African Americans are more likely to die from preventable diseases, one of the leading causes being heart disease via hypertension, or high blood pressure. My family has been no exception. I’ve lost uncles and aunties to strokes, heart disease, and kidney failure. My dad’s side of the family, although rarely overweight, often suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes. In my mom’s side of the family, where obesity is a problem, diagnoses of high blood pressure are common and expected after fifty.
My mom was just diagnosed with high blood pressure and this diagnosis troubled me because of her dedication to health and working out. This dedication, however, has not necessarily translated into a healthy weight. My mom is overweight and has been battling obesity for a majority of her life. She’ll lose weight and gain weight. Dedicate herself to healthy habits and then fall off the bandwagon into mindless eating and limited activity. This cycle has also been the story of my life.
My goal is to break the pattern of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure in my family. Plus, it seems silly to me to be diagnosed with a preventable disease: key word being PREVENTABLE. Meaning this is a disease that does not have to be had. I refuse. My brother has also refused when he lost 80 pounds. I refused when I dropped 80 pounds and continue to refuse today as I work out and eat right.
I also refuse to be a damn statistic. I might be black, but I won’t be getting any high blood pressure or diabetes in my lifetime. I also refuse to suffer with lung cancer and high cholesterol. Which is simple because all that means is avoiding the activities that cause them. So, I’ve quit smoking and now I eat correctly and workout. As simple as that. I think.
At the tender age of twenty-six, I might be speaking ignorantly optimistic. But armed with this knowledge in wholesome eating and the power of eating real foods, I might have a pretty high chance at achieving this goal.