There’s a new craze in town – suddenly, Nigerians want to be slim and svelte and sexy! We are running in marathons, we are joining fitness clubs and showing off the number of steps we achieve per day…suddenly, nobody wants to be fat anymore!
What happened to that African desire to be fleshy? Isn’t that the idea that birthed fattening rooms of old? Wasn’t the width of our waistline the yardstick for prosperity and fertility in the days of yore?
Suddenly, the lean look is in, biceps and forceps and triceps bulging with intimidating muscles are the in thing; open your Facebook or Instagram pages or even twitter handle and there’ll be someborry harassing your 12 packs! Or some babe will be tantalising you with her iron board tummy making yours look perpetually pregnant.
A long time ago, I used to weigh just 46 kg and I was already an adult with two kids. Then I longed with every fibre of my being to add weight so at least clothes could sit better on me. I figured I would be more attractive, if I had a bounce to my bum, which at that time, despite my yorubaness, was flatter than an unleavened bread and my boobs, they just were missing.
I ate all the forbidden foods; fried yam, dodo, fried meat, fried stew, buttered bread, ice cream, the very creamy types…nothing. My face still had that lean and hungry look; my cheeks always had this annoying hollow look!
I was distraught.
I didn’t hear the many compliments people paid me over the fact that I looked years younger than my age; it fell on deaf ears and even irritated me when I was mistaken for a much younger person whenever I donned on a pair of jeans trousers; instead, I chose to wear long textile skirts and gele just to show the world I was no kid. I envied my much fleshier friends, those whose bods had just the right amount of flesh in the right places; their skirts sat sexily on their bums and their boobs made my eyes pop!
I asked them what they ate and what they did to be so blessed; of course it did occur to me that most times these things are pure genes but when you’re greedy for something, nothing else makes sense.
Then I hit 40 and wham, all the flesh and fat began to surface!
I was excited, finally, my bum would jiggle and my boobs would sway.
But…my bum didn’t jiggle as much as I wanted, my thighs came in the way, they became thunderously ginormous and rubbed violently whenever I walked; my calves grew so much they could pierce a tyre flat; my stomach, lordy lordy, it gyrated when I walked and lounged lazily on my laps whenever I was seated; my face grew round and became like the moon, my chin didn’t double, it just extended down my neck in four folds and lets not even talk about my arms; …oh these arms coulfystop a bird in flight at the rate at which they flap!
What happened to me! It seemed as if even water made me fat.
So, I began to diet.
I wanted my lean and hungry look back and in my search for a slimmer look that I had despised for years and taken for granted, I was offered several quick solutions.
Go on a dry fast for 10 days, I was told – I did it. (Don’t ask me what a dry fast is- no show)
Try this tummy flattening tea, another said – I bought it (quite pricey by the way but I downed it all up in one month one tea bag a day) No show!
Oh it’s this new K diet, it works wonders!-I tried it (a bitter experience as I gained more weight…in the wrong places!)
I tried that, too; lost weight but before I could twirl round in the dress I had been waiting to wear for almost one year, I was fat again.
So I spoke to a dietician, you know these people with fancy names and fancy jobs and she reeled out the key reasons out among other advices. My take away –
Stop eating meat, or you’ll get cancer! (oti, o)
Stop eating rice or you’ll never lose tummy fat! (haba!)
Beans is bad, there are chemicals in it! (whaaattt!)
Yam? -Forgerrit, full of carbs! (Fada!)
Boli?- No, the smoke and ash is bad for you (wahala dey)
Cat fish? -Full of fat! (lo ba tan!)
Swallow like Semovita and its allies? -Bad for you, you’ll remain thick! (so what’s the alternative?)
May I ask, what is left to eat?
Biko, I’ve come to my own conclusion and its moderation. Everything is about moderation. I’ll just take it, one fat step after another; I’ll watch what I can and eat every other thing edible!