MY STORY: I was overweight and miserable before shedding 41kgs
I am the firstborn in a family of four children. With the fervour of first-time parents, mine doted on me and made me feel special and important.
My happiness at that age came at a small cost — junk food. I would look at my parents with puppy eyes and they would allow me to eat candy before meals. After school, I would have tea with cake or whatever else I fancied.
I am told I was a poor feeder when I was between two and four years. When I turned five, though, I developed a healthy appetite, and my parents were all too eager to feed me; they were finally having a breakthrough with getting me to eat, and were not about to waste the opportunity. It did not matter what I was eating, the fact that I was asking for something to eat was enough. That was the genesis of my being overweight.
Kindergarten found me waddling about with knock knees and chubby cheeks that threatened to suck up my nose. In the village I grew up in, I was the definition of a child bursting with good health. Bursting, I agree, but good health, not so much. My parents were praised for my “good health” and they delightfully took every moment to doll me up in fluffy dresses with matching shoes. Adorable doesn’t start to describe me at that age.
Adolescence kicked in, bringing with it more weight. I started being conscious of my appearance. I did not like this fat girl in the mirror so much. Around that time, the teasing started. Amnesia struck most of my schoolmates, causing them to forget my lovely name. They started calling me some not-so-pleasant names. I became kanono, fatso, fatty, fatty…kamtungi, drum. I had grown accustomed to being the cute, adorable, chubby girl, so this cruel mockery was very foreign to me and I hated it. I had also noticed that back in my village, the praises were not as forthcoming as before. Something had changed.
With a crushed heart, I decided to seek solace at home. Here, I was loved, fed, embraced and no one teased me. I was made to feel special and beautiful. It did not matter how nasty the day was, when I went home, all was forgotten over a cup of warm milk and tasty pastries.
By the time I joined high school, I weighed about 95kg. I was in Form Two when my mother decided we should have a little talk regarding my weight. I was horrified, to say the least. She approached the issue very delicately and tried to make it sound like a casual remark. However, I was on her radar. Hardly had she broached the topic than I lashed out defensively.
I still remember her expression to date. Her face fell, and I could see her pain. I now understand how it must have felt to see her daughter tread the dangerous path of obesity. I understand now her dilemma, she wanted to help, but did not want to damage my self-esteem. What she didn’t know was that I didn’t need her to damage it. I was doing an excellent job of killing it all by myself.
Read the full story here.