Kaycia Sailsman

The year 2016 was a year of self-exploration, self-love, and seeing how different my life would be if I had decided to take a plunge into the deep end of life to prove to myself that my fears are all in my head.  Last year was filled with lots of laughter and sadness, but this year I plan on using those experiences to fuel my motivation for 2017.  There are a lot of issues that I have yet to rectify and this is the year that I plan on making strides to surpass those goals.


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But first let me start with my inspiration for this post.

Andrea Lewis is a Canadian actress best known for her role as Hazel in the popular Canadian show 'Degrassi: The Next Generation.'  Along with her long list of credentials, which includes her role in the web series Black Actress, what most attracts me to her is her daily vlogs.  I was specifically inspired by her video How to Challenge Yourself, which aligns perfectly with the new direction I'm trying to go in.

I've started, stopped, and restarted my journey to becoming healthier many times.  Lately, I've been in a negative headspace where I have focused on foregone opportunities, rather than looking ahead.  

Thanks to Lewis’s daily videos, I've been inspired to start over and embrace the challenges that come with my fitness and health journey.  As I mentioned before, at beginning of 2016, I devoted myself to focusing on my personal journey of self-love.  This included being brave enough to wear clothes that made me uncomfortable because of how I thought I looked.  At the beginning of the summer, I allowed myself numerous trips to the beach in a bathing suit (this was huge for me!!), wearing strapless dresses, skirts, and shirts without sleeves.  This showed me that the fear I had was all in my mind and really began and ended with me.  I never saw anyone looking at me in a weird way which for me was a huge fear.  It was euphoric, as I hung out with my friends on the beach, going from the water to the sand and enjoying some Lay’s chips in the process.  

At the end of each year, many people might be at a point where they reflect on all they did or didn’t do.  Normally, around that time of year, I dig myself into a mental rut by being down on myself for all of the things I did not do to better myself.  However, I'm glad to say I grew largely since the start of 2016 thanks to my experiences over this past summer.  It gave me the momentum to take charge of my 2017 goals, even before the start of the New Year.  In particular, I chose to sign up for a gym membership and acquire a personal trainer to help me stay accountable in regards to my fitness goals.  I don’t have a problem with working out, but I tend to do the same workouts over and over and it becomes quite boring after a while.  By getting a personal trainer I’m gaining knowledge on how to utilize the machines and weights to my advantage.  I’m at a point where I love myself enough to embrace the change that is weight loss and the new experiences that come along with it.  

Below are the ways I found helpful to get back into working out:

1)  Start a new gym membership

I recently signed up for a gym closer to my home.  My previous gym was far from my house, and that made it easier for me to not go if I didn’t want to.  Now that my new gym is closer to my home, getting to the gym won’t have to be such a struggle, especially in cold weather.

2)  Start alone

The idea of starting the gym with a group of friends is fine and makes sense.  However, from previous experience I’ve found that I relied too heavily on always going to the gym with someone else, and that would sometimes determine if I would go to the gym or not.  It’s better to get used to going alone so I can make sure I make it there, regardless of my friends’ schedules.

My previous gym was far from my house, and that made it easier for me to not go if I didn’t want to.


3)  Focus on healthy eating

I know for many of us who come from households where healthy eating wasn’t always at the forefront, learning to eat healthily can be a bit hard.  I started by adding small doses of healthy changes: I substituted small things such as sparkling water for soda, added fruit to my oatmeal instead of sugar, and substituted almond milk for whole milk.  I learned that flipping your diet in one day is not possible, and once I started to treat this as a lifestyle change instead of a quick fix, I was able to process my healthy decisions more clearly.  

4)  Keep motivation around you

For me, getting myself to the gym starts an hour before I even leave; it’s very easy for me to not go.  I’m still not at a point where the gym has become second nature.  So to make sure I make it to the gym, I have a Pinterest board filled with fitness-related motivational quotes, a Spotify account full of hype workout music, and fitness blogs that I follow to keep me motivated to reach my goals.  

While sometimes I do mess up and I don’t go to the gym or I have an unhealthy meal, it’s important to know that this is a lifestyle, and I’ll have my moments of weakness.  However, I’ve realized that it’s important not to wallow in my failure and allow it to consume me.  I’m working towards my own satisfying 'glow up' period when I can look back at how far I’ve come.  I’ve worried about my fitness for a while, and at the beginning of this year I started the journey to get to where I want to be; I’m not all the way there just yet, but I definitely will be there soon.


Kaycia is a 23-year-old Brooklynite from Jamaica who is also an inspring writer. She enjoys listening to music and discovering new shows on Netflix and new web series on YouTube. 


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