, you follow certain instructions to the letter. My health coach gave me a list of what I should and should not eat on my plan. I made sure I followed her directions exactly. Him . . . not so much! My husband told me one hundred times, “LeeAnn, this is not a diet for me. This is a lifestyle.” My strict regimen was such a turnoff for him and ultimately sucked all the fun out of us doing it together. Once I decided to fall back, I realized we could celebrate one another without the pressures of strict rules. I’m doing what works for me, and he is doing the same. Together we are still winning.

3. Love up on him.

I asked my health coach what I could do to get hubby onboard. Her advice made my mouth drop, “Give him lots and lots of sex.” Boy, did I blush! The reality is that my man is a meat and potatoes guy. If he can freely give up Lawry’s seasoning salt, steak and mashed potatoes, then I can freely give up some things too (LOL)! And the happier he is, the more likely he’ll be to try the healthy swaps I make in the kitchen. I also love up on him by preparing his meals. Most days of the week, I make sure he has something home-cooked for lunch and dinner. Doing so makes it much easier for both of us to make great choices.

I hope these three tips help you and your husband build a healthier lifestyle together. Watch out, the Sims’ will be posting fit couple hashtags very, very soon!

H.O.P.E.

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In the midst of all the political tension in our society over the last several days, I can’t help but think of our former President’s last words in an interview with Oprah and the former First lady. She asked him, “What’s one thing you want people to remember from your presidency?” He responded almost without question, “HOPE.”

It made me think of what hope means to me. The bible tells me that faith is the evidence of things hoped for. So, hope is often the promise attached to my faithful actions to achieve the picture that I see. But because I love acronyms I’ve been meditating on what in the world could hope stand for to help it take root in my memory bank, which is already jammed packed. Of course I scoured Google for ideas. I stumbled upon this one: Hold Onto Purpose Every day. Yes! Hold onto purpose every day. That’s it.

I’m hoping I will achieve my health and wellness goals. Hoping that I’ll get my act together and actually do the things I know to do. Hoping that I will enjoy the process. But what else is hope but a wish without purpose. I need something to anchor my hope and my wishes so that they can bloom into faith and action.

Hope. Hold onto purpose every day. To me, this means grabbing hold of something…a word from God, a new revelation or “aha moment” I had when reading something, a big dream…my big WHY.

You see this weight loss game ain’t for suckas. It can be grueling even. The stripping away of your old way of doing things, old habits, the old routine. Yes, I know that spiritually when I receive Jesus I became brand new. But unfortunately my mind, actions, behaviors are still a huge work in progress. My hope. Holding onto purpose everyday will help me to receive…realize irreversible change.

What does this mean practically speaking? This week it meant the following for me:

…every morning reading a devotional or something inspirational related to changing my habits

…finding one phrase, a simple word, comment, image, or scripture to anchor myself to throughout the day

…reviewing that phrase…over and over again in my head throughout the day; picking it apart, looking it up in the dictionary, looking for scriptures in the bible where that word or phrase can be found, talking to others about what they think about that word

This week my phrase has been “Build my house.” It comes from a scripture in Haggai where the people of God decided to keep up their own house rather than build God a temple (classic Old Testament drama that I love LOL). God told them to, “Build my house.”

Just like me, they had a ton of excuses for not taking care of God’s temple…they had more important priorities, they didn’t have time, their families needed to be taken care of. They started off hype and gung-ho but quickly fell all the way off their plan to Build God’s House.  It made me question why and how I’m doing the same. I was so quick to judge the people in this classic bible story. But, what about me?

So, God in turn, instructed me to Build My House…my body is his temple.

I encourage you to find your anchor…your purpose to hold onto every day. It will help you at least reconsider your decisions between that bagel or the boiled egg and side of fruit. It is certainly not always easy. I for sure am still working to perfect this. But, I know I can do it. And you can too.

So what are you HOPING for? Find purpose in your wellness journey. Hold onto it. Every day.

XOXO

 

Lose with LeeAnn!

