There But For the Grace of Oprah…

When the news about Oprah’s slow, steady, and yes noticeable weight gain made headlines recently, I don’t know if anyone was surprised. I know I wasn’t — on the covers of her magazine she managed to upkeep a svelte appearance, but candid photos don’t lie. All the Spanx in the world can’t hide steady weight gain. The evidence was there, and when Oprah candidly admitted that she was back at 200 pounds, my reaction wasn’t one of disappointment. It was one of identification. I know exactly where Oprah’s coming from, with respect to weight issues. It’s a road I’ve been walking my whole life.

I think my first forays into weight loss groups and professionally designated diets started when I was 12 or 13 years of age. I had always been a big girl, but as I approached my teenage years, puberty exacerbated an already existing situation. I spent my teenage years unhappy with my body, and I’ve written about those struggles in the past. And all these years later, I am still struggling.

Every year I make myself an unrealistic promise that I never keep. I’ve tried pills and diets, bought books that sit unread, DVDs that go unwatched, and machines that sit untouched with layers of dust on them. I know now that I’ve tried everything except the thing that works — not just a controlled diet, but also regular, regular exercise. And here’s where I identify with Oprah — I have allowed my aversion of exercise develop into something else. Something that feels more daunting. For Oprah, it was a medical diagnosis that made her feel helpless and fearful of exercise. For me, it’s stress, an overwhelming weekly workload, and an impending deadline.

All through my teenage years, my father warned me — exercise NOW. Lose weight now while you still can. It’ll be ten times harder when you turn 30.

Well, guess how old I’m going to be this year?

The big 3-0 is approaching me with alacrity, and like I said in my NYE post – the time for excuses is over for me. I am no longer content to let life feel overwhelming, and to throw up my hands in despair. I am tired of feeling frustrated with myself. If it has to be, it’s up to me.

Still, there’s a part of me that’s like — man. If Oprah couldn’t do it, who am I? If a woman with a team of experts surrounding her, chefs to whip up her green drinks in the morning, the best trainer, whose job is to help her create “The Best Life”, and a schedule that surely she can tailor to fit her immediate daily needs… if she can’t manage to lose the weight and keep it off, who am I?

In Oprah’s own words: “If you look at your overscheduled routine and realize, like I did, that you’re just going and going and that your work and obligations have become a substitute for life, then you have no one else to blame. Only you can take the reins back.”

That seems easy to say, when you’ve got a team of expert jockeys to help you hold the reins in the first place.

What if you’re alone, riding a horse that’s always been own-way and wrongheaded? What if you’ve got a daily grind to fit your life around, and/or the added weight of a husband who loves candy, or kids who refuse to eat anything but mac and cheese that their mac and cheese loving mommy makes for them? What then?

I am gearing up for a daily struggle that I know will become easier with time. No more soda. No more junk. It’s time for water, fresh vegetables, and a daily sweat. I’m done with fad diets with induction periods. I want to cook healthy meals that I look forward to enjoying, that nourish my body and satisfy my appetite. I want to be happy with my body — cosign with the big O on that one, I want to be fit and healthy and strong. I want to take the reins of my life back, and do it all by myself. That’s my goal for 2009.

Oprah’s weight loss struggle, and watching her getting back on the horse again, has inspired me more than anything. Here’s why — watching Oprah struggle has taught me not to pin my own successes on any celebrity role model, or weight loss guru. I can learn from her struggles and certainly take into consideration all of the tips her team of experts offer to her and all of her viewers. But that’s as far as it goes.

The only person am looking to for motivation right now, is the person I’m looking at in the mirror. And I know she can do anything she truly dedicates herself to.

Are you struggling with weight loss issues? Talk to me — tell me what you’re trying, or plan to try. What’s working and what hasn’t? What are your goals for the new year?

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Comments

  1. I too have struggled with weight my whole life. Until I was 12, I thought my first name was “Big” – as in “you a big ol’pretty girl!”
    In the past year I have not gained any weight but I have not lost any weight either. My OBGYN told me to stop trying to diet and concentrate on being healthy.
    He said we stress our selves out with the word “diet” because in this country it means deny yourself everything you love. The word diet comes from the Greek language and actually means a way of life or a life style. We need to adapt this meaning of the word and change our life styles so we can live to see our children and grandchildren grow up.

  2. I think I’m going to express an unpopular opinion. Just maybe, maybe Oprah’s “healthy” weights weren’t healthy to begin with. Yes, she had that six pack and many years ago she squeezed into those jeans. But did anyone notice the size of her head compared to her little body…

    I am not living her life. Nor do I know how much she exercises or eats. But I wonder how much the images of health impede our ability to really know what is healthy. As a plus size woman I cannot imagine what it feels like to be even a size 10 sitting next to people like Jen Aniston, Katie Holmes and the like. For that reason I think that Oprah has put unrealistic demands on her body. But who can blame her?

    I think in order for Oprah to really be healthy she needs to let go of her fat shame. Like many women she needs to stop fixating on size, on what they won’t be eating and the number of minutes on the treadmill. She doesn’t need to pose next to an old picture-that moment is gone.

    Instead she needs to do put the fun in fitness (if you don’t like an exercise don’t do it because its about what you can sustain not what tortures you). Like my brother ( a former fat kid who has maintained his weight loss for years through enjoying the exercise he does) said stop focusing on what you’re not going to eat and talk about what you can eat.

  3. good luck bella.

    Cutting out the soda and snacks alone will make a huge difference.

    Don’t think of it as “dieting” just eating better.

    I eat less processed foods since moving overseas. I’m not depressed anymore so I’m no longer stuffing my face with candy, chips etc.

    I don’t diet now and never will again. I eat pasta or some kind of carb everyday here (in italy) and yet the weight just dropped off. I don’t belong to a gym here but I walk a lot more. In L.A. I drove everywhere including to the gym.

    Back in L.A. I did the Zone, South Beach etc. I’d lose weight then gain it right back the minute I had a piece of bread. That yo-yo dieting was so frustrating.

  4. Last year I successfully lost 25 pounds by (mostly) following the Self Challenge that starts in their March issue. 5 came back, but at the end of the holidays, I’m still a net 20 pounds down.

    I think what helped the most was writing down what I ate, and how much I exercised. I have actually thought “I don’t want that cookie because then I have to write it down” which helps.

    One bonus, and I’ve not seen it addressed anywhere else, is that paying attention to what I ate and how often I exercised seeped into other parts of my life–most notably my finances! Everything felt under control and managed, no more panicking the days leading up to payday about bouncing checks or anything like that.

  5. Hey Bella!

    I am about 9 pounds overweight and I think that I have used that as a crutch in the past. Thinking, well it is only nine pounds. But then it will go up to 16 and back down to 4 and yet somehow I never manage to get below that overweight line.

    But regardless of weight I am still not healthy. I used to be a classical dancer and now sitting in a squat for more than a few seconds is painful. But I endure it. I ask God to give me the strength to endure. Yesterday, I did feel like working out at all, but I did it. I didn’t push myself as hard as I normally do, but at least I did something and I finished it.

    It is also important to do something you enjoy. I do Quenia Ribeiro’s Samba Reggae workout. I only paid about 7 bucks for it. It is so much fun that I usually look forward to working out. I follow that up with Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred workout. Jillian is great if you are just starting out. It is only 20 mins but it kills you!

