Straight Talk About Feminine Aesthetics: Dress Size ≠ Curves; Fat Rolls ≠ Curves

*Audience Warning* If you can’t handle candid talk about obesity, please avert your eyes and stop reading HERE.

If you want to talk about (mostly White women’s) eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, that are few and far between among African-American women, please stop reading HERE.

If you want to pretend that talking about obesity among African-American women somehow equals encouraging Black women to adopt eating disorders, please stop reading HERE.

If you want to tell outright lies and claim the posts in this series have not been talking about obesity-related ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes, please stop reading HERE.

In terms of aesthetics, if you want to play dumb and pretend you can’t tell the difference between curves and fat rolls, please stop reading HERE.

Have all the dishonest trolls and hysterical, bad-faith dissenters gone away? Good, now the rest of us can get back to business.

This post is a follow-up to Part 1 and Part 2 of the Killing Ourselves Softly series of posts.

CURRENT DOGMA—REFUSAL TO CHEERLEAD OBESITY = BEING AN EXCLUSIONARY OPPRESSOR

The current dogma among large numbers of African-American women is what has been called “fat acceptance,” and the cheerleading of obesity. It’s taboo among African-American women to: (1) refuse to cheerlead obesity, and (2) openly speak of the very real negative consequences of obesity. God help any African-American woman (of any weight range) who openly warns against obesity and urges overweight African-American women to lose weight.

REALITY—AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN ARE DYING LEFT AND RIGHT DUE TO OBESITY-RELATED AILMENTS

While I was at work recently, I came to a shocking realization. It turns out that for at least the past 5 years, every time that an ambulance has been called to my work building to assist an employee, the stricken employee has been an African-American woman. Every . . . single . . . time. The ambulance has been called for four Black women. Some of them have had the ambulance called more than once. None of them are elderly. All of them are suffering from various chronic ailments such as high blood pressure, and so on. All of them are overweight or obese. I don’t think this is a coincidence.

DISSENTERS SEEM CURIOUSLY FIXATED ON DRESS SIZES

I’ve been talking about health and various health-related consequences of obesity from the very beginning. But I notice that the dissenters (of all types) seem strangely fixated on dress sizes. Here are a couple of examples. The first one is an exchange I had with a good-faith dissenter. During an earlier conversation, a good-faith dissenter asked,

Khadija, I’m reflecting on your ideas about Gabby and Semenya and the thought that the attention cast on them negatively impacts black women and undermines our beauty/femininity rep in mainstream culture. There are many black women who are LGBT identified, and many whose weight ranges from more than the size 2-6 beauty ideal, all the way to fat, as with white women in both cases. Is there a space for these black women in the Sojourner’s movement Khadija?

With the weight issue, I’ve heard variations on this question before at the previous blog. During that particular conversation, I replied as follows,

Whoever said that there wasn’t space for “these women in the Sojourners movement”? Where is that thought coming from? Where have I—or anybody else—said that there wasn’t space for these women? I’m also wondering where you got those dress size ranges from. I know that I have never spoken in terms of specific dress sizes. Where’s that coming from?

Which leads me to my next question—What does “support” look like, as you see it?

Does “support” mean ratifying everything and anything about what people are doing?

Does “support” mean remaining silent about aspects of certain situations that are problematic?

I’m curious: What would you have me say or do (that I’m not already doing) to demonstrate “support” for GLBT women and/or women who, as YOU described them, “whose weight ranges from more than the size 2-6 beauty ideal”?

If you read the post from the previous blog [that I had linked to in an earlier comment] (and some other posts from there), you’ll see that I’ve spoken out against bigotry against GLBT people. What else would you have me say to demonstrate my “support” (as you define “support”)?

I eagerly look forward to your reply.

. . . I’m happy I asked for some clarification; I think I now have a better understanding of your questions. Here’s my response:

I don’t have a separate policy position regarding overweight AA women. I also don’t have a separate policy position regarding AA lesbians.

I want the same thing (abundant life) for all AA women and girls.

The idea of separating AA lesbians or overweight AA women out of my work never occurred to me. When I’m talking to or about AA women and girls, I’m referring to ALL of us.

Being overweight or morbidly obese like Ms. Sidibe is not healthy for any AA woman or girl. There are real life, real world negative consequences attached to overweight/obesity. I firmly believe that AA women need to stop tripping about this. I would suggest that folks who haven’t already done so, take the time to read Tracy’s excellent guest post over at Christelyn’s house. Here’s part of it:

“Since last Friday, three women that I know have passed on. No, I’m not use the nice words for this – three women – two good friends of my mother’s and one brilliant caring friend of mine – ARE DEAD. Way before their time. My friend – a nurse, a mother, and a comedian that could make a statue laugh – had a heart attack sitting in her car. She was on her way home from work. They found her the next morning. DEAD.

She was a big woman: she would always tell me that one day she was going to join me on my walks. Like me, she had diabetes and high blood pressure. Like me, she ignored the signs of trouble – failing eyesight, tiredness, aching limbs, headaches – put her cares in the “hands of Jesus”, and kept right on eating. Eating. She would get upset when you got on her about her food choices. Or about how her weight fluctuations were affecting her hormones – she was getting the rash on her neck and damn near growing a beard.. “Ain’t nobody’s business but mine”….. She was 43. She had two kids. She had a husband. Now her business is their business – they have to bury her, and go on without her.”

So, I doubt that I’ll ever give a “hip, hip, hooray” in support of anybody being morbidly obese. I have changed my views about several key things; and I expect to continue to have evolving views as long as I’m alive. However, I just don’t see my views about AA women and obesity changing. Certainly not in order to accommodate the current fat acceptance dogma.

The bad-faith dissenters are also fixated on dress sizes. As I recently told one such bad-faith dissenter,

Please point out where I ever said “there are *no* WOC that deal with anorexia or bulimia issues.”

Respectfully, you’re reading things into my statement(s) that aren’t there. Let me repeat what I did say:

“The AA women who are dishonestly pretending that BW’s context is the same as WW’s context of dying from anorexia, bulimia, etc. already know better than that. They are LYING”

How many AA women do we see around us who are in the hospital due to anorexia and bulimia? How many AA Karen Carpenters are there? Can anybody name a . . . single . . . one?

As opposed to the legions of AA women we see around us who in are the hospital or dead due to doing nothing—absolutely nothing—about their obesity? If AA women were dropping dead in comparable numbers due to anorexia and bulimia, then I could take that sort of argument seriously. I believe that AA women use those arguments as PRETEXT to silence any honest conversation about obesity.

To my way of thinking, one has to examine what seems to be the driving motive behind the statement. What I’m looking for in guessing at the motives of any particular statement is overall intellectual honesty. I give folks’ statements less deference when I see that people are engaging in things like:

(1) Revisionist history (“AA women have always been ‘thick’”). No, if we examine the photos of random AA women from previous decades, most of them were slender.

(2) Inappropriately basing their arguments on other people’s circumstances:

(a) “There’s crime everywhere, so there’s no point in AAs leaving deadly Black neighborhoods.” Yes there’s some level of crime everywhere in the US, but NOT like the level of violence that routinely happens everyday in Black residential areas

(b)”What about anorexia and bulimia?” I say, “what about it?” I say that those women who suffer from that should seek treatment. But let’s not use WW’s context of having huge numbers of WF anorexics—including numbers of WW who have actually died from complications of anorexia—as a way of deflecting any and all discussion about the fact that most AA women are in denial about overweight and obesity. Large numbers of AA women are dying from the complications of doing NOTHING about overweight and obesity. We’re generally not falling out and dropping dead from anorexia like WW.

I will also note that I’ve been pushing the idea of seeking professional therapy all along. This never seems to register with the dissenters. I haven’t been saying “either/or.” I’ve been saying “both/and” all along. But women are so enraged at hearing their fat acceptance dogma/novocaine being challenged that they can’t hear the other things I’ve been saying all along.

You said, “(And before anyone asks, I’m a size 6 and former dancer. I think it’s somewhat telling of the conversation’s tenor that I’d feel compelled to include that, in light of concern that if I were any larger any objections to the principal message might well be dismissed without consideration.)”

NO, that feeling you have is NOT telling of the tenor of the conversation. With all due respect, that feeling is on YOU and YOU ALONE. Please point out where anybody has asked anybody else about their dress size. I don’t recall seeing anything like that here. I find it interesting that you’ve glossed over all the women who have described themselves as either currently overweight or overweight in the past who are in agreement with “the tenor of the conversation” here.

Another pattern I notice is that for the most part, it’s the dissenters who keep interjecting dress size into these obesity conversations. I NEVER speak (or think) in terms of dress size. Because there’s such a thing as being underweight and still overly fat (in other words, there are skinny people who have unfavorable body mass indexes).

The dope fiends and alcoholics I’ve observed have all sorts of objections and concerns regarding any and all rehabs they are referred to. Some of their objections and concerns are valid. But it’s always obvious that this is not what’s driving their quibbles about various rehab programs. What’s driving their quibbling is that they don’t want to change what they’re doing. Some of them are also fundamentally opposed to admitting that they have a problem. These SAME addict dynamics play out in many AA women’s discussions about obesity.

You said, “It’s clear there is a substantial portion of BW in denial about weight issues — I have several in my own family. But here and in other BWE blogs, there appears to be an equal amount of denial that that’s the *only* weight-related issue that might *ever* need addressing — especially since I know WW and AW who acquired their “smaller-spectrum” EDs pursuing what they thought “men might want”. And it really reads like that message is being headed that way on some of these blogs, particularly given the discussions’ emphasis and focus on marrying well.”

What other topics would you require me to discuss before I’m entitled to discuss this overall denial? Please give a list of prerequisite topics that you feel I should have discussed before discussing the denial. I’ll look over the list, and if I feel I have anything useful to say about any of those prerequisite topics, I’ll do posts on them. I’m totally serious.

In terms of the focus on marrying well, AA women can either get in better alignment with reality. Or they can continue to suffer the life-crippling consequences of trying to live on Fantasy Island. One such reality being that we live on a patriarchal planet; and that a woman’s fate and her children’s fate is largely determined by the type of man she has as her spouse, if any. The primary reason why so many AA women and their children are suffering is because they don’t have any effective male protectors and providers. The human norm is that these providers come in the form of legally wedded husbands. Baby daddies and shacked-up males have not proven to be effective protectors and providers. The proof is in the horrible and ever-worsening conditions in Black residential areas.

Peace.

. . . Oh, let’s take it from the top. {chuckling}

You said, “I also don’t believe, nor did I say, that it was a matter of prerequisites.”

I said prerequisites because that was a reasonable inference from your comment. You know, the same way you made what you felt were reasonable inferences from my statements. And I’m happy that you mentioned the idea of drawing reasonable inferences; this means you can’t play like you don’t know what that means when I draw the reasonable inferences from your statements. As you know, that reasonable inference thing works both ways.

Basically, you’re objecting to/quibbling about (however you want to characterize it) the discussion of Topic X (denial) in what you feel is the absence of discussion of Topic Y (eating disorders). I don’t share that quibble. Because from what I see, the prevalence of ED among AA women is very, very small relative to the prevalence of death-inducing denial. So, I put priority on dismantling the denial. Since the denial is the proximate cause of the vast majority of the obesity-related ailments that large numbers of AA women are suffering from.

You said, “To restate what I did say, I believe there’s a subset of BW that apparently don’t seem to merit a mention at all in the discussion as it seems to be framed on BWE blogs, let alone being mentioned in any particular order (i.e., before something else can be discussed).”

To my way of thinking, it’s not a matter of any particular subset of BW “meriting a mention,” it’s more a matter of setting priorities. I do get to set my own discussion priorities. I tend to prioritize and repeat the topics that have the highest impact in either direction (good or bad). On the bad side, I tend to linger on the things that are literally killing AA women (such as this obesity denial thing). On the good side, I tend to linger on topics that can have a huge positive impact on AA women’s life circumstances (such as the creation of additional income streams).

You said, “And, again, the reason I think it’s relevant is that the overarching discussion appears to be about mate selection, and body weight’s (and the appearance of health, not necessarily health itself, though that’s a different discussion for another day) relevance thereto.”

[Bad-faith Dissenter], much of what you’re saying has the lingering odor of bad faith arguments (which I’ll get to later). But here you’ve crossed the line into outright dishonesty. I’ve been talking about health all along—don’t tell that greasy lie and say that I haven’t, or that I’ve only been talking about the appearance of health. I’ve also been talking about the impact of overweight and obesity on women’s options in terms of acquiring a quality husband.

You said, “And I see the similarity of the discussion’s tenor to the “Be small or men won’t want you” tenet that’s been part of the WW/AW/JW communities for a long time, and how that’s led to what I call “small-side” EDs on those communities based on womens’ fears that “fat” is now something around size 8. And I see BW being encouraged, in BWE discussions, to adapt large parts of those other women’s mate selection processes.

And I will repeat – again – that I don’t see anything wrong with that generally.
(After all, it’s kind of the point.)”

It’s time for another round of “Let’s Draw The Reasonable Inference.” You’re trying to link eating disorders with the “sin” of engaging in an honest conversation about AA women and overweight/obesity. You tossing the statement that you “don’t see anything wrong with that generally” at the end of that section of your comment doesn’t disguise the thrust of what you apparently want to accomplish with your comment:

(1) Muddy the waters by interjecting WW’s and Asian women’s eating disorders (which is something that relatively few AA women are engaged in—relative to the numbers of AA women who are in total denial) into a discussion of AA women’s denial.

(2) Try to establish some sort of requirement that Topic X (denial) can’t reasonably be discussed unless Topic Y (eating disorders—specifically eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia that has thus far NOT manifested in great numbers among AA women) is also discussed.

(3) Trying to draw an equivalence between any honest discussion of AA women’s denial with encouraging the rise of (WW’s and AW’s anorexia & bulimia style of) eating disorders among AA women.

