Running Uphill; The Struggle to Be HealthyYvonne Condes
Being healthy is a choice and one that isn’t easy for me. I’m the kind of person that will plan my errands around good places to eat. When I was pregnant and on bed rest my only outing was to the doctor so I made sure that each route I took to get there was via a pastry shop. Nowadays, don’t bother asking me if I want more wine, another piece of cake, cheese on top, fries with that, or a side of anything because the answer is yes. So the fact that I weigh less than I did in high school is a minor miracle for me. I love to eat, but sometimes I do have to say no and please don’t give me a hard time when I do.
Weighing less is not about being hot or skinny; there are plenty of women like that in Los Angeles where I live. It’s about feeling good and being healthy. I exercise because I like it.
It’s hard to keep focused and it takes dedication, which is why I was baffled by the “Hot Facebook Mom” outrage. To refresh your memory, she was the one sporting a 6 pack, wearing a bikini, and kneeling next to her three boys with a line that said, “What’s your excuse?” I saw that picture and I thought, “Maybe if I didn’t eat any carbohydrates and just did ab work for a month I could have that stomach.” And then I laughed. Because I would be so angry without carbs that I would have no one to show my rocking abs to because everyone would hate me.
Working out like that is hard. It’s not just physically challenging but mentally challenging. You have to make time. You have to decide not to do something else in order to work out. You have to decide that instead of a hamburger with cheese you will have a lettuce wrapped turkey burger with avocado. You have to decide that YOU are important enough to take care of.
There are so many women I know who say, “I just don’t care about how I look.” I applaud that when it means that they don’t spend money on designer clothes they can’t afford or that they simply don’t base their self-worth upon what other people think of them. But when “I just don’t care” is because they’ve given up and they don’t see a way out of an unhealthy lifestyle, that’s when it bothers me. It seems almost like there’s a perception that if you take good care of yourself you’re narcissistic or that there’s a line that’s been drawn and you are either obsessed with your looks or you don’t have the time.
I worry about this divide because I worry about the future. I’m Mexican-American and the trends for us are shocking. According to the American Heart Association, 72 percent of Mexican-American women over the age of 20 are overweight or obese. That’s the majority of us. In the general population, it’s not much better at 60 percent.
It is important to find a way to be healthy. To criticize someone for working hard and finding a way to keep fit is just sad. Everyone should find a way to be healthier with the current trends in women’s health we can’t afford not to.
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