it impacts black women differently
As I’m stress-cleaning my home, as I often do on my lunch break, I begin to think out loud and process what I’m feeling and thinking. I often do this when I’m alone. My brain wandered to my health and fitness journey. I aim to be a body-positive force and want other people to recognize that health and weight are not created equal. I need the world to know that. I need doctors and insurance companies to know that.
I have been through a lot when it comes to this journey. I’ve lost 100 lbs and gained a good chunk of it back…yep…even AFTER bariatric surgery. They tell you that surgery is not a cure to obesity, but it’s the best fighting chance we have. They are right. It’s not a cure, but it’s a damn good head start if you have the mental wellness and strength to continue to make healthy choices. I didn’t, and some days, I still don’t, but I digress.
My surgeon told me that, in his experience, Black women have trouble being successful post-op. I didn’t question it then, because I’m all like “I’m not like other people. I can do this!” While it’s true, I’m not like other people and I did find initial success, I don’t have that same level of success that I had in my 6 months post-op.
So, this afternoon, I asked myself this: Why do Black women have trouble losing weight and maintaining weight loss?
Take the part about soul food out of the equation. Take doctors’ discriminating against Black women (whether intentional or not) out of the equation. Take overwhelming single motherhood and stress out of the equation. It all coms down to intersectionality.
Black women’s bodies are not our own. They hever have been. Our bodies are for the consumption of men and white people. We’ve been either over-sexualized or de-sexualized for generations. Our bodies carry that historical trauma, even if we never experienced it directly. Our bodies are not our own. If it’s not mine, why should I take care of it?
I’m learning that I have to tell myself that this body is mine. This mind is mine. Who I am and what I do belongs to me and me alone. I need to have the pride and love for myself and my body to take care of it. Let me just say that may not mean weight loss. I can go on a journey to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit without a goal of losing weight or becoming smaller. If my health goal results in weight loss, and I’m okay with that mentally, awesome! If it doesn’t, awesome! There are plenty of other markers of health and wellness that don’t involve a clothings size or a number on a scale. For example: what are your blood numbers? Can you lift heavier today that you could a month ago? How long does it take you to walk/run a mile? How are you sleeping? Are you able to enjoy that piece of cake without guilt, and without feeling the need to binge? All of those are MORE important than weight or size.
My body is mine
My mind is mine
My health is mine
My goals are mine.
And it’s my responsibility to heal the generational trauma that’s in my body so that I don’t pass it along to the strong women that come up behind me.
Take time to heal today.