According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, four out of five black women are overweight or obese. No population in the United States has a higher obesity rate than African American women. As a black woman who has dealt with weight issues, I understand how easy it is for our weight to get out of control due to poor mental healthcare. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to eat. There have been times in my life that I had been living to eat instead of eating to live. Opening refrigerator doors like it was my full-time job. The Cookie Monster was my alias. I have had no respect for the concept of eating to live for a really long time. From my late twenties to mid 30’s my relationship with food was tumultuous.
I understand that trauma can trigger women to want to eat uncontrollably. Those unhealthy patterns of black women and obesity stem from genetics. We are born bigger than our counterparts. Women deal with raging hormones on a daily basis. Because of this fact, our moods fluctuate sometimes. In my experience, eating was an instant mood booster. A sort of cushion for my problems. The death of my best friend triggered some really unhealthy habits with food during my late 20’s. Around 27, I started gaining a lot of weight. I spent a few thousand dollars on weight loss programs like Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers along with multiple trainers. I was obsessed with my weight.
I had adopted this all or nothing mentality where I felt like if I didn’t have a large weight loss, I would eat as a form of punishment. It wasn’t until I started going to therapy around age 29-30 that my relationship with food started to shift for the better. I also started working on my relationship with God which was a real game changer. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, ‘Your body is a temple.’ Taking care of your body is biblical. When this scripture started to fully sink in, everything changed. I continued going to therapy and began a tradition I started in college. I started running again. I would go before work. My eating habits changed when I started becoming accountable for everything I was eating and my exercise routine. I was healing in every way possible. Below are 6 tips on how I cultivated a better relationship with food!
- Open yourself up to eating healthier foods.
- Log your food daily. (I use the Foodility app and it’s free.)
- Track your steps daily to track your progress. (I use the Pacer app and it’s free.)
- Before starting an exercise regimen, get your measurements taken to track progress.
- Before starting an exercise regimen, get your starting weight recorded.
- Exercise with a partner to keep you accountable. (Also invest in a Personal Trainer.)
This feature was submitted by Knetris L. Jones
My name is Knetris L. Jones and I am from Big Stone Gap, Virginia. I currently live about 30 miles outside of Nashville, Tennessee. My love for writing started in college where I studied at The University of Virginia. I studied English Language and Literature. Currently working on my first memoir, ‘Love Me Back To Life.’