Tag Archives: Health

Ten More Pounds …    

  
The year of a flatter stomach, muscular legs and arms along with an amped up metablisim was 2007 for me (Pre-pregancy). That was then and this is now.  Flash forward to 2015.  I have to work a little harder to obtain the same physical goals.  That’s OK. I’m willing to do the work.  While at the same time I don’t want to experience uneccessary mental stress in my pursuit of physical perfection.

Ever watched a pot filled with water on a hot stove eye? Wondered when the bubbles would dance – indicating now is the time to add your food? For a while I developed that same attitude with my scale. Waking in the morning to see if the numbers were dropping. Not a good idea.

Once I decided to focus on actually making it to the gym and reaching my running goals and not the number on the scale, I saw results (current weight 145).  I’m not suggesting you don’t monitor the scale. I’m saying stop looking everyday.  That one thing can break down the strongest of women if we don’t see what we believe to be the magical number staring back at us. The body you desire can be yours and mine, we just have to focus more on on eating better, busting a sweat and getting the proper rest. 
– Step on the scale once a week or every other week

– Weigh yourself first thing in morning, when you do (empty stomach).

– Set realistic goals. 

– Save your money on waist trainers (buy a medicine ball instead).

– Don’t compare your body to others. It’s OK to look and admire.

* I’m not a certified trainer.  The views expressed are from my personal experience.  Consult a doctor before starting a new workout program. Now … Go get it!! 

Share your thoughts below and connect with me on Twitter @AlysseStewart and Instagram.



 

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Rain, Sweat or Showers For 2: No Worries

http://instagram.com/p/0T4gfqKjqh/
I’m remembering the last rain fall. It seemed as if the water droplets would never stop falling from the sky. Sometime later on this particular morning, my mom arrived. I asked if she had an umbrella! She told me it was in the car. My mother l sports a short natural.  It’s clear she wasn’t concerned about a little extra moisture wetting her hair do. 

I feel the same way, especially when it comes to rocking locs. I walk in the rain, play in it sometimes and workout when I want too without fear of messing up my do.  If you too are sporting some form of a natural, take advantage of the freedom and get the recommended amount of daily exercise needed to keep your body happy and your mind free of stress.  

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a steady routine. That’s about to change! I’m on week two of my fitness journey (join me).  Hair is not an issue. Making time to get moving is the battle. 

How about you? Are you making fitness a lifestyle? Share your routines, ups and downs and success with me in the comment box.  

To follow my body changes follow me on Twitter and Instagram – links on home page.

To see some of today’s workout click here: http://instagram.com/p/0T4gfqKjqh/ 

*Quote: Tyra Banks


Meet Felicia: Natural hair spotlight

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Describe your hair care journey during childhood. This may sound sad to you all, but I have no memory of being natural at all during my childhood. I can remember my hair pressed and then around age 7 or so my Mom decided it would’ve been cool for me to have a Jheri Curl. After my Jheri Curl phase it was relaxer on top of relaxer. Needless to say chemicals were the back bone of my hair maintenance and while I didn’t think this was a big deal back then I now realize how damaged my hair must have been. I continued to relax threw out the years only stopping during my pregnancies..I often think “Man, if I would’ve kept on going without a perm at that time, my hair would be awesome by now..lol”. But you can only learn from your own mistakes. 

Did you Big Chop or transition into your natural hair ?

I transitioned for 6 1/2 months before doing my BC 12/26/09. I woke up the day after Christmas ready, but no salons were open and I was afraid I may chicken out if I waited any longer so I did it myself and went to the barber a few days later to have it shaped.

Have you experienced any work place, family or friend  backlash since going natural?

Since I work at home, I never had to come face to face with others opinions of my decision. Other than going to the school or grocery shopping, no one ever saw me. My mom is natural, my husband loved the idea but I did have some friends throw the “Dashiki” joke at me one time, I just blew it off. The area I live in is predominately white and a lot of them thought it was the most beautiful thing ever. Even to this day when I’m out with my Mom and daughter’s..they compliment of how curly and pretty our hair is…go figure?

Please describe your current style (featured in photo) and how you achieved it.

Since I’m no stylist and my hair still isn’t quite long enough to style the way I want it, my basic  styles are twist and mini twist pulled into whichever way I can get them. These particular set of twist I did on wet hair so they are a little shrunken. I co-washed as normal, applied olive oil and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing  Smoothie and twisted.

