Am I fat or PHAT (Practical, Honest, and Talented)?

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I have always known that I was overweight. However, I had never experienced a negative reaction to my waistline. After moving to Charlotte, I realized that there was a very negative perception of overweight people. I was young and naïve. I have worked hard all of my life. I am the farthest thing from lazy. For God’s sake, I had chopped cotton, down in the rural parts of The Delta.  I have usually worked two jobs; although, I was completing my degree. Socially and physically, I have never felt any restraints. What I wanted to do, I did. So realizing that I was, supposedly, lazy, unhappy, sad, and lonely was more shocking and sad. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I moved to Colorado, which has a 19% obesity rate (Calorielab 2008).

I remember an incident, after moving here. I went to have dinner with a co-worker and met some really great people. One of the girls and I had become really good friends. She later revealed too me that when she saw me walking in, she immediately thought “oh my, here comes another large, unhappy, mad-at-the-world black woman.” I was so shocked, by her admission. Along with her admission, she offered an apology and acknowledged that my life had order and an independence that she longs for. This gives meaning to NOT judging a book by its cover, right?

Now, I wonder how often does this happen? How often am I seen, and immediately dismissed into the unimportant bucket, before I am heard? I don’t want that to happen, because I am pretty PHAT, regardless of my waistline. I am driven, smart, and has a supreme case of curiosity that will keep me grounded, forward-thinking, and ambitions.

I recently found an article that stated that the power of weight loss does not come easy for some. In this case, young black and white girls were studied. It was found that with daily exercise/activity Caucasian girls can easily keep up a healthy weight. However, for the African-American girls exercise needs increasing; although, they were unable to decide how much more exercise was needed. In fact, their study concluded, “But for black girls, there was no clear link between physical activity at age 12 and obesity at 14 (Pittman 2012).” The conclusion, in my opinion, stated that obesity is inevitable for some African-American girls.

This article did not offer any other avenues for the black girls to make a healthy weight loss. As for me, I have learned that no matter how active I am, my weight is not going to change, unless I begin the process of introducing healthier choices of food and utilizing portion control. These things should not have been introduced, at the age of 12 and 14, but at the earliest stages of being a toddler.

Within my family, I have decided to start now. My 17 month has just now become picky. She does not do well with green things. She likes to play with her peas, squish between her fingers, and give them back to me. However, if I add them in a soup, and I do not allow her to self-feed, she will gobble it up. Her dad has been able to successfully get her to eat spinach. I think she likes the seasoning he uses. If I am eating broccoli, and I feed it to her, she will eat it. At this age, I have found that most things are eaten, based on the introduction. My daughter is of me, metaphorically and physically speaking. She copies everything I do.

Based on this article, I can probably feebly defend my waistline, though I will not. It is still my responsibility to make sure my health and that of my family leads to the road of success. This article also explains that obesity is more than just laziness and will power. With the obesity talks on the table, hopefully our policy-makers and consumers can talk evenly and equally about the nature of this beast and how to contain it.

References:

Pittman, Genevra (2012). Black girls don’t benefit as much from exercise. MSNBC. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47694881/ns/health-childrens_health/

Calorielab (2008). Mississippi is the fattest state for 6th straight year, Colorado still leanest, Rhode Island getting fatter, Alaska slimmer. Retrieved from http://calorielab.com/news/2011/06/30/fattest-states-2011/

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