All of this is bad-faith. Bad-faith statements and deliberate mischaracterizations of what has been said. With the purpose of shutting down (or at minimum deflecting) any honest discussion of AA women, overweight, obesity, and their denial.

You referred to “(frequently with the middle class values that are also touted as part of the BWE discussion)…”

I hope you don’t think there’s something wrong with “middle class values.” Too many AAs have all sorts of twisted and hateration-based ideas about middle-class anything.

You said, “(However, I also don’t generally believe it’s helpful to get into a peripheral discussion pattern of people challenging one another to point out whether something was or wasn’t explicitly stated, as in: “I didn’t say X. Please point out where I said X”, so I’ll only say all that this once.”

[Bad-faith Dissenter], I don’t care if you think it’s not helpful for me to challenge you to point out what you FALSELY claim are my statements. Game-players usually don’t like it when their game is interrupted. Let me emphasize something that I’ve said a couple of times before in a few other conversations: I’m not a cheek-turning Christian. I respond to y’all with the SAME vibe—whatever it is—you use with me. I think that some of y’all are accustomed to using other people’s sense of manners and decorum as a way of turning them into whipping girls/boys. I’m not the one. Outright garbage and more subtle types of bad faith statements will be challenged here.

So, [Bad-faith Dissenter,] back to you—when you start engaging in bad-faith arguments, I start responding to you in ways that challenge your bad-faith arguments. When I see somebody playing a bad-faith game, I start shutting down that game.

Let me summarize what you’ve been doing. And since you understand the concept of drawing reasonable inferences, you’re sophisticated enough to understand when I describe some of the interlocking bad-faith rhetorical techniques you’ve been engaged in with your comments:

(1) You’ve been (deliberately, I believe) mischaracterizing what I’ve been saying. That lie about the posts and/or conversations being about “the appearance of health, not necessarily health itself.” The crack about a particular subset of BW not “meriting a mention.”

(2) In connection with the above, you’ve been making loaded statements that “assume facts not in evidence”:

(a) Assuming that “honest discussion about obesity” EQUALS “encouraging AA women to adopt eating disorders that are mostly seen among WW.”

(b) Assuming that there are comparable numbers of AA women engaging in the same eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) that WW and AW are engaged in.

(3) Interjecting material that’s totally non-responsive to the conversation at hand. Such as your little semi-veiled dig about “middle class values.”

(4) Trying to create new rules for the conversation. The implied argument that I shouldn’t talk about Topic X (AA women, obesity, and denial) without also talking about Topic Y (the anorexia and bulimia that have not manifested in huge numbers among AA women).

I’m never pleased when discussion participants waste other participants’ time (including my time) with bad-faith statements. Which is what you’ve been doing thus far during this conversation. So, I can’t thank you for your response because it was some bad-faith mess.

Peace.

HONEST TALK ABOUT AESTHETICS AND THE FEMININE HOURGLASS SHAPE

Dress Size ≠ Curves. There are several reasons I don’t think or speak in terms of dress sizes. First, there’s such a thing as a person being underweight and still overly fat (having an unfavorable body mass index). Second, even in terms of aesthetics, a dress size alone does not give much meaningful information about a woman’s overall “look.” That’s more a matter of proportions. Two women could wear the same dress size and have very different looks. One Size Whatever woman could be shaped like a pencil, with no real curves. Another Size Whatever woman could have the generally-preferred hourglass shape.

THE HOURGLASS SHAPE IS ACHIEVED WITH A SET OF RATIOS BASED ON A WOMAN’S HEIGHT—NOT BY ANY PARTICULAR WEIGHT OR DRESS SIZE

How closely any particular woman approximates the hourglass shape is not determined by dress size or weight. It’s determined by a set of specific ratios based on her height:

  • Height to Waist Ratio
  • Waist to Hip Ratio
  • Waist to Shoulder Ratio

As you can see, dress size and weight measured in pounds don’t speak to these body proportions. If we’re going to talk about actual curves and having a particular type of curvy shape (hourglass), then we need to talk about these ratios. The designers of the Venus Index exercise program talk about this in great detail in their program. [Incidentally, for gentleman readers, they’re also the creators of the men’s Adonis Index program.] The basic idea is that there are certain proportions (sometimes called the golden ratio) that are pleasing to the human eye.

MICHELIN MAN-TYPE FAT ROLLS ARE NOT THE SAME AS HOURGLASS CURVES

Fat Rolls ≠ Curves. Some concrete examples are appropriate. Please look at the following photos of the plus-size models in the Brazilian ad discussed in this blog post. The (straight) men and the one lesbian I polled found the first model—let’s call her Rose Petal Woman—the most attractive out of the three models. I can see why: she’s the one who’s closest to having hourglass proportions. The other two models have a shape closer to Michelin Man inner tubes. Rose Petal Woman has some curves, not just some fat rolls. Again, hourglass curves are based on each woman’s individual proportions.

ROSE PETAL WOMAN’S SHAPE IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE TYPICAL OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE WOMAN’S SHAPE

Let’s be real. Most of the overweight and obese women running around chanting “I love my curves” don’t have curves. Not like Rose Petal Woman. What they actually have are fat rolls.

And let’s be real about Rose Petal Woman. We can see her shape because she’s essentially nude. If Rose Petal Woman wears clothes that aren’t carefully fitted to highlight her proportions, then she will appear to have the silhouette of the Michelin Man’s inner tubes (while fully clothed).

Furthermore, Rose Petal Woman is still overweight. The excess weight isn’t as damaging to her looks as it could be. This is because her proportions approximate an hourglass shape. People generally don’t perceive Michelin Man shapes as attractive for women. Several of the people I polled complimented Rose Petal Woman. None of the (admittedly small sample of) people polled had anything complimentary to say about the other two models.

OKAY, I GET IT—WHAT CAN I DO WHILE I WORK TO LOSE THE EXCESS WEIGHT?

One of the White women at work has a Rose Petal Woman sort of thing going on. She’s an attractive woman. I’d guess that she’s around 30 pounds overweight. Of course, I have no idea if the approximately hourglass shape she appears to have while clothed is her actual shape while undressed. But I have noticed that she’s careful to choose clothes that help give her that hourglass appearance. I would also guess she probably wears a girdle. There are always helpful things a person can do even while they’re in the process of getting themselves together. The point is to do what you can . . . with what you have . . . where you are.

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86 Responses to “Straight Talk About Feminine Aesthetics: Dress Size ≠ Curves; Fat Rolls ≠ Curves”

  1. Nicole says:

    Great again Khadija.

    I want to share an experience I just had regarding obesity and NOT cheerleading it. A college friend happened to dig up my parents phone number and to call their home over the Thanksgiving holidays. I happened to be there, we talked, and agreed to meet. She warned me that she was fat. (We’d last spoken 16 years ago and at that time me she’d birthed one of the two children that she’d go on to have by two different men. There was no proposal or marriage to either.)

    I met not a fat but a morbidly obese young woman. Whew did it pain and even scare me! When we hugged my abdomen was met with a low abdominal hardness, like a broad fanny-pack or something on her. And her breasts hang low and large in that exaggerated Madea/Tyler Perry way. Because she was wearing loose clothing and a huge coat I didn’t get the full effect but I could see an apple shape. This woman once had a lovely slim hour-glass figure and was a trained dancer. We had a quick reunion during which time she brought up the weight once, kinda jokingly but I could see the sadness behind it. But still it seemed that the obesity was normal and ok to her.

    Well she days later by email asked, “Do you think I’m still pretty even though I’m fat?” I took full advantage of that golden opportunity to share my thoughts. (Nutrition is my life and business.) I’m sure I didn’t say anything that she’d not heard or read before, the advance degreed woman that she is (and I know that has nothing to do with it in reality), but I am curious to see the choice that she makes. I really feel that she thinks the fat is normal because so many other black women are fat/obese and that it’s just the way things are, especially knowing that she lived years in mostly ghetto and impoverished areas her whole life.

  2. Neecy says:

    I think a perfect example is Anna Nicole Smith when she first came out had a CURVY not fat shape although she was not considered small. She was also tall but was fleshy with a flat stomach and was very porportioned. She could have easily been labled Plus Size model and I think her shape was attractive.

    But then she did get to a point where she got really big and had rolls.
    She like so many women built like that (myself) are what I always called 1 – 2 chicken dinners away from being fat if we don’t watch it. And its true. i have always had a beautiful shape, but my kind of shape can be borderline fat if one lets themselves go.

  3. Nicole,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    I must admit that I’m flabbergasted at the level of confusion and outright self-deception that so many AA women have about these issues. Confusion and self-deception about the health consequences of excess weight. Confusion and self-deception about the aesthetic consequences of excess weight. I’m appalled at the MANY layers of dogma surrounding issues that seem perfectly self-evident to me.

    I never said that getting into better shape was easy or necessarily pleasant. Anybody who wants to see some sho-nuff whining about all of that should read my Wildest Dreams Check-In posts from the previous blog. I also never said that getting oneself together was a quick-fix, instant makeover sort of thing. For most people, it’s an ongoing project with highs and lows.

    The point is to keep moving—however gradually—in a direction that reflects self-care, self-love, and packaging one’s current self in the most flattering (and advantageous) manner possible. But you can’t do this when you’re telling lies to yourself. You can’t do this when you’re pretending that Madea-type fat rolls are curves. I admire the way the WW from work is “working it” with what she currently has. Watching her has inspired me to tighten up my act some more in terms of how I’m packaging myself.

    I’ll say a prayer for your college friend. Where she’s at is not a happy place to be. {sigh}
    _______________________________________________

    Neecy,

    Yeah, past a certain size range, whatever curves become fat rolls. One mostly-unnoticed thing that has an impact on creating an hourglass shape is a woman’s shoulder width. As the Venus Index trainers have noted, overly narrow shoulders help create a “pear shape” look. Women tend to focus on cardio, which the trainers say will often only result in a smaller woman with the same pear shape. Or in a pencil shape.

    Their position is that there are specific exercises every woman can do—no matter what her current silhouette is—that would change some of HER current ratios and get her closer to the hourglass shape. Such as specific upper body exercises that subtly change her shoulder width.

    Expect Success!

  4. joyousnerd says:

    Khadija, you are telling the truth once again! I really appreciate your commitment to addressing these issues that are holding so many BW back. I know it’s painful to face the fact that you’ve gained weight. I know it first hand! It is a hard and painful road to lose weight and get in shape. The results are worth it, though. Even just the increased energy and mobility of daily life makes it worth it… without even considering the eventuality of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems that WILL come if the weight stays on.

    It’s a sad state of affairs to be sure that so many BW are living with obesity. It’s yet another example of giving up. I’ve seen many BW lately walking around like they just can’t force themselves to care anymore. They put on whichever garment is nearby and fairly clean, and just go from there. No makeup, hair not styled or even combed sometimes, and a heartbroken expression on their faces: the walking dead.

    As I mentioned in the prior posts, I’ve lost a lot of weight. I still am not where I want to be, though. My muscles are so much stronger than they were before, which makes me really proud… however I still have very chubby- no, I have very FAT arms (let’s be real) and I’d love to hear more about those exercises to address shoulder width.

    Being very large-chested with a naturally curvy shape, I feel like I look really heavy unless I wear very form fitting clothes, but that comes with its own challenges.

    I wore a pinstriped corset over a white top and black pencil skirt to the grocery the other day as part of my waist training. I had 3 WM nearly crash their carts eyeballing me, and one literally almost dropped his stuff and had to scramble for it. I got the most hateful side-eye from a WW who was wearing raggedy men’s clothes. When you are obese you don’t have to deal with any of the jealousy or the sexual interest of random men. It can be hard to give up that payoff.

    Recording video tutorials this week I’ve been sad to see how fat I look on film :( God only knows how gargantuan I would have looked at my heaviest.

    • Waist training sounds very interesting-I’m going to have to look into that. I’m medium sized, but a smaller waist could give me more of a “WOW” factor. I know how favorably men respond to hourglass shapes.

      Do you recommend any specific website pertaining to waist training?

      • joyousnerd says:

        Sorry, I can’t think of any great websites about waist training. When I got into it I just googled and read as much as I could. I can give you a summary, though.

        1. To start out get a “waspie” or waist cincher style. It’s underbust and easy to adapt to.

        2. Buy one in a size 4″ smaller than your current waist size.

        3. If you are serious about getting a smaller waist, wear your corset at least 16 hours per day. Sleep in it, but don’t work out in it.

        4. Never buy those cheap dressup playtime corsets. They are a waste of money and time. Nothing with elastic! Look for spiral steel boning and steel busk components. Waist tape is great but not a dealbreaker.

        5. Corsets can be VERY expensive. There is a great seller on ebay who makes corsets of high quality for cheap. A BW tightlacer (waist trainer) put me up on him. I’ve bought 2 from him and plan to buy more in the future. His ebay seller name is europastyle.net. (Khadija, feel free to delete his name if you see fit.) Excellent service, high quality, low price.

        I hope this helps.

  5. RColeman says:

    How timely-

    I just read this last night;

    Aretha Franklin stricken with cancer

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_localdtw/20101208/ts_yblog_localdtw/aretha-franklin-stricken-with-cancer

    Now I looked on the American Cancer Society website and this is what they say;

    http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/PancreaticCancer/OverviewGuide/pancreatic-cancer-overview-diagnosed

    Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer

    If one or more of the signs and symptoms described here is present, certain exams and tests may be done to find out whether they are caused by pancreatic cancer or by something else.

    Jaundice: A yellow color of the eyes and skin is called jaundice. It is caused by a build-up of a substance (bilirubin) that is made in the liver. At least half of all people with pancreatic cancer (and all people with ampullary cancer) have jaundice. While jaundice can be a sign of cancer, more often it is caused by something else.

    Pain: Pain in the belly area (abdomen) or in the middle of the back is a very common sign of advanced pancreatic cancer. Again, such pain is often caused by something else.

