I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk, Inc. to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
“Get My whole Body, Babe.”
I was on a walk on the beach with my family the other day. As usual, I was snapping pictures of my husband and kids. My husband grabbed the camera to get some shots of me when I told him, “Get my whole body, babe.”
My body has changed dramatically over the past decade. The last few years, especially. Three years ago I had my last baby, and I’m getting older.
It’s to be expected, but still, it takes some getting used to. Physically and emotionally.
I was always very thin.
When I was growing up, I dreamed about the curves I have now. I was always very thin and felt self-conscious about it, especially as a young Black woman.
I thought that my being thin had a lot to do with my genes. Looking back, I realize I wasn’t eating the right food to allow my body to grow. I was skinny, but I was quite unhealthy.
After I had my first child, I started to be able to understand the cues my body gave me. I would crave sugar and carbs when I ate meals that weren’t balanced. My energy would be low because I wasn’t taking in enough protein. I felt weak because I was sitting too long and not moving my body.
Now, I weigh 50 pounds more than when I had my first child, but I am so much more in tune with my body.
Obesity is a chronic disease.
At a doctor’s visit late last year, my physician diagnosed me with pre-diabetes and encouraged me to take action to reverse the diagnosis.
What I appreciated about my doctor is that she didn’t tell me to get on a diet. She asked me questions about my eating habits and lifestyle. She talked to me about ways to decrease stress and find a better work / life balance.
I left her office armed with information about making better choices for me. For my body.
See, the thing about obesity is that it’s a chronic disease. Obesity develops from different genetic risk factors in your DNA.
So, for me, it was not eating when I was stressed and then bingeing when I finally realized I was hungry.
Or sitting at my desk for hours at a time to get a project finished.
At one point, I had even gained wait due to some medication I was taking.
When we can learn to understand the root of obesity, then we can adjust what we consider “healthy”. And quite frankly, our entire society will benefit from a mindset shift.
How can we take care of ourselves? Like, Really?
How do we take care of ourselves in a society that tells us that having obesity is a failure?
What can we do to ensure that we’re doing what we need to do to be well, mentally and physically?
The first step is education. I’m not even talking about educating other folks on what it means to have obesity, but learning for ourselves.
2. Learn your body
Next, we have to learn our bodies. How much sleep do you need to feel great? What kind of food makes you feel energetic vs. sluggish? Are there certain people in your life that stress you out? What in this world brings you joy?
3. Nourish yourself
Once you learn what you need, take the time to give yourself that. I know that I need 8 hours of sleep each night. If I drink caffeine after lunchtime, I’m jittery and feel uncomfortable all day. If I’m feeling blue, a walk or dance workout helps to lift my spirit. Oh, and I can always tell when I don’t get enough water. My skin is dry and I have the worse attitude!
Why I’m working with med-Iq
Med-IQ is an organization that works with both patients and medical professionals. They provide free continuing education classes to healthcare providers, and gives all of us the tools to be able to communicate better about the diseases and treatment.
I am thrilled to work with Med-IQ because they properly use “people first” language (i.e. a patient has obesity, they’re not obese) and they are committed to helping doctors and patients understand each other.
They are a tremendous resource for self-advocacy as it relates to your health.
I additionally encourage you to check out the OAC for access to community support and resources.
About that picture
Back to that picture I asked my husband to take of me.
It had been awhile since I’d asked for a whole body picture. Most of the photos with me in them have a kid on my waist and another in front of me. Or they’re, you know, from the neck up.
This body, though, it deserves to be celebrated. I need proof that I was here. All of me.
Share your thoughts about obesity
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete.
Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with obesity and your care team, which will help them develop future educational initiatives.
Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards.
If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.
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