I am fat again

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“I am fat again.”

There are two ways to read this statement. One, you can read it loudly because you hearing it read aloud could help you understand it better. The second way involves you reading it quietly, while looking at it, to make sure you read it correctly, whilst wondering what to do with that piece of info. I read it quietly, and then loudly, which makes me the lunatic of the century. The truth of the matter is that I wanted to get the original intention of the sender. As my Professor taught me, Prof. Juliet Macharia, during my communication class, the meaning lies with the receiver of the message. I wanted not to form my own meaning but to understand the sender’s meaning first before I could accord it my own meaning. I read it more than five times; because it is not every day I get such messages.

I am used to messages that pat my back softly for the good work I am doing here (though not enough, per me). Therefore, it can shake me a bit when messages outside my field (latest field) jet in. I take time to think them through in order to give a sufficing answer, an intelligent answer.

Back in 2017, after college, I ran into this guy we used to call Egesengi. He and I go way back to the village. He happened to have made it to Nairobi earlier than I did and made something for heself. (Egesengi is a nickname given to a person whose sole purpose on earth is devouring food at the slightest chance they get. These are people who you cannot trust with food. If you are to share a plate of ugali, do not let them take the table first. When on the table, do not leave to bring salt because it only takes a few seconds for them to clear the plates. If the food does not have salt, let them pick the salt or else just eat it saltless. You cannot gamble with them when it is about food. The best way to beat them is to divide the meal into equal shares. That way you get to enjoy your meal without having to look at the main plate every second.)

We patnered with Egesengi to come up with an Ultimate Fitness Makeover progamme that helped people struggling with weight issues to lose weight. People whose sole purpose was to lose weight, not just anyone.  We then brought on board five more people.  A doctor, an expert trainer, a dietician, a psychologist and an operations manager, making it a team of seven.

The programme ran twice a year, six months each. In those six months, we took in 2-5 recruits who would spend three months off their homes, work and other activities just to pour their hearts out into keeping fit.

I was not playing a huge role. I kept the relations positive and warm. I was the friend of everybody. I dug into people’s hearts, spent evenings with them sharing stories around fires and generally answering questions about issues they had, issues about the training and life as a whole. I took time to show them how to do things right and in some way spread my minimalism disease (living fully with the least possible baggage).

The first three months tested their spirits in several ways. For the first time in their lives, they were out of their comfort zone, embracing new ways of life and tackling their greatest fears. Their endurance was tested and their strength was broken piece by piece and rebuilt in new ways. They were exposed to extremes.

I remember two people giving up. They ran away like cowards just after three days. And as a nagging character, I ran after them and brought them back. We didn’t entertain giving up. If you came in, you had to go all the way, because there was no way we were going to refund your money (ksh. 700k-1m).

We then sent them to live with families in hardship areas for a month or two. They tried to assimilate to the local communities and lifestyle as well. Life would shape them naturally. They shed weight without having to use mechanical ways.  Hardships will never allow you to pack enough weight that can easily kill you.

There was a lot of legwork involved, mostly in getting to inculcate the spirit of working out in them.

After three months, we installed gyms in their homes for them to work out. I would then pack my bag and go to live with one of them. The rest of the crew members would also do the same with other clients. Our roles in their homes were to ensure they keep up with the values and practices we taught them at the camp.

If I came to your home, I took charge of your life for two months. I would change your diet, help you shop the right food; show you how to prepare it. I would draft a work out programme for you. For the two months, you’ll only use your car during weekends. You’ll not touch alcohol or junk. You’ll sleep enough. You’ll jog every morning. You’ll read often. You’ll jog every evening. You’ll work out in the early morning. In the afternoon, you’ll swim. Then you’ll rest with smoothies by your side. You’ll talk to me about how you feel, emotionally, physically and all that. I’ll know most aspects about your life and for some time I’ll be part of your life, inner life.

