abolish the fitness industry

Is that the goal? Is that what we’re going for with the “counting your macros is not healthy” and the “accept your body the way it is, do not lose weight” and the ever popular “if you’re trying to lose weight, you are still under the thumb of the diet industry.” While a lot of the articles you’ll see with this theme of self love and acceptance are written by people with good intentions, they often feel disingenuous.

Let’s start from the beginning shall we and look at the factors that may have someone conclude that counting macros with the aim to lose weight is not healthy. Their introduction to macro counting was probably because of having jumped from diet to diet all their lives and having a desire to approach things in a healthier way. They were probably then introduced to macro counting at their cross-fit box or power-lifting gym. WOW! I can eat anything I want and still lose weight as long as I stay within these numbers?! I can ditch the unhealthy disordered eating behaviors I’ve had all my life?! What an amazing concept. So, they jump in headlong.

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don’t touch my hair

In Ghana, where I grew up, school age girls were expected to have a hair cut with hair no longer than an inch or so. The only ones exempt were the one or two mixed girls in the school. This meant that during our senior year, all of us girls would start growing out our little ‘fros (but we’d tie them down overnight so as not to alert the teachers that it was longer than the 1 inch maximum allowed) in preparation for graduation because that’s when the magic happens! Many of us get to relax our hair for the first time! We get to have straight hair that swang in the wind.

So, as expected, I graduated and dove head first into the world of relaxers and braids and wigs and weaves and every iteration of it. It wasn’t until 2008, in the midst of the new natural hair movement that was sweeping the US did I stop to investigate what my hair as it grew out of my scalp looked like. I promptly did the “big chop” as it’s known. I.e., I cut off all my relaxed hair and went back to less than an inch of hair. I embarked on a journey of discovering curls I hadn’t known existed in my 23 years of life.

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why you need to ditch your “goal weight” today!

Unless you have a sport, health condition or otherwise for which you need to maintain a certain weight, having a “goal weight” is a recipe for disaster.

First, what is “weight” as it pertains to your body? In the most simplistic of definitions, it is the sum of your mass. So, when you add up the amount of water, fat, muscles, poop etc., you get your weight. This number fluctuates minute to minute, day to day based on so many factors not within our control. Did you sleep enough, did you poop, are you on your period, are you stressed, do you have hormonal issues? These are just a few things that impact how much you weigh.

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next time, make sure your phone is working

“Next time, make sure your phone is working before you page me.” This is what a doctor said after I had just apologized to her (unprompted) that the phone wasn’t working but that the outgoing nurse had paged her to that phone.

That she felt the need to chastise me still speaks to just a fraction of the verbal and emotional abuse nurses get from doctors regularly. Nurses take it with grace and move on but I couldn’t do it this time. After she said what she said, I said to her “I’m not sure how I could have ensured that seeing as it is that I came in to work and I had no way of knowing the phone they paged youto wasn’t working.”

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health education is a must – this nurse’s perspective

Baby Nurse Christabel circa 2012

My work as a nurse is fulfilling, but it’s also often saddening. The sadder parts for me is the realization of my limitations. I have a hard time accepting those limitations because often; I feel that it is all unfair. Disease and death are the two most difficult things for me to accept as the inevitable part of our human existence. It has become even more difficult since I do not actively have a belief system I subscribe to. When I was a Jehovah’s witness, the promises in the bible about a day when there will be no more sickness and death were my favorite ones:

Revelation 21:4: “…he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

The above scripture and many like it brought me such comfort. I could always refer to them when I felt the crushing hopelessness of the human condition overcome me. While being empathetic is a good quality to have as a nurse, it has to be tempered by acceptance of our limitations as caregivers and healers. I can only do so much. We can only do so much. And the acceptance of those limitations is even more imperative when we’re dealing with incurable, chronic, progressively degenerative or congenital diseases. I rarely see miraculous recoveries rather, disease progression is usually predictable.Read more“health education is a must – this nurse’s perspective”

how strength training and therapy saved my life. *trigger warning: self harm and suicidality*

  My passions run deep and are varied but not by happenstance. I am who I am today and care about the things I care about today because of a very rough journey through life that has resulted in a lot of self-discovery and self-love. I’ll write a book one …