By un’ruly Contributor: Abigail Opiah
This is a tale of two incongruent lines: my waistline and hairline. They not only have a unique relationship with one another, but one greatly affects and influences the other.
As I landed at New York’s JFK airport on January 2nd, returning from my Christmas vacation in Paris, reality settled in that it was the start of yet another year. This meant identifying RESOLUTIONS which for me, for as long as I can remember has been to “lose all the weight that has kept me back from truly living a full life”. Ha! But this year would be different. This year I’m turning 30, my biological clock is ticking and it would be great if I somehow got engaged.
There’s an old Chinese saying: “At 30, one stands firm” and I agree. As I count down to the big 3-0, I approach my yearly resolution to eliminate unsightly back fat once and for all, with new perspective. I’ve come to realize that all the things I’ve wanted in life, heavily depended on numbers decreasing on a scale (deep, I know). SO this year it was finally time to make a valiant effort! Finally time to take actual steps towards a new life; but first came removing the roadblocks that had held me back for so long.
Enter, my hairline! Every year I’d make it a good six weeks eating right and working out, and then come the excuses: “I have to eat a snickers bar for energy because ‘Aunt Flow’ is on her way” or “ugh! I can’t go running today ‘cause I don’t want to sweat out my edges” and my favorite “I just got a new weave” – whatever that even means. Without fail, by week seven or eight I had settled into malaise and was back to eating pizza, pasta, bread – you name it. Looking back, my hair and excuses in general took priority over my health. Call it vanity, but as far as I was concerned, working out – something I hated doing any way – would not be the downfall of my most treasured and expensive accessory – my hair.
But this year, to ensure that my hair was not another ridiculous excuse, I decided to go back to my roots (literally) and grow out my relaxer. GASP! My hair has always been kryptonite to any new exercise regimen, but now I thought, what an apt time to not only reduce the size of my waistline but increase the length of my hair in the process. Might as well, right? I mean, who knows what my hair would be if only I gave it a chance. Nowadays, I keep my hair neatly braided underneath my flavor of the week extension choice and no longer sport styles that require my edges to show. Voila! No more excuses. What’s more, I keep the following three thoughts in mind which serve as an internal mechanism to keep me on the right path:
- I remember that it’s going to be a long road and prepare myself to work harder than I think I possibly can.
- I plug into what works for me! For example, I’ve come to realize that as long as healthy food is packed with flavor, well seasoned and varies in texture, I don’t need to down a burger or a slice of pizza. I work with what I’ve got and make it work for me.
- I acknowledge that with weight-loss I’m bound to cheat! The key is to not consider cheating a failure and get RIGHT BACK UP the next day, hour, minute! After all, weight loss is a journey – not a resolve and you only fail if you stay down.
Fast-forward three months into the new year and so far so good! I’ve passed the dreaded six week mark with flying colors and I’m proud of myself. Did I cheat in the past three months? Of course, and badly! But this time I got right back up (something I never used to do). As for my hair – I’ve gone about three months without a relaxer and have pretty much lost the urge to reach for a tub of “creamy crack”. Check back in with me at the six month mark and see how I’m doing then.
By getting past my six week mark I learned that you really only fail when you don’t try. Once you understand that success is paid for in advance, you realize that overcoming roadblocks on your path is at the core of the journey. When each New Year rolled around, I used to be riddled with fear of failing before even starting. Facing a big milestone this year has changed my perspective immensely. Ultimately, the road to success is for the most part an incongruent line. What’s most important is staying the course.