* If you have young girls in your life please describe the hair relationship.

This question brings tears to my eyes because the vicious cycle that is ignorance had me do the same to my daughter that my Mom did to me. At 6 yrs old, I put a texture softener in my oldest daughters hair because I could not “manage it” and it all went downhill from there. 1 year later I just relaxed her fully because her hair is really thick and coarse and I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know of any communities that helped with this kind of thing and I combed her hair dry most of the time, causing her a great deal of pain. I remember when she was in girl scouts a natural mom who had dreads at the time grew quite agitated with me after asking if I relaxed her hair and I said yes it’s “easier” now. If only she had advised me on what to do before hand..I would have never done it. Now 10 yrs old, she has gone 100% natural again (having done her bc shortly after mine) and is looking forward to the day she can wear wash and go’s. My 5-year-old is the luck one of the group because now I know whats needed to  keep up her beautiful coily locs of hair.




 

Sam is a natural woman.

Please detail the reason for “returning”  to your natural textured hair.

The birth of my 1st daughter was the spark that ignited my return to my natural root.  It may sound simple but I was in awe at the sight of her silky-soft coils.  My hair was first relaxed around the age of
3 years old so I did not know much about black hair in its natural state. As the weeks turned into months and I noticed my little one watching me more intently during make up applications and hair curling/washing etc. It dawned on me that I would be her 1st standard of beauty.  Wow!  What a huge
responsibility.  I realized that soon she would want her hair to flow down her back and blow in the wind just like Mommy’s.  For the first time I was forced to deal with MY HAIR ISSUES.

I remember being dropped off at a little yellow hair shop in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  The woman seemed nice enough, she smiled at me and  helped my toddler sized body into a salon chair.  Before long she said in a grandiose voice, ” Whew, this baby’s hair sure is knotty.” I left the shop that day with straight hair and a broken spirit.  I now realize I have to do better by my own children than those before me.  As the years passed I realized my self-esteem was tied to my hair. If it wasn’t bone straight I didn’t feel pretty.

I asked myself why had I relaxed my hair every 4-6 weeks for the last 26 years.  I could only think of lame reasons like: I always had, it would be “knotty” if I didn’t , or I wouldn’t know what to do with it.  After
realizing that I had no good reason for altering what God thought was beautiful,  I knew I had to begin the inward change of loving, appreciating, and respecting the real me.  Once that personal  challenge had begun it was easy to move forward with the outward change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did your family and friends react to your decision?

Most of my family did not approve of my decision to “go natural”.   My oldest sister was the only exception and has recently gone natural as well. Once I had made up my mind to go natural I did not care what anyone had to say.   My Dad would touch my afro and say things like, “you’re killing me”. My mother was upset because  she feared she would never see my hair straight and long again.  As time went on they eventually started to come around. My Dad now showers me with compliment when I wear my blow out style.

My Mom buys holiday cards featuring women with afro’s or naturals and she only buys dolls for my daughter that mirror natural textures. A lot of the same friends that I shared jars of relaxer with in my college dorm days have also decided to let go of the stigma that kinky hair is bad hair and they too have embraced their natural textures.

Describe your cleansing and styling routine.

When I wear my curly wash and go ‘fro I condition my hair daily with Kinky Curly Knot Today conditioner, apply Kinky Curly Curling Custard, give it a light picking, and finish with a head band or decorative hair pins.  I wash my hair once a week with Kinky Curly Shampoo.

What have you learned about yourself since opting to go natural?

I feel free to do all the things I didn’t do before because I didn’t want to mess up the hair I had just dropped 120 bills on.  Water sports, working out, and playing in the rain with my daughter are a few of the things I love to do.  Going natural has simplified my life as I no longer feel enslaved to my hair.  The for the first time in my life I see that I truly am not my hair.  I guess India Arie was on to something!  Life my friends is good!

Are you happy with your natural hair texture?

I love, love, love it!!!



If your daughters want to relax their hair will you allow it?  What will you say  to guide them in the right direction?

