Like Kim Coles, for me, the Grow-Out Challenge will encompass more than just hair. During this 6 month journey, I will challenge myself to:
(1) Compartmentalize my life and learn to be present
(2) Eat healthier, minimally processed foods, and resume my regular work out routine
(3) Achieve the BIGGEST hair I can- keeping more strands and retaining length
(1) The blog has grown to monumental proportions, and while I greatly enjoy keeping you dolls abreast on all things curly, sometimes I find myself a bit distracted from real life. That, plus my psychotherapy career, managing a household, and living with a man who is currently dissertating (sweet baby Jesus give me strength)… let’s just say the plate is full. Did I mention we’ll probably be relocating this year? Oh, and I still have to fulfill the renewal requirements for my therapy license. So yeah. Dayum.
I notice that even when I put the computer down and turn off my cell (which I HAVE to do or else I compulsively check it every 5 minutes), my mind is still on work. I can be out with Gene and Gia, or enjoying a stolen moment alone, and find myself stressing over that interview I haven’t transcribed yet, or worried if Ms. X really was suicidal yesterday. I’m juggling a lot, but I know that there must be some schedule, some routine that I can develop that will allow me to be successful at what I do, while enjoying the present. Still figuring it out…
(2) For the first time in my life, I’m truly thankful for my petite stature… my chicken legs. Thankful that I was predisposed to lose that baby weight, which I think was mostly water. However, according to the results of my last 2 physicals, my cholesterol is a teeny bit high. What can I say? I love bacon… it’s good for me.
While pregnant (out of fear of gaining excessively), I walked 3 miles daily, and ate rather healthy… save for the occasional strawberry pancakes. I gained 40 pounds, and now, at 5 months post-partum, have lost 42 pounds. YAY! Now that I’m back down and feeling like Nikki, many of my old habits have returned. When I say old habits, I don’t mean habits from 2001. Long before I became preggers I had changed my lifestyle… eating whole grains, avoiding fried foods, sodas, sugary sweets, and drinking lots and lots of water. My problem is, I’ll go hard and jump on the wagon for 2 weeks, only to fall off head first.
My weakness- – fried things with cheese. oh, and cakes, cookies, and pies.
When I was pregnant I felt guilty for eating fatty, sugary things and could convince myself to opt for something healthier but still filling. Now that it’s just me, I find myself in line at Popeye’s, Mayflower, and our local soul food establishment multiple times weekly. mmmm… fried okra. I eat a lot of fast food because I can’t fry things myself out of fear of being popped by grease.
I’m also a fair weather exerciser- I only walk in the spring and fall because I hate the heat, hate the cold, and hate the treadmill.
All of that to say, during these 6 months, I’m off the stuff. Fried stuff… except for once a week. Other than that, it’s the Trader Joe’s freezer section for me. I’m eating oatmeal and fruit smoothies for breakfast, packing lunch, and cooking dinner. And starting today, I’m walking again 🙂
(3) I’m still losing hair by the fist-fulls. The strands that have managed to hang on are dry and at times, crunchy. I’m trimming tomorrow and officially starting my GOC routine. My goal is not for longer hair (I’m comfortable at my current length), but for greater volume. A chin to shoulder length bob is my ideal length and frames my face well.
Every two weeks:
- Detangle dry hair in sections with fingers first, following up with the Ouidad Double Detangler. Twist each section as I go to keep hair from re-tangling.
- Wash in twists with Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo
- Deep condition (in twists) with Myhoneychild Olive You, Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioner, or Curl Junkie Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment and my micro heat cap for 30 minutes
- Rinse (hair still in twists) and air dry for 15-20 minutes
- Divide bigger twists into smaller twists using KeraCare Leave-in or CURLS Milkshake. This step stretches my natural curl to prevent fairy knots.
- Seal the ends with shea butter
- Air dry over night
- Free form curly bun (using a Goody Ouchless band) until Friday
- On weekends, I’ll dry Twist-n-Curl if I have plans (detangling with my fingers and the Ouidad Double Detangler, using CURLS Curl Souffle to set), wear it out for 2-3 days, and then bun again.
