Suicidal Thinking About Weight Will Literally Knock Black Women Out

“Every second your destiny is just waiting for you to show up.”

— 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.

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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.

ANALYSIS:

How obesity has become a part of black culture

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.

CONCLUSION:

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”!

NO!!!

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.

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I just read this interesting post at Latte Chic referencing a post at the Satorialist, On the Street…Angelika, Milan .

***

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?

38 Replies to “Suicidal Thinking About Weight Will Literally Knock Black Women Out”

  1. I'm going to disagree with the notion that weight = health. Check out the study for Health At Every Size. Obese women improved in health markers for both physical and mental health. One can be healthy and fat. It is tiring that we consistently keep believing the lie that thinness is health. It's NOT. I am an obese woman who has been doing kickboxing for quite some time. Still fat, but I can run circles around women half my size.

    We need to focus on the overall health, and quite frankly, black women SHOULD keep the positivity they have for their bodies. It is absolutely remarkable that fat black women can still remain positive about their self image in the face of a racist society that has already devalued our bodies.

    Am I saying that fat people are never unhealthy? No, no I am not. There are some unhealthy fat people, and they need to take initiatives for their health. But shaming people won't make change. We should focus on an overall increase in things that will allow us to make healthier choices, such as reducing the number of food deserts in black communities, as well as making our communities safer, advocating for recess in our schools, etc.

    1. Ok PlusSizedWomanist I'll play along for a minute. You've come to the conversation extremely late first of all. I should probably close posts that are more than one month old, but whatev…anyhoo, if YOU want to remain overweight/obese or whatever then feel free to do so. For those black women who want to move fluidly through life and have one less "Concern" to deal with, they will be healthy AND within a normal weight range. You know…like the majority of OTHER WOMEN in the world. We are expansive thinkers, not body size promoters here at this forum. As someone who is also getting fitter and yes THINNER (JHud is my weight loss role model) I will continue to do so and urge everyone to do so as well. If you and others want to continue seeing BW at less than their best, then step aside. I'll be publishing a post showing before and after photos for several BW entertainers who have shed pounds — which incidentally many have stated was due to the change in their MINDSET. So…stay on your side of the line and be happy, but do NOT try to block other women's progress.

      1. Seeing as how I just found your blog on tumblr, I've arrived a bit late.

        Again, I say that yes, black women SHOULD take those initiatives to increase their health. I would never advocate otherwise.

        I come from the perspective of an anorexia survivor, a group that the black community rarely speaks of. This is why I say what I say. Weight loss does not = health in all situations, and being fitter does not always = thinner. I whittled myself down to a dangerously low weight, with many people in the black community actually encouraging my weight loss, all the while I am killing myself.. It's a dangerous precedent to do so.

        I do not wish to block progress. Only to give a perspective that is not always spoken of. I am 110% for the health of the black woman. We have enough hatred on us.

        1. Well, I'm glad you found the post useful and you're welcome to participate as long as there isn't any obstructionism going on. Anorexia is rarer amongst black women compared to obesity. You have to realize that your earlier comment didn't have any context and now that you've shared you're an anorexia survivor it makes a difference. Still, I don't want any deflection of the core matter at hand — which is black women are not healthy and being overweight and obese is killing us. There are always exceptions to these conversations, along with individual circumstances. I'm speaking to the collective so we may strategize and implement necessary changes internally and externally to be our best and lead more dynamic lives.

  2. P.P.S. Congratulations Faith!!! That’s great. 🙂

    P.P.P.S. I joined the Black Women DO Workout! Facebook page a long time ago, but it’s only now that I’m more active on it. It’s an encouraging page.

  3. I returned to the gym exactly 2 weeks ago after not going for at least a year. My move was a big reason why I stopped -- it took such a toll on me that I just didn’t have the energy for it or anything else for that matter. As a result, I’ve gained weight, which is something I’m not used to. Going to the gym has been a real pain in the a$$. I’m not gonna lie and say how wonderful it’s been. BUT I’m the sort of person who sets out to do something and does it, so it’s only my self-discipline that keeps me going. I go every other day (went yesterday, going tomorrow) and I eat as healthy as possible. I’ve never been a big junk food eater so that’s a plus for me.

