Photo credit: Darius Evans DME Imagery
With two locations in Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte FIT is a fitness company catering to the individual who desires a customized workout routine and an intimate environment. The services include personal training, group fitness, meal prep, and nutrition coaching. Overcoming her own battle with food, Founder Taylor Calamese combined her personal experience, knowledge, and passion to help others reach their individual health goals.
My value was in my weight. That was my sense of control when I felt like everything around me was out of control. I thought that was the one thing I could manage . I suffered from Bulimia nervosa which is characterized by binging and purging. I would eat a large amount of food and throw it up. I suffered from that from middle school around the seventh grade through some of college. I knew I needed to do something with this and save myself.
I poured energy into wanting to feel better and wanting to make other women feel better. Let me find the knowledge, the science and foundation to help best serve others. I wanted to start my own company and present it to the world the way I wanted to. My own stuff helped me to become very specific about how I wanted to service people. My company was initially called TC Lifestyle Fitness and transitioned to the name Charlotte Fit. The focus is to help others heal in their relationship specifically with themselves by the way of food and exercise.
According to various statistics and studies, Black women are at higher risk for diseases such as Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, and Diabetes. What do you think are some of the root causes for this?
I think we can trace everything back to how we got here. In Africa, we were eating in ways that supported our bodies and our nutrition. We adopted a diet that was not ours and not made for our bodies. The stress from through the years of having to take care of children that were not ours, having to breastfeed the slave master’s children and other trauma. Even in today’s society I notice the generational trauma but also our way of eating is very cultural. It is so ingrained. A lot of the stuff we ate was the scraps that we learned to make joy out of. A lot of it is not healthy from the mac n cheese to the chitterlings and oxtails. We have also been conditioned to eat a lot of meat.
I am plant based. Most of my food is based on meatless options but I will do some seafood. I am not a staunch supporter that everyone should cut out meat, but I think everyone can benefit from less of it. More specially to Black women, food can be a coping mechanism. It can be a source of joy, pleasure, and a source of checking out from reality. If you have nothing else in this world, when you are done caring for your children, showing up to a job you don’t like, or showing up to a relationship where you don’t feel valued, you have food.
Much of my mission is to unbind us from the shackles of food. Why are we allowing food to be our Achilles heel? I think we eat ourselves into being unwell because we are not paying attention or being honest about all the other things we are dealing with. Sometimes we don’t have the space for it or have the resources.
We are just coming around to therapy in our culture. I’m super proud and love the trend of it. Of course everything can swing in a pendulum, but I would rather the pendulum swing to the extreme of therapy and we correct it as we go along so people have a refuge and an outlet. A lot of times when people are struggling with food as most people are, hunger is not the issue and food is not the answer. Look at the way you are using food outside of what is being intended for which is nourishment. Are you using it because you are bored, stressed, or looking for socialization? All the ways you are using it emotionally, let’s find three non food related ways you can get a solution.
What services offered at Charlotte FIT are best suited for someone starting this new journey?
The consultation is the first step and the most important. I went to grad school for Kinesiology and my concentration was Physical Activity Promotion. That is the study and psychology of promoting physical activity in the general population. A lot of my questions are psychological questions to figure out where you are in terms of being motivated. What are some of the challenges you can see or have encountered on your weight loss journey that you can pinpoint that have led you to be unmotivated? I want to get to know you as a person and what your journey has been like to this point.
The consultation is the most important part of the process because I want to get to know the person as a whole. To understand what I need to prepare and plan for even from a psychological standpoint that I can integrate into their training program. Everything is tailored and customized to each individual that walks through the door to their health levels, goals, fitness levels and any health conditions I need to take into account. Have you worked with a trainer, what do you value in a trainer, and what characteristics are important? We are all different and have different needs.
What is the most rewarding thing about the work you do and what’s in the future for Charlotte Fit?
The most rewarding thing is when people get it. When they get delivered from all that keeps them in the hamster wheel. Part of what makes my approach so unique is that I have been there. I have been at the extreme at having a dysfunctional toxic relationship with food. The most rewarding thing is when people start to believe in their capability to be well. People have been living in such a dysfunctional relationship with their bodies and food.
My goal and job is to help them figure out why they are not doing something differently when they know they should be. They have been in this space for so long that the work of doing something differently seems overwhelming and they feel they don’t have the capability to do so.
When people overcome that space, they realize how it changes their skin, their marriage, how they feel about themselves and how they show up differently in the world. I’m like yeah, now you get it! Now we can stop talking about these ten pounds. It’s not about the ten pounds, it ‘s about your health behaviors. When you change the behavior the body will change. It is a well functioning machine when it is healed. This is not about weight. It’s about life. Your weight will adjust to the behavior. It’s about valuing yourself enough to treat yourself well!
To Learn more about Taylor and Charlotte FIT, please visit her website here.
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