Fashion. Style. Beauty Within You. Plussize. Caribbean Blogger. St.Maarten

Meet Fetin Instructor: Fabiana Richardson..."Fit 4 Carnival Is More Than A New Year's Resolution"

It’s a yearly rite for millions: create an unrealistic goal for the next year, then watch in horror as that New Year’s resolution slips out of  your grasp, by the 2nd week in January!

At first glance, the success rate for those resolutions don’t exactly inspire either. Only about 46 percent of resolution makers were still sticking to their resolution six months into the year, a 2017 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found.

But researchers say that, despite the tough success rates, making a resolution is one of the best ways to actually make a change, particularly if realistic goals are set in the first place. Resolutions involve us moving our goals from mere contemplation into more concrete action. One of the most popular resolution that is made, especially among women, is "weight loss / healthier lifestyle".

In the Caribbean region, weight loss is often link to losing weight so that we can look our best for the Carnival Season (or Fetin Season as it is locally referred to). For St.Maarten, unlike most part of the world (February) it is during the month of April. This means that you have 4 months to get in shape until you hit the road in what can be described as a flamboyant and colorful costume with extravagant feathers and vibrant makeup.

This year a particular initiative and its instructor caught my attention: "Fit 4 Carnival". Being a Carnival lover myself, I know that had I not been expecting, I would certainly have been part of this weight loss musical inclined project. I had the opportunity to interview the instructor and of course she shared her own personal weight loss journey and how she ended up being part of this initiative that has grown beyond her expectations in the last 3 weeks.

Meet Ms. Fabiana Richardson:

 “Wanting something is not enough. You must be hungry for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.”~ Unknown~ This is one powerful quote and Fabiana can certainly identify with it!

"I am an energetic, fun and aspiring mother of two gorgeous princesses’ name T’iana and O’céane. My hobbies include dancing, singing and sports, just to name a few. This 30 year old is this face of The Department of Social Services, Ministry Public Health, Social Development and Labor as Front Office Rep and Admin Assist, “ Service Above Self Always”.

Do you agree that weight loss is a hard resolution to stick to?

"It certainly is one of the hardest things to commit to. It demands discipline and a combination of healthier eating habits and physical activity.

Tell us about your own personal journey to weight loss, because you have certainly lost a considerable amount of weight.

" About 2 1/2 years ago, I got a wake up call, when I was shopping and realized that I have climbed up to a size 16 (from being a S to a size XL). Granted I had my daughters within a short period of time and that baby fat for sure played a role. In addition to that the change of becoming a new mom and adjusting to the demands of combining work, motherhood, being someone's partner and education was not easy. Although this may sound like a summary of excuses, the reality is that "life happened". Even my love for sports and dancing were hindered by this cycle we call life and at some point I would have to get back in control of my life.

This weight gain contributed to insecurities and also to depression, where one day I decided that I have had enough! I also changed my eating habits during my second pregnancy, and this change set the tone for the goal that I wanted to achieve, which was getting back to my old self....for Fabiana...not for society!

What are some of the tips you can share with us and bottle necks that you encountered during this journey?

"What I did, was that I involved my whole family with the change in eating habits. My partner was a key element and supported me trying to get back on track.  Another thing that I learned to do was to eat the right portions. Our Caribbean culture is big on food and starches...we love sauces and our social life revolves around good food. We eat irregular and do not monitor the hours that we are ingesting our meals. All factors that accelerate your weight gain and can result in health deterioration. I trained myself not to eat after 6 PM, and if I do, it would be something very light. I avoided going to sleep full / feeling sluggish and I also joined back sports and dancing aggressively".  

Are you happy where you are right now?

"Yes! I am back to feeling like my old self, my energy level is right and I am focusing on toning and maintenance now. I actually eat whatever I want, I simply have learned to balance my meals. I am currently a size M. I look at my child bearing hips and they are a beautiful reminder that I have my babies, so that is OK. However because of them it is important for me to ensure that I am around for a long time, and that can only be achieved with me making some changes to your eating habits and your activity pattern. Even if it's a daily 15 minutes walk,  it will help you with decreasing your  chances of  developing diabetes, one of the most rampant chronic deceases in our region."

How did you get involved with Fit 4 Carnival?

"It was my ultimate dream to always offer a Soca infused Aerobics class. In 2016, after much research I decided that I was going to start classes. I managed to even secure a location and things were looking positive. Then came September...Hurricane Irma hit our island, causing more than 90% destruction to our infrastructure, our homes and our emotional stability. I figured, my dream would have to be put on pause once again as we dealt with the aftermath of this natural disaster.