- I’ll repeat the bun/Twist-n-Curl routine twice before re-washing. My hair will be bunned 90% of the time.
- When bunning- I will either (1) loosen the bun, apply shea to edges, and tie with a scarf, or (2) remove the bun, moisturize, re-bun, apply shea to my edges, and tie down with a scarf.
- When wearing it out- pineapple and sleep on satin
- Drink at least 64 oz of water (I add a little cranberry juice)
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Take Rainbow Light Prenatal One, Slow Release Iron, Sublingual Liquid B Complex, and my birth control 😉
- HENNA GLOSS
In the words of my late English teacher, this note is starting to get verbose, and I’ve had more than a few glasses of wine. I’ll check in soon!
My hair is breaking really bad, any suggestions?
hey Nikki, i know i'm months late…but after 4 kids and having low anger during all my pregnancies, i can say that for Feroglobin liquid iron is the best iron supplement i have ever taken. For the first time i wasnt anemic at the end of my pregnancy, my postpartum bleeding (sorry TMI) was minimal with no cramping or clotting…and my energy is actually decent. my son is only 3 weeks old right now, n nursing non-stop all day, but im not feeling like im gonna drop to sleep every minute, which is how i had been before. try it, it relly worked for me it might for u too, u can find it at most health food stores or pharmacies.
n i know about having a hubby defending his discertation…ROUGH! but u'll make it thru n look at those days n laugh…peace
Hi Nikki, I'm super late to this post, but I just wanted to comment on your hair shedding and anemia. My iron was severely low too and over most of 2010 my hair seemed to shed uncontrollably, and nothing I did to stop it seemed to work. It wasn't until I started taking my iron pills again that the shedding completely stopped. Unfortunately, that was 7 months later and my once full, thick head of 3b/c curls dwindled down to half the size. That was a real blow because I've always had long, thick hair. I'm rebuilding it now, but at times my vanity has me on the bathroom floor crying. Other times I just want to BC, but my hubby is totally against it. Lol. So PLEASE keep supplementing, it works! And keep us posted on your process, b/c I definitely need encouragement in mine. Ciao.
Omg! Just had to comment, I couldn't pass this up. I take Rainbow Light MENOPAUSE One. Lol!!
I can definitely feel your pain on juggling all of your roles as mother, wife, and working woman. Kudos to you! I have many of the same goals to create more balance in my life…
Regarding high cholesterol- are you still breastfeeding? My primary care doctor warned against having my cholesterol checked while still breastfeeding because it will be high. So, while the lifestyle changes you're planning will help, it may be that once you stop bfing, your levels will return to normal.
Best wishes! Love your site 🙂
Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo – I walked into my therapy room one day to see gift samples of this product. I washed mine and my daughters hair with it and was thrilled with the results!
I am a woman of color and usually after washing, our hair can feel very dry but after using this, mine and my daughters hair felt wonderful! Even before conditioning, our hair was soft and not feeling stripped of moisture. And the aroma…lovely.
I am so glad to have found this product and highly recommend it!
Hey Nikki, I'm the one who suggested the red wine. I just started drinking the wine maybe 2 weeks ago because I was told by a friend. I started researching, some sites said it was okay and some said no, red wine hinders iron absorption. Before I got deep into drinking the wine, I called my doctor today to find out if it was okay for me to drink with my anemia. He said that it was okay just drink in moderation, don't over do it. I just wanted to relate this to you.
but Kaelon what in the hell would I do without my birth control?! lol. You think I rant and rave now, I'd be on here crying… y'all would get tired of me!
lol @ Naija! thanks chica :)I'm here to stay… just need to organize my life better.
I know you said your anemic, but do you think maybe your birth control has something do w/ the shedding as well?? Or maybe even a combo of the two? I know a couple of years ago, when I was on Ortho-Cyclen, i had a couple of spots in my head where you literally would have though i shaved or cut it…LUCKILY i have really thick hair so it wasnt noticible to the naked eye. As soon as i switched to a milder pill, my hair grew back, and i haven't had problems since. When i read that little insert that comes w/ the pills in the tiniest writing, turns out hairloss is a side effect, but supposedly a less common one…go figure lol.
