You May Have A Big Butt, But How’s Your Health?

Big Butt Health

Have A Big Butt And Be Healthy

So many sisters pride themselves on their “Donks,” “Fatties” and “Big ol’ butts,” but the question becomes do those large posteriors also come with a side of dimpled thighs and flabby gut?

I get that black women’s butts are the things of lore, but you can’t focus on one body party to the exclusion of your overall health.

I hear (and know) many women who run around touting the gloriousness of their hindquarters yet are probably well into the obese category or at the very least grossly overweight.

Newsflash: we are more than our behinds. And our lives dictate that, not only do we look fly, but we’re healthy as well. We will get out hair and nails done and dress to the nines at whatever size we are, but healthy seems to bypass us.

It’s time we focus on out overall health and not just the greatness of one body part. You can be healthy and have a big butt too. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, let’s just focus on begin healthy first and let the behind fall where it may.

Getting Healthy is Not Something Only White Women Do

Getting Healthy

Getting Healthy Is A Black Thing

Too often in the black community we ascribe certain aspects of our life we need to improve to “something only white people do,” as if we’re somehow beyond or better than that thing. Unfortunately, when it comes to our health, too often it seems we only believe white women do certain things, particularly when it involves any physical activity, dieting or just simply pampering ourselves.

The gym, running, yoga…only white women do that.
Dieting, pilates, spinning….only white women do that.
Massages, Spa dates, facials…only white women do that.

You get the picture.

When did being healthy and taking care of ourselves become something only white women did? We have a right and responsibility to fully take care of ourselves–body and mind. While we regularly praise what the lord has done and will do for us, we would show him real respect and gratitude for the life he has given us if we full took care of ourselves, mind, body and our soul.

Caring for yourself isn’t relegated to race. We all have a right to be healthy and happy and we need to fully embrace that right

Use Yoga to Stop the Clock

Anti-Aging Yoga

Use Yoga To Slow Down Father Time

We already know, “Black don’t crack,” but if you’d like to enhance the natural youthful beauty Black women retain well into their older years, you may want to consider taking up yoga. From

Minimizes wrinkles Yoga can reduce stress by nearly a third, reports a German study of 24 women. As a result, clenched jaws and furrowed brows relax, helping to smooth away wrinkles. It may also rejuvenate skin’s glow by reducing oxidative stress, which breaks down skin’s elasticity. In an Indian study of 104 people, oxidative stress levels dropped by 9% after just 10 days of yoga.

Slows weight gain During a 10-year University of Washington study of 15,500 men and women over age 45, those who didn’t do yoga gained up to 13.5 pounds. Those who practiced regularly lost up to 5 pounds.

Eases pain Yoga is twice as effective as stretching at relieving back pain, according to another University of Washington study that had 101 people with lower-back pain do either yoga or stretching once a week for 3 months.

We all have those older relatives who are in their 60’s and easily look like they are in their 40’s, yoga just seems like it would add a little “umph” to Black women’s ability to age gracefully. Besides, being healthier, slimmer and more relaxed is something we all can benefit from, regardless of age.

You Can Be Thick And Healthy

Thick and Healthy

Skinny Does Not Equal Healthy

There’s been a lot of talk around the blogosphere as late on Black women and their thickness and how aspiring to be thick causes women to be unhealthy, overweight and obese.

Well, in my opinion, there is a very big difference between being thick and fat. If you’re confused, the following is easy to remember: Beyonce = Thick. Monique = Fat. Simple.

You can be thick and healthy. Contrary to popular belief ass and thigh fat won’t kill you, but belly fat will. As women, we should keep our waist under 31.5 inches for optimal health and to fight against common illnesses among Black women such as diabetes, heart disease, and hyper tension.

Let’s be clear; Black women are naturally curvy, “thick” women. There is nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to lose your curves just because you’re trying to be healthy. But health should be your number one priority above all else.

I assure you f you’re a naturally big butt/big hip woman that’s not going to disappear because you hit the treadmill or the Stairmaster several times a week. As I like to say this isn’t about being a size 6. It is about being a healthier, happier you. So keep that in mind…and hit the gym.

Drug Resistant Breast Cancer, Threat To Black Women

Drug Resistant Cancer

Drug-Resistant Breast Cancer A Danger To Black Women

We’ve really gotta start taking better care of ourselves:

Black women are more likely to have diabetes, hypertension and certain forms of breast cancer than the general community. Yet many are reluctant to seek early treatment.

African-American women in general don’t get the appropriate care they need,” says Shonda Perry, a physician at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. “Many don’t have access to care, they fear going to a physician. There are so many obstacles they face.”

Although a higher percentage of white women are diagnosed with breast cancer, black women have a higher death rate, Baker says. Black women also tend to be diagnosed later than white women.

