Author Interview "Laticia "Action" Jackson
Can you give us a brief background about yourself? (Where were you born, how it was like growing up, your education, where you lived, the work you’ve done promoting health and fitness, etc.)
I was born and raised in Pensacola Florida and the youngest of three of most amazing sisters. I was raised in a house hold full of love with two God fearing parents who encouraged both my sisters and I to become all that God created us to become. There was always laughter in our home and a bond shared between my sisters and parents that remain today. I’m a RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST and if you opened a dictionary and read the definition of a perfectionist that would describe me. I am your typical Type A personality. I’m either all in or all out. I don’t know any other way. I wish I could tell you this has always worked towards my benefit but it hasn’t. As a recovering perfectionist, I’m learning that giving a 100 percent of what I deem 100 percent is good enough and the word perfect is a lie! Yes, a lie. Nothing in life will ever be perfect and I’m BECOMING okay with this reality. In my past, perfection haunted me like a ghost on Halloween and I allowed it to scare me repeatedly. Today, I tell perfection where to go, not the other way around!
As a Fitness Olympian, 3-Time National State Fitness Champion and In Weekly’s Best Personal Trainer on the Gulf Coast 2016, I utilize my platform as a professional athlete to build community trust and often called upon from The American Diabetes Association and The American Heart Association as an expert on fitness, obesity and disease prevention. In 2015, I along with Mayor Ashton Hayward of Pensacola Florida led the opening of the first “Fitness Revolution” for Escambia County that involved over 1,000 participants. The premise behind this citywide event was to convey the importance of physical activity and healthy living for all residents.
My academic success includes a Master’s Degree in Public Health (M.P.H), B.S. Degree in Exercise Physiology, A.A. Degree in Human Performance, Certified Corporate Wellness Coach, Certified Master Level Personal Trainer, Certified Weight Loss Counselor and Certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialists. I have received both national and international recognition by being featured as a top-level athlete in over 20 health, fitness and wellness publications. She’s been the guest go-to health & fitness expert for TV shows such as C.W. 31 Good Day Sacramento, Blab TV, Council on Aging, WEAR 3 Channel 3, Fitness Friday’s before the Steve Harvey in the Morning Show and many more. I absolutely love what I do!
You’re a Fitness Olympian, whew!!! When a lifetime of training—full of innumerable repetitions, practice sessions, and sacrifices—finally pays off, how does it feel to be able to say that you're an Olympian?
Oh my! Oh my! The words can’t express the feeling of standing on the Fitness Olympia stage and having metals draped around my neck. This moment went deeper than just the endless hours I spent in the gym preparing for the Fitness Olympia. Nine months prior to this event I almost lost my life in a domestic violence attack with my ex-husband. By the grace of God my life was spared but the emotional damage lingered for a while. After leaving my ex-husband I went back to my first love which was fitness. There were days I would cry through my workouts, I was angry, hurt and ashamed. Nonetheless, I was determined to make it to the other side of my pain and the healing process. During this time, I resided with my middle sister and her family. They were just want I needed. The loved me through my pain and never gave up on me.
Therefore, when I stood on the Olympia Stage, I stood proud that I made it, but I stood even taller for all the women who didn’t make it. I stood proud that I refused to be a victim of domestic violence! I was a VICTOR for more reasons than one. Today when I look at my medals I see determination, persistence and the unwillingness stop spreading my message. I am a survivor and a true warrior. Today I travel the world sharing my story with women and girl’s. Domestic violence is a stigmatized subject matter but I believe there’s no power in silence. I have a big voice and I use it!
You’ve published six books so far, correct? Can you please tell us a little about each of them.
