{January 28, 2013}   Movitation>Fear

Hello my fit kitties! I have been inspired by a potentially paralyzing experience.

The question someone must ask themselves when they begin their journey toward a goal is, “What am I willing to do to get there? What am I willing to go through to make this dream a reality?” Things will come up that will make you want to run back to where you were before and not push forward because it gets hard or you become afraid of what must be done. These are the times when you must ask if your motivation is stronger than your fear.

 As some of you know, I’m currently doing Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution program. Jillian designed this program as a progressive one where you do a set of workouts for two weeks, then the workouts change and get harder. As of today, I’ve completed weeks 1 and 2. I haven’t noticed any changes on the scale or in inches lost but I know I have more core strength and overall endurance so I’ll take it! I decided to watch the workouts for weeks 3 and 4…..I’m terrified of these workouts. Weeks 1 and 2 were encouraging because I could complete most of the exercises! There are push-ups done on the toes, plank variations, jump training, all stuff that I try to avoid like the plague. Seriously! I have workout DVDs collecting dust because they have these exercises in them!

 I have been tempted to go back to doing another workout program, Les Mills’ COMBAT, a MMA focused workout with none of the above mentioned exercises. However, it does have burpees which are another exercise I detest because I suck at them and they’re difficult. But I decided that I will not run, I will not shy away this time. I will push through and do what I can. Why? Because I have goals to reach, that’s why.

 There is a phrase that I heard on Jillian Michaels’ podcast and she repeats it in this program over and over again.

 “When you have a why, you can tolerate any how.”

 What that phrase means is if you have clearly defined goals, you can pretty much do anything you need to do to reach them. You have the power to make it through no matter how unpleasant things may seem. I hate writing papers and studying, but because I’m sick and tired of being stuck in a dead end job because I don’t have a college degree, I’m going back to school to study what I love and earn a degree that will open more doors for me. Again, the workouts I’ll have to do for the next two weeks scare the hell out of me! However, because I want to achieve optimum health, because I want to look amazing at 40, 50, 60, and 70, because I want to be sleek and toned, because I want to wear size 10 jeans for the first time in my life, because I have fantasies about being a fitness model, because I want to live to be 100+, chase my grandchildren around, and see my great-grandchild enter first grade, I will push through my fear and endure the pain. I’ve clearly defined my goals for myself. I’ve never been hungrier than I am now for change in my life. I have to do the work though. I can’t pout and say it’s too hard.

Besides, no one is expecting me to be perfect. No one is going to tsk tsk me for not doing every single rep my first time through. No one is going to fault me for taking a mini break when I truly feel I can’t do another move. No one is going to shame me for going to my knees to modify a push up because I’m not yet strong enough to do more than a couple regular push ups. All I ask of myself is that I push play and do what I can. Change only comes when we take ourselves out of our comfort zone. Change only comes when we push ourselves father than we think we can go. Jillian says in the Workout 3 DVD, “If you want comfort, you got the wrong program!” I believe it. Comfort keeps you stuck! And isn’t being comfortable what led me to being overweight in the first place? It’s time for me to find out what I’m really made of. “If you want what you’ve never had, you must do that which you’ve never done.” Do you believe it, my loves? It’s time to go get it!


Until next time, Love and Light from Fit Kitty Belle!


{January 23, 2013}   For Love of Zumba

Hello my fit cats and kittens! How was your long holiday weekend? I have to say that mine was delicious. I got to see some old friends, made new ones, spent some quality time with my love and got some extra burn sessions in. I’m finding new ways to get in exercise and it’s becoming second nature to make better choices for my body and soul. Like Michael Buble said, “I’m feeling good!”

 Today I’d like to share one of my favorite workouts with you, Zumba! I’m sure everyone in the world has at least heard of Zumba and knows someone who takes Zumba classes. Many of you what Zumba is so I won’t get into the back story righ now, but I will say that it’s a dance fitness workout that’s set to some awesome Latin rhythms such as Salsa, Cumbia, Reggeton, and other world music rhythms such as Calypso for truly international feel. Zumba is an interval training workout, meaning you You can visit for more in depth info and the bio of Zumba’s creator, Beto.


