Whether we’ll admit it or not, a lot of us our obsessed with our weight — and what our body looks like.
And it’s partially the media’s fault too. We are constantly highlighting Beyoncé’s thigh gap or Teyana Taylor's taunt abs or Kim Kardashian’s round rump, which can add even more pressure for women of color to be thick but also fit and therefore we're created an environment where we are emotionally attached to the numbers on a scale. And that’s gotta ease up.
While we are living in an increasingly more body positive and accepting society, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to shed some pounds, which is important for Black women — who bear the brunt of the obesity epidemic in the U.S.
So here’s the deal: Before you set a weight-loss goal, never lose sight that your weight isn’t solely about what you look like in those skinny jeans, it’s really about your overall health. And so if you are interested in losing weight and getting fit, the first step is talking to your doctor and getting the proper blood tests to see where your health stands right now and what chronic diseases you may have or are at risk for down the road.
From there, you two can work out what works for you and never does that have to include being a bobble head.
“A healthy weight is not one specific number for all people," Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D., a registered dietitian in Washington, D.C, recently told Cosmopolitan.
“It’s a range based on so many things, including genetic and lifestyle habits,” she added.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the whole body mass index (BMI), the measure of body fat based on height and weight, is actually kind of bogus. It doesn’t take into account bone density or muscle mass (which weighs more than fat), a 2016 UCLA study found.
"There are healthy people who could be penalized based on a faulty health measure,” said the study's lead author A. Janet Tomiyama, the director of UCLA's Dieting, Stress and Health Laboratory, in a press release about her study.
“While the unhealthy people of normal weight will fly under the radar and won't get charged more for their health insurance. Employers, policy makers and insurance companies should focus on actual health markers."
So you might have to use other methods to understand if you’re overweight, obese or normal weight — such as A Body Shape Index (ABSI) — and access where you need to go from there.
Once you’ve gotten that information and are ready to start losing weight, it’s always important to set realistic goals if you’re serious about improving your wellness. A 2012 study found that those who set modest goals were more likely to reach them and continue on than those who set uber-challenging ones from the jump.
For example, if you currently don’t workout at all, instead of saying, “Oh, I am going work out fie times a week,” opt for three days. Instead of trying to lose 40 pounds in two months (which isn’t realistic or healthy), opt for 7-15 pounds during that same frame because not meeting lofty goals can lower your confidence and make you quit all together.
Remember: Weight loss isn’t a sprint — it’s a marathon. So challenge yourself and up the ante overtime, just don’t overdo it.
And one last thing: Good health isn’t just what you weigh and working out — it’s about living a healthy lifestyle, which includes drinking less alcohol, eating more of a plant-based diet, avoiding smoking, reducing stress and getting eight hours of sleep a night.
That and promising us to stay away from celebrity fads. They don’t work and they can actually do more harm than good.
(Photo: Tom Grill/Corbis/Getty Images)
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