Hi Nikki! You're doing a GREAT job! My heart literally almost flew out of my chest when I saw this post- thought it was a farewell/end of curlynikki post ;o( I know it must be extremely hard juggling all of your responsibilities and that sooner or later, something has to give. Have you considered having guest bloggers fill in for you a few days out of the week or longer?
LOLZ at this post. You are so funny Nik, thanks for sharing and keep us posted please!
Love the site. Please take care of yourself. Anemia is no joke. I'm currently taking iron pills to recover from IDA. Some days I feel like pure crap.
During this challenge I would really like for my hair to grow longer and stronger. I want to be able to put my hair in a bun (high or low) and a real pony-puff. I'm only 10.5 months post big chop and my hair is about 5.5 inches long at the top. The back and sides shrink a lot and I'm not very good at measuring there. I guess those areas are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch shorter. I don't know why (???). I really, really have to drink more water, and exercise regularly too. The timing of this challenge is good for me becuase it's getting warmer in So. CA. I know, I know, BUT by the time I get off work, it's in the mid to low 60's and God forbid I go out in the morning mid 50's to low 60 degree weather (Oh the humanity!! Brrrrr…). I eat well for the most part, but I crave the ocasional crinkle cut french fry, fried chicken wing, and jumbo cookie.
Besides hair, I will be keeping up with my diet (way of life) plan and gym every other day. You're soooo lucky that you can eat grains, oatmeal and fruit smoothies! For me that = fat. My diet for several years have been low carb, with lots of veggies (especially green veggies) and healthy protein, etc and I've done great with that. I cant eat a lot of so-called healthy foods like grain, starches and high GI fruit because of insulin resistance.
The challenge is staying on the wagon.
Irainey114- Lol thank you 🙂
Girl you are so funny, thanks for this post and for letting us in on your life. I'm sure you'll figure it all out, and when you do share it with us!
I went to the gym last week and being a person you use to be able to run three or more miles almost passed out at 1 1/2. I use to be a gym rat, but I have fallin out of that so I will be working on getting into they gym more.
Lmao… CNN u really need ur own TV Show.. u r truly hilarious… these ppl think Im crazy they way I burst out laughing from something u wrote..lol.. Well babes..keep ur head up..keep doing what u are doing & things will fall in place..good luck in ur future endeavors where ever yall should end up at.. wow cant wait when little baby gee.. starts talking man will she has some stories to tell us when u put her on cam…lol..
Nikki- thanks for being so real with your readers 🙂 I'm glad to know I am not the only one juggling (what feels like) a million things at once. My hubby is in school too, 1 more year after this semester (thank God)! Last year we moved, then got married, and just when we think we've put out one fire another pops up. LOL, but I keep the faith in knowing that it will all work out. Good Luck with your healthy eating and your move 🙂
lol @ Shalonda 🙂 You can move to wherever we go!
@Anon, perhaps… but I don't wanna go there either. Looking like PA, CA, or IN.
For the henna question, it's out of pure laziness. The full henna takes longer to apply and rinse. The gloss is easy peasy… I may alternate, one month gloss, one month full treatment. I really like the results of full treatments but can't see myself having the time to do them even monthly. SAD.
lol@Exhale1913. Pass the prozac… and the cocktails, lol.
Gurl, I know how you feel with a dissertating husband!! How about mine is dissertating for his PhD in systems engineering, and we have THREE little ones (4, 2.5, and 1)!! I need a vitamin, an iron pill, and PROZAC!!! LOL
YAAAY to you and your hubby! Maybe a move to DC? (crosses fingers while at my desk on Capitol Hill) haha. I'm loving your regimen but I too would like to know if your going to stop using the full henna and if so why?
Nikki u can't move. How will I get my spur of the moment Gia fix???? Praying to sweet baby jesus that Gene can find a AWESOME position here in the lovely Raleigh/Durham area(I know wishful thinking). Well just know that no matter where you end up, I am coming to visit. 🙂
Good luck on the healthy lifestyle. I too am trying to get my healthy life back and drop some pounds. Boy oh boy is it HARD!