I’ll know what you do on your daily basis. I’ll read your thoughts. I’ll know how you sleep, and what you sleep in. I’ll know the kind of mattress you sleep on.  I’ll know who does your hair, your nails or who shaves your beard. I’ll accompany you to places. Except the toilet. I’ll be a constant bother for two months.

Then we’ll install a cctv in your house, mostly in the gym to know when you work out. After two months, I’ll pack my bags and leave, never to hear from me again, for the next six months. I’ll disappear to see another team, to make someone else’s life better. After six months I’ll come back to see how you’ve been.

I loved the job. It was bringing in good money and a healthy lifestyle. I was showing up when needed, I was helping when needed and I was enjoying life because I was influencing other people’s lives positively.

And it is during this time that I met this lovely woman, Tamara. Since our work protocol and rules barred us from having intimate relations with clients (it was very easy), our friendship could only be that. It could not go into the levels it would have gone because we were made for each other.

We were able to run two seasons of the programme before my friend got a 10-year contract with an international fitness company, leaving me a lone ranger with no idea whether to continue or to wear another hat. It wasn’t an easy decision but I finally did wear a different hat, shifting my goal post to importation of electronics. I am still a fitness enthusiast but I have since decided to let the sleeping dogs lie so that I can chase other dreams (though I am thinking of going back some day).

I no longer jog in the mornings or do 100 push ups. I no longer watch my health. I am devouring junk and all that can get in my throat (except alcohol and ciggies). I want to add a little weight so that I cannot wobble when I run carrying a 5kg sniper rifle during a gig. I want to add weight so badly so that I can be able to withstand shock when bad people punch me. I want to handle pain better. I don’t wanna pop a pill to add weight because that goes against the rules of the game.

The text came from a new number. A foreign number. I immediately snooped at the profile picture only to see the old Tamara. The 173kgs lady.

In 2018, she moved to the US. I am not the kind of person who follows people when they leave the country. If you move out of Kenya that implies that we’re done. Life gets busier and we make new friends as we meet new people.

I asked her how it feels being 173kgs again?

“Awful!” She replied.

I honestly felt that I had failed in my job. I had hoped, after pumping my energy into her wellness, that she’d adopt our programme and lead a better life. But I also encouraged myself that it was not my fault as I had done my job to the best of my level.

“Are you happy that way?”

“I don’t know. I just feel heavier and slower. It is dragging me, dear.”

“Now that you feel awful and sluggish and dragged and all that, what steps are you taking to remedy the situation?”

For a moment, there was no activity. She read my message and then left it there. I left to do my business; it is a busy world, this world of ours. Busy for me can be enjoying a Fifa 19 game on ps4 console or just reading. I am learning to acquire joy from other things other than people. People can disappoint, they can bring you misery and can load your world with sadness. Learning to extract joy from within or by doing things that you love is essentially the best gift you can offer yourself. Reading can transport you to worlds far away, it can enrich your mind, it can open your world and perspectives, it can tell you words that you want to hear and guide you into and out of bad places safely.

Games on the other hand can boost your thinking. They can help you relax and they bring a feeling of joy.

We later talked that day, things about catching up and the life in majuu. The conversation about me moving overseas rose up once again. It is a conversation that I have become too familiar with because it has been around for too long- from my family mostly. Somehow, there are people who think that my happiness will triple if I go abroad, outside Africa. Advertently, my dream is to build my life in my motherland.

Gaining and losing weight is a common topic especially in today’s generation.  According to WHO stats in 2017, Kenyan women ranked 9th most overweight in Africa. These stats suggest that the struggle is real. There has been an increase in obesity numbers. Therefore, it is good to worry.

