Getting Back in the Saddle

…And I was doing SO WELL. My last post on The Journey was brimming with confidence — I’d managed to drop a couple of pounds in the New York/Washington DC leg of my road trip, thanks to a rigorous schedule of things-to-do and cities that required a certain level of physical activity. Then I got to the Southern leg of the trip and lost all self control. Soul food, y’all. It’s like crack. So I took two steps forward, then two steps back.

Between the fried chicken and biscuits in North Carolina, and the fried oysters, crawfish, and grits in Mobile Alabama, I gained back those three pounds and two extra for my trouble. And since returning home, I’ve been struggling to get back in the saddle in terms of healthy eating and daily exercise.

For those who wage war with weight loss, the struggle can make you feel like Sysiphus. Even a day can make a difference in your momentum. I can have a brilliant workout day Monday, and just not feel up to motivating myself Tuesday. And if I don’t work out Tuesday, I really don’t feel like it on Wednesday. It’s a labor of love, a dedication to my health, a ritual that needs to be way more regular… but man, it’s so easy to just shrug your shoulders and say tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

I’m hoping to interview Dr. Ian Smith soon enough, to ask him questions about staying motivated on the path to fitness. For now, I’m trying to remotivate myself by logging into the 50 Million Pound challenge page. When you log in, there’s a journal component that helps you keep track of what you’ve eaten, your activities for the day, and most importantly, your moods and daily thoughts. “Today I’m feeling… ” and there’s a drop down menu of emotions.

Today, I have to admit I felt defeated and discouraged.

But the most important thing is to remember that tomorrow’s another day. And it’s up to me how I approach it. I plan to approach it with determination. I’m gonna do what I keep writing about. I’m going to wake up, get in a good work out, drink lots of water, and give my body the good, healthy fuel it deserves. No More Excuses! I can do this! And I need to remind myself every day.

Speaking of excuses, just yesterday I saw a Fox News report about going natural, and how hair can affect how much we exercise in the African American community. Really want to know what y’all think about this one.

What do you think, bellas? Have you found yourself falling short of your personal goals? How do you get back in the saddle?

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Comments

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself! It was soul food. And road trip. Totally the time to enjoy yourself, which you did. Don’t negate the good times, just get back in the saddle, as you say.

  2. that video was interesting
    Bella the fact that you are sticking with your goals mean you are doing well. Keep going. Even I am trying to get on the healthy grind.

  3. This is definatley a slow moving bus with lots of stops. The funny thing about me is that I am either @ 120% or at 10%. I push myslef too far or I am off of the wagon. I’m sure that is partially do to my bi-polarness.

    As for the hair, Iwas just thinking about this on the elliptical last night (as I was zoning out on the 50 resistance) I was watching the girls sweating out their perms and wondering whether I would be working out this hard if I was not transitioning. That was also the point that I was also talking myself out of perming and getting a fierce short cut. I’ve never had to talk myself out of a perm before, I’m growing up.

  4. I have one question:

    Why is a White, Asian, or Hispanic woman’s natural hair considered professional and acceptable in all work places, and a Black woman’s hair is considered UN-professional?

  5. Sorry I meant to say a Black woman’s NATURAL hair.

    No weaves,extensions or additions included.

  6. Ethnic hair ? Coily,curly, yes but ethnic, no. I mean how will they call asian and native american hair then ? And why ask witch one is more professional. I understand that she asks witch hair style is more professional within the natural hair styles but asking with hair is more professional while talking about straight hair versus our hair is a racist question. It is like asking if whites just by their skin color look more professional then blacks or if blacks look as professional as any other race in the world. Have you ever seen someone asking if white curly hair looked more professional then white straight hair? Never ! They will have preference for hair sytle at work but not hair texture. So why is it that the profesionalism of our curls and coils is questionned ?

  7. I don’t know why I’m so surprised, but this just does not seem like a story that should have been shot in 2009. I understand trying to get us as a community to exercise more and making suggestions on ways to work your hair so that you can get a good workout, but the question definitely SHOULD NOT be if it’s professional or not, it just shouldn’t. I feel like natural hair on African American women has become more widely accepted but it’s things like this (and of course it was FOX) and the Glamour mishap last year that really offend me. We don’t have to make excuses for ourselves, if we want to wear it straight or curly or kinky or braided or short cut or locked or in an afro then we should have every right to do so without it being a “statement” or shocking or up for discussion. I’m rambling now. I guess this is all part of the process, at least it’s being talked about, right?
    :-/

    Having said that, you’ll get back in the groove. Vacations are a time for indulging and straying from your norm, once you get back on schedule that discipline will come back and so will your confidence. Congrats on even taking the step to hold yourself accountable. You can do it! You will do it!