I have the best readers ever! Thanks for all of your wonderful tips.
I will definitely continue to eat smaller meals more often, take my iron pills, eat lots of fiber, and drink red wine for iron… who knew?! I also skip meat one meal a day… but can't skip meat for an entire day because I feel weak. I plan to walk at least 3 days a week. In the next week, I'll share my sample meal plan with you guys to get your approval and suggestions.
lol@ Staceymarie… I'm not alone! I put on long sleeves, my robe, and stand 2 feet from the stove with an oven mit on, lol. It's hard to turn the spatula with an oven mit on!
@Anon, Hubby is getting his PhD in Political Science. Good luck as you finish yours!
For all of us that are trying to kick the processed food thing, let's check it periodically… it's a hard habit to kick!
I am going to kick the process foods as well. I just graduated from college and I find my clothes a little tight( FYI I am not a tight clothes kind of girl) so I am gaining weight. The game plan is to eat healthier. I am also planning on preparing for Grad school by working my writing. In addition to working finding my center. I have not been as faithful to my faith journey as I need to be.
I'm working on to tone up my body. I want to lose 10-15 lbs. I'm anemic too, I need to make sure that I take my iron pills. I understand not wanting to take them, but it is important that you do. When taking iron pills, make sure you get enough fiber in your diet. Under my doctor's order, I take 4 metamucil pills 2x/day. It helps. Drinking red wine also helps with iron deficiency.
Alot of you have alot going on. Sometimes it is not enought time in a day to do all things that we want to do for yourself. We as women forget about ourselves and take care of everybody and everything. We have to get in the habit to take care of ourselves too. Good luck to you all working towards your healthy goals.
Nikki! Kudos for getting the baby weight off so quickly! I have two little ones and didn't even attempt to lose the weight until last year. So far I've lost 58 pounds, and my youngest will be 3 in June.
I can relate to the struggle to find balance when you've got so much going on. I'm keeping my hair in protective styles for a while so that I can focus on my family, health, and career.
Shelli made some great suggestions. Eating small meals more frequently definitely helps to keep cravings at bay. When you think of food as the fuel that will help you accomplish everything on your busy agenda, it's easier to make better choices. It takes a little planning and prep.
You have a lot going on! I agree with others in that if you have to post less frequently, we will understand. Don't spread yourself too thin. Your health/family are more important. Good luck to your hubby with his dissertation, to you with your license renewal, and to you all with the upcoming relocation. 🙂 ~KF519
Nikki, I cosign with all the other ladies, it is important for you to have a real life though we will miss the updates. in my job I cam afford to check this website 30times a day. Well done for hubby and his PHD. What is it in?
As for relocating I think sometimes its necessary as I have found having moved once and in the past 12 months and am about to move again.
Good luck ladies with the hair and health challenge I'm off to a bad start with the chocolate bar I'm having but will never give up
I plan to cut back on my animal protein intake. I'll be participating in a 5 week Nutrition Boot Camp where I learn to eat healthy – the program supports a vegan diet. My cholesterol is getting to the point where it is high. Also, I'm going to have a few days a week where I eat no meat! I tried to do no meat on Thursday and failed – but I will continue to try. Oh yes, and I plan to enter a new career this year. I need to study – but these days I seem to have the attention span of a 2 year old : ) , yet I think I can, I think I can TracyJewel
Procrastination and time management are the big things I'm working on right now. All of the other goals I have regarding weight loss, skincare, hair care, etc.; all boil down to me being a procrastinator and a lazy butt lol.
I'm back in school and working hard to stay on top of my schoolwork; but since that's all I have to do, I should be able to keep everything else together too.
My hair is just doing its own thing right now. I recently got a Devacut for shape and now I'm just letting it grow: deep conditioning every 1-2 weeks and doing a henna once a month. I've stopped looking for products and will just use up what I have. And I've given up on styles other than WNG until my hair grows out some more. So right now, I just need to protect it and nourish it from the inside out via diet, water, and supplements. That green lemonade sounds good–similar to the green smoothies I love but I never added lemon. I'll give it a try!
