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We Still Vegan or Nah?

We Still Vegan or Nah?
Miami Vice Tubbs

Well…are we?

See, this is what’s so right and yet so annoyingly wrong about social media–information can be disseminated to millions of people in a matter of seconds. Literally. That’s great when it comes to informing people about breaking news or getting folks involved in social justice campaigns–you know, important stuff. But it also means that trends have become more prevalent and short-lived than ever before. All it takes is a tweet or IG post from a couple people with a bunch of followers and within a week…everyone I know is either vegan or talking sh*t about all the new vegans.

It all started with a documentary. You know the one–it was ALL OVER YOUR TIMELINE about 3 months ago. It’s called “What the Health?” and it was released on Netflix in March of this year. I don’t recall hearing about it, though, until some time in late WhatTheHealth.jpegJune/early July. It was a simple enough post–something like, “If you haven’t seen the documentary ‘What the Health,’ you should check it out.”

Oh, okay. Cool. Let me jot that down.

But within about a week of seeing that one post, it felt like EVERYONE was talking about that film. What’s more, everyone was happily jumping on the vegan bandwagon. I’m talking full on: New lifestyle who dis? captions, posting food pics multiple times a day, keeping tally on their timelines, (6 days vegan! #Herbivore #VeganGlow #PlantGang), extolling the benefits of their new-found healthy lifestyle, hugging deer in the forest, adopting baby cows.

tracy morgan calm down

…okay, maybe not those last two, but the sh*t was bananas.

And here’s the kicker…I GOT IN ON IT TOO! #PlotTwist


I will say it wasn’t just the documentary that motivated the shift for me. I had seen other food industry docs before, most of which encouraged a plant-based diet. Sure, I learned some new information from What the Health, but what really did it for me was my trip to South Africa–an experience so monumental and extraordinary, I have not been able to find the adequate words to describe it. As wonderful as my trip was, I did have some difficulty with the cuisine.

Couple FFG Fun Facts–

  • I haven’t eaten red meat since 2004.
  • I don’t eat most seafood. (I’ll eat a fried whiting sammich when I’m back in the south or maybe a California roll here or there. Oh, and fried calamri–but rings only! No tentacles! ‘Cause…gross. Basically, I’ll eat seafood that’s so covered by other stuff, you can’t actually taste the seafood.) I just don’t like it. Makes me nauseous.
  • I have had a pretty low dairy intake for about 8 years now. Some cheese, but pretty much no other milk-based products.
  • I have never eaten pork. I was raised that way from birth and have no desire as an adult.
  • And I’ve cut out gluten by about 85%.


    I know. I know.

All this to say, I have a somewhat limited diet. Living in Los Angeles, that’s no problem. This is the mecca of dietary options.  Whatever you want or don’t want to eat–it’s handled. Avocado instead of cheese? Cool. Almond milk in your coffee? Of course. Cashew milk ice cream? Ailse 11.

But see, I was in Johannesburg, not Los Angeles. Take the following exchange for example:

Me: Could I please get a small coffee?

Waiter: Sure. What kind of milk would you like?

Me: Oooh, what kinds do you have?

Waiter: Hot or cold.



Real talk, I consumed more dairy in the 10 days I was traveling than I had in the entire year prior. Even the spinach was creamed. The entrees were largely seafood, pork, beef, and some chicken. And there was always…ALWAYS bread. Biscuits, donuts, rolls, pancakes, waffles, toast, muffins, danish…DAMMIT MAN!!

The food wasn’t bad, mind you. It was just challenging for someone with my chosen dietary restrictions. By the time I got on the plane to come home, I was sick as a dog–congestion galore, sore throat, exhausted, death warmed up. image

It wasn’t pretty. That’s why I decided to try a plant-based diet. I needed a full nutritional reset, and I sure as hell didn’t want to see ANYTHING that came from a cow’s utter! Nothing!

Thing is, I didn’t really tell anyone what I was doing. There were a couple reasons:

1) I was not committing to veganism for the rest of my life. It was just a cleanse of sorts–an experiment to see how my body would respond.

2) I didn’t need anybody judging me when I decided I wanted a piece of fried chicken in a few weeks. mind ya business

But clearly, most people wanted to share and that’s cool. That’s what social media is for, right? Sharing your life with the world…kind of…well, the good parts anyway. (Come on now, let’s be real.)

But I’ve noticed that I’m not seeing people touting their veganism as much these days. As quickly as it became all the rage–it’s faded into oblivion.  What happened?! Are all the new-wave vegans still vegan or nah? Did you try it? Liked/hated? Were you one of the hostile meat-eaters making fun of the new vegans? (For real, why are y’all so mad?  Sheesh.)

Do tell: Where did you fall on the New-Fangle Vegan scale?ComingToAmerica

As for me, I’m 12 weeks into this plant-based lifestyle. (Yep, still on it.) I feel pretty good, lost a few pounds, and haven’t felt deprived for the most part. I will admit, it’s getting harder, not easier. I’m running out of new meal ideas and still miss cheese from the depths of my soul, but I’m hanging in there. No promises…but we’ll see. And for the record, I’m still not claiming the ‘vegan’ label. I feel like that has to be earned. It’s a lifestyle choice that requires real commitment, and I admire anyone who has the will to stick with it for a more than a couple months. Herbivores ain’t no punks! They might be the strongest of us all. #Respect


Former Fat Girl….Gone.


Do Men Want Women With Low Self-Esteem?

Uh-oh. This one might ruffle some feathers. But we’re here to engage, right? So lezdoit! I recently asked readers what kinds of topics they wanted me to discuss in future posts. The resounding consensus…relationships. So here’s what I’ve been pondering lately.

FIRST–Let me be as clear as I possibly can. A woman’s worth/self-esteem is NOT inextricably tied to her outward appearance, body shape or size. We are intelligent, powerful, multi-faceted human beings with far more to offer than what we look like. Okay? So please re-direct any feminist tirades to a far more deserving outlet like the GOP. These are simply my personal experiences and observations.