My love affair with Zumba began back when the DVDs first came out. Many of you who know me personally know that I’m a fitness DVD addict with an even greater weakness for dance workout DVDs so you know I jumped all over this! I tried it the day it came in the mail and was instantly hooked. Now I can’t attest to any amount of weight lost with the DVDs simply because I wasn’t consistent with my workouts and healthy eating habits way back when. I used the DVDs off an on, mainly for stress relief or for when I couldn’t get to a dance class.


For years, I had known about Zumba classes out in gyms and dance studios, but I never had the urge to go to one since I had the DVDs at home and figured that it’d be the same moves just a different instructor. I remember posting a Facebook status where I asked if there was any difference between the DVDs and the classes. A number of my friends said that the atmosphere of the class pushed you and made you want to go all out. The classes got you hyped because you were doing this incredible workout with other people. Still I put off going to class. A couple of months after I posted that status, my best friend asked for my help in losing weight and I suggested Zumba classes. The class we went to was way to fast, even for me, a woman who has been dancing most of her life. I kept up (barely), my friend struggled, and we never went back. I enjoyed the class but I wanted something that was closer to the DVDs in that the moves repeated numerous times and everyone from the 60+ year old in the back to the 10 year old in the front could follow it. That wasn’t this class.


Some months later, my good friend, Ms. Alyson Sousa got her Zumba instructor certification and invited me to her week of free classes. Now this was more my style! The moves weren’t intimidating and the moves were perfect. It didn’t feel like there was any move that couldn’t be executed. The pace was such that you felt like you were just grooving but still getting your sweat on. The atmosphere she created as an instructor was lighthearted, energetic, and just pure fun.  I truly enjoyed her class. She mixes the popular music with the traditional Zumba songs and rhythms, giving students like me a unique experience! I can’t say enough good things about Alyson’s class, but then again, she’s a friend so I could be a little biased.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to attend regularly due to my financial situation but I do go whenever I can.


I sat down with Alyson a few weeks ago and asked her why she became an instructor and to glean some advice for those who may be toying with the idea of becoming a Zumba instructor. Alyson told me her story and took me on her road to hosting classes. She hopped on an opportunity presented by a friend to travel to Cuba and while she was there, she fell absolutely in love with the people and the music. She decided to learn everything about dance that she could. When she returned home, she looked into dance classes. She loved regular classes that teach technique, but she wanted something less intimidating, something that was welcoming and made a dancer feel good no matter their level of training. Then, she found Zumba. During a brief period of unemployment, she began taken Zumba classes 2 to 3 per week not necessarily to lose weight but just to break up her day. She also began to take care of herself in other ways such as, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, eating healthier and drinking more water. (Things we all should be doing people!) People around her began to notice changes in her body and attitude. She loved the classes and wanting to reach people through dance, she decided to become an instructor. Alyson made the trek to upstate New York to obtain her certification and the rest is history. She currently holds classes in the fitness center of her apartment building in Manhattan and is currently planning to earn her second certification in Zumba Toning.


After my first class with Alyson, I began bouncing the idea of becoming an instructor myself around in my head. Since she’s been there/done that, I asked her for some tips. Here’s what she told me:


1)      You have to know who is going to be in your classes. Do you want to teach Zumba to kids? Are you teaching older adults or will there be a mix? You have to be mindful of the different demographics. You will have people who’ve been doing Zumba for years right beside people who have two left feet and are scared out of their minds so an instructor needs to tailor their classes and choreography to meet the needs of their participants.

2)      Be sure you have time to dedicate to your business! You have to build your own playlist(s), create choreography and rehearse it, and you have to think of how you’re going to cue the moves since Zumba is mostly non-verbal. You also have to think about marketing and how to get people to your classes.

3)      Invest in the Zumba gear. Alyson says this isn’t a must but it helps her look and feel more official.


I loved what Alyson said when I asked her about people who may be scared to go to a Zumba class because they aren’t coordinated or don’t feel that they’re dancers. She feels exactly the same way I do: JUST GO! Zumba is for everyone regardless of ability. It’s meant to get you moving, to get you burning calories, to get you to let go and have fun. It’s meant to make you feel good about doing something good for yourself. Find an instructor that fits your style, your needs, your level and go from there.


