“How is it that Monica does all of that kick boxing, and she’s still FAT?” Ouch. Yes, someone actually said that about me just last week. Instead of crawling into a dark corner and crying my eyes out, I took that statement as motivation to recommit to living a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve never stopped working out, but other circumstances in my life have caused increased stress and anxiety which lead to behaviors such as emotional eating. Stress also causes some to hold onto and ultimately gain weight. Another factor that contributes to my lack of weight loss is that when we continue to do the same type of exercise our body reaches a plateau and needs to be shocked by doing something different.
I took all of these things into consideration and used them as a catalyst to launch my Walk Away the Weight program. So often we get fixated on physical weight loss. Maintaining a healthy weight is important to ward off illnesses such as high blood pressure, hypertension and diabetes, but very rarely are the prevention of those diseases our motivation. The bottom line is that we usually want to lose weight to look good.
What we fail to realize is that a huge part of gaining and losing weight is psychological. Hence, my Walk Away the Weight program is twofold. The obvious side of it is that I am walking for physical health and to meet my weight loss goals. The not so apparent side is that I use walking as a way to clear my mind and heart thus lifting the mental and emotional weight that I often carry around with me daily.
When I walk, I take deep restorative breaths. Think about your day. How often to you stop to take a deep breath, honestly? Sadly you probably cannot think of one time and you find yourself taking that first deep breath of the day as you read this.
Based on my research I’ve also learned that exercise and sunlight are two ways to holistically treat depression so it serves that purpose for me as well….because believe it or not, Little Miss Sunshine, as some of you may view me, was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder just one year ago.
I am revealing this because too often we fall prey to the fear of the stigma that surrounds mental health in the African American community. By speaking out, perhaps I can help someone else by letting them know that they are not alone, and that recovery is possible. I also want to encourage those who feel that something just isn’t quite right, to seek help...even if that means taking a free diagnostic test online to see if you are suffering from the symptoms of depression.
I walk for an hour each day at a local track or park. While I am walking I think, pray and meditate which often leads to fresh ideas and a new outlook on my life.
Walking Away the Weight has given me a release and a peace beyond all understanding. I encourage you to develop a program that works for you. Just be sure to consider how you can incorporate all aspects of a healthy lifestyle which include physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and nutrition.