Let’s be real—it’s hard losing weight. Trading carbs for abs may sound nice in theory, but so does pizza, pasta and those delicious theme park funnel cakes that love to leave evidence of your gluttony all over your face (powered sugar is a hell of a drug!). Not to mention that if you’re not a fitness buff, rolling out of bed for an early morning gym session or dragging yourself to workout after working that draining 9 to 5 job can easily turn into one of those chores that you do half-heartedly just to check it off the list instead of giving it your all.
But if you ask any personal trainer it’s all mind over matter—a simple act of trading in your excuses for a pair of Nike’s and just doing it! But the reality is that for many people, eating healthy and getting fit is more psychological than anything. At least that’s what personal trainer and celebrity fitness correspondent Fallon Mercedes found out after signing up to work with a client weighing in at 445 pounds for Fit to Fat to Fit—a new show where professional fitness trainers gain an extreme amount of weight in order to understand the struggle of losing weight alongside their obese clients.
At 5’0, Fallon admits to never having tipped the scale of obesity, but for the show packed on 45 pounds just to fit into her client JD’s shoes.
“I would get frustrated with him when he wasn’t following my nutritional plan. And I had to step back and realize that this isn’t an addiction for him, this is almost like it’s a disease,” Fallon says. “People are sensitive to people who are alcoholics and drug addicts, but I feel like we’re not as sensitive to people who are obese.”
Working with JD wasn’t just a wake-up call concerning her clients, but also to herself. Gaining over 40 pounds took a toll on Fallon’s health and at one point the fitness lover was scared that the excess weight would affect her fertility. Not to mention that despite her years of training and healthy eating, she struggled to lose the weight that eating her beloved sweets and Dominican food afforded her. “When I was losing the weight I got really frustrated when I would step on the scale. All of that hard work that I put in and I only lost a pound?”
Yeah, that’s exactly how many people feel when they bust their behinds in the gym and nibble on cucumbers and carrots, only to see the numbers creep up on the scale.
With a newfound understanding and appreciation of the struggles surrounding weight loss and obesity, Fallon chatted with us about her journey of gaining and losing weight, how it changed her perception as a personal trainer, and shares weight loss tips for those who are still fighting the good the good fight of having a healthy and fit body.
Here's what she learned:
You Have to Constantly Love Yourself Through the Process of Losing Weight
"A casting director contacted me and told me the premise of the show. It’s funny because I read the book that this is based off of, Drew Manning’s book, and he got fat and lost the weight with his client, so I knew what he was talking about but I was like 'I don’t know if I want to get fat, I kind of want to do this bikini competition' and he’s like no trust me, you should do it!"
"For me it was just like am I really going to do this, am I really going to put on the weight? So I decided to just go for it, and test myself to go to a place I’ve never ever been. I wondered if I still could love myself and be confident at a bigger size because I train a lot of clients and a lot of women suffer or have a hard time with their confidence and loving themselves because you don’t lose the weight overnight, it takes time. So I have to constantly tell them you have to love yourself through the process. I wondered if I could love myself during the process. Would I have enough confidence in my relationship to be secure even at my biggest? So it was definitely a challenge."
Being overweight looks different on everybody
"My goal was 40 and I went over, but I think like every girl I’ve been 5 – 10 pounds fluctuating, but I’ve never gotten fat. I’m short–I’m 5 feet–so even 5 or 10 lbs shows up on me, and I think I’m a little different from most trainers like the ideal body type. I am curvy and like I said, I’m Dominican. I like having curves, but I consider myself fit curvy. But to gain 45 lbs, that took my curves to another level. I really looked like I was pregnant once I put that weight on; it looked like I’d gained 75 lbs because I was so short."
Eating the "typical" American diet can cause migraines and other serious health issues
"We weren't allowed to work out for four months and we had to eat a typical American diet. They didn’t really give us a nutrition plan to gain weight so basically I did whatever I could. I would go to McDonald’s or Taco Bell or I would do the fast food thing, the pizza. I started cooking the meals that I grew up loving the rice and beans, the fried plantains and then I have a sweet tooth so I was eating a lot of sweet foods like chocolate and cookies. But I think overdid it in the beginning with the sweets because I was getting constant migraines and constant nausea because I was trying to eat over 3,500-4,000 calories a day and it was just intense. And then after that we had to start incorporating healthier meals and not so much sugar.
"I can understand that fast food documentary [Super Size Me], I get it because within my first month, I was like I have to peel back, this was insane."
Carrying extra weight can affect your fertility and menstrual cycle
"There were doctors on the show to monitor us, but what really freaked me out was not so much the headaches and nausea, but I was getting my menstrual cycle every two weeks. I don’t have any children, and you know I really want to get married and have kids one day so at that point I almost passed out and told the producers listen, if this is going to affect my fertility and my reproductive system I’m out.
"So I had to sit with the doctors and they had to monitor me and check me and they told me because it was just for a short amount of time I would bounce back and get my menstrual cycle regularly once I started eating clean and working out. But what a lot of people don’t realize, and I get a lot of clients who have trouble conceiving and it’s because their body fat percentage is too high, and they’re living and eating unhealthy. So once my body fat percentage got to a certain percent, I think that’s when I started having those issues. I think within the first two or three weeks of me eating clean again my menstrual cycle regulated."
"I get a lot of clients who have trouble conceiving and it’s because their body fat percentage is too high."