I love the idea of leading a class of my own one day. It may not happen until I’m nearly done with school in 2014, but you can believe that it’s on my list of things to do!

I have to thank the amazing Alyson Sousa for the interview, for having brunch with me and allowing me to pick her brain. I plan to resume attending classes as often as possible once I don’t have to be so tight with my purse strings. Will you join me?

{January 19, 2013}   Measuring Success

I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts today. This entry is entitled Measuring Success because it’s important to remember that there are many ways to track your progress towards your ideal weight and body. Don’t become a slave to the scale. One horrible habit that I have to break in order to save my sanity is weighing myself every morning. I know there are people that swear by it, some experts even advocate doing so to keep yourself on track. If it works for you, God bless. Frankly, the scale still has the power to ruin my entire day. It’s funny, we can tell ourselves and everyone we know everything that we know intellectually to be true, “It’s a water fluctuation,” “I’m building muscle faster than I’m losing fat,” etc., but, the second you see a number on a scale, all of that goes out the window. In the moment your eyes fixate on numerals, all common sense flees as far as the East is from the West.  That’s exactly what happened to me this morning.


 I’ve been tracking my calories on my Lose It! App for a little over a week and I’ve been working out on a semi-regular basis for the same amount of time. I thought, “Surely some change must have taken place.” You can imagine my disappointment when I stepped on my trusted Weight Watchers scale and saw that I had gained 1.2 pounds. I did a mental run through of all the logical explanations but still my heart stayed sunken. Let me mention that I am the heaviest that I’ve ever been in my entire life so seeing a number creep up instead of down, I’m sure, would dampen the spirits of someone in my position. I calmly reminded myself that I’m only two days into Body Revolution, I’ve been doing strength training with 8 pound weights, I’m eating MUCH less than I used to so my body is trying to hold onto weight out of fear of famine so I need to give myself time.


After a good five minutes, that wave of insecurity and self pity passed. And then I decided to get ready for work.  A number of my friends have told me that they measure their success by how their clothes fit, a notion I definitely agree with since we lose inches before we drop pounds.  I tried to get dressed this morning and every garment I tried to get on my body told me “It ain’t happenin’ sugar!” Dresses, dress pants, button-down and boat neck shirts. Even my tights weren’t having it! I stood in the middle of my bedroom in disbelief. I reluctantly reached for an item I knew would fit but was trying to avoid wearing….a pair of Old Navy jeans with holes in the inner thigh. Every pair of jeans that I own have holes in the inner thigh thanks to the friction caused by my thighs rubbing together. As I hunted for a shirt to wear with my holy jeans, I kept digging up the stylish, sophisticated clothes I bought two years ago with my tax refund. Many of these clothes have never been worn due to my “outgrowing” them shortly after their purchase.


It could be easily said that I had a bad body morning. Thankfully, I haven’t sought food to try to make myself feel better and cause more damage. I posted both my weight and my measurements last night because I know that the scale alone will not give me the whole picture concerning my slim down results. My measurements last night shocked the hell out of me, I can’t lie. I never thought I’d have a 39” waist or 52” hips. It’s more than apparent that I have to take action. I have to use this information and the internal feedback from this morning to push me onward towards a healthier and fitter figure. This is usually the point where someone who has been trying and doesn’t see what they want on the scale throws up their hands and dives head first into a junk food binge. A year ago, I would have said out loud, “What’s the point?!” and driven to McDonald’s. But now, I have to turn this negative into a positive. I have to measure my success in every way possible and remind myself that the scale is just a tool.


My beloveds, if you’re where I am, if you’re trying and you don’t see results, give it time. It is only through consistent effort that results come and it will take time before their seen. Continue to be mindful of what you put into your body. Keep moving your body and pushing yourself through your workouts. This is a process, a process that requires days, weeks, months, and even years of loving yourself enough to make better choices. I will stay the course. I look forward to the day I can shimmy into that pair of distressed jeans that have begged to be worn for the last two years. I eagerly await the day when my waist is smaller than 36 inches. I dream of the day when all the clothes in my closet have to be replaced because their way too baggy. It can be done! We are the ones with the power, not the scale. 

