5 Convos Black Folk Need To Have About Food
In total since I started my weightloss journey. I have lost over 80lbs. I am often questioned by friends and other folks in the same manner “What did you do?” I always respond the same way “I eat well and I workout.” From there, their response is usually the same as well “No, really what did you do?” Then they would spill names of all sorts of diets and cleanses. And I just try not to look frustrated. I think overall as a community we need to revisit the topic of food and our mindset towards it. So in all seriousness, I compiled a short list of genuine things that helped me lose the weight, continue to lose, and keep it off.
1 I had to face my food demons! I had to have a conversation with myself and really say why are you eating? It seems easy but it’s not. Honestly, I had to admit that I had a food addiction. It was a hard crying, healing, conversation in the dark. Many of us don’t realize it, but we are addicted to the food and all its delicious chemicals. But, many of us have some sort of emotional connection with food. When we are having a great day we go out with our girls and celebrate with food. Baby showers, graduations, even funerals are food centered for black folk. We want to know who is cooking what so we can plan what we will eat when we get there, plan to eat before we come, or not come at all. When we have a bad day we want some good comfort food to ease the pain. And this exist whether it be some butter pecan vent sessions for the loss of a job or a week of fried fish and cheese grits after a break up (don’t judge me YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE). Food has become an emotional crutch for many of us, and it’s about time we admit it.
2 I focused my discipline when it came to food. Along with the conversations of asking why I was eating. I had to really look back at the past and wonder what caused this issue with food. And I think for me, like many of us, it started in childhood with a simple phrase… “You are not leaving the table until you finish what’s on your plate!” And I am sure you have heard this in one form or another from one relative or another. But psychologically, I think this has really fucked us up. I know that when I had this conversation, I realized how much I had, even as an adult prioritized finishing everything on my plate over stopping when I was full. Even being forced to eat when I wasn’t hungry. When we went to a family member’s house and they offered you food. There was no saying you weren’t hungry or you were out of order, rude, or thought you were too good for their food (secretly, in some cases I was, I had seen some of those kitchens). We even associate certain behaviors with eating. I remember being with an ex, we used to go on dinner and a movie dates every payday. We would go somewhere young and cute like Friday’s, have apps, drinks, dinner, share dessert. Then we would go to the movies and have popcorn. And I wouldn’t be hungry, but I would get the popcorn because I associated eating popcorn with watching a movie. Disciplining myself to eat only when I was hungry was a huge mindset hurdle. It’s something I still struggle with on the daily.
3 I became conscious of what I put in my body regularly. It was about more than weight loss. It was a lifestyle change. I know everyone says that so much to the point that it has become cliche´, but it’s the honest truth. I read this book called the Kemetic Diet. And towards the end of the book, it tells you to ask yourself 3 questions at the end of everyday. “What have I fed my body, What have I fed my mind, What have I fed my spirit?” Being reflective, helped me to be present about what I was consuming. Once I became conscious of it, there were certain things I just could no longer eat. McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell (which I can’t see why any self respecting adult would eat sober). A big part of actualizing that was consuming only what I made. But if you consume only what you make, it helps you really see if that’s what you want. Be honest with yourself, if everytime you wanted a bacon cheeseburger and fries you had to do it all yourself. Go to the store get the ground beef, bacon, cheese, bread, potatoes, and other fixins. Mix the meat, put the bacon in the oven, toast the bun, cut the tomatoes, cut the potatoes and fry them. How many bacon cheeseburgers do you think you would actually eat? If every time you wanted pizza, you had to get the crust, sauce, cheese, toppings… you get the idea. So, I rarely eat out, and when I do, I go somewhere that doesn’t have a drive-thru, where I must go inside and actually wait for my food. Where I have to make a conscious decision and take my time with my order. REAL, good, food takes time…always remember that.
4 I made health goals not weight goals. Yes, I do have an ideal weight I want to be at, but it has nothing to do with a BMI chart that’s at the doctor’s office. I think this is important to remember that because making a weight goal will have you thinking the work is done after you reach a specific number. During my journey I have gotten to really good weights and said oh ok I can go back to eating junk, not working out. And what happened was before I knew it I was back to the place where my draws were getting tight around the thigh again. Health goals help you to get addicted to the process of bettering yourself. My trainer @onehundredyalife (Kenneth Murphy) would always tell me to trust the process. And honestly when you are on your 19th Burpee ain’t nobody tryna hear that mess. But long after I took my health into my own hands, I realized I was doing my 19TH BURPEE (ya feel me). I wanted to be more active. Presently, I don’t have children, but I wanted to play more with my nieces, nephews, and little cousins. I love seeing the look on their faces when I pull up to my mama house, because they know we are going to the park, have a foot race, or a game of freeze tag. We often complain about this generation that all they want to do is stay in the house and play XBOX and eat junk food. But who is leading by example? Who is taking them outside to play? Who is buying and eating the junk with them? We have to tighten up, cuz ain’t no 12 year old beating me in a foot race breh!
5 WATER bruh…Seriously, like fr fr. We have got to do better with water. We CANNOT be mad that the teacher calls home saying that our child will not sit down but we have pumped them up with High Fructose Corn Syrup or Hawaiin Punch and Grape Drink. I remember legit getting in trouble for not putting enough sugar in the TANG (Snap, throwback y’all remember TANG tho?). Even as adults, the amount of harsh chemicals and sugar those drinks contain is really harmful for us as well… Like you can literally dye your hair with Kool-Aid, don’t ask me how I know (I just know). I mean I’m not knocking anyone. Cuz bish I love a tall glass of Simply Lemonade as much as the next person, (I know it ain’t all natural!) but drinking that stuff on a daily is really bad for us. We can’t keep doing it, then when Auntie comes back from the doctor one day with diabetes, we act surprised. However we are the main ones asking her to make her famous sweet tea at every family event. For a long time I thought diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure were just something that black folks got as we got older. One, two, or a bad combination of all three. That is totally false, and we know factually that our eating and drinking habits are contributing to that heavily. Water is the essence of life. And yes some people will recommend that you drink 8 glasses (64 oz) a day. But in actuality you need to drink .5 oz for every lb that you weigh. You can’t expect the 8 glasses a day to work the same way in 150 lb person, the way it would in a 250 lb person, logic, biology, and plain old common sense lets you know that isn’t true. And for the simple fact that hunger and thirst are controlled by the same part of the brain most of us are thirsty not hungry half the time anyway. Look, nothing will do for your body what water does. It travels your entire body in 45 seconds, clears up skin, aids in weight loss, cleanses kidneys and other vital organs, prevents migraines… the list goes on and on.
As a people, as a community, we need to have this conversation with the folks that we love.