— Jillian Michaels
I wanted to share a very brief update on my getting fit plan for 2011 which I’ll go into greater detail when I write my quarterly review next week. I am continuing to lower my BMI and gain muscle tone. I’m at 60 lbs junked – never to be seen again. The scale has caused me some distress with various fluctuations (flab vs. muscle) clashing with my expectations so I’m focusing on measurements. I’ve lost 9 inches from my hips so all of my clothes are baggy. While I want to cheer, I know there’s more I need to do, so I cannot become complacent. I am aiming for excellence (not perfection) versus “good enough for a black girl”. This is why I wanted a team of experts like reality star Ruby Gettinger has, but the victory belongs to me for designing the change from start to finish.
I will start to see bigger results after I’ve incorporated a consistent exerciser regime, however the greatest progress for me right now is recognizing when others are trying to sabotage my efforts with their supplies of junk food, sugary (or worse HFCS) drink, desserts and desire for me to “relax and take a day off” or telling me I deserve a “treat”.
No! What I deserve is to be free from all the baggage. When children in wheelchairs can do back-flips what’s our excuse?
You don’t realize how far down the rabbit hole you’ve gone until you start trying to climb out of it. Good grief! Plus, true and consistent weight loss takes five years to set in permanently. Many of the emotional triggers have lost their hold and the added clarity means I take every day separately and with a renewed focus and purpose.
I do wish I was “done” but even I know a 20 year cycle pointing in the wrong direction won’t be corrected at the drop of a hat. Or in 6-9 months as I’d originally projected. This is part of breaking down ALL of the dead ideologies espoused in today’s global black community and particularly amongst African-Americans. I think 12-15 months is more realistic for long-term strategic planning and consistency.
I’ve decided for my continued success to slow down the rush to the finish line and be like the tortoise instead of the hare.
Today’s post highlights key points for the black woman who wants to get ahead of the pack to consider when it comes to her weight, body size, self-image and being realistic about how she is perceived in greater society at large. Whatever it is we want to do or be if it’s opposite of the standards set by the dead black community it’s most likely to be the right thing.
Since we already know discussing weight is even more of a distress than addressing black male protectionism (well…maybe not) the easy does it approach will not work. The mentality that it’s okay for black women o be fat is one of the most insidious racio-misogynistic schemes to keep us at the bottom that I’ve seen. The fact so many black males use the stereotype of an often loud, unrefined, obese black woman as entertainment should be an outrage – yet how many of you support Tyler Perry, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, et al in their Drag & Denigration acts?
The only time I can recall a white male doing something similar was Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire, but there were many layers to that character and the motivation of why his character masqueraded as a woman housekeeper was clear. Not to mention the fact, Williams portrayed a character like that once.
If we’re going to discuss external opposition and enemies then we must also include our own behavior. I’m using my favorite go-to person Jennifer Hudson to highlight the mentally defective thinking at present amongst many black women. We must always ask ourselves why it has been so heavily promoted and the price we pay adhering to it.
via The Grio:
Yet, in the African-American community, the so-called normal body image is skewed toward the unhealthy. Studies show a strong tendency to deem larger body sizes as acceptable, particularly for women.
“Many African-American women view being obese as part of their culture,” says Thaddeus Bell, M.D., a family practitioner in South Carolina, in an online interview for icyou.com.
It is understood within the African-American community that curvy, overweight women are considered more appealing to black men than normal-or under-weight women. There is almost a reverse distortion of body image — with thicker women fighting weight-loss and slender women wanting to gain weight in order to be accepted.
This may account for the staggering statistic that 4 out of 5 African-American women are overweight or obese. It is even more alarming that some of these women are making a choice to live at an unhealthy weight.
African-American women of all ages report less exercise than their white counterparts. “Many of them feel that it’s not feminine or they’re afraid to sweat because it will ruin their hairstyle,” adds Dr. Bell. Other hindrances include not having child care, not having enough time to be physically active, and not feeling safe being active in their neighborhoods.
Appealing to DBRs and removing black women from being contenders on the global stage is the motivation behind encouraging their obesity.
So it’s no wonder Jennifer Hudson thought she was in the smaller range when it came to her weight. She’d bought into the lies conflating and confusing “thick” and “big” with overweight and obesity.
‘I didn’t even realize I was being discriminated against and missed out on things until I crossed over to the other side,’ she told US magazine Live Smart.
‘Now, on this side, they treat you differently, the opportunities are different, my image is different, even though some people do say: “I like the fat Jennifer better”.
The Weight Watcher’s spokesperson says she wasn’t aware she was overweight until a reporter asked her how she felt about being ‘a big girl in Hollywood’ when she was on the red carpet.
It was the 2007 Oscars and the former American Idol contestant was nominated for an Academy Award, which she eventually won.
