#BlackGirlHealing: “The Very Thing I Wanted To Get Rid Of Became My Buffer From The World”

It’s one thing to lose and regain 20-40 pounds when you’re single, active and 25, but a completely different obstacle when you are married, early 40’s, quite sedentary (mostly because of the weight), depressed most days, a mother of two and struggling to lose over 100 pounds, again. The situation is very serious and quite scary. 

When I was a part of the hospital-run weight loss program several years ago, just before becoming a part of GirlTrek, I’d lost 80 pounds. I was halfway to my goal of losing 170.

One hundred and seventy pounds is an entire extra person that I carry around with me each day.

My bones, my joints, my heart, my soul, and my spirit carry this weight and they are beyond fatigued.

READ: #BlackGirlHealing: “I Have Been Afraid That Stress Will Kill Me”

I remember meeting people who had lost over 150 pounds and had gained it all back and then some, and I kept thinking, how in the world do you gain back all of that weight and then some? I’ll never do that. Once I lose this, “I’m never going to gain it back!”

Have you heard of the saying, never, say never?

I learned the secret to gaining it all back is simply one bad decision at a time, one lie you tell yourself at a time, one shameful failure you try to cover at a time; been there lived that.  But, in the end, I gained it all back plus an additional 10.

For the longest, I’d given up. I’d pitched a tent on a very comfy patch of land off of the main path to healthy Joy. There, I could watch others pass by, and be slightly motivated to consider abandoning my tent, but I’d eventually leave the path again and return to my safe-weight tent.

After so many years, the very thing that I wanted to be rid of had now become my buffer from the world and the best shield I had from the pain, disappointment, and anxiety of the outside world, and the best way to maintain this fortress was to eat. My relationship with food and my body was out of control.

Listen, I once chose a flight because they served chocolate chip cookies as the inflight snack instead of peanuts.  Really, Joy, who does that? Let me tell you, food became everything. I’d sneak ice cream and cookies in the middle of the night after I tuck the kids in bed. Or binge on an entire bag of fun size Snickers the week of Halloween, or eat a McDonald’s dinner every night four days a week.

Now, fear of failure took control.

Joy Durham GirlTrek

But I guess I’d forgotten, fear doesn’t come from God, and it is time for me to stop letting food, fear, and failure call the shots in my life.  The very fact that I am a mother and wife now determines I will continue on my journey to my healthiest self.

This path that I’ve chosen with GirlTrek support will take me outside of my comfort zone, and up mountains. Every time I walk I show my kids that there is nothing you can’t do including losing more than 170 pounds. I’m still dealing with fear, it still wreaks havoc in small doses, but I’m on a mission to heal.

I want the world to know that I’m here to heal. I need to heal myself. I have to heal my family.

– Joy Monroe Durham, GirlTrek Houston

BlackDoctor.org is excited for this content partnership with GirlTrek to feature #BlackGirlHealing, an initiative created to document the narratives, struggles and successes of Black women on the journey to living their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through the habit of daily walking. This initiative will further the mission of decreasing health disparities and stigma among women and girls, and further the conversation that self care is a revolutionary act of love.


Ready to be inspired even more? Watch the video below!