I’ve almost always been “big”. According to my mother, I was very tiny when I was born but by the time I was three months old I was very “hefty” as you can see…
I was that child that reflected the love and care that my parents showered on me
Here’s where you say Awwww your mum is sooo pretty 😉
Fatty bombom and orobo were words I grew up with, no one had to tell me what they meant. One of my teachers used to call me “Agric”, I even told my parents to call me Agric instead
When I turned five (the picture above was taken on my fifth birthday), something happened that made me realise that fatty bombom was not some kind of pet name. We had a certain neighbour, Chinyere was her name. She was thirteen years old, I remember her age even now because at the time I fiercely wished to be thirteen years old like her, to go to school by myself and to basically do things without supervision. One evening I was outside with my aunty Ogechi when Chinyere called me fatty bombom, my aunt was angry and told me to call her skinny bones when next she called me fatty. She was very skinny back then and amazingly- to me, she never called me fatty bombom after I called her skinny bones.
I got into boarding school and got into a circle- I’d be fat at the beginning of the term and a pile of bones when school closed. I came to Lagos after Junior secondary and went back to my orobo status, I lost weight in the university but regained and even exceeded it towards the end of my stay. Since I left uni, I have embarked on weight loss journeys with interesting results.
Why am I sharing this? Something happened at work recently that made me mildly angry. One of my colleagues likes to call me beautiful Ada, before you think he’s crushing on me… he calls everyone beautiful. Last week a certain man wanted to buy a certain drug when my colleague walked in and called me beautiful Ada.
“Not now, she has to lose 20kg before she becomes beautiful” the man piped in.
I looked at him and saw a man in his late fifties who would definitely not win Mr Nigeria pageant- its not like it would be alright if he was MY Denzel Washington or something. It was fat shaming at its most subtle and blatant- yes I know what I did there. I was suddenly glad that I have never had body image issues as regards my size and I don’t think physical beauty as something solid, I’ve always thought of it as fluid and transient. Seeing how illness destroyed my grandmother’s beauty further enforced my disdain for people who rate beauty as all important.
How do you decide to take jabs at a person for no reason? What makes you the arbiter of what is beautiful or not? Finally who the hell do you think you are? These questions ran past my head, rushing headlong to my mouth but I gritted my teeth and kept my face expressionless.
Again I’m glad that I grew up with my armour intact, you can tell me how I’d get beautiful if only I lose weight and I’d smile at you while mentally ignoring you. I got plenty comments from people who made it a point to tell me how disturbed they were by my fatness, I’d sometimes ask them “is it your body or is it your fatness kwa?”. I wonder how many fragile egos and self esteems have been damaged by our careless fat shaming, the saddest part is that this is usually done with the best of intentions but isn’t the road to hell paved with them?
Incidentally I wanted and still want to lose 20kg (the same 20kg!), my BMI is scary. Having PCOS is a catch-22 situation, if you lose weight the symptoms should get easier to bear but PCOS makes it difficult to lose weight. Sadly the drugs for some of the episodes also have weight gain as a side effect and I didn’t even realise that I’d sorta given up on trying to get my BMI in check until I saw Eziaha’s post on her weight loss so far- she started recently and I thought- I can do this…. And I will.
PS: BMI is Body Mass Index and it’s a measure of the fatness or thinness of a person.
Wanna know your BMI? Divide your weight in kg by the square of your height in metres and use the guide below to evaluate your ‘weight status’
Category BMI range (kg/m 2)
Very severely underweight less than 15
Severely underweight from 15.0 to 16.0
Underweight from 16.0 to 18.5 from
Normal (healthy weight) from 18.5 to 25
Overweight from 25 to 30
Obese Class I (Moderately obese) from 30 to 35
Obese Class II (Severely obese) from 35 to 40
Obese Class III (Very severely obese) over 40