    Weight loss: Losing weight (without trying) over a number of months is very common in patients with this cancer. They may also feel very tired and not feel like eating.

    Digestive problems: If the cancer blocks the release of the pancreatic juice into the intestine, a person may not be able to digest fatty foods. Stools might be pale, bulky, greasy, and float in the toilet. Other problems may include nausea, vomiting, and pain that gets worse after eating.

    Swollen gallbladder: The doctor may find that the gallbladder is enlarged. The doctor can sometimes feel this and see it on imaging studies.

    Blood clots and fatty tissue changes: Sometimes blood clots form in the veins of the legs, leading to swelling. These clots can sometimes travel to the lungs and cause breathing problems. But having a blood clot does not usually mean that you have cancer. Most blood clots are caused by other things.

    Another clue that there may be pancreatic cancer is an uneven texture of the fatty tissue under the skin. This is caused by the release of the pancreatic enzymes that digest fat.

    Diabetes: This cancer can cause problems with blood sugar. Sometimes (but not often) it can cause diabetes.

    There was a recent picture of her next the article…she is huge. The diagnosis she has would been caught much earlier or prevented had she was not been carrying the excess weight. Unfortunately the prognosis for long term survival is in the single digits.

    In fact the ACS site says this..Obesity and lack of exercise: Very overweight people are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, as are those who don’t get much exercise. Diabetes: Pancreatic cancer is more common in people with this disease. Most of the risk is found in people with type 2 diabetes. The reason for this is not known. In some patients, the cancer seems to have caused the diabetes (not the other way around). Race: African Americans are more likely to have this cancer than are whites. Age: The risk of this cancer goes up with age. Almost 90% of patients are older than 55. The average age at the time the cancer is found is 72.

    • joyousnerd says:

      My goodness… how sad for Aretha Franklin. She’s so talented but it seems she never could conquer the weight. Reading the symptoms of pancreatic cancer was quite eye-opening.

      I had many of those symptoms myself when I was heavier. Now that I’m at a normal weight, I don’t have most of those symptoms anymore. I will never forget looking in the mirror at myself and seeing the pebbly texture of fat underneath my skin all over my thighs. When I moved even slightly, the fat would move in a shivering motion. I was so horrified. It made it hard to exercise because I was so disgusted by the sight of my own body jiggling! So you know I had to put on a super loose billowy skirt while I worked out.

      I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about that. Ok, I choose to laugh about it because NOW my thighs are taut and toned. I have a bit of loose skin, but I could probably kick down a fire door if I needed to, my legs are that strong. They are strong and shapely TODAY. :)

      You know, I was thinking about the shaming that goes on for BW who are slender. I am thinking of a comedy show on a black TV channel (I don’t want to name it b/c I know Khadija’s policy about publicity for media that harms BW/BGs). During the opening sequence of this show, the camera would show a series of beautiful BW, all of whom were slender but very curvy and beautiful. These women would sit on the stage behind the performers on a dias during the performances.

      At one point, a decision was made that half of the slender and beautiful BW on the stage during the show would be ordered to stand up and walk down to the audience, and their places of honor would be taken by obese BW instead. The announcer would bark at these slender BW and chase them off like they’d stolen something. Then he’d praise the obese BW as they came to the dias. Do any of you know which show I’m talking about here?

      I stopped watching the show years ago because I kept seeing other awful things being discussed as though they were normal. The shaming of the normal-weight women in favor of the obese ones was just one of a billion aberrant things on the show.
      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      [Khadija speaking: I was very, very sad to read about Aretha Franklin last night. Even worse is that I was not surprised. Once she got past overweight and into morbidly obese, I knew it was just a matter of time until some ailment attacked her body before her time. I've been told that pancreatic cancer is one of the most virulent types of cancers. From what I've seen with acquaintances in real life, once you get pancreatic cancer, the final clock is ticking down fairly quickly compared to the survival rates for other types of cancer . . . {sigh}

      About that dreadful TV show: My goodness . . . I'm so happy I never saw that mess.]

      • joyousnerd says:

        Once you get to a certain size, every ailment in town makes a stop at your door. I used to catch every cold the kids got, and I’d get it twice! Now, the last 3-4 times the kids have gotten sick, I haven’t gotten the bug at all or I’ve had a very mild and brief illness with quick recovery. It’s a huge difference.

        Regarding that show, you would never see some foolishness like that (shaming the healthy sized beautiful women and praising the obese ones) on media designed for pretty much any other culture. It’s yet another example of how modern AA cultural norms are totally out of step with the rest of the planet.
        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        [Khadija speaking: You said, "It's yet another example of how modern AA cultural norms are totally out of step with the rest of the planet."

        Indeed.]

  6. GoddessM says:

    Khadija,

    I owe you a debt of gratitude that I’m sure I can’t fully repay in this life. I now have Die Fat or Get Tough on my Kindle and it has yanked open my eyes like nothing has ever before. I was always a heavy kid (my heaviest being 255 in my junior yr of high school) but by the time I hit college I dropped some lbs and started floating around 195 to 215 and back and forth. Now, I’m 5’10 so I’ve heard all the mess about carrying weight well blah blah blah so I got comfortable. Your posts sent off an alarm and the book put me into full on kick-ass mode. With one year left in this country before I go for my MBA at Temple Uni. in Tokyo, I knew I had to stop being complacent and make a move to the body I deserve. I am proud to say I’m no longer in the obese range of the BMI and can now start training to be a runner! That and I’m back into belly dancing, a passion I had lost during my comfort stage.

    Siebold was right, my whole life is coming up sunshine now that I’m working to better health. I just hope other women get on the path too. We would better our lives 10 fold.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: GoddessM, thank you so much for your kind words; I truly appreciate it! I'm always delighted to hear that a reader found something of benefit in the work here. What you can consider doing is "pay it forward" by donating a copy of my book to a public library branch in an AA neighborhood.]

  7. Ali says:

    I used to be read BWE blogs a lot, but I’ve been busy with crazy work hours and planning a wedding and I have to go back and catch on your other discussions about this topic. That being said–

    I want to address this issue from a side that I have not seen mentioned in weight discussions. This IS NOT a flattering thing to admit, and very few will cop to this but here it goes. For some – some – bw who have always dated IR, the ‘competition’ is pretty clear – you are dealing with other slim/fit/inshape woman of other races – white, asian, and latina. Since body size is so important in non-black cultures all over the world (See recent article about women and dieting in Japan in Washington Post: ‘Big in Japan? Fat chance for nation’s young women, obsessed with being skinny ‘ By Blaine Harden). If you are pretty and in shape, most white guys don’t care if you’re green with purple spots, they are checking for you. Note I said MOST – obviously there are racists out there.

    Some BW know this and – more importantly – know that many of their peers DON’T know this.

    They know that a lot of BW are wasting a lot of time worrying about skin shade (white guys not only don’t care, MOST DON’T EVEN NOTICE – Thandie Newton or Alek Wek, it’s all ‘black’ to them) and long hair (white guys don’t care, in fact weaves/wigs have become a blinking sign that says ‘ghetto’ and ‘reserved for black men only’ in many upper class eyes) and racism (hunting and pecking for racism in everything a WM says, believing he will just use her for sex, refusing to date him unless he’s ‘dated a bw before’ etc.)

    My point is all these BW are wasting time worrying about things that DON’T matter, in so far as attracting most healthy non-black men, and ignoring the biggest problem – the ones that matters the most – visual presentation and feminine, non mule-ish behavior.

    This gives the fit bw who know the score a big leg up. Just walking around, I can see that about 80% of BW are NO competition for me. Yes, I know that sounds mean, but it’s true. Just by me speaking in a low, modulated voice (not screaming or using slang in public places), being unapologetically sweet and feminine (light flirting, laughing, being easy breezy and laid back – I call it ‘sparkling’ – I pretend I’m a 1920’s flapper girl from those old movies), and keeping my body ON POINT – healthy food and running – I stand out.

    If more black women start getting this, I would maybe stand out less – does that make sense? I’m not saying I feel this way about it, but I have heard from other BW – many of whom are quite small – say stuff like ‘love your curves’ and egging larger black women by encouraging ‘fat pride’. I may look like they’re being nice on the outside, but many of these women WOULD NEVER let themselves get big. But for other BW, it’s okay – you see what I mean? I don’t believe these women are trying to hold others back, I believe that it is completely subconscious behavior – they don’t mean to do it, but they’re knocking out the competition never the less.

    Just so you know it’s not about race, WW do the same thing with other WW – it’s the ‘fat best friend’ syndrome. They will say : “You’re my best friend, you look beautiful, don’t change, ignore the evil media, who cares about men, feminism forever! “ etc. Meanwhile they are hitting the gym everyday, Pilates, eating healthy etc. When they go out to the bars with their fat friend later that evening, they’re getting all the attention – the ‘fat friend’ is there to make them look good. Meanwhile she is clueless.
    I don’t think MOST women think or behave this way. But SOME do, and it’s something to put out there

    Keep up the great work.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. During a recent conversation, another reader named ForeverLoyal brought up the same point that you're raising. She said,

    Well, I'm reminded of "Sometimes when people hate you, they join you.", and offer another possible motivation.

    If [Bad-Faith Dissenter] is in fact a small size dancer, then she is an exception among American women generally and black American women especially.

    Some women are perfectly indifferent to another woman not reaching her full potential in any aspect, as long as they are close to theirs. Some other women will actively try to prevent another woman from achieving the same thing she has.

    Sometimes through misinformation and outright sabotage, and sometimes through coddling and enabling behaviors such as assuring the person that they are doing “just fine”, that they are normal. If, significant numbers of bw get their minds right, drop the weight and, as Oshun/Aprodite said, “get their Pam Grier on”, she’s not going to be quite as special.

    A subset of us pride themselves on being recognized as rare unicorns for that which is fairly normal among other folks.

    That’s the sinister version, just another possible explanation.

    In reply to ForeverLoyal, I said,

    You’re right—this is definitely a possible motive behind some of these women’s reactions. I believe that this is what’s motivating a lot of the “Black Marie Antoinettes” I saw at another blog who were complaining that various topics at some BWE blogs were getting them down.

    And as some supportive BWE blog readers pointed out—if these women feel this way, then why do they persist in reading BWE blogs? Possible Motive: Because the Black Marie Antoinettes who have already reached their personal promised lands want to keep an eye on the potential competition—other BW who haven’t gotten there yet.

    ForeverLoyal, as you’ve pointed out, there’s a certain type of SICK Black person who delights in being “The Only (Black) One.”

    Such creatures delight in being “the only one” on their job. The only one in their neighborhood. The only one they know of who has _______. And some of these critters will do anything to make sure they REMAIN the only one/the only unicorn in their area. Up to and including, sabotaging other BW to make sure these other BW stay down and out.

    This is the Black Marie Antoinette (“let them eat cake”) version of this sabotage. The sabotage also comes from the (seemingly) opposite type of BW: the ultra-Black community activist type whose activism depends on there being an endless supply of broken and wounded BW. For example, the DV/rape victim advocate who wants BW to keep living in Black residential areas—which is where these women are being brutalized. This type of BW activist is the same as the “poverty pimp” AA politician. Their whole project depends on always having an eternally captive constituency.

    The Poverty Pimp AA Politician and the We Be Struggling/Fighting The Power BW Activist NEVER invite Black people into abundant life. Their entire agenda revolves around having a constituency that is constantly experiencing strife, struggle, and hardship. If AAs in general, and AA women in particular, transition into abundance, then these 2 types of people have nothing left to talk about and they become obsolete.

    Ali, what you and ForeverLoyal pointed out is the reason why more BW must learn to constantly ask themselves the question: “Qui bono?” ["Who benefits?"]:

    Who benefits from the suggestion that Person X is giving me? Now, it is possible to have win-win situations where Person X benefits along with Person Y they’re giving advice to. But most AA women are NOT presented with win-win sort of advice. Usually it’s I Win, You (BW) Lose advice. Most AA women are surrounded by people who are operating a zero-sum game—they win when that BW loses.

    So, we need to learn to ask, “Qui bono?”

    Who benefits from things (including my actions) remaining the same?

    Who benefits from me making a change of some sort?

    “Qui bono?” is a question we need to constantly ask ourselves.]

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      Thank you Ali and Khadija, for pointing this out again. Sometimes stuff like this slips my mind. I have to remind myself sometimes when people hate you – they join you. I keep think misguided or something deeper. I guess I give too much of the benefit of the doubt.

      “This gives the fit bw who know the score a big leg up. Just walking around, I can see that about 80% of BW are NO competition for me. Yes, I know that sounds mean, but it’s true. ….If more black women start getting this, I would maybe stand out less – does that make sense? ”

      I ma hoping that this would make us some of the most undeniably desirable women in the world. All other groups of women have some kind of positive stereotype attached to them that gives them some kind of relational leverage/power. Despite instances to the contrary. We need that! This can be a part of our new brand. We used to have that, but it died. It can be resurrected.

      • Ali says:

        Oshun –

        I ma hoping that this would make us some of the most undeniably desirable women in the world. All other groups of women have some kind of positive stereotype attached to them that gives them some kind of relational leverage/power. Despite instances to the contrary. We need that! This can be a part of our new brand. We used to have that, but it died. It can be resurrected.

        Response to Oshun –

        -That is the logical, sensible, smart thing. In a ‘black sisterhood’ type group meeting, these women would prob. agree with you, and mean it too. But in a ‘real world’ type situation, you want to be the baddest chick in the room – period. In a room full of ‘save me’ fantasias and ‘fat pride’ preciouses – a melanie hobeson or a yaya decosta is a rare gem, practically a goddess. There are plenty of wm who prefer exotic beauty, all other things being equal. BW make a mistake when they obsess over ww or blondness – they think ww have it so easy. But the fact is, the only people obsessing over blondes is black men. Blonde was twenty years ago. Nowadays exotic beauty is IN. But an average looking ww is like nothing – she’s not rare, she doesn’t stand out so much. And a pretty ww? Forget it – she has to compete w/ beautiful women of other races, PLUS all those amazing images in the media and on the cover of magazines every month. That is why the average WW self-esteem is so low.