“That’s partially because of how late we wait to seek out treatment and some early detection methods,” Baker says. “Lack of information and knowledge, lack of access, transportation issues, there’s a multitude of issues that contribute to late diagnosis.”

Baker also sheds light on a form of breast cancer unique to black women called “triple negative.” The cancer is a triple threat because it strikes early, it’s resistant to standard drug treatments and it’s more likely to kill.

Our Hair is Killing Us

black women hair

Black Women Letting Hair Keep Them From Exercising

We are letting our hair kill us:

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – About a third of black women cite complications of hair care as the reason they do not exercise or exercise less than they would like, according to Amy J. McMichael, M.D., the lead investigator of a study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

McMichael, associate professor of dermatology, specializes in hair and scalp diseases, ethnic and pigmented skin diseases, and general dermatology and skin care. “I see a lot of African American women in our clinic and had noticed how many of them are overweight. This puts these women at risk for hypertension, diabetes and other serious problems.”

In fact studies show that 77 percent of black women are overweight or obese, McMichael said. “I thought it would be interesting to look at what role their hair plays in their amount of exercise. Many African American women with coarser hair use either heat straighteners or chemical products to straighten their hair. Depending on how coarse or fragile their hair is, they can’t just wash their hair after exercise without having to go through the whole process again, and that can take hours. Over-washing fragile hair can make it break off easily.”

McMichael and the team of investigators from the Department of Dermatology, the Division of Public Health Sciences, and the medical school interviewed 103 black women about how much and what types of exercise they do, and the time, expense and complications of caring for their hair. Sixty-four of the respondents had relaxed their hair by various means.

All of the respondents believed it was important for them to exercise. And 50 percent stated that they considered changing their hair to make it easier to exercise.

I’m not unsympathetic to the hair issue. But I will readily admit I don’t understand it. When I had hair I still exercised and exercised hard. I never allowed my hair to stop me from working out, but then again I rarely went to the beauty salon either, unless it was to get a relaxer.

So, I rarely had a hairstyle I had to “protect.” I’ve talked hair on this blog before, but as the study notes there are no easy solutions. If you have straightened or relaxed hair, you’re gonna sweat it out. There’s no way around that if you’re working as hard as you should work.

To those who navigate their workouts and their hair, how do you do it?


The Socio-economic Reasons Behind Obesity In The Black Community

Obesity Black Women

Class Issues Contribute To Obesity Epidemic has an interesting take on the obesity epidemic in the U.S. They look at it from a genetic, body image, socio-economic and class perspective. While I don’t know if I agree with the body image take and study after study has shown that genetics play a limited role in obesity/overweight issues, the socio-economic/class issues really hit home.

Just from personal experience it can be very expensive to eat healthily. If you’re poor or on a fixed income you just don’t have the money to shop at Whole Foods. And fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean meats are EXPENSIVE. Here is a bit of the article:

It’s not as if we don’t have the evidence that these factors — culture, class, education, genetics — matter. Yet another study just came out by University of Washington researchers who found gaping disparities in obesity rates among ZIP codes in the Seattle area. Every $100,000 in median home value for a ZIP code corresponded with a 2 percent drop in obesity.

Adam Drewnowski, director of the UW Center for Obesity Research, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,”If you have this mind-set that obesity has to do with the individual alone, then ZIP codes or areas really should not come into this. But they do, big-time.”

This is not to say that individual behavior doesn’t play a vital role in our country’s obesity rate, but we too often neglect to think about the cultural and institutional influences on a person’s behavior when it comes to eating and exercise.

You would never look at a working class, single mother driving a jalopy with three kids crawling around in the back and say, “Gees, what’s her problem? Why can’t she drive the Lexus hybrid like me?” You understand that she doesn’t have the means, and furthermore, probably doesn’t have the peer influence that would make it seem like a viable option.

In the comments section of the article a working mom comments about the class aspect of weight loss and healthy eating:

Most interesting, this article. I am a working-class single mother who, until very recently, worked two jobs, six days a week, and could only squeeze in one weekend afternoon (after work) a swim at my local “Y”. I worked out for three years, and made much progress on my physique, but also note that without a car, I was not able to work out more often.

Two years ago, I was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, had to move to a smaller residence (where I now live alone, my kids are now grown), and cope with my new illness
as best as I could living on S.S.I.

What I’ve discovered that compared to my previous working life, I now had time to focus on physical health, learn to be able to pamper myself, and eat healthier than I used to. What I’ve also discovered is it takes a lot of work to eat healthier, as I’ve noted, you can’t keep a head of lettuce (or any produce, for that matter) for a week in your fridge.