  8. AND plus that reporters hair was cute. What could have been unprofessional about that? So was the straw set…I got a couple ideas from that video clip now that I think about it. OKay now I’m done, that just really grinded my gears.

  9. This FOX “news” segment just confirms (for me anyways) that we- black people, still have a loooong way to go to luving ourselves, accepting our NATURAL selves.
    The sistah said she believe straight hair to be more professional. WTF! That is just crazy to me. I’ve had relaxers, care free curl, a fro, locks and back to a fro looking forward to it growing into a big beautiful Angela Davis fro. I could care less in which environment I worked. If white people, asians, native americans etc. don’t have to change their hair, why should I?

    I wonder if First Lady Obama let her relaxer grow and sported a fro or braids would it be considered professional then?

  10. Aubrey, I agree that this should not have been a story that had to be shot in 2009. However, it is still relevant to many people’s experiences in 2009. I am one-year natural and in a very conservative professional field. For a long time, I was the only professional of color in my office. The ONLY one and I live in Atlanta. I really debated long and hard about going natural partly because I was concerned about some of the attitudes in the office and I worried about what I would have to deal with from the people that I work for. I have 4a/4b coarse hair which looks nothing like the silky curls that newscaster is rocking. I finally decided that I didn’t care and just went for the plunge.

    However, that does not mean that it was not difficult. So many people, black and white, believe that naturally curly/kinky hair is not professional. Even though the male newscaster was getting on my nerves, the more people see that going natural is an option and can be acceptable at work, the more we will see it.

    BTW, my best friend is a television reporter who has been dying to go natural for awhile but its not really an option at her station. I know how radical it is for newscasters to want to go natural. Great post, Bella.

  11. Natural Hair Product Researcher says:

    Everyday is a new day, I say. I ask myself on the days that I am scheduled to workout and don’t feel like it, “what’s the deal?” If the reason is justified (time crunch, feeling blah, etc.) I say okay but you HAVE TO go the next scheduled day no excuses. Once I do that I’m back on track.

    I am not a big believer in working out everyday (fast burnout), but when I do workout (3x week), I go hard.

    You are not alone, everybody gets unmotivated from time to time, but you are making progress just thinking about getting more healthy…Let’s have a good workout in the AM, k?

    Oh and before I went natural I I just shampooed my hair twice a week to keep it fresh and straight.

  12. Peace Afrobella, just some quick random thoughts. I did not know hair was directly tied to the decision to work out. Note, Pilates and yoga doesn’t involve a high impact cardiovascular workout.

    It is really easy to fall short, or slack off on your workout or training regiment. Writing about it and sharing the experience definitely helps. There are many blogs dedicated to running and preparing for marathons.

    ——–
    The professionalism argument will continue for a long minute. It’s all perception, confidence and I must admit, the corporate environment.

    http://scritchandscratch.com/blog/?p=438

  13. I agree with everything that Aubrey said. I was more than a little embarassed after watching that segment, especially the comments about young girls taking straws from restaurants to make a straw set, and the fact that “ethnic” hair was basically treated as a novelty the entire time. Many questions were raised, but few answers were provided. How can we call that progress?

  14. I too struggle with weight loss and staying committed to my workouts. Some days are easier than others.

    I’ve decided that for me it’s a matter of health and taking care of myself. There are days I force myself to go to the gym even if it’s only 30 minutes on the elliptical. I’ve also stopped looking at the total amount of weight I want to lose and take it day by day.

    As far as hair, I have a relaxer and I just wrap my hair before I work out, blow it dry while it’s still wrapped and I don’t have a problem with it looking good the next day.

  15. The whole “sweating out the perm” fear is a shame. I personally got over that years ago when my trainer was like “you can either pay to get your hair done or pay to buy new clothes.” I typically work out in the morning on my way to the office. I have experimented with a strategically placed pony tail or pin curls. No, my gym days are not typically my best hair days but I feel good about caring for my health as much as I look in the mirror at my hair.