Thanks for brightening my weekend. I got bad family news this weekend, but it made me laugh to myself that I'm not the only one afraid to fry stuff out of fear of being popped by hot grease. I love bacon, but I get flashbacks of the hotcomb as a kid! (Oh, and I'm from VA so it's almost sacreligious for a Southern girl not to fry food)
I'm going to do this with you, Nikki. I'm a Nikki too. I want to lose 10 pounds and have my hair down to my neck. What's the other thing? Oh time. Yeah. I'm working on my senior thesis and applying for jobs. I also want to be an NFL cheerleader after graduation (but I have to have a job first).
If you want an accountability partner, I live in Durham too.
What a full plate you have Nik! I can't compromise on exercise b/c it's my strees relief. You have the hair thing down and the exercise will definitely work out as well.
In regards to health / diet, some things that I found very helpful were staying clear of alcohol and writing down everything that I ate and drank. I got really OCD with this (small pack of m&ms 250 cals), LOL. Anyway this helps so if one day I slack off, I can review the other days when I was more successful. I also aim to drink at least 2 liters of water a day and a generous amount of fruit and vegetables.
Congrats on hub's Ph.D. I'm working on mine as well and oh the sacrifices! But it all pays off.
Eating healthy is a challenge in the U.S. Good tasting food that's bad for you is everywhere! So, I feel you on that struggle.
For elevated cholesterol check into taking Fish oil (Krill is the best) and/or Niacin. You may want to check with your doc first, as the studies show that you would need to take high doses and Iknwo you're still breastfeeding.
Changing over to a vegetable based diet is also a good way to bring it down. Animal fats are where the cholesterol really comes from that's bad for us. In Dec., I decided to try and eat vegan 5 days out of 7 in a week. Sounds weird, but so far, it has worked. On the other two days, I find that I just don't really want to consume red meat, but I will eat some fish, crab or shrimp without it being fried or in butter. It's compicated beacus I grew up on ribs and fried chicken. THose are my comfort foods! So, you are doing a good thing by showing Gia some different things for comfort food. Good luck!
Nikki, did you have your B12 level checked? After the birth of my daughter, I was not only anemic, but developed a B12 deficiency (I always felt tired). I now get B12 shots to maintain a normal level. Never had this problem prior to giving birth. Good luck with everything!!
hi nikki! i love your site. but please make sure to make time for yourself and the people you love. we'll miss your frequent posts but your life is more important and we totally understand 🙂 take care! good luck with all the changes you're making!
Having four small meals with me and planned throughout the day is the only thing that keeps me away from the junk. I'm not too bad with the fast food (though I found myself at the Micky D's near my house far too often during 2010 when I put on the weight. Those dang $1 McChickens and 2 Fish Filets for $4=/). However, my real problem food is the sweets. I am TOTALLY a dessert person … like you said, cake and cookies. I never bring the stuff in the house … but I've found myself at the Shoprite bakery picking up a 6 pack of cupcakes far more times than I'd like to admit=/. I had one breakdown in the last month and it was because of not eating. I went to my Goddaughter's 1st birthday party. I ate around 10 am. The party was supposed to start at 2. It didn't start until 5. Yup … just acted a plum fool. Had two servings of food (which included mac and cheese and sausage and peppers) and then had the nerve to have 2 pieces of birthday cake!!! I LOVE birthday cake. Buttercream icing is my biggest downfall. But, this past Friday, they had FREE cake at work to celebrate the impending Super Bowl. I sat right in front of it. Okay, I moved to make certain my back was to it. I then ate my Lean Cuisine with added vegetables and was fine because I had eaten breakfast (oatmeal and 2 egg whites) and a morning snack (Fage blueberry yogurt). I find that as long as I make certain I have small healthy meals throughout the day, I don't crave the bad food or can resist it when placed right in front of me. Also exercise keeps me motivated to eat right because the body does need the right fuel.
