Comedian and Oscar award-winning actress Mo’Nique spoke of the moment she knew she needed to make a change in her health practices when her husband gave her a nudge about her weight gain a few years ago. “He said ‘That’s too much, baby. I want you for a lifetime. I love you so much that I can’t lie to you,” she remembered. “I had never felt that type of love before.” - Personalizing the Wellness Revolution, Inside Spelman
That's what Mo'Nique told a packed chapel during a recent Spelman College convocation about the importance of wellness. But earlier that morning, during our interview, Mo'Nique shared that it was more than just love from her husband that spurred her into a more active and healthy lifestyle.
"For a long time I was a child in my way of thinking. I thought that I could eat what I wanted, do what I wanted - and was reckless in the sense of abusing my body. That's when I was younger. I think that the journey I have to take now is that I have babies. I have a son 23, but I also have a son nine. And we have twins, seven. I want to meet their children. I want to be able to play with their children. I don't want to be a burden on my family due to self-neglect....I was fortunate to watch my grandmother play with my children. I want to be in the same position." - Video: Mo'Nique Gets Personal at Spelman's Wellness Revolution
Having been on my own wellness journey over the past few years - and recently realizing that my path requires continuous adjustments to my fitness and nutrition practices - I was so appreciative of Mo'Nique's honesty. I've interviewed the actress numerous times about her entertainment projects, but this has been our most important conversation. Her reasons for wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle mirror mine: I have to stay active and around for my child. I want to continue enjoying life. Being healthy makes that easier. And, of course, I want to stay fine as wine.
So when things get challenging for you, find your inspiration where ever you can. And be open, because it may show up in places that you don't expect. Check out the link at the top of this post to the piece I wrote for Inside Spelman, the digital publication I edit at Spelman, for more wise words about wellness journeys, practices and mindsets from these brave and thoughtful women below.
I was moved by the testimony of Danielle Winfrey (far left), a senior who told the powerful story of how Spelman’s wellness program has aided her in her transformation. More about her significant weight loss, and fitness and nutrition regimen on page six of Spelman's Philanthropy Report. Panelist Tracye McQuirter (third from right), a vegan and public health nutrition expert, recounted the emotion of Danielle meeting Mo'Nique on her blog By Any Greens Necessary:
"Danielle told Mo’Nique how she was teased as a child for being a big girl and how much Mo’Nique meant to her growing up. And now, how Mo’Nique’s weight loss journey has helped inspire Danielle to become a Wellness Scholar at Spelman, run 5k marathons, and coach her Spelman sisters to exercise more."
Hosted by Spelman President Beverly Daniel Tatum (far right), the convocation titled "The Best Advice I Ever Got: Conversations with Wise Women," was a part of the "Black Women and the Wellness Revolution" speaker series. Also on the panel were noted psychologist and author Dr. Brenda Wade (second from left) and the amazing Deborah Szekely, the 91-year old co-founder of the modern health and fitness movement.
At the end of the convocation, Mo'Nique was swarmed by Spelman students, several of whom were so affected by Mo'Nique's story that they were overcome by emotion. It was a beautiful motivating moment. Look for those. Encouragement comes from everywhere - even inside you.
If you're free this Wednesday evening, March 27 from 8-9 p.m., join the #SpelmanWellness tweet chat on Twitter for tips about nutrition. You'll be surprised how health practices for college students can work for you, too. And keep Enjoyceinglife!