Being "skinny fat" doesn't mean you're healthy--you can still be pre-diabetic
"You’d be surprised, there are a lot of people who—you hear the term skinny fat—and you look at them and they’re like I’m good, I’m not overweight. But muscle weighs more than fat so you can’t really get on the scale and judge. You really have to take your measurements and get your body fat percentage then because that’s what’s really going to tell you. Because you want to be in the range of 20-25%, anything over that, and a lot of people think that fat is on the outside, but there’s something called visceral and that’s fat surrounding the organs, and when you have too much fat, you know a lot of people that are obese you see it in their stomach first, that’s because there’s so much fat surrounding their organs that it’s protruding from their stomach.
"And that’s the dangerous fat, and that’s when it starts affecting your organs and for women it starts affecting your fertility. And you become pre-diabetic and have high cholesterol and all of those things, so not just for aesthetics, you want your body fat percentage low for your health."
Obesity can affect fertility in men as well
"When JD came to me they told me he was 375 or in the 300s so I sat down and asked him let me know your history and do you have any issues and he’s like no my doctor says I’m pretty healthy for a fat guy and I’m like okay, so I put him on the scale and he’s like 455 lbs. and he’s like wow I haven’t weighed myself in 10 years and I’m doing his measurements and literally the measuring piece I couldn’t even get all the way around him and when I assessed him later on after I gained weight, I learned that he was pretty agile for a man that size but he definitely was the most out of shape.
"But it wasn’t until two months in that I took him to the doctor because he wasn’t taking it seriously when I was training him and he wasn’t losing as much weight as he should’ve, he was going up and down on the scale and cheating on his diet so I took him to get his blood labs read and he was pre-diabetic, high cholesterol and his testosterone was so low that basically, he was in male menopause. So that just shows you that weight gain not only affected my reproductive system, but even as men when you’re overweight it can affect you having children and affect your testosterone levels.
Obesity isn't just a habit, it's an addiction
I’ve worked with obese people before, but never severely obese of his size. What this experiment really taught me is that a lot of it is psychological. I would get frustrated with him when he wasn’t following my nutritional plan, and I had to step back and realize that this isn’t an addiction for him, this is almost like it’s a disease. People are sensitive to people who are alcoholics and drug addicts, but I feel like we’re not as sensitive to people who are obese. That’s what I really learned with him was that I have to tread lightly, he’s in this shape because it’s more of an addiction and disease, he doesn’t want to be this way it’s a behavioral habit.
"People are sensitive to people who are alcoholics and drug addicts, but we’re not as sensitive to people who are obese."
Losing weight is an emotional journey
"I remember the first workout that we did together I was just like whoa, I couldn’t even do half of the pushups and half of the workouts that I was able to do before. So it definitely opened my eyes that first workout at 40+ pounds on my back I was like okay this is going to be work.
"Then I was emotional, too. I had a lot going on wondering if my menstrual cycle would be regulated and wondering if I was going to bounce back and lose all the weight. It was definitely an emotional journey for me, and then I also had to be the strong one to support and motivate and push him to lose weight so it was hard."
Finding a way to make exercise fun is the key to consistency
"Nutrition is 75% of losing weight. The first thing I did was a food journal, and that made me really aware of what I was eating and along with that I did a lot of plyometrics at high-intensity intervals. I teach a class called 'Body Shred' so I lost a lot of weight doing that class, and I did things I loved like going to fun classes, dancing, hiking, paddle boarding.
"I worked out five days a week and for the majority, I would do at least an hour a day, some days two hours. I had to work, too, during this process, so I was working my real job, training clients and then also training myself."
"I think what I learned from the situation is like I said earlier, it's psychological, too. You have to want it; you have to be ready. As a trainer I learned that I have to be a little more empathetic and sympathetic with my clients. I didn’t realize how hard it is."
Having a support system can help you get through the hard times
"You know what’s funny is I would still would dress up and put makeup on when I’d go out on a date with my boyfriend and I would put Spanx on and I would just act like even though my confidence level has not been the same, I still portrayed that I’m just as beautiful as I was before. I was still the same person, nothing inside me changed. And I feel like I kind of fooled my boyfriend, my boyfriend never once commented that I wasn’t beautiful. And I think that helped my confidence level.
"He never waivered with his affection or made any comments to me about getting too big, he was just supportive. I guess having a supportive person you’re dating that helps, and faking it ‘til you make it. I convinced even myself that I was still the same person, still beautiful regardless of what size I was."
Losing Weight Is About Patience and Enjoying the Process
"I think the first place to start with is to just get moving. I think sometimes people will put it off like, 'oh I’ll do it when my money’s right, I’ll do it when my kids are in daycare, I’ll do it when I have the time.' I feel like just get moving, do things that you are motivated by or excited to do. If you love hanging out with your girlfriends instead of going to a restaurant to eat with them, do girlfriend catch up time on the elliptical next to each other and get that cardio in or go hiking together. Or plan activities that you do like. If you love to dance try a dance workout class or Zumba or if you like the beach, try like a surf sport workout, something like that. I think the first thing is to start moving, and then you can kind of figure it out from there.
"I would encourage people just to take it one day at a time. Even when I was losing the weight I got really frustrated when I would step on the scale. All of that hard work that I put in and I only lost a pound? So it takes time, you know. Even for me, I’m a trainer and certified in nutrition and I had all of the tools, and even I couldn’t lose 10 lbs in a week, so it’s really about patience and trying to enjoy the process. They say it’s a lifestyle and that’s what’s really going to keep the weight off, incorporating it into your life and with your friends and your family and your job."
Check out a preview of Fit to Fat to Fit and be sure to tune in tonight at 10 PM/9c on A&E.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy