Many may not know that I spent roughly 18 years crafting my journalism and editing skills in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. When it came tohealth, the sunshine motivated me, much like a personal trainer. It forced me to get up and work it out before the sky began to sizzle. Spin classes after work released the day’s stress. Drinking water and eating lots of fruits came naturally.

When I moved back to Wisconsin, that same enthusiasm disappeared. The sky tends to be grey here and remembering how to navigate on icy roads was a bit frightening. So, I kept hidden inside my home. Before I knew it, I was more devoted to work than self and the pounds returned. I’m living my dream job, so to me, my health was not on my radar.

There was a photo of me in the media and I didn’t even recognize myself. I went to see Haywood Simmons, owner and president of Phitness Plus, head down and fearing what the scale read. After sitting me down, he asked me three things: What are you thankful for? What do you appreciate? And, what are you grateful for?”

I remember looking puzzled. Waiting for the dreaded march to the scale and results of my body-fat ratio, he asked me those same three questions again. I closed my eyes, inhaled deeply and exhaled, before answering. It was the first time in a long time that I slowed down long enough to just breathe.

Haywood taught me right then and there that being healthy starts with the mind. Healthy habits will follow.

The October edition of UMOJA Magazine is dedicated to health — mind, body and soul.

Inside you will learn about the All of Us program, which aims to get people of color involved in ground-breaking research that will galvanize the health care industry. Increased diversity contributes to the overall health of the nation.

Learn about Alzheimer’s research and quiet pods for teens struggling with stress. Ever heard of doulas and midwives? Read about how these birthing companions are growing in popularity with African American families concerned with birth justice and having healthy babies.

The Madison and Milwaukee chapters of Black Girls Do Bike make outdoor exercise look effortless and refreshing. And speaking of sistahs doing the darn thing, more than 600 gathered for Black Women’s Wellness Day inspiring and empowering each other to love the skin you’re in.

We also feature personal trainers and instructors geared up to get your body in shape before, during and after the holiday!