    As for my “diet” I don’t eat any “white stuff” refined sugar and white pasta and bread, none of that stuff. I also try not to eat any carbs after 2 pm. I eat a lot of tuna, salmon, lean ground turkey and chicken. I don’t actually like chicken, unless it is fried(typical black girl, jk), but I make it work.

    I do indulge a little though. Two days ago, I had a teeny slice of pie and a little scoop of ice cream. It knocked my cravings right out. Oddly enough, even though I the week before I had eaten half the pie, that little bit was enough.

    As for Oprah, she is the greatest example that money, power, fame, etc., do not equal happiness. All anyone needs to do to lose weight or achieve any goal is to feel worthy of it. If you know that you deserve to lose weight or get into this college or write this book then you will. Know your worth and the motivation will follow.

    Wow, I am rambling! LOL But I hope this helps someone!

    God Bless!

  6. Girl, I feel every word you just said. I feel so disappointed in myself. I have lost and gained the same 25-30 pounds every other year for the past 10 years. I’m 33. I have been dealing with this weight issue for as long as I can remember. I remember doing diet shakes when I was in grade school. I have been on every low carb diet, grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet, pills, shakes and everything else. In 2007, I did Weight Watchers and I consistently exercised and it worked. I lost the weight. I felt amazing. But in 2008, a death in the family had me depressed the whole year and now I am heavier than I have ever been.

    I realize that I can’t do it alone. Although some people can conquer this thing without help, for me, I need God to fight this battle. I am about to start Weight Watchers again because it lets you create a healthy diet of things that you like and I want to stay away from pre-packaged foods. However, this time I plan to put my faith in God and not in a program.

    Bella, you are already a gorgeous girl inside and out and if you never lost another pound you would still be gorgeous, but I understand how it feels to want to lose the weight so I pray that you conquer this thing too, because you want to. Thanks for this post. Please keep us updated.

  7. I picked up the soda habit again after not drinking them for over 2 years. I think I was just going through a stressful time and Dr.Pepper had the right prescription for me! LOL I have stopped drinking soda again and I will stop being lazy and get moving more everyday. Last year, I did the “Extreme Fat Smash” (as touted by Dr.Ian Smith of “Celebrity Fit Club” fame) and lost 20 lbs. in a little over two weeks by strictly adhering to the diet plan and working out an hour a day 7 days a week. I couldn’t keep up with that workout schedule and I got tired of brown rice. I fell off the wagon and gained my 20 lbs. back, plus 5 more. I have to get it in my head that I will have to change my life *forever*, not just for a few weeks or months so I can fit into a pair of jeans.

  8. I’ve wanted to loose weight forever but I never found the time to and I also hate excercise. I decided to just enjoy myself the way I am. It’s much easier. I get a few snide remarks every now & then but they don’t bother me seeing as how I’m much happier then the person making the remark.

  9. The key is to cut back the bad stuff (recovering soda addict here) gradually and introduce the good stuff as a replacement for the bad. Dont go cold turkey and shock your body into a drastic change. Consult your doctor first and foremost. Get a buddy. Try not to compare yourself with other people because we are all different. My addiction was/is soda. I gave it up for Lent 2 years ago, and really didnt miss it after about 2 weeks. Even now, I don’t drink it like I used to (from 5 or 6 a day to 5 or 6 a month). Food diaries work also. I’m a short, curvy girl and am where I need to be in terms of weight (according to my BMI), and I have to watch my weight b/c obesity, heart issues, diabetes and HBP runs on both sides of my family, all related to weight. so I am cognizant of it, I don’t let it rule my life. If I want to eat some chocolate, I’ll have some Hershey kisses instead of the whole bar. I’ll have a can of soda and not the one liter bottle.

    At the end of the day, you want to be on the healthy AND happy side of life.

  10. I am 25 years old. And I have been battling my weight since the 3rd grade. My mom never made me feel big, since she was big also. What gets me is what other GROWN UPS say to little kids. I got it alot. Asking what my size was in a room full of people, saying their child’s size out loud. My Great Grandmother, God rest her soul, even made me stand on a scale once. My mother went ahead and chewed her out for that one!!
    When I was in high school I lost 30 or so pounds. 154 down to 128. And even then, because I had a big girl mind!, I still thought I was fat. Now at 25 I have managed to keep off 13 pounds. 175 to 162. I don’t even know how I did it. I did start to accept myself more. I think that in turn led me to go out more and experience things more. Body image is hard, especially when all you see is “skinny”. And you try to buy a pair of pants but they only go to a size 11/12. But I honestly do think that when you decide to love yourself honestly and completely, everything becomes easy! Then it’s not, I can’t eat that! It’s how can I make that healthier or better.
    Good Luck Bellas!!!
    Veronica Lynn

  11. Time to put yourself first!!!!

  12. cosmicsistren says:

    I watched that Oprah show and I could definitely relate to her feelings of failure about keeping the weight off. I have to say that those years she was leaner to me she seemed alittle arrogant.

    I have been stuggling with my weight for most of my life. Over 3 years ago I had joined FAA and was going to the meetings and lost over 30 pounds. My clothes were feeling different every week!! I was losing weight without even trying. Then I had an argument with my father on Thanksgiving 2005 ahd have gained all the weight I lost plus 16 more pounds.

    Now I am not letting my weight stop me from doing the things that I want to do. I danced in the Labor Day parade on Brooklyn at my heaviest weight. I plan on running the NYC marathon this year. I am making the changes in my eating but I am tired of my weight being a crutch from preventing me from doing the things that I want to do.

  13. I wish you the best with your weight loss. I believe you have the right attitude. It is about your dedication and motivation to lose the weight. I have made futile efforts to lose a few pounds and I know it’s because my mind was not in it at the time. Changes in your diet and exercise regimen are certainly going to require commitment, but be assured that they alone will take you to a successful weight loss.

  14. I’ve always been a big girl or pleasingly plump as my mom would say. Seriously, I’m tired of Oprah with her weight. I know weight is an issue. I don’t like the way she was saying she was disappointed with herself and let people down with her weight going up. Oprah is an amazing woman. She does so much. If her weight went up because of medical problems, I can understand that. To feel like a failure because of just that makes me sad.

    Weight to me is not only what you eat but what you think. I get bigger when I’m unhappy and not doing what I need to be doing. I release the weight when I take control of my life which is what I have been doing for the past year.

    I love Oprah at all her sizes. I hope one day she’ll feel the same about her self.

  15. I wish all of you the best of luck with losing weight and keeping it off.

    I don’t want anyone to take this the wrong way but we make excuse after excuse about why we can’t control our weight. We are to busy with work, kids, and God only knows what else to exerise. I know that’s a bunch of bull crap. Women in the military especially, the Army and Marines do it every day.

    Military moms work, go to school and take care of their families and still remain in shape. I don’t know how they do it. But they do. And some of them are single moms who get up in the middle of the night with their baby yet they are still in the gym at 6am. I have a treadmill in my house that’s collecting dust. I have no excuse. It’s just pure laziness on my part.

    Ladies, we need to start putting ourselves FIRST!!! We can’t take care of anyone until we start taking care of ourselves.

  16. I’ve struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle for years. Like Oprah and countless others have said, it’s all about making one’s self and health a priority. It’s kind of ironic because if one’s health is ruined, none of those other priorities can be taken care of, either.

