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Is it becoming harder and harder to stick to your resolve to lose weight as the New Year kicks in to its second month? Well, fitness guru Donna Richardson Joyner has a fitness program to help you work your plan.

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In “Witness to Fitness: Pumped Up! Powered Up! All Things Are Possible” (pictured below),” Joyner combines a fitness regime of faith, healthy eating, and exercise that she tells NewsOne is sure to keep you on track. Throughout the 208-page book, she quotes scriptures, recommends low-calorie snacks, and 10-minute workouts for those days when you simply cannot fit a full workout in to your schedule.

Joyner, a member of President Barack Obama’s Council For Fitness, took time out of her busy schedule to talk about her new book and answer questions about obesity and the importance of healthy eating and fitness in the African-American community. She urges African-American women, who have the highest obesity rate of any group in the nation, and their families to join First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and battle against negative stereotypes in the media.

NewsOne: “Witness to Fitness” is such a great idea. How did you come up with it?

Donna Richardson Joyner: Just like my “Body Gospel” faith, fitness and healthy foods DVD and church program, God placed it in my heart to write “Witness To Fitness.” Being a witness to your health is like being a witness to your faith. People have to be an eyewitness to their health and take action to become a better person with a healthy mind, spirit, and body.

You don’t waiver or compromise your faith so don’t waiver or compromise on your health. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, You are not your own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV). It’s time to stop doing nothing and start doing something. Stop making excuses and start making better choices.

NO: What advice do you have for African-American women who have the highest obesity rate of any group of Americans? 

DRJ: Four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. We can’t accept this as the norm. Let’s put a stamp on it, “Not Accepted.”

The reason why I wrote “Witness To Fitness” was because I had traveled around the world helping people become healthier but my greatest challenge was not overseas it was my family, my community, my church.

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of witnessing love ones suffer from preventable illnesses like obesity, go to heaven way to soon, know better but not do better and not appreciating good health until they experienced bad health.

My sisters, the most-precious gift you can give to yourself is not getting your hair done, or your nails manicured, not a pair of 4-inch shoes or a fabulous dress, it’s Good Health!

Your health is the power line of your life, and without it, there is no being. Sharon, a middle age woman, went to the doctor a few times complaining about her health and never following the advice of her doctor who told her to be more physically active and eat nutritional meals. Falling on deaf ears he finally said, “Would you rather exercise one hour of every day or be dead every hour of every day.”

It’s time for change and you have the power to change. Change your thinking and your actions will follow. My pastor once said, “You cannot conquer what you are not committed to moving forward.” Let’s not just pray about good health, let’s be about it. See your health as a necessity, not a luxury. I have 28-day program that will help you get started and develop habits that become a part of your lifestyle.

It will work if you work it. In the Bible it says, “Whatever you eat or drink do it for the glory of the Lord.” In other words, treasure your temple don’t trash your temple.

NO: What are some of the greatest myths surrounding Black women and obesity? Are African-American women just thick and big boned? The hook in the popular “Birthday Song” by 2 Chainz, featuring Kanye West, is “All I want for my birthday is a big booty h**.”  In a sense, big booties and thick women are glorified. 

DRJ: First, let’s stop saying the words big boned and thick to describe African-American women. Let’s start by saying we are fearfully and wonderfully made and we “can do all things through Christ who strengths us.” I don’t care what shape, size, color, age, or nationality you are; it’s important to be healthy. Full figure, skinny Minnie, big buns, curvy hips, tank thighs, it does not matter what you call it, take care of your body or you won’t be around to take care of others.

We have a health epidemic in Black communities and we must act now! My grandmother use to say if you take one step, the good Lord will take two.

Faith without works is dead.

First lady Michelle Obama says, “Let’s Move.” Whatever you want to call it, just do it.

NO: African-American women have long been known for their spirituality. Is that why you combined faith, food, and fitness?

DRJ: If we trust in God for everything else in our life, why won’t we trust in Him regarding our physical being? Most of us have tried diets, gadgets, and crazy programs. The one thing missing was God. By combining your faith, fitness, and healthy foods, you sow good seeds, you reap healthy returns.

Losing weight is not just physical, it’s spiritual. There are no short cuts and it’s not easy. Believe in your faith and be obedient in your actions so you can be faithfully fit and fabulous!

NO: Finally, what is your secret to staying fit? What advice can you give to other women who resolved to lose weight in 2013 and are trying to stay on track?

DRJ: I’m physically active daily and enjoy walking, swimming, golfing, dancing, hiking etc. I practice good nutrition. I treat myself once or twice a week. I have daily devotion every morning with prayer and meditation. I have used challenges, obstacles, and pains in my life to push me in to my greater purpose and calling in life. I have learned to decrease self and increase God. I serve with honor and humility.

Staying fit, having a loving heart, and a giving spirit allows me to help people around the world not just look good and feel good but to be good and do good. “To whom much is given much is required.”

The problem is not just sometimes starting but sticking to it.

Remember, God can’t bless what you don’t do.

Ask him for the grace to change. You have to want to change more then you want to stay the same. If you have started with your New Year’s resolution to lose weight or become healthier here are a few tips to keep you going:

1.  Decrease processed foods, increase natural foods.

2.  Drink plenty of water (8 or more glasses daily).

3.  Practice moderation. If you can’t see the bottom of the plate, you have too much. Use a salad plate, eat slower, snack on fruit and veggies, no seconds, and don’t pick up the saltshaker.

4.  Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Get rid of negative self talks, stinking thinking, and lose the bad attitude.

5. If you fall off the wagon, get right back on track that day. Don’t blow the whole day, week, or month because of one mistake. It’s temporary and it shall pass the moment you call on Him to help you move forward. Call on him to push you away from the table when you are full. Call on him to get your butt up to workout after you hit the snooze button. Call on him when you don’t think you can walk another mile or stay on the StairMaster 5 more minutes.

This awakening, being a “Witness to Fitness,” is about you, it’s about me, and we are in this together. Now woman up, and do it not just for yourself, but also for your children and your family. Get pumped up, powered, and prayed up!

 SEE ALSO: Lessons As A Women’s Health Activist