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!