  17. WARRIOR11209 says:

    I can so relate to Oprah’s plight – I gained a huge amount of weight 100 pounds during and after my last pregnancy 16 yrs ago. I was hypothyroid and did not know it – my thyroid was so out disfunctional that I had a large goiter on the right side of my neck – ultimately- I had a thyroidectomy in 2007.As a side note – I allowed all this to happen because I was not taking care of me – I put the kids and DH first and let my health go to heck. Since then I have lost 75 pounds – I started going to exercise classes(6 days per week – step , double step , kickboxing and weight training) and I started to write down everything that I ate. I hate to sound corny but , since I lost the weight slowly , eating healthy has become a lifestyle as opposed to dieting. I ran my first 5K Thanksgiving morning and am training to run the More Half marathon in April.
    I will continue to find different activites that I enjoy in order to stay fit. Eating healthy has now become a habit.

  18. WARRIOR11209 says:

    Good luck to us all in getting healthy and taking care of us!

  19. You are soooo right. I am 13. I weigh 52kg. My BMI is 19.5, My Mum says I’m chubby, my friends say I’m not. What am I? Do I need to lose weight?

  20. I like to read Self mag, for motivation, and tips. This year I am making excersizing more concrete in my daily routine. My motivation was when I went for a check up, and the male nurse weighing me said that ‘we can blame your sweater’ for the extra weight I had packed on. My weight gain has been slow and fluctuating which isn’t good. I am tall(5’7″) and meant to have a lean figure, but because I’m tall I hide the changes a lot better. But I knew that there was something to what the nurse said. I could feel it in my energy level and the way my clothes fit me. So now I can proudly say that I have been going to the gym daily(with sometime to rest)…and I plan to keep it up. I already feel better! I also try to reward myself for taking care of me. My reward can range from using a special body lotion that I don’t use all the time, a pedicure, going out on the town, or a new clothing item.

  21. I would also suggest making short term goals rather than long term. Take it day by day or week by week and not a goal for the year. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off, just get back on and reward yourself bella when you do right and you do right consistently. Good luck :)

  22. dettygirl says:

    I am also tall like qselby and usually no one notices my weight but I notice. I have gained 10 lbs this year since relocating to a new state. I think it is more about your mind set b/c everyone here seems to have connected how much better they feel/look with a positive body image. i jump start myself with this: 25 sit-ups in the morning, walk a mile every day, 25 sit-ups at night and no soda. that’s it. it’s surprisingly easy with good results for me.

  23. I’ve found that always having water with me helps. I also like it more when it’s cold. And another thing that’s helping me is SparkPeople. I can monitor my food habits there and I like that. One last thing that helps is meal replacement shakes for when I’m racing around. They keep me away from the junk food.

    http://www.sparkpeople.com

  24. I think so many women can understand how Oprah is feeling. And yes, it does seem like it gets harder to lose weight as you get older.

    I hate exercise. I like to move but the sheer idea of “exercise” drives me nuts.

    At 42 I have found what works best for me. First, I realize that I weigh more than what I look like I may weigh. That’s good but I know. Second, I don’t get messed up around a number of pounds. I look at my clothes; how I look in them and how I feel in them. If something is too tight, I make note of it and make a change. Not a big change but a small one.

    I also don’t deny myself. If I want a cookie, I have one. But I also realize that I crave crunchy stuff and I fill that need with crunchy vegetables. There was one time I was buying 10 long English cucumbers are one time as snacks.

    I have also learned that water makes a huge difference for me. When I drink water, my body changes. Knowing that is a big help.

    Finally and probably most important, after 42 years, I am happy with who I am. I acknowledge what’s not “perfect” about me including my size/weight and I accept it. I have recently learned to love me whether I am a size 12 (which I have been most of my adult life) or smaller. I really like me. Sure I could weigh less but I like me first. And because of that I do try to take care of myself if not through exercise (you know how I feel about that)than by choosing healthy choices, or making sure I take my multivitamins or by drinking a powder green drink. Just doing something positive which includes positive affirmations makes a difference.

    So after saying all that, I will promise to get on my mini-trampoline when I get home tonight.

  25. My father came to this country in the mid 80s, healthy and athletic. Since then, he’s gained over a hundred pounds. He’s about 5’6 and 250lbs. I can’t lie – it makes me so angry that he will not make an effort to lose weight. I’ve always been pretty thin, but I’m starting to realize that if I don’t make an effort to work out and eat a little healthier, the weight will start to stick sometime soon. I don’t think my father ever imagined that he would be dealing with serious weight issues at 50, considering how athletic he was in his twenties. I’m scared of the same thing happening to me.

    I’m in North Carolina for the month of January teaching middle school, and staying with a fellow teacher. I’ve definitely made an effort to buy healthier foods and not to eat so late at night. I want to be healthy when I have my kids. I don’t want to be limited like my dad was with me. He could never take me to the park, he’d be out of breath in ten minutes. So many things were out of reach for him.

    I try to be supportive, but he angers me so much because he’s basically given up. He says he’s going to die anyways, might as well eat whatever he wants. It’s a shame he might probably never know his grandchildren. His friend died 2 years ago from a massive heart attack. He was 52 years old, severely overweight. Even after such a devastating loss, he still doesn’t care.

  26. Woo woo woo, afrobella, I am there with you also.

    In my case, I was successfully tackling my weight issues — I gained 100 lbs during college and grad school — when Katrina hit and blew my life off course and into the Bermuda Triangle of Weight Gain. The first time, weight grew on me like a cancer of apathy, ignorance, and deep hurt until I woke up and took my life back by force. I was radical. It was working. That’s when a bigger storm took the place of the first… and here I am, a survivor of them both.

    In Jan 2006, post-Katrina, I looked up and didn’t even recognize my own face! I’d gained back every pound I’d lost and then some. I had always comforted myself by telling myself I was “solid” and “tall” and “carried my weight well”, and I certainly never let it stop me from traveling the world, getting an education, or meeting people, but in that moment I realized that I was Sisyphus, and the combined weight of me and the boulder was 285 lbs!!!

    I’d love to say that I attacked it with the same focus and verve as first time, but things have changed irrevocably, and so have I. I spun my wheels quite a bit at first, but by making small lifestyle changes, giving myself a break, and telling myself that I will take all the time I need to eat this whale, I’ve moved down the scale instead of up. It’s now 2 yrs later, and I weigh 35 lbs less! I am finally feeling more able to “turn up the dial” on my weight loss goals this yearm and I count that as a success… I’m reeling it in slowly, and still eating my whale dinner one bit at a time.

    You should do the same. Don’t give up on yourself! Take all the time you need. The only way out is through.

