"So I was just over here minding my business and…"
A few weeks ago, while at my tailor/designer’s store, the store manager decided that it was wise and proper to exclaim, ” Ah, Auntie! I looked at your new measurements. You have really added oh!”
I glared at her and turned away. She wanted to go on but I put my hand up to stop her and asked her to go fetch my clothes i.e. do her job!
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my daily life.
Look. I am fat. By ANY standard.
I weigh more than I should, I don’t eat as healthy as I should, and just thinking about exercise sometimes makes me ill.
However, God created me. He also created me with a certain predisposition. I’ve accepted that. I’m pretty cool with it. In short, it is MY problem. I’m going to need the world, especially the Nigerian populace, to realise that.
“Why so mad, Tobs?” Well…..
People are rude. Too often. Strangers, random people, acquaintances, colleagues, even some family members….all RUDE. They make comments about what I eat, drink, wear, say. The topic of weight/size always manages to crop up. I often wonder how to turn the tables/retaliate but quite frankly, I can’t be bothered. Why? Because somehow, over the years, I’ve developed a healthy dose of confidence. Probably a little unhealthy actually…
I’ve tried many diets. In 2012, it was the Cambridge weight plan. The year before that, I had done some kind of modified Atkins diet. I’ve fasted, I’ve plain starved, and done many more possibly absurd “diet”-y things.
I’ve also tried all sorts of exercise regimens. Expensive gym memberships, personal trainers, walking on the road, aerobics, Zumba (which I LOVED!!!), and most recently, swimming.
I’ve been successful in some cases and woefully unsuccessful in most of the instances listed above. Why? I’m not sure I was doing it for the right reasons. In most cases, somehow, along the way, comments would get to me and I’d start to do something unhealthy just to shed a few kg. What I didn’t realise then though was that I also had to deal with the state of my mind – How do I see my body? What is my relationship with food? Why do I eat what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat? Why is exercise such a problem? Why am I comfortable like this?
I was quite a chubby kid growing up. The chubbiest of the kids in my house really. Boarding house stretched me out and made me lose a remarkable amount of weight BUT by the time puberty had settled in, I was a healthy full, pear- shaped size. By the end of high school, I was a UK size 14/16. Mind you, I thought I was overweight then and had an unhealthy relationship with my body (that unfortunately eventually translated to how I dealt with the opposite sex). A-level school was torture and I ate my feelings. All of them.
By University, I’d accepted my weight to a certain extent but still felt awkward and ashamed around my smaller, slimmer friends. The bad part about America was I didn’t have to worry about finding my size in clothes. After all, there were people MUCH larger than me. So I just kept on eating. Tried going to the gym, and dieting once in a while but between class and work schedules, and the free food ( usually burgers or pizzas) everywhere, and oh, having a TGIFridays on campus (!!!!), I gave up. My man loved me just the way I was anyway. Lol.
Now, here we are. Seven years since I moved back and at my heaviest in two years. Between November and February, I gained six kilograms without blinking.
So in March – when I realised I was 30.25 years old aka OLD – I decided something needed to be done. First, I reviewed the medication I’ve been on for 3 years (it has a possible weight gain side effect if used long term). I realised I’d adjusted and so it wasn’t as effective as before. I decided to seek another opinion so I got a recommendation from a friend for a specialist. I also brought out my swimsuit – still brand new even though it was bought during the 2012 Olympics – and talked some people into swimming with me. Apart from being a great form of exercise, it is the most therapeutic thing ever after a terrible day at work.
Finally, last week, the new specialist, based on test results (by the way, there is a testimony in there), took me off my old meds and put me on new, hopefully better ones. The new ones have some interesting side effects BUT they help with blood sugar control and are appetite suppressants. I had toyed with the idea of getting back on the Cambridge diet as it is actually quite effective, but I cannot be on a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) and take these new meds, my new doctor (and fast friend :)) said.
Other changes I have made include drinking a lot more water, climbing stairs when I can, eating 3 regular meals and having healthy snacks on hand, and being happy.
The last bit is hard for a few reasons but most recently, because I am a Nigerian living in Nigeria (that’s a whoooole other post) but I’m working on it and it can be done.
The aim is to lose 2 dress sizes by August/September and I will be chronicling most of my journey on here.
I’d like to leave with this though: Be thoughtful, be kind. Words carry a lot of weight ( no pun intended) and you never know the damage you’re doing by making that comment you didn’t even think twice about.
You don’t know anybody’s struggle.