A Black Woman's Journey What Fit Looks Like
A Black Woman’s Journey I spent too much time trying to conform to someone else’s idea of beauty. I’m making my own right now.I spent too much time trying to conform to someone else’s idea of beauty. I’m making my own right now.
Mirrors are my unhealthful passion. When I was a teenager, I began by enrolling in dancing courses at first one studio, then two, then three. I participated in acrobatics, ballet, tap, jazz, and modern dance.
It was enjoyable at first. I participated out of passion for the creative process and the friends I made.
But around the age of 14, I started to take it more seriously and consider it as a potential career, a time when I could combine my love of writing and my love of the performing arts. By the age of 18, I had made up my mind to major in both dance and English in order to write and direct musicals.
However, I had a secret. My health was poor. Prior to any important performance, interview, or if the scale climbed higher than I liked, I was purging to maintain a healthy weight.
It’s no secret that the dance industry has historically exalted a standard of fitness and beauty that is out of reach for many people, especially Black girls.
In order to pursue a professional dance career, I had to push myself to fulfil a requirement that wasn’t intended for me.
For the first time, I experienced the same emotions that so many Black women have when attempting to navigate the fitness industry, where it is implied that the “perfect” body is not a Black one.
Abandoning impossible standards A Black Woman's Journey
The pressure I had as a dancer was increased by rejection. After giving auditions for many university dance programmes, the best programmes rejected me, and I decided not to enrol in the ones I was accepted into (though now as a grown-up I genuinely question my explanations behind turning down Howard). Read More
Rejection and impossible standards work well together.
Because I also enjoyed eating, I would binge whenever I had a need for sweets or junk food. I like eating, whether it’s dill-seasoned baked salmon with sautéed greens on the side or a big Zaxby’s plate of chicken fingers. Mealtime is a wonderful time for me and my stomach.
Then, when I felt the need to exert control over the outcome, I cleansed.
I had two dance auditions at my university when I finally entered college. I was turned down twice. Even though I enjoyed dancing, I realised at the age of 19 that I could not support myself by performing it.
I decided to focus on journalism and creative writing academically instead of dancing with a campus recreational group.
I was able to let go of some of my bad habits when I let go of the pressure I put on myself to excel at dance. I ended my cycle of bingeing and purging shortly after I began undergraduate study.
My acquaintance was one of the “freshman 15”. I visited the gym whenever I felt like it, cycling through phases of intense exercise and complete inactivity. For better or worse, I still have these behaviours today, more than ten years later. See more
Finding my own path to health
My relationship to my general wellness, physical fitness, and health is tangled and chaotic. I’m not working out right now because of a phase. Since learning I was expecting my second kid in October, I haven’t practised yoga. Read more
I know I should get out the mat and do a flow when I look at it, especially because I continued to practise yoga up until 36 weeks into my son’s pregnancy, but I don’t.
I have actually used my gym memberships. I went three times a week and did cardio for an hour and weight training for an additional hour to 90 minutes.
I used to go at least twice a week to the several yoga studios where I held memberships. Recently, when I was in the mood for exercise, I listened to live Baptiste yoga audio courses (because, free) and exercised while doing so, either in front of an electric heater running in my bedroom or outside in the sweltering Florida summer heat.
I continue to be inspired by the mirror, my vanity, and the act of gazing in the mirror while hoping to see my ideal figure. But I’m not attempting to lose weight. I do not desire to be.
I am a lady of colour. Along with some hips and thighs, I also have boobs, a booty that I wish was a little thicker, and some hips. I’m not upset by it.I in no way want to eliminate it.
Even though I strive to maintain my tummy as flat as possible, I extend myself some grace. My body has given birth to life and will do so shortly again.
I’ve been working hard to reach this point of acceptance. to take a peek at the scale’s number and feel somewhat at peace with it. to look in the mirror and think, “Damn, you fine chick.”
Even at my tiniest, my body mass index (BMI) chart on my health app consistently indicates that I am overweight. I laughly dismiss it as “racist.”
defining our own criteria
The ideal is lithe and white in the realm of wellness, fitness, and beauty—adjectives that will never apply to me or many other Black women.
Even though we aren’t the norm or even the target market, we must still make our way through the fitness, wellness, and beauty industries knowing that we are still attractive and worthy of having a safe place to exercise, unwind, meditate, and vibrate a bit higher.
Non-Hispanic Black adults have the highest rate of obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While obesity rates often fall as income rises, the CDC discovered that for Black women, there is no change in obesity prevalence regardless of how much or how little we earn (1Trusted Source).
Black women are known for frequently putting their needs last in order to take care of their friends, family, and even workplace.
This overextension increases our stress levels, which contributes to weight gain. And if we’re taking care of everyone else, we frequently find ourselves too exhausted to care for ourselves, despite the fact that we know we should.
Cutting the way forward
This is the basis for organisations like Black Girls Run. In an effort to combat the rising obesity pandemic in the Black community, particularly among Black women, the organisation was created in 2009.
These kinds of organisations increase the diversity and accessibility of the fitness industry. They reach out to us and show us love despite the fact that they innately understand the special fitness and health problems that their audience faces.
The work of yoga influencers Jessamyn Stanley and Britteny Floyd-Mayo from Trap Yoga Bae, as well as Black Girls Hike, also exemplify compassion.
The “quarantine 15” is a true outcome of the strain of surviving a worldwide pandemic at the present time, and stress is exacerbated for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) for a variety of causes, including racism, health inequities, and income inequality (2, 3Trusted Source).
Fitness may not be at the forefront of many of us Black women’s minds right now because women have suffered the greatest losses in terms of position and footing in the job and general economy (4).
However, there are locations that have been specifically designed for us when it is—when it once more becomes a priority for you and me. There are folks out there working to assist us in becoming our fittest and healthiest selves whenever we’re ready to say “yes” to us.
As for myself, I will eventually find a way to get back to my mat and take care of my physical needs (probably after kid number two enters the world).
I’m still optimistic till then because I know that Black girls do so much more than just sit around doing nothing. Black girls bike, swim, skate, dance, practise yoga, and so much more.