#BlackGirlHealing: “I Am The Example For My Daughters”

Keinika Carlton GirlTrek

Keinika and the Carlton girls make health a family affair.

Mothers are the first teachers, but they never stop being students either. As a wife and mother of two, Keinika Carlton is finding the balance in teaching and learning what it means to live her healthiest, most fulfilled life. The Chicago resident and GirlTrek ambassador shares in her own words her journey with weight loss and setting her family up for generational health. 


I’m 34 years old and I am struggling to live my best fit life.

Growing up, I was the chunky girl in school. I was always last to finish in races, out of breath in gym class and never could seem to fit anything I wore right. Being active wasn’t a priority in my household. We consistently went outside to go somewhere but always by car. Never really walked anywhere. Definitely didn’t run. My parents knew I was overweight for my age so they put me in after school classes like tumbling and tap, but everyday activity wasn’t stressed.

Fast forward to my teen years, I stretched out, the weight kind of evened out and I played tennis. But I was still out of breath when I ran and forget eating right. College, ha! Freshman 15 was more like the freshman 20, then 30. It didn’t help that there was a Ben and Jerry’s in my dorm, right before you got to the salad bar. Walking to my classes was the only real walking I did and I barely wanted to do that.

In 2003 I had my first angel, Alyna Michelle. That’s when I had my first wake up call. Just a little. Because now I had this life to live for. Now I had this human being that looked to me to lead her in the best direction for her life. So, that meant that I had to do right by my own life. I began to make better choices with my eating, joined a gym, all the usual stuff. Stayed at it for a good few months before I fell off. Every few months I made this “life change” but never stuck it out.

Mikayla Rei, the youngest, came along in 2010. My pregnancy with her was…