It’s a bizarre thing to say, but being overweight when I was younger probably saved my life.

Ti YouTuber and blogger of nappyheadedjojoba.com

My name is Ti, I live in Los Angeles and I’m a writer/producer in television and now also in digital.

My mother straight up refused to perm my hair when I was a child so I’ve actually kept my kinks going since birth.

I was raised in a household where there was never any notion that there was something wrong with my hair the way it naturally grows out of my head. Even once I got older and my mom was no longer looking after my hair, the thought of getting a relaxer never crossed my mind. I was ridiculed in school by some of the other girls for my hair, so it’s been kind of surreal to see how much the tide has changed in recent years!

I reached my peak of awkwardness in junior high/high school (though, my awkwardness as an adult today is still considerable). 
Along with that awkwardness came some serious weight gain.

My initial interest in nutrition and exercise came purely out of a desperation to lose weight.

Going as far back as high school, I have kept food journals and workout logs. I didn’t know much about eating properly in the beginning, so what I had once thought was healthfully eating actually makes me cringe today! At that age, I used workout DVDs and videos for exercise. In high school, I’d lose weight typically using extreme measures like crash diets, fall off the wagon, and then regain the weight. My weight still fluctuates now but my maturity, education and experience ensure that it is to a far less extreme extent.

I reached my heaviest weight during my freshman year of college. Shocked by the number on the scale, I lost around thirty pounds in the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. I then continued to lose weight once I returned to school for my sophomore, junior and senior year. Since then, I’ve more or less managed to maintain a weight loss of over forty pounds--I say “more or less” because my weight remains a weighty issue and it requires constant vigilance.

headshot of Ti YouTuber and blogger of nappyheadedjojoba.com

It has taken many years to get to where I am.

While I still have goals to attain with my health and fitness, I feel more in control of my fitness destiny more than I ever have. I’ve got a few years under my belt maintaining my smaller size now, and I approach my fitness each year with the philosophy that being in the best shape of my life is still ahead of me. That always encourages me to stay on the right path!

This journey has been terrifying and wonderful. I’ve loved finding a community of people from all different walks of life, and having a way for us all to walk together on our journeys.  More than anything, leading fitness challenges on my blog and YouTube channel has kept me accountable. When eyes are on you, it really keeps you honest and makes it easier to stick to a workout schedule and clean eating.

natural hair Ti, YouTuber and blogger of nappyheadedjojoba.com,

The first tip is the simplest but possibly the most difficult.

After all, simple ≠ easy. Remove added sugars from your diet. There are all sorts of conflicting data on whether grains, dairy, animal protein is good for you, etc. but there isn’t an argument that can be made that added sugars are healthful. Naturally occurring sugars in fruits are okay but I recommend avoiding foods and beverages that have any sugar added to them. I also recommend staying away from fruit juices because they are extremely high in sugar and calories without offering any of the fiber that you’d get from eating the fruit itself. Always read labels because you would be shocked by some of the things that have sugar added to them.
This journey has been terrifying and wonderful. I’ve loved finding a community of people from all different walks of life, and having a way for us all to walk together on our journeys.

Second, set attainable and specific goals. General goals like “I want to tone up” or “I want to lose weight” don’t really empower you to set a plan to take specific action. I mean, we all want to lose weight! One way I qualify a goal is with a pair of jeans in my closet that are one or two sizes too small for me. I’ve set a goal to fit into those jeans by this October. I also like to set task-specific goals, when it comes to my fitness. Rather than just saying “I want to be more fit,” or “I want to get stronger,” I’ve set a goal to complete 3 strict pull-ups by the end of the year.

Ti, YouTuber and blogger of nappyheadedjojoba.com, weightlifting

I’m currently leading a fitness challenge on my blog and YouTube channel called #SnatchedForSummer.

I’m really on point with my eating and exercise, right now. Part of that has included counting my calories, which I’ve been doing for about 5 weeks. I do eat animal protein, but I make a point to be mindful of eating high quality meats and eggs--grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, pasture-raised eggs--while still ensuring that my overall diet is plant-based and not meat-focused. In this video, I go through all of my meals from breakfast to dinner:

For exercise, I tend to go for metabolic conditioning, or metcon. I started doing CrossFit in 2010, which is when I was first introduced to metcon.  I love this style of workouts because they’re time efficient.  (Translation: I don’t have to work out very long to torch a lot of calories!) Ideally, I’d knock out either a kettlebell or CrossFit-style workout first thing in the morning, then have some breakfast to replenish my body and carry on with my day. I’m not a morning person so there are many days where I have to get my sweat on at night instead!

It’s a bizarre thing to say, but being overweight when I was younger probably saved my life.

If I were a naturally thin person, I would never have had the impetus to learn about nutrition, to read about food production, to learn about exercise science, to work out. Caring about what goes into my body, and what I’m able to do with my body has affected every aspect of my life in a positive way. If I didn’t care about maintaining my health, I probably would’ve never learned how many cool things I can do (like deadlift 270 pounds!).

Feeling inspired?

Keep up with Ti on her blog,  nappyheadedjojoba.com  and on YouTube at  youtube.com/nappyheadedjojoba where she uploads regularly.