Thank you

Growing up overweight absolutely affected my self-esteem. The first time someone called me fat was in the first grade. I was 6 years old. I don’t remember all the circumstances surrounding the incident, but I remember that was the age that I became aware of my size and that it was “a problem.” That was also the age I got into my first physical fight. It was with a boy in my class named Dion who made fun of me for being heavy. Six years old or not, I was not about let some snot-nosed boy play me, (read: hurt me,) and get away with it. So, we squared up at recess, apparently far enough away that the teacher couldn’t see us and we fought. I lost. It wasn’t awful. It ended with him on top of me, shoving my face in the dirt. I had a few scrapes from rocks and sticks and my nose was a little sore from where he pushed it into the ground, but mostly I was just dirty and sad. I never told anyone. Not a teacher, not a parent, not a friend.  I just got up, cleaned off as best I could and went back to class. I was teased about my weight from the age of 6 until around 18/19. I still remember my friend’s boyfriend in college called me fat to my face…like it was a totally acceptable descriptive. I was used to it at that point, but I promise you, it still stung.basketballtotheface

All of this is just a long way of getting to a very simple point, my weight took a toll on my self-esteem. I was always insecure about my body, (still am, obvi,) so much so that I never expected to get attention from guys. Weird thing is though…I did. Not Rihanna at Crop Over Fest attention, but around the 8th grade, boys started to notice me a little, and they weren’t trying to pick fights anymore. High school, college, into my twenties–I wasn’t bringing all the boys to the yard or anything, but I was…good.  Even between relationships, there were always guys around giving me attention.  Go figure.

Fast-forward, though, after YEARS of self-awareness work and spiritual practice, I started to heal some of those old wounds from my childhood, (I’m still working on a few,) and really began to love myself. As it turned out, it had NOTHING to do with a man’s attention. WHAAAAAT?! (This is sarcasm in case that’s not clear, ’cause…no shit.)


I realized that my value in this world was not determined by a number on the scale, cellulite in my thighs, who thought I was cute, my job, my bank account, accolades, or even my residual jiggle factor, (shout out to my O.G. readers!) Sure I would still struggle with insecurities, but I finally started to accept that my dopeness was innate, God-given, and unfuckwitable!


Hello, more evolved, confident me….goodbye dates!


The irony would be hilarious if it wasn’t maddening. Since dealing with a lot of those self-esteem issues, the attention I get from men has gone from “respectable” to I went on three dates last year. Bruh! THREE!! In. A. Year! And no, I’m not conceited or high maintenance or “too picky” or any other trope that gets applied to women who have a hard time dating. I go out. I engage. I smile–all the sh*t somebody said we’re supposed to do. *longest eye roll ever* Doesn’t matter. I can be at a social function and not get so much as a head nod. *sniffs pits* All good there. *checks teeth in mirror* No spinach. *smiles to make self more approachable* Ooh, got one! *Guy walks up*

Me: *Smiling pleasantly* Hi.

Him: Hi. Could you pass me a napkin?



So finally, I asked one of my guy friends about it, and I’ll never forget what he said, “You know what it is, you just seem like…you’re good. Not, like, mean or anti-social but just… good. Like you don’t need anything.” To which I responded, “I don’t need anything. Isn’t that a good thing?” His reply: “It is, but it’s not. Not for a guy.

Mind. Blown.

After all these years of hearing men complain about women being needy or gold diggers or opportunistic or a myriad of other stereotypes perpetuated by strippers and reality T.V. stars, here I have this handsome, well educated, successful man telling me that I’m not needy enough.  LeahMichelleShock(And before you ask, yes I tried to get at him. He gave me no play. That’s why we’re friends. *Kanye shrug*)

Then came the questions. Is that what men were attracted to all those years, my need to be wanted, to be thought of as desirable, to be seen as something other than “the fat one”? In hindsight, I have to wonder if at least some of the guys weren’t somehow attracted to this deep, veiled wound that had been festering since I was kid. Maybe it was a vibe they picked up on, my body language, my genuine surprise at their interest in me. But now that I’ve stitched up the gaping hole and put some ‘Tussin on it, I’m…less desirable? titus surpriseWell ain’t that about a bih?!

Again, this is all theory, but one worth exploring I think. I used to call B.S. whenever I heard people say that confident women have a harder time dating. To an insecure girl, that sounded like Sean-Spicer-level-mumbo-jumbo.  But now…Iowno. I floated this idea by a few guys on set last Friday, (ages 27-40,) and they agreed there was something to it.

So y’all tell me: Do you think a majority of men, (not ALL of course,) gravitate to women with low self-esteem, or am I reading way to much into this? I’d love to hear what you have to say on this one. And please, FELLAS, speak up. I want your feedback too! Let a girl know!

*** P.S.: Dates or no dates, ladies…stay dope! And don’t you dare dim your shine for nobody! Mmmkay?!


Former Fat Girl…Gone!






Enjoying Your Summer While Maintaining Your Sexy!

Enjoying Your Summer While Maintaining Your Sexy!

For months and months, I’ve been reading blogs and seeing posts about perfecting our #SummerBodies–getting in optimal shape for everyone’s favorite show-off season. Bikini bodies, summertime fine, six-pack by summer and all other manner of self-motivating Ummcatch phrases have filled our timelines since January. But once you’ve attained your summer body goals, (if you’ve set them because I sure as hell did not,) how are you going to maintain them when confronted with cookouts, food festivals, day parties and vacations? All that work just to be back to square one by Labor Day?