In order to be able to just keep up a regimen of healthy eating, you have to shop several times a week to keep
fresh fruits and vegetables available for most every meal. There is no way on God’s earth with the kind of grueling
schedule I used to keep that I could have the luxury of sashaying off to my local health food produce store to
keep fresh food on hand as I can now that I no longer am working.

Other readers make an excellent point that the article actually misses and that’s the role of Big Food, Big Agriculture and Big Government play in the obesity issues that face the US:

However, what is missing here is some discussion of the effects of industrial farming practices on the nutritional content/value of the food we buy and eat every day. And the preservation of the integrity of the soil. [This is not the place for organics-fans, vegetarians and vegans to insert a statement of how clever they are to buy organic: this problem is much bigger than your adorable little consumer habits. Call me hostile, but it would be a real break if the solipsists could just peek above their personal horizons for a brief moment to look at the bigger picture.

We cannot continue to extract our food by the brutal forces we apply in crop farming, animal farming, food marketing, artificial this and Bt that, terminator seeds a third, and still expect to preserve the integrity of our food and our environment. It’s gradually becoming clearer to the brighter lights among us that despite the vast amounts of food consumed by many here in the West, that people are actually still hungry, that no amount of this nutritionally empty industrially produced food laced with hunger-generating hormones will satisfy.

And another:

…check out the labels on some common foods and condiments (ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, etc.). these days it is difficult to find a prepared food that does not include the ingredient “high fructose corn syrup”. this is not a naturally occurring additive – it is highly processed and has no nutritional value. in fact, it is very likely a health hazard. even bread products now have this as one of the main ingredients. I challenge you to look at the list of ingredients next time you go to buy bread. asking people to give up carbohydrates entirely is absurd, but even food that is not considered “carb” contains this ingredient. it is entirely for the profit of the manufacturers that this is in our diet, and its inclusion probably contributes to the problem of weight with which many of us struggle. obesity in america has many underlying causes. let’s not forget that seemingly innocent foods can be as much a part of that as the trend over the past several years to make servings at restaurants and take-away food merchants enormous. some responsibility has to be laid at the feet of the purveyors.

I think what the article and the comments show is that the obesity issue in this country is no where near as simple as “Just take personal responsibility for your behavior and choices.” While that is a part of it there are also a lot of entities working to make SURE you overeat. I think you have to look at the whole picture and understand ALL the FACTORS involved regarding weight and food in America to best devise a strategy to lose the weight and live a healthier life.

To read the rest of How to Address Obesity in a Fat-Phobic Society click on the link in the sidebar under “Articles.” Be sure to read the comments as well.

3 Things Black Women Can Learn From White Women

Black Women's Health

Black Women’s Health and Fitness

Since this is a topic that I was recently talking to a friend about and one that Tracy mentioned would be a future blog topic I decided I’d add my two cents to the topic:

I was in the gym last week and a friend of mine who is a personal trainer (and a stripper but that’s another story) said in his experience white women are more inclined to address a weight problem before it becomes a real problem. His exact words were:

A white woman will but on 5 pounds freak out, go to the gym and mess around and lose 10lbs. Black women will put on 5, 10, 30, 40 pounds and then say ‘Girl I need to do something about this.’

So the lessons are as follows:

1. Address Problems Early

When you see that your weight is a problem, deal with it EARLY don’t wait until you’ve gone from a size 8 to a size 14 before you address the issues at hand. Being Proactive is much better (and easier) then being Reactive.

2. Ask For Help

Lesson number 2 comes from a 2003 study that was published in the journal ‘Ethnicity and Disease.’ It states that:

A recent study has revealed that overweight or obese white women are more inclined to ask for dieting help than their African-American counterparts.

This is an important point to take note of. The article about the study further notes that:

We found that African-American women did not differ from Caucasians in terms of concerns about body shape and weight. But white women were more likely to be influenced by those concerns to seek help,” said lead author Dr. Rachel Annunziato, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

So what we learn is that for whatever reason Black women aren’t motivated by body image in the same way their white counterparts are and this lack of motivation (even though the concern is there) prevents Black women from seeking help regarding their weight.

The articles offer some suggestions why this may be the case from cultural factors to women being the primary caregivers of everyone but themselves.

3. It’s About Health Not Looks

My personal trainer friend also noted that for whatever reason White women are more inclined to invest in their health in a way that Black women do not. He elaborated that black women will invest in things to make them look nice (clothes, hair, nails, etc.) but won’t invest in the things that will make them healthy.

Now I’m not saying my personal trainer friend’s word is the end all be all on the topic but much of what he says is backed up by other sources such as the article ‘Black Women Confuse Beauty With Health’ which touches on the issue of black women striving to look good instead of being healthy.

Health and Beauty are not synonymous and Black women need to learn and understand the difference if they want to be successful in having a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Just some things to think about this post 3-day weekend morning.

Today is a new Day. What are you waiting for?