Lies I Told: Confronting Weight and Body Issues

I’m smiling as I watch my vlog playback on my phone. After multiple unsuccessful attempts I was finally able to get it done within the ten-minute limit I’d given myself. Though pleased with the lighting and the way I playfully engaged with the camera, there was one aspect which bothered me: my face. The increasingly full roundness of my face to be more specific. My face shape has always been round, as my Grandma’s well-defined bone structure skipped over me. However what I glimpsed on the screen was more than just evidence of the high cheekbones denied me. It was unwelcome proof of what the increasing tightness of my clothing told me: I was on my way to becoming overweight and slovenly.

I could tell myself that there was no extra weight showing in my face, delude myself into thinking it was just a trick of the camera. But what of the legion of dimples steadily marching down my thighs? What of the gradual thickening of my midsection that was transforming my former hourglass shape into an unsightly junior muffin top? Technology wasn’t the culprit there.

There are a number of excuses I could make, lies that I just might believe if repeated enough:

I’m only heavier because I’ve had a child…

Being “thick” is part of my culture…

Only a dog wants a bag of bones, Black men like their women big…

It’s just a few extra pounds, it isn’t a big deal… 

The excuses, however, cannot drown the power of a warning that I received from Sis. Montgomery, one of the church mothers, decades ago. I breezed into the ladies’ room after Sunday school was dismissed and walked in to see her seated on a bench, struggling to pull her control pantyhose up. In earlier years Sis. Montgomery was a petite brick house. Those days were now long gone, and she was dealing with the complications that came with being overweight. Letting out an exasperated sigh, Sis. Montgomery despondently let her arms hang out her sides and smiled at me softly.

“Baby,” she started in the drawl that marked her as a Louisiana native, “you better hold on to your figure. Do not ever let yourself get fat. It’s easy to gain weight but the devil to try to lose it!” The radical honesty in Sis. Montgomery’s words that Sunday never left me. Her unwillingness to sugarcoat the topic of weight gain with me that day enable me to face the truth of where I am now.

I cannot blame motherhood or my culture for the state I’m in, nor can I say I’m trying to appeal to anyone’s preference The truth is this: it’s my fault. I’ve lost muscle definition and added fat solely due to my laziness and poor eating habits. My daily routine has become sedentary.  I’m too enamored with sweets, pasta, dairy and fried foods. It took some time to accept responsibility for how poorly I’ve treated my body over the past six months, but it was necessary. Now that I’ve rejected the lies I am back to being active and making better nutrition choices that will be beneficial for my health.

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A native Seattleite and East Coast transplant, I have been interested in politics, religion, and race from the day I saw “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” on the bookshelf belonging to my BFF’s mom back in 1991. While my zealotry has thankfully diminished with maturity, I remain the deep thinking, passionate, and humble woman I have always been.

6 thoughts on “Lies I Told: Confronting Weight and Body Issues

  1. It’s so difficult as a Black woman, especially one who’s always been thin, to get any support for a weight loss or health journey. People will let you sabotage yourself under the guise of “thickness” or “body acceptance” and try to shame you for actually wanting to be slim and toned. I wish you the best.

    1. YES! I was even hesitant to address the issue because of the way it is treated in our community. I don’t like calling people ‘haters’ but there’s serious hateration whenever weight loss and exercise comes up. I think some BW sabotage those around them because they don’t want to be challenged by their success. After all, if your friend/sister/cousin who is overweight changes her life it makes it harder to defend your own inability to do so…

      1. That’s it in a nutshell. Those who are truly happy being larger won’t take the time to throw animosity at you for doing what you need to do to be happy in your own skin.

  2. Again the implication that if people are overweight they don’t exercise or eat well. Enjoy the genetics that makes this true for YOU. But it would help to appreciate that not everyone shares it. It’s great to want to lose weight but maybe it’s the part where I’ve decided to stop being another fat lazy pig is the part that people find offensive. Ijs. How about just a more positive, balanced or all inclusive tone? You’ll still lose the weight if you express it that way.

    1. Denise I made it quite clear that this was my individual story and shared the reasons behind my own weight gain. Being “all-inclusive” was not the point.

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