  27. Hey Bella,
    I love your blog!
    I know what I’m going to say might be unpopular, but the only way I’ve managed to keep the weight at bay was to exercise. Yeah, annoying.
    I know I LOVE to eat, I absolutely adore pastries, have the occasional glass of wine with dinner, and crave combinations of meat and cheese. That’s just how I get down. But to eat like that, I must work it off.
    I started working out as a way of life sort of by accident. I had just started a new job and noticed my lunch hours were very open, so I decided to take classes during my lunch break to fill the time. I figure I didn’t need an hour to eat, I’d just eat at my desk.
    So I started going to classes Tuesday and Wednesday, great classes like bodysculpt and cardio kick. Yes, I got a little sweaty, but came prepared with makeup and things to wash up. And the classes were only 45 minutes so I could get them out of the way, shower, and be done in an hour. In addition to the lunch hour classes, I found other classes I loved and couldn’t miss, and focused on this one class every Monday. So automatically I had 3 days of working out by taking 3 great classes. Then I started running outside, and let me say, running outside can be addictive. It sounds like torture, but get a good mix going, pull on some cute clothes, and you’d be surprised. Just try to run once a week. I ALWAYS got a runner’s high. It makes you feel wonderful to finish a 3 mile run, then walk to a store and get some fruit.
    Basically, at first I figured out how to make working out *fun* and then once I got in shape, the gym didn’t intimidate me anymore…and now I can’t be happy without working out.
    Basically exercise is a way of life, not something you can start and stop. And you also have to think about it as fun and a mood elevator and stress reliever, and not as hard, arduous work.
    It sounds difficult, but it can be done. Just make time for it (classes are very helpful–you get it over with and there’s someone else just telling you what to do.)
    good luck:)

  28. naturalhair58 says:

    Afrobella,
    I love your blog. I agree with Claire that exercise along with eating healthy is the key to losing weight. In the past 20 or so years I have tried every diet, lost weight and gained it again. I exercised sporadically. Last year this time I decided that when I turned 50 in May of 08 I did not want to look like an old woman LOL, so I decided to make major changes. Yes, I agree with your Dad, it is harder to lose weight at 30, but imagine how hard it is to lose weight at 50 and menopause. I went to Weight Watchers and lost 20 pounds. I begin to use my gym membership by going to the gym at least 5 times a week for a hour. I continued to lose weight and I was doing cardio and weight training. There’s a fun dance class that I do twice a week called Zumba, it’s great exercise and a lot of fun. I have lost about 30 pounds all together, went from a size 12 to a size 8. When people find out that I am 50, they are amazed. I said to myself last January that I am in control of my body and God has provided us with the food we need. So we should eat fruit, vegetables,healthy grains, fish, lean meat. God did not give us soda, chips, cookies, etc.
    I also decided to take control of my hair- NO MORE RELAXER!!! I am completely natural, eating healthy(I have cheated a few times, but recover LOL), I exercise daily and have a somewhat demanding career and I am a wife and mother. If I can take control of my body anyone can!!! So, I am saying all this to encourage you Afrobella because you encourage all of us. I also hope this encourages other bellas out there.

  29. curlycrown says:

    First of all girl you are beautiful. Don’t ever forget that! I too battle with my weight. I get lazy, busy, fill in an excuse here… So I feel ya.

    We all get off track sometimes. Exercising and eating right definitely makes me feel better. It’s definitely hard sometimes fitting exercise time into the schedule, but you have to do it for yourself. Take some “ME” time everyday to exercise, even if it’s only a walk around the block.

    Find an exercise program that suits you and that you like and most of all have FUN doing it. I used to hate exercising (still do sometimes), but not as much anymore since starting Turbo Jam. This is a really fun workout you might want to check out.

    Good luck getting healthy, Bella!

    BTW love your blog!

  30. Thank you! I’m sick of hearing Oprah talk about it, AND apologize for her weight. (I also secretly think the fat gods got revenge for her bragging EVERY time she is skinny).

    That said, our battles with obesity as black women are serious. I keep losing it and, at age 28 -I weigh too much and exercise too little. I applaud your battle, but a few years ago I also realized that I have to love myself NOW, and that means taking each day as it comes. I haven’t given up, and I wish you only the best.

    Godspeed Bella – your blog is awesome.

  31. afrobello says:

    Bella,

    Good luck with your fitness goal. In addition, please don’t think of 30 as some deadline age at which all hope will be lost from then on. Make sure that your outlook is based on a lifestyle change, not just an attempt to beat the clock.

  32. Sometimes Fat Bella says:

    This has absolutely been my journey and I’m so weary! I don’t even dare try to make any resolutions, say that I’ll eat healthy, exercise etc. Because it is so linked to my emotional state, it really is a road full of landmines. I’ve also put on about 30 pounds in the past year, having thought, like Oprah, that I’d conquered this thing. I can’t believe I am still agonizing about my weight!

  33. In search of Clarity says:

    I feel very hopefull about starting my new journey into a healthier lifestyle. I would like to say thanks to all of you for writing such encouraging words. I recently had surgery in May of 08, I donated a kidney to my younger sister. I am also on active duty in the military.
    My downward spiral started after hearing the doctors constantly tell me that after the donation that I could expect to experience a weight loss of somewhere around 10-20 lbs as most donors due. So naturally I started spending less time in the gym until it became non-exsistant. Now fast forward 8 months later I have finally gained the motivation to finally get back into the gym and drop the excess 20lbs that I put on. I am just over 6′tall and now weight 226 lbs although Navy requirements list my maximum possible weight at 180 lbs I still am with in tape measurement standards. To me, 180 is unrealistic seeing as I graduated high school weighing 175 lbs.
    So now as a 30 year old woman my goal is not on the number that appears on the scale but more so on dropping one size to get back to my size 12 frame and making eating healthier and incorporating excercise into my everyday life.
    I recently have implemented small changes that are already showing signs of improvement. For example I now park further away from my destination, I drink water daily with only 1 cup of an alternate beverage, I run & throw the football with my 2 yr old son regularly, I plan out my meals, journal my experiences, and have committed to using any piece of gym equipment for a minimum of 40 minutes.
    One more thing that I am doing is making an inspirational mural. This mural is made of cork board, but it will hold a picture of me at my goal size, a famous person that I admire as well as words that motivate and inspire me.
    Lastly, I would like everyone to remember that you don’t need a membership to some expensive gym in order to get in shape. Walk your neighbor hood, walk the steps in your office bldg, commit to dancing to music videos for 30 minutes. The list goes on, get creative, get moving and be sure that you are one of the many who will be reporting (6 months from now)back concerning how you managed to drop the weight and are keeping it off. Good luck to everyone, I have to hit the gym.

  34. I do respect Oprah’s honesty. Losing weight the right way is hard but worth it. I have been eating more healthy food but I do need more exercise.

  35. CoilyFields says:

    I totally feel you Bella!
    I’m a little different in that I was slim all of my life. I was that girl (till age 25 -now I’m 27) whose body women and men complimented regularly. And I never exercised or dieted. It seems like that has made my weight gain even more difficult to deal with. Its new and unknown to me and I get really contemptuous of myself for not looking the way I used to. I love shopping but I hate it now. I’ll go in a store and turn right back around if I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror. And dont let me get brave enough to try something on, I always end up crying.

    I gained 45 lbs during my pregnancy (and I was exercising almost everyday then!). After I delivered the combination of a sedentary lifestyle (deskjob), not being able to breastfeed (besides being the best food for baby it also helps pull your stomach back in), my Husband working an opposite shift (no one to watch the baby after I got off work so I could go exercise), and eating my stress (we had a really difficult 6 months) left me with all of the weight I had put on.

    For me motivation is the key. I want to lose the weight but I give myself every excuse in the book-some legit, some not-when I actually do have the opportunity.

    They say that if you dont lose the baby weight in the first year then it gets extremely hard after that. So I have 3 months to get my act together. I read somewhere that black women are more successful at exercise and weight loss when they do it in a group. So I’ve signed up for a hip hop exercise class. I’ve also ordered some dance exercise dvd’s. (I love to dance but no longer shake my groove thang in the clubs so this will kill two birds with one stone).

    I wish everyone the best. And remember, God said to make your request known to Him because He can do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever think or ask. Trust Him to do it. (I’m encouraging myself too!)

  36. To Big Girl:

    A scientific answer to your question is here: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm

    BMI Categories:

    * Underweight = <18.5
    * Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
    * Overweight = 25-29.9
    * Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

    So, according to the science your height and weight are in the normal range. You may be larger than other girls your age, but for your frame you are okay. Keep in mind that the BMI above is for adults, but you may not grow much more in height. (Or maybe you will. I dunno.)

    Please be encourage by many of us reading this blog and commenting: Do all you can to strengthen your heart and mind and keep good priorities. A healthy life is MOST IMPORTANT — healthy inside and out — not just appearances. Are you eating your fruits and vegetables? Do you get a healthy breakfast each day? Are you in any athletic activities (sports, dance)? Try to find educational sources online from official sources about the best ways to stay healthy. You don’t need a crash diet. You aren’t fat. Just work now to set good habits and concern yourself most with school and keeping good people around you.

    Best wishes and prayers to everybody! And yeah, afrobello, RIGHT ON!

  37. Oh, btw, I said you may be larger than other girls your age, simply b/c they may not have developed yet. We all grow differently. It sounds like you’re about my height (5 ft 5 inches).

  38. thank you ALL for sharing your stories and experiences and advice. And I want to explain further to Afrobello’s point — the 30 year benchmark is a goal I’d always set for myself, but that very goal has been keeping me back in some ways. I’m letting the goal of 30 and a specific number on the scale go. I just want to be as fit and healthy as I can be. PLEASE NOTE that I never said thin – I have never been thin and will never be thin. I’m a curvy bella, and I love my curves. I just want them to be a little firmer, is all.

    The main impetus for this lifestyle change is my health – HBP is in my family and I was recently diagnosed with type 1. If I work hard to cut back some pounds, eat healthier, and start moving, I won’t have to start taking medicine. So here goes. And thanks for all your encouragement!

  39. The key to weight loss is exercising and eating healthy. That’s it. Nothing else works.

    One thing I’ve found that works for me, is to start at the grocery store and use your budget as an excuse not to buy the crappy stuff that tastes good but isn’t good for you! I love Oreos, but a pack of Oreos costs about $4, whereas I can get four apples for $2. So…I make the decision to buy apples instead.

    One trick for getting regular exercise is just being active. Instead of sitting on the couch to watch TV, stand up and stretch. Or do lunges. Do regular laps around the office.

    I know you can do it Afrobella!

    Tara
    http://theyoungmommylife.com

  40. Breezy bri says:

    Well I am 22 years old and 180 pounds but I am 5’6 and I wear a size 10/11. Just recently I was rushed to the hospital for terrible pain in my kidneys (which I have always had problems with but not to this extent) and told that I had to drink more water if I didnt want to end up on dialysis. That is what it took for me to change my diet surely but slowly. Since I started working at this stressful job I have been drinking more and more soda and less water and it all came to a head a few weeks ago when I had drank only a cup of water in three weeks but tons of soda. As a sat on the hospital bed hooked up to an IV I decided to go back to my old ways of working out twice a day (because I have a ton of energy and it makes me feel good) and drinking only water and fruit juices. I am going to have to work on the sweets thing because I lubs me some candy. Just thought I should share.

  41. Bella,

    I too, will be turning the Trey Zip this year and have decided that this weight battle has to go. I was watching that famous ad with Valerie what’s her name with Jenny Craig and how she said that was her 2nd year not making a resolution about her weight. Mannn, I cannot wait until I am able to say that I am not thinking about my weight at any point of the day and not just as a New Year’s resolution. I agree that I just want to be fit and healthy, and if that means being a 14/16 versus a former 28/30 then so be it. Here’s to us as we embark on the joy of changing the definitions of how we see ourselves and the blessing to unfold as we begin this journey.

  42. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    I just ate fries for breakfast,and I don’t feel guilty.I exercise at least 6 days a week .I eat healthy most of the time,but when I want something fried I have it.I eat very little sweets,and I hardly ever drink soda anymore.I have been over weight all my life,but dieting is just not what I do anymore.I made a lifestyle change,and it works best for me.I have lost about 20 pounds,and i’ve kept it off for about 4 months which is good for me.Stop stressing about weight it will only make you eat more.

  43. good luck bella.. it’s a struggle for us all.. the best advice I can give you is to take it ONE DAY at a time.. if you “mess up” today, you can start over tomorrow..

    any support I can lend with exercises, weight training.. just let me know..

  44. Great post, chica! And much luck w/the exercise/weight-loss battle. I know we’ve all heard it before, but IT IS best to do it now and make it a part of your regular habit before you find yourself in a situation where have to b/c of health related reasons.

    Though not THAT serious (as some other ailments), for me it was acid reflux… eating those delicious — and fattening — that we love so much is just not worth it in the long run, when it can cause serious damage…

    *Spirit fingers for you lady (and myself)* ;-)

  45. Markeysha Evans says:

    I statred feeling the wight when I was 21 right after my son. When life grabs hold of you and pulls you in all directions it can pile on without you knowing. Ms. O has been really busy these past few years the School and Africa, the New Shows, Movies, Brodway, Opening a few Stores with her name on it, Campaingin with our New President Elect and much much more. Life took her fora ride and added some passengers 40LBS of them. I feel exactually where she is coming from.

    Thanks for the article AFORBELLA!

  46. Great piece here. I feel you about not being surprised about Oprah – and also on the lifelong weight loss struggle. One thing I’ve learned in my sojourn with this particular issue is that nothing will ever really change unless the way you think about your body and the way you think about weight loss changes. It’s not just about loving your body and wanting to be healthier. It’s about truly and unshakably believing that you deserve to be at your healthiest state at all times and that you have the power to be at your healthiest – to have your “warrior body.” It’s about confronting your fears that you can’t make it and persisting despite what others may say against you getting to your goal – or even what you might say to yourself. Not saying that you – or anyone else – doesn’t have this mindset but I know that for so many years, my own struggle persisted because as much as I wanted to be healthier and more fit, I didn’t truly believe I could attain it – until now, anyway. I also had to accept that when my life was over -scheduled – rather, when I let my life be over-scheduled – it was because I was neither mentally prepared to accept what it would take to be healthier nor was I ready to accept what life would be like for me as a healthier person. I was too comfortable with being unhealthy. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone, finally, and I’m persisting on what’s right for me ultimately despite how tiring it might seem upfront, or how difficult it might feel to do it in the moment.

    Anyway, I wish much success to you and every other bella with attaining better health and every other goal set in sight for the coming year. I know you’re on FB and I recommend for you and anyone else on FB to join the Sati Life “I Love My Body” Group on facebook. The leader of the group, Patricia Moreno, sends out the most inspiring messages related to health/wellness and overall success everyday. She’s a woman with great ideas and tips and just so much energy! I was privileged to experience the SatiLife concept on day 1 of this year – a “Design Your Body/Design Your Life” workshop that SatiLife did with a life coaching company – I’ve found the lessons and affirmations I got that day so helpful! I don’t know how you feel about links in comments but I’m gonna link the facebook group here – please check it out! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=32714445204

  47. homeinkabul says:

    I’d just like to add, Be gentle with yourself. You’re beautiful as is. I am all for being healthy, but not feeling frustrated or ugly. I agree with Samira’s post too.

    What’s helped for me is to drink LOTS of water, I drink a soda about once a week but otherwise don’t keep it in the house. I know that it’s hard in miami but incorporating walking everyday is helpful too. Not having a car (in the NE) helps. Something fun maybe? Do you have a girlfriend that you never see but works nearby? Maybe y’all can go for walks together? Or every evening with your husband?

  48. Anonymous says:

    Bella you are beautiful.

    And honestly. I think Oprah gained weight cause she knows she can lose it and it will give her ratings. She has a team and even though I believe she’s honest about her emotional struggles with weight I think she uses her weight as a crutch to get Middle America to continue to support her show. Just my theory.

    I love Oprah; but let’s not forget that she’s a business woman. She honestly has so much going on her plate between campaigning for Barack, her foundations, her school, her show can you blame her for gaining 40 pounds? Oprah clearly loves herself more than ever and I think she just had a WTH moment and decided to not be neurotic about food. Aren’t we all allowed that from time to time?

    Just because you’re a little overweight doesn’t directly translate into you not loving yourself. What about naturally thin woman? Oh I forget. No one questions there emotional well being cause as far as our society goes they don’t need to be fixed.

    There are big beautiful full figured women in Africa and no one is beating them over the head with a low self esteem stick. Geesh.

  49. Hi Afrobella,

    I am so glad that you did this post, i’ve been expecting it from you since Oprah broke this story.

    I have to go with Samira. To point it blankly Oprah seems like someone who was never made to be thin. And dramatic weightloss is difficult to maintain. I gained a lot of weight about three years ago after being put on a new medication and struggled with comments from people who were used to seeing my slim frame. In order to get back to my original frame a UK 10 i crash dieted and exercised relentlessly. The minute I stopped exercising and began eating normally I went back to my current size a UK 16.

    What I have come to accept is that this is my new body. I do need to lose weight but I recognise that the best thing that I can do is be healthy at my current size. I know that there are serious health issues with being overweight but we seem to have become fixated with a skinny ideal. Being slim doesn’t mean that you are healthy. I rarely cooked when I was a size 10 and the only full and real meals that I ate would be on a weekend when I went to my dads. I had a number of ailments. Dry skin, week hair, constipation, stress, and general problems with my digestion. Yes i’ve gained weight but I feel better and happier with myself.

    We all need to work on being healthy whatever size we are.

    Going back to the original post I wish that Oprah would stay at a moderate weight that her body can sustain and I hope that she can achieve this.

    So to you all – stay healthy in 2009!!

    An afrobella from London x

  50. Anonymous says:

    And BTW…I’m twenty pounds overweight and I’m good. I dance Salsa, African, can catch a bus, do push ups, eat balanced with a little junk here and there. Not trying to be a Hollywood Glamazon. And I meditate. My vitals are good, I get a physical and a pap smear every year. And create my own happiness…isn’t that what its all about?

  51. wow so many replies, gonna read them over the weekend.

    I would say I do have a weight problem but have also shown myself that if I try I can do something about it. My weight has steadily gained but gladly slowed since 2002. which is the year i got married. I never took not but my husband did and he would nag me. So the type of food I ate became an issue.

    Just eating healthy helped. But i did weight watchers for 5 weeks and lost 5 lbs, I loast then put on but was doing well. I went back to work after my maternity leave ended and hubs became the main chef, But I have set myself a goal. I have told some but I guess I need it to stick in my head like glue and do something about it.
    As I cannot join a gym as yet I am just whipping out my old tae bo video and I am goig to get a pilates one.
    One step at a time. Plus I am going to channel out all those people who nag me. Because when they nag me I just think so what. I am grown I do what I choose.
    You can do it girl.You are a determined soul so I believe in you Bella. I pray I can believe in me too.

  52. First off, Happy New Year Bella!!! (better late than never…hahahaha). I soo understand where you’re coming from. In 2007, I lost 40 pounds then gained back 20 in 2008. What I had to realize its that I wanted to be fit…sure I want to look cute dressed (and undressed..hehehehe) but I wanted to be healthy and carrying around this extra 20 pounds is soo not healthy for me. So I joined a new gym this week (one where the stalker ex won’t stress me like he did at my old gym). The funny thing is I haven’t been yet. My new addiction, my Nintendo Wii is providing me with about an hour of cardio each night (at least). I box till I sweat and run around my living room playing tennis. Its fun, I can bug out at home, and I’m training for a Wii Boxing Match with some friends in a couple of weeks so that keeps me motivated. I just ordered a game called “Personal Trainer.” I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Whatever you do, do what’s best for you. You love life too much not too. Keep us posted on the ups, downs, highs, and lows. We’re probably in the same boat. We have to remember: Better living is out there for all of us. Good Luck, Bella.

  53. I forgoto add I gained weight and never shifted it. but I know I can. I just want to be healthy and able to keep up with my boys.

    Plus the less pressure off other people the better. encouragement when needed and no lectures

  54. @ Big Girl –

    You don’t say how tall you are, and that makes a big difference. One thing you need to make sure of is that you are using a body mass index calculator specifically for children. You can find it by typing “children’s body mass index calculator” in your search engine, it should get you to a website, like http://www.cdc.gov, which has one. Anyway, it is very important to do that, because until you are 20 years old, it is calculated differently. Body mass index for children is very specific, it goes into both years and months of age, because body fat percentages change with each year and month of growth, and certainly for sex. Girls are different than boys, and 13-year-olds are different than 10-year-olds or 21-year-olds. The other thing is, at your age, do not “diet” in the sense that you’re restricting your caloric intake too much. You are growing and hopefully getting stronger and healthier every day. You need fuel on your journey to becoming a grown woman. The best thing to do now is to make good healthy food choices, and that will almost automatically translate into appropriate calorie intake, and exercise for strong bones and good muscle tone. If you develop those habits now, you are ahead of the game. The other thing is, we all have different body types and shapes. Everybody’s not a stick and everybody’s not curvilicious or a little bit more and everybody’s not somewhere in between, but we’re all somewhere in there! If it’s okay with your mom, there is an EXCELLENT book called Body Drama: Real Girls, Real Bodies, Real Issues, Real Answers by Nancy Amanda Redd. It’s wonderful, pictures of REAL bodies of all different types. I got this book at 40(!), and I still felt better after reading it. I wish I’d had it when I was a teen.

    I know this was a long post, but honey we have ALL been there (and are still there obviously) with the body drama. If you are reading this blog at 13, you’re obviously smart and aware and I’m sure you are beautiful, too. Your body is just one part of who you are.

  55. notjustfoxybrown says:

    I haven’t read all the comments but I’m piping in to say this: We should all make the effort to be healthy … to exercise when we can and stay away from the things that are bad for our bodies … but this obsession with being a certain size? I think that’s unhealthy too. At what point do you simply say “You know what? It ain’t perfect but it’s mine and I’m going to love it … every, single inch of it and honor it and rock it in flattering, fierce clothes! I’m gonna find a man/woman who thinks it’s hot!” That was the attitude I took a few years ago … and I lost 20 pounds that year.

  56. Try getting it off once you are in your 40′s…

    I once tried to lose weight by going on Slim Fast diet. That went bust once I started drinking their Pineapple drink while eating hot barbecue pork rinds.

    Honey, eat more vegetables and take long walks. It helps believe me.

