by Sharlyn Pierre
It’s no surprise that year in and year out, the number one resolution revolves around weight. Most folks have stopped calling them “resolutions” and started calling them goals. I, for one, think that’s a great idea. It takes away some of the added stress of expecting to see immediate results; a goal tends to be more aspirational and attainable. Forming healthy eating habits early on is way to combat childhood obesity, which is threatening our community. It is our job as mothers, aunts, sisters, and friends to educate the younger women in our lives on the dangers of neglecting and mistreating our most valuable asset: our bodies.
Well, mother of three, wife, entrepreneur, and founder of Teen Diaries, Aeshia DeVore Branch decided to safeguard our young ladies with the Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS) initiative. PGS just debuted its yoga event in NYC. It was a fitness program targeting teenagers between the ages of 13-18 on properly hydrating their bodies, finding a suitable workout routine, and eating right. Branch certainly sets aside time to exercise. “I swim 1.5 hours every Monday and then follow that up with fast-paced yoga twice a week, and competitive games like Just Dance on Nintendo Wii with my family and friends. Also, I’m a huge fan of Pilates and shooting hoops.” It may sound like a lot (and indeed it is) but Branch wants to set an example for her daughters. “I pack their schedules with activities including swimming, dance, soccer, tennis, and cooking. Making sports and nutrition a part of their everyday lives takes the “lesson” out of the equation because they know nothing else but the way they live.” Aeshia is privy to the constant poor food choices many young people make and their struggle to change that. “The main challenge is that they have too many options. In vending machines across the nation, young women have easy access to a substantial variety of sugar-loaded beverages. If water was the only option inside school and inside homes, children and teens wouldn’t easily turn to soda and energy drinks to quench their thirsts.” As many of us know, having gone through it (and still going through it) body image issues begin in those crucial (and often times crushing) teenage years.
To shine a bit more light on the cause and to host the event, Aeshia enlisted the help of Grammy-award winning UK songstress Estelle. She shared how she stays fit, why it’s imperative to start as a youth and some of the difficulties she faces regarding her own eating habits.
TM: What is your workout regimen?
Estelle: I do a lot of yoga. Well, more like yoga incorporated into cardio, and I do a lot of legwork and ab work. As soon as I started doing push ups, I got guns, so I stopped. *laughs*
TM: Why do you think it is so important for women to begin exercising at a young age?
Estelle: Well it gets your body used to being fit and used to being flexible and that comes in handy, as you get older! *laughs* It also gets you accustomed to taking care of you and putting yourself first; which is something that you’re going to grow into and forget because there are so many things we have to take care of as women. You have to train your mind and train your body to take some time out during the day that’s just for you.
TM: What foods must you have to maintain a healthy diet?
Estelle: Greens are good…water is always fantastic! It’s never bad to eat carbs once in a while too. I feel like you can strip down too much if you stop eating carbs altogether, so just be aware of your intake.
TM: Is it ever difficult for you to stick to those eating habits?
Estelle: I don’t censor myself. I don’t say “I’m looking to eat this, at this time…” because sometimes that doesn’t work and then you end up binging. So my thing is, if you do slip up, just chase it with a ton of water. Of course, portion size is key. Let’s say you want a big bowl of mashed potatoes, take half and just drink a ton of water. It makes a difference.
There were a few take-aways from the PGS yoga event. It was/is more than just a campaign; it’s a step in the right direction; even for older women. “I hope that everyone (teens and adults) who attended our Pretty Girls Sweat yoga event will aim to add the practice (or any for that matter) into their lives” Aeshia adds. “By joining together as a support group, we can educate and motivate one another.”
Original article published here: