I lost 40 lbs. 

My body feels different. My body looks different. None of my clothes fit, and still it’s hard for me to understand that I lost 40 lbs. 

I can walk up the four flights of stairs to my apartment and not feel like I’m going to die. I can run for a transfer in the subway and catch my breath pretty quickly. I can actually run for longer than 10 seconds but I still find it hard to believe that I lost 40 lbs. 

This entire process was different than what I expected. I didn’t start running, well really walking, because I had this enthusiastic commitment to my health. My life has been crazy and I couldn’t sleep. News of the murders of Philando Castille & Alton Sterling filled my body with a heavy rage. I felt stuck. So one morning I woke up and went for a walk.  

At one point Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Care About Us came on and I sort of forgot that I was in a public park and people could see me. I turned up the volume on my earbuds and started flailing my arms, and stomping my feet, and pumping my fists and when the song was over I sensed a difference in my body. I felt looser, it was as if I had created space for myself just from moshing. I found a moment for joy. I snatched it from the stressors of my life, the fuck-upidness of the world and I felt good. It was my own way to Damn the Man.

And each day after that it would be a different song. Once it was Fela’s Lady, and as I listened to it I broke into Menjani on the jogging path in Prospect Park. Another time I broke into a dutty wine. Somehow starting my day with the help of some tunes helped me make a habit out of taking a walk, out of releasing all the bullshit the world tossed my way. 

There were many days I didn’t want to walk. Many days I only went because I saw a friend’s post-workout selfie, and it made feel like I was letting him down. And on those days I didn’t have the best workouts. I didn’t turn the jogging path into my own personal stage, I just tried to finish my workout without sitting down to rest. 

One day I did sit  down to rest. I was 2 miles away from home, and without a metrocard or cash. The only way to get home was to finish my workout. I was frustrated. I was tired. I didn’t feel inspired. So I called a friend, he gave me much needed motivation and I walked back home. And I kept walking. 

The walking turned to jogging, 10 seconds at a time. I incorporated stretches because my ankles kept giving out. I even braved the Orlando humidity to workout outside when I went on vacation. Tshirts were replaced by hoodies and scarves as the temperature dropped. And all of a sudden I could run for longer than one minute. Oh and I had lost 40 lbs. 

I have more weight I want to lose but what I am most proud of is what my body can do. “Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate.” 

I look forward to the ways I will celebrate my body as I continue with my Damn the Man workouts.