Black Girls Don’t Have Eating Disorders.

I’ve just finished working out with my trainer, in front of my house, something I do twice a week. For almost two years twice a week we meet here, underneath my carport where we do a mixture of kickboxing and cardio. I realize that this is some privileged shit. That I’m even more privileged and once more during the week on Sundays I meet him at a gym for bootcamp. Oftentimes I’m the only person at bootcamp so I get another private personal training session. But I don’t feel privileged.

I feel scared. Nervous. Stressed. I’m stressed about my body. A stress that I’ve been dealing with for more than twenty years. An obsession that if I’m not careful could kill me. I have an eating disorder. One diagnosed by my psychiatrist after my divorce when I casually mentioned that I was at least eating more often. To which she wanted to know:

Do you not eat often?

How long have you been doing that?

Do you binge?

Purge?

How often do you weigh yourself?

How many diets have you been on in the last year?

What do you eat in a typical day?

How often do you exercise?

Twice a day? For how long? And ordered: Let’s keep a food journal.

Of course, I didn’t. I didn’t need a food journal. I didn’t have an eating problem. I had an “I just lost my spouse problem.” So I quit going to her. She obviously didn’t know how to do her job. Besides, Black girls don’t have eating disorders.

On the one hand I’m a nurse and I know that anyone of any gender, race, and socioeconomic class can suffer from an eating disorder but on the other hand, I’m black. We don’t DO eating disorders. That’s some white people shit. Some middle class shit. Which, as I think about who taught me how to eat every other day, how to eat whatever I wanted and throw it back up later, how to stick a toothbrush down my throat until I learned to vomit on demand, how to over exercise and under eat- a group of black girls on a cheerleading squad, black girls definitely do DO eating disorders.

But It’s under control. I have not weighed myself in over a year. I eat daily. I haven’t purged in years. I’m cured Or so I tell myself. But I’m obsessed. I spend hours a week in front of the mirror looking at my body. Assessing the weight distribution. Is that muscle? Is my belly fat? Are my boobs getting smaller or bigger. I obsess about food. Eat secret meals that I buy with cash so my wife is unaware of what all I’ve eaten then throw the bags in the front trash can where she never looks or at gas stations on the way home. Then I obsess about what I’ve eaten for days. For months. And I know that this too, this obsession with my body composition, with every calorie that I’ve put into it, is in fact an eating disorder. I wonder, how long it’ll take until I convince myself to abstain from food or even worst to purge.

I feel lonely in this journey. I’m not super skinny so I don’t fit in with those girls and the thick girls, well I’m not quite thick enough. So I don’t pipe up when they discuss how difficult it is to find good bras, or how happy they are about their weight loss, about their inch loss. On more than one occasion, on more than one thread I’ve received the message. The shut yo skinny thick ass up you can’t sit with us message. So I suffer in silence. Drive my wife crazy with questions, Do you see it? Do I look skinnier? Is all of my hard work obvious? I fret that I’ll drive her crazy. That eventually she will leave me, for someone with a higher self esteem. For someone who loves their body. For someone skinnier.

I’ve looked up the stats on eating disorders in black women and not surprisingly there are none. Exact statistics on the prevalence of eating disorders among women of color are unavailable. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, “Due to our historically biased view that eating disorders only affect white women, relatively little research has been conducted utilizing participants from racial and ethnic minority groups.” Even though sociologists recognize that black women suffer from eating disorders they don’t have enough data because for a very long time, even for scientists, black girls don’t have eating disorders. At least until now.

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Around March 18 2016

 

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Around October 15 2017

For the record my trainer is amazing and I can see the difference in pictures from before I started working out with him up until now but I can’t see the difference. (Only someone with an eating disorder will understand that last part.)

Journey to a Healthy Body : Cross Motivation

imageYesterday I restarted my journey towards a healthy body. One thing that I know for sure in regards to my fitness journey is that I am more focused and encouraged to stick to my regimen if I don’t have a real regimen and I if have a lot of people to consistently cross motivate with.

So I did what people so frequently get frowned upon for doing in this digital age: I took my plight to the internet  by posting a picture of my dream body and some motivators onto my social networking sites asking for buy-in from my friends and family. Of course plenty of people were down to join the get fit and keep each other motivated cause. There are a lot of people struggling to get in shape. After getting buy-in I decided that I needed to keep the posts up, both for myself and the other people on the body fitness journey, so this post is a first of many. Below I’ve compiled 5 things that come to my mind when I think about getting healthy and fit.

Music:

Currently my go song, the song that I play when I need that extra boost and the song that I have last on my playlist, cued to play right when I think about giving up is 99 Problems by Jay-Z. Why? My body fat is my b*tch and I can’t let her be one of my problems.

Activities vs The Gym:

I prefer to do activities as opposed to going to the gym. I’ve been to the gym all weekend but I plan on joining an adult kick ball team by the end of March. I’m also on the lookout for inexpensive Pole Dancing, Barre, Acrobatic, and any other class that I think would be fun, help me work up a sweat, and give me the shape of body that I’m most comfortable with.

Eff The Scale:

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I suffer from an eating disorder. Currently it’s under control but I know if I don’t get my body in check I’ll be tempted to perform unsafe weight lose practices. Hence, you will rarely if ever hear me talk about getting on a scale or losing a certain amount of weight.  I have no idea how much I weigh and I have no intention of trying to find out.

Fun in The Sun:

Sometime in the very recent past I became an outdoor lover. Indoor activities like twerk or zumba classes can be fun but if given the choice I’d gladly do anything that keeps me on the water and in the sun. My goal is to become a strong swimmer when it gets warmer outside so that I can try to join some kind of team that practices water sports.

Inspiration:

I’ve been reading up on how to make my fitness quest a constant part of my life. Jeanette Jenkings, Rachel Brathen, Shawn T and, Massy Arias are some of my favorite fitness inspirations. I check their timelines frequently for fitness advice. Something I read says that it takes four weeks to see results so I don’t intend to really look in the mirror for the next twenty-six days. There’s a saying that it takes twenty-one days for something to become a habit so I plan to work out for 45-60mins a day for the next nineteen days before I drop down to five days a week.

What are your 5 things that come to mind when you think about getting healthy?