All Articles Tagged "weight gain"
(As relayed by Lauren R.D. Fox based on a culmination of experiences)
Four months ago, I received an Evite from a college friend who was hosting a reunion at her beach house in Venice Beach. Initially I was excited and found myself shopping for bathing suits, sundresses and even expensive flip-flops because…I’m worth it.
After spending another evening drinking wine and looking at sun hats, I decided to check the Evite list to see who else would be attending the get together besides my friends and I. As I scrolled the list, I suddenly choked on the gulp of wine I took. There was his name: Dean, my first college boyfriend and biggest heartbreak.
We dated throughout my entire college career and, out of the blue, he broke up with me after I accepted my Teach For America (TFA) position in his hometown. To make matters worse, Dean got married six months after our breakup and I would constantly bump into him and his wife around town.
After my tenure at TFA was completed, I decided to move to Las Vegas and have since healed from that traumatic relationship. Aside from emotionally healing, I have also changed dramatically physically. During my college and TFA years, I was a size 6 but once I moved to Las Vegas, I have gained weight and I am now a size 12. I am working to make peace with some of my friends whom I haven’t seen in years laying their eyes on me with the extra weight, but Dean? Everyone knows you have to stunt when your ex is in the midst, even if you’re over him. The last thing I want to do is show up as the chubby frumpy girl and make him and everyone else think: what happened?
That’s why I’ve cancelled my flight to Venice, but my mom and my best friend (the only ones who know the real reason I pulled out) keep telling me I’m ridiculous and I need to make a new reservation and start taking steps toward getting healthier in the next 3 weeks before the reunion. I’m not convinced.
Am I silly for cancelling the trip because I gained weight?
I gained a couple extra pounds over the last few months, seemingly appearing out of nowhere and for no apparent reason. As a former athlete I’ve typically been on the fit side of the body shape equation so it’s been a humbling mindf-ck being on the other side for once. Some people, like my mother, found it all too irresistible to point out the obvious, as though I couldn’t see for myself the damning evidence in my mirror’s reflection, or feel the tightness of my pants.
“You’ve put on weight.”
It stung to hear those words directed at me. But hey, it’s mom: she birthed me from her private part, has always kept it 100 with me, and has made unspeakable sacrifices for her kids. I knew she was coming from a place of deep love. So she had her say and I nodded my head in somber agreement.
A friend of mine also had a similar message to deliver, but drew slightly different words from her arsenal to convey it to me; she jabbed the newly jiggly part of my belly with her finger and exclaimed, “Hey, that wasn’t there before! What’s happening?” Naturally, I was mortified — I mean, the girl had physically poked me in the stomach like I was a lab rat. I mumbled back something about evil growth hormones in conventional milk, and then changed the subject.
When I got home after that very embarrassing exchange with my friend, I took a look at myself in the mirror for a long time. And then, in hasty desperation, I tried on all the size 6 dresses in my closet. Some fit, some didn’t. I quickly gained empathy for people with eating disorders as I wallowed, for a brief moment, in the darkness of body shame.
Be cruel to be kind?
There’s been a long-standing debate on whether, from a health perspective, it is actually an act of kindness to comment on a person’s weight issue. Does raising a weight matter with a person really help motivate them to do something about it?
The Atlantic reports on two pieces of research that looked at weight discrimination and the effect on weight loss and found that weight discrimination, or more specifically: fat shaming, had a negative effect on weight loss. The Atlantic also reported on a Yale study that revealed that the language chosen in weight discussions is also quite important: “… people rated anti-obesity campaigns with negative or accusatory messages as less motivating than ones with more neutral slogans, like ‘Let’s Move.’”
While the research indicates that, in general, fat-shaming does no good, things get murkier when we try to objectively define exactly what fat-shaming behavior or language is. As I gathered from reading the comments on The Atlantic article and discussion threads on other websites, some people welcome harsh criticism about their weight while others avoid any and all talk of weight. So I think that what is important here is to understand the person whom you’re dealing with, should you decide to raise unsolicited remarks about the person’s weight.
My friend’s approach to bringing up my body weight was, from my perspective, tactless and insensitive. My friend’s comment had zero positive influence on motivating me to get back in shape — I’d go as far as to say that her comment was actually demotivating.
I also think that even if my friend had made me a cup of tea, rubbed my feet and then whispered the wicked words in the kindest way possible, I still wouldn’t have appreciated it. The major problem that I saw with her approach was not so much in her message or delivery, but that she’d assumed a certain level of intimacy between us that just wasn’t there — in other words: b-tch, you don’t know me like that! The only people who would know me like that to speak on my weight are: my mother, my sisters or a significant other. What my mother said to me, however, did not have as much of a motivational effect compared to other more compelling factors like: not wanting to shop for new clothes, and my upcoming beach vacation to Bali (basically, money and the fear of wearing a two piece in public).