On Tuesday, I’ll be posting about one of my favorite workouts, Zumba, with my favorite instructor, Alyson. See you then, darlings. Love and Blessings from the Fit Kitty!


{January 16, 2013}   Here it is!!!!

Welcome to my blog my fit and soon-to-be fit cats and kittens! I am thrilled to finally be launching my health, fitness, and wellness blog, Fit Kitty Belle. This first entry will be more personal than topic specific because I want you all to get to know me a little bit better before we begin our journey together. I am Taye Desiree Del Val, a 30 year old Black woman currently living in Queens, NY who has a deep and abiding passion for health and fitness. My beautiful sister in law, Ivette, first introduced me to the idea of healthier living, taking me to the gym and educating me on the importance of eating right and supplementing. I’ve been struggling with my weight pretty much my entire life and I had only dabbled with losing weight in the past. I believe that The Universe set me on my current path last year. Just looking at the way life presented itself, I can’t deny that everything is happening for a higher purpose. Let me explain. Towards the beginning of Spring 2012, I stumbled upon the podcast of one of my mentors, Jillian Michaels. I was hooked after the third podcast and began to hang on Jillian’s every word and following most of her advice. Then, after an audition for my wonderful Middle Eastern Dance instructor’s dance instructor’s troupe, I was told that I need to lose weight. It’s showbiz, folks. Everyone else in the troupe is slender and you want uniformity right? Also, the creative director is also the seamstress and I wouldn’t want her to have to buy a larger mannequin just for me. So I began working with my fellow dancer, Kendra, who was just finishing her training as a health coach. Next, my bestie was diagnosed in May with Type II Diabetes. He and I lived similar lifestyles so I went to the doctor to have my blood tested. My doctor so lovingly told me that my A1C level (the average of your blood sugar levels over 3 months) put me in the pre-diabetic range and if I did not lose weight, I would more than likely become diabetic in the future. Also, my liver enzyme levels were  abnormally high. Kendra taught me how to properly use food and got me on supplements that would help my body heal itself. Finally, towards the end of last summer, my mother, who has had health problems for as long as I can remember, told me that she’s now on palliative care as the doctors can no longer cure her of all her ailments. She looked at me and made me promise that I would lose weight and live a healthier life because she did not want me to deal with all she has dealt with. My mission became crystal clear, I would become an example of health and fitness for my loved ones and I would share my passion. I have found my purpose. I’ve gone back to college to earn my degree in Sport and Health Science and just as I learn, you all will learn with me.

Now, let me tell you what this blog will not be or do. You will never see me advocate one diet or another. I will never tell you to follow a vegan diet or Atkins, South Beach, Dukan, Zone, Grapefruit, Grape Nuts, etc. diet. I believe in finding what works for you and your body. I believe in the 80/20 rule, live and eat as healthy as possible 80-90 percent of the time and you’ll be more than fine. I will never claim to be an expert, not until I get my degree anyway! I will be sharing all the information I glean from various resources. I wIill share my faith on this blog (I am a Christian), as I do believe God walks with me on my road to better health and a better life, but I will not shove my beliefs down anyone’s throat.

Let me tell you want this blog is. It’s where I will be sharing my own weight loss and wellness journey. I’ll be updating you weekly on my pounds and inches lost, the workouts I do, the meals I prepare, and everything that works for me. I’ll be trying out workouts and meals from one of the many women’s fitness magazines I subscribe to. I’ll be covering a variety of topic and I will get personal at times. I’ll be posting interviews I conduct, reviews of articles I read, and videos of workouts I try. But, this isn’t just about me, it’s about you, my readers. I want to educate you, to walk this road with you, to get you to think about your life in a way you may have not before. I’m here for you so please leave comments, ask questions, hit me up on Facebook and share your thoughts there. I’ll be posting new blogs Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Now for the start of my journey:

I’m currently two days into Jillian Michaels’ 90-day Body RevolutionBeginning Stats: weight: 238.2lbs waist: 39 1/2″ bust: 44 1/2″ hips: 52″
Current goal: lose 2 pounds per week

Ok cats and kittens, that’s all for tonight! Peace and Love from the Fit Kitty!



et cetera