Genise Shelton wears many hats. As an actress, entrepreneur, model, philanthropist and mother of six children, she’s best known as the newest addition to the cast of BRAVO’s “Married to Medicine” but also is passionate about promoting fitness and wellness within the African-American community. With her recent book, Married to Fitness, Shelton does just that. Coming from a family with major health risks such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes, Shelton found it imperative to break the generational curse by creating awareness for healthy eating and living. In her book, she doles out advice and tips for maintaining a positive lifestyle and the importance of putting yourself first. We spoke with Shelton about how she cultivated discipline for her self-care routine, what inspired her to write Married to Fitness and the importance of being physically fit.
As an entrepreneur, actress and model you have many passions. What sparked your journey to fitness and health?
I’ve always been health conscious and very active, however it wasn’t until May 2006, when my entire world shifted. My mother at the age of 48, suffered a massive stroke which left her paralyzed on her right side and wheelchair bound. My mom’s devastating, life-altering event was the stimulus which led to my passion of health and fitness. I began to educate myself and found that my own risk factors for obesity, high blood pressure and stroke are very high. As I thought about my family members; my mother, father, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins…all are obese! I had seen what high blood pressure could do to a person.
With knowing that African-Americans are more impacted by stroke than any other racial group in the United States, how are you educating others in efforts to prevent this terminal illness?
My book, is the first step in educating our community of the effects of various terminal illnesses and their preventions. Unfortunately, the story that I told about my mother is the experience that too many African Americans have. The detrimental statistics that we as African American face are staggering. We’re more impacted by stroke than any other racial groups within the United States. One of the most consistent factors that African Americans share is obesity. We often think that a person who is obese just eats entirely more food that their body allows. That’s not always the case. There are many factors…. illness, depression, stress but also income, stable and affordable housing, access to quality education — all influence a person’s chance to live a longer, healthier life, which plays a part in whether a person becomes obese. These inequities and unequal access to affordable, healthy food or safe places to be physically active, contribute to higher rates of obesity and related illnesses in Black communities.
In Married to Fitness, you not only discuss the importance of being physically fit but also being mentally as well. Share three tips for combatting depression and anxiety.
Do not live in the past. Self-loathing or blaming others will not get you on the right side of feeling better, any more than believing the answer is found in indulging in non-healthy foods or alcohol. By committing to a new way of thinking, you will commit to a new way of being. Start by writing down three things you did today that were positive! While exercise may not always be your first interest, keeping up with things like a nutritious diet or getting enough sleep at night can help you on your journey to figure out how to beat depression and anxiety.
Married to Fitness covers all things health. From sharing tips on how to be mentally and physically fit, sexercise, choosing healthy foods, favorite recipes, and conquering the fear of working out, what else should your readers expect?
My readers should expect a story of inspiration, encouragement and beating all odds! Often times, we as women focus so much on taking care of everyone and everything else that we neglect ourselves. Working out and having my “own” time to myself aided with my transformation. I’m happier, full of energy, loving myself and in return I’m a better mom and wife. My hope and prayer is that you find your inner joy and peace from reading my book.