So OK – I’ve dropped hints and briefly discussed my new attitude to weight loss recently, but I haven’t gotten down to the nitty gritty. For years it’s been a struggle for me to get motivated. I know what I need to do to get my health back to where it needs to be…but doing it has been a whole ‘nother story.

Until I met Renisha.

We’d been part of each other’s social circle for a little while – Renisha is part of Team Red Pump, so we’d met at the Red Pump Project events I have been happily attending since I moved into the city. But it wasn’t until Felicia Leatherwood’s Loving Your Hair With Natural Care Workshop, that she clued me in to what she does.

“Oh, I’m a personal trainer!” she said. And a lightbulb went on over my head.

That very day I asked her to help me get myself together.

Renisha and I have been meeting up once or twice a week, and she’s been helping me discover a new love for fitness. She’s helping me to slowly but surely realize that exercise can be enjoyable. It can make me feel physically better in an instant. And most importantly, she’s helping me realize that YES – I can DO THIS.

I’ve been waiting for a while to announce this, but FINALLY it’s up! Renisha has launched a fitness blog. Bellas, please check out Renewed Fitness. I am SO proud of my friend!

Renisha explains her fitness philosophy in her very first post.

My approach to fitness is simple, yet powerful: If you renew your mind, you’ll change your life. Accomplishing anything starts in your head with a thought. The rest is action. But it’s the subject of that thought that determines whether or not you will get to your goal. If you think you can’t, you won’t. Renew that thought and change the way you’re thinking about the task at hand. In my experience, my clients have accomplished so much more by changing their thoughts about fitness and health.

Her philosophy has been so tremendously inspiring to me. For years I’ve been making excuses for myself, and having an unhealthy approach. I’ve been thinking of it as diet and weight loss, as opposed to strength and fitness. In the past my goals have been more about being a certain dress size or idealized weight, rather than putting in the work and sweat required to stave off hereditary health problems like high blood pressure. For years I’ve been telling myself that I could totally do this alone, if only this wasn’t such a busy day/week/month.

I needed help. Admitting it was the first step, and Renisha’s gentle and nurturing, non judgmental and spiritually uplifting approach has been helping me achieve things I didn’t think I could. Slowly, but surely.

If you need a little inspiration and a little guidance, or new ideas for a workout routine, visit Renewed Fitness, or follow Renisha at Renewed Fitness on Twitter. Leave her a comment, let her know what your questions or concerns are – she’s awesome and patient and helpful, trust me!

Welcome to the blogosphere, Renisha!