 

I cherish my accountability partners because they help me to stay focused. Throughout the year, we will pop-up at different events to keep us energized around our goals. From dance fitness parties to pantry makeovers it is on and poppin! (Do people still say that? LOL). Meet-up with us and join me on my journey to LOSE: bad habits, old ways of thinking, and of course a few inches! Many activities will take place in the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area, but keep your eyes peeled as you never know where you may spot us!

Sign-up here for the “Lose with LeeAnn” email list and receive notifications of upcoming activities.

 

Saturday, January 28 @10am: Pink & Blue Fitness Boot Camp, Marriottsville, MD

I Am Fitness Gym
Proceeds will benefit BPM Inc. All Cancer Cures 5K Race
Donation Cost: $10.00


 

Saturday, March 18 @10am: MOVEZ Slay the Stage at Power Plant Live! Baltimore, MD

 2-Hour DANCE FITNESS PARTY at the Power Plant Live!  This event will also be in partnership with the Cystsic Fibrosis Foundation to fundraise in efforts to cure this genetic disease.
Cost:
$15 Early Bird in Advance 
$20 in Advance
$25 At the Door
 

Have a suggestion on a fun, healthy activity or event? Leave a comment below or send a message on the “Contact Us” page.

Please Note: Scheduling changes, event locations, ticket prices, and other details are at the discretion of the event organizer.

New Year . . . Same Me?

Blog - New Year same me

The ball has dropped. The sparkling cider and champagne has poured out. The sequins dresses have been pushed to the back of the closet. The New Year has begun and it is in full steam ahead. I declared change, but where is it? Isn’t something big supposed to happen?

I set a million goals at the end of 2016, and I even narrowed the goals down to a few very important things so as not to get overwhelmed. But somehow, I found the “old me” creeping back in once the excitement settled down.

Case and point, I told myself that I will not eat anymore fast food. I will cook every meal at home or pick a healthy choice while out. Well, that “proclamation” worked for about 5 days until I ran out of groceries and the hustle of being back to work told my body to have several seats! As I sat on the couch, gnawing on my “nuggets and fries” a still small voice whispered, “We’re doing this again?”

My behaviors were oh so 2016! How dare I stop my year of change so early into the New Year? (I know I’m not the only one). Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. If I want change, I will have do things differently. It is obvious that change doesn’t just happen. You make it happen. But, how?  Clearly, good intentions did not work for me. I quickly learned that good intentions end in bad, old habits.

I have to tear down to build up. On my way to work I drive by a mall that is being demolished. In an odd way this a beautiful sight to behold. I’ve seen the mall as a living breathing staple in the neighborhood to now a few piles of rubble. As I drove by the other day I thought to myself, “You have to tear down to build up.”

To me this meant that I cannot build a new healthy lifestyle on top of bad, old habits. I can’t think that willing myself to change will work like magic. I actually have to exercise my will into action. This means, sucking up my pride and buying pre-seasoned, quick meals from that refrigerated section of Wegman’s (who says I have to make everything from scratch anyway??). This means, buying a few new gym outfits so I don’t have the excuse of “my sports bra is dirty so I can’t go to the gym today.” And, this means that I can’t send my accountability partner to voicemail when she calls (as I roll up into the Wendy’s drive-thru). Different actions bring about change.

I’ll leave you with this. I listened to a message from Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church. He said, “Habits change the condition of the heart.” Doing healthy things habitually will ultimately incline my heart towards change. (See Psalm 119:36)

My prayer is that by the end of the year I’ll be able to say New Year, New Habits!

It’s Okay to Be Cocky

 

I am not ashamed to say that I had an amazing year. I grew tremendously because I took some risks. I held my very first large-scale event—Fit & Fab Girls Weekend. I made many mistakes and even tripped over my own two feet at times, but I did it.

At Fit & Fab Girls Weekend I had the pleasure of having CeCe Olisa as a guest speaker—someone whom I’ve admired from afar for about a year or so. She said something during her panel at my event that still echoes in my ear to this day, It’s okay to be cocky.”

I know that being cocky has a rather negative connotation, but in the context of her conversation it made so much sense. It is okay to celebrate yourself, your achievements, your body type, your amazingness, or your whatever at any time.

Why do we so often feel guilty when we praise ourselves? And, why do we so sheepishly shrug off compliments from others by saying, “Thanks, and so are you!”?

