Sharon Hume knows a thing or two about relationships. The most important one for this single woman living in Oxon Hill, Md., is the one with herself. Sharon has committed to loving herself more by taking care of her health. Below she talks about how she loved herself to a healthier weight:
Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): You recently lost a significant amount of weight. How much did you lose?
Sharon: I lost around 55 pounds. It may not seem like a lot but it sure felt like it.
BL3: Had you always been overweight?
Sharon: I have always been bigger, but it’s never been to my satisfaction. The last time I’ve weighed less than 200 pounds was over 17 years ago. It’s very uncomfortable to gain weight like that, and then … life! You’re too busy to do anything about it, and the pounds continue to pile on.
BL3: I know you mentioned that you recently became single; some people say you gain weight in a relationship. Was it true for you?
Sharon: Many people gain weight in relationships. You go out, dine, drink together, and not to mention, some home cooked meals. Next thing you know, you’re 10 pounds heavier than six months ago.
BL3: Do you remember when you realized that you needed to do something about your weight gain?
Sharon: It was right after my mom passed away in 2010. My weight ballooned to 286 pounds. At my doctor’s visit, the doctor said that my A1C level (a test for diabetes) was off the charts. I had never heard of that before, but the moment she said “diabetic”, it opened my eyes. I immediately started changing my eating habits.
BL3: How did you feel being overweight? Did you feel limited in anyway?
Sharon: I felt tired all the time. I also smoked cigarettes, ate a lot of carbs, and I didn’t know it at that time, but I also had Sleep Apnea, which was contributing to the weight gain. Because my sleep pattern was interrupted when I stopped breathing periodically while sleeping, I would wake up exhausted, which would make me always hungry, for I was eating for energy.
BL3: Did being overweight negatively/positively affect your relationship?
Sharon: Most of the time, I was told that I snored loudly. Other than that, there was no impact that could be viewed as negative.
BL3: What was the first step you took towards being healthier? How difficult was that for you?
Sharon: The first thing was removing ALL complex carbs from my diet. I researched the ATKINS diet and the program said to only consume 25-30g of carbs a day for 2 weeks. That’s very strict. You’d be surprised as to what you can/cannot eat. However, I was so pleased with the results that I continued the program for six weeks. After that, I went back to the gym. When I started going to the gym, I was already down 12lbs from the diet, and the remaining came off after going to the gym.
BL3: What was your motivation for being healthier?
Sharon: I was not interested in taking insulin for the rest of my life.
BL3: What kind of support did you get from your then-partner, friends and family?
Sharon: I always received positive reinforcements. My girlfriend always made meals without carbs for me, being that I wouldn’t leave work until the evening. Friends are always supportive.
BL3: What would you like women interested in dating you to know about your new healthy lifestyle?
Sharon: I’ve always been a picky eater. It’s just a little worse … lol
BL3: Any advice to other women looking to lose weight and becoming healthier?
Sharon: The key is your eating habits. It’s 20 percent exercise and 80 percent eating habits. You must limit your carbohydrate intake and burn as many calories (if not more) than you consume. Drink lots of water. Your body needs to sweat. You also cannot go wrong with cardio. Take your time and don’t get discouraged. Once you get in the groove, you will be unstoppable!
We would love to share stories of other black lesbian women and black lesbian couples making an effort to live a healthier lifestyle. To share your story, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.