Hold up! Weight a minute. Yes, you read that right. If there is one word that sends chills down my spine (besides the word moist, which should just be taken out of the English language altogether in my opinion) it is the word Weight. I am specifically referring to the extra weight that I am carrying around right now.
As women, this word holds way too much power. We shame ourselves and each other if we weigh too much. We shame ourselves and others if we don’t weigh enough. We shame ourselves and others when we lose weight, when we gain weight and when we stay the same weight. This is one area that we as women have got to do better. We all struggle with this, whether or not we will admit it, so why are we so hard on ourselves? Why are we so hard on each other? Scroll through any social media outlet and you will see what I am talking about. We are oversaturated with what we think is acceptable, and many of us are struggling in silence trying to make ourselves look like someone we follow on social media or a celebrity we see on the cover of a magazine.
I am no exception to this rule. I have always struggled with my weight and with my body image. Growing up in an all-white community, I never saw anyone built like me. So in turn, I hated my body, not having the ability to grasp the concept that curves don’t mean fat. 8th grade was the first time I was ever able to participate in gym class or sports. With the illness that I was diagnosed with at age 6, I was unable to participate in anything considered a contact sport. That left me to walk around the gymnasium or ride a stationary bike while all of my classmates got to roller-skate and play dodgeball. Do you know how awkward it is to be the only black girl in your school and not be able to participate in gym or basically any other extracurricular activities? It was awful.
So by the time I got to the 8th grade, I was behind for obvious reasons when it came to sports. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad, if I had lived somewhere else. But where I grew up, most 8th graders didn’t play modified. They were already being pulled up to JV and Varsity. Another circle I would be left out of. I never felt like I belonged, and I had curves and thighs.
My weight has fluctuated up and down my entire life and to date; I am the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life. As I have watched the scale creep up and up, I was in denial. But that pesky social media has a way of slapping you in the face. The “On this day” feature has had me all in my feelings, ladies. Just a few years back, I was the lowest I had ever been in my adult life. I was running, I was lifting weights and for the first time I felt confident in my own skin. But a work injury to my shoulder would bring that to a screeching halt and the weight would start to pile on again.
Over the weekend after going shopping because nothing in my closet fits and trying on clothes that also didn’t fit, I came to a crossroads. I could go up a size (AGAIN) or I could get my ass moving. I decided on the latter. Enough is enough. I took a brisk walk around my neighborhood yesterday, and this morning I was up and on the elliptical at 4:30am. My goal this week is to give myself 30 minutes every day to move my body. I am not being real specific, because I know how I am once I set a lavish exercise goal and then don’t hit it. I am so sick and tired of starting from square one that the goal of just moving every day is enough. My approach I think is different this time. I am loving myself enough to treat it with respect. I have never thought about exercise that way before; as a form of expressing my love and gratitude for my body. It is a daily struggle. Who am I kidding? Dealing with our weight is something that we struggle with by the hour or even by the minute. It’s freaking hard. I don’t have all the answers, and I won’t get into the debate of what kind of eating lifestyle is right. But I will say that we need to cut ourselves and each other some slack. We are all struggling. So let’s be a little less judge-y and a little more empathetic. Weight is hard enough to battle, so let’s not battle one another too.
Love yourself enough to move your body for 30 minutes each day this week. Even if it is just a brisk walk. You deserve that.