    I was (and still am sometimes) always teased by family members and others for being skinny. I wanted to get bigger. Now, they’re paying for being big with bad health. We MUST alter the thought process that says that big/big-boned/meaty = healthy. It’s literally killing us.

    P.S. My father lives in Arkansas. He found statistics that showed that 78% of Black women in that state are overweight/obese. 😐

  4. Congratulations and excellent post as usual Faith. We just had a conversation about this over on FB. This topic always brings out the heat.

    I'm a Denise Austin Fan as well. I love her Hit The Spot Abs. On my non-run days I rotate her with Jennifer Kries' Precison Yoga, PX90 Abs workout and a couple of workouts with Billie Blanks. I run about 3 miles every other day. You have a great plan and you will make your goal!!!

    1. Thanks Selena! Heated conversation or not the only women who will thrive are the ones who are getting with the program and willing to face the scrutiny of a reality check and act accordingly. If they don't want to it's really up to them. I appreciate your encouragement. i WILL meet and surpass my goals I am certain!

  5. Faith,

    I just wanted to say, "Congratulations!" Your 60 lb weight loss is an AWESOME accomplishment. I APPLAUD YOU!!!

    I myself have a history of being on the "Up Down" weight loss cycle. I have been working consistently on losing the weight for good since late December. Thus far, I have lost 25 lbs. I have made a commitment to exercise AT LEAST 4 days per week, but I TRY to work out at least 5 or 6 days (hoping to move to 7 days). I've also been (loosely) following the WW plan. WW works. I've used it in the past. I'm just trying to figure out how to develop a plan that I can stick to for life (and sometimes strictly adhering to a "dieting plan" doesn't work for me. I need to feel like I'm "free".) I started out using Leslie Sansone videos (4 fast miles, 5 mi fat burning walk). Then, I added Callanetics for toning. Here is my current regimen (up until last week when I started jogging):

    Leslie Sansone 5 mi fat burning walk 2-3 days per week
    The "Original" Buns of Steel one day per week
    Callanetics (original workout) one day per week
    Denise Austin Hit the Spot upper body workout 2 days per week
    Leslie Sansone 1 mi jog 2 days per week
    Joanie Greggains Super Stomachs 2-5 days per week (usually 2--LOL!)

    The "Original" Buns of Steel is KILLER! I did the video once and put it away for 6 weeks or so, because it REALLY BURNED! In the meantime, I did Callanetics twice per week. Callanetics looks easy, but it's REALLY CHALLENGING. It helped me build the strength to do Buns of Steel. It's also a very relaxing workout. I'm not a fan of doing lots of lunges or squats, and neither of these workouts heavily involve those activities. So, I like them alot. I personally prefer workouts from the 70s and 80s (to early 90s). Jane Fonda is also very effective. As I mentioned, I just started running again, this past week. Doing Leslie Sansone consistently for the past 3-4 months gave me the stamina I needed to run for 30 minutes straight (at a slow pace) without stopping. (BTW, I did her 4 fast miles workout daily for one month and lost 12 lbs, without doing any "dieting".) I've downloaded a beginners half-marathon training schedule from Fitnessmagazine.com. It's a 10 week program. I don't plan to run in a race, but I think it will give me good objectives for my running program. One book that I read in the past that I'm turning to again for encouragement is "Secrets of a Former Fat Girl". It's an easy, encouraging, and entertaining read. I've run in the past before. One thing that's different this time is that I'm running outside at the park rather than in the secrecy of my own home on the treadmill. It's a big feat for me to "come out of hiding". (I wear sunglasses to feel "anonymous". Hey…you do what you have to do.) It's a good challenge for me socially. I feel very uncomfortable with the extra weight I've put on, and I didn't want others to see me running until I was in "excellent" condition. Well, I'm running in public, in the park, and starting the trail. I thought it would be much more difficult to run outside. But, I scouted the park first, and the trail seems to have extended lengths of relatively flat paths. I challenged myself to run up a small but steep hill. Guess what? I COULD DO IT! So, I have now incorporated that hill into my workout. I still do lots of "self-talk" to get me through it, but I'm doing it. (The author talks about that, in the book I mentioned.) I've also been changing my eating habits, gradually, beyond what WW requires. (Except for an occasional treat) I've stopped eating items that have lots of sugar (including granola bars), because I realized that increase my appetite rather than satisfy me. I eat lots of fresh fruit daily (usually with every meal). I've also reduced my caffeine intake to the occasional soda or tea, because it was impairing the quality of my sleep. I agree with one of the rules in that book, "Keep It A Secret", but I'm sharing what I'm working on with you, because I, like you, and hoping and working towards success. (Also, I keep Jennifer Hudson in mind, as I am trying to become a size 4/6, and my family would tell me--if they knew--that isn't a "realistic" goal for me.)

    1. Formavitae: Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your goals and efforts. We're all going to be in a much etter position in our lives having made the decision to change. Then completing the process by following through. No one said it was going to be without concentration and consistency, but nothing worthwhile occurs my accident. Kudos to you! And me and everyone else. I hope this provides the catalyst for some of the lurkers, lol!!!

  6. Hi Faith! I had to really think over my response to this post. I have found that exercise and nutrition choices are highly individualized and it can take some time to find the right fit. I am an avid home exerciser. I found that by setting up my own home gym the weather/time/travel excuses were off the table. Its cheaper, and for the price of a few free weights, dvds and a full length mirror you can have a very user friendly setup. If you have access to a hydrostatic body fat testing center I would highly recommend it. This will give you the best indicator of your true ideal body weight as opposed to relying on BMI charts. I would also recommend investing in a good heart rate monitor than can help give you some indicator of how intensely your chosen exercise activity really is. We have a tendency to overestimate how hard we work, so a monitoring device can be quite telling. Polar makes some very good models at various price points. I disagree with the notion of working out only 2-3 times a week if one's goal is weight loss. Of course you won't start at 4-6 times a week , but I think ultimately as one becomes stronger that would be your goal. I generally work out 3 days on 1 day off , although at times I will change to a 2-1 or 4-2 when my schedule calls for it. Bottom line move it or lose it. I saw a lady today who was probably my age or younger ( i'm 42 ) and she is confined to a supersized motorized wheelchair because she can't WALK without become extremely short of breath. Is a hairstyle worth not being able to walk? I can't tell you how many aa ladies tell me how they would like to lose weight, but can't sweat because of hair concerns ( another great reason to work out at home. You can do whatever hair related fixes without having to be in public ). Given the alarming rise of diabetes, amputations from diabetic complications, dialysis, strokes, heart attacks and various cancers it might be in your best interest to make time for exercise and reasonable dietary changes. Unfortunately, most health insurance companies are not willing to pay for medications/preventative care measures but are more than willing to pay for you to go on dialysis, cut off your limbs, and provide you with chemotherapy. My plan? I'm opting out of the entire system by doing that crazy stuff, you know exercising, eating a reasonable diet and doing my regular preventive maintenance checkups with my dentist and doctor. Oh, and by the way i'm a doctor as well and I encourage my patients to do the same. I have little confidence in what's coming down the pipes regarding healthcare, but I have every confidence that with the proper motivation many of us can avoid the gaping abyss altogether. Give it some serious thought ladies, the quality and duration of your life really do depend on this decision.

    1. Thank you for your pertinent feedback. I think people are trying to be helpful, but I'm not really that interested in discussing extensive details of what I'm doing publicly. I also agree that 2-3 times per week of exercise is not enough when on a significant fat loss/strength-training program. I agree we are not always working out as intensely as we are able because when I'm with a trainer they do not allow for a half-hearted workout -- at least the good ones don't! It's important for your patients that you be an example and what a great role model you are. Not every MD practices what they "preach" -- the same way religious "leaders" are often the worse spiritual advocates.

  7. Okay this is the last part of my comment. Pt 3;
    If you lose the weight ( and you will!!!) you will open doors to yourself that you didnt even realize were closed.
    Before I go Faith, I just also want to thank you for that link to that Jennifer Hudson interview when she was in London. She said some things that have been ringing in my head ever since.." how she was now a walking billboard!!" She said that she "didnt consider herself a big girl..b/c back home in Chicago in her neighborhood she would have been considered "normal" size"..that really stuck with me. The idea that now that she has traveled and gotten out to see the world she sees that what she once took for normalcy ..was NOT NORMALCY indeed!!

