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I’ll begin this column off with a confession: I love, love, love cupcakes.

I see my local cupcake dealer for a fix once a week. I usually buy two – usually a coconut one and a birthday cake one. I eat half of one at night – well, OK sometimes a whole one – after a day of writing and graduate classes at the University of Florida, and after at least 30 to 40 minutes on the stair treadmill at the YMCA.

And I still wear a size six. Depending on the designer and the cut, I can even wear some size fours.

I bring up the cupcake addiction because one truth that I’ve realized, as a middle-aged woman who, like most middle-aged women, is faced with new challenges in maintaining my weight and health, is that moderation and patience, versus deprivation and impatience, is the key to losing weight and, more importantly, keeping it off.

But as a middle-aged black woman who happens to live in an inner-city neighborhood in Jacksonville, I also realize that part of my being able to stay in shape is also because I have the access and privilege to be able to do so.

I can get in my car and drive to supermarkets that are miles away. I can afford to buy fresh fruits and veggies once I’m there. I can afford a YMCA membership – which allows me to exercise at night or in the rain or on freezing or sweltering days. Too many times, that issue gets lost in all the talk and in all the articles about staying in shape.

But first, back to how I got back into a size 6.

In early 2010, I weighed 162 pounds. At only 5’4, that meant I was overweight. Sure, no one would point at me and call me fat – mostly because of how I’m proportioned – but my sluggishness and the fact that my jean size ballooned to 12 meant that I was only a couple of sizes away from buying pants with rubber in the waist.

That would not do. Not at all.

So one of the first things I did was join Weight Watchers. Meetings were being offered at my job, and when I joined, I began to lose weight right away.

I didn’t lose 15 pounds in a month. In a good week, a week in which I skipped the cupcakes and did everything right, I lost two pounds.

But that is the beauty of Weight Watchers. It is designed to be realistic; designed to accommodate people when they go to their child’s birthday party, when they have to cook for Christmas and Thanksgiving, or when they have a week when they can’t shake off their craving for a Five Guys cheeseburger.

Or, like me, for a cupcake.

How One Woman Stays Fit and Healthy – and Still Makes Room for Cupcakes  was originally published on

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