It never really occurred to me until this year, sitting in a park with some friends eating fried chicken, chips and salsa, brownies, and drinking copious amounts of rum on Memorial Day. Sure I ate like 2 celery stalks and a carrot, but the damage was done.  And just the Friday before I found out I’d dropped 3lbs. You’d think I’d be trying to maintain that, right? WRONG! Why am I so weak, Lord? anthonyandersoncrying

Since then, my inbox has started filling up with invitations to cookouts, brunches, day parties,  and all manner of gluttonous outings. So now what? Am I going to be the one showing up to every potluck with a spinach salad, catching the judgmental side-eyes? Do I decline the invitations because I have the will power of a remorseless meth addict? Or do I go, indulge and convince myself that double chins are the new fleeky eyebrow?

delusionalUm, I’ll take none of the above for $600, Alex. I hate all of those options. The only salad people want to see at a cookout is potato and I am not putting myself in the position to be judged like that. (Black folks, you know what I mean.) That’s way too much pressure!

And no, there’s nothing wrong with bringing healthy options, but does that mean that’s all I’m going to eat? Not likely. Likewise, being a recluse all summer just isn’t feasible. I love good weather, good people, good food, good drank and good music. So staying home watching the Family Feud doesn’t work for me. And sure, double chins are attractive to some people. There’s a whole market for it after all. Just ask Drake. “I like my girls BBW.” But to hell with what other Notcute.gifpeople like, I don’t like having a double chin. I already have a pretty short one, so add a second layer to it and we’ve got a full on turkey waddle situation. Nah.

So if you’re like me and need help navigating these summer festivities, here are a few of my go-to strategies:

  1. Yes, bring a healthy option. Of course that’s not all you should eat, but fill up on that. Make that the largest portion on your plate and just get small amounts of the less healthy stuff. Also, BRING ALCOHOL. Cause showing up with nothing but a salad might mean you’re not invited next year.
  2. Water and fruit! *insert Migos voice* “Splash, drip, drip, woo, splash!” This is a win/win, guys. It’s hot and we need the hydration anyway, so before you even get to the function, load up on water, 24-32 oz an hour before you arrive. Then opt for fruits with high water content like pineapple, blueberries, watermelon, and mango. It’ll help fill dancingcowboyyour belly and keep you away from high carb junk foods. Side note: Those fruits are also good to have in your system for other reasons, (men and women alike)– if you know what I’m saying. I mean, we grown, right?!
  3. Keep it moving! Just because you hit your summer goal doesn’t mean you should drop your work outs and chill. That’s a one-way ticket to Fall-Off City and nobody wants to take up residency there. So just maintain whatever got you to your goal in the first place. Switch it up to avoid the plateau and keep pushing. Our bodies are incredible. The more we take care of them, the longer they’ll take care of us.
  4. Pick and choose. If you suffer from FOMO and just can’t stand to miss an opportunity to be in ‘dem streets, then you have to decide when to indulge and when to pass. If you’re averaging 2-3 events every weekend, you can’t go hard at all of them. Pick one and designate that as your cheat meal. Or spread it out. Maybe have the bread on your burger at one and a dessert at another, so it still only equals one heavy meal? Make sense? That way you won’t miss out, but you also won’t destroy all your hard work.
  5. Skip the sugary drinks. Sweet, fruity cocktails may seem perfect for summer, but a lot of them are loaded with sugar. I love a good cocktail, but I tend to stick with refreshing, low/no calorie mixers like club soda or flavored sparkling water, cucumber, mint, fresh lemon/lime juice or just take it on the rocks. Honestly, if your liquor is flavored, like a peach Ciroc, ice is all you need! (And if you don’t drink alcohol, same philosophy applies. Skip the sodas. Go for sparkling water or dilute juices, (1 part juice, 2 parts water).

Hope these tips are helpful. And here’s to a fun-filled, sexy summer with no regrets!


Former Fat Girl…Gone. (I got a cookout to go to.) remyma

Trap Yoga: Zen AF! (An FFG Review)

crescent postThere is something to be said for the feeling you get standing in a strong crescent pose, arms raised in triumph, head lifted toward the heavens, and hearing Kendrick Lamar sing out, “This what God feel like…”  You damn right!

When the homie Jason first suggested that I try trap yoga in our group chat, I immediately dismissed such a ludicrous notion with a casual, “shuddup…” assuming that he was making fun of my affinity for contradictions. Haha, very funny. I mean, please. Who would ever think to mix yoga with trap music? It’s supposed to be all wood flutes and didgeridoos, right? WRONG! Fam, this is a thing. A for real, for real, grab your mat and downward dog to Future’s ‘March Madness’ thing! laughingshockedbaby

How was I just finding this out? Moreover, WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THIS?  The info section of my Instagram page, (@KhalilahJoi) literally says “I meditate to trap music.”  This is who I am as a person!

Once I realized trap yoga was a real class, I immediately started looking for one to take here in LA. At the suggestion of my homegirl and legit yogi friend, Kemi, I decided on Studio Two Six Two downtown. They offer trap yoga classes Monday-Thurs at 7:45pm for 10 bucks and Friday for only $5.00!

When I arrived, I was super impressed by how beautiful and pristine the studio was. Not that I thought it’d be taught in a trap house or anything. Themes need only go so far. (Side note: If you listen to trap music but don’t what a trap house is, you might be low key fraudulent. Jussayin’.) But the whole vibe of the studio was dope.

Along with being cute, though, it was also…empty with the exception of the instructor. Her name was Lina and when I checked in she said I might be the only person in class that night because there hadn’t been any other online sign-ups and Thursdays were typically slow.

Like, huh? How are people not lined up for this?nigel lithgow

Bruh, it’s TRAP YOGA–the melding of the spiritual and the carnal, where your higher self and your inner hood girl get to kick it. The dichotomy is genius.

As it turned out, Lina was right. It was just she and I, and my first trap yoga experience would be a private session. Nice! As I waited for class to start, the songs I heard were “Redbone” by Childish Gambino and “Bad Intentions” by Niykee Heston, so I assumed I was in for more of a ‘trap soul’ Eric Bellinger/Bryson Tiller/Kehlani kind of play list. But then, promptly at 7:45, class officially began. There was a slight break in the music while she found her song and then…this…

…in mutha-f-in child’s pose!! WHAAAATTT?!!


