Sis, let me be the first to say that I absolutely love our culture: our music, our comedy, our swag, our resiliency, our fashion, our style…all of it! There are aspects of our heritage, dna, culture, etc, however, that I wish we would put more attention on. In this case, I’m talking health and wellness in contrast to almost every other aspect of our being. We are some of the most educated people, the most athletic, the most beautiful, but as a whole, we seem to put health at the bottom of our priority list.

Without beating around the bush here, I’m specifically referring those of us who would rather spend hundreds of dollars on hairstyles while walking around overweight and obese. I understand that looking good makes a person feels good,. Yes, mental health matters, but when do we start to prioritize health over hair?

I am a melanin-filled, kinky-haired sistah so this isn’t a post to bash my sistahs. This hopefully will make someone stop and think. I believe that our ignorance (lack of knowledge or information) can kill us and some of us are dying from underlying health issues while pretending to feel good about the way we look on the outside. Would you rather live to be 80 years old with wrinkles or die at 50 with a gorgeous hairstyle? I’ll take the 80 with wrinkles all day!

This may sound harsh but it really is coming from a place of love for my people. As a fitness coach, I am speaking from real experiences, not made up ones. I have heard women say that they don’t want to ruin their hair by working out. Or, they say that fitness coaching costs too much while sporting costly lace fronts, tree braids, silk presses, and the many other countless styles that adorn our tresses.

When I made a commitment to myself to get healthy more than 10 years ago, I decided to go natural so that my hairstyle would not be an issue. I gave myself 4 months to lose weight and that commitment included wearing protective styles until I reached my goal. It was actually very liberating to be free from worrying about my hair and I actually continued to wear my natural hair.

Obesity and overweight is one of the top preventable causes of death in the United States. It can cause certain cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and breathing problems. And, during this pandemic, it is critical that people of color are as healthy as can be so don’ t sacrifice your health for your hair. I am not saying give up beauty, but I do say take a step back and compare your commitment to beauty and wellness. It is too easy to find a protective style that allows you to exercise and sweat so that you can be a better version of you, health-wise.

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