This is the third time that I am looking at my reflection in the mirror this week. Now, I can proudly say to myself, “Omolola Kimberly Dara, I am proud of the woman you are becoming.” At various corners of the mirror hang several pictures pinned to its wooden frame, each telling memories of my experience thus far.
“I have really come a long way”, I say, smiling, stealing glances at the pictures which adorn the mirror. On the picture at the far right corner of the mirror, I see myself four years ago. _Kimberly, you are too fat, you’ll not stop eating like a glutton. Now_ _see as all your clothes are no longer your size. Sister fat cow._
These expressions describe my plight four years ago. To many, I was nothing more than a shapeless human being. To some, if there was a more derogatory description than shapeless, then it should have been me. Frankly, I am of the opinion that I had a unique shape then. I wouldn’t say I was fat or even chubby, because to me, I had a shape between slim and fat due to the fact that I was heavily studded in my chest region but unfortunately, was straight from my stomach region downwards. My shape was so funny because I wore one of the biggest possible sizes of bra and tops but at the same time, a very small size of trousers and skirts.
Whenever I passed a group of people, they always diverted their attention towards me, looking at me with weird eyes like they were seeing a circus freak. I got embarrased of myself often and always wore oversized trousers and skirts and added a lot of paddings to proportionate my uneven fat allocations. I was so worried about my appearance and so employed different methods to make my shape appealing in the eyes of people.
My whole world turned upside down when some guys in my neighbourhood mocked me by giving me nicknames like ‘7UP’ because of the way my physique appeared to them.
At the top left corner of my mirror hangs another picture which tells my experience after I heeded to Chioma’s advice to condition my diet and engage in several exercises that would help to give me a desired shape. Prior to that time, I had put my confidence in waist beads and waist trainer belts, hoping to get shapes that my friends, Adaeze and Mirabel had, with a higher concentration of fat deposits in their anus region but the methods both proved abortive because I didn’t experience any positive change. So, on the day Chioma told me about this new method, I immediately bought her idea. Exercise, she said was a daily routine which held in itself so many benefits waiting to be explored. Initially I wasn’t following the routine with dexterity but when I decided to browse on the benefits of the exercise, I was overwhelmed. “How can just these regular sit ups,push ups, trunks, provide all these benefits? These looked too good to be true.”
And as soon I started doggedly exercising daily, I started experiencing the said benefits of exercise. I was burning a lot of fat and my physique was beginning to bend to my desired shape. I felt my weak bones having strength injected into them because I was suffering from osteoarthritis. Also, my breathing rate normalised because before my routine began, I experienced difficulty in breathing, especially in crowded or stuffy environment. And then, I found it hard to give into depression, because when the thought of it came, I overcame it with thoughts of how best to accomplish my daily exercise targets that needed to be met in the one hour allocated for it. And then, daily exercise soon paid off. I literally grinned from ear to ear when one of my many crushes complimented my shape one Sunday evening.
At the bottom left coner of the mirror hangs a picture that dishevelled me. My crush, Daniel’s casual remark, “You are actually looking very good today. It seems like you’ve been having some exercise”, made me swim in an ocean of stars, so I asked myself that if he could appreciate my 3 weeks of intense exercise and complementing my shape, only God could tell what he would say or would do when I eventually that my desired, sexy shape, after 3 months of intense exercise. Hence, I increased my daily routine period from an hour to more than four hours each day. Are you surprised? Well, don’t be, I wanted to have the best shape within a very short time so, I woke up as early as 4am everyday and did workouts till 6:30am, then at night, I did workouts from 8pm to 10:30pm. I was unaware of the dangers I was unconsciously making myself exposed to. I wish I never saw this picture because I can remember the unfortunate day I had taken it. In fact, I had marked that day as the worst day of my life. Whatever happened that day didn’t exactly begin that day because I was so engrossed in getting the perfect shape that I had to spend a lot time and energy in workouts and gradually, I had become addicted to it. I took every single opportunity I got to exercise, I was that crazy. I even signed up for gyms where I paid for their services with a huge percentage of my salary. To worsen the situation, I was on a diet and soon started eating once a day. Then on the faithful day I took the picture, I happened to be late for work and I got laid off because I decided to take a quick nap of ten minutes after my morning session but ended up sleeping for 4 hours. I checked into the office by 12:37 am whereas I was supposed to by 8 am. On getting home, I got so depressed and my mind strayed through several thoughts ranging from how to complete the payment for the gym I went to weekly to how to get a new source of income since I had been sacked from my previous job. I was gradually getting depressed and wanted so badly to clear my mind. Soon, another thought came to me. There was this position or exercise that yielded an almost immediate result in reducing body fat so I tried it. I didn’t only try. I exceeded my limit. I took it to the extreme and then it happened. I broke my right leg while trying to perform the feat.
“How will I survive this?” I thought to myself in the hospital. “How will Daniel see me now? I am certain I will be very unattractive to him now.” To worsen the situation at hand, the doctor gave me some unwholesome news, that my pulse rate was increasing because I was always overstressing myself.
“Rest”, the doctor said to me that day. “Do only a little exercise. Do not over stress your body. Your body no be firewood.”
And that is what I have been doing since that day. The bandage cast was removed from my leg a week ago. Now, I still do exercise, but only mild ones. Although my shape is still far from my “ desired” one, I am content with the way I am now because some battles can only be won by GOD!
ARINZE DANIEL UDOYE
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, NIGERIA