Black Minimalists: Wilsar Johnson
Wilsar was featured in Black Minimalists on the Web Part Two.
I first met Wilsar via twitter, but recently had the pleasure of meeting her in person back in March when we attended a minimalist meet up in Washington, D.C. Let's just say the good vibes were mutual. I look forward to more hangouts and collaboration.
Tell us how your simple living journey began. What are your goals in living minimally?
My simple living began about two years ago. I was watching a TEDTalk and stumbled upon a talk from The Minimalists; I was intrigued. I was intrigued because I’ve always tried my best to ignore this kind of living even though it appealed to me. I used to run away from simple living/minimalism because I thought that my friends wouldn’t understand. I was insecure about living like that especially as a black/West African woman. We love things; we love nice things. The more clothes/shoes we own, the better (even though I was uncomfortable with that type of lifestyle) we’re supposed to feel; it showed status.
My goal is simple (pun intended haha), it’s to purchase purposely and spend intentionally. It started as a way to declutter my physical space, and then turned into reassessing my mental space, and now it’s about being more intentional about my finances because, well, I want to be a conscious millionaire one day haha.
Explain what it means to be a fit minimalist and the overall minimalist fitness movement. What three tips can you share for someone wanting to keep their workout routine simple?
Being a fit minimalist is a new movement, which I want to push to the masses. I love to workout because it makes me happy and increases my confidence. I used to workout, at minimum, an hour a day, six days a week. I love to workout during the afternoon but my workday is extremely unpredictable (I work in politics), so although I saw great results, I told myself that there has to be a more efficient method.
After some science –backed research, I learned that short, minimal workouts are equally efficient and effective. I began creating my personal 30-minute workout program. That’s how my fit minimalist journey began (it’s fairly new). A fit minimalist is someone who doesn’t want to spend hours in the gym (or at home) to see results. You can get similar results in 30 minutes by just creating the right program. It all depends on your goals.
Tip one: Keep your circuit short – choose about 5-8 exercises. Repeat your circuit about 5-8 times.
Tip two: Be patience – You’re not going to see significant physical results in one week, but you will start to experience some mental changes. You’ll see a change in your mood and confidence. You’ll see physical changes as you continue.
Tip Three: Eat well – It’s not the most attractive tip, but you should be more cognizant of what you’re putting in your body. Eat less packaged food, eat out less (your wallet will thank you as well), and drink more water. As black women, we have to be more aware of what we’re eating because we’re predisposed to diabetes, and high blood pressure, both of which are preventable by just adjusting your diet.
You look great (!) and you've stated eating healthy helps you remain in good shape even when you don't workout as often. Did minimalism influence your decision to improve your diet and become pescatarian? Can you share some simple meals you enjoy?
Minimalism played a small role in the way I eat (including becoming a pescatarian), but I’m weird because I’ve always eaten healthy, even in college haha. Because my mom worked, she used to cook once a week, and we’ll eat that meal (mostly Sierra Leonean food) all week. Back then, I didn’t know she was simply meal prepping so I grew up with that habit.
I cook my own meals (Lunch and Dinner, and I try to keep it simple) on Sundays. I rarely eat out (I brunch at least once/month). I’ve been a Pescatarian for less than a year, and I did it because I was just sick of eating meat, and wanted to see if I could do it. I decided to give it a try, and now I love it. I still miss steak, though. God, I love a good medium rare steak haha.
My go to meal is West African PB Stew with Rice, and all you need is:
Peanut Butter (creamy), tomato paste, your choice of protein, salt, pepper, and Adobo (my go to seasoning). Boil the ingredient together, and you’re done! I promise you, it’s delicious and a lot of my American friends love it lol. I should do a blog post about it so that people can try it at home haha.
You have the quote, "Know your passion, but be open to opportunities." pinned to the top of your twitter feed. How does your passion for fitness, politics, and tech intersect? What advice can you share about being open to opportunities and how to spot them.
I love that quote because it speaks to my life. I care about health and fitness, especially the way in which it affects the black community. My day job is politics and policy. I work on agricultural, environmental, and nutritional issues; in addition, I am a Digital Media Manager at work (which is where some of the tech comes in). Tech intrigues me, and I’m constantly awed by its influence in the health and fitness field. All three intersect because in order to reduce the rate of obesity in America, we should look at the policy we currently have.
You exude so much #blackgirlmagic, what is your secret to celebrating your authentic and essential self?
Honestly, I don’t take myself too seriously, I laugh a lot, and I workout (mentally and physically). I can’t say it enough, but exercise is my secret sauce. It makes me confident. It makes me feel sexy, and it allows me to approach things differently.
Wilsar also curates a dope IG account with all the #blackgirlmagic you can stand @blackgirlfriday.
How do you define being a black minimalist?
A black minimalist is someone who seeks to live a value added life. A black minimalist is someone who wants to be reintroduced to her/himself, and isn’t afraid to live outside of the norm.
Is there anything you'd like to add + where can we learn more about you?
I’m always brainstorming new projects. My brain refuses to give me a break haha.
I created Melanin Habits because I'm curious about productiveness and how certain habits can affect the way we work. The site's purpose is to showcase how some of the most successful black Influencers start their day.
It’s proven that having a dedicated morning routine affects the way we address our day so my goal is if we can read/see how some successful people start and/end their day, it may spark something in us; it may motivate someone else to reevaluate their mornings. It's a passion project of mine, and I’m afraid and excited to do it!
Twitter + Instagram: @MelaninHabits
You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @CallMeWilsar. I’m very active on both! You can ask me almost anything and always looking to collaborate and brainstorm with like-minded people.