Curls and Exercise do mix!

So I went to the gym after work tonight. I’m a gym rat by nature, but in the summer, I tend to slack off a little because it’s often too nice outside to wind up being stuck in such a dank place. Plus, during this time of year, I tend to hang out more with friends too. I’ve resolved not to slack off too much this summer because I’m trying to lose weight. Most people would say that I don’t need to lose anything, but I know I need to. I was thin and probably underweight at times during my childhood and adolescence. I didn’t really put on the weight until after college, which was not a great time in my life emotionally or professionally. By the time I was 32, I weighed 226 pounds. Nine years ago, I joined the Weight Watchers at Work program at my previous job and within 15 months, I lost 71 pounds. I’d still recommend the program today since they emphasize moderation, not banning entire food groups. That was important to me because I didn’t want to feel as though I could never eat the foods I enjoyed ever again, like pizza. Actually, it’s been shown that if you deliberately ban certain foods from your diet, you begin feeling deprived and you can end up binging on the banished food which could end up sabotaging your weight loss. Also, once you’ve reached your goal weight, you’re actually given the tools on how to maintain your weight loss, unlike most other diets whereby once you reach your goal, you immediately go back to how you ate before you started and you regain the weight right back, which is why most diets don’t work. The main motivation for me in keeping the weight off is that I have a lot of diabetes in my family. My mother, my aunt, my grandmother and various distant cousins all have it. A great-aunt had her foot amputated because of it. I didn’t want to end up like them where I’d need to take pills or insulin by age 40  or have any limbs amputated. It’s way easier to watch what goes in my mouth than it would be to inject myself with insulin.

For all that time, I’ve been around five pounds of my goal weight. However, four years ago, my cycle starting going crazy. It got to the point where I couldn’t track it because it got so irregular. A couple of months, I’d get it every 15 days, then another couple of months, I’d get it every 30 days, etc. The doctor did some tests and found nothing, but if you ask me, I think it’s perimenopause. Around the same time, I started getting night sweats. Still get them. After two years of the crazy cycles, I got fed up and asked to be put on the pill. I got Seasonique, the one where you only have a period once every three months. After what I had been dealing with before, that seemed like heaven. The thing is, the hormones in the pill trick your body into thinking its pregnant, so you tend to be hungrier and eat more, the end result being that you put on weight. I was on the pill once before when I was in my 20’s for about a year, but I got off it because of the weight gain. Seasonique wasn’t around then (this was around 15 years ago). It was a different kind of pill. I think it was Loestrin, but I’m not too certain. It was a long time ago. But the result was the same. Last year, I didn’t notice much change in my weight, but this year?  A couple of months ago, my job told us that we’d need to have biometric screenings done by the end of September or else we won’t have health insurance for next year. You were exempt if you were currently covered under a spouse’s health plan. They claimed it wasn’t mandatory, but in my case, I felt it was and I didn’t feel it was right. I’m single. I’m not anyone’s dependent so I can’t be covered under someone else’s plan. There was no way I could avoid it because it’s not like I can be without health insurance. My issue wasn’t with the screening itself but with the way it was kind of forced on people. They measure your blood pressure, check your cholesterol, check your weight and so on. I’ve had the screenings before at my last job but in that case, they actually were voluntary as they didn’t tie it into your ability to get insurance. So, anyway, I had the screening a month ago. And to my horror, I was told I weighed 172 pounds, 17 pounds above my ideal weight. I hadn’t weighed that much in 8 years. After I left the screening area, I started to calm down a little bit. They say its best to do the screening on an empty stomach for the best results, but I’d been scheduled for that thing at 3 in the afternoon. There was no way that I could go all day without eating. Plus I was weighed with clothes on. Clothes add weight and if you weigh yourself after you’ve eaten, your food hasn’t had time to digest and you can retain water. All this could add up to five pounds to your weight. So I figured that at minimum, I was at 167 pounds, which still wasn’t where I wanted to be, but it was a more accurate assessment. The weight crept on without much notice from me because last winter, the battery in my digital scale died and I didn’t make the effort to get another one until a few weeks ago. So I wasn’t keeping on top of it like I normally do. When I finally did replace the dead battery and was able to weigh myself from home, it turned out that I was at 168 pounds. This morning I was at 166.5 pounds. So I’ve lost one and half pounds so far. However, it’s going slowly because I’m retaining water due to the pill. I’d most likely would have lost several more pounds by now if I weren’t on it. I’m now faced with a dilemma-go off of the pill and deal with crazy cycles again or stay on it and regain all the weight I lost? If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’m so coming back as a man.

Hence, the gym. I did a spin class tonight. I love the teacher, Nathalie. For one thing, she’s team natural! She keeps her hair in a Caesar, but she’s a natural, all the same. She’s also very motivating and the music she plays is slammin’. It’s more like club music and not the Top 40 pop that other spin teachers play. So the beat is always fast and it doesn’t vary like with pop music. My wash and go from the past few days was getting kind of fuzzy so I had it in a puff today. Even though I sweated profusely in spin class, my hair was still on point and I could rinse it when I got home and it would still be fine. I didn’t exercise much when I had a relaxer because I always feared sweating it out. So being natural has freed me to do what I need to do to stay healthy. I’ve seen articles where it’s been stated that black women are the least likely of any group to exercise because we fear messing up our hair. That’s just crazy to me that a number of us would prefer to die premature deaths from heart disease or diabetes and have our fried, dyed and laid to the side hair look on point at the funeral rather than do what we need to be healthy. That won’t be me. Ever.

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