  57. paradisebird says:

    As so often your post came just in time. and as so often i promised to myself to loose some weight this year. this promises never worked for me and i always get frustrated and angry with myself. my husband watched this for the last 3 years and a few days ago we had a serious talk about it. my BMI is at the slightly overweight border and i cannot get my sorry self in some sweat producing activities. my biggest mistake was having unrealistic goals. i will never have a small frame, never ever. my body isnt meant to be audrey-hepburn-like. a goal i always strive to and what i realise now i will never achieve. so now i am at the point (again!!)to figure out who i am and why i want to change my apperance. this has little to do with dieting but more with having a close look at me, my life , my habits and what influences me. and it has a lot to do with taking small steps, literally. i do not exercise at this point but i walk to the next grocery store instead of taking the train or the car (gives me the bonus of fresh air in my face and a nice glow on my skin) i take the stairs and not the elevator. i am looking for a yoga class not because of the exercise but because i love those asanas and they give me back my peace of soul. i drink my herbal infusions as often as possible (hard!!). and i surround myself with empowering peoples and books and walk away from the newest fashion magazines which only makes me wanting to be someone else and not cherishing who i am.
    i hope this will work for me. i try to start from within and see if this is working and i have to admit that i am scared. but reading all this comment helps me to realize that i am not alone and this is really good.
    so i hope we can all put ourselves first.because we deserve it so much and nobody else can do this for us.
    Love and blessings, Monika

  58. First of all, that’s a gorgeous picture you’ve posted of Oprah!

    Second, I always hesitate to speak my mind about the issue of diet and weight gain because in my short 21 years of life I have always been thin. Genetics have definitely played a major role, but there are other factors that have kept me thin as well. First off, I’ve always been drawn to running. I ran cross country and track my four years of high school and I still run now. Also, I have always been fairly health conscious my whole life. 2008 wasn’t my best year, because I hit up fast food a bit too much and got into coffee and soda.

    The one thing that changed my eating habits forever was when I gave up meat 7 months ago. If you ever want to change your perspective of food I suggest you stop eating meat for a few days, or even weeks. It could make you more aware of what your body needs. You start looking at food completely different. At least this is what happened with me. My veggie and grain intake skyrocketed because I made myself discover healthier habits of eating. I thought I would eventually go back to eating meat but I’ve actually stuck with the vegetarian kick and my body feels cleaner. It’s definitely easy to be a bad vegetarian and eat junkie foods all the time, but it had the opposite effect on me. It made me more aware of what I put in my body.

  59. Nickesha Sanders says:

    Yes, indeed. I’m on that same buck these days. LOL

    I am hitting the gym everday, like a hour a day. Doing my thirty minutes of cardio, weight training and my hot 100 sit- ups.

    Now as for the food tip, my diet is not that bad. I just get a little stupid with the breads and sweets sometimes. My main problemo is not enough water and greens, which the latter is essential to adequate nutrient absorption. And of course Water, keeps the body hydrated, cleansed and is a major contributor to “low energy levels”. So, I stay with a water bottle and eat a organic green salad a day with the most natural toppings.

    Sisters Pray for me and I’ll Pray for You. 2009 we have a mission to accomplish!!!!

    Nickesha

  60. Long story short: I spent my first 22 years of life skinny as a stick. Know what MY father told ME? “Look at BOTH SIDES of your family tree. Most of the folks in there are fat. You’re not gonna be skinny forever.” And he was right…I started gaining weight in my 20s and hit my highest weight, 216 pounds, in fall 2003 at age 38.

    In July 2004 I went on my first-ever real diet (South Beach), got my butt in the gym, and by July 2005 I was down to 160 pounds. However, that following winter, I put 25 pounds back on. Since then I’ve basically stayed at or around 180, and I have to remind myself to see the glass as half-full: In 3 years I have kept 35 pounds off. However, my ORIGINAL goal weight was 140, and that’s what I plan to hit this year. At 5’5″, that actually puts me on the higher end of the healthy BMI range, but that’s fine with me…I don’t need to be a stick to be fit and healthy.

    Even though I turn 44 in June and am on the outer edge of perimenopause (I think) I know I can do this and this is how: whole foods (no more diets), water, vitamins, and lots of exercise/movement, both in the gym and just in general. For example, I park my car at the far end of the lot, and if there are stairs and I’m not going more than four floors up, I’ll take them. I think of this way: There are people who need those parking spots and elevators more than me. We ain’t old yet, Bella!

    I look forward to reading about your progress. Make sure you include setbacks as well…it’s all important.

  61. From the time I can remember my mom has always been on a diet. She has recently lost 80lbs by changing her thoughts about food and lifestyle.

    I have put on some pounds during the earlier part of last year. As an indivudal who writes about health, I thought who am I to advocate a healthy lifestyle when I am not treating myself well and polluting my body with poison. So, I decided to adapt to the raw food lifestyle I eat one cooked meal a day. I drink fresh juice every day and I feel great, the weight fell off and working out is not a chore as it was before. I look at the time and think oh I need to get ready for work not oh crap just 10 miutes….

    I am focused on being healthy mind, body and spirit.

    Have a great day!

    xo,
    CC

  62. Ooh Bebroma,

    Thanks a lot for adding the info, esp the children’s bmi and the book. I tried to help too in my response, but I liked what (and how) you said it better.

    All in all, this post and the replies have motivated me to continue in my pursuit of a *whole* and healthy life. Thanks, ya’ll!

  63. Thank you, b.! And I think you did help, I just added a little more to the foundation you laid.

  64. No matter how much money, number of personal chefs, assistants, etc. that you may have (Oprah) all this amounts to a hill of beans if you are not right within. Oprah knows this now, or she’s always known it and has finally said it out loud to herself. I’m glad to hear that you’re going to become healthier and that you’re not going on any fad diets and please STAY AWAY FROM DIET PILLS. I’ve never had problems with my weight, I’m tall and thin and that’s a wrap, but I do have dear friends who sometimes struggle with their weight and I try to be their for them as much as they allow me to.

    We all need to be more conscious of our health whether thin or not. Being healthy is a choice. It’s always been bizarre how someone will spend their energy on educating themselves about what to put onto their hair and body but will NOT spend that same amount of time choosing the right foods to eat to help them be stronger so that they can be around for their loved ones and live life to the fullest.

    Being healthy is a choice. Choose wisely.

    This Time Now
    http://www.thistimenow.wordpress.com

  65. I too have struggled with my weight my whole life! Last year I decided to stop trying to lose weight and just start MOVING!! I joined a Pilates/Yoga studio last August and am quiet pleased with my results thus far.

    I have also started taking longer walks with my dog in the mornings. We walk 1-3 miles every morning. Not only is walking good for you, but its good for your dog’s mental and physical well-being.

    Now, I want to start eating healthier. Although I’m working out, I use that as a excuse to eat whatever I want too often. That is about to change.

  66. Have you ever tried yoga? I don’t go often. But i enjoy it because it is a more relaxed way of working out ( not the hype of the gym, with the grunts and the thrusts and the hopping around) but you get to work out both your body AND your mind. And being mentally fit or able to feel accomplished after a particular session goes a long way. Your body changes, along with your outlook.

  67. I’ve never had any pblms with weight until the past 5 years. I’ve let things get out of control. I have cut my sugar/empty calorie by more than half and have never felt better.