A suggestion, have you ever tried juicing? I tell you, I haven't done it this year because I've been too lazy, really. But, early last year I was making this Green Lemonade every morning (romaine lettuce, 2 apples, 1 lemon, few kale leafs and a little ginger). I am a must-have-my-cup-of-coffee-in-the-morning-aholic. If I don't, I can barely move in the morning and I'll inevitably get a headache around 3 pm. When I tell you that I didn't need coffee AT ALL when drinking the Green Lemonade, I am not kidding! I had oodles of energy and felt fantastic!! Just a week or two of it, and you might notice a big difference. You can make some for you while making G Baby's food with the Baby Bullet;-). But yeah, take that iron Missy!!! Cream of Wheat is a good food source for iron and, I just learned today, so are oysters (they aren't so good when it comes to the sodium though).
@ Channing…I love your name!
Nikki, I noticed you said henna gloss monthly so are you no longer doing full hennas? And if not is there a reason?
Nik, the fact that you can be a great mom, wife, and editor of this GREAT blog is proof enough that you're doing something right. Keep it up. And now the care taker in me is going to admonish you to take care of yourself. Relax, relate, release. (LOL. Did you ever see that episode of A Different World)? Also, eat right, and take those iron pills. I hope to catch up with you at the ATL meet up. My fellow college curlies just might be rolling in that restaurant deeeeeeep. Until next time, be blessed, not stressed.
@ CN…I do poo in twist or 4 braids but I still seem to lose a lot of hair via shedding and breakage and I don't know what causes it!
My method: with 4 braids pour the poo in the scalp and massage and then take them out and put in condish, detangle, and twist back up then rinse out. I don't know what i'm missing or doing wrong!
Hopefully with the move you'll go somewhere you like! 🙂
Love the regimen CN. Good luck with the relocation and the licenseing renewals.
@ anon, I AM anemic, and my lazy self stopped taking the pills after I had Gia. The doc told me (at a recent appt) that I'm super anemic and to immediately go back on them. I'm taking them now and hoping that my hair will stop shedding and I'll regain some energy. I'm SO SLEEPY!
Shelli, how do you keep yourself from stopping for fast food? I find that if I have my lunch with me, I usually won't stop… but sometimes, a warm cheesburger sounds much more appealing than a wack turkey sandwich.
Hey Nikki, if you are still losing hair, you may want to see a doctor and get a blood test to make sure you are not anemic. You may just need to take some iron pills.
I'm right with you Nikki in regard to the eating healthier and getting regular exercise. However, I started all of that in January as I'd let myself put on more weight than I had since I started college 20 years ago=/. So, I'm on my way … lost about 7 pounds thus far and my energy levels have drastically increased with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
As to my hair … well, went for a trim and my BSL hair is now about 4 inches shy of that, I believe. Not really sure because I placed it in the twists. I like the shape as it does have that bob look. However, I just wanted to get rid of a layer and straighten out the hack job I'd done on my hair. I swear, I think I really will be cutting my own hair from now=(. So, my goal for the GOC is just to get back to BSL and I figure the exercise and eating healthy will only help in that quest.
LOL! Nikki you are crazy. Love your simplistic routine girl and don't worry, you'll figure the time thing out once and for all.
thanks chica 🙂
I learned about poo'ing in twists from Chicoro. You'd be surprised how easily your hair rinses clean… even in the twists. Give it a try 🙂
Relocation… geesh. that one is totally up in the air. Hubby is on the job market (he's getting his PhD from Duke this summer) and getting offers from the most random places, lol. We could end up anywhere. As things develop, I'll definitely share. Right now, your guess is as good as mine. I'm not a big city gal, so I'm hoping we don't end up in LA… which right now is a big possibility.
WOW! You're off to a great start! Quick question, how do you poo in twist? Do you take them a loose and them apply the poo or just pour the poo in your twist and massage in? I seem to lose a LOT of hair via wash day be in shedding or breaking or a combo of the two and I don't know what to do! Pls help! 🙂
Do you know where you may relocate to?