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These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Tag: weight loss

How To Know You Have PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

jasmine banks

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"How do you know if you have PCOS?" People actually ask me this all the time.  I talk often about having PCOS. I was diagnosed when I was 12, but we knew something was off far before any doctors were telling me I had to go into surgery before my ovary exploded. Soak that up. For real. They really told me that my ovary was going to explode... OKAY, technically they said it could "rupture" and they had to do "ovary drilling", but my 12 year old mind heard:

"HOLY EXPLODING OVARIES, BATMAN!"

PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian/Ovary Syndrome affects many women. (pah-lee-SIS-tik) ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a serious health problem, called a syndrome for the way you can have some but not ALL of the symptoms.  One in ten women have PCOS, and *NEWSFLASH*  not all of them are chubby women! Some people think that PCOS is a disease caused by OBESITY, and while obesity complicates PCOS, it doesn't alway cause it. I am a prime example, I started having symptoms when I was 8.

Some of the symptoms of PCOS impact:

  • Menstrual cycle
  • Ability to have children
  • Hormones
  • Heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Appearance

My symptoms manifest like this:

Sounds like a walk in the park, right? The tricky part about PCOS is that it can be very hard to diagnose. Doctors sometimes simply say, "lose weight" or "stop eating sugar". The thing is, your body is smart. Your body will win. I run, play roller derby, and see a nutritionist and losing weight is HARD hard HARD. You can treat PCOS with Metformin, and other drugs that help your body process hormones and insulin appropriately.

The thing I've learned over the years is having enough courage to be your own advocate. If you chose to take the naturopathic or medical route, it is up to you. I choose to take from both approaches. I changed, mostly, the way I eat. I exercise. I reduce my stress through support systems, and I take good care of myself.

Here are some awesome sites I follow for PCOS support and education, only ONE of them is geared directly toward PCOS. I've learned to piece together support and information.

PCOS DIVA

Gracious Pantry

Runs For Cookies

 

 

Have you ever heard of PCOS before? Do you have it? Do you know someone who has it? How do they deal?

 

 

 

 

Body Image: Making Peace With Your Body & Fitness Bucket List

jasmine banks

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I've written, extensively, about my struggle with all things "The Body". Recently I have made a conscious effort to embrace the fact that Jasmine and "my body" are the same person. My circumstances are: I pack on the pounds as a trauma reaction and then the pounds don't come off very quickly because I have a chronic disease that affects my metabolic process and makes weight loss near impossible. Even if I didn't have those "legitimate reasons" for having excess weight is would still be hard. Women and their bodies have it rough. Women have it rough. In a world of fat/skinny bashing, stereotyping, and a misogynistic media force, it can be really hard in your own body. We are always being told our bodies are "right" the way they are. So much of what we are told is a narrative based on having someone else's body, get a BEACH BODY, a GYM BODY, a DANCER BODY a BIKINI BODY. 

I get it! No company is going to sell products by encouraging body contentment. In fact they have to create the need (OHMYGAWD WHY DON'T YOU LOOK LIKE JENNIFER HUDSON!) so that you'll take the bait that their product is JUST.WHAT.YOU.NEED.TO.LOOK.LIKE.JENNIFER.HUDSON!

The world used to honor, mostly, the functional body but even now that isn't enough. You have to have a Brazilian backside, with inflatable on the front, a twiggy waist, and Keira Knightly legs. I don't even know what that person looks like.

The "real women have curves" movement was a step in normalizing the anti-runway model body, but then the more lean women were ostracized.   Cecily wrote about being in her body the other day and I hear parts of my own inner body voice in what she had to say AND Kristina wrote about how being skinny is complicated and I heard my own inner body voice as well.  I hear my story in Kristina's story because lots of women look at my body and my athletic ability and say, "I wanna be like that."

Of course I don't remember that when I am bashing myself. When I am in my head I imagine that mine is the worst of the worst on the body list and no one will even find 'all dis chubby' attractive.

Add the fact that my husband had affairs, secretly, for all five years of our marriage and THIS lady's self esteem is quickly spiraling into, "at least the cookies love me" zone.

I've defined myself by an arbitrary number on the scale for too long.