  16. naturalhair58 says:

    Wow!!!! the natural hair story on Fox was very interesting. I have been natural for almost two years after being relaxed for more than 30. When my hair was relaxed I never did my own hair, I’m ashamed to say(not even shampooing), but then I became very interested in living a healthy lifestyle. I would pay $$$$ to get my hair done on a Saturday and by Wednesday i was wearing a ponytail- I was going once a week. I decided to go natural and I became knowledgeable by reading your blog first and then others. Now, I normally wear my hair in twist outs. I am in the education field and most of my students and colleagues are Caucasian, so there have been “looks”. I think my field is more open than many other professions to the “natural look” including locs. So, I agree with a part of the news story- yes having natural hair has allowed me to work out more without worrying about my hair, enjoying the sauna which is something I would never have done before, and having the knowledge to do things with my hair that I didn’t know that I could do.
    And Afrobella, you will get back into the routine, it may take a few days but don’t give up.

  17. ayomidejpw says:

    The video was interesting. What they needed to talk about is Why straight hair is accepted than “ethic” hair in a so called professional job ? My hair is natural and I don’t like the label of ethnic hair. It’s just hair…. my hair curly or straight
    Afrobella keep doing your best. I work out every other day and eat what I want but keep my portions under control. Don’t stress yourself out try to keep exercise fun!

  18. Michelle says:

    the newscaster was extremely apologetic and her fear of hair-rejection was palpable…

    i understand that this is largely a new movement and that its going to take time for both us, and those with straight hair to get used to it, but the fact is, this is what naturally comes out of our heads. we have to just do it. and they have to just accept it. simple as that.

    would a professional organization really challenge/fire someone for not relaxing/weaving their hair? and if they did, can you imagine the the lawsuit that could come out of such a situation? you cannot force someone to alter their natural being by unnatural, and potentially deadly means. its ridiculous. however, if that someone is not steadfast in principles or have not yet made the mental transition, they can be pressured into doing just that.

  19. Sumatra77 says:

    Bella, I feel your pain re: the diet and exercise. I have battled my weight off and on for over a decade and have been in the two steps forward, four steps back mode the entire time. Only this year do I feel that I have finally seized control over that battle. I joined Weight Watchers about 10 weeks ago and have dropped around 12 lbs. The key is to write down everything you eat so you can see how much over what you SHOULD be getting you are eating. At some point, it will click and you will naturally gravitate towards healthier fare. Also, I have learned to stop expecting to “feel” motivated to exercise. I just show up now and my body kicks in when I start on the treadmill. I started a running program a few weeks ago and will be running 30 minutes straight next week. My point is that if you wait to get motivated, you will never do it. The motivation comes with results. When you find yourself getting lighter, being able to do more with less effort, being complimented, needing a belt when you once couldn’t breathe in the same pants, THEN the motivation comes.

    About hair – Sadly, I don’t see that many black women at my gym, and most of those I see have braids or natural hair, so there just might be a correlation there. I do continue to hope for a shift in consciousness – where as black women, we think of our overall health and not just what’s on the outside…

    Keep the faith, bella and just get back on that wagon!

  20. BekkaPoo says:

    That video is just sad sad sad.. I work in a professional environment (law office) and I have never worn my hair straight at work. Ever. Nor will I ever. I won’t compromise on that because I shouldn’t have to. If they want to make a stink about it, I can get a lawyer to change that attitude.

    Also, pretty much every ethnicity has curls or at least waves. Whites, Asians, and Latinos (who can be of ANY race), Native Indians, etc. are just as prone to having curly hair as anyone else.

  21. I started out this year really good but I fell off the wagon last month so I know how you feel. I know I need to get back into the gym but I can’t seem to make myself go…even though I was seeing great results from a tough strength-training program.

    Re that video: I just saw it on another hair board and made my long comments there but consider this a heads-up for you in terms of black folks’ attitudes in Chicago (that was longtime Chicago anchor Robin Robinson) as well as their treatment in the local media. Let’s just say I have no interest in the follow-up because I already know how it’ll turn out: Robin will go right back to the long straight “professional” hair she’s always had and the audience (both black and non-black) will applaud wildly.

    For the record: I was sitting in boardrooms with my natural hair in the MID-NINETIES and had no problem whatsoever. It never occurred to me to ask ANYBODY whether my natural hair texture was professional…and I’ve got the unmistakably nappy stuff that everybody’s so freaking scared of.

    For many so-called “ethnic” textures the TWA or short cut is the easiest thing out here…it’ll take you from the boardroom to the gym to wherever else. But OH NO… long hair is THE ONLY WAY women can look feminine. Jeez…if it’s that serious, wear the TWA in the gym and throw on a damn wig since wigs are so popular now.

