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.
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.
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.