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Meet Martina!

Posted Jan 05 2010 6:25pm
By, Vanessa, The Bookworm
OurHealth Staff Writer

A journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step - Lao-tzu

Meet Martina!

Martina doesn’t want all her business in the street, so I will keep it simple. She’s my tale of inspiration. She is facing tremendous odds – morbid obesity, a mother and sisters all in the same situation, she lost her grandmother (my aunt) to complications from obesity.

She’s 17 years old. She loves to text, listen to music and laugh. Her favorite movie is Knocked Up. Her favorite food is greens and she wants to be an astronomer. She has never been on a diet. She has never exercised. When she asked her mom why she was big, she was told “genes”

Genetics load the gun. Environment pulls the trigger

As both Morgan and I have mentioned many times, we started GirlTrek and OurHealth after many conversations about the health crisis that was happening in our own communities and specifically in our families. We wanted to take action and do something. We hoped that our movement would promote, encourage and inspire Black women across the world to stand up and do something about their health.

I saw Martina at Christmas and we talked about what she could do to reject her fate – fat for life. I honestly can’t imagine having to climb the mountain that she will have to climb in order to lose weight – but she can imagine it and that’s what matters.

That’s what inspired me.

When I talked to Martina, bright, nurturing and wickedly sarcastic, I really began to wonder why someone hadn’t helped her before. I wondered how it is that I am running a non-profit health movement for Black women, partially inspired by the health issues in my own family, and yet here is my cousin and she needs tools, resources and support. And I’m not helping her. Big failure on my part.

Luckily Martina is a winner. We talked about a plan. We talked about what would motivate her. We talked about the core beliefs of OurHealth – goal setting, partnering, building momentum to make life long changes.

We have a plan! Martina has set her first challenging health goal!

Goal – Earn an Ipod nano (remember now – goals have to be inspiring and a non weight related goal is one of the BEST ways to keep you going)

How– walk 30 minutes, 3 times a week for 4 weeks.

I agreed to go with her on her first walk. Pure comedy! I really think Martina should go into broadcasting or communication instead of astronomy because the girl is a hoot! Two minutes into the walk she assured me she wasn’t going to make it. Five minutes into the walk she told me she might need an ambulance. Ten minutes into the walk her leg was tingling. Twenty minutes into the walk she didn’t want to hear anymore singing from me! What? Thirty minutes into the walk she was…..Done!

That’s right! Martina, who had never done ANY exercise, had just completed her first workout. She was well on her way!

The next day I left. But since then I have been texting with Martina several times a week and ladies and gentleman, she is BOUT IT, BOUT IT!!!!

Not only has she completed two weeks worth of workouts, but she has increased from 30 minutes to 38 minutes of walking!!!!! And not only is she walking 3 times a week, but she has enlisted her little sister Taylor to walk with her. At OurHealth we call THAT the ripple effect. EACH ONE TEACH ONE! Holla!

Once Martina has completed her first goal of four weeks of walking she will be getting a neon blue (per her request) Ipod, loaded with her favorite music and THEN she will be setting her next health goal. Why? Because she is committed to living healthier and being healthier. And she is doing it!

So proud of her. So grateful for OurHealth and it’s continued impact – one beautiful, healthy lady at a time.

Stay tuned for updates on Martina's progress!

This group of dedicated Black women are committed to getting healthier, one goal at a time! Our Health challenges women to set ambitious physical goals for a good cause - to inspire our girls, our families, our churches, our communities to get moving! We believe ordinary woman can, and should become the faces of healthy living! Join us! For more information, visit our website at
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