For years, I struggled with gaining weight until I reached my 20’s. When I was a senior in High School I weighted 111lbs. Once I entered my 20’s my metabolism started to slow down and I gained weight. Ever since I have struggled with gaining weight and made myself feel bad about it. I spent the majority of my 20’s comparing myself to how I looked at 18. I struggled with the fact that my body was changing; I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted anymore. I felt lost and confused, I didn’t know what types of foods to eat to be healthy, how to diet, or what type of exercise routes I should do to lose the weight and keep it off.
After a lot of research, trial and error, and acceptance of myself I am committed to a weight loss journey. In the past I succeeded in losing weight but I couldn’t manage to keep it off. The great thing about failing is that there is always a lesson to be learned. So, I cleaned up my eating habits; I can no longer eat or have the desire to eat fast food. I found an exercise regimen that works for me, which is lifting weights and a little cardio. I have accepted that I will not lose the weight over night. My goal is to lose four percent of my body weight each month until I reach my goal, which is to have a healthy body mass index (BMI).
There are two reasons I need to lose this weight that is physical appearance and for health reasons. African-American women have the highest rates of overweight and obesity compared to any other groups in the United States. About four in five African-American women are overweight or obese.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Breathing problems
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea
- Some cancers
I am one of the four in five African-American women who are overweight. I know what you’re thinking: The BMI does not take into account how our bodies are built. Believe me I have no intention of losing my curves but after researching and seeing what being overweight increases my risk of. I have no choice but to lose this weight.
Do you know the number one reason why African-American women do not exercise? It’s because we don’t want to mess up our hair. When I was relaxed that answer made sense to me, I had to figure out the blackout dates for exercising were. I couldn’t exercise a week before a relaxer because I couldn’t sweat out my scalp. I didn’t want to exercise right after a relaxer because I just got my hair done. Oh and the biggest problem was what was I going to do with my hair after the gym! I couldn’t wash my hair afterwards; I would have been in the bathroom all night trying to figure out how to make my hair presentable for work the next day.
Now that I am natural my main concern is exercising. It is so liberating not to have to worry about my hair. After my workouts I wash my hair with a cleansing conditioner to get the sweat out and then I apply a leave in conditioner. I’m not writing all this to make anyone feel bad for their weight loss journey or lack thereof. I’m writing this to encourage someone to do something about their weight and if the only thing folding them back from starting an exercise regimen is their hair there are things they can do. Braid, weave or wig it up until you get to the salon! And remember that healthy hair starts with what you put in your body not on your scalp or ends.
- Black adolescent girls less likely to lose weight from exercise than white counterparts (cbsnews.com)