Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Watch out for the Big Girls?!?!?

If you're familiar with any Baltimore Club music then you may have heard the infamous mix "watch out for the big girls" chanted over and over and over and over (you get the point) again. Go to any hoodrat club and you'd see a crew of thickish women backing it up and waving their hands proudly confirming their "big girl" status. That song was, and probably still is, the Big Girls' anthem in Baltimore and is also the reason why i wake up at 6am to knock out some cardio and strength training.

I cant recall ever having a problem with my weight. I was always a littler taller (5'7) and carried my weight well. Proportioned, with a hourglass figure, I had a normal BMI, toned muscle definition and thickness (thanks to hooking school and eating biscuits :giggle:). It wasn't until I had my son, that my weight reached : ahem: _60+ lbs. Okay, I was morbidly obese. Sue me. After I had my son, i dropped over 70-80 lbs in about 3 months thanks to a failed relationship and depression. Got my swagger back and then... lbs crept back on from health issues! That was fun. I was back in the 200's looking a fat ass mess and I was not happy with myself. I went out to a club with some of my homegirls and walked past these dudes that said "daaaammmm,watch out for the big girls". I looked at him but convinced myself that he wasn't talking to us. We weren't BIG- we were just thick. I was in denial and didn't realize how much weight I had gained until i saw a picture of myself last fall and I had to step back and ask "whoa, who the fuck is that?!?". I took myself off the meds late November and have been on the grind ever since... dropping a total of 57 +/- lbs.

Anyway, my homeboy and I was having a conversation a week or two ago about me working out to lose the extra lbs I had gained. He made a comment that almost set me off.

I think it's cool that you work out because most black women choose not to since its cool to be fat and all.

Come again?

My homeboy went on to make a point that women- black women in particular- were the most unhealthy creatures on the planet mainly because obesity had become socially acceptable. He blamed it on genetics, laziness and being a product of their environment going on to say that" if Ashley Stewart didn't make skinny clothes for fat broads, there wouldn't be any chicks over a size 14; they would adapt and make sure they had something to wear to work. Right or wrong, Khak? Folks done made it too easy to be obese."

:insert blank stare:

He further went on to say "there's exceptions like you, Khaki. Ya know, you had medical reasons and all but there are chicks that take that Monique shit too far- eating what they want and calling skinny bitches evil just so they feel better about that 6 wing and fry combo they're about to inhale. Just another reason why I will probably end up with Sui Lee or Becky. It's too expensive to marry a fat ass Laquisha!".

I wanted to choke him and call him a cunt but I couldn't. As much as I wanted to debate with him I couldn't. He was right- well, sort of. I don't think that it's easy being overweight and i don't think I was the exception. Shit, i remember being out of breath walking up the steps and going to 5011 stores just to find something that looked decent on a bigger me. I also remember not doing the 30 minutes of cardio that my doctor suggested I do. I cant speak for someone that has went through a lifetime of weight struggles but I can imagine that being laughed at, judged, ridiculed and stared at whenever you're at a restaurant does not make life easier.

Now, on the other hand... I thought about the women that I see on a daily basis- most overweight- most proud or pretending to be proud of their chunkiness. I thought about an episode I saw on Dr Phil discussing Anti/Pro Fat organizations. The Pro-Fat group were celebrating being overweight and while they didn't discourage exercise and healthy eating habits, they also didn't encourage it either. The Anti-Fat group, consisting of Jillian Micheal's and two unknown folks, went on to criticize the other side and had websites ridiculing overweight people. One guy was a personal trainer and used insults and military style training to get his clients in shape often yelling shit like "Go head and quit you fat slob!!!". I thought about the white women at my job that were all thin and went walking on lunch breaks and the black women that sent out early emails "Popeyes or KFC?".

Was he right? Is being unhealthy and overweight 'in" in the black community? I needed another opinion so I asked a close friend of mine and she responded:

Well, no one wants to be a fat ass Khak. It's like this- if you don't have the motivation to change or that's all you see, it's almost like you have to embrace it. You end up conforming and adapting to what you see and who you are. It's not "cool" -it just is what it is.

I understand all points from both my female friend and male friend. I have noticed that most, if not all, of my black female friends are either overweight, unhealthy or getting close to it. I understand that a lot of them are not happy about their weight but also make the choice to not do anything about it. There are few that encourage my new found healthy eating and exercise habits while others make negative comments such as "you're gonna start looking like a white girl" or roll their eyes at me counting calories. I am no way near skinny but I am pretty damn close to my ultimate goal and I take pride in knowing that I am extending my life by eating better and exercising.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that being overweight in the black community has become acceptable and celebrated?

thinking of putting before and after pics but... eh.


Anonymous said...

