It’s no secret that some black women have a complicated relationship with food. For some of us, food means love, comfort, safety. When you’re stressed with all the toils of life, there’s little more heavenly than a Krispy Kreme doughnut, Popeye’s buttery biscuit, red velvet cake, syrupy, doughy peach cobbler. Science shows that eating such foods gives an immediate flood of feel-good hormones to our brain…it’s like a drug…taking all the pain away. So much of our community surrounds food and food-related activities–church socials, family reunions, neighborhood barbecues.
And while those are good in moderation, a steady diet of these high-sugar, high carbohydrate foods will cause massive weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke, cancer, and circulation problems. I saw my mother hid her emotions with food–I remember catching her stuffing a bag of my father’s oatmeal cookies furiously into her mouth before she was caught. She has diabetes. She knows this is a no-no, but something deep inside her needed that sugar, more than her desire to remain healthy. Couple poor eating habits is the lack of desire to exercise. My mother’s generation was taught that sweating was unladylike. So when she and her cronies fell into the typical diabetes and high blood pressure train to destruction, they accepted their fate as just a part of growing older.
There’s some alarming new statistics related to obesity, and it looks like it’s a national epidemic, with unfortunately black women at the lead. I’m really excited at seeing a movement afoot led by black women to help other black women get fit and eat good foods. I mean, who else but us can really understand us, and our emotional struggles with food and how much the chocolate cake with ice cold milk makes all the pain about not having a father, raising a child alone, forgetting the rape or molestation, all go away for just a few minutes, so we can just have a few slips of happiness.
I’m glad that a re-education is happening with such blogs like Black Girls Run, Black Girls Guide to Weight Loss and advocates like these to encourage black women to exercise and grow their own food. Since doing so myself, I’ve undergone some changes that are nothing short of amazing. Not only do I look better in my clothes, but my entire being, all my organs, all my functions feel so well oiled…I feel better than I did in my 20’s, and in my 40’s, I’m still carded for alcohol.
(Shout out to Kimberly who passed along this video to me) I truly believe that if the majority of black women changed their attitudes about eating and fitness, we would see a sheparding of a new era or empowerment. A line of fit, beautiful black women would bring the world to its knees.
Black women have some genetic similarities that lend to how leanness and muscle definition are manifested. Mix strong muscles with natural curves and you have a creature like no other. And a woman like this has every man of every race eating from her hand. I truly believe there are folks who have a lot invested in maintaing the status quo for black women to lead the country as the most obese. Because when you shed that suit of fat…oh boy.