    *woosah*

    I don’t know, Bella…the older I get, the less tolerance I have for deliberate ignorance.

  22. Trust Fox to spew such racist stories. They always do stuff like this, blacks need to boycot them and just not watch fox news.
    Obviously they’d put in things like 4/5 black women are overweight to create the illusion that all BW’s are morbidly obese and would rather get their perms did than join the gym. Its all bull- how exactly did they measure ‘overweight’ in those statistics? Was it based on BMI (which has been criticised for its innaccuratsies (sp) or was it based on waist-hip ration (which is known for being more accurate)? I wonder

  23. One day at a time my Sister. If you get off track, it is OKAY.

    Refocus. Rededicate. Be realistic. You might make a mistake.

    If you have not read The Fat Smash Diet by Dr. Ian Smith, you will learn that he makes it clear that we all slip sometimes.

    I wish you well and I pray that your focus is renewed daily.

    One day at a time. Be blessed!

  24. Bella, I am right there with you. I was going HARD for a minute. Getting up to do 6am workouts, cutting back on eating, etc. Then I went out of town, came back and never got back on track.

    I made things worse with my trip out of town this past weekend where I was absolutely gluttonous and I feel bloated and blah. There was a gym in the hotel. No excuse really.

    At this point, it seems like it will take an act of God to get my back on track on a consistent basis. It feels like a total loss of control over what I put in my mouth at times and that’s a HARD thing to admit because it sounds weak. But it’s the truth. I know what I HAVE to do is deal with, once and for all, the reasons why I abuse food like I do. I know what they are but I haven’t dealt with it. If I don’t, this miserable cycle will never end. Never.

    So I have nothing helpful to add. Just want you to know you’re not alone!

    Oh and I know a woman who cut off her hair so that she could swim. I deeply admire that. That’s called grabbing control with both hands.

  25. The 50 million pound challenge has changed my life. I have lost 45lbs since september and i feel great! it has truly helped me to change my life style and it will do the same for you. it won’t happen overnight but it will happen. you will begin to know what a healthy meal is without having to use the plan for guidance. you will be able to order food in a restaurant that is healthier fare without feeling like you are missing out. you will automatically start eating smaller portions and saving the rest for later. i try not to deprive myself of anything, if i want it i have it but just a small amount.

    You can do it bella! don’t be discouraged! this is not a race. stay focused on your goal and you will reach it. you seem to be a very dedicated and successful women in general, you will accomplish this as well.

    no one is perfect and it will take time for this new way of life to become second nature for you. don’t stress yourself out about it. take one day and one meal decision at a time.

    the fox news report resonated with me because i was that newscaster. i was addicted to the perm and went every 28 days for a fix! i loved my hair straight and flowy! and now i love it curly and nappy. but it took a while to embrace the new me and come to grips with my own prejudices. i work in a professional environment and always have. many people have no idea my hair is in its natural state. People accept me as I am because I accept myself. I’ve had people with perms ask me to do a twist out on their hair and they love it! I’ve never asked anyone their opinion of my hair so I have only heard positive comments but it doesn’t even matter because it’s my opinion that counts.

    i just started working out again and i love the ease of natural hair. because in the past sweating out my hairstyle was indeed a deterrant to working out. i don’t have that issue anymore.

  26. The girl that says straight hair is more professional urked me. Poor thing. So if you are not out their totally mimicking a white person, then you’re not professional? She wasn’t even aware of the ignorance she blurted out. Anyhow, people don’t understand our hair but eventually they will learn to accept it. It is a struggle though because white america wants the whole world to emulate them and measure up to their so called standards. I always get looks, jealousy, and envy in various places I have worked because of my hair. It’s like people think “How dare she be bold enough to actually love who she is and put it in our face.” This was mainly white people. But old black women have a problem with it too. Of course problems ensue. But, hey that is life. I still wear my hair naturual to work, but, I will not wear an afro. White people don’t understand it and feel threatened. Unfortunately a lot of blacks have problem with it too.

  27. I was wearing a natural hairstyle, in a professional environment, in the EARLY 90s. I was only in my early 20s back then, so obviously I was an early natural. I didn’t ask or care what anyone thought. I was a dedicated professional and respected for my work. I never felt that I had to change my”self” to fit in.

    Like some other commenters here, I was really embarrassed watching that video, and I felt like I was back in the 80s even. Are we really still there? Robin came up like such an approval-seeker with a serious case of slave mentality. And was she even natural or was she simply wearing a curly style?

