Madam Chair and Members of the Committee, my name is Joslyn Raquel Reese and I am a proud member of Good Business Colorado and the Co-Founder of FIT & NU, Colorado’s first FITness and NUtrition club for women of color. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and discuss the importance of SB21-001, Modify COVID-19 Relief Programs for Small Business. We would also like to thank Senator Fields for the work she is doing in our district to support minority business leaders like me. It is an honor to represent the voice of my fellow minority entrepreneurs in front of the members of this subcommittee and the distinguished panel of experts and advocates who are in attendance today.
Six years ago, my sister and I started FIT & NU by hosting classes in public parks, community centers, and local churches. We were driven by our passion for helping others and our mission to provide culturally informed, fitness and nutrition services to improve the lives and health of the women in our community who work tirelessly to support their families and make invaluable contributions to broader society. It has been an absolute dream come true to grow our business from its humble beginnings to what we have become today: a fully equipped boutique club that is not only positively impacting the health and wellness of hardworking women in our community, but employing, collaborating and contracting with state and local government agencies (like the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment), other small businesses, and entrepreneurs.
While we achieved these accomplishments through grit and determination, we could not have done this alone. Much of the success that my sister and I have enjoyed so far has been propelled by generous grants and services provided by local non-profit organizations who focus on supporting small, family-owned businesses like ours.
The importance of identifying and securing financial resources has been particularly instrumental to our business and cannot be understated. When we first started our business, these resources afforded us the ability to hire a talented team that implemented targeted marketing campaigns and supported critical business operations. Last year, these resources afforded us the additional time that we needed to develop a strategic plan in the midst of a global pandemic to pivot toward digital services and remain competitive during. They also helped us maintain our brick and mortar studio in Aurora, the city in which we were raised.
If these programs did not prioritize minority-owned businesses, we are not certain if FIT & NU would exist as we know it. Business leaders from historically marginalized groups represent 1 out of 5 firms in Colorado , yet we continue to face systematic barriers to capital . We witnessed the consequences of these longstanding barriers play out last summer, when thousands of minority-owned businesses experienced delayed access to PPP loans and were more likely to be denied entirely . Many minority-owned businesses went under as a consequence, particularly black-owned businesses . If we did not receive these earmarked funds last year, we easily could have been one the thousands of small businesses that were forced to shut their doors due to COVID-19. Without greater attention to these inequities, we know that many businesses like ours are still at risk and will not survive through the spring.
Given that minority business owners like us were largely underserved by federal relief programs last year, combined with the preponderance of data demonstrating the ongoing issues that present steep barriers to accessing capital, we are grateful that this Committee has wisely prioritized minority-owned businesses during this unprecedented time of uncertainty and economic upheaval. We urge this Committee to continue championing efforts that will eliminate longstanding racial and ethnic disparities in opportunities.
We sincerely hope our testimony affirms that these efforts, particularly the prioritization of minority-owned businesses like ours, can make a significant difference in reinvigorating the American Dream. Thank you again for the opportunity to share our story on the behalf of all minority-owned small businesses in Colorado.
Mile High United Way for Business program featured us and the positive impact that we have on the community in their blog. We are very grateful to them and this program, which supported us as we navigated a difficult year. We are especially indebted to Vanessa Huerta and her team.
Thank you, Mile High United Way! We are so glad we went through United for Business! It was such a rewarding experience.
At the beginning of each year, millions of Americans make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, often through some sort of crash-course dieting plan. However, they also tend to learn that losing weight is much harder than they thought it would be. Or, more commonly, they immediately gain the weight right back once they stop dieting. Have you ever wondered why that is or are you one of the millions of people struggling with weight loss?
A lot of this can be explained by what happens to our metabolism when we lose weight, especially when we shed pounds quickly. Read on to learn more about the biology behind weight loss and 3 tips on how to counteract our bodies natural tendencies.
If you find this counterintuitive (and frustrating), you’re not alone. If more people knew about this, the diet industry would be out of business. Before we dive deeper into what is going on, let’s break down what metabolism is.
Metabolism is basically the way that our bodies convert the food that we eat into energy.
Our bodies are constantly expending energy. Whether we’re readjusting our position in a chair or engaging in rigorous exercise such as running or cycling, our bodies need energy to power every movement we make.
We also use energy for activities that don’t involve physical activity, like sitting still and thinking. In fact, researchers found that the brain accounts for 20% of our energy consumption, despite only representing about 2% of our total body weight. Overall, cognitive activities account for most of the energy that our bodies use, through a process (60%-70%) driven by what is referred to as our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).
Beside the energy used through RMR, an additional 10% of energy is used to digest food, and the remaining 20%-30% is expended during physical activities.
Keep in mind that these statistics are also estimated averages. If you’re an athlete or have certain health conditions, these numbers will look different. For example, an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can slow the metabolism. If you have any weight concerns related to your metabolism, you should consult with a medical doctor. They may decide to assess your thyroid hormone levels. If it is low, you may be prescribed a replacement thyroid hormone. You can learn more by reading this summary, published by the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Our weight is the outcome of the energy that we consume and the energy that we use. Weight gain occurs when we take in more energy than they use and weight loss occurs in the reverse. So it might make sense to dramatically cut down calories or begin exercising a lot more and a lot longer each day to quickly lose weight.
