I have struggled to accept my body for a very long time, I am still learning how to love myself. I have been plus-size for most of my life and unfortunately for me, the world either thinks I am obese or on the verge of death. I have gone through seasons of trying to lose weight because I was tired of the judgement I received from strangers and family members. And I have been wrong about the process of losing weight so many times.
Years back, when I had just gotten my second job I was serious about losing the kilos so I started doing my research around it. Granted I could have used my mother as an example because she had lost so much weight by eating healthy and jogging, I thought I knew better. Yes, I was looking for an easier way to lose weight. In my search, I came across Herbalife; a weight loss solution that comes in the form of a pill or syrup. The reviews were so great I believed I had found my solution. The before and after images were both convincing and motivating.
I went on a new hunt for a person who could sell me a bottle of the pills. I couldn’t ask anyone because I was ashamed to be looking for weight loss pills. When I finally got my hands on them, I kept them hidden far away in my closet because I didn’t want to hear anyone tell me that it would not work. I guess somewhere in my conscience I knew I had just opted for something that wouldn’t bring me the change. Two months later, I had not lost a shred of weight and I had nobody to blame for it but myself.
I was not about to give up though, I went to look for another easy solution to my problem. And this time the experts were advising me to drop the carbs. It sounded like an easy task so I let my family know that I was on a no-carb diet. In the beginning, it was exciting and I was so motivated. I started my morning with smoothies, had vegetables and meat for lunch and supper, and snacked on fruits in between meals. It could have been in my head but I felt lighter by the end of week 2 which motivated me to keep going because obviously, this was working. It felt easy until I went out with my friends, they ordered a pizza and I sat in front of a salad. I beat the temptation but how long could I go on for?
At the end of week 3, I could feel myself craving sadza (pap). The cravings became so intense I started dreaming about starchy foods. One day whilst I was at work, the new kitchen had opened and everything from there smelt so good. This was the day I failed, I placed an order for sadza, veggies and roasted meat, the Zimbabwean delicacy. When lunchtime finally came, I hid in the shop and inhaled that food. Never had I ever cleared a plate so quickly and it was all because I did not want to get caught. For weeks I got away with the lies until I couldn’t carry the burden anymore and gave in. Yes, I had lost weight but gained double the weight the moment I went back into eating carbs. So that turned out to be another failed attempt.
Depression started settling in. The fact that people would see my weight before they saw me as a person weighed me down. The next option was to either carry a nasty attitude or find another solution. Then I stumbled upon the famous warm water with vinegar and lemon solution. The combination tastes as horrible as it sounds but I didn’t want to be fat anymore so I had to do it. Needless to say, it did not work.
My desire to lose weight was not for personal gain, it was to silence the people around me. I didn’t want to be greeted with, ‘Oh my, you gained so much weight,’ anymore. I was exhausted by the unsolicited advice and the reminders that I would never find love in my state. I understand that they thought by consistently shaming my body they hoped to motivate me to lose weight but it only pushed me into despising myself. And then it spiralled into ridiculing myself because I figured if I did it before they did then it would hurt less. And before I knew it I was hiding behind baggy clothes.
Years later I realised that you can not successfully lose weight without self-love. And that is because self-love allows you to be gentle with yourself, and trust me when I say you will need it. The journey is long and hard. Self-love will introduce you to grace for the days when you don’t want to move your body and for the days when it feels like the progress is too slow. There is room to feel like giving up and sometimes you will before getting right back into it. Most importantly, self-love will remind you that your body shape does not define who you are, it just represents you.
There are no pills and potions in this journey. Just love, consistency and hard work. CIAO!