the silly excuses african women make

This morning I went for my usual 5K run. It started off badly, I tripped several times, my eyes were puffy, I hadn’t slept well and my breathing was off. I cursed the pavement, I cursed the sky, I cursed everything I could see. I felt like crap! But, I persevered and 10mins later, I was going at full steam. I ran past this African woman who was probably a gracious size 20 and she appeared to be walking towards the bus stop. My run takes me along all the stops on the bus route, so I was quite surprised when 2minutes later, a bus drove past me, stopped at the bus stop and the same lady walked out. She had literally taken the bus for one stop!

Enough is enough, ladies. She could have easily walked that 200m and in my opinion, she didn’t look like she was in a hurry. I was disappointed, but also sympathetic. I used to be a size 16 and I remember at my heaviest I would take the lazy option, lift not the stairs, pizza not the salad. I would then feel disheartened looking at my body in the mirror and any motivation for change would die. I think as women we get complacent, we get so stuck in our many excuses. Tick the ones you have used in the past month alone:

  1. You don’t have time for exercise but you still find time for that next episode of (God forbid!) Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or whatever your poison is.
  2. You can’t afford to eat all that super healthy detox diet stuff that thin people eat to stay slim.
  3. You don’t want to eat like a rabbit.
  4. Your hair will ‘dwinch’ and you will lose your perfectly pressed tresses to the sweaty afro-inducing gods.
  5. You can’t afford gym fees.
  6. People will laugh at you if they see you running outdoors.
  7. You have a medical condition.
  8. You get tired easily.
  9. You are lazy.
  10. You don’t love yourself.

Ok, I got tired of making up excuses for you and decided to cut to the chase. Two reasons exist why you don’t exercise: you are lazy and you don’t love yourself. Let me explain.

Excuses 1-6 basically mean you are lazy…too lazy to find, cook and eat healthier meals, and too lazy to get up off the sofa and sacrifice even 30mins a day to work-out. Heck, even 15mins will do if you are just starting out. As long as you get your body moving and your calorie burn higher than a standard day sitting on your butt. Like the woman who took the bus to get one stop along (I will never get over this), you could decide to get up a bit earlier for work and walk a mile before getting the bus/train. You could get off two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. You don’t have to change into fitness clothes or make any major changes than sacrifice some time to get your weight down and your body at a healthy BMI.

Excuses 1-7 also mean you don’t love yourself.

69.3% of South African females display unhealthy levels of body fat and more than four in 10 are clinically obese (defined as having a BMI higher than 30). And that’s just in South Africa, what more the Africans in the diaspora where it’s easier to get processed ‘delicious’ food that we are not used to eating back in our homelands. Read the full article here.

Your life is at risk, you have heard it all before and my aim is not to regurgitate medical facts on heart disease, diabetes, gout, stroke, cancer and every other deadly disease that is associated with an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Just love yourself better!

I strongly believe that where there is a will there is a way. I know excuse number 7 can be quite serious, especially if you have a long-term medical condition or disability. Whilst you had no control of getting a debilitating illness or disability, I do think that you can gain more control of what happens to you from here-on. Your spirit and mental fortitude can serve you better going forwards and help you achieve your goals. It may be slow but it will be worthwhile. You can either choose to dwell (mentally) in the pain of your illness or disability, or you can get some real medical advice on what sort of exercise you can do without adding further injury or exacerbating your condition. The choice is completely yours. If you are at a complete stand-still and cannot do exercise, don’t force it. Please just adjust your diet and eat healthier food to reduce your calorie intake and start to see some changes in your weight and health. Whatever changes you can make, no matter how small, make them.

African women make so many silly excuses to not exercise and in part our culture is to blame. We grow up seeing our mothers main workout being pounding the sadza/pap on the stove…she has killer arms but blubber everywhere else. Our men compliment us on the rounded curvy African woman they love, the thicker the better, but ultimately, once you die from obesity-related diseases, he will have a new wife in a month. I joke. But on a serious note, we are conditioned to accept that African women do not exercise past high school. We care more about our hair, our makeup, looking silly exercising in public, cooking delicious calorie-laden meals to fatten up our men, than we do about loving our bodies to a healthy weight.

If you need and want help getting started…if you really have the motivation but lack the knowledge to eat right for your weight and body shape…if you struggle to find the right level of exercise that will keep you motivated and not put you off working out…even if you just want to talk about how crappy you feel about your body and where you are going wrong…or even the opposite, you want to brag about everything you are doing right…send me a message, I’m always happy to give advice, send positive energy and inspiration wherever I can.

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