On November 25th, 2017 I was approached by a dear friend and organizer of  Kalaboom Events. He contacted me with a proposal and I knewit in my heart that I could not resist as here was an opportunity that I was waiting on.

The motto of Kalaboom is: "We are always looking for ways to expand our brand and ALWAYS give our KALABOOMERS a FUN and STRESS FREE EXPERIENCE ALL YEAR ROUND. The Kalaboom team is filled with dynamic individuals and this year we decided to venture into the field of fitness & HEALTH. 

 I partnered up with them and became the face of the “Fit 4 Carnival” . Being that I had my own personal weight loss story, they knew my passion for staying fit. This made the concept a no brainer for the Kalaboom team, and together we launched the initiative in December, in collaboration with Village Life.  

 The main goal along is to develop and focus on health, fitness (fete-ness), fun and positivity for 2018 and we are confident that Fit 4 Carnival is a good start to accomplish just that"

 Sessions started officially in January, and in the first 3 weeks it has almost triple to the initial 20 participants that pre- registered or signed up. Every week we have a theme that we can look forward to and we strive to keep the interest and variety fun and effective, turning this into a real SOCA session. Trust me when I say that by the time April comes around, we will be FIT 4 Carnival!


"Do-it-all" generation of women suffering work stress epidemic

Middle aged women two thirds more likely to suffer work stress than male colleagues

The pressure to juggle careers, children and, often, caring for elderly parents is driving soaring levels of workplace stress among middle aged professional women, a leading psychiatrist has warned.

Dr. Judith Mohring said official figures showing a spike in cases of workplace stress among women in their 30s and 40s underlined the pressures on the so-called “do-it-all” generation of women.

It follows official figures showing middle aged women in Britain are almost 70 per cent more likely to suffer work-related stress.

The problem is becoming particularly acute among those in their late 30s and early 40s in which cases have risen by almost a fifth in four years.

Dr Mohring, based at the Priory’s Wellbeing Clinic in central London, said the pressure to maintain “traditional women’s roles” despite a revolution in the workplace was taking its toll.

Recent figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that women aged between 35 and 44 in mainland Britain are 67 per cent more likely to suffer work-related stress than men of the same age.

Cases of work-related stress among women in the age-group stands at 2,090 cases per 100,000 working women, compared with a rate of only 1,250 for men of the same age.

The work stress rate among women has jumped 18 per cent in the last four years for those in their late 30s and early 40s.

Among women between 45 and 55 the rate is even higher, at 2,180 cases per 100,000 working women but has fallen slightly over the last four years, from 2,200 per 100,000.

“In professional terms, women’s place in the world has been transformed over the last 50 years,” said Dr. Mohring.

“We now achieve all that men can.

“Perhaps what we haven’t managed so well is to transfer responsibility for some of the more traditional women’s roles.

“So while we might excel at work, we’ll usually pile the pressure on at home too – and that can lead to major stress.

“Women with children will know all too well the tension between being a hands-on mother and managing a busy job.

“But it’s not just mothers who feel they fail to live up to an imaginary feminine ideal.

“Women have so many arenas in which they can compete: how we look, the quality of our friendships, and, of course, the work we produce.

“Sometimes it can feel that there are just too many ways to fail. And that’s when self-doubt, low self-esteem and self-criticism can come to the fore.”

She added that long working hours and high stress levels also appear to be driving professional women to drink.

“From what I see, stress levels are high everywhere. Everybody working today is being driven harder, and asked to deliver so much more than they were even five years ago, and digital saturation means that work follows us home and often, via smartphones, to our bedside.

"Most people I see are too tired to enjoy life outside of work as a result. In the City, 60-plus hour-weeks are not rare.

“Women often don’t come to the clinic until they are at absolute breaking point or they turn to alcohol as a work ‘anesthetic’.

“But still many senior business managers do not believe stress, anxiety or depression is a serious enough reason for employees to take time off work.”


Best stress beaters

1. Be active

Exercise won’t make stress disappear, but it can help you clear your thoughts and approach your problems calmly

2. Avoid unhealthy habits

Don't rely on alcohol, smoking or caffeine as your ways of coping. In the long term, they’ll just create more problems

3. Help other people

Evidence shows that people who help others, through volunteering for example, become more resilient.

But you can get the same effect by trying to do someone a favour every day, however small

4. Be grateful

To help focus on the positives in your life, try writing down three things at the end of every day which went well

5. Accept what can't change

When you can't change a difficult situation try to concentrate on the things you do have control over