Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Great Weight loss debate.

This morning after my daily routine of Yoga, shower and morning Joe (the show not coffee) I caught a glimpse of weight watchers Jennifer hudson commercial. I heard via twitter that she dropped to a size zero but I had not seen her. I don't care one way or another about J.HUD and her ever shrinking waist, but I do think the message that is being sent out is dangerous.
 When her campaign launched I thought this is a good thing because she was a curvy girl, like many mothers, aunties that littleblack girls look at everyday. Her message of healthy curves would not only get our girls thinking about weight maintenance but their parents too, all of which is a win.But somewhere along the way that message turned into what we've always heard, Skinny is the way you make it in this world.

*Before I go on I am fully aware that there are some that mask their unhealthy weight and size with saying they are curvy I'm not speaking of them and if your intentions are to please move on to another blog.*

I've never struggled with my weight and I believe that come from my mother blessing me with the  knowledge that people come in all sizes, and mines just happened to be all of 90lbs. I was always active and even as I got older I just liked working out. I learned to love the rush of endorphins way before I knew how to spell it, and not much has changed. However growing up my family was full of women with behinds, big breast, hips and they were healthy, and I was the string bean.  So I guess it never occurred to me that any of this wasn't the norm. In my world Black women were built that way and we were okay with it.

It wasn't until 1992 that I  started paying attention to weight loss/maintenance issues  because I was now surrounded by more than just people that looked like me. I weighed in at an entire 92lbs straight though college, and people paid attention to it. Sophomore year one of my best friends mom even suggested that I didn't eat because she could see the bones in my face, all I knew of eating disorders was that there were lots of ABC specials about them, none of which featured Black girls.  Freshman year in "my Women's bodies, women wisdom" class we read an article that suggested that African American women battled less with eating disorders and weight issues. When asked if I thought that was true I had to agree because I didn't know any Black women that had suffered from it, we just seemed to more comfortable and realized that we weren't all going to be a size zero.

Looking back I'm sure that article was a little off , but it does seem that little girls do battle with these things more often now. Some of the battle stems from the pressure society puts on everyone to be rail thin (which is unrealistic) and this need to be the next Rihanna or ( insert any pop star). I look back at who I idolized as a child and the goal to be like them was more tangible. I would have been a kick ass version of Big Lez or Assata Shakur Lol. But more importantly I had my mom, grandmother and aunts to look up to and they were better  than any TV personality ever could be.

I will say that I do love what Beyonce did to promote healthier living, it wasn't about weight loss at all but more about getting up and moving which combined with healthy eating leads to healthy living. 

So what do we do to the rest of us do to help little girls with self image? I know that Tyra has a camp that focuses on just that but what do the rest of us do. I have conversations with my nieces as do their moms and you hope that it rubs off onto the people they are in contact with but hoping is just not enough.

This is my favorite quote on weight loss: 
When friends tell you how awesome you look, drop the "I still have more to go" crap.  You worked hard and you deserve the compliment!  ~Jillian Michaels

1 comment:

Smarty P. Jones said...

A lot of us who carry around self-esteem issues have been carrying them since childhood. More often than not, they are a result of someone we love pointing them out to us or that someone passing along their own self-esteem issues.

"You'd be a cute girl if you weren't so fat."

"You're cute to be dark skinned."

Back handed compliments are how it begins and at that point, imagination takes over. I'm all about promoting a healthy sense of self and the FLOTUS' "Let's Move" campaign.

It's time we encourage (and lead by example) kids to exercise and eat more healthily. I know all about weight fluctuation, weight-related illnesses and the whole nine. Making people feel badly about themselves won't help combat any of this.