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Alternative Route: Weight Loss Journey

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This past year I decided that it was time to do something about being overweight. For the past 10 years I have battled the bulge. I decided that 2013 was going to be the year that I would conquer my weight loss battle.I decided that if I could start a natural hair journey and be successful I could also tackle a weight loss journey and boy was it a journey! I had to let my hair journey take a back seat. I continued to take care of my hair it just wasn’t my main focus. After you establish a healthy regimen you can do two things: 1) You can watch, measure and pray that your hair grows faster than the ½ inch it normally would grow in a month. Or 2)You can keep it moving and take care of any other area in your life. I chose to work on losing weight.

Did you know that 60% of losing weight has to do with the food you consume? I had to make some changes and I decided to start with my eating habits. Giving up fast food was easier than I thought it would be. Every time I ate McDonald’s my body would start feeling bad afterwards. It got to the point that I couldn’t stand the smell of a McDonald’s quarter pounder. One day I just stopped eating fast food and never looked back. Still to this day every time I pass a McDonald’s and think of pulling in to order some “food” I get a horrible taste in my mouth. I’m not going to say you have to “eat clean” and you can’t have any junk food, that isn’t realistic. When I gave up on foods I loved and decided all I was going to eat was chicken breast and salmon I found that my new lifestyle didn’t last long. I decided I had to make small changes instead. I increased my water intake. I’m not a fan of vegetables so I decided that the only way I was going to be able to get my daily vegetable intake was to buy a juicer. I asked a friend who was into juicing for some juicing recipes and she sent me a free e-book on 101 juicing recipes. I love my beet and green juices! Next, I tackled food. I decided that I would start cooking now I’m not a cooking connoisseur nor do I want to become one. I needed to buy healthy meats that were already cleaned and seasoned. All I wanted to do is place them in a pan. I found that Whole Foods was the grocery store for me. Let me add that I only buy groceries for myself so the price is comparable to a grocery store like Stop & Shop. I must also add that I only buy my meats and a few specialty items from Whole Foods. Buying prepared meats has helped me stay on track because everything is healthy and already prepared for me. All I have to do is cook the food. To this day I don’t eat 100% clean. I have found several alternative to the items I was eating but I will indulge once in blue.

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Exercising is another important component that was instrumental in me losing weight. Before I go on to tell you about my exercise regiment let me tell you how I had to turn down a good old fashion fish fry. I am on vacation this week and I decided to visit my old job. They invited me to come back the following day to participate in a fish fry that they were holding. I had to say no. The only reason I said no was because I did not make it to my whole body conditioning class earlier that morning. You can indulge and enjoy yourself you just have to earn it.

Did you know 40% of weight loss is through exercise? I needed to get active because eating alone wasn’t doing it for me. I started using LivingSocial and Groupon as ways to find deals on different exercising classes. You can take a few classes to see if you like it for an inexpensive price. I started with a Ballet Barre class, let me tell you I have a real respect for ballerinas! At that point I was only going once a week because my LivingSocial deal was only for five classes. If you want to get toned I highly recommend that you sign up for a Ballet Barre class. I really enjoyed the classes and felt a like I was getting stronger but there was no physical change. I found another deal on Groupon for an all women’s boot camp class for $20 for ten classes! I convinced my best friend to join with me and we started taking the boot camp classes together once a week. My best friend had already been exercising and she had lost 20 plus pounds so she was an incredible support during the beginning of my weight loss journey. The boot camp program had just began so there weren’t a ton classes being offered so I was only able to go Sunday mornings. After the Groupon deal was over I decided that I enjoyed and I was ready to commit to the boot camp classes. Let me tell you, the class packages were not cheap. I decided in that moment that I was investing in health and that I couldn’t put a price tag on that. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts my best friend couldn’t commit to continuing the boot camp classes.

I set a goal for myself to lose 30 pounds and not to lose the weight too fast. I knew from past experiences that the faster you lose the weight the more likely that weight and then some would come back. A little over a year later, thanks to eating healthy and taking boot camp classes three to four times a week I have lost 22 pounds. If you want to start a weight loss journey I would suggest the following things:

  • Create a Plan:
    • how much do you want to lose
    • how long will it take you to lose the weight
  • Have a support system
    • a workout partner
    • someone to hold you accountable
    • IGNORE the naysayers (You can do this!)
  • Start making gradual changes
    • say goodbye to soda and fast food
    • side note: do you know you can use soda to clean your toilet! Think about that the next time you’re craving a Pepsi!
    • increase water intake
  • Set mini goals for yourself
    • you accomplished eating healthy and exercised all week go treat yourself to a mani pedi.
  • Its okay if you mess up! Remember Rome wasn’t built-in a day. You only mess up if you give up!!!!

 

The one message I kept and keep telling myself is that: I May Not be Where I Want to be But Thank You God I’m Not Where I Used To Be.