It only got better from there: Future–warrior 2, Weezy–boat pose, Rick Ross–triangle pose, K-dot–twisted crescent and lizard pose, Wale–wall-assisted headstands! I’ve never held a headstand that long in my life! To my shame, there were a few songs that I didn’t know. It didn’t matter. The experience was awesome!! And don’t be fooled. It was also a great workout. The room was slightly heated at the start, (not Bikram hot, but maybe 85-ish degrees.) So I was in a full sweat two poses in. It’s a pretty traditional vinyasa flow, and those standing poses mixed with the chaturanga flow, (yoga push-ups into upward dog into downward dog,) definitely get the heart rate going.  Lina also incorporated a lot of intense stretching postures like lizard and splits, (or attempted splits in my case,) and of course…inversions. I bet if Future did more inversions, he wouldn’t need all that Molly, Percocet. Just a theory.jussayin

One thing I noticed about this particular pairing is that it was much harder for me to find the stillness in a pose. You try not bouncing when the beat to “Humble” drops in the middle of your humble warrior. Impossible!

In the way of critiques, I’ll be honest in saying that I would have felt pretty uncomfortable in a room with 10-15 women of varying ethnic backgrounds hearing the n-word drop over and over. That’s a much more complicated, multi-layered conversation, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. It’s just facts. (I wouldn’t have minded the radio edits one bit. The beats still knock, and isn’t that really why we listen to trap in the first place?)

That said, if you like trap music and want to do some yoga, you have to try this at least once. If nothing else, it’s an experience. I’m not saying I won’t go back to the wood flute and didgeridoo, but that can get a little dull sometimes. Thankfully, now I know that I have the perfect alternative every night of the week. And if they drop French Montana’s “Pop That” or Rick Ross’ “Trap, Trap, Trap,” may God help anyone whose mat is next to mine.

Final verdict: Trap Yoga…here for it!


Summer Bodies, Revenge Bodies and Snap Back, oh my! (Ugh, I need a nap.)

So here we are, gang, sitting precariously atop the frightening precipice of summer. Why would such a glorious season ever be considered frightening? I have two words for you…crop tops. We are embarking on the time of year when the clothes we’ve strategically chosen to shape, cover, hide and flatter our bodies are no longer in season. Say bye bye to tailored blazers, off-the-shoulder slouchy sweaters and cozy, tapered-leg sweats and hello to booty shorts, mini-dresses and dare I say it…bathing suits. F-my-entire-L!

God No

But you know what’s even scarier? It’s that summer is no longer the only time that we’re encouraged, nay, expected to get in amazing shape. Summer bodies are just the tip of a terrifying, self-esteem-sinking iceberg. Nowadays we’ve also got to contend with “revenge” bodies and the inconceivable postpartum “snap back” body.


Let’s say you just broke up with someone–someone you loved deeply. You’re confused; you’re hurt; you’re sad and just want to heal so you can move on with your life and feel better. Well, too bad, cause you have exactly 48hrs to pull that shit together and get your ass on a fitness plan! You better cry on the treadmill, boo!

Yes, guys, this is now a thing. (NOT MY THING–A THING!) After a break-up, in the midst of dealing with whatever form of grief we’re experiencing,  we are also expected to diet and work out like lunatics so that we can flaunt our spectacular physiques and show our exes what they’re missing, that we’re better off without them and make them regret the day they let us go.


“I’m just stuntin’ on my ex…”

I can’t front, part of me is kind of into this idea because: 1) A healthy diet and a consistent fitness plan is incredibly beneficial no matter what the catalyst and 2) F**k yo’ lame ass for breaking up with me in the first place! Oh, you mad? Ha!  Eat your heart out, sucka!


Too much? …I regret nothing.

On the other hand though, give me a freaking break with this revenge body mess. It’s such a slippery slope. First of all, we as a society, women in particular, do not need yet another unhealthy, unrealistic body standard placed on us for any reason. Plastic surgery and photoshop are quite enough, thank you. And look, I am not some airy-fairy, idealistic weirdo. I know that our romantic relationships are, in part, based on physical attraction. But we and our relationships are about way more than that. At least I hope so. (If not, tuh, good luck!) That being said, the notion that getting in better physical shape will change our ex’s perception of us in some profound or significant way kind of reduces our value to just physical beauty. In short, it’s shallow AF. If I’m giving up bread and working out 5 times a week, it’s sure as hell not because I’m trying to make someone jealous or manipulate them into wanting me again. Would you want someone that superficial anyway? No. My health and fitness goals are about wanting to  be healthy and feel confident in my body. Now,  if the hard work happens to bring the f-bois back to the yard…oh well. Their problem, not ours! Moving on.


Now…venture with me if you will to a land of pure absurdity.  A land where, after gestating for close to 10 months, after having hormones ravaged, bodies stretched, muscles separated, hip bones literally shifted, and BIRTHING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, women are expected to look like this…


Not only that, they are expected to look that way…immediately. Welcome to the land of “snap back” bodies, capital of  You-Gotta-Be-F*cking-Kidding-Me!

Let me just say clearly and concisely…THIS IS A STEAMING LOAD OF BULLSHIT!  (Shout out to Teyana Taylor because she is, in fact, a mother and has an incredible body.  But that shit ain’t the norm, mmmkay?) I’m sorry, you guys, but this does not call for eloquence or logical, even-tempered rebuttal. This is illogical; this is ridiculous. This is Shea-Moisture-Pepsi-protest-ad-United-airlines grade foolishness. Time and time again, I’ve been affronted by social media posts showing women who are  2,3,7,14 days postpartum,  posing to show off their flat stomachs with some inane caption that includes the phrase ‘snap back’. You mean I’m not even entitled to a year, hell 6 months, of not being in photo shoot shape after having a child? A real-life cooing, pooping, crying, needs-to-eat-every-few-hours-so-I-can’t-get-a-full-night’s-sleep child? I’m now supposed to worry about how quickly my uterus shrinks after housing a fetus for the better part of a calendar year or feel inadequate? G.T.-ENTIRE-F.O.H!

