Monday, February 16, 2009

The Secret to Weight Loss

How many of you are still searching for the secret to weight loss? That diet pill, protein shake, green tea, supplement, or vitamin....the pill that will solve all your weight problems.
Every time I run into an old friend that I have not seen for a while they always want to know "How did you do it?" "What did you take, eat, or what expensive equipment did you buy?" It seems that many women think there is some secret that I uncovered. When I try to explain to them that there was no pill, no special diet, and no expensive gym equipment they normally lose interest. It seems like no one wants to hear that I spent 6-8 hours in the gym a week. No one wants to hear that I added more servings of fruits and vegetables to my diet and cut back on sweets.

It frustrates me to see the advertisements of these diet pills and special teas. It reinforces the idea that their is an easy way out. Weight loss requires hard work and lifestyle changes. There is no other way around it.

In retrospect it seems so simple; increase the amount of physical activity in your life and cut back on the sweet stuff. I do recognize the barriers to weight loss for women of color.That's why I put together a few tips to get past these barriers. One important thing to remember though is that long term weight loss involves hard work and sacrifice. But the benefits of lifestyle changes last so much longer than a crash diet, so it's worth it.

Steps to reaching your weight loss goal:

1. Make lifestyle changes : Remember choose a physical activity and eating habits that you can commit to, for life! Try adding fruit for breakfast instead of cereal or a bagel. Make sure you get a salad or serving a vegetables a day. Find 3-4 days a week to get in 30 minutes of physical activity. Choose an activity that you enjoy like swimming or a hip hop dance class.

2. Don't let you hair stop you: Check out this post I wrote on how to care for you own hair,
Hair Care

3. Motivation: you need the support of like-minded individuals to keep you focused. It may help to work out with a friend or family member. It also helps if you get everyone in your house focused on eating right, that way you are not fighting the battle all by yourself.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hair and Health, Still an Issue

I know we have had several discussions here about African-American women letting their hair compromise their health. Well, it's a new year so hopefully more women are ready to the hit gym and get back in shape. I decided to compile some more tips for maintaining your hair while you exercise.

I have been committed to exercising for about 1 year now and I have learned that AA women have several options for maintaining our hair. Here are some of things that I learned:

1. While working out wear a cotton sport headband. It absorbs most of the sweat while I workout and keeps my hair flat. I do not recommend tying your hair up with a scarf. I have found that my hair sweats more that way.
2. Do NOT touch your hair until it dries. When I first started working out I would try to comb my hair while it had sweat it in. This does not work; it spreads the sweat throughout your hair. I learned that my hair is much more manageable if I wait 30-45 min after working out so it can dry.
3. Learn how to care for you own hair. This past year I had to learn how to care for my own hair. Caring for my own hair gave me the opportunity to wash and deep condition it at least once a week ( as opposed to paying someone every other week). Doing this has kept my hair healthy and I work out when I want to without worrying about wasting my money at the hairdresser.
4. Hair Products that Help
*No Rinse Shampoo- if you're on the go and you really need to get the sweat out use No Rinse Shampoo.
*Aveda Reviving Mist- this is useful if you need a refresh, you can also dry Dry Shampoo. It's really helpful in between washes
*Aveda Anti-humectant - this little jar is worth the investment during the summer time. It helps prevent frizziness in humid weather.

Remember everyone's hair is different so everything that works for me will not necessarily work for you. Please feel free to share what works for you and any tips you have.