My goal is to build my daughters self-esteem and self-worth.  I tell the oldest often that I love her hair and that it is beautiful. I hope both my girls will always wear natural hair.  However, if when they are 15 or 16 years of age and they want to relax it I will allow them to find their own way hoping their relaxer phase does not last too long as mine did.  LOL.

My Anniversary – One-year relaxer free

Afro on my mind

September marks the first anniversary of my chopping off my hair to remove the chemical  relaxer.  I don’t miss the so-called ease of styling. Wearing weaves and those chemical applications every 6-to-8 weeks was a lot of work too.  Bottom line no matter how we CHOOSE to wear our hair, some work is required.  Some have suggested that natural hair, especially when worn in an Afro style  some how implies that the wearer is a rebel or a potential trouble maker.  For me I’ve found that natural hair sends the message I am approachable.  Particularly when it comes to other women who chose not to alter their natural curls/kinks/coils/waves.   I have lost count of the women that I have met  and held long conversations with about hair care.

The most memorable is the one that took place on the hair care aisle at Wal-Mart.  A Caucasian women with bi-racial children was in search of the right RELAXER for her daughter’s hair.  During our conversation I convinced her not to do it.  I instead suggested products and other styling options.  She told me that the children’s relatives thought  the girls needed to alter their natural texture for more styling control.   I couldn’t help but think it was the black side of the family.  I could be wrong.  However, hair texture  is still a big issue  in our community.  When kinky hair makes your own family members upset and they share the same DNA with you.  Something about that picture is sad.

Perhaps you are thinking about returning to your natural root.  Good for you.  The CHOICE is yours and yours alone.  However, I thought I would share just a bit of inspiration.  From the YouTube page of NATURALNANA (check her out when you get chance).

Introducing Tracy J.

Have you always embraced your hair in its natural state?  Tell us your HAIR-story?
The answer is NO.  I’ve been natural for the past 13-months but my story is similar to many other black women’s story.  I got my first texturizer when I was four years old. I certainly didn’t  ask for it.  It was my mothers choice.  I have very thick hair like my fathers and my mother wasn’t able to dedicate the time to take care of my hair.  I think the long mornings spent in the kitchen getting my hair pressed only to have it poof back up was too much for my mom to handle. So she did what she thought was right by chemically changing the texture of my hair.
I was never really great at styling my own hair so I just continued with the relaxers.  Then high school hit and I would go between micro braids and wraps. When I made it to college I discovered hair weaves and at the point it was on. I got the length that I wanted and I didn’t really have to do much with my own hair.
I wore weaves for 5 years straight while I continued  relaxing my hair, still under the assumption that my natural hair was too unruly and unmanageable.  But, thanks to my weave obsession I stumbled across a couple of YouTube Vloggers like Rustic Beauty [I thought wow her hair is super thick like mine but she’s all natural].  From this point I started to research natural hair a bit more and I became consumed with researching natural hair and all the ways that you can take care of it.  I was convinced that I could have natural healthy hair too!

How do you friends and family react to your natural hair?
Once I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair I told my family and friends and they were all like yeah, yeah okay we’ll believe it when we see it. Because, as I said before I had worn long 16-inch weaves for years so everyone was only used to seeing me with long hair straight hair so they thought I wasn’t going to make it.  However,  I knew what I was going to do and didn’t mind the doubt.  After 3 months of transitioning I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to BC  (big chop).  I called my sister and she cut all of my relaxed ends off.  I must say that initially it was like what the heck did I just do!?  But once I got over the initial shock I was ready to face my family and friends.  All of the women in my family and my friends thought it was great and were nothing but complimentary. However, my brothers and nephew all asked the same question – Why?  I told them that it was my decision and I wanted to give my hair a chance to go grow and be healthy.  I also, told them I was tired of relaxing my hair burning my scalp, being in pain just to achieve a one-dimensional look.

Has your natural style influenced other areas of your life?
I would say that now I am more conscious of what I put into my body. I read the labels of everything  and I try to make wiser decisions about what it is that I put into and on my body. I try to eat and use organic products when possible. Its been a journey of discovery for me in all aspects of my life and I am so thankful that this journey has been positive for me.

If you could  hear one person’s thoughts for a 24-hour period.  who would U choose?
I would choose my Father. He  passed away when I was younger. I wish that I could gather some of that great fatherly wisdom that’s meant for a daughter especially now that I am old enough to take it all in!