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Saturday, April 29, 2017

It's Not What I Am Eating; It's What's Eating Me

It's Not What I Am Eating; It's What's Eating Me
It's Not What I Am Eating; It's What's Eating Me

There’s no easing into this conversation, so I’ll simply let Pat Lulu Mbela let it rip (However I have edited in the interest of word count and to ensure the message isn’t lost in the well meant curses):

I hate that people like Njoki Chege think Fat Shaming is Ok and since fat people are not human and therefore have no feelings, it is acceptable for you take to the Saturday Nation Newspaper to tell them what you think of their bodies!

Here is the thing, as such people sit there judging me and all the fat people in the world, nobody cares to know what the underlying cause of that obesity might have been.

I am torn between pissed off and saddened because some editor of a national newspaper thinks it is ok for a large section of the population to get insulted and neither do they care of the repercussions...

So here is my response to the size 8 columnist called Njoki Chege who would prefer we Fat people do not talk back after she tears us apart... This is the real world so open up those ears Miss Chege and hear what this Fat Woman has to say. (PS:- this response also includes all popcorn grabbing social mediarati who stand aside and silently agree with her and giggle.

1. I know I am fat. If you cared so much about my life and what I look like and how I got this way you would have been there to hold my hand as I disintegrated into a thousand pieces after losing not one but two children. I doubt many people knew or cared that I was so broken by my grief that I never left the house for months on end because even some of the people I called my closest friends were the meanest to me at my lowest point and I shut myself off except on FB.

2. This is MY life... I worry about MY life and not yours and I love myself even in this body and it's limitations, I love myself.

3. As a fashion designer and I really do not think ANYONE has a right to tell a section of the population they have no right to shoes and clothing because you have caught feelings that some guys actually find a fat woman attractive.

4. Fat Shaming is not a sport that people watch as a bunch of ill-mannered and foul tempered thin women hate fat individuals because apart from these people having a lot of self love and some weirdos loving these fat people. The problem is your parents taught you no respect for others so don't hate fat people for living.

5. I am sorry if people like me, who are fat tend to have the audacity to accept that they are not perfect and choose not be miserable but choose to thank God for His mercies and we just continue being so happy to be alive despite our fat bodies... Deal with it ... it is their life, NOT yours.

6. Personally I think such people who are this heartless need to do some soul searching, a check with Dr Frank Njenga is imperative so he can diagnose why they are such nasty human beings.

Finally, If all else fails feed them some cake and tell them to STHUP!!!

Now for me. It is imperative that you understand that I am not upset with Njoki Chege and I will not attack her. That’s out of the question. Opinion is opinion. Scream all you want. Njoki reminds me of myself in my mid twenties when I was hired at Radio Africa. Bold, fearless and often “controversial”. In fact when my column was named it said very clearly, “the columnist who says what she likes.” I didn’t pick the title, my senior editors did. Stop screaming at the Nation.

In 2007 as we got on the amazing radio-weight-loss journey known as 'Sexy Back', I weighted 86kg. My life was terrible. My knees hurt but worse my soul hurt. I was in the worst heart-ache sphere you can imagine. I found my escape in work and food. I worked 14 hours a day easily and I ate my pain when I got home. I have a great palate, so I wasn’t a cake and sweets girl, I was a Thai, Indian, Chinese, good wine girl.

I didn’t need a doctor or anyone to tell me I needed to shed a few kilos. I knew even before I walked into the Truworths store and I couldn’t fit into the size 14 trousers. I vowed then that I would never buy a size 16. The journey to losing my weight was never about the food. It was about me and what drove me to food. For me, it wasn’t what I was eating, it was about what was eating me.

The first few kilos were easy to lose. I lost him. Of course blaming him was shallow at best. The painful truth was, I didn’t love myself as much as I loved him and it was pathetic to behold. So first I had to decide to love me and in doing so, I had to rid myself of the things that made me overweight starting with him.

It wasn’t about what I was eating, it was about what was eating me. Long story short, I still giggle when I ask for a size 14 and it doesn’t fit. I would love to be a 10, but hey… I have learnt to recognise the triggers that start eating me before I start eating. It could be work, a toxic colleague, a nasty client — it doesn’t matter what it is, that’s the thing I lose first and then the weight comes off.

Every overweight woman has her own story — I can’t speak for the men, I’ll let Njoki dig into that lot, but I know for me, identifying the eating trigger is my medicine. Post 86kg to now, as I got happier, as I got into my own groove and got into a relationship where I wasn’t constantly in tears, I looked and felt good. I never know what to tell people who remark “you’ve cut” (for heaven’s sake!) that it’s down to the fact that I am happy. It’s not acceptable to be happy in Nairobi. You will be made miserable by force — don’t you dare admit you’re happy. I’ve warned you.

So here is my humble take on the “fat shaming” from Njoki. Get over it. "Fat isn’t the worst thing you can be," Joni Edelman said in a response 'To The "Dear Fat People" Lady' on Ravishly.com.

Think about it. You are happy and loved and blessed and there are people who screamed at Njoki on your behalf. You are lucky.

Edelman said Being fat doesn't automatically equal being sad. "You don't have to let any aspect of your body impact your ability to feel love and happiness."

Some of the people who carry themselves wonderfully and have the best outlook on life are big girls. Fact.

She said Being thin doesn't automatically equal happy. I have been thin. Ask people who knew me in high-school who called me “skele”. How I wished for boobs and a nice butt and a chubby face. My teenage years were full of longing to be a little “fuller” — thank goodness for my mother who got me out of that zone.

Your health is your business, she also said. "There are plenty of thin people with high cholesterol. There are also plenty of thin people with diabetes. Cancer doesn't give a shit what your BMI is."

If you love the body you’re in, then go ahead and enjoy it. If you don’t, do something about it. However, I encourage you to figure out your “fat” trigger. For me, It’s never what I am eating that leads to my weight gain, it’s always what’s eating me. That’s my fat problem.

The End. Pat Mbela, I want a jacket! Read her full response here.


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