I think blacks are more accepting of a thicker frame in general, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (I also need to include Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and most brown folks in general in this assumption.) But the lines between ‘meat on the bones’ and ‘overweight’ have become blurred. People have become complacent with it, it’s just ‘one of those things’.I hate to say it, but, maybe being overweight kinda more accepted in our community. But as a country we lack emphasizes on eating healthy and being active, that’s not just ‘a black thing’. I’ve traveled all over the county personally I don’t believe black folks are the most overweight. I don’t know where that stupid myth comes from.

SinfulLyo said...

*dancing to watch out for the big girl & texting my mom for popeyes*...i'm sorry...were you saying something??

♥Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder♥ said...

LMBO at SinfulLyo...I think it is something that has been accepted in our culture as the norm its sad but true. I think the biggest part of it is lack of motivation and if they were overweigh their whole lives and dealt with the ridicule they dont want to start another round because they decide to do something about their obesity. I get it all the time ever since I want to work out and eat healthier..I hear your fine the way you are your thick you got child bearing hips I'm like GTFOH seriously I am FAt and finally doing something about it, and no I'm not trying to look like a white girl I just want to be able to chase after the kids in my family and not feel like a mack truck is sitting on my chest you know.

Kingsmomma said...

Every monring at 5:30 am I get up and go workout in the park. The first song I play Is Watch out for the big girls. it just gives me that extra umph.

I don't think being fat has ever been acceptable but the complacency is there, however, it existed almost exclusively within marriage and that transcended all races.

In the end it comes down to laziness. Fat doesn't happen overnight. You don't wake up suddenly and find that you're 10 sizes above you're size 4 jeans. People are lazy and black women are more often than not hiding their discomfort with their weight by saying they're ok with their size, more cushion for the pushing and shit like that to hide their unhappiness. No one's saying beauty means you have to look like chanel iman (who needs to swallow some of my smothered pokchops) but being precious sized or better ain't cool and it definitely aint healthy.

Came back in for lunch one day and these two fat women and by fat i mean klumps fat, got in the elevator with their popeyes and got off on the second floor.
it took time and effort to put the weight on but no one wants to take the time or effort to take it off. If that were me, hell yeah I'd be saying all kinds of fat is the new black kinda shit.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't have an issue with my shape and I am one of those who has always had weight issues. I finally came to a point where it was either love myself or be depressed the rest of my life. I chose love and it works for me. That's not to say that I eat a bunch of junk or that I eat excessively. It's to say that I'm not skinny and I am totally okay with that. I've lost weight and gotten smaller over the years. I even went beyond what I am comfortable with and people kept asking me was I sick. I knew then that being "skinny" just wasn't what looks good on my frame. Meat does.

I also don't fall into labels. Thick, fat, fluffy, whatever y'all wanna use to describe yourselves, that's good but I'm just gonna be me.

I think being big has become something that people accept or make excuses for. I know there are various reasons why one gains weight and the lack of motivation or purpose to lose it keep them where they are or balloons them even further into being unhealthy. You see and hear all this talk about eating healthy and blah blah blah but people fail to realize how expensive eating healthy really is for most people. The unhealthy stuff is cheap and easily assessable. I think that corporations profit off of people being unhealthy. They bet on it and make big bucks off of it. It's sad but true. Why are fresh veggies more than frozen burritos in the store? People tend to buy what they can afford and crap just cost less.

Your homeboy was just looked for more excuses as to why he doesn't wanna date black women. Tell him he doesn't need any excuses, date whom ever the fuck he feels like dating but don't make " all black broads are overweight and i can't find a healthy slim one" your excuse to date outside of yourself. SMH@ that dumb shit.

Ashley Patrice said...

I actually have a strange distaste for overweight people. Let me explain. I work in a resturaunt and see people order full course meals on top of a salad bar full of dressing and demolish it all while complaining that our booths are too small for their belly. I'm serious. It's not so much that being overweight bothers me as much as people just accepting it, and overall not giving a fuck. I've seen people's who's bellies amount to how much my entire body weight order large burgers with extra mayo. It disturbs me. Granted everyone in my house is borderline vegetarian, the 4th just passed and we have 2 slabs of pork ribs that will remain untouched in the freezer... i know everyone doesnt grow up like this. I saw 3 generations of overweight women and the youngest was around 7. she was a legit overweight not the sugar coated "chunky" either. I think the bottom line is, people eat what tastes good, and even though it might affect how they feel about themselves, they may not know what to do about it. Or it's all they know. Or better yet maybe they don't give a fuck. I'm not 100% sure. Not all people are meant to be stick figure thin, but health is a must.

Monique said...

