Energy and a positive outlook aren’t the only paths to becoming healthier. Sometimes loss also can motivate you to make changes. The Healthy Hairdresser Challenge for January, asking you to share your health goals for 2016, is supplying insight into how hairdressers craft personal health improvement programs. One respondent made a lot of progress in 2015, but the holidays tripped her up. She vows to return to healthy living and add a few strategies to make it stick. But her road so far has been peppered with sad times, which she has used to double down on her health goals.
In fact, this hairdresser took her first steps on her journey toward healthier living after her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and both she and her mom faced their health issues. “I immediately became organized,” she says. “I had to be there for my mom, continue my roles in my community and challenge myself to shed the pounds I believed were the reason I just wasn’t happy with my appearance.”
Starting off 2015 about 60 pounds heavier than the ideal weight for her height, she found that “to change, I started to first listen to my body.” What her body was telling her was that she had a lot of bad eating habits. She was eating on the go, “never having time to enjoy my meal.” She cut out “junk food,” detoxified with green tea, added vegetables and limited starches. She worried that “I had all the food insecurities and no budget to maintain my goal.” Nevertheless, before she knew it she’d dropped 15 pounds.
Unable to afford a gym membership, she looked to her frisky dog for help, since he could “literally move all day” and was happy with the new routine of taking two or three walks daily. Next she switched her breakfast to an egg with fried kale or spinach, ate oatmeal for lunch and prepared soup and salad for dinner. She was up to a daily dose of five steeping cups of green tea, which helped her give up refined sugar, and she let herself have one treat each day: cornbread she made herself with just eggs, milk, corn and sweet peppers. By April her total weight loss had reached 26 pounds.
With her mother fading, she became so busy with her family and her various projects that she forgot about checking her weight. In May her mother lost her battle with cancer, and it wasn’t until a friend asked her what diet she was on that she realized she was lighter. She told her friend, “To be honest, life has created a schedule.” She had lost another 10 pounds, bringing her total to 36.
Still listening to her body, she was in bed by 9pm in order to get sufficient sleep, and by July she was wearing a size 6 with a total weight loss of 45 pounds. In August she lost her grandmother, and that summer she also was in a serious accident herself.
“I immediately became invested in understanding how we find strength in tragedy and heartbreak,” she recalls. “I continued to look for strength and healing by staying engaged fully.” Her health program had gotten her this far, she reasoned, so she needed to just stay the course. But as winter approached and she spent the holidays without her mother and grandmother, the temptations of the season got the better of her. She gained back 22 pounds.
Now it’s a new year and a new start, not a time to give up. Her 2016 strategy goes back to some basics of her earlier success: prepare meals and take walks. She hopes to increase her exercise by playing her favorite sport, tennis. But her most important health goal for 2016? “Believe I have what it takes.”
Add your goals to our Challenge for a chance to earn a professional brush set and backpack bundle from Pivot Point, a $70 value.