Happy New Year!! BTC is back for our LAST Creative Profile for our 2nd installment.
This 2nd installment I got to know FOUR amazing creative, entrepreneurs and change makers and share their journey with you all! Thanks for reading along!
Our last creative profile goes to the homie, Yabielis!! Yabi and I go back since college days at good ole Skidmore! Yabi has been on the move since then. After graduating, Yabi went into education as a high school counselor in NYC where she lives. Yabi is such a light in her field, representing as a Afro-Latina woman and always eager to bridge the gap education disparity and students who hope to earn high education achievements in their future!
Typical to all of our journeys, after school she began to find interest in other subjects. For her, this was fitness and healthy eating! Yabi began sharing on journey online, inspiring all types a women. I love love love how she highlights her Afro-Latina/island culture in her recipes, sharing dishes like moro de guandules with brown jasmine rice!
Yabi is currently a graduate student at Fordham University and runs a healthy eating/lifestyle community page on IG. On her page Yabi shares recipes and workout updates. She also puts a huge emphasis on health, lifestyle and balance! No body shaming and starve promoting language on her page, which is super refreshing! I've tried a few of her recipes and they've been great!
Read how Yabielis is LIVING BEYOND THE CLOUDS below!
Yabielis Guerrero (Yabi for short)
Where are you from?
Bronx, NY now living in Brooklyn, NY
How do you identify?
I identify as a first generation Dominican American woman, counselor and educator.
What are your passions and interests?
My passions and interests continue to develop throughout the years but I can speak on what I know today. My goal is to empower youth and low-income communities by connecting them to resources that allow them to live more sustainable lives. As someone who comes from such background, I realize that there is a disparity in the access to resources/knowledge that people have. As a college counselor, I aim to connect youth to resources in college and in NYC that encourage them to pursue post-secondary plans. As a nutrition and fitness enthusiast, I hope to promote healthy habits, share best practices and knowledge to my community. I use social media as a platform to connect with others that are a part of this lifestyle and to connect with those who want to be.
How did you find your passions and how did they blossom?
I have always known I wanted to help others although I didn't always know how. In college, I explored different majors until I realized I wanted to pursue social work. However, after graduating I began educating myself on ways to be healthier. I wanted to drop the weight I had gained throughout undergraduate. As I began working out and trying many diets, I quickly learned that I would have to commit myself to a healthy lifestyle in order to see long-term results. I had tried detox juices, low carb meal plans, and restrictive diets where I ate the same meals every single day for a week at a time. The more I obsessed over nutrition, the more I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. Before I knew it, I was 23 years old and completely obsessing over my physique and whether or not I was eating "clean" or "dirty" foods. I developed a bad habit of bingeing, where I would eat the same meals all week, stick to a plan, and later completely undo all of my progress on weekends. I would lose control in front of certain food items and be triggered to eat them non-stop or to eat completely unhealthy for an entire day or two. I found myself struggling with my body image, self-esteem, and nutrition in ways I never did before. I realized that I need to stray away from fad-diets and learn to be healthy for my own well-being and not for the sake of a number on the scale that, I felt, never truly depicted my hard work. The more I went to the gym, the more I tried to absorb from others on the weight room floor, fitness classes such as Zumba and Cycling, etc, quickly realizing how much I loved weight lifting and overall fitness. The more I researched, the more I learned about nutrition and ways to make my lifestyle sustainable. However, I noticed how I didn't come across enough people like me online. Many of the blogs and people I followed were often White. Until I came across Massy Arias- a Dominican health coach!
What is the mission with your work?
The mission of my work is to share access, knowledge, and resources with my people- under-served, under-resourced populations. I come from the Bronx where there aren't Trader Joe's, where there aren't many food co-ops with community gardens and easily accessible fresh veggies. Living upstate for undergraduate and even now in Brooklyn, I witness first-hand the food deserts that exist in certain neighborhoods compared to others. I have learned a lot through my own research and through following people like Massy Arias, who not only looks like me- representing something familiar- but also empowers other women to work on being their best selves. I want to share healthy living with others to prove that it isn't as daunting or impossible as it appears. I want to encourage Latin@s, people of color, low-income families to be active, to learn alternative/healthy swaps that can promote daily healthy habits.
What has been a huge breakthrough in your creative/entrepreneurial journey?
A huge breakthrough in my creative/entrepreneurial journey has been learning about Flexible Dieting. It's a lifestyle known as IIFYM (if it fits your macros). It has taught me SO MUCH about healthy eating, my own eating habits, and ways to view nutrition. I, for so long, have developed this idea of "Clean" eating which classifies foods as "good" and "bad." Flexible Dieting has been an eye opener for me, making me practice unlearning all of the things yo-yo fad dieting had taught me. Flexible Dieting has taught me to learn about what my food is made up of: becoming aware of what's in my food (carbs/protein/fats) and re-configuring my nutrition (meal plans and perspective on foods). Lastly, it has taught me that healthy nutrition is supposed to fit your lifestyle instead of making my entire life fit around an exclusive or depriving unsustainable diet.