In all seriousness, fam, we gotta stop this. Now, I’m not saying just let it all go hell and be completely lazy for the rest of our lives. Of course not. But at the very least, can we let the new mommies heal? Can we let the heartbroken men and women grieve for a minute before we insist that they slay?! Yes, healthy eating and fitness is a lifestyle. It should be consistent and on-going. But damn! Let’s ease up with all the #bodygoals. It’s tew much! The goal, first and foremost, should be to take care of ourselves, to be good to ourselves and make the most of these shells we get to inhabit during our time on the planet. Have fun, be sexy, (whatever that means for you,) be happy and live well. Cause real talk, that’s the best revenge and ultimate goal all rolled into one. Take that, take that, take that….



Former Fat Girl…gone!

Why I’ll NEVER Be Skinny

Okay, let me just get this out of the way so y’all don’t come for me. ‘Skinny’ is a totally subjective term with no real measurable definition. What’s considered skinny to one person may not be so to another. I get it. Some of you who know me personally have actually referred to me as skinny. Tuh! Mmmkay, girl. But hey, we’re all entitled to our opinions. In quantifiable terms, skinny FOR ME is less than 133lbs. How’s that for specificity?

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve only been thin once in my life since the age 6, (for about 6-8 months). And it happened as a result of my being inconsolably depressed. To the point where my mom, (I was just out of college and living at home for a year,) hid all the medications in the house boxofshameand insisted I see a counselor. Yeah, it was pretty horrible. Heartbreak can be an ice-cold mutherf*cker.  Yes, it was over a guy and yes, I’m ashamed.


BUT he was a selfish, lying, hoeing-ass guy, who happened to be my first love. You hear that, Jeff, ya rat bastard?! I’m talking about you. (I’m just kidding; we’re cool now. Ancient history.) The point is, I had little to no appetite for weeks, months maybe. I remember this actual conversation with my mom. (It happened on a Thursday evening.)

Me: I think I’m hungry.     Mom: When’s the last time you ate?       Me: Tuesday.


I know, fam. I know.

Fast-forward a few weeks, my clothes didn’t fit anymore and even my grandmother, who had always been concerned about my weight, whispered in my ear, I don’t think you need to lose anymore weight, baby. Soon after I auditioned for a local fashion show, booked it and decided to crash diet for 7 days leading up to the show. That’s when I hit the lowest weight of my pre-teen/teenage and adult life.  At 5’6″ I weighed 128lbs. Now, that my seem pretty normal for some people. But for someone who weighed in at almost 150lbs in middle school, it was UNREAL. I was thrilled!

Dancing Brad Pitt         SexyandIKnowIt

About a week after the fashion show, I went back to UVA for graduation weekend. I will never forget seeing my bestie in the parking lot of the apartment complex, getting out and running to her for a hug. She stopped mid-run and gasped, “Oh my God, you’re so skinny.” She looked horrified. All weekend people were asking me if I was okay or whispering to my friends that I might be on drugs. Clearly, not a good look. And to think, I had been fighting my whole life to be skinny. The irony.damn damn damn


It wasn’t my weight that was the problem. It was that I was unhealthy and it showed. All that said, it’s not other people’s opinions that have brought me to the conclusion that I’ll never be skinny. It’s the fact that I refuse to eat like this for the rest of my life.

These are an actual meal photos from an IG fitness page that I USED to follow. This shit was the last straw. THIS is a meal?! Bih, where? How are you not still hungry? After I’ve been in the gym sprinting and lifting for 90 mins? If you don’t get the hell on with ‘dem struggle plates.

I just can’t do it. God bless those of you who can–those of you who measure out your portions every day and carry a duffel bag full of supplements at all times, but it’s gon’ be a hard nah for me, dawg. I have friends that do it: eat sad ass food every day, like boiled chicken and broccoli for breakfast. They are on cleanses every 3-6 months and have cut everything delicious and enjoyable from their diet altogether. Even fruit! Man, what?!

HellNo GetOut_No

While I respect the discipline, I am not willing to live like that. I’ve been on every kind of damn diet you can imagine. (I was put on my first diet at the age of 7, remember?) At this point in my life, I’m done giving things up. Over it. I work out hard, limit the foods that I know add bulk to my body or are just grossly unhealthy, but that’s it. And for now, that’s enough for me.

I’m not eating gerbil food or drinking anymore spicy lemonade. No more injections, (I tried HCG a few years back,) or laxatives. And I’ll be damned if I starve myself. If that means, the body I have is the body I keep, so be it. Me and this cellulite are just gonna have to be friends. Obviously skinny isn’t in the cards for me. And to be honest, that’s okay. I’m more concerned with being strong and toned at this point anyway. (Damn Residual Jiggle Factor (R.J.F.) is still too high, but I’m working on it.) It has taken years and numerous “failures” for me to reach this point of acceptance. Call it age, call it wisdom. Call it no more f*cks to give. All I know is, it feels good to give up that ghost. Bye, girl. byegirl

I encourage anyone who might be holding on to unrealistic and/or unhealthy expectations to just LET IT GO! Eat healthy whole foods, treat yourself from time to time–some science suggests that a cheat meal aids in keeping the rate of metabolism higher–exercise regularly, push yourself and enjoy your life. Besides skinny is so 2002. Thick fit is where it’s at! Shout out to all my thick-thighed sistren. I see you killing the leg press, boo! Yaaas!


Former Fat Girl…Gone.

Are You Wearing Make-up…to the GYM?