I would like to share a few tips on how you can lose weight. These should not be substituted with professional help from qualified trainers. It should be a boost to what you are doing to thin out your extra body fat. I can write a book on fitness. These are just a few, point blank pointers:

  1. I have come across videos and ebooks that promise you recipe workouts and food that can help you cut weight in one day or week. I usually laugh when I see them. It is extremely difficult to lose weight. Let us know that. Therefore, understand that it requires a strategy, both short and long-term. Fitness is not a goal, it is a lifestyle.  A systematic lifestyle. Once you practice it, you become an addict. That is how it is. So you’re going to be a slave for the rest of your life.

You are going to start waking up earlier than usual, abandoning some behaviours and adopting new ways of life. You have to be ready to take the road, not only as an obligation but as an abundantly paying job in which you work your ass out every damn day.

  • Avoid too much TV. There are people who spend half or three quarters of their day simply watching telly. It is not a handsome habit. You need to be moving.  You need activity that stimulates your body. This is especially for stay-home women/moms who do not leave their homes often. They squander time watching soap operas and other programmes.

“The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you’ll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age.”

  • Know the root of your problem. It is utterly important to understand when you gain weight. What are the circumstances? Genetics, junk, stress, comfort, etc. All these can be causes of weight gain. Knowing where your weight gain originates from aids to tackle the right problem. When you know where the problem is, it drives you to the heart of the solution.
  • Gym is not the option. Do not rush into the gym to lose weight. Lifting weights helps in giving you muscle strength. There is a little of burning of calories involved. Cutting weight involves the want to cut massive amounts of weight. You’re going to need more than a gym. You need more natural work outs. Something that can make you sweat heavily is encouraged. You should work out until you feel like the world is ending.
  • I encourage 3-5 hours of work outs each day for the first four to five months so that you can familiarize yourself with it. After that, you can slash to one or two hours.
  • Diet is key. You need to pour yourself into researching the calories contained in each food you take. Food contributes immensely to body weight. Each type of food has its own amount of calories; some are high while others are low. You have to watch what you consume. Consult a dietician or an experienced trainer on this. Natural foods, vegetables and fruits should be your number one choice.
  • Discipline is paramount. I should have probably started with this point. If you’re going to be anything successful in any field, it all begins with discipline. Self-discilpine. This is being able to respect your decisions when you make them. If you decide to jog every evening, you have to stick to that. Even a simple activity such as making your bed the first thing every morning is an act of discipline. Discipline is not only a prerequisite in fitness but a wholegrain of life in general.
  • Draft a work-out programme. Each part of the body has a specific work out that caters for it. This drives you to learn as many work outs as possible. Write each of them down. If today you’re going to jog and then work out your arms, in the evening try to work out your chest. Tomorrow do work outs for the stomach, the following day work out your back and so on. You have to understand that fitness is each part of your body working at optimum functionality. Each part has to be flexible and tenacious. The reason why you need to work each body part, or else you’ll never balance your body. Cut weight evenly for a perfect body.

A draft will keep you on your feet all the time. It will keep you focused. A man without a plan is a man without life.

  • Sleep enough. Your mind needs to be relaxed and refreshed. A fresh mind performs exceptionally. Make your bedroom an enticing place for your rest. Do not carry your phone to bed. You only need a bed and closet in it. Throw out the rest of the junk. Buy a good, comfortable mattress. Avoid excessive use of pillows. If you must use one, get the softest pillow in the market.
  •  Read as much as you can. Keep your mind active. An active mind cannot allow you to be lazy or engage in activities that can drive you to hell sooner. Knowledge is golden. Knowing things helps you know how to do things. Knowing how to do things makes you the better person in the room, and for your own good.

I’m way past my word limit. There is a lot to losing weight and I can take you through it for a month or two and I can’t exhaust it. If you want more info or help, nipate pale WhatsApp 0716503589/0736015845. Remember losing weight is not an idea, it is an activity. So don’t come asking what you would do, ask me to show you how to do it. And if I’ll go to that length, understand that my time is paid for.

If you want me to be your coach, I will. It will be an expensive affair, so get ready first.

Mzangila Snr,

Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?

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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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