Maya Angelou’s Lessons for the Weight Loss Journey

May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today I read that Maya Angelou died

I still remember being in middle school when I first read the book , “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

That book certainly opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know existed

Maya Angelou’s poetry and works were profound and full of wisdom

Over the years, I have been inspired by her poems and many of the quotes attributed to her

As someone who has struggled with their weight, I have often felt like a caged bird seeking freedom

Like someone trapped in a situation they could not get out of


One of my favorite poems that she wrote was called “Phenomenal Woman”

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


She had learned the secret to being happy in spite of looks or size

In spite of circumstances

Because she found pride in how she carried herself

In what SHE thought of herself

Rather than what others thought of her

This is a key skill when living life in an obese body

It is critical above all things

Because we must know who we are inside

And then respond accordingly


Maya Angelou inspired me at a very young age to love the written word

To love poetry, writing and to read between the lines

To find within the pages of a book that which I most needed

And to understand that writing is often a tool by which we learn the most about ourselves


I believe Maya Angelou’s best gift to the world was a life well lived

A life where she shared the lessons she had learned

The skills she had acquired to overcome adversity

And the wisdom she had gained to live life to the fullest

May she rest in peace and fly with freedom

Like a bird uncaged who has finally risen to her destiny


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ronda May 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I was so saddened by the loss of Ms. Angelou. I was priviledged enough to hear her speak twice at my college. That was a phenomenally awesome woman! Thank you for sharing so many of her quotes, so many great words to live by.
Have an awesome day!
Ronda recently posted..The Double DoozieMy Profile


cursor May 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm

She was an very inspirational and motivational woman. All her words are like lines written on the rock that can’t be erased forever.
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LHA May 29, 2014 at 1:26 am

I have loved that poem also and drawn strength from it. Dr. Angelou was indeed a phenomenal woman and such an example of strength and grace. What an extraordinary life she shared with the world! Thank you for posting this, as it was inspirational in all ways.


jessica Milton May 29, 2014 at 7:15 am

Its obvious we would all miss her. A woman of substance


Pam Holmes May 29, 2014 at 6:34 pm

What a beautiful woman Maya Angelou was. I discovered her when I stayed home from work to watch Bill Clinton’s inauguration, and she spoke. I can still hear her saying, “I rise, and still I rise!” Loved her deep voice, resonating those words of triumph.
When my middle son was in junior high school (as they used to call it), he brought home her book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” I decided to read it along with him, and was drawn into a world of deprivation, depravity and yet joy at her sense of overcoming it all.
I wish I shared Maya Angelou’s confidence, I loved that poem you quoted, and wished I felt that way when I was morbidly obese. Of course Maya never approached my point of obesity, and was always beautiful both inside and out. I don’t know that I will ever reach that point in my life, feeling so sure of myself, but reading her words makes me proud to be a woman of size.
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Jessica June 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Hi Holly – just popping over to say Hi! Hope you’re doing well, I’m sure you have a lot going on with the school year winding down. Take care!


Abbie September 2, 2014 at 4:52 am

A truly inspirational woman. This is personally my favourite:

Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou


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