Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Curvy. Courageous. Curly. Couture. Cutie of the Month: Danielle Wells

I was so excited about starting my new blog.  I had finally gained enough COURAGE to do something that has always been a thought in the back of my mind.  I sat at the computer for hours writing down all the topics I wanted to talk about.   After completing my list, I scanned through it again—at first very eager to start.  But then I noticed that everything I had written down was stuff I wanted to see…. What about my viewers? 

I suddenly had a flashback… I saw myself looking at blogs from GabiFresh, OnTheQTrain, Stylish Curves Everything Curvy and Chic and GarnerStyle  I’d remember looking at their blogs thinking, “Man I wish I could do that.”  It took a year to realize that I actually could…and now, I am.  Those young ladies inspired me to let go of my insecurities and do what I wanted.  Who cares what everybody else thinks? Then it dawned on me—I want to inspire others like they inspired me. 
After thinking of how I could inspire others, I finally figured it out!  I’ll feature a Curvy.Courageous.Curly.Couture.Cutie of the Month.  This person will be somebody who inspired me to become courageous and embrace who I am.  My hope is that by featuring this person, I will not only show my viewers who inspired me, but also offer inspiration to the next girl who is viewing my blog and wishes that they could be as COURAGEOUS as me. 

So… My first Curvy. Courageous.Curly.Couture. Cutie of the Month ….
Danielle Wells 

New Year! New Me!  Right? I’m sure you have already set your New Year’s Resolution for 2014.  What was it—to lose weight, get fit, stop eating at McDonalds? Most resolutions for the New Year are all about Fit and Fitness.  Well let me introduce you to Danielle Wells.  I’ve followed Danielle on her fitness journey it seems like forever.  She has been such an inspiration to me and my weight loss journey.  I asked her a few questions about her journey and have included her answers along with transformation pics down below.  I hope that her journey inspires you just as much as it did me. 

How long have you been on your fitness journey?
Honestly, I feel like I’ve been on this fitness journey all my life, but not until December 2010 did I become as dedicated as I am now. Many people ask me this question, but being “the big girl” all through junior high school and high school, I’ve always felt that I’ve tried to lose weight since I could remember, just to fit in.

What was the hardest part of your journey to overcome? How did you do it?
The hardest part of my journey to overcome would have to be realizing that the weight would not go away over night and that I had to learn to make healthy choices when my friends decided to have a night out of the town. I’ve always had this image of myself being “small”, and in my mental mind this is what I held onto every time I felt like giving up. As far as enjoying nights out with friends, I would fuel up on water and fruit before heading out. That way I couldn’t possibly overeat and if I did eat just because of the atmosphere, I was completely content with a small house salad no bacon or cheese.

What has been your motivation to continue your journey?
Once I became a Zumba® Fitness Instructor, I saw that people started to look up to me. My students constantly told me of the inspiration that I gave them. At that moment, I knew I was starting to touch people and how it affected their personal lives, I couldn’t stop. To know that I could change someone’s life, was all the motivation I need to continue.

You’ve dropped how many dresses sizes? Do you still consider yourself a CURVY girl?
 Overall, I’ve gone from a 28 to a 12/14. I am currently almost fitting a 10. ;-) Of course I still consider myself a curvy girl. I have hips and thighs and my tummy is not perfectly flat. My body is just now at a state where I can love my curves because I can see them and they are not hidden by layers of fat.

As soon as I start a diet it seems as if my friends want to go out for dinner and drinks.  How do you balance a healthy lifestyle and hang out with friends?
I know this part is hard for a lot of people. This is where I encourage people to have their cheat day. Now hopefully, you aren’t having 3-4 cheat days a week because then you are not accomplishing anything. If I happen to go out and it’s not a cheat day, then I fuel up at home so when we make it to a restaurant or wherever we may go, I will only order salad or soup. Yes, my friends make fun of me when I do this but I know the goals that I have set for myself. Another good option is to never look at a menu. Have in mind what you know you can eat for example; fish, brown rice, veggies, salad etc and tell the waiter/waitress what you would like. At that point, have them only bring half of the entrée and go ahead and box up the other half so that you can take it home. Have them bring the other half when they bring the check and you are getting ready to depart from your venue.

What made you become a Zumba instructor?
Zumba® Fitness is exercise in disguise! It is truly a party and like no workout that I have ever experienced before.  After I saw my body starting to change with Zumba® Fitness, I knew at that moment this is something I wanted to share with everyone. I really wanted people to fall in love with exercise and Zumba® was definitely the way to go!

What are you favorite CURLY girl products to use for your hair?
Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La Defining Curl Custard, is my go to ;-) Cantu Leave in Conditioner is my second favorite. I also have a friend that makes her own natural hair care product called Naturally Whipped. That’s the product Facebook name as well, Naturally Whipped :) 

What is your go to style during workouts? How do you balance natural hair with working out? 
Usually during my Zumba® Fitness classes, I wear my hair down and curly. The type of curls that I have, I can wash and go and let them air dry. I teach Zumba ® Fitness classes anywhere from 4-5 times a week, so it’s pointless to adapt to a style. Wash and go seems to work for me!

When you first started your fitness journey, what was your favorite meal/snack?  What is it now?
Frozen grapes are my favorite snack to eat, because they taste like candy! My favorite meal would have to be Tilapia and Sweet Corn, I still find myself eating this now. It’s quick, easy, and yummy! I think now, I love cajun grilled chicken with stir fry vegetable and brown rice.

What must we cut out if we want to start living a healthy lifestyle?
This is such tricky question! I am not a nutritionist, therefore I can’t tell anyone exactly what to cut from their diet other than the obvious things like fried foods, french fries, heavy sauces and dressings, heavy seasonings, sodas, excessive sweets like candy bars, fruit snacks etc. If you want to start living a healthy lifestyle, you have to adapt a healthy way of eating. Cleaning up your diet is just hands down, the best way to go. Incorporating more wholesome produce is just the logical way to go. My best advice is to just love fresh, wholesome foods. Simply enjoy time in the kitchen experimenting with new food ideas. 

Did you ever expect your weight loss to be inspiration to others? If you could speak to everybody who’s thinking about starting a fitness journey, what would you say?

When I started on my weight loss journey, I had no idea as many people where watching me as they were. As I started to see my results, more people began to ask me what I was doing. At this point, I figured it was all just a part of the reaction of people seeing me gradually losing weight. It was not until I started teaching Zumba® Fitness, did I see that I was inspiring others to live a healthy lifestyle. As humbled as I have remained, I can never put into words how it makes me feel to know that I have changed so many lives. What I would say to anyone that is thinking about starting a fitness journey is simply to just do it. Find your “why” and dig deep to transform yourself. Realize that there will be obstacles and that peer pressure is hard when you are trying to eat right. There are many things in life that we will never be able to control, but the one thing we can control is the food that we put in our mouths. Weight loss starts in the kitchen, and no matter how much you stay in the gym, if your nutrition is lacking then you will not accomplish what you initially went out for. You have to be mentally prepared for weight loss; your brain has to be in order. Set small goals initially and reward yourself as you accomplish them. Of course do not reward yourself with food, but rather with a pedicure, manicure, new makeup or a smaller size tee shirt or bottoms. We are given only one opportunity to live in this flesh, why not take care of it?

Feeling inspired??? Follow Danielle on Facebook and Instagram