Barriers To Weight Loss: Hair
Alright ladies. Let’s talk hair. In studies that are done about what’s preventing African American women from working out, hair often comes up. From the Baylor College of Medicine:
Most of the women who participated in the study reported that managing their hair made exercising a challenge.
From: Cultural Factors Keep Some Black Women Away From The Gym
Also, to get black women to exercise and adopt healthful lifestyles, you must take hair and appearance into consideration, Railey says.
“If a woman spends hours in a (salon) chair and spends $60, she’s out of the gym for at least two days,” Railey says.
So as you can see hair is a problem. A Big problem. My take on this is this: If it comes down between a a nice hairdo and heart disease/diabetes/cancer/hypertension and a slew of other illnesses. Which would you choose? That should be a no-brainer. But apparently it’s not.
I’m a black woman so I understand how a lot of BW’s confidence is tied up in their hair (and a myriad of other things) but at the end of the day your hairstyle shouldn’t dictate your health.
The way I see it there are only 2 options to the hair dilemma:
1. The Wrap
When I had hair (I’m currently a member of what I like to call: The Happy, Nappy, Natural and Free, Club) I used to wrap it before I went to the gym and slapped a scarf on it. Any Black woman worth her salt knows a well-executed wrap can secure salon style straightness with minimal effort.
What wrapping your hair also does is prevent a lot of the excess moisture (read sweat) from wreaking havoc on your do. I know that for many Black women the worst thing that can happen is to have their freshly relaxed hair “turn” and those edges not be a s straight as they were when they left the hairdresser.
Wraps help to cut down on the “turning” and once you’re ready to leave the gym if you have somewhere to go, comb out the wrap, apply a light bump with a curling iron or flat iron (optional) and you’re good to go. Just as fly as when you left the salon.
Now obviously if you’re working our regularly and you sweat profusely you will need to up how many times a week you wash your hair. Once a week to twice a week (three times a week is pushing it with relaxed hair ’cause it dries out so easily) should do the trick and be prepared to wrap it again.
If that sounds like it is too much work for you then there’s Option 2:
2. Go Natural
Yeah I said it. Go natural. Black women are the only women on the planet who are told that there is a problem with their hair being in its natural state. White women may dye their hair (we do it too) but the texture of their hair remains the same.
To sistahs I say:
Get out of bondage. Stop letting your hair rule you and wear (and love) the hair that God gave you.
With natural hair the issues Black women have with their hair and the gym disappear. Natural hair is wash-and-go hair. As a kid I used to envy White women and other non-black women for their wash and go/less labor intensive hair. It took me to get older to realize I had wash-and-go hair too; it’s just when you chemically alter your hair it doesn’t do what it’s naturally supposed to do.
I’ve been natural before. I had a min-afro for awhile and then at my mother’s insistence, I relaxed it. Then after a bad chemical burn that took out part of my hair and countless breakages and dryness I said, “Enough is a enough,” and chopped it all off.
So now I have a very low boys haircut. And when I say low, I mean low. There are men running around with more hair on their heads than I have.
And here’s a secret: Men LOVE it. Black men ladies. I get complimented on my natural hair ALL of the time. Young black men. Old black men. Rich, poor. Professional, blue collar. Compliments all of the time.
When I first cut it I was worried that I was completely ruining my dating life. I just KNEW brothers weren’t going to pay me any mind. Big butt aside I didn’t have any hair and all you hear (and see) is how a black man wants a woman with long flowing hair, whether it’s hers or not.
Here’s the other secret. The other thing I learned from this year of no hair: Men like women. Period. If they think you’re hot then it doesn’t really matter what’s going on with your hair as long as it’s neat and looks nice on you.
Oh and the bonus for those of you who want to date interracially: White men love it. I mean you’d think I was Halle Berry or something with the way they react.
My point is that you shouldn’t let your hair determine your health. AND whether or not a man likes your hair isn’t important, even though I know appearing attractive to the opposite sex is important to just about everybody.
While I’m trying to start a weight revolution maybe it’s time we start a hair one too. It’s time to stop ladies. Stop letting you hair rule you and time for you to rule your hair. Take back your life.