    1. I'm glad Jennifer Hudson has spoken about this. It only highlights how lack of exposure really impacts our worldview. For everyone, but since my focus is on BW and specifically AAs who are so bogged down by other people's crap they can't even think straight to even start thinking about other options in the first place. I know I've always wanted tot ravel and see the world and how I was actively discouraged due to other people's issues/fears. I didn't let it stop me, but it didn't negatively impact me and I wasted a few years where I could have actively focused on it in a more sustainable way. Thanks to the Internet and research I now know about the tuition-free schools in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. I could've taken advantage of that when I was younger! Some things are just easier when you can plan them at the start of your adult life. Better late than never..but still. If Ms. Hudson hadn't gone through the entire process of feeling the pain, deciding to change and completing that aspect to her journey she wouldn't be where she is now. In a much better position in life. Aside from her career.

    2. What an I eye opening experience for Jennifer. Her belief system will also be challenge. I am sure other race men are showering her with admiration, her boyfriend had better step-up or he might lose her.

      1. They're already planning their wedding…but you never know what the future holds. At least this can mean a much more productive and fulfilling life for Ms. Hudson in other ways she hadn't anticipated.

  8. Pt 2…
    Bravo Bravo Bravo. That last sentence said it all…"white women would reject that kind of caricature/characterization outright!!!" As we have discussed highlighted and brought to the forefront white women have the access to the majority group of producers. DIRECTLY. And believe you me, no white man is going to spend advertising dollars depicting wwomen in an eschewed/negative light.
    I am just so glad that we are able to discuss through this blog and others how there are key differences between the two groups of menfolk/and their protectionism, ability to provide and the like.
    Now, as that pertains to weight and issues of body size your essay fully examined and highlighted what I believe all Black women need to understand.

  9. Hi Faith,
    Excellent post as usual. I second and third (lol) your nuance filled essay. The wisdom here is amazing. I especially like respect and love this section;
    "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."

  10. continued….
    This is really bucking a trend, but what the hey, it's BWE and that's what we do! So here goes -- Faith, Eff the Buddy System…. I mean it. The first go round for me was a roller coaster of mind games and good intentions gone bad. I'm sure that you are seeing a few "hangers on" here and there now that you are losing and changing and looking great -- You know the ones I'm talking about. "Girl, you look so good, I gotta go walking, workout, dieting, whatever, WITH YOU!!" I admit, it was a head rush to get compliments and be an inspiration, but all it did was waste alot of time with folks that wanted to half ass and not PAY for something that anyone else would have charged for! My journey, this time around, is just that MY JOURNEY. It took a while the first time to figure out how to make it work, and how much exercise it was going to take. I'm single, childless, with time and money to spare. I do what works for me -- let them figure out what works for them.

    Good luck to all of you!!

    1. I was considering the Buddy System as per research, the right fitness partner boosts your success rate. I suppose choosing one is just as intense and specific as choosing a life partner. SO far, I'm just relying on me, some books and Rev. Della podcasts about changing your mindset and asking for what you want from God — but she advocates making sure you believe it to be true and certain before hand. That takes a lot of mental grit.

  11. First off -- CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I know you feel like a new person already -- but don't stop until you get to YOUR (not someone else's) comfort zone. And please don't let it be a Monique/Latifah comfort zone! LOL!

    As someone damn near starting over, I went back to Weight Watchers and have lost over 18 pounds so far. All I can tell you is that you know your body and what works -- but nothing will work without EXERCISE!! And not that little stroll here, lift a 5 lb weight there -- the effort you put in will be what you get out. Can't tell you much about food, since the plan is letting me have ribs tonite (4 instead of 12, oh well!) but as you already know fruits and veggies are a good thing!

    Lemme give you one nugget of advice to tie in with my plan to get back into Sexy Tracy Shape. I tasted it, I loved it, and nothing is going to hinder me from getting back into skinny land. Nothing, NO ONE…..