Body image is a touchy subject for most. Before volunteering your thoughts on a person’s weight, first consider if you are the right messenger for delivering that type of message, or else you may do more harm than good.
Who’s allowed to make comments about your weight?
What do you know about “happy weight” or “love pounds”?
You probably know it as the weight people put on because they’ve found love (in a hopeless place). But according to the Huffington Post, it’s the weight people put on because they quickly become accustomed to certain behaviors and ways of thinking once settled in a relationship. You’re more comfortable kicking back and indulging while with your beloved. It’s like when people say they don’t have to worry about looking a certain way or doing things in a certain way anymore because “I got a man now.” You snagged yourself a good one, so who cares about looking like a Sports Illustrated model? “Somebody like it!”
But in all seriousness, too much of that thinking can put extra weight on the body as we get older that can be harder to get off. And according to experts, women are the ones who usually pack on the pounds when they move in with their partner.
And Andrea Meltzer, assistant professor of psychology at Florida State found in a recent study that couples who are happily married put on even more weight than most.
Meltzer told the Huffington Post, “By focusing more on the health-related benefits of weight maintenance, people may be able to avoid potentially unhealthy weight gain once they enter a relationship.”
So, you’re advised to get all that in check before you get coupled up. If you do, chances are, you won’t be as likely to start letting yourself go so fast because you’re oh so happy.
The Huffington Post shared advice from experts on how to avoid the “love pounds.” They encouraged couples to cook at home more instead of consistently opting to eat out. They also urged partners to work out together for a more “intense” and “productive” conditioning, and more than anything, they said that couples should do more things that are focused on being on the move. Sitting at home and having a Netflix and Chill session is nice here and there, but being active will do both of your bodies good for the long-term.
But who hasn’t been there? I put on quite a few pounds while comfortable in relationships back in the day. In college, I slowly but surely started packing on the pounds while dating a guy I was with for almost two years. I didn’t realize this was happening until we went to visit his mother in St. Louis, and she told me I was starting to get a little “thick.” When I went home for the holidays, it was the same sort of language from my own family. I got the hint that I was getting a little chunky.
And in my current relationship, around the first year or two, I was very comfortable ordering Chinese food, pizza, whatever–and then lounging on the couch with my partner while he watched me revel in the greasy foods. It wasn’t until I started struggling to fit into my jeans, and he commented on me getting McDonald’s “again?” — and a “Did Y’all See?” viewer told me I should move up to an XL sleeveless top — that I realized I was falling back into my old habits.
So yes, it’s definitely important to care about your health and your weight, not only so you can look good and stay good when you snag yourself a spouse, but, in general, so you can feel good and look good for yourself. Because let me tell you, the more you pack on, the more complicated it often feels to get it off.
However, I would say that you shouldn’t let the commentary of others push you to get on a treadmill (i.e., Mama Joyce consistently telling Kandi Burruss she was getting heavy and then blaming Todd Tucker for it). If you see a change in your body and want to work on it, then you should. But if others are in your ear, know that a lot of weight is one thing, but a few pounds of extra cushion, or “happy weight” during a euphoric time in your life, never hurt anybody.
Many of us put on a little extra weight during the winter months and the holiday season can be especially fattening for a lot of us. As you gather round the dinner table for some turkey, stuffing and libations with family and loved ones, here are some tips to avoid packing on the pounds.
Eat Before Celebrating
Not eating breakfast or lunch in order to save your appetite for the main event is a rookie mistake. In addition to breakfast being the most important meal of the day, waiting until the late afternoon or evening will no doubt lead to binge eating. So instead of having just a sliver of sweet potato pie, you end up eating three hearty chunks topped with whipped cream. And a scoop of ice cream on the side.
I would be lying if I said that I’m 100 percent comfortable with my weight these days. While my size isn’t something that keeps me from putting on a bikini or has me ashamed, I know that I’m far from the weight that I was when I left college. The food that was available to me once I got out of school and was working late hours to make my dreams come true (I was picking up fast food to eat late at night) has helped me gain weight that I’m still trying to find a consistent gym schedule to get rid of. The pounds are in my thighs, around my stomach and in my arms (though it’s not that noticeable because I’m tall). I’ve been able to lose a good amount of weight only to turn around and put it back on with the stresses of life. Like many other women working on their weight, it’s a battle for me.
My boyfriend hasn’t necessarily made a big deal out of this. If anything, he just wants me to be healthy and will furrow his brows at me for bringing McDonald’s and Chinese food into his home–though he rarely has food in his fridge. But after surprising me by buying me a J. Crew dress that I couldn’t fit, we had to have a very uncomfortable conversation.
