These days, it seems like everyone and their mother is trying to lose weight or, in my case, maintain their ideal weight. And for every weight watcher there are at least two saboteurs – people who want you to re-gain your lost weight or, at least, not lose more than you already have. Fortunately, there’s much you can do to offset the sabotage of others. Unfortunately, it becomes a bit trickier when it is your own subconscious mind plotting against you.
I know, for some, the doubts and fears expressed by family and friends can rub off and feed our own existing fears. For example, I have friends and acquaintances who fear losing some of the people in their lives if they lose enough weight to be considered sexually attractive. They know that their overweight friends will envy their weight loss success, that their slim friends will feel threatened by the prospect of not looking better by comparison, and that their “boyfriend” will resent having to compete for their affections with other (likely better) men.
Most people, whether they are willing to consciously accept and admit it or not, know with absolute certainty what their relationships are really about. And many people, especially overweight women, are willing to settle for being the booty call/ last resort, enabler, shoulder to cry on, and cheerleader to other people’s lives, because they don’t respect themselves. The fact that they are fat tells others that they do not care enough about themselves to make their health and well-being a priority, so that is how others choose to treat them. They don’t have genuine relationships with the people that they fear losing. That’s why they fear losing them.
More tangible personal fears include excess leftover skin after reaching the final goal weight or not being able to afford a new wardrobe. These two problems are easily solved. For starters, if you lose weight the old fashion way, and maintain each of your weight loss milestones for at least 2 weeks before losing more weight, your skin will shrink wrap to your body naturally. Excess skin is only a problem when one loses weight too quickly, usually through bariatric surgery. As far as your wardrobe goes, that’s what thrift stores are for. The ones in my area have $1 and 50% off sales at least once per month. AND it’s a heck of a lot easier to find great designer clothes in your size when you’re slim than when you’re fat; even if you’re tall, like me.
The most potent lie that keeps so many AA women fat, is the belief that being sexually attractive somehow causes a violent response in men… Or at least Black men. I have friends and acquaintances who have been told on a regular basis (since hitting puberty) not to leave their home “looking too good” or they will be raped and murdered! It’s a ridiculous thing to tell your daughter, but their well-meaning mothers absolutely believe this and have successfully instilled this fear in their daughters. Not coincidentally, every woman I know who believes that she will be a victim of violent crime if she “looks good” is overweight or obese. Likewise, most of the sexually abused Black woman I have known are either overweight/obese or dress like a guy and refuse to wear cosmetics.
Two famous examples of women who were sexually abused as children and/or teens and went the overweight=asexual /safe route are Monique (pictured above) and Oprah Winfrey. While Monique has also gone the “fat acceptance” route, Oprah has been very public about her struggle to lose and maintain weight loss.
African American women have good reason to believe that their attractiveness can create a violent/deadly response in BM. Whenever a violent crime is committed against a BW or BG by a BM, regardless of the actual circumstances, the woman/girl is blamed for the crime committed against her. That being the case, the onus is considered to be on BW/BG to look as unattractive as possible to avoid being victimized by the hapless BM who may attack them through no fault of their own. 🙄
BTW, if you believe that female attractiveness causes a violent response in males send me an email, I have some swamp land up at the North Pole that I’d like to sell you. 😆
Men who commit violent crimes against women and girls, especially rape, HATE women and girls. Rape is a hate crime. Sex is merely the weapon of choice. It’s not about the sex, it’s about the power to humiliate, dehumanize and control a woman/girl. There is no amount of weight you can gain, nor ridiculous hair colors you can add to your hair that will make you safe from a violent, woman-hating male. And you should certainly never jeopardize your health and well-being to avoid being a victim, since it does not work anyway. Fat and obese women are raped too, as are elderly women and small children; are they also “too attractive for their own good”?
It’s always good to remember that other people’s emotional and psychiatric issues are not about you. These
men creatures hated women and girls long before they saw you walking along, minding your own business. It’s not about you!
The smartest thing any woman or girl can do to protect themselves from violence is get into the best physical condition that they can achieve. When you are in great physical condition you can run faster and longer, you’re stronger and more agile; this means that you will be able to run from, or fight off, a violent attack more effectively. This is what concerned AA mothers need to tell their daughters. They should also sign them up for a martial arts class as soon as they are old enough to participate. 🙂
Also, (and this is a proven fact) people – both male and female – are more willing to defend (both verbally and physically) women who are attractive and embrace their femininity than women who are not and do not. Even unattractive women who wear makeup and feminine clothing get more consideration from strangers. This is useful to know, because too many AA women walk around looking like they just rolled out of bed, literally.
A few weeks ago, I saw a slender, attractive Black woman, in her thirties, at a thrift store. She was wearing a doobie (sp?) rag on her head, saggy pajama bottoms and a wrinkled tee. My mother, who was shopping with me, pointed her out. “It’s a shame for a pretty girl like that to leave the house looking that way!” My mom whispered to me. She was noticed by others in the store as well. Some seemed to find her appearance amusing, while others were obviously angry and offended. Not surprisingly, one of the scowls in her direction came from the lone man in the store.
Men are far less gallant towards women who dress like they don’t care about themselves and, by extension, others. This may be wrong and sexist, but I have witnessed it time and again.
“BEING good-looking is useful in so many ways.
“In addition to whatever personal pleasure it gives you, being attractive also helps you earn more money, find a higher-earning spouse (and one who looks better, too!) and get better deals on mortgages. Each of these facts has been demonstrated over the past 20 years by many economists and other researchers.”
~DANIEL S. HAMERMESH (Ugly? You May Have a Case)
If you’re one of those women who believes that everyone should accept and love you no matter how humongous you are or how poorly you choose to dress yourself, I wish you all the best – good luck! But until reality catches up with your personal desires, you will be at a marked disadvantage in this world.
So, how do you stop sabotaging yourself?
- You can start by creating a list of the fears you have in regards to your weight loss. Dig deep. The more honest you are about what you fear will happen if you reach your goal weight the better.
- Write down all the positive aspects of losing weight–> Looking better, feeling better, being able to move in ways you could not before, new clothes, etcetera.
- Keep a food journal. It keeps you honest about what you are putting in your mouth. Include serving size, time of day and how you feel when you are preparing to eat said food (angry, sad, anxious, happy…). This will help you identify patterns of emotional eating.
- Join a professionally led support group, for people who are trying to lose weight. Maybe even a 12-step program for compulsive eaters – Overeaters Anonymous (OA). Don’t be afraid to seek the help and advice of others. Good people love helping others achieve worthwhile goals.
- Develop strategies for dealing with your fears that eliminate the use of food. Remember that it’s okay to feel afraid. It’s how we deal with our fears that matter.
On your weight loss journey, it’s important to make small changes to avoid becoming overwhelmed. A long-time friend of my mother lost more than one-hundred and twenty pounds over four and a half years and she started by exercising only. She did not alter her diet in the beginning. She steadily lost weight, but hit a plateau that lasted months. She realized that she could not lose more weight without changing something in her diet, so she did. Slowly. She cut back on junk foods, then removed junk food entirely. Her progress was slow but sure. Today, she is slim and shapely, with perfectly firm, but still stretch marked, skin.
She was a forty-two year old compulsive eater when she began her weight loss journey. I once watched this woman eat half of a 20-pound Thanksgiving turkey by herself! If she could do it, believe me, anyone who is motivated can.