My Natural Journey to a Healthy Inside and Out

Natural Hairstyle by Lydia Young
Natural Hairstyle by Lydia Young
Natural Hairstyle by Lydia Young

Challenge 7: Naptural Roots Website and Magazine 

Healthy living has not always been a priority in my life…daily I splurged on custard, French Fries, Pizza and Chinese food…yes…DAILY.  It took many years to lose weight, but also get my mind RIGHT. Because of my choices in college, not it is extremely important for me to not only be healthy physically, but also mentally and spiritually.

When I browsed through the Naptural Roots magazine and looked around online, I loved the fact that real people were spotlighted and concrete ideas were mentioned to help inform people about being healthy and natural.  (I really loved Poets Peace as well as the pieces on wellness and spirituality, as well as natural hair and skin care!)

For this shoot, I thought it would be great to create a magazine spread that highlighted a few healthy choices I’ve made in my life.  You’ll notice that natural hair makes living a healthy life so much easier! Sweat can’t hold me!

First Set of Images: Healthy Body (A-E)

I enjoy exercising in the mornings.  I get up before work or before I start my day and get in a little cardio, and weight-training.  I think working out has been the biggest change in my life. I enjoy running or lifting outside, as well as fitness boot-camps. In these photos, we went to a park and shot outside.

I feel so much better when I get my body moving first thing in the morning.  When I do, I feel like my mind is a bit quicker to follow.  I think waking up and doing something that your body appreciates is a great kick start to any day.  You’ll notice my hair still in a “pineapple” from the night before.  I’ve got a sweat band to keep the majority of sweat off my hair, but this hair is NOT afraid of a little wetness.  

I think a lot of women do cardio, but it’s important for us to build muscle to burn fat!  Cardio is great, but not enough on its own.  I suggest doing weight training maybe 3-4 times per week.  Don’t be afraid to get in there with the men and show them you know what you’re doing! Squeeze those biceps! No pain, no gain! 

You are what you eat!! 

This next image is me with my favorite healthy breakfast food: OATMEAL!  When thinking about healthy living, you can’t forget about the foods we eat.  Working out is pointless if you eat terribly!  They go hand in hand!

I think it is important to be conscious of what you put in your body, because I’ve learned it will affect moods and one’s day!

Here my hair is braided in the front and pinned by my ear.  I am wearing one of those old school hair bands that is wiry and bendable.  I knotted it on top of my head and pinned the rest of my hair to the side.  I’m wearing old school leggings and high-tops.   I know you dig my T-shirt! 

Side-note – I’ve learned a lot about Food Deserts.  In neighborhoods plagued by poverty, you’d go for blocks not finding fresh produce, including meats and veggies.  Instead, you’d just find Mini Marts, and corner stores.  These quick shops have tons of cheap yet incredibly UNHEALTHY options.  It’s heartbreaking that the health of the poor is suffering because of under-education and the lack of business who sell healthy foods.  Naptural Roots is creating a powerful message as they spread the word about healthy foods and nutrition.  I don’t take for granted access to healthy foods.

Second Set of Images: Healthy Mind (F-H) 

For these shots you see me reading. Theoretically, I wish I could read every day!  You never know what incredible and surprising information you can discover in a book! See how surprised I look?  For this shoot, I think it’s important to portray another part of healthy living which is education and being a lifelong learner. I find it frustrating when people who have opportunity don’t take hold and use their education to fly. I’ve seen too many amazing people with no access and/or opportunity fall through the cracks because of a lack of education.  In looking through Naptural Roots, it’s not just another magazine or website. It’s an educational reference and guide for people.  This is something that I think would be helpful in educational settings! Young people need these positive healthy messages, not the negative “unhealthy” ones they see on T.V. all day. 

My hair is still braided in the front, but I let out the back of my hair and added a leopard band across my forehead to change my look a little bit. I added a colorful scarf, to compliment a gray tee and my favorite book! Check out the cover!

Last Set of Images: Feel Good…Look Good (I-J)

For my last shots, I wanted to portray a woman that because of her healthy choices is confident and happy.  I think part of one’s self worth comes from their daily choices.  It feels good to exercise and eat right, and of course it always feels good to be natural!  She is her own woman with her own style. 

One of my favorite quotes is, “If your cup isn’t full, you won’t have enough to give to someone else.”  In other words, don’t deplete yourself and then expect to serve others, do your work to the best of your ability, or feel good. You won’t be able to. I think that’s SO powerful, and part of being healthy.  Be your best to do your best! Choose to make good choices. Choose to be positive. Choose to be healthy. Choose to be you.

In the image where I’m seated on the floor, I’ve pinned my hair up in the back, leaving the braid in front to make the look a bit fancier. In the other image, I added my favorite retro sunglasses and let my hair out.  Check out the earrings! 

Final Word

You will notice, that my hair is an integrated part of my healthy choices. Not a hindrance, but a part of healthy living, for working out especially. All the styles I did in this shoot, were done after a morning workout. Sleeping in a pineapple elongates the hair which allows for different styles no matter your mood.

I have fewer excuses to not workout (messing up a perm is not one of them anymore!)  It was only after my BC (Big Chop) that I really began this journey to focus on Lydia. It was then that my perspective on life and self-worth began to be important.  I’m learning you should work harder on you, than anything/anyone else. 

I think what makes being naptural so amazing is that it is real. It’s my hair, making me feel more real than I ever had. I was shocked as it’s hard to articulate the sense of pride and almost accomplishment I felt for just allowing me to be me. My natural hair journey has propelled me towards working towards better health and a better life. It’s so interesting how the power of my roots (literally) has brought me this far and created so many opportunities, including this one. I’m so blessed and hope to continue spreading a similar message wherever I am.

Thanks Naptural Roots for sponsoring this shoot!

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Sponsored by Naptural Roots Magazine

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