Yassss, Queen! Meet Tara Jackson McDow: Conquering Weight Loss 1bs At A Time!

Check out Yasss Queen spotlight, Tara Jackson McDow! Learn how she lost 39 lbs in 4 months!

Here’s the thing, I’m always sharing my story but so many of my friends have such amazing stories to share that I thought, “Hey! I can spotlight my friends!”

As many of you know, I meal prep and I workout. I get lots of messages encouraging me to keep pushing and posting because what I’ve been sharing has encouraged a few. What you guys don’t know is that so many of you inspire me more than I inspire you!

One of my inspirations is my Big Sister/Soror Tara Jackson McDow. Her weight loss journey is definitely one that needs to be shared, but because she is shy I am highjacking her story and telling it for her! Lol!!

Last month after we returned from our sorority convention she texted me and shared her story as to how she started losing weight. I won’t share the details because that’s for her to do. I will say that after season of grief she found herself using food as a way to cope with her emotions. She decided it was time for a change, and she has lost 37 lbs in 4 months!

I was impressed! “How did you do it?” Her success has been a team effort. Tara’s husband supports her by grilling her meat on Sunday. Along with her grilled meat and vegetables, she limits carbs and sugars. That’s it. No magic wand.

In addition, she walks everyday. We follow each other on our Apple watches and I get the alerts! I see it and it motivates me to move too.

One thing she has reinforced with me is CONSISTENCY! When we were in New Orleans at Cafe DuMonde, I think she was the only soror who turned down a beignet. I, however ate two! Plus, a cup of hot chocolate. 😬

I am so proud of her! I wanted to spotlight Tara because she deserves to be celebrated for her HARD WORK and DEDICATION!!

Congratulations, Tara! Keep up the good work!

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The StairMaster is my B*tch! #30430

September 13, 2018 I told my trainer, “I think I want to do the StairMaster for thirty days straight.” He was all for it. “Good! Thirty minutes, everyday. Let’s go!” I wasn’t ready. It was Thursday and I had a plan to start on Monday. ANDDDD, I was only going to do 15-20 minutes. In true fashion, I started negotiating-Can I wait til Monday? Why do I have to do 30 minutes? This isn’t your goal, this is my goal! We went round and round until he said, “Stop trying to get out of it. You’re starting today! Let’s go!” So I started. It has been a journey.

Five days in I got sick. Sinus or allergies or something. I didn’t know what to do. I knew if I stopped I would have to start over or it would extend my time. I refused to stop. If I didn’t have a fever or I wasn’t dizzy, I went. I just blew my nose a lot. And for those of you who are wondering, I wiped down my machines REAL GOOD! I developed shin splints too. Those sucked, but I put a little bengay on my legs and kept it moving. Some days it was really hard to do because of other commitments I had, but I didn’t use that as an excuse. When I don’t workout with Chris, Planet Fitness is my go to gym, so I would just roll into PF at 9 or 10 o’clock at night to get in my 30 minutes.

Ten days in I asked myself why I was doing this. The answer was simple. Because I didn’t think I could. I decided then to give myself a reward once I made it to day 15, a nice little pair of cubic zirconia earrings from Target! They cost me $19, but I love them. Hey, I ball on a budget. Maybe when I reach my goal weight I will buy a real pair.

This was the point where I knew I couldn’t stop. I had people cheering for me. My friend Price, “Cass! I am so proud of you!” And there is always my Soror Kiphani, “Thirty minutes on the stair master? Girl, you are a beast!”  I had to keep going, but I needed a change. So, I started adding minutes. Some days I would do 35 minutes, and on Wednesday, two days before my deadline, I did 60 minutes. It was TOUGH! sometimes I would hit pause, but I realized that prolonged my time. I got slick though and started lowering my intensity level to so I could breathe for a minute and then I would go back up. No matter what I didn’t stop and I never went under 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 13, 2018, I finished! Level 6 for thirty straight minutes! I didn’t stop or lower the intensity level! This time I will allow myself to say, “I’m proud of MYSELF.”

I still don’t like the StairMaster. It is not of Jesus. But God will make your enemies your footstools and so he did the stair master! I feel a lot better. My energy level has been really great. My attitude has definitely changed for the better. I think I leave my stress on those steps. Each drop of sweat is a worry, a burden, that is no longer on my shoulders. My joints feel much better too especially my hips!

One of my goals was to lose 10lbs. I only lost 5, but hey that’s a half bag of potatoes! In the words of my niece, “I ain’t tripping.” I hear some of my friends balk at the StairMaster and I don’t blame them, it’s not easy at all. But, if you want to master that thang and make it your b*tch too, here are a few tips:

  • Sip water as you are working. Even if you drink it regularly. Trust me it helps!
  • Have a couple of pieces of chewing gum. Keeps your mouth moist. I like two pieces  because the water dries the gum out. I switch out half-way through the workout.
  • Bring two towels. One for sweat and one to wipe the machine. The sweat stings my eyes and I can’t take it. A wet machine gets slippery. I refuse to go viral falling off a StairMaster…can you imagine?! LOL!!
  • Start low. I finished at level 6, but I started at level 4. Start where you are, even if that is level 1 or 2. No one knows but you!
  • Bring an extra shirt. I think I got sick on day 5 because of that BIG ASS FAN at PF. My shirt was wet and I went outside in it. The next day I was sneezing, so I started changing into a dry shirt afterward and I’ve been fine ever since!
  • Get you a bomb ass playlist. If you are hype, the time goes by just a little bit faster.  Sometimes I just play MJB and I feel that girl power blow through my speakers! #YASSSQUEEN! But I really like ratchet rap…you know the kinda music where people will wonder if I’m really a 47 year-old professional! #hehe Here are few of my favs: Blow the Whistle, Too short; Ante Up, M.O.P; Pull Over, Trina, Rubber Band Man and Motivation, T.I.; Big Pimpin’, Jay-z; Drip, Cardi B; Southside, Lil Keke.  I have about 50 songs but those are tried and true!