Wow. You definitely can’t be mad at your boy about his comments because he spoke some truth. I do think that black people have found it acceptable to be overweight and become products of their environment because they feel they can’t change. We need to stop thinking that we don’t have a choice and learn to practice free will. I gained some weight after having my son and though I’m still carrying these 15lbs, I’m working on losing it.

Until we stop beating each other down about being overweight and start encouraging each other to get up and move, being the big girl with the “she know she wrong as hell for that” outfit will be continue to be norm.

Ps: I like Jillian. She’s a tough ass little cookie but she gets the job done.

★Starrla Monae☆ said...

In the Black community I moreso believe yes. We have these old school big boned grandmas, moms and aunts that like to cook with hamhocks and other foods with high fat content. If you're "too small" according to our standards we encourage you to eat more. We reuse grease filled with the bad fats and our cholesterol levels shoot up. We weigh more than we should but aren't motivated to lose it. No matter how many ads show on the dangers of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the fact remains that most African Americans do more damage to themselves and it's not because we are ignorant to what is happening, I think it's because we've become too complacent about it. It's hard to change a situation when you've been set in your ways but it CAN be done. Weight has been an issue for me but I've made some changes and have noticed the fruits of that labor. Instead of fried Popeyes chicken, pick up some fruit and yogurt. Instead of that pizza loaded with 10,000 calories, have a salad and pile it with veggies. I'm not saying you can't eat a pizza or some chicken but it's all about moderation.

Ice Cold said...

Bad eating habits, lack of exercise, and lack of education on health.

Even slim women lack these qualities.

I'm not sure a lot of us (blk men) are going for the biggens. I don't have any homeboys who date big girls so I can't call it.

UglyCleanBroke87 said...

I have to agree with *some* of your male friend's comments as well (although the "Sui Lee or Becky" reference gets a side eye). I think the notion of being "thick" is prevalent in the black community, and eating/living healthy is synonymous with being skinny...and being skinny in the Black community is apparently a fate worse than death. I know this from first-hand experience. I have been thin all my life, and all my life I have had extended family practically shove food in my face and make me feel guilty if I didn't eat another plate after I had already consumed a full meal.

Being overweight has been glamorized in the media, especially as it relates to black people, to the point where Gabourey Sidibe's mother says there's nothing wrong with her daughter's weight. I don't buy it. Nothing against her, but that can't be healthy. Euphemisms like "thick" and "big-boned" have become the words of preference so that women are less inclined to do anything about significant weight gain.

Do I think everyone should be a size 2? No. However, obesity in the black community, and America as a whole, IS a serious issue that shouldn't be taken as lightly as some do.

Eyes on the Prize said...

Good post UglyCleanBroke. How ya doin' by the way?

Hmmm...ya got me thinking Khaki (congrats on the weight loss!) It's a very good question and I'm gonna ask a few dudes myself. I think big is accepted in a lot of communities, but maybe Black women try to praise and celebrate it more? I go to the gym and I see more sistas in there lately though which is good, but in comparison to other races it is still very low. I think we tend to value our hairdos and manicures more than our waistlines in the Black community. It's kinda sad and there is no end in sight.

*stacie-ann said...

i had no idea khak. i thought i was the only big bitch bloggin. lol..

seriously tho'. i won't say being FAT is the norm in the black community but i will say that black men like their women a little on the "thick" side. but not too thick.

i think the black community readily accepts women who are thick in all the right places (thick thighs, small waist) rather than blatant obesity. i dont think any group of people truly accepts their population of 'fat' people.

&& on that note, im on to my hour of TAE BO.

&& goin head and post them before nd after pics! ;)

Alovelydai said...

I actually watched that Jessica Simpson show on VH1 & they showed these African women who took time to get obese before they were married. They would go in these tents, eat, and not move until they were huge. The men saw it as a sign of beauty and prestige to have such a fat wife. This is what's wrong with us!

malika the sexy cynic said...

i've been overweight my whole life (not morbidly obese, but i definitely wasn't a model) and after i found out i was diabetic a year ago, i made more of an effort to change my life. it's hard. i go through periods where i'm jogging and exercising regularly and other times i'll give up. i've finally made it my goal to lose this gut that has plagued me for so long. i agree with you, many times in the black community we are too comfortable with being overweight.
i'm a size 14/16 and when i told a woman that was bigger than me that i was headed to the gym, she called me "skinny." god bless her lol.
little does she know that i'm planning take her with me to the gym one of these days...

E's said...

Excellent post! I kinda agree with your male friend...It's become socially acceptable to be a big girl.

I like thick, but some men give HUGE liberties on the definition of "thick". I think there should be benchmarks:

- 3:1 ass-to-belly
- thigh circomference < 24"
- tricep fat < 1"
- 1 roll rule: only one belly roll, one back roll, one neck roll, one chin roll allowed
- fat should not be heard in voice: no fatty larynx

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