The measuring scale in our bathroom displayed 70.5kg, and I jumped up with so much joy seeing the new result. My heart was full because I had finally managed to cross over into the ’70s and this time around, I made up my mind to keep working at it. I would not let work stress, exam anxiety or whatever stress I may face deplete my weight any longer. For the past few weeks, I had hovered under the ’70s. I know some of you will be asking “what’s wrong with this woman?”, Who on earth rejoices when they put on weight? I know it is odd to find people in our world today rejoicing at their new weight, but truthfully speaking, there are people in my shoes who battle with putting on weight.
Growing up in Nigeria, I never really knew the full meaning of “body shaming” but I knew I had so many Aunties and Uncles who unintentionally would “lovingly” scold me to eat more to add more weight, their comments helped to fuel a lot of self-esteem issues in me. “Oh” how I so much wanted to add weight at all cost, how I so much wanted the Iro & Buba – the Nigerian Traditional attire for women to fit perfectly to my shape in those days. Well, they do now thanks to invention.
You see I grew up looking like my father, I’ve always had his slim body shape, and even though some of my friends wished they had my figure, deep down in my heart, I wanted to look well rounded, you know a bit of flesh here and there. In the part of the world where I am from while growing up, the heavier you are, the more respect you garner. Even if you are financially okay, but you don’t have the weight to go with the change in your pocket, they will automatically assume you are someone else.
Not having enough weight bothered me. Every month, my weight fluctuates. I looked forward and prayed to gain just an extra 5kg. Most times I vary between my dress sizes, sometimes I am a size 10, sometimes I can perfectly fit into a size 12 and sometimes especially when I am pregnant. I am a size 14. I remember weeks before I got married, a family friend advised me to drink Guinness stout and raw eggs to gain some weight so that my wedding gown would fit perfectly on me. Truth be told, I drank a bottle of stout mixed with raw eggs once and just could not continue because of the bitter taste and also because of the alcohol content.
So, when did I obtain my freedom? It was when I began to embrace myself. My hubby tried to encourage me, shared with me regularly that he loves my figure, and validates my emotions around my weight fluctuations. But you see words of admiration mean nothing if you don’t accept yourself.
Over time, I looked within me, and I realised I am going to be with myself for the rest of my life. Thus, I started on a journey of self-loving and gratitude, and that led to accepting who I am. I learned to love myself, and I also learned to be grateful for the masterpiece God created. The day that I fell in love with my shape was the beginning of my healing. It was indeed an “aha” moment and a new season for me. For the first time, I stopped wanting to look like someone else and devoted myself to enjoying my shape. Now and then, my weight still fluctuates, but then I wear my size, and I accept it as part of me now. I never let it bother me as it used to. I am finally loving myself.
I don’t know what you are battling with, perhaps you have been body shamed for putting on so much weight, or you are like me checking and checking the scale to see if you can add a little bit more. I want you to know that you are beautiful the way you are. Embrace who you are, exercise if need be but for yourself and to stay healthy not because you are being forced to do it but because you want to live longer and if you feel like talking about it with a therapist. Please go ahead and book an appointment and I would be more than happy to discuss how I may help.
Written by Ibukun Ogunsina, New Beginnings Barrie, Psychotherapy and Counselling services. Website: www.newbeginningsbarrie.com
Tel: +1 705 241 8456