        But the ‘on point’ BW has it pretty sweet right now. Let me be clear – I’m not saying attractive bw are rarer than attractive ww – in fact I think there are more of us – God gave us stuff for free other women have to pay to get. But take out the bw who are ‘black men only’, Then take out the bw who DON’T KNOW they’re pretty – many slender dark chocolate west African type bw who can’t get a look from black men just don’t know what they’ve got! What they’ve got naturally is very valuable in ‘other’ markets. Then take out the BW with no game or who feel awkward or insecure around non-bm. After all, there’s no point in being ‘hot’ if you don’t know that you are, or if you can’t quietly work it to your advantage in the right situation. So the pool is pretty small. Then the images in the media – even though it’s terrible for bw as a WHOLE, on an individual level, in a world where queen latifah and precious are movie stars, there’s a lot less to live up to.

        It never seems to occur to bw that the super successful guy with a lot to choose from is just bored. The typical blondes are old news, Asian girls have become a bit cliché – maybe he wants ‘something new’ or to stand out from his friends. When he’s shows up at the company Christmas party with a knock out Jamacian beauty, the other guys are like ‘WOW – dude how’d you pull that?’ He’s a cool guy. He’s the next deniro or sean penn. He stands out, he’s got admiration from his peers. Yes, there’s an element of ‘exotic attraction’ and
        One-man-up-man-ship (I think that’s the term) in regards to his dummy friends but so what? Esp. if they have genuine feelings of love for each other and end up a married couple in the end . . . . . there is still an expectation of marriage in other, healthy cultures. If you get him a the right time, when he’s ready to settle down, you have as much a chance of being ‘that chick’ as anyone.

        Whew, sorry – went off topic – but feel free to erase what doesn’t fit the topic Khadija, and thanks again for this website.

        I AM going to purchase several copies of your book and donate them to libraries, just so you know.
        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        [Khadija speaking: Ali, THANK YOU in advance for the library donations! {happy dance at the thought}

        And also thank you for highlighting a very important point: NOW is the time for those very few AA women who have their heads on straight and their self-presentation on point! Even more so for the young AA women in their 20s. I look at:

        (1) the location-idependent self-employment possibilities created by the internet,

        (2) American WM's increased openness to IR dating and marriage with AA women (which is a HUGE change from just 20-25 years ago---WM looked, smiled, and admired our beauty but rarely had the nerve to ask AA women out on dates---for the most part, the overall US social environment just was not conducive to that during the 80s),

        (3) the increased, including international, possibilities opened up by online dating sites,

        and I wish things had been like this when I was in college and in my 20s! To me, this feels much like the pattern with the university and law school I went to---these institutions remodeled, upgraded and modernized their dorms, classrooms and libraries only AFTER I graduated! LOL! Of course, I happily use the updated library facilities as an alumni. However, as an alumni, I'm not at the target age or stage of life to get the maximum possible use out of those new and improved university libraries.

        Ali, it's similar with what you're describing of the current dating and marriage market opportunities. I don't understand the AA women who are wasting their prime years of youth waiting for Negro males who hate them when the modern world can be their oyster.]

        • Hodan says:

          amazing and useful advice from both Ali and Khadija. I agree, white men could care less about how dark you are or about your kinky hair. Just check most of European men ranging from Professors to rich eristo who are either dating or marrying black women from Africa. In fact, many of these sisters would be called ugly in our toxic and internalized racist black communities. I remember seeing Alek Wek for the 1st time on the cover of Elle few yrs back and how some of my black friends were shocked such a dark person would be on the cover while we were in the bookstore. So silly and tragic because right in front of us 2 white men were looking @ it and another was buying a copy. At the time I was @ uni and did not notice the irony, but I still remember it.

    • LaJane Galt says:

      THIS RIGHT HERE

    • joyousnerd says:

      Ali is 100% correct with this! BW who are slim, classy and open to WM are thin on the ground. WM know this, and the Kerri Washington type is a PRIZE for them to show off, not only for her inherent beauty but also because she is a unicorn.

      High demand + low supply= high value for BW Unicorns

      So yes, BW who are slim, toned, with good self-presentation and a desire to marry out BENEFIT from other BW remaining obese and otherwise unsuitable! Just like women of other groups, some BW will choose to seize that advantage for themselves and use it to compete for the best mate. That’s the way of the world. (I guess it is a mirror image of how Good Black Men benefit from Pookie and Ray-Ray being so DBR.)

      I’m not the finest thing walking by any means, and I’m married with THREE kids. Yet I have WM captivated on a regular basis because they can see (by my kids) that I’m open to IRR, and also because I’m similar to them culturally. I have had WM in my town try to “poach” me from my husband! (Of course I would never entertain such immoral advances.) It is the dearth of BW Unicorns that creates this phenomenon.

      I sincerely believe that at least some of the “let’s make more programs” foolishness and BM protectionism from WW is motivated to keep BW tied to DBRBM instead of making the commonsense decision to marry Alpha men. Every BW who stays with a DBRBM is one less woman competing for the cream of the crop, just like every obese BW is one less competitor for those same quality men.

      I can’t even really be too mad at the women who do the obesity cheerleading in order to keep the competition down. After all, if the obese woman wanted to lose weight, she could do so. And if you tell an obese woman that she’s obese and lowering her market value, she will shred you to ribbons. So, really, WHY would a woman bend over backwards to encourage a competitor to tighten up her game?

  8. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    Khadija you are so wise! I am so glad you mentioned this:

    “There are several reasons I don’t think or speak in terms of dress sizes. First, there’s such a thing as a person being underweight and still overly fat (having an unfavorable body mass index). Second, even in terms of aesthetics, a dress size alone does not give much meaningful information about a woman’s overall “look.” That’s more a matter of proportions. Two women could wear the same dress size and have very different looks.”

    I agree with you and that is how I’ve been getting in touch with what is normal. Like you said a bunch of women could wear the same size and come across as either pencil thin, hourglass, or even “michellin man”- in the same size!

    I went through this time (and I still do) where I would go to weight loss boards and I was amazed when the women would state their weights, measurements, and dress sizes. Usually someone wanted a baseline and so they would start a thread by saying, I am 5’7″ or whatever and then talk about their weight, measurements, and size and all these women would pour in who were also 5’7″ and state theirs and so forth and so on. I would look at their avatars/pics and it just blew my mind at how different everyone was.

    There were some women (same height) who weighed more than I did and looked smaller (maybe they had more muscle). There were some women who had my present measurements, weight, and height and actually wore single digit sizes. Then there were some women who were also the same height as me, but had smaller hips and a lower waist to hip ratio (I hope I am getting that right e.g. their waist may be 29″ and the hips were 34″) which was a different look – it tended to make them look more slender/pencil type.

    For me the hourglass is my ideal, but in looking at different women from the boards I think a version of the pencil, or even V shape could work for a woman too. The pencil shape reminds me of more of a model-esque type if she is well toned. And the V shape reminds me of the fitness models/very athletic women if she is toned. These types I noticed tend to gain weight in the mid section and back mostly if they are overweight.

    The only things that I find unappealing are the “michellins” as you said whether thin or overweight. I have seen maybe one or two thin michellins in real life. They were small in clothing yet very pudgy/squishy.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Oshun/Aphrodite, thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. I don't feel particularly "wise." {chuckling} It's more a matter of not looking at weight/fitness issues through the distorting lens of any particular ideology. Similar to how food is not political for me. Similar to how hair is NOT political for me. I'm focused on practical matters with all of these issues.]

  9. Nicole says:

    On Aretha Franklin, R Coleman, sad and I thought the same thing last night when I read of her cancer. I immediately looked up pancreatic cancer to see what the risk factors were. She seemed to have almost all of them. The most obvious one that she didn’t have was being a man, as this cancer far more strikes men than women. And I too Khadija said that sooner or later something was gonna cripple and kill her because of the morbid obesity that she’d carried around and become known for, for perhaps decades. A wake-up call to obese BW perhaps? I’ll hope but I won’t hold my breath.

    On shaming of skinny BW joyousnerd. I have ALWAYS been a skinny BW. I was “daddy longlegs”, “beanpole”, “stick”, “Olive Oyl”, take your pick of skinny names I was one. All through school. I overhead a conversation in 7th or 8th grade. Four of my male classmates were discussing the bodies of the girls in class. When my name came up the consensus was that I was too skinny. One said “but she is pretty, and look at her mother…she’ll be like her one day”. I always remember feeling validated by that one boy. But the whole shaming of skinny/thin from black people “You need to eat/need a sandwich” was very damaging to my self-esteem.

    I rarely if ever watch black-made/targeted media but I know the long-time shaming of skinny, or shall I say fit or formerly known as normal-sized BW that goes on. That climate, particularly set by BM, long ago pushed me out of black scenes and into white and international scenes where skinny and fit were desired and appreciated. Many times people cannot even grasp that we BW are American if we show up skinny and fit. Fat has become synonymous with American BW and it is sadly accepted and normalized.

    What I also notice in some fat BW is an attempt to over-feminize. She will wear extra hair/weave, longer brighter nails, bolder brighter prints, higher shinier heels, 5 golden rings on each finger…all in an attempt to cover/validate the fat self with super feminine garb, as if to shout “Ain’t I A Woman”. Instead of dealing with the fat, one-step (literally), one day at a time. This proves to me that they are not really happy with it. The pain is still visible and so is the fat. They need to focus on making themselves more feminine by loving and caring for their bodies with better nutrition and fitness, not by adding all sorts of bells and whistles and baubles on top.

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      “Many times people cannot even grasp that we BW are American if we show up skinny and fit. Fat has become synonymous with American BW and it is sadly accepted and normalized.”

      Don’t tell me this…

    • mobile68 says:

      Nicole I fully understand about what you’re saying about the skinny-shaming of AA women.

      I went through the same thing all in grammar, high school, & w/ black folk on the job. I was told that I have beautiful thick long hair but no meat to go w/ it. Doesn’t help in the self-esteem dept. especialy when you have parents that co-signed with that madness.

      Anyhoo, I was trying to do everything in my power to gain weight so I could be “accepted”. When I look back in hindsight (I’m still in the stages of being de-programmed from the bc mindset) when I started working & coming into contact w/ white folk & others they (particularly the wm) loved my rail-thin frame. And this was 25 years ago! If I knew then what I knew now.

      Now after 2 kids I’m trying like heck to lose the weight. LOL.

      The thing w/ me now is I finally got the hips I want but all my weight gain is in my mid section & I can’t get rid of it to save my life. Seriously. When I was pregnant I had gestantional diabetes & I had to give myself insulin shots. I was able to do it then because I was pregant but I don’t know if I could do it now if I had to, not that I’m looking forward to doing again ever. Plus I found out that diabetes run in my family quite tough.

      I was really active before I got pregnant & I know how to eat right but I got a stubborn mid-section. People see me in my 5’6″ frame & can’t believe that I weigh a 190 lbs. That’s because I wear tops that hide the gut.

      Im thinking about changing doctors so I can get to the root of this problem (once again I got to go out of my community for some real service). Meanwhile if anybody know of a website that focus strictly on losing weight in the mid-section of your body that I can use to take to the doc w/ me (’cause I got other medical issues going on) could you please post it as a public service anoucement (LOL). Thank you in advance.

      I hope that other bw women realize that bm & ww want to keep us fat for a reason. And it is not to our benefit. Because if we BW keep focusing on only BM to date & marry we are cosigning to live a life of perpetual struggle.

      It’s almost 2011 & why are black folk still struggling?

      • tertiaryanna says:

        Meanwhile if anybody know of a website that focus strictly on losing weight in the mid-section of your body that I can use to take to the doc w/ me (’cause I got other medical issues going on)

        IIRC, you can tone the muscles in a particular area, but you won’t lose fat in just one place. As your muscle mass increases, they need more calories to sustain themselves, and so your metabolism rises.

        IMO, I like the Lance Armstrong Livestrong site. There are calculators and fitness plans, and the website is user friendly.

        Just get started now. You’ll automatically fine tune your game as you learn more. Don’t wait for the perfect, just start. That can be as little as a walk around the block, some leg lifts and wall exerises before bed and switching from 2% to skim. You’ll build as you go. :)

  10. Truth P. says:

    My thoughts are alot of women may defitnetly have to get themselves to a psychiatrist ASAP if they really want to lose the weight.I have read so much recently on Aretha’s life and if it is all true the lady has been through some tuff stuff.I could see her using food to medicate from pain as some drug users use drugs to numb themselves.
    I think it all starts in the mind with the thinking.Getting counseling may be a first step for many women.

  11. Libertarian89 says:

    As a Libertarian, the only thing I am sure of that everyone will experience is DEATH.

    If obese people want to eat themselves into an early grave so be it. You can preach until the cows come home; it is their lives.

    Dr. Oz, the picture of health had precancerous cells in his colon.

    Death is the only thing guaranteed.

    I think it is less about caring about Black women and obesity but needing to put on a “dog and pony show” for people outside of the Black race.

    They don’t care.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: (???) What a peculiar comment . . . okay, whatever . . . {moving right along}]

  12. Muse says:

    My heart was breaking when I heard about Aretha’s diagnosis. She is likely to die because pancreatic cancer is no joke and tends to be very aggressive. Sadly I was not surprised about her diagnosis. Aretha was morbidly obese and lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. She also had toxic individuals taking advantage of her. Her massive weight was a physical manifestation of the trauma she endured through out her life. There are rumors that her child was the result of her father raping her. There is nothing more degenerate than having a child from your own father. Most overweight or obese people will not lose any weight until they acknowledge the core root of their problems. If you suffered from abuse or any other type of trauma in your life then that needs to be addressed immediately and aggressively. Screw what detractors are saying, you must go find a good mental healthcare professional. You are not fine as you are if you are out of breath by just walking one block or your excessive weight puts you at risk for numerous diseases.