As we’ve discussed previously, the problem is that our bodies are equipped with a powerful, natural defense system to counteract this type of extreme dieting approach. When we eat dramatically less (especially for more than a couple of days) our bodies interpret this as starvation and it begins sending out signals to conserve more energy.
One critical way that our body will attempt to conserve energy is by eliminating anything that takes a lot of it, such as lean muscle tissue which also has downstream effects for metabolism.
It’s also worth noting that rapid weight loss also throws our hormones out of whack. There are several hormones involved, but one of the most well-researched is leptin which signals to our brain that we are full and to stop eating. As our bodies lose weight, we also decrease our levels of leptin and without that signal (or less of it) we want to eat more, even if our body is consuming less energy.
Yes! Healthy habits.
If you’re new to our blog or just now being introduced to our work, healthy habits are at the heart of our wellness philosophy. You may be interested in reading our tips for dumping those all-or-nothing diet routines and 6 small steps you can take right now to make big changes to your health.
Basically, there are a lot of things working against us, from our busy professional and personal lives to the powerful biological forces that can sometimes undermine our desires and efforts to manage our health. The only way to overcome this type of gravity is through small and consistent behavioral modifications that will eventually snowball and take on a momentum of their own. Read some of our previous posts if you need a refresher, like those 6 tips I just mentioned.
1. Celebrate any success like crazy, no matter how small.
Whether you hit your goal to run an ultramarathon or you managed to lay out your workout clothes, dust those shoulders off and congratulate yourself for being the rockstar queen that you are!
A common example is deciding on what to order at a restaurant. When browsing through the menu of options, try asking yourself, “What would a healthy person do?”
This will help orient your attention to more nutritious meal options like a salad and away from other temptations like a burger and fries. You can also gain greater control over your relationship with food through mindful eating, which we’ve written about previously here. Eventually, you won’t have to ask yourself this question anymore because these choices will become instinctual. Plus, you will start to associate yourself as the healthy person.
Even if it means pacing around your room for 20 minutes while you phone a friend, physical activity improves your mood and sleep, while reducing stress and blood sugar levels. Additionally, while it isn’t the biggest factor in losing weight, exercise is key to maintaining the weight that you want to be.
The key point to takeaway is that our eating behaviors have the greatest affect on changing our waistlines, while exercise helps us maintain those changes. Crash-course diets impact both but those changes tend to be temporary and short-lived. We need to establish healthy habits, if we want long-term sustainable results.
NOTE: This blog post was also published on Medium.
Editor’s Note: The initial post incorrectly attributed the third photo to Blake Jackson. The caption has since been edited to credit Andrea Gerstenberger.
Head FITness Coach, Brittney Rae, was featured on Mile High Mornings with 9News demonstrating 3 easy exercises that you can do to boost your booty in the comfort of your living room.
According to research by the Economic Research Service (ERS), Americans spend about 75 minutes per day eating and drinking, but we’re often doing other things too, like watching Netflix, scrolling through our phone, or working. Multitasking while eating can distort our perceptions, which can result in over-eating or under-eating. It can also distort our relationship with food and prevent us from truly enjoying what we’re eating.
Researchers like Dr. Lilian Cheung, a Nutrition Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, have referred to this type of distracted eating as mindless eating. Her research has found that mindless eating is a contributor to obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
Ask yourself the following questions and see how well you can answer them.
Now, take a second and reflect on how your environment or habits may be affecting your ability to answer these questions — and do it with self-compassion. Keep in mind that the vast majority of people engage in mindless eating, even if they’re not looking at their phones or laptop screen. They may be lost in their thoughts about the day or deeply engaged in a conversation with a friend. This isn’t all bad, necessarily. It’s just that we should be aware of how this might be affecting our health and how we can control these behaviors.
Mindful eating is the opposite of mindless eating and it takes practice. It’s also a skill that we all have the capability of mastering over time.
Here are 3 tips to get you started:
If you’re ready to take the next step, here’s a mindful eating exercise inspired by clinical psychologist, Dr. Steven Hayes’s book, Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
If you tried this exercise, as always, we’d love to know what your experience was like. Was there anything that you struggled with? Did anything surprise you? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.
Editor’s Note: The initial post incorrectly attributed the second photo to Blake Jackson. The caption has since been edited to credit Richard Cummings.
A few months back, we were awarded a grant by IFundWomen. Today, we discussed how this grant impacted us and our business with the lovely Shannon McLay, the founder of Financial Gym, and fellow guest Emilie Rodriguez on the podcast Martinis and Your Money. You can check out the episode on their website or on your favorite podcast app.
FIT & NU™ is working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Prevent T2 lifestyle change program to prevent type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to health problems including heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; or loss of toes, feet, or legs.
People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they:
Nationally, 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes, so the need for a prevention program, like Prevent T2, has never been greater. The PreventT2 program is a research-backed and scientifically proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of certified coaches that help individuals establish healthy habits. Studies suggest that the Prevent T2 program can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% through modest lifestyle changes.
As trained lifestyle coaches, Joslyn Reese and Brittney Rae Raeese will guide participants as they work in groups to develop the skills they need to make lasting changes to improve their health, including losing weight, increasing physical activity, and managing stress. The program focuses on eating healthy, adding physical activity to participants’ routine, managing stress, staying motivated, and overcoming challenges that can get in the way of healthy changes.
PreventT2 groups meet for a year. Weekly for the first 6 months and then once or twice a month for the second half of the year to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar barriers and working toward the same changes. Participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles together.