    I concur with her on hair being an excuse for many black women to forego exercise, and I’m a huge proponent of us improving our diet and lifestyles, but that should have been a report in and of itself.

  28. curlycrown says:

    Loved the video. I just went natural in Nov 2008 after wearing a weave for 6 months. Prior to that I faithfully relaxed my hair under the delusion that it was what I had to do to fit in in my profession. I am an attorney. Since cutting my hair and going natural, I get MORE compliments on my hair at work and in general. I went natural because I was tired of the maintenance and I wanted to start exercising regularly. Now my hair is healthier and my body is getting healthier as well. No more excuses for me about sweating out my ‘do and I love my natural hair!!!

  29. Good story on the hair. I have not been to the gym in the last week but I’ll hit the treadmill.

  30. Pearlsrevealed says:

    So, what type of feedback did the reporter get on that Fow website?

  31. About the Fox story….I’m disappointed in the way the anchorwoman, Robin, handled the story. First of all, she was not wearing her hair in a natural state, so I don’t understand why she was asking others to approve or disapprove of her hair. Her hair was simply curly, not natural. Second, she seemed so unsure of herself and uncomfortable with the way she looked. I get the fact that you normally don’t see Black anchorwomen with natural styles, but hers wasn’t natural. I was offended that she was trying to pass her curly hairstyle off as natural and that she thought to ask the audience which style had a more professional look – straight or curly.

    Anyway, I’ve been natural 8 months and I love it. In the past, my relaxed hair was most definitely a deterrant to me working out – it just didn’t happen because I didn’t have money to get it done one day and sweat it out the very next day. I feel such freedom with natural hair and it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Forget the stares. It only matters that I love it and if I hold my head up, project confidence, and dress the part, others will simply have to take notice and get used to it.

  32. Pearlsrevealed says:

    @ Ree
    Hair that has not been chemically (relaxed) or mechanically (hot comb/ flat iron) altered is said to be natural. The reporters hair was natural because that is her natural, God-given hair with a straw set. Her hair had not been straightened with a flat ironed as usual and no chemicals were used to achieve the curls.

    I don’t know why people think that nappy or excessively curly/ 4c hair is “natural” and more loosely curled hair is NOT natural. SMH.

  33. I worked in a local news station and I was afraid to wear my hair. I had a weave the entire internship. That news clip was awesome and inspiring!

  34. Hi Ladies,

    I found a link where people are commenting about this change in hair style. Ms. Robinson also explains some of her word choices as it pertains to her field specifically. I too was embarassed as I watched the video. It seems women of color have more work to do in loving ourselves just as we are created.

    http://community.myfoxwfld.com/_My-Hair/BLOG/236901/36298.html?as=36298

  35. I work for Corporate America and I am natural. I have come to work in a curly fro to braids cornrows and various styles. I have not felt any pressure to be relaxed, flat ironed or anything. I see now in this environment as I work in a bank on the trading floor with tons of trader’s men and woman that many are natural with locs, twist and everything and no one says anything. There are even management here that are sporting locs and twists. This is New York City so who knows that may be a difference I have no idea.

    I exercise 4 days a week and have no real issues with having natural hair, when I did have a chem process I was still going to the gym as well.

    I do hear woman say though that their hair does limit them so it is said, but I hear that from all woman not just ethnic woman.

    I did like the segment, I think we as woman are moving past this as most woman I talk to that go natural love their texture and feel that they much happy and their hair looks better. So to each is own, so thanks for sharing :-)

  36. I loved that video segment. I do think parts of it were unnecessary, i.e. the reporter’s “let me know what you think and I’ll let that affect what I choose to do with my hair” bit.

    I know women in my own family who regularly skip exercise because they have just done a roller set or a blow-out and don’t want to sweat it out. Sad, but reality.

    To get angry that people are airing a story like this, to pretend this is NOT an issue affecting women of color today is to be in denial of a serious problem. Stories like this are important and it’s refreshing to see news reports devoting time to it.

    What was missing from the news report was at least one woman in corporate America who wears her hair naturally simply because that’s how she likes to wear it, as opposed to women saying “I would never wear it like this at work” and “I retired before I started wearing it like this.”

  37. damn…i hate the word the ethnic.

    i think its great that this topic is covered in mainstream media but its sad to see at the same time.
    their saying accept it because it’ll make black women healthier instead of black women have the right to be themselves.

    i have had a fro now i have locs and no career choice would make me alter it.

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