Bari-Educational TV: Videos To Teach You About You And Your Options

  • 1. The Stages of Digestion
  • 2. Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
  • 3. Gastric Banding
  • 4. Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • 5. Duodenal Switch
"Eat right, exercise regularly, die anyway."

~ Author Unknown

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Milestone And The BMI Is No B.S.!!

Wow, I just realized that it's been a long time since I've posted! Life is still good and after a long stall, I'm happy to report that my scale has inched down a little and I've finally hit my milestone of having lost just over 50 lbs. from my highest weight. I've kicked up my exercise some incorporating some resistance training and an old favorite, spinning classes. Look out Lance Armstrong, cuz you ain't got nothin' on me! ha ha

It feels great to look in the mirror and see a difference and to have more energy. I haven't felt this good in a really long time and it's so awesome to know that it only gets better from here because I still have a long way to go. I've been taking my walking up to a run and playing around with a faster pace in preparation for my next half marathon coming up the first weekend in March. I've aggravated an old knee injury in doing so which is very frustrating because I am one of those crazy people that loves running and knows the feeling of being "in the zone" and it's difficult to want to be there but have pain holding you back. I know of a few things that I can do to help and I'm going to do everything that I can because now that I'm racing again, I realize that my motivation for exercise is very much goal-driven and that when I have a race on my calendar, I'm much more inspired to get out on the trails or to the gym everyday.

One thing that I know about myself is that once I begin learning something new or taking my life in a new direction, I become somewhat consumed with it and often share with family and friends whatever my new endeavor happens to be. Of course right now, that endeavor is my weight loss and learning to be healthier long term. Prior to my surgery, I shared my plans with family and a few friends and for the most part the reaction was positive and I received a great deal of encouragement. I didn't receive much opposition but I did receive comments from some people that "'re not that big so why do you need surgery?....or why can't you just keep dieting and exercising?"

I came to understand that in general, most people only think of weight loss surgery as something for the super morbidly obese that they see on tv. They don't realize that a great number of patients that undergo surgery are people like me that are morbidly obese, even though we're not 500 lbs.

Within the black community, obesity is rampant and our culture is one that typically values a "thick" woman over one without curves. I've found myself becoming frustrated in some conversations with friends because I've had to explain to them that yes, I was morbidly obese at 233 lbs. for my height of only 5'3". I've had to explain that if I didn't do something to change, I was setting myself up for long term illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure that has hit nearly everyone in my family over the age of 45. Where I get downright angry though is when we start to discuss the BMI scale and I've faced the opinion that the BMI scale doesn't include us and is only made for white people, or people without "natural curves".

The BMI scale is not bullshit, and it generally includes everyone unless you are an ELITE athlete like a bodybuilder or Olympian that works out to the point that your weight is not necessarily proportional to your height. In general those not represented on the BMI scale have such a low percentage of body fat that their BMI is really unimportant, but for those of us who are average people, a normal range in BMI is actually pretty wide. For me at 5'3", I can weigh anywhere from 109-140 lbs. and have a normal, healthy BMI. That range encompasses many body types and frame sizes, and definitely includes black women and our natural curves. Yes, the BMI scale was made for us too!!

I guess I get angry because I see the obesity epidemic, the diabetes and hypertension epidemics, and yet the attitude that somehow the color of our skin and the curve of our hips makes us immune to needing to get fit. It's not an excuse! I watch friends and yes, even family members who eat unhealthy foods, and some who won't even walk to the end of the driveway for exercise, try to justify a weight of over 200 lbs. as being normal and it's not okay!! Yes, I'm sounding off and it doesn't really matter what I think because everyone is in control of their own bodies and yes, I know that just because I had surgery doesn't mean that everyone else should, but the truth must be told.

Watching Oprah's show on diabetes the other day, I saw a shocking reality that many of my people need to see...the long term devastating effects that diabetes can have. Consider this video:

If you knew that this could happen to you, would you still keep the same habits that you have today? One of the reasons that I had surgery was to try to prevent diabetes.  I'm frustrated because I can't get my family members to embrace the fact that with the proper diet and exercise, they could live free of their medications.  I have to accept that I can't change their minds or make their choices for them just because I love them.  I can only change me....but, even though I can't change them, I will not accept their excuses.  I WILL tell the truth, and that truth is that no matter what excuses you make, no matter how you justify your behaviors or unwillingness to change, it doesn't change the facts of obesity.  The fact is that obesity is unhealthy, no matter what color you are.  The fact is that obesity can and will shorten your life and alter your quality of life.

You don't have to have weight loss surgery it that's not the road for you, but you do have to face your own reality and the reality of your health.  You have to live with your own choices and the effect those choices have on your future.  I choose to live and to live healthy.  I choose to live long and to live strong.  I once met an 82 year old man walking a half marathon.  He said that he'd been running only since his 50's but that he'd done over 25 marathons over the years.  He was lean, healthy, and strong and someday....that will be me.