    In fact anyone who has ever been abused needs to see a professional. You likely have issues that will negatively impact certain areas of your life whether it’s weight or relationships. I’m a Christian and I don’t even think church should replace therapy. Many Negros want to give fake praises to the Lord in their cesspool churches but not apply any scripture to their real life when it comes to healthy relationships and eating. God created therapist as a resource like any other occupation. In fact stay away from most churches; they are often the source of toxic behavior and environments. Oh yeah I went there.

    Severe trauma requires extreme measures if you want to be a functional human being with healthy habits and an abundant life. All this passivity about address one’s dysfunctional behavior is getting on my last nerve. Heck I’ll put myself out there. I went to a therapist through out different transitional periods of my life from when my parents got a divorce to when I started college and was trying to figure out what my life plan was. I might go revisit my therapists because I’m about to make a new transition in my career and I’m 28yrs old thinking about what the next decade of my life. I thought it was helpful to speak to an objective individual and a professional about the thoughts and emotions going through my head during these transitional periods. I don’t come from a background of abuse or neglect but I still find therapist and counselors very useful. For the life of me, I don’t understand why mental healthcare is so taboo in the Black community. Your mind needs just as much care as your body and soul. We don’t stick our nose in the air at women who sees the OBGYN on a yearly basis so why do we treat mental healthcare professionals with so much distain? But I digress. I can safely say most morbidly obese people are stuffing their feelings from past traumas and disappointments with food. It’s the slow death that no one wants to honest address.

    I have a good friend who went from 200+ lbs to a slim and sexy 140! I’m so proud of this young woman because she decided to stop having a pity party and live an abundant life. I saw her work hard for 2 years to drop the weight and get her mind right. She went from being a lazy coach potato who allowed pookies to use her as a semen dumpster to participating in marathons and triathlons and dating quality men she met at these events. Shoot I want to build up the stamina to do a triathlon…There are some FINE and very established men who participate in those events. The cute eye candy isn’t the only motivation though. It would be awesome to finish a triathlon. That would mean that I reached my goal of being at peak human condition. She’s actually my work out buddy because I want to take my fitness to the next level.

    I won’t even give a fat man the time of day. In my eyes a fat man is undisciplined and has some underline emotional issues. I can imagine how certain men feel about their physical preferences. If you are a marriage minded female, it is in your best interest to get in shape so you can be competitive in the market. Yep dating is a market and if your resume/presentation is off you will not get an interview. In the Western world obesity is not sexy. You live in the western world so act like it. I laugh hysterically when Negro idiots mention how a fat person in certain parts of Africa is considered wealthy and desirable. *UM DUMMY THESE PEOPLE ENDURE FAMINES WHICH HAS SHAPED THEIR MENTALITY ABOUT FOOD and WEIGHT. Someone who isn’t skin and bones was probably eating which means they had some wealth to survive the famine. I swear the DNA code for common sense is missing in some people.

    Although I’ve never had a real weight issue, when I noticed that I was starting to pack on some pounds, I jumped on it. I mentioned in previous post that those 10lbs or 20lbs can easily turn into 40lbs or 50lbs if one is not careful. I actually set a goal to get down to 20% body fat. I’m healthy and at a good weight but I want that sick body that turns heads. You know the Pilar Sanders look. Google. This woman has had three kids and looks better than most teenagers. There is no reason to waste this 5’9 frame LOL. I want my turn to be the super hot chick, not the “cute” or “smart” one. I encourage everyone to honestly assess where they are at and go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s impossible. Detractors have an invested interest in seeing you suffer. It’s easy to talk a good game online and fantasize about your ideal life but it takes hard work and discipline to actually implement those changes. I truly pray that all the lurkers and participants are taking action in their real lives to make positive changes.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: You said, "If you are a marriage minded female, it is in your best interest to get in shape so you can be competitive in the market. Yep dating is a market and if your resume/presentation is off you will not get an interview. In the Western world obesity is not sexy. You live in the western world so act like it."

    Indeed!]

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      “I won’t even give a fat man the time of day. In my eyes a fat man is undisciplined and has some underline emotional issues.”

      Why am I on the floor? I have done this and I am saying no more on so many levels. And unfortunately I think you may be right. The ones that I was with who were obese were so hard on women (in general) and they tended to be abusers.

    • Evelyn says:

      Muse said:

      In fact anyone who has ever been abused needs to see a professional. You likely have issues that will negatively impact certain areas of your life whether it’s weight or relationships. I’m a Christian and I don’t even think church should replace therapy. Many Negros want to give fake praises to the Lord in their cesspool churches but not apply any scripture to their real life when it comes to healthy relationships and eating. God created therapist as a resource like any other occupation. In fact stay away from most churches; they are often the source of toxic behavior and environments. Oh yeah I went there.

      And I wanted to say, thank you for doing it. I was raped by someone I thought was going to marry me from my church about 4 months ago and though most of the depression and anger has lifted, I’ve come to realize that what you said about most (black) churches is true – they’re largely a breeding ground for degenerative behavior that goes unchecked in the name of Jesus. I was seeing a therapist for about a month and stopped, wanting to believe that prayer and reading the Bible would heal my wounds. But I’ve never looked at it from the angle that God allows therapy to exist as a support and not a detractor from what He’s offering, so I think I should get back on that treatment just in case.

      Not sure what it was about this post that got me to reveal all that story :s. Sorry for the over-share.

      • Evelyn,

        Words can’t express the outrage I feel at the great evil that was committed against you.

        You said, “I was seeing a therapist for about a month and stopped, wanting to believe that prayer and reading the Bible would heal my wounds. But I’ve never looked at it from the angle that God allows therapy to exist as a support and not a detractor from what He’s offering, so I think I should get back on that treatment just in case.”

        I’m relieved to hear that you’ve come to this understanding. I hope you’ll go back to seeing the therapist.

        Peace and Blessings.

      • Muse says:

        Evelyn,

        :::HUGS::: I’m so sorry that happened to you. May that animal who violated you burn in hell. But in the meantime, please go back and get some help. That demon wins if you allow the wounds he inflicted on you to get infected. You can overcome what happened to you and get healing. Do everything you can to take care of yourself. Go back to the mental health care professional. You can take back what this individual stole from you by getting help. The best revenge is living an abundant life full of promise and success. I hate rapist so much, I think they should all be thrown down a bottomless pit. (sorry Khadia these stories make me so angry sometimes)

      • NijaG says:

        Evelyn,

        I’m sorry that happened to you, especially by someone you trusted. Continuing with therapy is a very good idea. I know it was helpful for me when I was going through a particularly rough period in my life.

      • Karen R. says:

        Psychology is the healing of the soul. The church has allowed therapy to be looked at as some kind of “other.” It is not! Henry Cloud and John Townsend are huge champions of the fact that God offers healing through prayer, scripture, community and therapy. Just like reading Scripture is not less than prayer, therapy is not less than anything else.

        I am so sorry that this happened to you at all but it is made even worse given that the rapist was someone you loved and who pledged to love you.

        Please, please, please get back into the therapeutic relationship with your counselor and equally as important is that you get a community of safe people who can walk with you through this trauma. Don’t minimize the trauma nor try to walk it alone.
        I will pray for your healing. Most sincerely.

      • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

        I am so sorry Evelyn,

        I am sending you lots of hugs dear.

        You deserve all the support and gentleness in the world right now. Don’t do this alone.

        I think maybe in addition to seeing a T going to a group for rape survivors would be very helpful. You would be with other women with whom you can create a really safe space.

      • Hodan says:

        I’m so sorry to hear this Evelyn, I won’t go into details but I truly feel your pain and wish you the best in everything you seek from now on. Please stick to your therapy, specially non-black ones who has a lot of professional experience. Therapy is a beautiful thing that can help us in various ways.

        I hope the bastard is prosecuted to the highest level and your Church isn’t condoning this criminal and sick men among them.

      • Clarice says:

        Evelyn,

        I am a frequent reader but tend not to chime in but I saw your comment and I just had to respond. I am sorry to hear what happened to you – may that evil, betrayer of trust reap 10 fold the hurt he has caused. It was not an over share it was a sign that you are healing – because you were able to reach out to the women here and trust that because you are a vital, worthwhile individual who was grievously harmed you would be accepted, appreciated and acknowledge as valuable. He harmed you – but you are not damaged goods – you did not deserve that and it was not your fault – but your spirit knows that because it is still able to connect to healthy human beings like the women here. That to me speaks of a gentle spirit and there is nothing more powerful than a gentle spirit.“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength”. St. Francis de Sales. That gentleness is your femininity re-asserting itself after the trauma; lots of times women who have been raped feel like they are damaged goods or that they have lost their femininity that part of themselves that loves and deserves love and respect and gentleness – nurture that and please continue that healing process – my prayers are with you.

        Be Gentle with yourself – you are worth it and may you be surrounded by Peace and Blessings

        Clarice

      • tertiaryanna says:

        I am sorry this happened to you, and will pray for your healing and recovery.

    • ink says:

      Wow, wasn’t Aretha’s father a preacher?

  13. SeriousSally says:

    You know, I really don’t know *when* this change happened. When I was growing up (I’m basically Gen Y, grew up on the west coast) a “thick” black woman would have been Beyonce or Nicki Minaj type, a Chrisette Michelle may have been plump, but beyond that fat was what it was. I have never understood this whole idea of calling rolls of fat, curves. There is a world of difference. This is coming from a sister who is now firmly over the line between thick and fat. I have a figure like Neecy, a gorgeous hourglass, but inclined toward fat. I’m working on it!

    I did find that after I put on the weight I really gave up on how I presented myself. I wear hijab, and it was entirely too easy throw on a scarf and all consuming abaya and pretend like everything was okay. My abaya now lives on my closet floor. And I’ve found that dressing well and paying careful attention to my presentation is an important component of overall efforts to regain and maintain my spiritual, physical, and psychological well being.

    BTW for my hijabi sisters, I’ve found these sites to be helpful:
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: SeriousSally, I don't know if there was a computer glitch while you were posting your comment, but your comment ended abruptly after the word "helpful:". I didn't delete anything from your comment.

    In terms of what you mentioned earlier about the change (calling fat rolls "curves"), I also don't know when this happened.]

    • Hodan says:

      SeriousSally, great to hear you are back to your work out and styling that hijab. Wearing hijab or dressing modestly does not mean giving up on your God giving femininity and aesthetic. In fact, as one of the narrated hadeeth states: Allah loves beauty, so be beautiful…in other words taking care of yourself inside and out. One of my favorite blogs is Hijab Style, it might be useful to you:

      http://www.hijabstyle.co.uk/

      and another hijab blog run by Asian Muslim ladies with wicked fashion sense. I love Asian fashion sense, whether they are Muslim or not.

  14. I must have felt your vibes on this subject, because I wrote something on this (although a bit tongue-in-cheek) today. I think one thing to note is that rolls in the abdomen (aka apple shape) makes it just about impossible to say you’re curvy. If I let myself go, I think my body would resemble Red Delicious, or perhaps Granny Smith. So…I work HARD to keep that tummy fat in check. My mother, on the other hand, who can’t do one complete jumping jack, has diabetes (you know, “a little sugar”). Then she has the nerve to try and make me feel sorry for her. Sorry, Mama.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Similar to what another reader said, I don't know when this trend of BW redefining rolls of fat as "curves" took root. {shaking my head} All I know is that it does not serve AA women's interests.]

  15. Pamela says:

    I have completely given up on talking to obese bw about their weight. I have been either rebuked or heard a whole lot of excuses that I have heard for decades.

    One of my friends has had polyps several times, then huge hemorrhoids. When I told her that soul food was bad you would have thought I cursed her out or something. When she went to the doctor after one exam found the polyps he told her to eat more fiber. She opted for fiber pills instead because she did not want to change her eating. It was years later when the hemorrhoids appeared. She was hurting so bad that her husband took her to ER. That could have been avoided with a diet change.

    Another friend of mine for almost 30 years had almost doubled in size from when we first met. The excuse is that I am maintaining. This one is a mule also.

    Most of my black female friends from college have gained an amazing amount of weight since we graduated. We had a reunion of a choir that we all sang with. I met a gal in February 2009. She was a bit large but not ridiculous. Within a year she had gained so much weight I almost did not recognize her. I have said nothing to her about it at this point. She has a lot of goals in life. She is making her own revenue streams. BUT I wonder what possible health complications will take place.

    I hate to say this but I fear for their lives. I am speaking as a gal that lost 1/3 of her former self after beginning to see scary symptoms. Half the weight gained happened in a year. A YEAR. Took two years to lose it all. I knew it would not be long before I ended up like my late Dad (high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure all the little cousins that pop up as a result). I have been able to keep it off for eighteen months by eating healthy, not fad or starvation diets. I know that eating right cannot prevent all sickness but the vast majority of the ones that black women are dealing with can be prevented by lifestyle changes.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Pamela, I hear you. As far as I'm concerned, the hardheaded BW who have fully committed themselves to complacency, defeat and a slow suicide are welcome to follow through on that.

    My concern is for the other BW who say/believe some of this "fat acceptance" nonsense in relative innocence. This fat acceptance thing is just one of many toxic, deadly indoctrinating messages that AA women are literally surrounded by, and inundated with. This fat acceptance stuff is a major part of the "You Must/Should Settle For Less In Life" program that's been heaped upon AA women.

    This "You Must/Should Settle For Less In Life" program mostly goes unquestioned and unchallenged among AA women. I'm saying these things for those BW who have ears to hear, and are open to reconsidering some things that they never thought to question before.]

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      Hello Pamela,

      My mom is frustrating me with the same thing. I was able to get her to a certain point (with health changes) and now she doesn’t want to go further. Which makes me mad.

      I wanted her med free. She is diabetic, hypertensive, congestive heart failure and now all the other ailments are coming like her friends. Within the past 2 months she started having problems with her leg mobility.