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TamTamm says:
July 26, 2010, 1:03 pm
Hello Afrobella, First I must say that I love your blog (and I mean that in ALL CAPS, Bold, Underscore, Helvetica Font!). I have been following your blog over the last couple of years and you have truly proven to be a resource for women who love their natural hair. Also, I love your spotlights on women (whether they be icons-in-training or legends of yesteryear). Also, when you do your posts on music, I swear you have access to my rhapsody or itunes account because these are my favorite artists as well. When I read your writing, I feel like I am engaging with a long time friend. Also, I felt compeled to comment on this post because I too know of the struggles of getting healthy. For years, I made excuses to not work with a personal trainer (didn't have time, don't have the money,etc. etc), however, a couple of health scares forced me to reassess my priorities and before the close of 2009, I found an affordable personal trainer (god bless craiglist!). I also joined a meetup group in NY (curvygoddessworkout), and the personal trainer is a former plus size model who is an awesome trainer. In addition, I have tried different work out classes such as hula hooping, belly dancing (great for stregthening your core and abs)and coming soon, Zumba! The first step in this for me was to get moving, period! Now I'm 30lbs lighter (but I need to drop more). I am considering the idea of starting a resource blog for the fuller figured ladies or anyone who wants to get healthy in a judgment free zone that will not tolerate fat shaming (hopefully this will come to fruition before the end of the year). I am sure you will find success in working with your trainer. It's a challenge but I remind myself that physical conditioning and working out is not a contest and that if I had to give advice to anyone, it would be to do what works for you. When I have days that I feel like the scale is stuck or my eating habits slide, I remind myself of where I was last year (which was not a good place), and I should not let one bad day, week or month deter or derail my goals of improved physical fitness. Tammy
warrior11209 says:
July 26, 2010, 9:55 pm
Congratulations on taking your time and starting down the road to becoming healthier. Getting started is half the battle and you sound like you have a partner to get you over the rocky parts! Good luck Afrobella - you are the BEST!!!
universoul*truth says:
July 27, 2010, 8:11 am
Congrats! I just started back exercising. I was motivated by 2 factors. CNN and migraines. CNN was following a group who completed the NY State Triathlon. The lone sista in the group was motivated to be an example to black women that we can and we should. I felt that she was talking to me. I knew that my migraines and expanding waistline were due to work-related stress. I knew that I had to make some serious changes. I promised my youngest son that my flabby belly will be a thing of the past by Aug 17th. Ladies, it does not cost a lot to get in shape. My cable provider offers free exercise programs that I can access 24-7. Walking is free. Use your body weight for resistance training. Drink plenty of water. Eat 3x a day. Pace yourself. Love yourself. Learn what works for you. If something does not feel right, try something else. Do not give in. It has only been a week but I feel different, better. This is not about getting into skinny jeans w/o the muffin top. This is about living life to the fullest.
cosmicsistren says:
July 27, 2010, 8:22 am
Congrats to you afrobella!! I have been started working out as well and at times it has been challenging but I keep telling myself "Progress not perfection". Alittle advice - Be selective on who you tell about your weight loss goals. I have found that people who are bigger than me or whose eating habits are horrible try to tell me what to do. It is VERY annoying. I wish you all the best on your journey. Shout out to Tammy for the 30 pounds!!! Good for you!!!
professor says:
July 27, 2010, 9:55 am
We love you and support you! Team Afrobella!!! Welcome, Renisha.
Orange Star Happy Hunting says:
July 27, 2010, 10:59 am
FITNESS is for life Bella and glad you are on your journey and it is a journey with peaks and valleys etc but as long as you stay on it, you in it to win it. Cool philosphy, one that I share with folks in similar fashion all the time, will def check her blog!
Kimmie says:
July 27, 2010, 1:57 pm
I'm diabetic & overweight. I've find it hard to stay motivated when I start diet & exercise programs b/c it's challengingfor me to get results. I have PCOS-polycystic ovarian syndrome as well which causes belly fat that's difficult to lose. I've even had doctors tell me that it's a "lost cause". Not what I want to hear when I'm hungry & exhausted from excercising. I admit I'm a bit in denial about my diabetes & even though I try to control my eating, I eat & drink what I want. Namely regular Coke. I'm fed up b/c I feel like crap & I know that I need to take better care of myself b4 there are serious consequences to my self-neglect. So I've started eating "cleaner" & I walk 30min twice a day on my treadmill. I avoid scales at ALL COSTS b/c I know if the numbers aren't moving fast enough, I'm going to get frustrated. So I've made this journey about my health instead of about losing weight. I HATE my current size, but I'm not focused on it right now. I know that the regular exercise will help control my diabetes & increase my energy levels. So I will focus on those aspects rather than weight. For now! Because eventually, this weight HAS to come off! Hopefully weight loss will come naturally with my healthier lifestyle of eating clean, exercising, and drinking PLENTY of water! Congrats to u Afrobella! I know how hard it is to take the first steps. This is so personal, but I hope u choose to keep us posted b/c I do get motivation from others going thru the same things. Congrats to TamTamm as well! 30lbs is such an accomplishment! I hope that I'm there soon! And please let Afrobella know when u start that blog so she can pass on the information to us!
TamTamm says:
July 27, 2010, 3:26 pm