Anyway, it was super fun and I’m glad I did it. Now, I can walk by the StairMaster and give it the side eye like, “Bihhhh! You ain’t ready for me!” 😉 Don’t judge me. It’s how I have to psyche myself out! Now, let me go get my reward for finishing, rest up (I’m taking a week off), and plan my next challenge! #30430 #stairmasterchallenge #befearless

P.S. Thank you, CHRIS! Stop by EveryBody Fit Personal Training Studio in Arlington, TX. Maybe if you come to class he will give me discount. Hehe! 🤣

Ode to Comfort Foods/ Requiem for a Fat Girl.

#weighinrevolution #trainerconfessions

Every week, I weigh in with my trainer, Chris. But not this week. This week, I am staging a rebellion!! I refuse to step on that scale. Why? Because I know that I have done the fool with my food, and I just cannot…I will not feel bad about it. I know that he is going to fuss and tell me he is disappointed. We will have another session of #trainerconfessions, and I will move on. Yet, I just don’t feel like going through it this week.

My trainer is really good; he is. I wouldn’t say it if were not so, but I am often …hmmm, is “disobedient” a good word? Yes, he would probably say I’m disobedient. Every week I get, “You don’t listen to nothing I tell you!” Meh…Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t. The exercise regimen he outlines for me, I got that! I go hard in the paint. At least my version of going hard. But the food part, not so much. I have good intentions, and I do well with my meal prepping—Monday through Friday. On the weekends? HA!!! I know that I can’t outwork a bad diet. I know that! I know that fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. I KNOW THAT. I know that I can’t keep doing things the same way and expecting a different result. I know ALL of that…But I miss food, dammit!

I miss Cocoa Pebbles and Fruit Loops.

I miss Little Debbie Donut Sticks and Oatmeal Cakes.

Strolling pizza buffets as if I were taking walks through the park.

Hamburgers…oh how I miss thee! And not turkey burgers. I want ground beef. With two slices of cheese, onions, and bacon, on a nice buttery, toasted bun.  I had one, too, on Thursday, when I went to the movies! And, it was DELICIOUS!

I miss Paul’s Donuts on Hemphill. Nothing beats that warm, soft, sugary pastry that just melts in my mouth.

I miss Braum’s Ice Cream and the 31 flavors of Baskin-Robbins. On the way home from the gym on Thursday evenings, I often glance at the Braum’s Ice Cream Parlor on the side of the freeway. “Let me have an ice cream sundae, please. Vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, not hot fudge. Whip Cream, no nuts, and extra cherries.” My order is cemented in my mind. I’m always tempted to exit, but I force myself to keep driving because…the scale!

I miss the catfish basket from Lisa’s chicken.  There’s one right in front of the gym. As I leave class, the aroma of Lisa’s wafts through the air like mist on a dewy morning. I get weak, I tell you!

And I miss Popeye’s, and Chicken Express…one day we shall meet again. Maybe this Friday when I can stay at home and enjoy some ratchet TV in my robe.

I miss Cherry Pepsi and Cherry Coke. If they didn’t have so many calories, I would get a 2-liter bottle and freeze it until it was slushy. Then after my long day at work, I would drink like it like it was a gin and tonic.

Oh, how I miss my comfort foods! They got me through so many trials in my life. Crazy parents at school? I got a honey bun from the vending machine to calm my nerves. My Granny died? Chicken and 7-up cake made my day. Relationship blues? Cookies and cake were food for my tears. Food was my friend, and I miss my BFF!

But what I don’t miss is not being able to bend over and tie my shoes. I don’t miss the pain in my legs when I stand too long. I don’t miss wondering if my seatbelt is too tight because it’s stuck or because I’m just fat. I don’t miss those things at all.

I’ll do better next week…but I’m still not weighing in tomorrow! #resist! #chubbygirlblues

P.S. This weigh-in revolution was the brain child of my line sister and friend, Kim! We hatched this plan on Friday night, and I wrote this opus after we agreed to stand in solidarity. Well, let me tell y’all what happened Saturday morning. We walked in the gym Saturday morning, and I said, “I’m ain’t doing it!” She said, “Yeah… we’re not weighing in.” But something in my spirit knew her response sounded kinda shaky. I went to the restroom and came out only to find out that Kim had sold me out! Chris is a mastermind at divide-and-conquer. He’s like a ninja! I knew I shouldn’t have left her alone with him. I weighed in after all because the weigh-in revolution was televised via Kim. Regrettably, I kicked her out of Wakanda (she can only cross her arms at the bottom), and then I gave her a good tongue lashing because she violated girl code! Thus, the topic of my next blog. I must remind you heifers of the rules!

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I guess I’ll let her come back to Wakanda