Even when you can’t seem to get healthy for yourself, becoming a parent can give you a fresh outlook. You want to be there for the long haul and also be a good role model for your kids, so you revisit your lifestyle decisions. That’s exactly what happened to Latannia Locks, a solo suite hairdresser at Legacy Salons in Arlington, Texas.
“I was not eating properly, and I wasn’t working out,” Latannia Locks says, referring to the time before she gave birth to twins. “I had high cholesterol and felt stressed. In 2000 when my husband and I moved from Louisiana to Texas, I weighed 190 pounds. We knew we couldn’t bring our bad habits with us! We made some small changes, but the big changes came when we had our twins about six years later. I looked at my twins and thought I had to make a change with my health.”
Before her pregnancy, Locks was working in a salon but focused on infertility problems. “I had to do two rounds of in vitro fertilization, and that was not easy,” she remembers. “That second try was one of the most stressful times in my life. But I’m persistent—when it’s something I want, I’m going to keep trying! I can get very emotional when I look at my kids, because it took so much to get them here. Sometimes I still cannot believe I’m a mom! Everything I do is for my children, which is why health and fitness is now a huge part of my life.”
During her infertility treatment, Locks was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. “It makes you gain weight, and your hormones are running crazy and out of balance,” Locks says. “The doctors wanted me to take pills, but I didn’t want to. I thought I’d try running instead—I decided hills over pills! When I stress, I hit the street!”
It seems to have worked. Locks attributes her next pregnancy just a year later, achieved without fertility help, to her healthier lifestyle. Soon Locks and her husband were leading their young family on a path toward lifelong health.
“My husband was working out in a gym, and I started walking and running,” Locks reports. “Then he joined me in that, and now he’s a fitness trainer! Our kids run because they want to do what we do, and we also go on family hikes.”
Locks has run three half-marathons and is in training for a full marathon in December 2017. When not specifically training, she still sets aside 45 minutes three days a week to either run, walk or do a home workout video. She says this routine makes her feel more confident, improves her sleep, reduces her risk of getting sick and boosts her creativity.
She has changed her eating habits, too. “The only days I eat carbs are the days I exercise,” Locks explains. “I don’t have white rice or bread unless I’m running or working out that day. That helps with my weight and my sugar levels. I don’t deny myself—I eat cake and chips—but within limits.” For the past 10 years, she’s stayed about 35 pounds below her pre-pregnancy weight.
Becoming a mother made Locks reevaluate her career as well. That’s when she decided to be a solo artist in order to take full control of her hours and her income. Now living happier and healthier, Locks hopes to inspire other hairdressers, clients and even children to take care of themselves.
“I’ve gotten clients to run races with me or walk with me,” Locks says. “They ask me what I’m doing for fitness and how I manage to do it with three kids and a husband!” Beyond the salon, she’s pursuing some speaking engagements with kids’ and women’s organizations and writing a book about her life’s experience and her advice to others.
Coming from her own parents who, she says, were very poor role models, Locks is proud of, and grateful for, all that she has accomplished. “I thank God for the person I am today, because I could have gone so wrong,” she says. “The hairstylist I am today is that I care deeply about my clients. The parent I am today is a good mother. My husband and I took the opportunity to be better role models for our kids.”