Hey Kimmie, I understand the challenges one can face when certain chronic illnesses or health issues have a direct impact on weight (for me, I found out I had a serious Vitamin D deficiency which contributes to my acculumation of belly fat). However, kudos to you for the steps you have taken and will continue to take to improve your health. You would be amazed how small steps can reap large rewards in the end. When I got serious about trimming down, one of the first things I had to let go was soda (my former drug of choice). It was hard at first, but I found substitutions- seltzer water, zero calorie flavored water such as Nestle's Fruit20 (which is delicious by the way), unsweetened iced tea. More importantly, I had to start a love affair with water. Water is our friend ladies! After two weeks, I didn't even miss comsuming soda(which I never thought I would say in my life time). I had also dropped five lbs within a 4 day period as well. Also, another thing that helped me out tremendously is weight training. When I was smaller, I lifted weights, however, since using the services of a personal trainer, he has given me sage advice on- a) proper technique, b) which series of muscle groups to work and c) learning how to use certain nautilus and free weight equipment that I had never used before. It has made such a difference in terms giving my body a new shape. I don't know if you live in the NYC area, but if you do, you are more than welcome to join me for the curvygoddess meetup group (I'll send you my email address). Stay motivated, stay positive and stay away from people who will hinder or hamper your success!
Victoria says:
July 27, 2010, 11:32 pm
How exciting! Congratulations to you both.
HaitianRoots says:
July 28, 2010, 9:49 am
yay! so proud of you bella! isn't renisha fabulous?! not only is she excited and in love with what she does, she has a beautiful heart and spirit. Been knowing this lil' sis since college and am elated to see that your paths have crossed!
Jessica says:
July 28, 2010, 9:07 pm
I'm wishing you the best in this new journey. I'm glad you have a partner and guide to help you. Looking forward to your updates!
Renisha says:
July 29, 2010, 1:20 pm
TamTamm, It's your story and determination that push me to do what I do. Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging Afrobella and her readers to press forward and to view fitness as a lifestyle. That is the very core of my work and what I try to get people to understand. Once they've grasped that concept and believe that they ARE capable of achieving optimal fitness, it's all uphill from there! I'd like to be updated about your journey and your progress with getting that resource blog up. I think (KNOW) it's going to be awesome. Please keep me posted on your happenings and keep up the great work! Renisha
Renisha says:
July 29, 2010, 1:31 pm
Wow, thank you so much for all your tidbits and resources in your comment. There's always a way to get out there and get moving. Continue to encourage those around you and I wish you nothing but success on your fitness journey! Renisha
Renisha says:
July 29, 2010, 1:37 pm
Hello and thank you! I'm pumped! :)
Kimmie says:
July 29, 2010, 2:39 pm
I'm vitamin D deficient as well. I didn't know it caused belly fat. Wow! I had to take really high dosages of vitamin D for a while & then was supposed to take daily supplements to maintain. I didn't. Now I'll try harder to take them. Because I know it is part of the reason I'm so fatigued as well. I'm working on giving up the soda & increasing my water intake too. I love water w/lime wedges so I'm trying to make that my main drink of the day. Crystal Light type drinks with dinner only. Thanks for the encouragement! I can use it lol!
Renisha says:
July 29, 2010, 5:55 pm
HatianRoots, You rock! Yes, I am indeed blessed to have crossed paths with such a phenomenal woman like Afrobella. She is well on her way to being fit and healthy. Thanks for the support chica! Hope to see you soon!
TamTamm says:
July 30, 2010, 11:53 am
NP. We all can use a cheerleader every once in a while. Feel free to reach out to me at
TamTamm says:
July 30, 2010, 11:58 am
Thanks Renisha. I will certainly stay in touch with you through your site. Also, in looking through your site, have you ever thought of creating (and selling) video or audio podcasts of your workouts through iamplify or itunes? You should check it out ( I think this would be a great means for you to work out with long distance clients.
Meredith says:
August 3, 2010, 4:18 pm
Hey universoul*truth A friend of mine told me you mentioned the CNN story on this post -- thanks for following us! My new challenge is to get each black woman to encourage 7 -9 of her friends, sisters, co-workers, whatever to invest in their own health. You can do it, I have your back. Contact me via Twitter if you're on it (@MeredithClark) or via e-mail: I'd love to stay in touch!
Devon says:
August 14, 2010, 9:07 pm
I can identify with you Afrobella. Over the years, I would be hype about exercising for about a month, and then the Ben & Jerry's and Cheesecake Factory would start calling my name. I would abandon that workout equipment every time for those sweet It finally took a bad breakup last year to get me motivated to change. I joined a local boot camp and am very glad that I did. The women in there are very supportive and they are always there to listen and encourage you when you're frustrated. I've lost about 30 pounds and I couldn't have done it alone. I've hit plateau, but I am determined to break through that wall and reach my goal. I appreciate this blog post because I know i'm not alone. One thing i've noticed is that as i'm becoming physically strong, i'm becoming stronger mentally. I'm happy for you and I wish you the best!
Airlinetravelguides.Com says:
October 5, 2013, 11:11 am
Hi there! This article couldn't be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!
Salvatore says:
October 7, 2013, 12:47 pm
You are so interesting! I don't suppose I've read something like this before. So great to find another person with unique thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that's needed on the web, someone with a little originality!


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