In the past, for surprise gift-giving moments, my boyfriend had asked me what size I was. That question was tough enough to answer because my tops, even my boobs, can fit in a medium or a large when it comes to shirts. But my bottom? I have to try on things to make sure they fit. I told him that I was a large, told him to never buy me pants or a skirt and hoped that that would be enough. However, when the J. Crew dress didn’t fit, imagine my sheer horror when he asked me how much I weighed.
I turned up my face and responded with, “WHY? Why do you care?” In turn, he responded with this:
“I was just wondering. I just thought that’s something we should be able to know about each other as people in a relationship.”
Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t push me about the issue once I said that such information wasn’t his business, but it got me thinking. A part of me knows that my own insecurities with my weight are the main reason why I wouldn’t be comfortable with sharing my actual digits with him, and that’s part of the reason why I need to get back in the gym and get my life together. But then another part of me wonders, why would that information matter to a significant other? If I was going through a What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? type of thing where my weight was affecting what I could do and those around me and was starting to make me look completely different, then yes, that information would be useful to share. But I also feel that if I tell him such information, it will become a mental block that will make him too worried about my size, what I’m doing about it and what goes into my mouth.
Just this morning I was watching “Divorce Court” and it was one of those “Before the Vows” episodes. The couple looking for Judge Lynn Toler’s advice on whether or not they were ready for marriage were plagued by two things: the fact that they didn’t have a lot of time to spend together because of his schedule, and the fact that he was always in her ear about her weight. The young man said that while he loves “thick women,” his fiancée was getting a little “too thick.” Such comments were putting a rift in their relationship. And while this man only seemed to have eyes for his lady, Judge Toler couldn’t ignore the fact that he put a damper on his statements of admiration for her with yet another comment about her size: “I love her…no matter how big she gets, I love her and I want to be with her.”
And remember when Boris Kodjoe had so much to say about excessive weight gain and it being a good excuse for your partner to step out on you? Talk about pressure…
So I wonder, can weight be a distraction in a relationship? Is your relationship negatively impacted once your man knows anything about your actual weight and size? I’m sure it all depends on the man, the state of the relationship and how you looked when the relationship started (I’ve been around the same weight since we met, but I’m larger than he thinks…). But if you ask me, some information isn’t necessary for your man to know.
For now, I’m going to continue trying to eat better and take advantage of my two gym memberships to get back to a size that I’M happy with, and he’s welcome to come along with me for that ride. But the numbers aren’t as important to share in my opinion, because I’m not trying to be defined by or only looked at as those three numbers. Either way, my weight is something I have to deal with and get down–not him.
Once again science has given me an excuse for my behavior. Thank you science! We already know that losing and gaining weight has a lot to do with who you are and how you act; mainly because of how it affects your diet and exercise habits. So, your personality can cause weight gain, but does it work the other way around? Can gaining weight actually change your personality? Seems like a no brainer. You pack on the pounds, you lose your confidence and likely want to spend less time in public situations (likely, not always). But in a study published by Psychological Science, researchers found that there’s a specific personality trait that people who gain weight develop. Not only does the weight gain change your dress size, it also changes your temperament, making you more impulsive and likely to give in to temptation (raises hand).
The study examined data of almost 2,000 subjects that included their weight along with their character traits over a span of about ten years. They found that people who experienced at least a ten percent weight gain also gained more impulsiveness. At the surface, it’s a classic chicken and egg type of thing. Both of which sound very good right now. What came first — the weight gain that led to the impulsiveness or the impulsiveness that led to weight gain? But it goes a little deeper than that.
Before having children I hadn’t yet broken 100 lbs. but could — and did — eat whatever I wanted, and lots of it (I know, I hate me too). During my first pregnancy, I gained nearly 60 lbs., keeping the mindset that I could eat whatever I wanted and give in to every temptation, but this time it was, you know, “for the baby.” It was easy for me to snap back though. With baby number two, I maintained the same impulsiveness that I’d always had, gained the same amount of weight, but struggled to lose it all. I kept on about 30 lbs., and for every pound I didn’t lose, I gained more of the “I’m already overweight, so I might as well eat what I want,” mentality. So, “I’ll have that plate of pasta” turned to, “I’ll have that plate of pasta. Matter of fact, make it two.” Which almost always led to three. Babies number three and four– same weight gain, same problem, more pasta.
My baby-making days have long been over, but unfortunately, the one thing I’ve lost is my ability to “snap back.” I’ve held on to a lot of that weight, thus making myself more impulsive by hanging on to that same mentality that I might as well eat what I want if I’m going to be overweight.