      I keep telling her to exercise so I bought her supplements, resistance bands, workout DVDs. She will do something a few days, say she feels better and then stops. Like I said when she does it she can move fine.

      But even if a couple of days passed by she gets stiff, tired and can’t move. She is the embodiment of not moving it and losing it. The thing that gets me fighting mad is that she is getting to the point where exercise is not optional. She has hit the hormone wall and I can tell she is losing muscle mass (and probably bone) very quickly.

      Then there is the heart thing. She has congestive heart failure and leg issues and they are connected. Her heart needs all the strengthening it can get.

      She loves carbs. I try to encourage her to give up the processed foods and meats and she acts so clueless and asks what am I going to eat? I try to tell her to make a breakfast instead of reaching for a box. I tell her no hot dogs, sausages, luncheon meats, canned goods – loves the salt and nitrates.

      I just get so enraged bc its like she is begging for a massive heart attack – as if the small mini one wasn’t enough. I keep telling her that she can’t fit a hoverround or a wheelchair in her house. Obviously this is not a good enough hint – that I don’t want an unnecessary burden.

  16. 2 cents says:

    Here are two links that apply to your topic:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4953-barbieshaped-women-more-fertile.html
    This shows that women of normal weight (not overweight or underweight) with a low waist to hip ratio are more fertile than less feminine shapes.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/polycystic-ovary-syndrome/DS00423

    Women with PCOS often have a terrible time losing weight. I dieted and exercised rigorously for two years with no change in my shape. After diagnosis and treatment I ate more, exercised less and the weight fell off.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Hmmm, those are some interesting articles. Thanks for sharing!]

    • PCOS and insulin resistance are probably the same disease, or at least kissing cousins, so to speak. There’s a school of thought that the ovarian cysts that give PCOS its name are caused by insulin resistance. Many women have it and don’t know it. I see women every day with acanthosis nigricans (darkening on the back of the neck or underarms) who don’t know that this is a major symptom of insulin resistance. As is facial hair. I never had the first, but had the second in abundance. Many women are also placed on birth control pills as a palliative for all the various PCOS symptoms. To my mind there are only two ways to control this disorder: Eliminate carbs (including many “good carbs” like brown rice), and lift weight. And when I say lift weight I’m not talking about five pound dumbbells. Other than moderate walking I do very little cardio, but I lift weight like crazy. Weight training helps your body process insulin appropriately, thereby keeping it from being stored as fat. From the weight distribution of many black women I see, apples, with weight in the belly and waist, as opposed to pears with weight in the hips and thighs, I suspect that many are unknowingly insulin resistant. The only way to tell is with a fasting glucose tolerance test.

      • 2 cents says:

        I’ve since college kept slim by a low carb diet (which my endocrinologist recommended) but before I was diagnosed I had to demand an androgen level test from my ob-gyn. I too combine moderate cardio and weight lifting. I’d recommend that any woman who carries a lot of belly fat she can’t lose, and has facial hair ask for an androgen level test and a fasting glucose tolerance test.

      • ink says:

        Will weight training help eliminate the facial hair?

        • tertiaryanna says:

          I’m in total agreement of the need to lose weight, but on the particulars, there’s often a lot of personal experience which is not the same as a reliable plan.

          IMO, if you have real concerns, use your associates to educate yourself, but professional advice here is also useful. There’s reliable information on the internet that discusses possible methods for nearly everyone.

          If excess weight is causing a hormone imbalance then losing the weight may help that. You might want to contact you doctor, because even if the weight is causing something, you may still need medication to fully treat it.

          Some hormonal imbalances don’t immediately show symptoms. If you really think you might have a problem with your hormones, especially with insulin, please see your doctor and get your blood tested.

          You might be losing weight and still have hormonal problems because of an moderated, but untreated issue. Healthy habits are important, but it’s not the only part of having a healthy body.

          There are health screening fairs that have some of these tests for free if you lack access to health care.

          Weight training is great because it burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time, and because you can rest while you do it. So if you’re starting out, your stamina isn’t as big of a limitation as in plain cardio. It’s also good for your bones. If you’re heavy, it’s easier on your joints than cardio, and that may be (IMO) why it’s stressed so much.

          However, the other issue with BW is cardiovascular illness, and cardio is can help with that, as well as with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has recently recommended increased cardio for their patients.

          RoslynWeight training helps your body process insulin appropriately

          I’d like to clarify this because cardio is important, and that may be the first place that BW start on their health, because it’s less intimidating for a lot of women than the weight training.

          Any exercise allows your muscles to uptake glucose without the insulin. You don’t need to produce as much. It’s like not needing to call the school janitor, because the kids cleaned the tables themselves.

          This doesn’t mean that at the times when your body is using insulin, it’s doing it properly or that your pancreas is working normally. So the janitor might still be loafing, but you only see it when the kids aren’t there to pick up the slack.

          So weight training is good, and cardio is good. Together, they’re unstoppable, but getting your body moving is the key.

        • 2 cents says:

          Weight training toned and firmed me up, but did nothing for my facial hair. The Yazz pill I was prescribed made it grow much more slowly so I don’t have to get waxed as often.

      • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

        Thank you for sharing this. I have some of these issues as well.

        I had decided that I would take up weight training from hearing you and PVW talk about this. I bought one set of 10 pounders and have been going at it for about a month. I think weights for me are easier than the cardio/dance. I’ll be going up to 15 pounds soon.

  17. Anonymiss says:

    Hey Khadija:

    I’ve taken the steps to get my weight in order and I’m very proud of myself.

    I’d gained a lot of weight during the 2 years that I was unemployed and I decided that I was gonna hit the gym and be healthy again.

    Unfortunately I’m hypothyroid and diabetic. The hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease so I don’t feel completely terrible about having it since I didn’t exactly bring on the disease. Now, diabetes — I feel badly about it.

    Although it’s a family trait, I probably could’ve kept the disease at bay if I’d dropped the weight a long time ago. But then again there are so many conflicting reports and studies about the disease being brought upon by excessive weight. Either way, I’ve had the symptoms of diabetes for years (e.g., dry skin, hair breakage, fatigue, excessive urinating, excessive thirst, etc.).

    Rather than settling for self pity, I decided to take action. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I hired a fitness trainer and also sought the help of a wonderful nutritionist. Even though I was only collecting unemployment, I decided to invest in my health. It’s one of the few things I have control over and I’m not gonna go into an early grave because I needed something sugary and unhealthy. And isn’t just amazing how nasty those snack cakes taste when you’ve eaten healthily made baked goods and fresh fruit?

    Anyway, I’ve seen great results. I love the compliments that I’m getting and I love the way I feel. I feel renewed. Working out 5 times a week for an hour to an hour and a half has really done a lot for me.

    I’ll be honest and say that it’s not easy to be healthy 24/7. There are times when I’ve cheated but I quickly compensate with fresh produce and lots of water.

    Fortunately, I never had haters in my circle trying to discourage me from weight loss. I did have one person who was very insecure (mixed Puerto Rican woman) telling me that I’m “fine” the way I am and shouldn’t be “weight-conscious like a White girl”. Such a ghetto idiot. It’s amazing how weight is such a class issue. Up until May of this year, she was morbidly obese (she’s crash dieting with the help of pills and losing the weight rapidly), so I don’t particularly care to hear her tell me that I’m fine just because I wasn’t in the shape she was.

    Plus, the hood is her haven since she’s Puerto Rican and dates Black men. They’ve never made an issue of her weight because she’s not Black. So she never really understood where I was coming from when I said that I hated shopping in the big girl stores and wanted to be healthy since most people in the hood don’t think that way. Most hood women are very unconscious or plain apathetic about the way they treat their bodies because they still manage to get (sexual) male attention and regular sex. “As long as my man like it, it’s all good” is their mantra *SMH*

    That’s another type of person to look out for — the dangerously insecure. She was so insecure about her weight (although she hid it well from many people) that she would always try to convince me that I didn’t have to lose weight.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Khadija speaking: Hey there, Anonymiss!

    {deep martial arts bow in salute of your efforts and progress}

    You said, “Rather than settling for self pity, I decided to take action. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I hired a fitness trainer and also sought the help of a wonderful nutritionist. Even though I was only collecting unemployment, I decided to invest in my health. It’s one of the few things I have control over and I’m not gonna go into an early grave because I needed something sugary and unhealthy.”

    {standing ovation} Investing in your health despite being unemployed was incredibly wise and brave. Most people would use their precarious financial situation as a rationalization for not investing in their health—that’s the easier choice to make in that situation. The problem is that when you don’t have your health, it’s almost impossible to have much of anything else.

    You said, “I’ll be honest and say that it’s not easy to be healthy 24/7. There are times when I’ve cheated but I quickly compensate with fresh produce and lots of water.”

    I’ve never seen or heard anybody with any sense claim that any of this is easy. Right now, I’m getting back onto the Venus Index workout bandwagon after falling off for a couple of weeks. Real life is often filled with “2 steps forward, one step back.” As I see it, the point is to keep moving forward.

    You said, “Fortunately, I never had haters in my circle trying to discourage me from weight loss. I did have one person who was very insecure (mixed Puerto Rican woman) telling me that I’m “fine” the way I am and shouldn’t be “weight-conscious like a White girl”. Such a ghetto idiot. It’s amazing how weight is such a class issue. Up until May of this year, she was morbidly obese (she’s crash dieting with the help of pills and losing the weight rapidly), so I don’t particularly care to hear her tell me that I’m fine just because I wasn’t in the shape she was.

    Plus, the hood is her haven since she’s Puerto Rican and dates Black men. They’ve never made an issue of her weight because she’s not Black. So she never really understood where I was coming from when I said that I hated shopping in the big girl stores and wanted to be healthy since most people in the hood don’t think that way.”

    Yet another example of why more BW need to learn to constantly ask themselves, “Qui bono?” ["Who benefits?"]

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      Congratulations Anonymiss!

    • tertiaryanna says:

      The problem is that when you don’t have your health, it’s almost impossible to have much of anything else.

      It might have even helped with the job search. An acquaintance (WW) was saying that she felt she wasn’t getting callbacks on interviews because of her weight. She knew it was unfair and discriminatory,and that she could never prove it, but that’s what she thought was happening.

      Also, depending on your insurance, you can be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Taking care of weight before the onset of obesity-related health problems can pay off here too.

  18. Anonymiss says:

    I forgot to mention that I’m reading this great book called Intuitive Eating (http://www.intuitiveeating.org/). It goes into great detail about the different kinds of eaters out there, food hatred (many dieters think they have to hate food in order to lose weight), deprivation, and eating disorders.

    Intuitive Eating has taught me so much about my eating habits and how to enjoy food without guilt and to, not diet, but transition into a healthier lifestyle.

    Being fat is a very complicated thing. People are overweight for a myriad of reasons (e.g., depression, trauma, etc.). A therapist could also help with the weight loss too. Many people don’t wanna deal with their problems so they look to sedatives like food and alcohol to ease the pain. Good thing I have a therapist that’s helping me deal with my pain so that I won’t rely on food anymore.

    Another term that should be brought into people’s vocabulary is “eating disorder”. It doesn’t have to be about starving or purging. Overeating is also an eating disorder.

    • LaJane Galt says:

      Another term that should be brought into people’s vocabulary is “eating disorder”. It doesn’t have to be about starving or purging. Overeating is also an eating disorder.

      This bears repeating. As these issues tend to be seen through a prism of WW, how it actually affects black women is overlooked.

  19. Another great post. Lots of us are far too complacent about letting the weight just pile on, and it’s killing us. I’ve been reading these posts, and I’m going to talk to my mother about starting a healthy living regimen. She has gained quite a bit of weight over the years, and I think she would be motivated to lose it if I support her in this journey. She doesn’t eat pork or beef, and love fresh veggies and salads-she just isn’t as active as she could be.

    I’m going to do some research on it right now, so that we can start being our healthiest.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Great!]

  20. hi Khadija and all-

    i love Aretha Franklin and her music. my prayers are with her and her family at this time.

    Khadija, you are much better than me. i find myself just slowly disconnecting from the topic of obesity altogether. it seems as though one would need to be Harriet Tubman, which is just not my style. i am really thankful for women like you. as someone noted, i have one of those figures that i am one meal away from rolls. i have to work diligently and discipline myself. as such, it annoys me to no end to have folks tell me i am “lucky” or that i don’t understand weight concerns.

    i have an acquaintance. i actually met her on a hike. a group of women had starting hiking each week. the girl that organized it, was determined to lose weight. she told the story of her girlfriend (she is lesbian) ridiculing her choice to go back to the buffet for another helping while they were out to eat. though painful to her, and the relationship eventually broke up; the organizer used the experience to motivate her to get focused on her health and appearance. she lost a considerable amount of weight and chronicles it very publicly. it seems that this is the only way folks will readily hear what you have to say about issues of weight. so i am giving up. lol. i will not allow myself to be overweight or obese so i won’t have that level of credibility. shrug. it seems to me that me, my weight, and my attitude are THE ONLY things in this life that i can fully control…

    as quiet as it is kept, if one wants to be in relationship with ANYONE, it is best to bring the A game at all times. this i have learned from my homosexual friends. you will catch the side eye from anyone when your presentation is less than what it could be, not to mention the difference in treatment.

    at any rate, this particular acquaintance, struggled mightily on the hike where i met her. i would go up the trail at my normal pace, double back at normal pace, and cool down a bit by walking her pace. at her pace, i talked to her, i encouraged her and let her know she was doing a great job. we have grown closer over time; since she is a brilliantly intelligent, funny, soft energied person, but there is a big issue that keeps us from becoming what i call friends.

    namely, this woman can only keep our plans to meet when we are to go out to eat. what is THAT about?! i have been toying with the notion of not going out to eat with her anymore. i love rich decadent foods that i don’t cook at home- wouldn’t even know where to begin trying and this is a good thing! when i go out i like to eat these foods. so whoever i am with i will ask to share the dishes with me so i won’t be tempted to revisit the treat the following day in the form of leftovers. lol. this makes me feel bad because when i go work it off, she doesn’t. it feels like i am contributing to her hurting herself.

    this woman has shared with me that she feels “invisible” and is so lonely that it “agonizes” her. when i ask why she thinks this is…she mentions everything but the extra two hundred pounds she is carrying around. really, all i can muster at this point are blinks. i mean i can literally HEAR myself blinking as she talks all the way around the obvious.

    because we have had other convos, where in exasperation she has informed me my views are “wrong”, LOL, i have not bothered to even go there on this topic. she thinks it “wrong” that i don’t give a hill of beans, as a straight bw, about bm dating interracially. the fact that she could not get me as upset about it as she is as a bw lesbian (LOL, um huh?)had her ordering another glass of wine.

    ok, i will interrupt this tangent by saying i don’t see myself going there anymore personally any time soon. one has not been traumatized until they have been ganged up on by a group of big women in denial! and as much as it is not cool to speak ill/nor candidly about big women, smack talking slender women is perfectly acceptable. ask me how i know. IF folks want my opinion, they will need to ask me for it. and before sharing it, they will have to prove to me that they are interested to listen and not fight with me. everything else is too stressful and stress…kills.

