I have some pretty awesome people in my circle. One woman in particular comes to mind this morning, Jolene. We share mutual friends and use to shake it in Zumba together.

Jolene is a cookbook consultant and she develops and test recipes. She’s pretty well-respected in the industry. When I was asked to author my upcoming cookbook a mutual friend of ours urged me to contact Jolene. I was very hesitant. A little intimated. Thinking…Jolene might rip my ideas apart. I’m an amateur cookbook author. I wrote Bringing Cooking Back with lots of passion, instinct, and by fumbling through a few cookbooks I had lying around the house.

Well, as fate would have it, I ran into Jolene at cycling class. We chatted about this and that. I felt comfortable enough to tell her about the upcoming cookbook and share a few of my ideas with her. She agreed to meet me for coffee and help me flush out my ideas for my proposal. Over coffee, Jolene listened to my ideas, helped me refine them, and gave me her nod of approval. Yes, she gave me her nod of approval. She thought my ideas were wonderful. I was so relieved. If she liked my ideas. I knew they were solid. As we were gathering our stuff to part ways, I asked her if I should scale back on some of my ideas because of the timeline I had to complete the cookbook. Her response, “I won’t give you permission to do less than your best.”

Oh, Jolene. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I replay those words again and again. Sometimes we need someone to remind us of our potential,push us out of our comfort zone, and not let us settle for average. And sometimes the very person we are intimated by is the very person that demands our best from us. I am so grateful to have people like Jolene in my life who encourage me to be my best.

Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box on the shelves August 27, 2012.

Chrisetta Mosley

Chrisetta Mosley

I am a product – and now a survivor – of childhood obesity. As a child, my family always told me that my extra weight was merely baby fat and I’d eventually grow out of it. I never did. Instead, my childhood is filled with memories of not being able to ride a bike, flattening its training wheels from being over the recommended weight, and avoiding P.E. classes by any means necessary. For years, I wore my fatness like a wounded soldier wears a Purple Heart - with pride. I owned the look. I dressed it up. I worked the room. There wasn't a skinny girl who intimidated me. I made sure my hair was laid just right. Nails polished. Outfits coordinated to the tee. Accessories to compliment every outfit. But everyone has a breaking point, and mine came in the spring of 2004 when I tipped the scale at nearly 400 pounds 388 to be exact. I was MISERABLE trapped inside of that body. I no longer wore my Purple Heart with pride. Rather, I was ashamed and frightened. Ashamed that I had allowed food to become my everything – frightened I would die because of it. Drastic times called for drastic measures... Today, I’m bound and determined to live a better, healthier, active lifestyle. I realize I’m no longer a passenger in my life, I’m the driver. I’m overcoming my inhibitions and I’m slowly but surely saying farewell to my old childhood nemesis, obesity. For once and for all, Farewell Fatso!

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