Thanks to the kids being off for summer break, I’m going to have to do my ‘countdown’ a bit differently, so I’m going to start here:
Today, July 19th, 2019, marks ten years of A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss. Ten whole years, y’all.
Ten years of talking about what it means to eat healthily in a world that makes it increasingly difficult to do so.
Ten years of trying to understand why the foods we seem to love the most tend to cause us the most harm.
Ten years of trying to understand the flaws in the metrics used to measure our healthiness.
Ten years of trying to figure out what healthy relationships with our bodies look and sound like.
Ten years of realizing that no one will protect us the way we do.
Ten years of learning how revolutionary our elders, ancestors, and loved ones truly were and are.
Ten years of learning that soul food isn’t what’s killing Black America, regardless of what a white supremacist society insists on shoving down our throats. (I’ll come back to this in a few days. Sit tight.)
Ten years of saying what everyone else was too shook to say. (Hands down, bar none, one of my favorite things I’ve ever written for another outlet, to this day.)
Ten years of understanding how shame controls, isolates, and destroys people. Ten years of understanding that the only way to fight shame is to actively seek the opposite of what it does—bring people closer to you, speak, learn, love, build, grow. Ten years of building the kind of community that can do that honestly and earnestly.
Ten years of difficult decisions, difficult pregnancies, difficult admissions, difficult backslides, and—most importantly of all—beautiful rebirths. Not because I’m close to my pre-drama size, but because I am more mentally healthy than I’ve ever been before.
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Ten years, ten years. And I almost wasn’t here to see it, celebrate it, and look back on the wonder we’ve created.
Ten whole years of questioning myself, being questioned, being challenged, and being made better. Ten years of being a writer, a thinker, a trainer. Ten years of blossoming into something I never envisioned. Ten years of people believing in this community, and entrusting me with leading it.
Ten years of realizing this is my calling. It is my calling. Talking to people, helping them understand what it means to live a healthier life, gaining access to the real scientists and researchers and being able to ask them the hard questions and translating that into information that can transform the life of the woman who, like me in the beginning, was silently afraid that her health was out of control and might be passing a collection of harmful habits onto her children; the woman who might not have insurance but needs help; the woman who might not have more than $50 for her groceries that week; the woman who has a long way to go but would gladly walk that path on her own if she could just get a map.
Ten years, ten years. I can’t believe we made it, y’all, but we’re here. Thank you for sticking it out with me this far. Thank you to my muse, my inspiration, and my support for changing my life. Thank you to my loved ones—some here, some gone now—for cheering me on. Thank you to my mom, my biggest cheerleader, for sending me DVDs she somehow mysteriously and magically burns after every TV appearance. Thank you to every editor I’ve ever had and every journalist who has interviewed me for being a polite reminder that I have things to say worth hearing. Thank you to Ed, my forever family, for holding me down. Thank you to my daughter, for being my inspiration; and my son, for being my boot camp instructor with him “Mommy we should go to the gym” head ass. And, most of all, thank you, for holding on with me throughout this bumpy and complicated ride.
I promise: it only gets better from here.