    1. Tracy: Congrats on your continued efforts. Sexy Tracy. Hehehe. It's interesting because I've been this weight before- but it was when I'd gained weight and it absolutely feels different coming down to it than going up. I do feel more confident if only because I made positive changes in my lfie that benefit me. I had to let go of the perfectionism desire as that meant I'd never try. Something else has shifted as well. Before if I lost weight without making any extra effort I'd have an emotional reaction, but now this is part of other long-term goals I have in mind so I look forward to getting over these hurdles. Anyway -- keep up the good work and NO you don't need 12 ribs!!! I had to watch out for the "now that I've burned off x from doing y exercise I can eat a-d" thinking.

  12. Excellent post Faith! Excellent!

    What I’ve found with regard to weight management is that it really boils down to your diet. Not as in dieting, but as in your lifestyle (check out the dictionary definition of “diet”). I count calories, that’s what works for me. Now that’s not for everyone, but you do have to be cognizant of what you’re eating. I was at a point at one time where I was working out like crazy but my body didn’t start to change until I really focused and changed what and how much I was eating. I know it can be hard when you’re accustomed to one way of eating and/or you live in an environment with limited food options, but once you get started it becomes easier to find ways around those obstacles.

    I also think that variety and finding things you enjoy are important. I love going to the gym, but I also enjoy hiking and Pilates. Someone else may enjoy Yoga or swimming. You have to find something you enjoy doing in order to stick with it. It’s important to shake things up every now and then too because of that pesky little thing called muscle memory.

    As for the BMI, it represents the absolute leanest you could ever possibly be. And yes you do have to factor in bone or muscle mass and the fact that women do need a little extra fat in order to maintain a menstrual cycle and have children; but this doesn’t mean that the measurement should be thrown out with the baby and the bathwater.

    1. Thanks Zabeth! One thing I have done is monitor my daily caloric intake regardless of exercise. Since I have a certain amount available in my "calorie bank" I can eat whatever I choose but veggies and proteins will work better at filling me up than soda and candy bars. One of the best things that has happened is my not being able to impose a "perfection" clause in everything I do. I see results regardless of whatever notions I had about needing to do things a specific way. Variety when it comes to exercise is fine , but not with what I eat. I also found some research that debunked the 5-6 small meals per day nonsense. Three works perfectly fine for me and I don't feel out of control. It is a journey and I'm looking forward to the continued exploration of finding myself, what I value and how to express myself as I move forward with the rest of the plans for my life. If more black women would let go of the adherence of false dogma their lives would vastly improve.

      1. I agree with the 5-6 meal thing. I tried that for a week and felt out of control! LOL! I have 3 meals a day too but, between breakfast and lunch/lunch and dinner I may have a light snack.

        I also agree with treating it like a bank account. You can still eat whatever you want (I'm not giving up chocolate anytime soon) but you'll find that lean meat and fresh veggies and fruit will fill you up and impose fewer calories at the same time. You may find that this actually saves you time and money overall.

  13. I was looking at old clips of Soul Train a while back and noticed that nobody was overweight or obese back then. I looked back my mom, her friends and relatives in the 70s and absolutely nobody was fat. The women took pride in their figures and making themselves as beautiful as they could be. Being fat is not synonymous with blackness, it's simply a representation of the energetic state of that being's body, mind and spirit.

    1. Jules — no being fat is not correctly synonymous with blackness but we're not going to argue about the specific indoctrination being parceled out to black women and girls that it's now normal. I've presented too many examples that show otherwise. The 1970's was 40 years ago. The black community died sometime around that decade with the results speed-balling into this complete disarray we have now. The abnormal has become the norm -- which is the opposite of the sensible ways many black women behaved decades ago and only proves my point. There was a larger percentage of BW who watched their figures and ate healthier, but today we have BW declaring “curvy” i.e. being fat is good. Like being a baby momma is just fine. Like man-sharing is just fine. Like raping 11 year-olds is just fine. So, I’m not interested in having an intellectually dishonest conversation about any of this.

  14. Thanks for the shout out would love to know your thoughts on that post. And you are right we have embraced being unhealthy as a community but we should embrace being health. size 14 is healthy for some girls but not for all.. great post..