Another huge breakthrough for me was finding people like Massy Arias who spoke my native language, looked like me, and created a supportive community of MA WArriors, women who not only have participated in her previous challenges, but support each other online. Social media has become a platform that keeps us accountable to our goals and a daily reminder that we can live healthier lives without being miserable or deprived in our lives. Lastly, joining an online Facebook group for women doing IIFYM has also been a GAME changer. Online communities are so powerful!
What has been the biggest struggle in your creative/entrepreneurial journey? What has it taught you?
My biggest struggle has been keeping up with social media. I have never been too savvy with technology- making/editing videos, editing pictures, marketing tips/tricks. Therefore, sometimes I struggle to figure out what's worth posting online, how to make my posts appealing, and how to attract an audience of real people interested in real information. There's a LOT of phonies and false advertising in the fitness industry and all over the internet.. people following you to sell a product, wanting you to purchase or buy into their programs, or simply "liking" for the sake of a "follow back." It just teaches me that I still have a lot to learn about ways to use social media to my advantage and am excited to work on those skills. However, it also reminds to me stay true to my values and focused on being a support system and resource to my people- not a scammer. Caring for the well-being of others is different than trying to make a profit off of ignorance.
How do you practice self love and rejuvenation when you're overwhelmed by your work?
Self love is something that I'm constantly working on. Although I am no expert on this topic, I sometimes practice self-love and rejuvenation by taking a break. I try to check in with myself, write down my new goals, write down my hurdles and what is bringing me to feeling overwhelmed. I'm a very restless spirit, constantly needing to be busy and feel "productive." Sometimes, what rejuvenates me is re-organizing. Re-organizing my thoughts, writing down my meal plans, organizing my workouts, etc. Let's be real here though- Netflix is ALWAYS a good answer when in need of self care!
What investments have you made for yourself?
I've made a few investments since I began my journey into a healthier and fit lifestyle. I've spent a little too much money on 2-3 personal trainers. In 2013 and 2014, I spent my summers in the Bronx trying to find hope and help in my local gym only to realize that I would learn so much on my own and that just because someone is a "trainer" doesn't mean they're an "expert". I have also purchased over 3 challenges of Massy Arias MA Warrior program, Noelle Benepe's challenge, Meal Plans and Fat Loss programs, etc. I've also purchased Skinny Taste cookbooks (LOVE HER) to teach myself how to find healthy but comforting recipes. Some of those investments were a waste of money and others taught me a LOT about how to care for my body inside and out. As a result, I've learned that sometimes we have to give ourselves a little credit because we may be relying on others for what we can teach ourselves or what we may already know. I am also now ready to invest in myself: using my knowledge and interests to become a future coach.
What projects are you working on or have coming up?
I'm currently working on getting all of my content organized: Recipes, Macro Tips/Tricks, and workouts. In the future, I'd like to host outdoor workout classes for friends/family. I also want to become an online macro coach so that I could support others with learning how to calculate their own macros, how to track their macros online, how to make this lifestyle fit their day to day lives, and offering a virtual support system online.
What advice can you offer to our who are hesitant to dive head first in their dreams or struggling to balance it all?
The older we get, the more we learn that there's more to life than our day jobs and that sometimes we have ideas that deserve a chance. I've learned that we are multi faceted individuals and it's okay to have passions that may be outside of the "norm" (what we studied, pursued, or earn money from). My advice is: if you're going to spend your days thinking about an idea and what could've been, what you would've done, etc, then chances are you should give it a shot. Success is a subjective term that only we define for ourselves. It's work to balance it all- personal, professional, etc, but nothing worth having comes easy. When we work on something we are passionate about, it will never feel like work. Sometimes you have to give yourself a chance because you deserve it.
How do you live beyond the clouds?
I live beyond the clouds by 1) talking to others about my creative interests. Getting my thoughts out of my own head definitely helps bring them to life and also holds me accountable. 2) Finding support from other entrepreneurs or following some that you admire. I like to pick 2-3 things from each healthy/fitness blogger or coach that I am inspired by or want to get better at. Sometimes we have to observe what's going on around us in order to be strategic about how to go about our goals and how to be unique and stand out.
How can we follow/support your journey?
I think others can follow or support my journey by first and foremost, following my Instagram account: YabaeG. People can also support me by using some of the recipes I share or reaching out with questions they may have. Knowing what my followers may need help with inspires some of my future posts.
What is your favorite genre of movie?
My favorite genre of movie is definitely action or comedy. I love good super hero movies such as the Avengers. However, I mostly enjoy movies with social justice themes and messages.