The D-Word

On principle, Ak has never been one to do that thing that starts with a d where you exercise more and eat less in a calculated effort to lose weight. Ak liked to think that shedding pounds should only be about health and wellness. Since Ak was healthy and well, she insisted that her pear shape was just fine the way it was.

“Fuck a scale!” said Ak.

Even when her shape would come up in the form of backhanded compliments (“Now you got some hips, girl!”) or straight-up criticism (“Hey Love, are you bloated?), Ak let it ride. She wasn’t going to let soul-killing messages of the Diet Industrial Complex distract her from more important things like paying bills and prancing in front of the mirror in drawers and high heels. Throughout her 20s, Ak’s plan worked. When she ate healthily and exercised enough, she was content. It didn’t hurt that she could do unspeakable things with Doritos, chocolate and pasta without obvious repercussions.

But just after 30, when Ak suddenly became what a dirty South suitor called “nice” (translation: not skinny, not thuck, just nice), she started secretly obsessing about being thinner.
By day she’d slip phrases like “anti-woman White supremacist beauty standards” and “psychological warfare” into casual conversation. By night she’d stomp the floor to count the jiggles. Most important, she’d stay off the scale. “Motherfuck a scale!” Ak would say, albeit weakly.

Now Ak has an official reason to obsess. Two days ago, at a much-delayed trip to the doctor, Ak discovered that:

-Her clothes are not actually shrinking in the dryer every single week.
-Clothes that were once fitted look porny because she’s gained 15 pounds in the last four years.

So Ak is on a diet. The Man has won.

For now her plan is to lose the extra padding without major deprivation. She’s going to start by saying no to the free snackfoods she eats out of boredom at work, avoiding all things Frito Lay, going to gym more than once a week, and eating fruit when she really just wants some Lemonheads. She’s also going to drink more water, and blah, blah–all that healthy stuff.

If you have any non-deprivation tips, do tell. Ak is lazy by nature, so don’t bring up shit like spinning, marathons or South Beach. And don’t be mean.

Ak’s best “Before” shot. She’s not gonna put a full body pic up even though that would make sense…



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7 responses to “The D-Word

  1. GoldenGirl

    Hey Ak,

    I feel your pain. I gained 9 lbs in about 8 months and on Jan 15 I went into crazy d-word mode. You haven’t sold out because you want to be thinner, so please don’t beat yourself up. Like you said, this is TRULY about health and wellness, not living up to The Man’s standards of beauty. (I can’t front, though, I really want to wear cute sundresses this summer and rock tank tops without wanting to cover my arms. I’m not just thinking about my health when I head to the gym at 5:30 every morning in the freezing cold.)

    Sometimes I think black women lean too heavily on the idea that we’re supposed to be “thick” as a way to avoid the fact that we’re actually overweight and out of shape. I’m not saying you fall into this category cause you’re not remotely overweight, but a lot of us need to stop acting like “thickness” is our birthright and get our asses on a treadmill.

    Anyway, good luck with your diet!! I think the small steps you mentioned will make a huge difference. And I bet you’ll step it up once you start seeing results. Go at your own pace. So far I’m down 13 lbs and feeling more motivated than ever.

    This is a great site. Thanks!

  2. serenakim

    Hello Akiba…

    Lemme start by saying you are one of the most brilliant editors to ever touch a keyboard…

    Anyway, before I gave birth last year, I had gained about sixty pounds. (And of course, my 120 pound sister had the nerve to tell me she felt fat.) It got to the point where my lower intestine was literally falling out of my ass as I walked into the maternity ward because of the sheer weight of my body.

    At one point, about six months after birth, I went to get my haircut and the mean Korean ladies criticized me and said that I should be back to my pre-birth weight by now… But I was still about 20 to 30 pounds overweight.

    The way I lost all my weight was by breastfeeding. And just not worrying about it.

    I don’t have a car in Los Angeles, which means I walk everywhere. I have a dog. So I walk him a lot.

    But I also never, ever, ever deprive myself. Which means I eat lots of full fat dairy products whenever possible. But I don’t snack. I cook almost all my own meals because I work from home. I try to have at least five servings of fruit or veggie per day.

    And that’s about it.

    And I’m somebody who bakes an awful lot. But somehow I went back down to my prebaby shape. I weigh more, but I think I look fine. I know my stomach will never be flat again, but I’m okay with that, because my pooch is my badge of honor that I carried a really cool kid once. And that’s better than washboard abs anyday.

    Have you ever read Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf? It totally blew my wig back… And am dying to talk about it with somebody.