  15. Do things that will help you achieve you goals in a meaningful way and set reasonable golas for yourself. For example, I gave up bread and all meat except fish for lent simply beacuse it would force me to eat more vegetables and keep me from my main vice, which is grabbing a pice of bread everytime I want to chew on something when I'm not even hungry.

    Don't become a workout freak at the gym! 2-3 good sessions per week is all you need. I go to a big university where we can use our gym for free, so I definitely take advantage of our elipticals, and sometime type of machine that helps you work your arms. I do 30 minutes on the eliptical on intervals (high intensity, low intensity intervals), and then I do 20 minutes on the arm thingy. And when I'm able to, I'll take some of the classes they have available like step arobics and kickboxing.

    Have fun and don't obsess over your weight. Find activities that you will love to do, and working out will be that much easier. Think long term happiness, not short term satisfaction. 🙂

  16. Some tough love, but on point again!!! I will say that ever since I've gotten serious about losing weight and living a healthier life, I've felt much better about myself in terms of just my overall confidence, especially since now I can be active and have fun along with all of me health conscious friends. I wish this weight would fall off a little faster though…I'm still somewhat on the thick side [I've only lost 2 pounds, :)] The slow and right way to do it has really helped me make better choices.

    But I, and my friends, can definitely see the difference in tone in my legs. One of my friends even thought I was athletic! Bless her sweet little heart…:) It seems like the fat on my legs wants to leave, but it's being very stubborn everywhere else! It is a process, so don't be impatient and give up on your health. And also, don't obsess over trying to lose 20 pounds in like four weeks by starving yourself or doing somethng else crazy! The point of losing weight is to become healthier by making changes that are going to stay with you for a very long time.

    1. Oh no, I'm not on a diet. This is a complete lifestyle change. If I try to push for more than 2.5 pounds/week I may be asking for trouble in the long run. The weight training is going to help me burn more calories at rest that simple cardio. I have to watch out for my carb intake, as they tend to be less expensive when eating on the run. I'm going to invest in more protein bars and carry hard-boiled eggs.

      1. Oh no, I wasn't necessarily addressing you when I said don't do anything crazy like starve yourself. It was just a general statement because I know alot of people who want it quick and easy, and are desprate enough to do some dangerous things.

        Since I gave up meat and bread for lent, I have had to be really cognizant of getting in more protein. I am prone to eating fruit all day (I've turned into a health snacker for some reason), but I gotta find someway to fit more vegetables into my day. I'll also eat Salmon and tuna.
        Nowadays, I rarely get "full meal" hungry anymore. Maybe it's because I drink water all day, or that my relationship and how I think about food is changing. I don't know…

        How do you balance your meals? I'll usually eat some oatmeal and fruit, cereal and fruit, Muesli, or a fruit salad for breakfast, and then I feel satisfied throughout the day with the exception of the times I'll eat more fruit or a protein bar.

        1. Are you asking me how I balance my meals? I usually make sure I eat fruit or veggies in between. Yesterday I ate brown rice and stir fry vegetables for breakfast. I followed that up with chicken later. I happened to not be that hungry because I drank 2 liters of water that I add Metamucil fiber to. It depends. Somedays all I want are carbs. Today I ate grits and bacon and scrambled eggs with 3 cups of coffee. I'm drinking red tea right now. I'm going to have salmon and brown rice and some veggies for dinner. Oh yeah…I had a banana when I got up. I've been craving donuts lately even though I haven't eaten one in 4 months. We'll see if I still want one in a few days then I'll factor it into my caloric intake amount to accommodate it -- but I'll need to eat a protein to avoid a sugar spike.

          1. A week ago, I had a bad craving for pancakes! But I'm glad I no longer have an insane craving for bread like I used to. I guess since I'm at college, my options have become very limited in terms of what I want to eat, as most college food is junk. I guess that's why I eat fruit all day every day…LOL. Once lent is over, I'll have more options, but then, I will have become knowledgable enough to make better choices.

            I think I'm starting to dig your caloric intake process. But I know caloric needs differ from person to person. I'll have to do some research to find mine.

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