Sooo, yeah, let me just say up front, this one is gonna be a little judgmental. Not in a super obnoxious, I know better than you, Dr. Phil kind of way. More of a wtf are you doing, please stop,  best-friend keeping it 100 kind of way. Cause, girl, why the hell are you wearing a full face of make-up to the gym? Fuh whet? Is that highlighter? Did you contour to come use the stair climber?


Listen I get it, gang. We live in a new era–the era of social media, selfies, and the constant need to stunt. And no, I’m not one of those people who thinks it’s the end of the world and millennials are going to be responsible for the demise of humanity. (I mean, I have thought that but only in fleeting moments when horrible people are elevated to celebrity status via social media for simply being horrible. Y’all know the ones. I will give them no shine here.)

In general, though, I think social media is fine if you approach it with a certain amount of levity and don’t allow it to consume you. In some instances, social media has shone a light on important issues and it has certainly revolutionized the way we communicate. GOTeyerollHOWEVAH…it has also turned some of us into raging narcissists who can no longer function in any capacity without being camera ready. Why? ‘Cause their camera is always ready.  (How many gym selfies does one person really need?)

There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good and feel confident. Heck, that’s part of the reason, (or perhaps the only reason,) we workout in the first place. Health schmealth, am I right? But this new trend of having to look amazing while you work out is just kind of…well…stupid. Like, what the hell is ath-leisure anyway? You mean to tell me I’m supposed to pay $85 for a pair of spandex leggings because they have a 44 cent piece of mesh sewn into them?

brian tyree

I’m sorry, what? Is that mesh enhancing my workout in some way? Am I going to be able to sprint faster because that mesh is ventilating my leggings and somehow reducing the amount of lactic acid build up? Or perhaps this day-glow sports bra with the cut-outs is going to keep my heart-rate at the optimal level for fat burning whilst I sit on the workout bench and text.

Sound silly? So does $98 for workout pants when I can get ones of equal quality from RExasperatedoss for $14.99 because they’re “out of season”. As if black spandex ever had a damn season.  (Consumerism. Oy!) And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that people are actually buying exercise clothes that have special paneling and stitching built in to lift, shape and tone our bodies while we’re at the gym…to lift, shape and tone our bodies. I don’t know about you, but that shit makes me wanna smack somebody. JUST DO THE melting-makeupDAMN SQUATS!

Now, add to that the horrifying trend among young women these days that one’s face must be “beat” at all times and we have a full-on situation. Namely, that I gotta work out next to Baby Jane as her face literally melts onto the treadmill. Gross! I’m about to lose my protein shake over here, sis.

And fellas, don’t think you’re exempt from this judgment. I see you with your  plunging tank top and neatly coiffed man bun. Is that gel? Did you put GEL in your hair to do hammer curls?  Not to mention the cologne! ‘Cause sweat and Axe body spray smell so great together.


I’m just saying, people, let’s all get a grip, could we? How about we let the gym be a safe space, where people can come in their mesh-free leggings, old t-shirts with the sleeves cut off, fresh faces, sans Dakkar and put in work! So many of us live every day for our next selfie and miss out on a lot of the actual living part. And listen, take your selfies, post your vids, enjoy social media. I’m for it. Just chill. A little.

Do we really need to be “flawless” 24 hours a day? Can’t we just BE sometimes? And what better place than the gym–where we get to go de-stress and sweat and breathe and push and maybe cry a little. But so what? Sometimes progress is hard. Personally, the last thing I want to have to worry about is if I sweated off my eyebrows doing that last set of burpees.  Let’s save the make-up and the hair gel for our bottomless brunches and red carpets. Cool? Cool. And when you see my concealer-free dark circles and pencil-free struggle brows at the gym, give me a head nod. I promise I’ll give you one back.


Former Fat Girl…gone.

PS: Make-up at the gym is also not ideal for maintaining healthy skin. Here’s a quick article if you want to know more. xo

Wardrobe Dysfunction

(Full-disclosure. I started writing this post a loooong time ago. But somehow, never finished. At the urging of my bestie, Sharifa, I am picking up the torch again. So get ready, the Former Fat Girl is making a comeback! Hope you enjoy this first installment.)

By now it’s clear. I’m neurotic when it comes to my size, my weight, fat jiggle, and all things related. Having been in this town for as long as I have and knowing what I’m up against here, I was understandably nervous  going into a fitting for a commercial I shot a while back.

*Morgan Freeman narrates*

I wish I could tell you those nerves were unwarranted and the fitting went perfectly. I wish I could tell you that. But if that were true, I wouldn’t be telling you this story.

*End narration*

When the wardrobe assistant called, I was honest with her about my sizes, even skewed up by half an inch so I would be comfortable. (Of course, the natural tendency of actresses is to lie about things like this–you know, weight, age, talent.)  In general, my waist size is not something I look forward to disclosing, especially when coupled with the reality that most women in this industry are exceptionally thin. At a size 6/8, I’m almost always the heaviest actor on set or at an audition. But whatever, I swallowed my pride and gave her my accurate size information. Information that I will not be sharing here. *in my best Tamar voice* You nosey. Look, I know it might be helpful to the narrative of this blog if I actually give you guys the hard numbers…..BUT IT AIN’T GON’ HAPPEN! As for my age, I am…perpetually 27.

I don't know_giphy

27, DAMMIT!!


Back to the fitting.

The commercial was set in the 70’s, so I was pretty excited to see all the period wardrobe they had pulled for me. Sadly though, that excitement quickly turned into confusion and dismay when I looked through the rack and found that only one of the pairs of pants they had selected was my size. EVERY other pair was  two to four sizes too small. Oh, dear God, not again.


Real talk, WHY ARE THEY LIKE THIS? Did she not hear me when I gave her my sizes? Did she think I was joking?  Are they trying to break my spirit?  Come the entire hell on, man! There I was, being handed things that I knew either wouldn’t fit at all or require that I not exhale for hours at a time. No exaggeration,  I literally broke into a sweat trying to get some of those clothes on. Pushing, tucking, sucking in, squeezing.  People always ask what’s wrong with me? Why am I so insecure? THIS IS WHY!!

