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.
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.
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?