‘It was a complete shock,’ she says.
‘Where I come from, Chicago, I was a normal-size girl. She was talking to me about being a bigger girl and I was like: ‘I am?”
Hudson says that the comment affected her perspective and self-image.
‘I felt insecure about my size,’ she says.
Don’t blame Chicago! Jennifer Hudson is speaking of her limited exposure and limited thinking. I still find it rather hard to believe she didn’t realize she was a larger woman, but it certainly speaks how willfully applied tunnel vision makes it easy for you to “other” yourself. It’s a defense mechanism I believe of which the flip side is to loudly declare you are fatabulous like Mo’Nique tried to pull off unsuccessfully. However, you can still know better and get sucked into the vortex of dysfunction.
I believe Ms. Hudson would still improve her station in life if she continued her education. Plenty of actresses/singers/models completed their degrees while maintaining in-demand careers like Julia Stiles and Christy Turlington. I believe their education and exposure to other cultures and thought processes helped them stay grounded as well.
If Ms. Hudson was surrounded by women the size of her sister for example (who last time I saw looked to weigh at least 350lbs) then yes, she would be on the smaller end of the spectrum. But how could she have ignored the rest of the world? She’s met Michelle Obama. They’re the same height. Couldn’t she have considered the First Lady a role model where her body size and image were concerned?
That type of indoctrination and ignorance runs deep.
Advertisers may have pulled back on showing obese people in an obvious negative light (as shiftless, lazy, gluttonous) but they still use them as the “Before” when touting the “After”. Larger folks are not hawking products at the same rates of their thinner counterparts..except when it’s a black woman.
Think the Pine Sol lady.
She seems like a lovely, intelligent woman as well – but it is not an aspirational image.
Despite Queen Latifah entering into a partnership with Cover Girl the use of women her size and up can be seen as a salve so black women don’t step up. She’s not being ridiculed the way Gabby Sidibe has been (remember the Elle magazine cover) but Cover Girl and their ilk aren’t doing us any favors. They don’t use any size 18++ white actresses or singers (an oxymoron for certain) to promote their products. Why?
White women would reject it outright.
Rocker Beth Ditto aside and despite inroads made by Fat (er now it’s Size) Acceptance spokespeople like Kate Harding, black women who want to position themselves in the best light need to let them go first. Let them be the voices of dissent. Let them challenge “unfair” societal structures. Let them be the faces that represent that argument. It will never fly with the core collective. It does not appeal to the average (normal and functioning) hetero male. If you’re a hetero woman who wants to have as many opportunities as possible, limiting your options is just not economical. Exceptions may pop up – occasionally – but they’ll never be the normative accepted standard.
The time one would spend engaging in attempts at dismantling an established and enforced hierarchy could be used to make yourself as appealing as possible and I’m not just talking about aesthetics. Go re-read my post on the “F” Word comparing femininity and feminism. This really isn’t about being cute. It’s a matter of life and death. Let’s be honest though, being a knockout certainly has its appeal. We’re only making ourselves miserable when we lower our expectations of what we can achieve. As more black women leave the dysfunction behind they may still have to work out their navigation into new territories. So when some asked, How Big Is Too Big When It Comes to Interracial Dating it was with trepidation. Being tied to the old model will not work in this new era. There’s no in-between. You must decide TODAY and begin your journey into the life of prosperity, abundance or choose to remain fearful, self-limit and cut off all of the opportunities you don’t even know exist for you.
Forget the white women and anorexia excuse.
Forget false declarations of we’re “healthy”!
Being “thick”, a milkshake, a brick house or whatever terminology is used to objectify and stick you in a box no longer applies.
Actually, if you pay close attention to the measurements in that song by the Commodores (26-34-36) and look that up on a size chart you will realize just how small their idealized version of a curvy woman actually is. She isn’t a size 2 but neither is she a size 22. Or a 14 for that matter – which is the average clothing size for women today. It’s a size 6 for those curious but bustier than average (no surprise there).
We can hate the BMI charts and argue how they’re inaccurate (which sounds a lot like complaints about the SATs being culturally biased). Perhaps they are “unfair” but if you want to “win”, learn how to play by the rules set by others and beat them at their own game. To stand out in a good way, you must separate yourself from accepted mediocrity. Across the board.
Review the results when I did a Google search using the keywords ” black women do exercise” and check out the blog featured in that Grio article above, Black Women Do Workout. Choose a LIFEstyle with all of the responsibilities for eating well, being physically active and spiritually/emotionally balanced or choose death by denial and apathy.
Before you comment, I want thoughtful responses, not knee-jerk reactionism. Also, the 1500+ comments at Scott’s site were very interesting as well but not necessarily directly relative to the focus here. I want a balanced represented point of view expressed though. What are your strategies for maximizing your health and slimming down? What are some of your best strength training exercises?