The only things I haven’t been impulsive about– diet and exercise. Still waiting on science to give me an excuse for that one; although even without a degree in the sciences I’m pretty sure you can just chalk that up to laziness. Oh well….
Hey ladies (in my Beastie Boys voice)! Can you relate? Did gaining weight make you more impulsive when it comes to food?
When celebrity women gain a few pounds, they immediately find themselves under the critical eye of the paparazzi fat police. But these celebrity men have been gaining so much under-the-radar weight that you’ll have trouble recognizing some of them.
According to new research, Paula Deen’s famous Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding might be laced with a secret ingredient, which might be also helping you to pack on the pounds: racism.
The research, which was conducted by investigators from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, has found that black women, who frequently experienced racism also had a higher risk of obesity than their less disenfranchised and oppressed counterparts.The findings, which currently appear online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, are based on data from a previous study, which survey 59,000 African-American women under the age of 40, over a course of 12-years about various lifestyle factors including height, weight and experiences of racism.
According to MedicalXpress, participants were asked in 1997 and again in 2009 to rate the frequency of “everyday”racism, including experiences like receiving poorer service in restaurants and stores, and if they had been treated unfairly because of their race on the job, in housing or by the police. Researchers found that women, who rated high frequencies of everyday racism in both 1997 and 2009 were 69 percent more likely to become obese compared to those black women, who rated low levels of racism.
According to statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, black women on average have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to any other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women, or about 80 percent, are overweight or obese. Another recent study suggests one of the reasons behind the obesity disparities in black women is that, on average, must work harder to lose the same amount of weight than their white counterparts (seven pounds to one to be exact).
However this is the first time a study has tied racism to weight. According to research, racism does offer other health disadvantages including stress, depression, high blood pressure, cancer and even the common cold. According to this article in The Root, two recent Emory University studies show a connection between the stress from experiencing racism and high child mortality rates as well as learning disabilities among African-American children born prematurely. And according to this 2009 article in USA Today, the findings for one study, which first appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, shows that fifth-graders, who feel they’ve been mistreated because of their skin color are much more likely to have symptoms of mental disorders, especially depression.
Granted, the white man didn’t tell you to eat the whole dish of that Krispy Kreme bread pudding. However Paula Deen did invent it so…IN all seriousness, it is not unlikely to assume that racism can play a role in your weight. Stress eating is real. And so are food deserts and racial disparities in diagnosis, treatment and follow up of patients. Plus racism effects other aspects of your life including economically and socially, so why not your heath, in particular your weight?
Welcome to our new column, Reset. Written by Karen Taylor Bass, this column, published each Tuesday, is about life lessons learned and mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically and how they contribute to a successful life and career.
Are you overweight? I am not talking about a pant or dress size either – let’s address the emotional baggage we tote around in a fancy designer bag from childhood pain and grown woman crises. The burden from the past and present, coupled with poor eating to numb the pain can put us at risk for many diseases.
Six years ago, I had post-partum depression. I was heavy, carrying 163 pounds on a petite frame while my thighs cried for mercy. My health numbers were scary: LDL for cholesterol was cause for concern; blood pressure was over 140; mental state was weighty; and finances were anemic. I was at risk for heart disease and life arrest.
February is Go Red Month, raising awareness about women and heart disease. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the U.S., claiming more lives than all cancers combined. As Black women, we are carrying a load filled with drama – ours and everyone else’s. Stop. It’s killing us. Black women suffer from heart disease at twice the rate of white women. Some of the factors that contribute to this disparity are higher rates of obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and stress. (Click here to learn about the Heart of Style Tour offering complimentary heart health screenings and discussions.)
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, aka The Money Coach, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. Khalfani-Cox advises her clients not only about finance but also the correlation between finance and weight. “When you are carrying extra weight around it impacts your thoughts and finances. I tell my client the first step in becoming debt free is to get healthy mentally, physically and fiscally,” she says. Basically leave the stuff you can’t control alone and focus on your well–being to get to a healthy status.
The first step to losing “baggage” is acceptance. I had to admit to myself that I had issues and sought out help and counseling. Once I started to get my mind right, I joined the gym. However, the extra weight on the knees was too much for classes, so I started walking. Baby steps. I walked five minutes, then 10 minutes and soon I was at 60 minutes. My mind was flowing again, the cholesterol dropped; blood pressure was 106/69 and re-launched my PR consulting business. Simply taking ownership of my thoughts and dealing with all that baggage empowered me to get fit and healthy.
RESET: There is no miracle cream or magic underpants to help you drop the mental and physical weight overnight. It took you a period of time to pack on the emotional pounds and it will take the same commitment to drop them. Incorporate a healthy lifestyle regimen into your daily routine daily, know your numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index) and your heart will thank you.