    If you don’t get your eating/dietary habits under control, no amount of exercise will help. I’m almost done with week 2. My daily exercise routine commences on Monday with 3 days of running and 2 days of weight training.

  68. Dad and Mom says:

    Just be positive. We have always known that you can do whatever you put your mind to…. and we have many examples.
    The thing is that once you have made up your mind to do something about your lifestyle, then stick to it. Real results take time; be patient with yourself, but never give up. Let your efforts become routine to the extent that you KNOW when you have neglected some part of the programme. Also, don’t overdo. Be moderate at all times and in all things and most of all, stay focussed
    You have worked hard all your life, we know that you can do this. Stay cool and remain healthy.

    Love always,
    D&M

  69. What a fantastic post, and incredible comments to go along with it. But the comment just above mine is the most precious. To have the love and support of parents who take the time to encourage and love you no matter what is such a blessing. Seeing their post provides some insight into one of the ways you turned out to be so special. Hi D&M! Thanks for our Afrobella!

  70. Hey Bella,
    I don’t respond often but reading your struggles with weight loss hurts me. Just knowing that successful women, like you and Oprah still think of your weight as a personal flaw… I’ll put it this way, I don’t think Hitchcock ever said, “Sure, I’m one of the most seminal filmmakers of my time, but have you seen my stomach?” In my opinion, I think you should go to http://www.kateharding.net and/ or http://www.fatshionista.com and read around a little bit. Honestly, you are probably just genetically overweight. I sincerely doubt you have been over-consuming your whole life. But even if you have, I still think overall healthiness should be your goal rather than weight loss.

    Tricia

  71. I think Oprah and all full figure women (including myself) should just be happy with who they are as long as you’re healthy just understand that everybody is not meant to be a size two. I go to this site that promotes thick women called http://www.thicksational.com.

    The blogger Krys is funny and does keep it real but she promotes women who are doing there thing in the industry that are full figured or as she would put it thicksational.

  72. I just love when your dad and mom post. Gives me the warm fuzzies.

  73. Hi Bella,

    I’ve been having fun trying the recipes in the Well/Health sections of the NYTimes. I just wanted to cook more vegetables and learn to make new dishes — plus it’s freezing where I live and it’s nice to be in the kitchen roasting things. So I’d recommend that to get your veggies in a non-salad way.

    I’ve also found that doing the treadmill or steps goes better for me if I listen to a radio show–like the wonderful Tell Me More–or some other podcast. Sometimes you just need that support to keep going.

    I get tired of trying. My job is demanding and you know life is work. So if I’m going to have more energy for working out, I need music, a story, a bunch of magazines, tv or something like that. I like to eat healthful food and I like to cook but geez, it can get boring and just a drain. It’s work just to think of something else sometimes. So thanks NYTimes. I just make whatever they are writing about that day. I don’t think about. And it’s always good.

    So I’d say, it’s about figuring out what you need to really thrive (as Michelle Obama would say). Surviving is so 70s.

    And you know, the work out thing and eating – it’s about having control of your life, bella. I mean. Be a parent to yourself. You run this thing. It’s your show. You can’t let the culture tell you what to do and this person like candy so you have to eat candy. Bullsh*t. You’re a grown-up. Sort yourself out, get the tools and support you need and run your business.

    Powers and joys

  74. Hi Bella!

    I (re)gained 50 pounds over a period of a year. An achilles heel injury and a personal crisis sent me spiraling. I held myself together with food. Prayer works and food surely did comfort.

    Since I know I cannot afford a nervous breakdown, food is my crutch. I just like to cook and eat! Not even bad food, but just a LOT of the good stuff.

    I have always been a thick kid, managed to slim down but my weight has fluctuated over the years.

    At any rate, when I had lost the weight and was doing exceptionally well — I was walking. It’s the 10,000 Steps a Day program (5 miles). It sounds daunting, but it gets easier as you work up to it.

    I also know for me, those late night dinners result in the very poundage that I have added. So, I am back to walking, fewer late night pasta dishes and am adding a water-aerobics class. I am looking forward to being back to where I was this time a couple of years ago.

    I do feel your pain and O’s pain and the rest of the brothers and sisters out there who struggle as we do. I do have to say, it really is about discipline and control. I am working on exercising more discipline in my life in a few areas. I think this is just one of them.

    I will be praying for your (read our) encouragement and focus. Anything is possible Bella.

  75. First of all, congratulations to you for taking the first step again. That’s the biggest part. Since I was 11, I’ve struggled with my weight, self-image and body-image. Now, at 26, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, but not the best shape I WILL be in. :)

    I’ve had migraines since I was 3 and control those now mostly by diet. I stick to real foods. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store (where most of the fresh food is), and as much as possible, try to avoid foods that have a real shelf life. Salads at lunch and/or dinner. Egg white omeletes for breakfast. Fruits and nuts for snacks. Occasionally, I’ll want something sweet and I may eat chocolate or a dessert, but I really emphasize portion control.

    What’s been key for me is finding out how many calories I burn in a day. A few months ago, I learned that I only burned 1400 calories which makes it VERY easy to understand why I was gaining weight and not losing anything. I don’t count calories, but I keep in mind what I’ve been eating and guesstimate how many calories are in something.

    Diet is the most important part, but exercising for me is critical. I will never truly be healthy without it.

    At first, I was doing some weight training and half an hour of cardio a day for an average of 5 days per week. Recently, I’ve been doing an hour of cardio a day and I can feel and see the difference.

    I sit down all day, so I’m usually ready to start moving around circa 5/5:30. When I’m stressed, mad, or bored, I go to the gym and sweat it off.

    What’s different this time for me though is that I CONSTANTLY push myself. I pay attention to how my body feels and reacts when I’m working out. I do interval training maybe twice a week (sprint for 30 seconds, walking recovery for 90 seconds), but most of the time speed walk uphill (4.1-4.3 mph). What percent? It increases. I start off at maybe 2.5 and every so often increase it by .5-1 percent depending on how easy it feels. Obviously, I start off low in the beginning, but it starts to get really challenging on at about 9-9.5 percent on the treadmill I use. I keep going at the same speed but a higher incline until I feel the challenge is gone or I can use a bit more “oomph.” I’m all about the challenge.

    Try that…just pay attention to what’s going on. As you progress and get stronger, you’ll need more of a challenge. But the same thing happens DURING your workout too.

    Best to you on your journey!

  76. so many wonderful comments! i havent read them all, but here is my 2 cents. our focus should always be on health. health of mind, body, and spirit. when we keep the focus on health, all of our weight-loss goals, will rise into place. it is not healthy to say that you want someone elses body or you want to look like someone elses body. bcuz if you think about it on a deeper level you are actually saying you want everything that comes with their body. many people are beautiful on the outside, but are jacked on the inside. not just attitudes, but any dis-eases they may have going on on the inside(mental and physical). all we can see is the pretty package on the outside. our goals for ourselves should always be being the best that your body can be. and our best does not always mean being a single digit size. as a matter of fact, who was the “genius” that came up with a numbering system to rate womens bodies anyhow. just think about it. its those 2 or 3 numbers on our clothes tags or the scale that give us so much grief. enuf is enuf!!! we are all smart and realize when we are not taking care of our health in the best way. we just chose to ignore those intuitive and gut feelings. thats why the approach to focusing on our health, mind, body,and spirit will keep us feeling at our optimum best everytime. hope this helps!!

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