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This has been one downer of a week for overweight African-American women.

We’re the heaviest group in the nation. We’re leading the pack in heart disease and all it related crises. Our kids are the fattest and nearly half of us don’t exercise because we don’t want to mess up our hair.

And the hits keep on coming: In many population-dense cities, like Detroit, there are no – repeat, no – full-service grocery stores inside the city limits. Heaven help you if you live in one of these areas and are elderly or infirm, lack transportation or have a low family income.

This week we also learned that adult obesity rates rose in 28 states, and all but one of those states are in the South. (North Carolina, where I am, tied with Michigan for 10th place.)

Faced with these obstacles, we still have a choice: Whether to allow ourselves to be beat down by all this bad news – did I mention 60 percent of us are depressed? – or choose to do something about it.

I refuse to be a statistic. Just goes against my nature. And judging by the amount of emails I get, there are a lot of other women, black and white, who feel similarly. You just don’t hear much about them, so I make it my business to seek them out.

Sure, I struggle with weight, but I keep my focus on what’s good about sweating, muscle aches and sometimes losing inches instead of pounds.

The mind is so powerful, simply focusing on something that makes you smile can change your mood, your outlook and even your entire day in an instant. But I’m not going to get preachy, because I don’t like to get preached to. I will say this: Next time you hear, maybe, a gospel song or something, pay close attention to the message. Or when you read the bible. Or, if you’re like me, you’re into the law of attraction. The message is the same: What you think about, you bring about.

This holiday weekend, I know the world’s not going to come to an end if I enjoy normal portions of baked beans and potato salad. Everything in moderation – except exercise.

Happy Fourth.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.  ~  Henry Ford