In a new self-care inspired series, sponsored by Ford, ESSENCE pays tribute to the small, easy changes every woman can make in her life that can yield big results toward her health and happiness.
With bright red lips and big healthy curls poppin’ on one photo after another, one would never guess from Naeemah Campbell’s Instagram account the level of unhappiness that loomed over her life like a large, gray cloud. The Los Angeles-based content creator and writer’s assistant is by all accounts a joyful and loving person. Most of her friends and colleagues, however, have no idea that she wore a mask to hide an undercurrent of sadness and mild depression. She was sick and tired of not feeling her best emotionally and physically and didn’t have the fortitude to change her outlook on life. “I woke up around 3 o’clock one morning, ran to the bathroom and just cried,” admits Naeemah. “I can’t even tell you how long I cried, but in my weakest moment, I asked God why He allowed me to feel this way? As clear as day I heard His voice say, ‘Because you’re not listening.’ That jolted my entire spirit.”
Naeemah, a San Francisco State University graduate, decided to make one small change that led to big results by literally putting one foot in front of the other. One morning she woke up, put on a pair of sweats and gym shoes and simply began walking in her backyard. “My backyard is super tiny, but it’s peaceful and manageable,” she shares. “When I first started I couldn’t even walk for 10 minutes without being out of breath. As time went on, I got up to 40 minutes. Now I’m at 60 minutes and I walk five times a week.” She feels a sense of restoration since incorporating exercise into her regular routine and days when she doesn’t walk, her body feels it. She is also aware that her mood and emotions are affected when she doesn't move her body.
Walking has become Naeemah’s superpower.
She has received positive feedback from women and men intrigued and encouraged by her decision to make one small change which has led to a 45 lb. weight loss to date. “People are astounded when they ask me about my routine. I tell them that I just walk in my backyard,” Naeemah explains. “It’s hard for anyone to imagine and I love it because it serves as a conversation starter about health. They become so interested because I have made such simple, easy adjustments to my lifestyle.”
The 32-year-old is humbled by the encouragement she has received but admits that since she has not yet reached her total weight loss goal, she plans to remain diligent and disciplined. “Although it’s definitely important to me, the goal is not just an actual number on the scale,” Naeemah says. “It’s all about living a happier and healthier life.”
Once she made the conscious decision to change her life, everything around her changed—and it all started with her mindset. “Whatever it is you’re seeking, God has already made it happen in the spirit realm so just be patient, have faith, do your part, and trust that it will eventually manifest in your life,” Naeemah shares. She encourages other women to have a vision but cautions them to take one small step at a time. “There’s a quote that I love by an artist named Yung Pueblo: ’Allow yourself to transform as many times as you need to be fully happy and free.’ That is the realest quote ever. Every day is a new day to start over.”
Leslie M. Gordon is a writer, communications and marketing strategist, and the creator of Get Your Sol. Follow her on Twitter.