FIT&FAB: Feeling ugly should not be a precondition of pursuing fitness

Wednesday November 1 2017

I can’t help but notice an increase in the

I can’t help but notice an increase in the number of people who have decided to make a deliberate effort to better their health. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MARION MAINA
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I can’t help but notice an increase in the number of people who have decided to make a deliberate effort to better their health.

Fitness and diet support groups have sprung up on Facebook, Instagram , YouTube and other social media channels.

Today’s timelines are dotted with sweaty selfies of men and women in equal measure.

BODY-SHAMING POSTS

As a fitness enthusiast, I laud a disciplined workout and a balanced diet.

That said, I have noticed with great concern a worrying trend of body-shaming posts.

These are expressed in before and after photo grid pictures which are captioned with belittling and downright nasty phrases.

Such include: Lost all the fat, feeling sexy. Feeling fat and ugly, please help, you catch my drift.

One does not need to feel ugly in order to pursue the journey of fitness. In fact, starting out with such negativity can make you succumb to the temptation to quit therefore frustrating your entire fitness journey.

I HAD LOW SELF ESTEEM

The first time I embarked on a journey to weight loss, my esteem was nothing to brag about.

I didn’t like most of my body parts and often got teased and ogled at especially by men at bus terminals.

These experiences were horrible and downright disgusting.

With a heart full of bile and zero self-love, I got onto a 13-day metabolic diet and successfully lost about eight kg.

GAINED BACK LOST KILOS

Two months later, I gained about 15kg in a span of less than three months. In the subsequent years of my teen hood, there were several similar episodes of on and off weight loss. Diets to fit in, to impress a boy, to get back at peers who mocked me, the list is endless. They were all short-lived and unsuccessful.

NOT ALL ABOUT A FAT-SHAMING ARTICLE

Looking back now, I appreciate why my decision two years ago to get fit became not only successful but also sustainable to date. My mindset then was what made such an impactful difference.

Despite that decision being sparked by a fat-shaming article read in between sniffs and a few tears, that was not all. I vividly recall later that day after reading the article, I had a conversation with myself in front of a mirror. It went something close to this;

“ Oh well, that was mean of her to say those things. You are a thick woman. Thick and sexy. You know that, plus many have testified the same to you no? But she makes a good point nonetheless. I mean, you have all these ambitious goals and you need to be healthy and alive to enjoy the fruits of your labor and ambitions. So maybe we can get off the 100kg+ range for better days ahead.”

As I chopped the cabbages to make soup for dinner that night, a smile played on my lips.

I pictured myself fitting really well into a power suit and playing with my children without running short of breath.

I saw myself full of vibrant energy, breaking glass ceilings and actively taking part in transforming the society.

At that high point, with the soup boiling gently beside me, I committed myself to taking care of my health .

There were no waist measurement or scale goals at that point. The goal as to be healthy.

YOU NEED THE RIGHT MINDSET

You need the right mindset to sustain you through the journey.

You need to love and appreciate every effort your body makes to cooperate with your fitness ambitions. Stay positive and see the journey get a whole lot easier.

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Fit&Fab is a blog series by Marion Maina who lost 30kg in her weight loss journey that started two years ago and is now in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Do you have feedback on this story? E-mail: [email protected]