    Khadija, i will do my part to support by directing folks to your site. you are bravely saying it all.

    i am cracking up because i have been wrestling with what to do about this situation. my acquaintance and i went to dinner and ate dates wrapped in bacon with walnuts and bleu cheese, grilled spinach with tomatoes and other veggies i would never think to grill along with the spinach, meatballs resting on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes, pinot noir, and chocolate cake that was SO decadent we should have gotten up from the table and gone STRAIGHT to the gym. when it was time to go for our hike the next day,conveniently, folks went mia. not the first time this has happened mind you. your post was right on time as per usual. i feel an email with link coming on…
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Hi Sis!

    Lordy, lordy, lordy . . . Well, from what you've said, this sounds like it might be another "Qui bono?" situation. I don't know . . . {shaking my head}

    In terms of telling acquaintances things, I'll say just enough---ONCE---so my conscience is clear is about the situation. I say just enough so that person won't be able to honestly say that nobody warned/told them. If the person blows off the one bit of warning/advice, then I'm through with the topic unless and until they approach me to talk about it.]

    • Lynn says:

      “…. one has not been traumatized until they have been ganged up on by a group of big women in denial!”

      That is one of the truest statements a commentator has ever made on this blog. Ladies I personally have worked out regularly for the past 20 years. No one can adequately describe all the many benefits I see for it. This post has made me want to ‘tighten my game’ as Kadija puts it so eloquently. For the ladies who are obese, realize it, and are struggling to change, I SALUTE you! It has got to be one of the hardest things to do in life. I honestly don’t know if I could do it myself. So I make sure to consistently work out as a lifestyle choice. I’m 35 and most people think I’m 25. BW are absolutely gorgeous when they bring their A game– for decades. We never get ‘over the hill’ like so many other women do.
      Our youthful appearance, combined with a FIT body, is one of our best cards. I want more BW to use it.

      If you want to feel better, do better!

  21. it occurred to me that the first audience warning might get my email deleted and me read the riot act. so i am going to go back to my first thought. lol.

  22. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    Re: Aretha Franklin

    That is so awful. I had to Google that. I have an uncle who has pancreatic cancer. He was never overweight, but it just came on and I think he is in his 50s 60s. He has had it for a few years. I am not sure if it is in remission, but it has really taken him through some things. There were some times when he was touch and go and he still has times when he gets worse then better.

  23. SeriousSally says:

    Hmmm, I don’t know what happened there. Here are the links
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Again, no links appeared in the comment. I don't know why that is. (???)]

  24. halima says:

    Khadija
    As far as I’m concerned, the hardheaded BW who have fully committed themselves to complacency, defeat and a slow suicide are welcome to follow through on that.

    This fat acceptance thing is just one of many toxic, deadly indoctrinating messages that AA women are literally surrounded by, and inundated with. This fat acceptance stuff is a major part of the “You Must/Should Settle For Less In Life” program that’s been heaped upon AA women.

    Khadija, as you have rightly said this discussion about obesity goes to the root of BWE message in truth, because it is about abundant living. it is about, ‘do you want a wonderful life as opposed to a just existing and making do and holding together life with patches and thread?’

    You can see that many bw have given up on abundant living either because: they have internalised they are not worth it (from all the myriads of black community attacks on their self worth and spirit), the burden carrying lifestyle bw feel they should sign up to has squeezed out room for putting self first and living to max, or they just cant see themselves mustering up the will power and internal work it will take.

    Making excuses is so easy and a comfortable way to live isn’t it, as opposed to the self challenging ‘no excuse’ put in the work attitude, and most black communities in the west have this excuse making down to an art form (endorsed and encouraged of course by our liberal sponsors and protectors of black feelings).

    Given the race load and burden many bw have decided to carry, you can imagine why they have nothing left to give to this needed area but will prefer to just resign themselves and coast along praying for the best.

    Joyousnerd said
    It’s a sad state of affairs to be sure that so many BW are living with obesity. It’s yet another example of giving up. I’ve seen many BW lately walking around like they just can’t force themselves to care anymore. They put on whichever garment is nearby and fairly clean, and just go from there. No makeup, hair not styled or even combed sometimes, and a heartbroken expression on their faces: the walking dead.

    I laughed a little at this one because this used to be me. I was so sold into ‘church’ that I had little room in my thinking for me and my personal presentation, and you know I was made to believe that this was a good thing and my reward for such dedication was just round the corner SMH. I still have a photograph of me going to receive a church award and I was a size 20-22! I think it was a book or something lol! and you know the black church/community sure knows how to use such zeal and dedication from a bw! I know many bw who are still trapped in that lifestyle and the argument and justification for it is just impenetrable!

    and to the point about just slinging on any nearby dress, indeed why would a bw want to make an effort for the life of drudgery that she is convinced is her lot anyway. Its like getting dressed up to the nines, to go to the farm, it doesn’t happen. Many bw do not feel they need to make an effort to live because they are just wheels on the bottom of the race, here to keep race moving.

    Bw are under an onslaught of misinformation/muleing information that you i am suprised we all are not walking corpses! If I didn’t have the commonsense ’reference’ from my immediate family I know today I would still be lost in that mess. This is why family structure is so important and bw must do all they can to build the best nest for themselves before they have children. It is indeed the sane and comonsesne ideas that were passed unto you during youth and thriugh your functioning family structure that sets your compass. Many bw are lost because from youth they were ‘trained’ to go the way of dysfunction, nothing is bedded in them to call them back to self-preservation. very sad!

    • Halima,

      I 100% cosign. I was particularly struck by several specific things you noted, such as:

      “…the burden carrying lifestyle bw feel they should sign up to has squeezed out room for putting self first and living to max…”

      I never thought of it in this precise term, but it IS a “burden-carrying lifestyle” that many BW have adopted.

      You said, “Making excuses is so easy and a comfortable way to live isn’t it, as opposed to the self challenging ‘no excuse’ put in the work attitude, and most black communities in the west have this excuse making down to an art form (endorsed and encouraged of course by our liberal sponsors and protectors of black feelings).”

      Guurl, you ain’t neva lied.

      You said, “and to the point about just slinging on any nearby dress, indeed why would a bw want to make an effort for the life of drudgery that she is convinced is her lot anyway. Its like getting dressed up to the nines, to go to the farm, it doesn’t happen. Many bw do not feel they need to make an effort to live because they are just wheels on the bottom of the race, here to keep race moving.”

      Well, there you have it. Who wears heels to go slop the pigs?

      Expect Success!

  25. I don’t know when obesity became so typical for black women either. When I was a young woman, late seventies to late nineties, most of the black women I knew were brick houses, with small waists and curvy backsides. My sister is 52 years old and literally stops traffic on a regular basis. I was always slim until I developed insulin resistance in my mid-30s, even now at 46 and pregnant I weigh more than I’d like, but I’m by no means obese. I remember being shocked when I started working at Job Corps and saw all the seriously obese girls. I think a lot of factors have contributed to this.

    1. Change in eating habits. Everyone says that soul food is unhealthy, and in many ways it is, but that kind of food wasn’t meant to be eaten every day. In our household we ate meat once a week, most of the time we had beans and cornbread. Fried chicken was an expensive luxury and fast food was crazy expensive. Now, due to the way the government subsidizes unhealthy food it’s far cheaper than healthy nutritious food. I’ve seen for myself how difficult it is to purchase healthy food in poor neighborhoods. I stopped by the grocery store near my job one day to pick up some fruit and was horrified at the selection. All of it was brown, discolored and nearly rotten. And the prices were absurd.

    2. Change in lifestyle. When my mama was a young girl, and even when my sister was young most black women worked blue collar jobs. They were on their feet most of the time doing manual labor of some sort. Even girls were running around on bikes, climbing trees and such. My sister and I walked or biked everywhere we went. She was an athlete playing softball and gymnastics. Unfortunately with school cutbacks those type programs are no longer free in our public schools. It cost nearly $600 per child to play on the high school soccer team (keep in mind this was in Alabama, where the cost of living is typically substantially lower). And that’s not including sneakers and other apparatus.

    3. OOW/Sexual abuse. Many of these women are comforting themselves with food because they have nothing else. Oddly enough, despite their comments about white women having eating disorders, they do too. Binge eating is in fact an eating disorder. When you eat to fill a hole left in your psyche by neglect and maltreatment you need to see a therapist, period. As one of my co-workers used to say, “It’s easier to stuff your face than to face your stuff.” Black women in general have A LOT of stuff to face. I also remember something my mama used to say when I tried to talk to her about the traumas she’d been through in her life. She said, “If I start talking about it, I’m afraid I’ll start screaming and never stop.” I think many black women are dealing with much the same. My mama coped by NOT eating. I used to joke that she was the only 70 year old anorectic I knew.

    Unfortunately, many of the ways that black women cope with trauma and abuse are overlooked. I remember interning at a facility for girls who self-abused (cutting or whatnot). Several therapists said this was not a behavior they saw in black girls, and I never saw one either. But you know what I did see? Young girls burning themselves with curling irons. This is much easier to conceal, after all, who hasn’t “kissed” themselves with a hot iron a time or two? But when you start talking to them, it’s obvious that they’re doing it deliberately and for the same reason white girls do — as a means to cope with overwhelming emotions.

    Black women’s eating disorders are much the same way. Binge eating is much easier to conceal than anorexia/bulimia. Again, who hasn’t overindulged in ice cream or french fries from time to time? And binge eating is typically hidden, so the woman might eat a regular meal in public, while concealing the fact that she went through the drive-thru and consumed an entire dozen donuts in her car on the way home.

    So yes, it’s ironic that black women are so dismissive of the eating disorders white women have, while clearly exhibiting on their own bodies, their own eating disorders.

    • Roslyn,

      You said, “So yes, it’s ironic that black women are so dismissive of the eating disorders white women have, while clearly exhibiting on their own bodies, their own eating disorders.”

      Indeed. I find BW’s often smug attitudes about WW’s version of eating disorders ironic. As with many other issues, the White-preferred style of dysfunction is typically undercover and mostly NOT visible to random passersby. Meanwhile, AAs’ style of dysfunction is out there “on front street” for every random person to see.

      The other irony is in the fatality rate for each stlye of eating disorder. As I asked the bad-faith dissenter, how many AA Karen Carpenters (dead due to complications of anorexia) are there? Meanwhile, AA women are falling over dead like flies from highly visible mass obesity.

      Expect Success!

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      My mother told me some of the same things.

      That they ate meat maybe once a week. That they walked everywhere even when they had a car available and I mean miles. My grandmother would still do this even after she got up in age prior to her Alzheimers. She was the only one out of her family (children and husband included) who didn’t have heart disease, hypertension, cancer, or diabetes.

  26. RColeman says:

    I had my sons and I sit down last night and watch this Video from the University of California San Francisco Center for Intergrative Medicine, Endocrinology department.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

    What we learned is that;

    Sugar counts as Carbs
    The liver processes different sugars differently, the safest one for the liver to process comes from pasta, rice, fruit
    Several other eye opening surprises.

    My oldest son and I have been butting heads on sugar for the past year. Unfortunately for him, diabetes runs in my family and heart disease runs in his father’s family. My ex-husband (his father) is just turned 44, has an enlarged heart, HTN, sleep apnea, and is 200 lbs overweight. His father (son’s grandfather) just died on labor day from a heart attack after going through a quadruple bypass a year ago.

    My father drummed into my siblings and I heads as children that diabetes is no joke. All of his relatives died from diabetes/complications of it. Mind you now he is the only surviving one of his generation at 75 years of age.

    The information is out there.

  27. Anne1 says:

    Pamela…”I have completely given up on talking to obese BW about their weight. I have been either rebuked or heard a whole lot of excuses for decades.” I’m in the same boat here with you. I’m done “preaching” and saving my two cents. This includes family and friends. Peace.

    Nicole, I’ve always been a skinny BW too so I can relate to being called the names you mentioned; skinny minnie, etc. I am skinny AND short so I’ve always had a petite frame. Didn’t like it way back then (always being the smallest person in the room and what not) but boy do I love it now that I’m in my 40s. I enjoy being “small” and benefit from appearing a lot younger almost effortlessly. I still primp and prime my presentation for extra mileage. Do I take full adventage? Ah, that would be a resounding YES.

    I had a WW friend who admitted later that she quietly ‘observed’ my eating habits then adopted it to lose weight. I was truly flattered. Then, the thought hit me – why couldn’t my BW friends do the same?