At one point, I asked, “Sooo…were there not a lot of things in my size to choose from?” The stylist simply responded that she had sent another assistant to do the pulling and she apparently didn’t pay much attention to size. Oh, okay. So I guess that call I got earlier was just to chat. How fun!

adele_blank staregiphyAt the end of the session, I had squeezed my way into a couple things but couldn’t fit most of it. After another brief fitting on the day of the shoot, I ended up wearing the one pair of pants that were actually my size. Go figure. But yet again, I was left feeling bad about myself despite the fact that I’d been working hard in the gym and  watching what I eat…most of the time. I can only eat so much damn kale, okay?

And you know what really pulls my edges…it’s that I don’t hate my body.  I think I’m in decent shape, and I am learning more and more to appreciate all that my body does for me on a daily basis. But in this freaking town, man, being a healthy weight doesn’t cut it. It’s either super thin to play a lead, plus-size to play character or comedy, (yeah, we still haven’t evolved beyond that tired trope,) or super fit to play action. Have you seen some of these women? They have less body fat than my cocker-spaniel.

Sophie in Laide's Yard_cropped.jpg

Her name is Sophie. Isn’t she adorable?!

(Find a way to incorporate photo of dog into blog. *check*)

And yes, I acknowledge that there is a greater variety of body types in film and television than a decade ago. But trust me when I say, the game has not changed as much as they’d like you to think. I promise, what looks like a size 6 on T.V. is almost undoubtedly a 2. MAAAAYBE a 4. I sit next to women in auditions and feel like a giant.

My point is, living in this world of extremes–extreme beauty, extreme youth, extreme bodies, extreme lifestyles–can make a regular ol’ girl from VA feel inept in a lot of ways. It’s rough sometimes. But I just keep plugging along, wondering when or if I’ll ever be completely satisfied with my body. Going to the gym, even when I’ve hit a plateau. Eating the kale even though, let’s be honest, guys, it’s not that great. Avoiding the bread…the soft-doughy-buttery bread.


Argh! Croissants are delicious!

In spite of all that, though, I have made a decision: fully satisfied or not, I am choosing to be grateful. I thank my body, (specific parts or sometimes as a whole,) for being healthy and capable all these years.  Even on those days when I’d rather be day-drinking at my own pity party, I find something, anything to be grateful for. In fact, gratitude might honestly be the world’s greatest anti-depressant.  Well…gratitude and dogs. Dogs are awesome. Cat people, I got nothing. God bless you.

So that’s  my tip, gang! Find the gratitude and grab hold of that shit! (You didn’t think I would do an entire blog curse-word-free, did you? *snorts* )  It can be a task sometimes, I know. But there’s always something for which to be grateful. Even if it’s that, despite their best efforts to thwart your shine, you still ended up looking “Good Times-Tastic” in your commercial. 🙂

7up body shot

Former Fat Girl…Out.

My First Love Scene….Oh Boy!

By this point, a lot of you have heard about or may have seen the season finale of “Sexless”, so this isn’t a spoiler. For those that haven’t…SPOILER ALERT! Go to, subscribe, (there’s a free trial,) binge watch the show and come back after!

For the rest of us, let’s get into what was arguably one of the most terrifying moments in my career. …Nope. Scratch that. THE. MOST. TERRIFYING. Way scarier than the swimsuit audition. (Remember that fiasco? Oy vey!) That was child’s play in comparison. When you’re working on a series the scripts are constantly developing and changing. You never know what the writers may have in store. That is, until your show runner, (shout out to Numa Perrier,) reveals that your character will finally be breaking her “sexless” streak in the season finale and will, indeed, be hopping on the ‘boloney’ pony!

Who me?! ME?! Queen Insecure? In a love scene?! Lord have His mercy! But see, here’s the thing, as an actor, part of your job is being prepared for whatever the writers throw at you. This was kind of inevitable at some point, right? Now I knew there wasn’t going to be any nudity or anything like that. ( They weren’t actually trying to kill me after all.) But I was still in a complete state of panic. What are we showing? Inner thighs? No. They jiggle. My stomach? Noooo. It jiggles. The booty?     ……well…..



  I mean, she’s got her flaws, too, but I’ll take it. 😉

Still, I immediately, started pestering our director, (Hey, Morenike Joela,) about the scene and how it would be shot. Angles, lighting, state of undress. Honestly, I was kind of a pain in the ass. (So sorry!) Not because I was being a diva, but because I was SCARED. TO. DEATH. Who knew how many people would be seeing this? And once it’s out there, it’s there FOREVER. No take-backs in the internet age. Add to that, the awesome Black&Sexy TV fans are incredibly vocal and invested in the show. If I looked a mess, they would absolutely let me know. *We’re at Stage 4 anxiety at this point.* Oh and did I forget to mention that my scene partner looks like this….

Courtney Burrell

Courtney Burrell

Really, Jesus? Not even a little body fat? Ok.

Yep. Full on Stage 5-Code Blue-Sound the Alarm-Break out the Xanax-PANIC MODE!!

It was bad, guys. BUT I was determined to make it work. Being a part of “Sexless” has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my acting career, and there was no way I was gonna let my bosses, cast and the fans down.  So I had to figure out what worked for me. How could I work this “movie magic” thing to my advantage. First: Find an outfit that accentuates the positive and conceals the not so positive. Second: Email/Text Pics of said outfits to your bestie, who will give it to you straight. (Thanks, Sharifa!) Third: Find a sexy shoe with a high heel. Lengthens the legs and flexes the leg muscles. Fourth: Work out hard and cut out as much of the crap as possible. (That last part has always been the struggle for me.) I tried. I swear I did. Damn you, chocolate. Damn you to hell! Fifth: Beg the cinematographer for lighting that smooths out all the rolls, dimples, loopty-loops, etc. (Justin Morrison, you’re a genius!!) Sixth: Suck it up, take a shot of Tequila, (or 2), put on some ratchet music and just do it!!! (Don’t judge me.)

