Welcome to A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss! - A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Welcome to A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss!

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Ladies and, well, ladies… welcome to A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss!

Allow me to re-introduce myself. My name is Erika! I’m a young twenty-something single parent, and I have a weight problem. I stand at six feet tall, and once upon a time, I weighed in at somewhere around 328 lbs. Needless to say, I’ve neglected myself and my health because I put everything else before me. School? Before me. Work? Before me. Outside organizations? Before me. My child? Before me. It just made sense. I put myself on the back burner because I believed that giving my all to everything with which I was involved was the best thing I could do.

I put this website together (yes, this is ALL my design work) for a few reasons, but mostly because I realized how prevalent that line of thinking is… and even worse, how harmful it can be to us as human beings.

But if it’s a harmful line of thinking for human beings, why is this site a Black girl’s guide to weight loss?

That’s not meant to be offensive to anyone, and I hope you’re able to see that. You see, I can explain it like this.

As I mentioned before, I live in Miami. A city that I love – first – for it’s cultural diversity. I love the Caribbean, I love Latin America, I love America. I just.. do. It’s everywhere – the groceries, the malls, in little subsections of the city, and apparently.. the gym. One night, as my daughter and I were at our workout center, a gentleman was there working his tail off at one of the weight training stations. A couple of other Latinas were there, kind of just staring at him. I noticed and kind of just LOL’d because I figured they were just checking him out, right? Not at all. They asked him – in Spanish – if he was a trainer (he was,) and if he had any tips for them. He began speaking – in Spanish – to respond to them, until he looked up and noticed that I was paying attention as well. He smiled at me, and began speaking in English.

I appreciated this, because the conversation was SO informative. He discussed workout techniques, tips in execution, and then… there were more cultural references than a little bit. He discussed foods in their culture that were cooked in a fashion that would only set them up for failure in terms of losing weight. (For a fear of seeming or sounding insensitive, I’m not going to go into detail.)  He discussed the cultural relationship with food, and how he really was failing himself at not keeping it in check. He then turned to me and said, “I’m certain that you have foods in your culture that, if you thought about it, could be cooked differently or scrapped completely to help you reach your goal, right?”

I couldn’t help but agree with him.

I went home that night, and couldn’t stop thinking about the effect our culture has on our relationships with food and exercise. How many of us grew up in households where our parents put everything before themselves? How many of us look at that and wonder how our parents did so, and still remained fit? Do we ever stop and think about what the variables might be in that situation? Like… say, maybe… the food we’re eating?

So for me, this had to be A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss, because while this site discusses very general concepts that affect us all as people, as Americans and as consumers… there are issues and elements that are very cultural in origin that need to be addressed.. from the perspective of… ta-da! A Black girl.

With any luck, this blog will expose us to different ways of caring for ourselves. With any luck, this blog will show us things that we accept because they’re tradition, and unfortunately are harming us and prohibiting us from being our healthy selves. With any luck this blog will benefit you, the reader, as much as writing it may benefit me.

Be aware: I don’t make mention of my being Black at the exclusion of any other group of people. I mention my being Black because it’s what I am. I mention it because, quite frankly, I can. If that makes you even remotely uncomfortable, not only is this NOT the site for you, but this community – consisting of all races and all genders – will make you loudly aware of that fact. Just tellin’ you in advance.

But… what makes you so qualified to write something like this?

Oh… I took some time to myself, and worked my tail off. I’ve done (and still do) the reading. I’ve done the studying. I’ve done the living. Sure enough, I lost 110 lbs in one year. That a good enough answer? :)

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now lives in New York with her family, and is working on her 4th, 5th and 6th certificates.

12 Comments

  1. Jovani Yolanda Fox

    April 21, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Erica! First I want to thank you for building this site. A friend of mine and I have started taking a new lease on our lives and we are starting on our bodies. I’m a short girl (5’2) and I’ve never been smaller that 145 (and a size 8). I was always active in H.S. and College, but as I got older, and the responsibilities started to pile up, I lost track of ME (including my weight). I was doing good last year with keeping my weight down, but for lack of a better word; got Sidetracked! I now weigh 194, which is HUGE to me! and I am embarrassed by it sometimes. On the outside I may look happy, but inside I hate the way I look. There are days that I wake up and I cry because nothing in my closet fits and its to the point where some days I dont wanna leave the house.
    I’m telling you all this because I hope hearing your story and reading your blog will get me back on track. I know I have the strength and determination to lose weight (i’ve done it before) I just need that extra boost to say, “Jovani…GET UP AND GO!” My life has gotten in the way of my health and I’ve officially put my foot down! I look forward to reading your blog and trying out some (or all) of the things you have suggested!
    God Bless…
    Jovani*

    • Erika

      April 21, 2010 at 6:39 PM

      Jovani,

      Get up and GO!

      With love,
      Erika

  2. Rosalyn

    May 21, 2010 at 2:54 AM

    Thank you for this site. So far I have browsed and found information that is helpful. I have been looking for something other than my health to keep me inspired. This is it. I have started working out after letting myself go for 4 years. I’m on my 2nd or 3rd week of exercise and change of eating habits. It has been tough to keep going. I have so far maintained my weight and hope to start losing pounds soon. So thanks again for this site.

    Rosalyn

    • Erika

      May 21, 2010 at 8:59 AM

      Thank YOU, and here’s to strength to keep going!

      Remember, if you’re not losing, pay extra special attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. Barring any hormonal or medical issues, the answer can usually be found somewhere in there! :)

  3. Aziza

    October 7, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Erika–

    I just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful resource! I’m a third year college student a few thousand miles away from home (and Mama’s healthier cooking), and since starting school, I’ve lost (and gained) more than fifty pounds. I’ve been looking for something to help me even out my weight–in the last three years, I’ve been everywhere between 130-185 lbs and it’s unsettling to say the least. My body thanks you!

    Aziza

  4. Ilana Phillips

    October 30, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Love this site

  5. Erika

    November 11, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Thanks, y’all! :)

  6. Crystal

    December 20, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    For the past couple of days I’ve been going through your blog site off and on reading, re-reading, ‘self-talking while reading’ and all I can say is at 44 years old you can learn alot from anyone! I love you sooooo much! thank you for your inspiration.

  7. CoCo

    December 30, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    Hello Erika,

    Coming across your website has really help me make a discussion I have poundering. At the age of 38, I weigh 235 pounds. I have tried weightwatchers which I lost 85lbs. and gained evry bit of it back. For about a hour I have been reviewing the new weighwatchers plan, trying to deciede if I should go back.

    Then my Blackberry chimed. I had a facebook entire. It was an entry from your website. After reading your post; I closed out the weightwatchers site and continued to read your post about eating. If I continue to eat junk; no matter how much I workout I will not reach my desired weight.

    Thank you for making me see the light about my eating habits.
    CoCo

  8. Gabi

    May 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    I’m happy I found this blog! I’m a white girl from Brazil and you should know that me and my friends totally support your initiative! Black girls are damn beautiful and must stand up for your culture!

  9. Tasha

    January 13, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    I love your site! I can really relate to you. I am just starting my journey and frankly you are an inspiration. You look amazing! I cant wait until Im in the same boat and can finally say I DID IT!

  10. Melissa

    August 25, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Hi,
    I am new to the “workout and clean eating scene”. I found you through google and this site has been such a blessing to me and i havent even began doing too much yet. I totally need some motivation and after seeing our starting weight is the same, u are a single mother (as am i) and u still found a way to overcome the weight is truly inspiring to me. I look forward to reading every single article and starting my journey as well. I have already started working out and semi-eating right and i look forward to BIG sucess with u as my guide!!

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