Photo by Crown Agency on Unsplash
Checking my blood sugar each morning is an event.
While it’s a good reminder that I need to watch what I eat, it scares the CRAP outta me to have to prick my finger. I sit there for at least 30 seconds, fearful that the needle will hurt. My hands shake. My breathing becomes shallow. It’s all too much. Every. Damn. Weekday.
When I was younger, I watched as family members took insulin shots, or took medications to regulate things. I told myself: that doesn’t look like something I’d ever want to do.
Yet, here I am, two years later after being diagnosed with pre-diabetes, pre-hypertension, and weighing in at 285lbs.
Those diagnoses are on my mind whenever I reach for a sugary drink or devour too many carbs. I think about them when I see a co-worker down an entire bag of candy.
I’m much healthier now. I have better habits. I weighed in at 248lbs last week. But, I’m on a winding road to recovery. We all are.
I have my weak moments: finding myself surrounded by empty bags of chips and an empty fry carton. Moments like this leave me full of disgust and shame.
Parties and gatherings are the worst. Too many options, and too many times of me having to control my hunger – whether real or imagined.
Even when I’m on my own, cravings hit me at random. I love ice cream. I love cookies. I love pizza and will chase large slices with buffalo wings and bread-sticks like I’m in a competition. I love all the things that are bad for me. All the things I loaded up on as a kid. We often had our fill in my family. Food was our comfort. But, we overdid it.
I was featured in the June 2018 Men’s Issue of Essence magazine. I spoke about my challenging health journey. When you open the page, your eyes are immediately drawn to the chart filled with statistics about leading killers of Black men.
My words are juxtaposed to those chilling facts.
I am always almost one of those statistics. The pain from the my sugar checks, the meetings with my nutritionist, the weekly weigh-ins, the daily food tracking, the weekday mornings in the gym, they all me keep alive. But, my ultimate driver is wanting to be a healthy husband, brother, friend, and son.
I’m working to change the narrative regarding who and what Black men can be: alive.
I encourage you to share this with a man in your life that needs to read this. We don’t take care ourselves enough, especially us Black men. But, men in general often wait until it’s too late. Let them know they can reach out to me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
So can you.