It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle Change
On the morning of June 25th, 2014, I woke up to a burning scent. Usually my Gran (the Gran that raised me) prepared my oatmeal before I traveled to the Detroit area for my summer internship. But that morning, I did not smell oats and honey. I immediately rushed downstairs to find my grandmother in a confused state with burned oatmeal. When I questioned her about it, her speech was slurred.
I knew immediately she possibly had a stroke. So I rushed her to the car and drove to the nearest hospital. When we arrived she could still walk, but not say her last name nor where she lived. Doctors began doing scans and stated it appeared as if she had a mild stroke. Several days later, we discovered it was not mild. It was massive. Just 48 hours later and she was no longer able to use her right side, walk, or talk nearly as much as she was when I first brought her into the hospital. The doctors tried to relieve our worry by stating they would attempt to do a surgery that could improve the blood flow.
Two hours later we paced back and forth in the waiting room. Hoping and praying for great news. Soon a doctor came out to usher my aunts and I into a conference room. “Well I am just going to be honest with you all…” I knew then that I was not going to hear great news. He began to say that my grandmother would need intensive care and rehab for years to follow. He then left me with a message that I will never forget. “Since you all look alike on the outside, you all probably look the same on the inside. If I were you, I would develop a healthier lifestyle.”
This advice sounded very familiar. As mentioned in my previous posts, I have always been pressured to eat healthy and lose weight. However, my grandmother was never constantly reminded of her health. Possibly because she was petite until she turned 60 and then became petite again after the age of 70. However, she never exercised or followed a strict eating regimen because the doctors and society did not demand it. Proving that we have been programmed to believe that petite or skinny automatically means healthy, and overweight means unhealthy and knocking on death’s door, which is obviously false.
Following my grandmother’s stroke in June, I took my eating habits to the extreme. I ate bland vegetables, cut out all sodium, and only cooked baked chicken breast. But after a while, I realized this is a new lifestyle. For the rest of my life, I will be eating healthier. So I should find a way to enjoy it. My new lifestyle change is simply eating foods with lower sodium, eating more veggies, and eating less processed foods. And for the first time, I am actually running over a mile a day.
Although I have lost weight, I do not plan on sharing my weight loss number. Because this is not about losing weight or trying to make myself ”feel better.” I loved my body the way it was before and I will continue to love my body. This is about choosing life over sickness and bad health. No matter what size a person is, it is possible to be unhealthy. But even if someone is bigger, it does NOT mean they are unhealthy.
So my goal for RedHairedDiva.com remains the same. To promote body positivity and acceptance for all sizes, confidence, and guidance for all. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive to my family and I during this difficult time. Always remember, “You are not alone. You are never alone. There is someone who has been through what you’re going through and survived. Keep fighting” (Mandy Hale)!
Pictured above: Gran’s wall of cards in Rehab.