It’s funny when I think about it: My elders all lived long lives. Maybe because it was home cooking, never processed or fast food. We weren’t eating all the fake food we eat today. And now that I’m in Texas, the portions are ridiculous.
When you turn 50, everything changes. The things you used to get away with, you can’t anymore. I was always considered small or average, and not because I was athletic or very active. But my weight crept up over the years, and my doctor said dropping some pounds could lower my sugar levels.
My son wanted me to become vegan. We had been trying to make healthy changes before I was diagnosed, but I became so overwhelmed, I just couldn't do it. Still, I knew something had to change. After my diagnosis, my doctor set me up with a dietitian who gave me this great pamphlet on what's good for your body. She talked to me about calories and exercise.
I wanted to be realistic. I took what the dietitian gave me and tried to incorporate it into my real life. I like fruits and vegetables, and she showed me which ones were best and when to eat them. I stopped the pop ― soda. I upped my water intake. Instead of grabbing the potato chips, I would grab a healthy snack.
“Black women need to take care of ourselves first, and put everything else behind that.”
I exercised four or five days a week. I bought a stationary bike and rode it while watching one of my shows for 30 minutes. Or I went to the gym and walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes and used the machines. When I did something crazy, I’d ride my bike longer to counter it. It's all about balance.
From June to November, I lost 30 pounds. Five months is not that long. But riding that bike is not fun for me; I don't enjoy exercise. So I gained back 15 pounds. But I’m still in a good place. I wish I had started this sooner because all my children would know healthy eating is normal eating.
I also know that I need rest. I need serenity. I need happiness and laughter. Self-care is a big thing for me now. I know it sounds cheesy, but self-care is not something black women are good at. We need to take care of ourselves first and put everything else behind that. Once you get to that point, it's life-changing. I have an app called Simple Habit, and every morning at 8:00, I do a little meditation.
All this is an awakening. Life is about abundance and happiness, and you need to get as much out of it as you can.
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