    Years ago I took on a part-time job as an instructor at one those weight-loss centers. Here is where I observed foolishness up close and personal to the highest degree it could reach. If it wasn’t the self-sabotaging behavior from over-eating the “diet” food (what the hell?) it was the missing scheduled appointments. And the the price for membership was not cheap I tell you. The nutrition class that I taught was met with so much opposition to the point I wondered why they bothered to show up at all. Because I didn’t accept excuses they complained that I was too hard and expected too much change so I was replaced with a BW with a heavier frame, who was previously in the same program herself. So ridiculous.

    I realize I may come across as insensitive but I don’t feel bad for anyone who is morbidly iobese. Not even a little bit. Why? Because it is a choice. If you see you yourself getting away just a little bit that’s the time to catch it. It’s a choice to catch it or let it go. But the bottom line is it is a decision. I’ll walk with you, run with you, exercise with you. But I won’t have a pity party with you or feel sorry for you. This is not rocket science. Do what successful people do. If it’s weight loss, find and emulate THAT. Why reinvent the wheel when you can do what successful people do? This is not a secret and it is applicable to ANYTHING you want/need/desire –including weight issues.

  28. sisterlocgirl says:

    Hi Khadijah! Your post could not be timed any more perfectly. BW are literally burying themselves in fat only to hasten the physical burial in the cemetary due to obesity related complications. Everyone else has made such excellent points on this issue that there’s little else that can be said. Aretha Franklin’s unfortunate illness is a very public display of what is occurring to millions of morbidly obese bw out of the spotlight. Many of us posting on this board can provide personal stories of bw dying young from their obesity related complications. Denial is deadly ladies.

  29. Karen R. says:

    Wow, Khadija, you are bringing it with these posts!!! Thank you for your courage to say what needs to be said. You remind me of the “mothers of the church” who used to guide and instruct back in the day to let us know our slip was showing.

    • KarenR.,

      Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

      This “fat acceptance” mess and the numbers of obesity-related BW fatalities are so outrageous that something needed to be said. Without mincing words.

      I’m amazed at how far out of touch with reality the majority AA woman “party line” about obesity has become. From AA women who are enraged whenever anyone dares to say the word “obesity.” To the BW who are outraged whenever anyone dares to say that excess weight is unhealthy and a hindrance in securing a quality husband. To the BW who start seething whenever anyone says that many AA women need to lose the excess weight. To the BW who are appalled whenver anyone refuses to misidentify fat rolls as “curves.”

      It shouldn’t require “courage” to tell the common-sense truth about AA women and obesity.

      Many AA women rabidly defend the very things (obesity, oow, single parenting) and persons (many AA males) who are literally DESTROYING their quality of life. And, in many cases, literally destroying their lives. This is crazy; and I refuse to remain silent while this madness escalates.

      I believe AAs need to consider right now a “Moynihan Moment” in terms of obesity—similar to how Patrick Moynihan warned about oow in the AA collective during the 1960s.

      During the 1960s Moynihan Moment about oow, AAs had the collective opportunity to turn that growing oow situation around. We didn’t take action to turn it around. Instead, we focused on empty face-saving efforts and enraged condemnation of Patrick Moynihan. Well, we see the effects of that bad collective choice:

      (1) A majority oow birth rate that will only continue to increase in the future. We’re at 70-something percent oow birth rate. Soon, the oow rate among AAs will be in the 80-something percent. And then, it’ll climb into the 90-something percentages. Meanwhile, AAs will still be having the same stale and intellectually dishonest conversations about the violent crime, death, destruction and chaos created by oow. There will be more Dunbar Village and Rowan Towers Atrocities.

      (2) Approximately 2 generations of mostly fatherless AAs.

      (3) Which ultimately means that it’s now impossible to turn this around and resurrect marriage among AAs or resurrect the AA family unit. Because, at this point, the majority of AAs were not raised in married households, have never seen married households in real life, and therefore have NO comprehension of how wholesome marriage and family life operates. And, since they’re totally unfamiliar with normal family structures, modern AAs see no need to have normal, stable, married family structures.

      Well, I submit that this is a similar inflection point in terms of obesity and AAs.

      If we want to avoid permanently entrenching obesity among us—the way we’ve made oow a permanent, entrenched practice among us—NOW is the time to push back against this fat acceptance poison ideology.

      The hour is already late. Soon, there won’t be more than a miniscule number of AAs who have ever seen a slender teenage or adult AA woman. The same way there are now very few AAs who have ever seen a married husband and father in real life.

      Expect Success!

  30. Rhonda says:

    Khadija,

    If someone has already sent this to you, then no need to publish my comment. The Mark’s Daily Apple website has posted a “success story” today where one of the person’s featured is a black woman.

  31. ak says:

    Khadija:

    (1) Revisionist history (“AA women have always been ‘thick’”). No, if we examine the photos of random AA women from previous decades, most of them were slender.

    Exactly Khadija. AA women back in Hollywood in movies and TV from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s until recently were always as slim as the white chicks that were used. The handful of black women that made it on to certain TV shows and movies , as well as the singers, back in the day were all very obviously black looking, not vague, but were also quite skinny.

    The only fat one that comes to mind is Hattie McDaniels and Oprah in The Color Purple. Nichelle Nichols, Diahann Carroll, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Lola Falana, Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, Grace Jones, disco queens such as Evelyn Champagne King, Margaret Avery, Cicely Tyson, Pearl Bailey, so many, so many were skinny and still are.

    Why do black celeb women of today and the ‘everyday’ black women of today talk as if no one can look up archived pics of movie stills or on Youtube to see the black women from 25 years ago and before that and their body types? I still see young black women around me some who’ve had their kids at a very young age pushing around babies in strollers without a gut, a butt, nor any ‘thick legs’. Where are black people standing actually when they say they’ve ‘never seen a black woman who didn’t have a butt’, because I see them all the time. NOT ALL BLACK WOMEN PUT ON WEIGHT!

    Stop shoving black women into your little boxes as if you’re shoving a camel quite literally through the eye of a needle!

    I was good with the fitness (running and jump-roping) during the summer but I fell off the horse during the fall. I need to get back on it. I’ve been dring a lot of soups lately because of all the cold but very recently I have been backsliding with the junk food and candy about 2 to 3 times a week! LOL My apologies!

    • AK,

      You said, “Why do black celeb women of today and the ‘everyday’ black women of today talk as if no one can look up archived pics of movie stills or on Youtube to see the black women from 25 years ago and before that and their body types?”

      I get the feeling that a lot of younger BW assume that the slender BW celebrities you named from the disco era and the 1980s must have been special and unique unicorns for being slender BW. They’re assuming that the BF obesity that has the norm now was also the norm for BW then. [I'm speaking of the good-faith confused younger folks who genuinely weren't old enough to have been alive or paying attention during those earlier eras. I'm not talking about the liars who lived through previous, pre-mass BF obesity eras.]

      Expect Success!

      • tertiaryanna says:

        “They’re assuming that the BF obesity that has the norm now was also the norm for BW then.

        I wonder if it’s influenced by the lack of uplifting culture for BW. This is another incentive for BW to get their creative goals achieved as well as their physical ones!

  32. ak says:

    Khadija:

    3. OOW/Sexual abuse. Many of these women are comforting themselves with food because they have nothing else. Oddly enough, despite their comments about white women having eating disorders, they do too. Binge eating is in fact an eating disorder. When you eat to fill a hole left in your psyche by neglect and maltreatment you need to see a therapist, period. As one of my co-workers used to say, “It’s easier to stuff your face than to face your stuff.” Black women in general have A LOT of stuff to face. I also remember something my mama used to say when I tried to talk to her about the traumas she’d been through in her life. She said, “If I start talking about it, I’m afraid I’ll start screaming and never stop.” I think many black women are dealing with much the same. My mama coped by NOT eating. I used to joke that she was the only 70 year old anorectic I knew.

    Yes, what worries me and what should worry a lot of other black women still stuck in ‘indoctrination-land’ is hearing about the few well-known LARGE black women celebs out there such as Oprah, Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, and Missy Elliott who all say that they were sexually abused as children or teens, and yet you still have this image of a loud and proud, brassy black women claiming that she’s confident, secure and happy with who she is.

    When will black people realize that they can still go to therapy to really sort through their issues AND still go to church if they want to? Star Jones is the only one who was large and so far hasn’t reported sexual abuse or child abuse back in her life.

    It wasn’t that long ago when black people would swear up and down that only white people molested ‘little’ kids and slept with them, just like black people used to swear up and down that black people are never the serial killers, and that that was only the white people. Wow!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    [Khadija speaking: Actually, I didn't make the statement quoted above. A reader said that---I think Roslyn was the one who made that observation.]

  33. MsMellody says:

    Halima said;..” the burden carrying lifestyle bw feel they should sign up to has squeezed out room for putting self first and living to max, or they just cant see themselves mustering up the will power and internal work it will take.”

    Thank you are not words enough to express how I feel about that sentence. Halima you have summed up just what a “mule” does..it slowly, slowly , stubbornly, carries burdens..plods along..with a crack of a whip it may or may not jump to attention, it’s a dull minded, obedient animal!!!! Oh my god..I really appreciate you saying this ..”the burden carrying lifestyle”.. just wow.
    And thank you for sharing that comment with me..it just really resonated and I hope other readers here can be moved into action.

    Khadija thank you again for this post..the comments..just everything.

    RColeman – THANK YOU so much for that link to the UC discussion of “Sugar the Bitter Truth”..let me say this also — if any of the readers here don’t take the time to sit and view this lecture, you will HAVE MISSED a SURE BREAKTHROUGH in YOUR HEALTH!!!

    Before I close..my Firm Power Yoga, Jeanette Jenkins Power Yoga and Firm Ultimate Fat Burning Collection DVDs just arrived!!!! And I looking forward to trying them out. Please go to this link and take a look at the awesome selection..you can even play clips of the videos you are interested in..the company also supplies “walking/Jogging” music selections for those that are runners/joggers/powerwalkers!! Let’s just get up and make “our brand” more appealing, more sexy and in the end (literally LOL) more powerful!!!

  34. MsMellody says:

    Sorry Khadija.. I forgot to add the link to my last comment..

    http://www.CollageVideo.com

    Could you please insert this info in my comment. Thanks!

  35. Hodan says:

    I really don’t understand why any BW, whether fit or not would have a problem with your resourceful and empowering advices Khadija. Whatever happened to acknowledging our reality, specially when certain habits and life style do nothing but hurt us or even kill us. About 2 year ago, I gained loads of weight and went up to size 14, albeit I’m 5’9 and tend to disperse my weight properly, but I was still FAT, OUT OF SHAPE. No one would sell any other bs to me, heck even my mom and brother got involved by pointing out how I’m getting out of shape and should not continue like this. It happened due to personal issues I was going through and I had to deal with both my internal and external life, but I never took my family advice negatively even if it hurt a bit.

    In my culture, unlike other African ones, we do not encourage young girls and women to gain weight….in fact your quality of marriage and life style is often tied to how fit you are, specially if you are in the marriage market. Hence, why my mom was having a hysteria seeing her athletic daughter who was always fit to gain so much weight.

    Khadija: “Dress Size ≠ Curves. There are several reasons I don’t think or speak in terms of dress sizes. First, there’s such a thing as a person being underweight and still overly fat (having an unfavorable body mass index). Second, even in terms of aesthetics, a dress size alone does not give much meaningful information about a woman’s overall “look.” That’s more a matter of proportions. Two women could wear the same dress size and have very different looks. One Size Whatever woman could be shaped like a pencil, with no real curves. Another Size Whatever woman could have the generally-preferred hourglass shape.”

    Hodan: So true, your dress size does not determine how healthy or fit you are. My friend is a size Zero, yet she looks fit and around size 4-6. She’s an avid boxer and camper, so her weight is mostly toned muscles. In my case, I can never go bellow size 10 Europe, which is size 8 American or I would look sickly. Neither can I go above size 12 if I want to keep myself fit and looking good. Dress size isn’t the issue here, its the reality of black women and obesity that is either killing them or limiting their access to quality men who would judge them from the outside.

    Now, I’ve been back to my old life style of working out by boxing and yoga and lost almost 1/2 of the weight and plan to get rid of the rest and maintain it for yrs to come in sha’Allah.

    • Hodan,

      You said, “I really don’t understand why any BW, whether fit or not would have a problem with your resourceful and empowering advices Khadija.”

      Well, I can be abrasive at times! {chuckling}

      Expect Success!

  36. Everybody,

    I’m going to close the comments to this post, and move on to the next post later tonight. I feel that we’ve covered all the major angles to this issue (feminine aesthetics versus fat acceptance dogma).

    There are perhaps a couple of other nuances about obesity that I might eventually get around to discussing in future posts. It looks like Faith, blog host of Acts of Faith in Love & Life, will cover another angle to all of this obesity epidemic among BW, namely: “those young girls who’ve eaten themselves into obesity as a reaction to stress.” (If I remember correctly, she said this was coming up on Monday—so be sure to check her out!)

    Expect Success!

  37. Clarice says:

    I hope my post did not show up twice but my computer is wigging out. Excellent post – even with a documented history of thyroid issues it is possible to lose weight and be healthy and fit. It takes work it requires creativity – and patience because it takes longer. I know I am doing it – by daily doing the best for me, where I am in my journey with the resources available and never stopping forward progress no matter how small.

    Crazy thing is folks often say – you are a great person so nice, smart, attractive —yadda yadda why are you obsessed with losing weight – my answer because what you say is true and I deserve to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can by any and all means available. I have a few strikes against me – crazy busy schedule and a hellish commute, thyroid issues but I am determined and so it is all good. I said that to a friend who is in denial and it struck a nerve and she was a tad frosty for a few days but I noticed now she is starting to eat healthier and walk more. One resource I have found is A Black Girls Guide to Weight Loss – lots of links and helpful tips – just Google it. I do not want to try posting the link since my computer seems to be tweaking out today.

    Ever Forward – success beings one step at a time

    • Clarice,

      {deep martial arts bow in salute}

      I 100% cosign. We all deserve to live healthy lives, and the point is to keep moving “Ever Forward” (as you said)!

      Expect Success!