When Shreeda Tailor was still a kid, she was sweeping and washing hair in her mother’s salon. After graduating from high school, however, Tailor attended college and began a career in nuclear medicine. It didn’t work out.
“My creative side was not being nourished, and my schedule was horrible,” Tailor recalls. “I had always been an athlete in pretty good shape, but my medical career caused me a lot of stress and was not compatible with a healthy lifestyle. Some days I worked from 3am to 10pm, often not eating until my shift ended and then stuffing myself with fast food. I started gaining weight. I got married, had a baby and from there it was all weight gain, weight gain, weight gain.
When Tailor and her family relocated, she couldn’t find a job in her field. “I fell back to what I know, which is hair,” she recalls. “I wasn’t sure where I was going with it—I was a new mom and didn’t have my schedule figured out. I wanted to do bridal hair and makeup, so I went to cosmetology school and discovered I had ‘muscle memory’ from working with my mom. I did well in school and dove right into the deep end!”
While switching careers fulfilled her creative yearning, it didn’t help her health issues. “After I started doing hair, one day I woke up and felt terrible,” she remembers. “My back hurt; I’d gained back any weight I’d lost, and I was unhappy about that. Also, I lost a baby pre-term, which was devastating. I felt like my body had betrayed me.”
The anger at her body motivated Tailor to take more control over it. “I hired a trainer and worked out with him three times a week,” she explains. “At first I really hated it! Then as my body got stronger and working out became easier, I saw that I could do it. I looked at fitness differently—instead of punishing myself for being fat, I saw working out as a way to discover what I was capable of accomplishing.”
Her trainer provided a healthy meal plan, but Tailor found the foods too bland. “I’m a hairdresser, so I’m very visual!” she says. “I started creating my own meals, following the recommendations for a balance of carbs and protein.” She soon dropped 30 pounds while increasing her stamina. Today, five years later, Tailor has two children, educates for Living Proof and is fully booked at her J. Tailor Salon in Sugarland, Texas, but she has energy and feels great.
“I was the hairdresser with all the excuses,” Tailor admits. “I would say that I didn’t have time, my schedule was too booked, organic and healthy foods were too expensive. But I make my own schedule, so that’s not a valid excuse, and even though the food expenses are real, it’s expensive to be sick, too.”
With health as a new focus, Tailor shares her recipes with clients and posts them online. “My trips to the grocery store are fast!” she says “I buy everything fresh, nothing packaged or processed. My rule is five ingredients maximum, and if I can’t pronounce an ingredient I won’t buy the food.” She makes her meals ahead of time, eats six small meals/snacks a day, drinks up to a gallon of water daily and keeps an elliptical workout machine at home to do for 30-45 minutes after putting the children to bed each night.
Instead of squeezing in clients until her schedule and stress levels are bulging, Tailor books in time to eat—maybe lunch while a guest’s color is processing—and time for herself. She says her clients understand; they’re happy that good health will mean she’ll have a longer career.
“Once you get your rhythm going, it’s just about making the time,” Tailor says. “If you’re not keeping yourself healthy, you’re choosing not to keep yourself healthy. Your mindset is the difference—you have to choose to be healthy. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
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