    Also, I need to talk to you offline sometime about this book I’m writing about global beauty and imperialism. I’d love to get your feedback…


    Serena Kim

  3. serenakim

    and another thing. you look really pretty in your before shot, not at all like you need to lose weight. but i know i could say that until i’m blue in the face and until you believe it yourself, we gets nowhere.

  4. ihearticecubesjhericurl

    Not the D-Word. Haven’t you seen the anti-diet ads on the train?

    Drinking water is a good start. Try drinking only water for a month, you’ll see a big difference in not just your weight but skin too. If you can go longer than a month, that’s even better. The Doritos, you’re going to have to get rid of those. Buy fruit every time you think about buying Doritos.

    Back in 2002 or 2003, I went on a cleanse to boost my energy level. I got the idea from Queen Afua’s “Sacred Woman” and “Heal Thyself” books. I was too cheap to buy all the products she was selling, so I came up with my own version of her cleanse. My original goal was to do a 7-day cleanse, I finished around 4-5 days and saw a huge difference. My monthly went from 7 days to 3 days and I lost around 10 pounds. Basically, my bootleg version of the cleanse was I only ate fruit (apples, berries, bananas, oranges, melons) and vegetables (sweet potatoes, greens, beans, nuts, lettuce, spinach) for 4-5 days. Instead of taking showers, I took baths with drops of lavender oil (not sure what effect this has on weight, but it was a great way to start my day). By the third day I started sweating in my sleep (I would wake up in damp sheets), it scared the mess out of me at first but then I was happy about working up a sweat without ever having to go to the gym.

    Although it’s a bit unconventional, I would recommend this ghetto cleanse and see what kind of results you get. What do you have to lose but pounds? I must warn you, you are going to take a lot of bathroom breaks at work (bring the air freshener).

    PS. Is that my arm in your before picture? That looks my shirt.

  5. Aliya S. King

    I’m right there with Serena. I gained 60+ pounds while pregnant last year. And lost it all without trying as I breastfed her. I was so happy to see the scale get back to a number I could look at without peeking through my fingers.

    And now, I have to think about the D-word. Cause the weight’s gone. But nothing is where it’s supposed to be. My butt is like, lower to the ground or something. And my boobs, which were ferocious double-D’s while breastfeeding, are now these sad B-cup banana-like fixtures. And that pooch that Serena is so proud of? I say, fuck that pooch. I want my abs back!

    Problem: While breastfeeding, I ate like a horse. And still lost weight every week! It was heavenly. I swear: the more ice cream, brownies and cookies I ate, the more weight I lost.
    But the problem is, baby girl is off the boob. But I can’t shake the junk food habit.

    Here’s what works for me. Going food-shopping every. single. week. Without fail. If I plan out my menus for the week and actually prepare meals, it’s so much easier for me to stay focused. You must must must pack your own lunch. At first, pack twice as much as you think you can really eat. You’ll be surprised to see you may finish it all. When you are used to snacking at work, you don’t pay attention to how much you are eating.

    Before I head out the door, I have instant oatmeal, nuts, raisins, tea bags, splenda, carrot sticks and hummus, a turkey sandwich, bottled water with me.

    And I hate it. I hate the packing. i hate lugging the extra bag around. I hate looking like somebody’s mom who is all un-cool and packing lunch and doing the D-word thing…

    But the truth is, I AM somebody’s mom. And I am very uncool. And I need to pack my lunch so I can have some discipline. It is what it is. I had to let go of my I’ll-just-grab-something-on-the-way and get it together.

    Today, I did not pack a bag. So i had creamy tomato soup with these awesome cheese croutons. And a donut. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

  6. Rochelle

    I agree with Aliya–it’s important to plan those meals!

    I gained 20 pounds while training for a half-marathon, so I’m no longer a believer in “fitness = weight loss.”

    Right now, I’m cuting out simple sugar in addition to exercising 30-60 minutes a day. I’ll let you know if it works 🙂

  7. TB

    I think Ak has always been beautiful. Losing weight should only become a concern when heath and wellness are also part of the problem.

    There is so much more to beauty than simply physical appearance. Ak is intelligent, funny, down to earth and pretty. I guarentee that an additional 15 pounds would not jeopardize her status as a “bad chick”.

    Despite my feelings, I don’t think I can ever fully understand what women go through when it comes to the pressures that society places on feminine beauty. I guess I am oblivious because despite what the world calls beauty, I’ve never had a problem recognizing beauty in women of many diffrent shapes, colors and sizes.

    Although I know you are and will; stay strong Ak. Fuck a scale and a diet (it really isn’t that major) unless you want to feel healthier.


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