Do These Weight Loss Tactics Really Work?


Do These Weight Loss Tactics Really Work?


“REVOLT Black News Weekly” aired on Friday (Feb. 24) to discuss whether the body positivity movement is helping or hurting the health of Black women. Global news anchor Mara S. Campo led the episode titled “Beyond BMI: Watching Black women’s weight.”

During a roundtable discussion, Campo was joined by personal trainer Tasha Hall, Dr. Frita Fisher, Dr. Jameelah Gater, and model and influencer Hillory Banks for a nuanced discussion and debate about the pros and cons.

While stars like Lizzo and plus-sized influencers are gaining kudos for promoting body positivity, there are also those who accuse the movement of promoting obesity. In 2018, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reported that Black women were the most obese and severely obese group in the country at 57 percent. However, those numbers are based on BMI (Body Mass Index), which comes down to weight related to height. A BMI of 25-30 percent is overweight, and anything over that is considered obese. Also worth noting, the index was created by a mathematician, not a doctor, in the 1830s, and it was tailored for white men.

So what defines obesity, particularly when applied to women of color? “To be honest, I don’t even let my clients use the BMI scale to measure their success or progress just because the scale is so distorted,” said Hall, who also added it’s “crazy” that her 5’3” and muscular stature may be considered unhealthy.

Often, Black women may be tagged as obese when they are otherwise healthy. “What the BMI does not take into account is muscle mass, bone density [and] fat percentage,” said Dr. Fisher, who stirred controversy when she asserted in a national interview that genes are the main factor in someone being overweight, which was also discussed on the episode.

However, Dr. Gater disagreed that body positivity doesn’t have any negatives. “This really is an epidemic… This is a problem,” she pleaded. “This is something that needs to be addressed. These are our mothers, daughters who are dying in child birth, who are dying of heart attacks way too early. Just to have a perception to be voluptuous or sexy, or just to conform to some norm.”

Showing off curves can lead to plenty of likes on social media, which has sparked a legion of plus-size Instagram models. But Banks, who was featured in Sports Illustrated and is a “swimfluencer” and ICU nurse, insisted embracing your size shouldn’t be considered a fad. “People keep saying it’s a trend. How is it a trend? Because people love their body?” asked Banks rhetorically. “Why is that such a terrible thing? It shouldn’t be a trend, it should be a lifestyle.”

Banks also asserted that most plus-sized models are trying to be healthy, but the social media attention also brings out the haters. “The trolls be trolling and they are mean,“ added Skims model Wondrea Gilmore during another segment of the show.

Other topics discussed were the threat to Black women’s health, both physically and mentally— for instance, backroom butt injections and stress from racism, respectively. While the health problems of carrying too much weight (heart and kidney disease, strokes, death from child birth, etc.) were discussed, Dr. Fisher also noted her disdain for people who use health as an excuse to body shame and bully. The topic of health, in particular, when applied to Black women and their appearance, branched into a myriad of fascinating directions. For example, the fact that stressors like racism and trauma can lead to retaining and storing fat was addressed, as were weight loss fads that include injecting Ozempic, a medication used by Type 2 diabetes patients, to drop pounds.

Is health being sacrificed for beauty? That’s just another question asked and answered for the sake of knowledge, understanding and keys to better your health on “Beyond BMI: Watching Black women’s weight.”

Be sure to catch new installments of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” every Friday at 5 p.m. ET via REVOLT’s app. Plus, tune into a quick clip up top.