But lately I have been fighting back! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook then you've seen many check-in status updates to the gym. I've started going to the gym 3-4 days a week and doing functional fitness around the house the other days. I've created goals for myself that focus on fitness and not the scale. For example: I created a fitness bucket list awhile ago. This list is a way for me to feel like I am accomplishing my goals AND it helps me keep fitness fun. I get to try new experiences, which I totally love (usually).

 

I've purchased a cool pair of running shorts. These running shorts CURRENTLY look like booty shorts, but I expect as I keep a healthy level of activity and body movement the fit will start to change.

I am working very hard to stop focusing on what I don't like and start realizing and focusing on what I love. I am a friggin' talented Zumba instructor, I can run a 5K, I am VERY strong, also... have I mentioned that I happen to be an exceptionally beautiful woman? I totally am.

 

It can be hard to embrace who we are (body and all) in our society. I've always been a rebel so I plan to celebrate my beautiful body no matter what.

Do you have a fitness bucket list? If so what is on it? If not, what would you put on it? If you are interested in changing your body/fitness level, what NON-scale goals do you use to encourage and empower yourself?

The Biggest Loser #14: Part Two

jasmine banks

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[Warning! This post may contain triggers for survivors of sexual abuse/trauma]

 

Wow... it has been a ride, y'all. Seriously. When I first wrote about considering trying out for The Biggest Loser, I had a different attitude. My attitude was all, "how hilarious would I be... serious,  I am awesome fodder for TV."

After I began filming my casting video, pre-registered, and attended some casting calls (headed to Dallas tonight!) I realized that The Biggest Loser, while a TV, is doing something very big.  I know, I know, I know... it is a REALITY TV show... but I think, y'all, that it is something more.

At the Kansas City casting call I was able to meet some awesome people. I sat and listened to person after person open up and become very vulnerable with their struggle to lose weight and face their baggage. I was invited to a support group by a group of people who attended the casting calls and got rejected. They wanted/want to changed their lives with or without The Biggest Loser, and that is amazing!

TBL challenged us, "if you get on the show, how would you give back?"

Give back?

Pssh... I was just thinking about how funny I'd be... I wasn't thinking about giving back...

Then I realized, through some reflection, that my struggle with weight wasn't/isn't funny. My weight has been a symptom of internal things that were broken. I'd been hiding behind a veneer of "look how entertaining I can be" because I didn't want to confront the shame of losing the battle to shed unhealthy pounds. Intuitive eating, The Biggest Loser, or whatever method is never going to be success for me (or anyone else) if we are afraid to bring down the masks, be truly vulnerable, and sometimes (even if we aren't "entertaining") take risks.

I have thought about that question Ashley asked me at The Biggest Loser Casting Call in Kansas City.

I decided that if I were to be on the show, what I'd want to do is work with single women with children and women who have survived sexual abuse.

My mom was a single parent who had no idea how to guide me through fitness and nutrition. She struggled with weight herself and this apple didn't fall too far from that tree. She wasn't equipped with the help she needed and frequently we were food deprived from homelessness and poverty. I developed an "eat while you can" reflex. Staying in a homeless shelter, like we frequently did, makes a kid wonder IF the next meal with appear and so I went on survival mode. I have also recognized that a lot of my excess weight came from eating to build a shield. I thought if I could gain enough weight, be "unattractive" enough then I'd not have to face the pain of someone violating my body. I believed for a long time that the sexual abuse I experienced was some how because I was too pretty. That was what he told me as well. That I was "getting men's attention with my body." I was only eight. I know now it wasn't my fault.

My weight became my armor against that lie. It sometimes still is.

I have heard other women talk about their bodies with disgust after surviving sexual abuse. We become prisons in our bodies where this horrible loss of power happened. If I had the power of The Biggest Loser Season 14 behind me, I'd advocate for those women. I'd be an example that they don't have to disconnect from their bodies and hide behind food. I'd be able to say,

"I took back my power, my body is strong and healed... let me help you do the same."

So  I am headed to Dallas this weekend to another casting call. Even IF I don't get a callback I've already started my journey. I wake up daily and remind myself that I don't have to be afraid of my own body- that I can do this. I am slowly turning OFF those damaging tapes that play in my head. I've been attending the gym regularly, I've been taking time to journal and inhale-exhale when I feel overwhelmed instead of turning to food. It sounds cheesy, I know, but this casting call experience has really changed my paradigm. This is about making a life change, this about confronting myself, this is about taking control of my life- not about getting on an entertaining show.

Wish me luck!