Combat stereotypical excuses

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a health nut. I live, eat and breathe health and fitness every day. It hasn’t always been this way, but within the past few years, living a healthier lifestyle has become one of my biggest priorities.

However, as I look around, I find that few black women are as passionate about maintaining their health.

As a certified personal trainer, I encounter quite a few people who are eager to get in shape, and in some cases, it’s literally a matter of saving their lives.

Ironically, most of my clients aren’t black, even though it seems to me that black women are the main ones talking about needing to get in shape or losing “x” amount of weight.

In my opinion, black women are the least likely to actually invest the time, money and hard work into doing so. Why?

Are black women still following the “lazy negro” stereotype when it comes to health and fitness? I believe so, to a certain extent. We will run out and impulsively spend money on body wraps, slimming teas and pills that promise to make us look like our favorite celebrities – quick fixes.

In my profession I see it all the time. People may lose a few pounds, but they won’t keep it off.

Have they taken into consideration that quick fixes are usually unnatural and can wreak long-term havoc on their bodies?

Then there are the black women who have just given up. They have decided they are going to be the same size forever. They may refer to themselves as just being “big-boned.”

Instead of really trying to address their health, fitness and diet issues, they just accept being unhealthy and try to disguise it. They may put up the “I’m too cute to do that” front or overdress and/or overly make up their faces for all occasions to compensate for their weight.

I don’t believe all black women who are overweight feel this way. I also know that some people’s weight may be the result of a serious medical condition. I don’t believe that everyone on the planet should be “skinny” or overly muscular. As I tell my clients, there is no cookie-cut shape. It’s what’s going on in the inside that matters.

The truth is, there is nothing “cute” about being at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which most of my peers seem to think is a trend based on their poor diets and lack of physical activity.

Let’s focus on gaining and maintaining our health. Eating “right” should not be synonymous to the word “diet.” Eating “healthy” should be looked at as a lifestyle. I’m not saying never have a piece of fried chicken ever again. I would be a hypocrite.

However, everything should be done in moderation. Working out doesn’t have to mean going through a huge fiasco at the gym. It could mean just skipping the elevator and using the stairs.

Our priorities are so conflicted, especially at this age. We’re more concerned about sweating out our hair today than preventing potentially terminal illnesses in our future. If you want change, then you have to make the decision to change.