Why are sistas overweight?
Most studies identify diet and nutrition as primary causes. Supporting causes are lack of exercise and genetics. According to Women’s Health magazine , when compared with overweight white Americans, overweight black Americans are two to three times more likely to say their weight is average — even after they've been diagnosed as overweight or obese by a doctor. I know that story – I sure didn’t think I was obese – but I was. Also some women are encouraged to keep “a little meat on the bones” and use that as a reason for indulging in unhealthy foods and not working out .
Why do we skip the gym – and why did I skip it this morning?
There are probably several bodies of research that dig into this in greater detail, but my hypothesis is that hair has something to do with it. Not that the issue is vanity – but it is more about cost, time, effort and hair condition. Let’s say on average it cost $85-$125 to get the do done (relaxer, blow, curl) and then you go sweat it out. Then you have to use flat iron, curling iron etc to get it back to presentable state. Well that can cause heat damage and impact the condition of your hair. Plus – the time it takes to do all this (either in the morning or at night) can be upwards of 1.5 hours. In order to maintain my workout schedule – I decided that I would wear braids. With regular swimming and daily workouts – it is the one thing that works for me. During triathlon training season – it really works. But it comes with a cost too. Like – what if I don’t always want to wear braids and I need a change.
So that is where I am right now- removed my braids over the weekend and I’m managing hair that has not seen a relaxer since February. My husband (and I ) were ready for a new look. I have to confess, this morning I let my hair get in my way of working out. Here is why:
- Yesterday I spent 5 ½ hours doing my hair. After shampooing and conditioning it, I had a head full of knots and tangles. It took me hours to comb them out. Then I blew it dry, and attempted to straighten it with the hot comb. When that didn't work, I tried the flat iron. Section by section I managed to get it to be somewhat tame. I tied it so it would stay in place. Despite the tying – it is BIG and puffy.
- When I got up this morning– I thought about working out but could not fathom having to redo do my hair. I was also invited to go swimming at someone's house tomorrow after work. With braids I would have said absolutely yes. Needless to say - I am avoiding the water like the plague.
- Just the slightest bit of moisture or wind will send me into the land of the afro puffs. My hair is pretty big right now, with a bit o sweat it will be humongous. Plus it would require probably who knows how long to blow dry, press and flat iron.
So – today’s workout consisted of a long walk up the big hill with the kids. 2 miles with 2 kids . Fun - yes. A workout - no.
I will manage myself this week through my meals by keeping my calories super low and drinking plenty of water. I will do light walking , abs and maybe weights. I will endeavor to not sweat.
The more I deal with this , the more I realize that there has got to be a better way. I am super committed to working out and I am struggling with this. It is no surprise that others struggle as well. To the undoctrinated , hair issues may seem trivial and not at all worth avoiding a workout. But to us – it is real, oh so real.
I’m going to try a new style this weekend – hopefully it will work with my lifestyle. If not – back to braids it is. Other ideas?