And so….we did…..         GIF-anxiety-excited-freaking-out-Kristen-Wiig-my-god-oh-my-god-OMG-shocked-GIF 

And yes, I was THAT ^^^ nervous–could barely keep food down on shoot day. (Which is probably a good thing for that type of scene.) My stomach was in knots. But our patient, talented director and DP assured me that it would be okay. And you know what, guys, it was!

When I finally saw the scene at our Season 1 wrap party, yes I was still shaking in my skinny jeans, but I was so happy with how it came out. And to be honest, I was kind of proud of myself. It may not seem like a big deal, but I have struggled with body issues for most of my life. (Still do. Obvi.) So to muster up the courage to put myself out there like that was huge for me. I absolutely could not have done it without the encouragement and support of so many and the “get yo’ life and do that shit!” of a few others. I needed both. Trust me

BTS with Courtney

BTS “Sexless” Finale (Thanks for being awesome Courtney!)

Behind the Scenes of the

BTS of the “Sexless” Season 1 Finale with Courtney Burell

BTS with DP and Miracle Worker Justin Morrison

Behind the Scenes with Cinematographer, Justin Morrison

So it’s done! My first love scene is officially in the books! Now don’t go getting any ideas. That doesn’t mean I’m gonna just go around “jumping in bed” with all my scene partners, but it’s kind of a cool career/personal milestone. Whether it’s in the gym or in reference to my career, I want to keep pushing myself, stepping out of my comfort zone and evolving. We are all limitless beings. Who knows what heights we can reach if we just keep climbing!

As always thanks for reading. Special thanks to @BlackandSexyTV and the entire “Sexless” Family. I love you guys! xo

Waist Train or Nah?

Here’s a FORMER FAT GIRL FUN FACT: I have a high, short waist and  relatively straight hips. (*Drake Voice* “But  you can still stare at the booty doooooh…”). For years, I have longed for the oh-so-sexy S-curve. You know…this thing…

  S-curve copy

Round hips,  tiny waist–also known as the Coke bottle. Alas, it just wasn’t in my DNA. What I have noticed lately, though, is that apparently every other woman in the world was blessed with these delightfully curvy bodies–and by world I mean Instagram. How could this be? Since when is everybody shaped like Amber Rose? (Say what you will about her personality/lifestyle, but her body is sick!) That’s not a level playing field at all. What about those of us with exceptional calves and shoulders?

                                       where is the love

It wasn’t until recently, though, that I discovered­–surprise, surprise–IT’S ALL A LIE. These women aren’t naturally shaped this way. They’ve been crushing their ribs and sweating all the water out of their mid-sections with waist trainers and in some cases, more severe corsets. That’s right, friends, we have traveled back to the 18th century.  (And I didn’t even get to ride in the kick ass DeLorean. I feel robbed.) But it all makes sense–the big ol’ booties, wide hips and tiny little waists. It couldn’t just be coincidence, like an entire generation of women were born with Bettie Boop bodies. No. They’re manipulating their figures. (Don’t even get me started on injections and implants. Just do squats and lunges, ladies. No need for the fix-a-flat butts. I digress.)

1780s corset

To be fair, we’re not really talking about the whale bone or steel-lined corsets of the 1800s, (as pictured right). (I was over-exaggerating with rib crushing line.)  Let me be very clear here, I am not talking about traditional, hard corsets. (Yes, those do still exist.) I am referring to waist trainers, most of which are made with flexible materials and lined with cotton. (Not all, but many.) They’re usually fastened with hook-and-eyes and have two rows of closures. Some women work out in them, (although there is some debate as to the benefit and/or risk in doing so,)  while others simple wear them underneath their clothes during the day to create the shape they want. One tip about waist training that I’ve come across more than once is that you should NOT feel pain. Compression, yes, but not pain. The assertion is that prolonged use of the waist trainer will help you burn fat in your mid-section and start to reshape your torso to create a longer, more‘cinched’ waistline. Voila! S-curve. (Or so “they “say.)


Modern latex waist trainer

Now at this point, having discovered the truth, I had to ask myself…”WHY THE HELL AREN’T YOU DOING THIS?” Sure, I have body shaping under garments that I’ve worn from time to time when I had on a particularly tight dress. But I’ve never committed to the idea of reshaping my waist. Part of me doesn’t really think it works. Another part wonders if it’s really safe. Are there any long-term health risks? (There is research out there which speaks to both sides of that debate. Please do your own due diligence before making a decision.) But I’ll never really know unless I try. I am considering it. And let me soothe my feminist friends by ensuring them: I am fully aware that a woman’s value, beauty and contribution to the world have nothing to do with the circumference of her waist, size of her breasts/butt/hips, etc. I get it. I am not speaking on behalf of woman-kind here or suggesting that this is what women NEED to look like in order to be attractive. I’m just sharing the rumblings of my own mind.

To be honest, I’d love to shrink my waist by a couple inches. I work hard at the gym. I do my best to avoid certain foods–delicious, life-affirming foods I might add–grilled cheese sandwiches, donuts, chocolate cake, waffles, French fries, Cap’n Crunch, chocolate cake, cheese grits, milk shakes, lasagna, CHOCOLATE CAKE DAMMIT! (I’m sorry. It’s not you.) But still, I’m not quite achieving the results I’d like. So if wearing one of these trainers helps me get where I want to be, maybe it’s worth a shot?

What do you think…honestly? Would you or have you ever tried a waist trainer? If you have, which brand would your recommend? I’m all ears, ladies. (And calves, don’t forget these killer calves.) Teach me!

PS: Shout out to my besties, Sharifa and Ebony, killing the NATURAL Coke bottle game since Wu-Tang’s “Ice Cream” truck.