Monday, May 27, 2024

Black Woman: Loving Yourself Enough Not to Lie.

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( For starters I am writing this from an elliptical trainer.

It was either this post or my pre-office workout — in the end I brokered a sweaty compromise (shout out to my iPhone).

A single mom who sometimes works up to 7 days a week between a full time job and freelance clients, I don’t play when it comes to my gym time. The result of months of boundaries-setting and schedule negotiations around work to include breaking my son’s daycare owner off a little extra so I could drop him off a half-hour earlier in the morning, my 60 minutes of sweat, five days a week at my job’s on-site gym, has become sacred. Without it I am afullfigure-blackwoman-2016 chronically tired, irritable, less efficient and creative and, yes, worrisomely overweight.

I’ve always been a big girl. A peek into practically all my scrapbooks and photo albums since birth confirm this. The bulk of my weight residing in my tummy and my bra, I’ve never been hard pressed to do anything about it beyond slim down “for the summer.” After all, having big “girls” — in your dating life at least — is an asset: Between them, my dimples and Tina Turner-sculpted legs getting a man ain’t never been a problem.

And that’s just the problem: seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can keep you from seeing the truth through your own. And the truth is that despite being fine – not happy – with the way I look most days, I have high blood pressure, which, though hereditary, is exacerbated by diet and lifestyle. I have trouble controlling it, even with medication. There’s also the warning I got from a doctor 10 years ago about being pre-diabetic, after developing a rash on my arm. Though fear caused me to diet and exercise my way into an 80-pound weight loss I regained 40 of it following the birth of my son two years ago. And so here I am, huffing it out today on the Huffington Post, thinking about how to make fruits and vegetables closer friends.

I also have Chrisette Michelle, Jazmine Sullivan, Danielle Brooks and Gabifresh to thank for my renewed sense of urgency. After a deeply intimate conversation with them for Ebony’s historic “Body Brigade cover story last month I got my butt in to see my doctor, taking all my stats (weight, BMI, etc.) and mapping out a nutritional plan and fitness strategy. My friend Aliya King wrote about my journey in Jezebel.

Which is not to say the magazine article’s biggest take-home (pun not intended) does not still hold true: you absolutely should love and affirm yourself at any weight and size, as this is the secret to living your best, most deliciously “free” life. It’s just that positively affirming yourself just as you are can’t stand in the way of the truth: if you know you can or must get healthier that’s gotta be a goal, too, and that goes for anyone, regardless of size.

Despite being self-proclaimed curvy girls the ladies spoke to me about getting right, too: eating the right foods, the exercise classes they’re taking and the trainers they’ve hired to sweat it out off-stage. They, like me, aspire to love themselves the best way they know how, increasing the sense of pride and self-worth they already have through the pursuit of their best health.

Because of them, in part, I am at the gym, tired and furiously typing on my smartphone but feeling accomplished. I’m surrounded by springtime gym-goers obsessing over toning their arms for tank tops and crunching their bellies firm for Spanx-less sundresses, but I am not one of them. I’m just a mom and a writer focused on living her very best life for herself and for her son — firmer arms and flat stomachs not included.

Written by Tomika Anderson

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