Sure… I have written and self-published six books! They are as follows:
“Goodbye Skinny, Hello Size Healthy- A Woman’s Guide To Becoming Healthy, Happy and Satisfied”
“Changing The Norm- A Black Woman’s Guide To Eating, Feeling and Looking Her Best”
“Yes Girl’s Lift- A Girl’s Fitness Guide To Becoming Fit, Confident and Strong”
“Fit, Tight and Toned- A Black Woman’s Fitness Road Map To Sculpting Fit, Tight and Toned Curves”
“Eat Great, Feel Great, Look Great- Your Wellness Guide To Eating, Feeling and Looking Your Best”
“Fit, Empowered and Unstoppable- A Woman’s Fitness Guide To Becoming Her Fittest Most Empowered Self”
My main target audience for my books are for women ages 18-55 and young girls 12-17. Everything I write is about helping women and girls to become the healthiest, happiest most confident versions of themselves. Being healthy and confident is needed to run a business, develop healthy relationships and needed to become what you were destined to become.
Two of my books (“Changing the Norm- A Black Woman’s Guide to Eating, Feeling and Looking Her Best,” and “Fit, Tight and Toned”) are niched were created just for African American women. Although the consumers market is flooded with wellness, nutrition and fitness books, few if any of these books address the social, economic or cultural barriers that African American women face in the areas of health and fitness. There’s an alarming need for a focus on African American women’s health. According to the Centers for Disease Control 4 out of 5 African American women are obese. Obesity is linked to some forms of cancer, diabetes, joint problems and many the health ailments. Changing The Norm addresses these issues and provides real world solutions that African American women can utilize to improve their health and well-being.
Yes Girls Lift was create to use exercise as a vehicle to help build confidence, healthy habits and life-skills in girls 12-17. This Summer I will release Yes Girls Lift project which I desire to take nationally! Studies show girls who exercise or play sports perform better in school, have higher self-esteem and confidence!
With dozens of health and fitness books currently on the market, what do your books bring to the table that is unique?
Although I am a fitness expert, my message to women of all races is that being fit starts within and starts with self-respect. I believe when a woman is taught to love herself she will begin to love and appreciate her body. When this happens, she will eat, sleep and exercise to take better care of herself. Every woman deserves to be a size healthy! That is my main emphasis in my book “Goodbye Skinny Hello Size Healthy.” I drive home in this book that skinny doesn’t mean healthy. Healthy goes beyond the scale and is a state of complete mental, social, emotional and physical well-being. The skinny revolution is over. Say hello to healthy! Too often women are taught to force their bodies to become a size it was never created to become. I have sat with so many women who struggle with self-esteem and self-worth because they don’t look like the fitness models they see plastered on magazine covers and in the media. I refused to promote skinny. Not to say if a woman is naturally skinny that there’s something wrong with her having that body type. However, what I am emphasizing in all my books is that all women need to be healthy! That is means healthy is all inclusive! No skinny shaming on my watch, just healthy living and feeling great for women of all shapes and sizes! There’s too much pressure on woman and their body image and I want to relieve and empower women from chasing the illusion of body shaming. It is time for women to take back their self-confidence and become the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves!
In some of your books you ask the reader to write journal entries and do self-assessments. Why do you feel this is important?
I am a firm believer in self-awareness that is why I encourage journaling. Journaling is like holding a mirror up to your face and seeing who you really are. As women, we sometimes have the great tasks of wearing masks to hide our struggles, hurt and pain, but when you journal it’s just you, your journal book and your pen. Writing provides freedom to express true feelings without the fear of being exposed. Journaling allows you to see and read your hearts thoughts, desires and challenges! Journaling is a process of reflection and transparency.
Where does your motivation come from to stay consistent with your personal fitness goals while striving to assist others with theirs?
The drive that I have inside of me is supernatural and divine. I was created to do what I do. There’s an endless bucket of inspiration that becomes full each time I help to transform someone else’s life. I am alive to help other’s stay alive. It is the reason I get out of bed each morning. I also believe in being the example of what I teach. People will see you before they listen to you. Therefore, if I preach healthy, I must align with my message with my actions. If not, I have no validity to stand on.
As an individual who lives a healthy and fit lifestyle, I’m curious, what does your daily diet look like? Do you give yourself “cheat days”?
Great question and one I am asked often. Okay here we go are you ready? I don’t believe in cheat days! Yes, I don’t believe in cheat days. I believe there is power in our words therefore the word “cheat” in my eyes has a negative connotation. Therefore, I like to say and I teach my clients that I allow myself to choose to have items sometimes that aren’t 100 percent healthy. This means that I oversee what I put in my mouth and I am fully aware of what I am doing minus the quilt. Think about it, when was the last time someone felt good about cheating on their test, cheating on their significant other. It puts you in a guilt state if not careful!