Maybe it’s safer to do this. To make ourselves appear smaller than we really are. I’ve learned a long time ago that I am anything but small—I talk big, I walk big, have a big dress size, wear big jewelry, I even come from a big family! And you know what, that’s okay. It’s okay to be cocky.

In 2016, I discovered so many new gifts and talents within me. For instance, I’ve learned that I am a budding graphic designer, I have a knack at building strategic partnerships, and I am refining the art of skillfully negotiating contracts. I am so proud of myself for sharpening these skills.

Before you finalize your list of goals for 2017, my challenge to you is this: Acknowledge your reasons to feel cocky in 2016.

Include things big and small, even things that may have been unnoticeable to others. Then do the following:

  1. Write these accomplishments down on paper to memorialize them.
  2. Take a day or two to relish in your accomplishments.
  3. Tell at least one person about them.

Want to take this a step further? Comment below and share one thing you did that made you proud in 2016. I am still deciding which goals I will focus on in 2017. Whichever I decide, I will certainly not be afraid to be a little cocky. How about you?

PS – In case you missed it, here are some pix from the first annual Fit & Fab Girls Weekend. Have serious FOMO (fear of missing out)? Subscribe to my mailing list now to get details on Fit & Fab Girls Weekend 2017 before everyone else. Dates and location will be announced soon.

Happy New Year!

The DeStress Diet w/Marcia Myers

The mind is a battlefield.  But with the support of people like Marcia Myers, Actress & Creator of 24 Hour Mind Battle, you can win every fight. Here are a two brief clips from my interview with her on how she overcame depression and is now helping others to do the same. The extended video can be found here. I am elated to have Marcia as a guest speaker for Fit & Fab Girls’ Weekend on November 4-5, 2016.

Enjoy!

 

 

#SquadGoalsAchieved

quadsquad 2

When I was about 10 years old I had the pleasure or dumb luck to meet a group of girls who by the grace of God are still my squad. As a matter of fact, we’ve been known to call ourselves the “Quad Squad”. Don’t poke fun at us. I know we are not the only group of friends who named our clique in the 80’s and 90’s! To this day these ladies are my biggest fans, most constructive critics, exercise buddies, “tea” spillers, and prayer partners. I have been beyond blessed to add a handful of other “besties” to my inner circle in addition to them.

Most of you know that having Accountability is critical to success when building new healthy habits. Having the wrong person as your accountability partner can hinder your success as well. The right person will be able to call you out when you’re slacking and at the same time make you feel like you are capable of achieving anything! I’ve had really great accountability partners and equally terrible ones over the years! Here are a few questions to ask yourself when looking for an accountability partner. If you can answer “yes” to most of these you are well on your way to #SquadGoalsAchieved:

  • Is this person a good listener?
  • Do you speak with them often?
  • Do they have enough moxie to call you to the carpet?
  • Do they say things that make you go “hmmm…”?
  • Does this person share similar goals?
  • Have they already achieved their goals or closer to them than you are?
  • Are they hopeful or optimistic?
  • Do they get excited the way you like people to get excited when you share good news?
  • Are you just a tad bit afraid of them?

If you can’t think of anyone who meets most of this criteria let me offer you a suggestion. At Fit & Fab Girls’ Weekend in November you’ll meet other ladies who share your drive to live your best life. Join us and build your squad! In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook for regular doses of inspiration.

I suck at blogging

suck at blogging

I post infrequently. I don’t have perfectly cropped photos. I don’t usually cover current events.

So why would you ever want to follow me?

I love helping people. I may suck at blogging, but I am a dynamo at listening to you, sharing my issues, and empowering you to overcome your challenges while I drag you along on my journey! I am the ultimate cheerleader. You may not see a weekly post from me (maybe not even bi-weekly), but I’m always easy to reach. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram for more regular updates and healthy doses of inspo. Oh, and check out my book Weight Loss DIVA!

If you need an appetizer before the main course, I created an easy to read eBook “Quick Guide to Healthy Habits”! I extracted the actionable parts of my book to help you jump start your healthy lifestyle. Including tips from celebrity trainer Dr. Chuck Morris (no, not the martial arts guru!). Let me know if you’re interested and I will send it to you!