Feeling Claustrophobic

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Global hair texture map

“So what do you plan on doing to your hair?” This question has been asked from day one. At first I expected these type of question (Why did you cut your hair?, What made you decide to go natural?…) from family and friends but I just assumed that they would adjust and accept that I am no longer using chemicals to alter my hair. Apparently I was wrong, I’ve been natural for eight months and this question has occurred more frequently. When I respond by saying: I plan on letting my hair grow. They can’t seem to accept that as an answer. Believe me my curly fro is always intact when I step outside. I spend extra time in the morning applying products and shaping my fro so I look presentable. Maybe I should explain when I say “I plan on letting me hair grow” , maybe I should say: “Honestly I don’t know what I am going to do with my hair. I am getting to know my hair and I am enjoying the journey. I don’t know what my hair is going to look like when it becomes longer. But, as time passes and my hair starts to show some length I’ll start to look into styles.” What I really want to say is: What is it to you? I know that’s mean but I’m starting to get annoyed. One of the reasons I went natural was because I wanted to be free from the type cast society places on people.

Have you ever noticed, especially in the United States, that we categorize things we do not understand? For example hair type casting, there are hair types 1, 2, 3 and 4 as well as A, B and C. Why is it that my hair has to be a number and letter to be part of the natural hair community? It’s like if you don’t have the right hair combination you are not allowed into the club. Basically a hair type tool used to help people take care of their hair has become a hindrance. We placed limits on the tool created to help us. We divided the hair type casting into the best and worst hair type. 1 and A type hair being the best and 4 and C type hair being the worst. Everything in between is okay because it’s closer to type 1 and heaven forbid you have different hair types on your head. I have 3C/4A hair. So I can’t be part of the type 3 hair group because I have type 4 hair. Ladies we have to do better. Did you know that no two individuals have the same hair texture? You might have similar hair texture with a group of people but it’s not identical.

I’m tired of feeling like I have to be placed in a box to be accepted. I am different, I am special, and I am one of a kind.  So to be categorized into a hair group is ridiculous. So the next time someone tries to place me in a “box” by asking “What do you plan on doing to your hair?” or “What is your hair type” I’m going to respond by saying “I don’t know.”

7 Natural Hair Myths Revealed

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7 Natural Hair Myths Revealed

If your hair is naturally kinky, coily, curly or wavy, you’ve probably heard your share of hair myths and half-truths. It comes with the territory! Most of us know that “100-strokes-a-day” is flat wrong and split ends can’t be permanently repaired, but there are others still floating around. Do you recognize any of these common myths.

Entering the TWA Stage…

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I can’t imagebelieve that it has been six months since I did my big chop. My hair has grown substantially I have transitioned from the BC to the TWA. Now that I am at the TWA stage I find myself becoming impatient with my hair. My hair is long… just not long enough to style. I should correct myself; my hair is long enough for extensions. I recently removed box braids from my hair. The braids were nice but I wasn’t happy with the braider who braided my hair. She originally asked me if I wanted her to braid past my natural hair and I said yes… when I got home I found several braids that weren’t braided past my hair. (I only have three inches of hair!) Within a couple of days the braids in the back where coming out. What I was most upset about was that I tipped her $20. I can’t stand when you’re paying for a service and the person who provides the service is lazy. So I removed the braids after five weeks that style could have lasted me six to eight weeks.

So now I’m back to the TWA. I researched the TWA stage and found out that this stage can last 1-2 years depending on your curl pattern and shrinkage. Since hair grows an average of six inches in a year and my hair shrinks about 50% I’m just going to concentrate on caring for my hair. I’ll continue deep conditioning and applying leave-in whenever my hair is dry. Once my hair becomes a little longer I will start to experiment with two strand twist and braid-outs.

 

 

Time to get Creative

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English: Fractionated Coconut (Cocos nucifera)...

 

During the winter months I tend to get bored so I like to concoct new hair products from old products. Recently I created a shampoo that cleanses my scalp but conditions my hair at the same time. After I shampoo my hair, it tends to feel like straw but conditioners or co-washing don’t get my scalp and hair clean enough so I add water to my shampoo so I can get my scalp clean and my hair doesn’t feel stripped. But I think I found an alternative.  All I did was add coconut oil into my shampoo. I added two parts shampoo into an empty bottle and added one part liquified unrefined coconut oil into the same bottle. Unrefined coconut oil will solidify during colder months so you have to warm the oil either by stove top or microwave. I just scooped out about a table-spoon of coconut oil and placed it in a plastic container and popped it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.  After the oil liquified (make sure to check the oil to see that it’s not bubbling, remember this is going on your scalp!) add the oil into the shampoo. My favorite shampoo is from Aubrey Organics it’s all natural and my favorite part it’s cheap. Aubrey Organics shampoo color is brown, when I added the coconut oil into the shampoo, the color changed from brown to caramel. I shampooed my hair twice to make sure I removed any product build up. I was happy with the results, my hair was softer after I shampoo with my new mixture compared with when I shampoo with two parts shampoo one part water. I hope this inspires you to get creative give this a try too also some other concoctions!