I will be honest and tell you I don’t crave a lot of junk foods since I have eaten healthy for so many years. However, if I choose to have something that’s not healthy, my first go to would be a few chocolate chips cookies from Mc Donald’s and they must be warm!
For breakfast, I normally have steel cut oatmeal with egg whites and from there I eat small portioned meals every two hours normally consisting of a lean meat and tons of vegetables. For my snacks, I love cashews and Golden Delicious Apples.
I have a lot of dense muscle tissue that actively burns calories even at the state of rest therefore I am always hungry. This is surprising when I teach people who are trying to lose weight. Eating small frequent meals throughout the day keeps your metabolic rate up and keeps you from craving food.
What important messages or lessons do you hope your readers will take away from your books?
I want every woman to know she is valuable, beautiful and deserves to be healthy, happy and satisfied with her life. In so many ways women have taken and given so much of themselves to their communities, kids, husbands and their jobs and they leave little of nothing for themselves. I want them to walk away from my books saying, “It’s time for me to take care of myself” “I am valuable and I count and my health is my responsibility and my priority!”
What piece of advice would you give someone (at any age) who wants to transition their life towards a more healthy and fit lifestyle, but doesn’t know where to start?
Getting healthy or fit at any age is a challenge and requires commitment. First commit to your health. That is the first step. A person can’t succeed at something they aren’t committed to. Second, set one or two small health goals per month. Three surround yourself with like-minded health conscience people and four realize you’re worth the time, money and effort that will be required for you to get and remain healthy!
What tips or advice would your give to aspiring authors reading this?
For any inspiring author, I would say open you heart and worry about the editing and grammar later. When I wrote my first book I was in a very dark place after my domestic violence situation. However, pain taught me valuable lessons that joy never could and I wrote my first book and all other books from a place of truth. Don’t be afraid to share your story and be vulnerable. It is within your vulnerability that the words on your pages will transform lives. Each time a woman in a domestic violence situation writes and tells me how my story inspired her to share her story, it pleases my soul. Writing isn’t about perfection it is about truth. If you write about your truth with an open heart, you will find readers who value your work and your transparency. We live in times where I believe people are craving soul food. Be a part of the solution that their souls are longing for.
Five years from now, where do you see yourself and your career?
Five years from now I see myself rocking my awesome all around the world. I see myself growing my public speaking career and growing corporate wellness company Transformation Health, LLC www.transformationhealth.us globally! I am currently taking a few business health and entrepreneur classes to gain the insight into the global wellness industry. The more you know the more you grow. I have a great mind and very smart. I refuse to waste the gifts God has given me to change this world and leave it a healthier place.
Last question, well challenge actually…“Goodbye Skinny, Hello Size Healthy!” is your latest release, Congrats on that! If you had to promote this book in a tweet (140 characters), what would you say to persuade someone to buy it?
It’s time for women to take back their self-esteem, become the healthiest version of themselves and define happiness and worth beyond the numbers on the scale!
You can learn more about Laticia's journey to becoming a writer, purchase her books, and sign up for monthly wellness tips at www.laticiaactionjackson.com.
For wellness consultations on services, please visit her company website at www.trasnformationhealth.us
Health and Fitness Expert and 2008 Fitness Olympian Laticia “Action” Jackson has been called one of the most dynamic and energetic personalities in the health promotion, body awareness, behavior change, community health and fitness fields. With an academic background that includes a Master’s Degree in Public Health (M.P.H), B.S. Degree in Exercise Physiology, and Master Level Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Counselor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist Certifications, Laticia has proven knowledge, skills and the ability to motivate, inspire and cultivate change in the lives of many. She’s received both national and international recognition by being featured as a quest athlete and writer for over 13 national and international health and wellness publications (Oxygen, Muscle and Fitness Hers, Active USA, and more. She’s been the go- to fitness expert for TV shows such as C.W. 31 Good Day Sacramento, Blab TV and WEAR 3 Channel 3.
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