It was a few months into my weight loss journey when I bumped into my dotting grandmother at my home church; PCEA Kibiku Parish. My sister and I were on our way out after the first service and we met my grandma who was attending the second service. Hugs and kisses were exchanged as my grandmother gushed over my transformation. I could feel my sister's eye-roll as I twirled to give my granny a full view of my new look.
" Wow, Marion this is wonderful. Keep at it," she said as she reached into her big leather handbag to fish out my all-time favorite candy; Eclairs.
" Here you go lovelies," she said cheerfully as she handed my sister the sweets. Her hand disappeared into the bag once more to retrieve more sweets and as she extended her hand to offer me the eclairs, I smiled and nodded my head gently, my voice so low that it was almost a whisper;
" Thank you Cucu, I stopped eating sweets."
Her disappointment was almost tangible. I was not known to turn down candy or anything edible for that matter.
"The diet has me sacrificing a lot…" I began apologetically but she interjected me with a quick smile and pledged her support to my cause.
As we turned to leave, my sister pointed out that I should have just accepted the sweets and gave them to her. She also mentioned that I didn't have to keep explaining my new dietary regulations, that I should be discreet. I did not concur.
What my sister did not understand until much later was that I was struggling with my new eating habits.
Declining those sweets had been torturous to say the least. I would look at my mother's soft layered chapatis as I fixed a garden salad and whisper to myself: "I am off wheat."
Believe it or not, the moment those words left my lips, any craving I had would disappear into thin air.
I was testifying to the true power of the spoken word every time I faced tempting diet unfriendly food. It worked then, it works today.
When you hear people on a fitness journey call out certain foods, it is not mere show-off. They are not trying to make you feel guilty for indulging in otherwise unhealthy food. It is solely a coping mechanism. It is a means of taking back power from the foods that held us captive, cravings that left us bloated and feeling miserable.
Therefore, we say no- or as my sister loved to put it- announce our resistance to sugar , wheat, hydrogenated oils, gluten, starches past certain hours, fizzled drinks, processed meats et cetera, in order to draw strength from our utterances and enable our minds register our resolve to take charge of our health through clean eating.
Next time when you see me reading labels at the supermarket as I announce to you my preference for plain yogurt, try not to roll your eyes. Recommend sugar-free crackers instead. Pledge your support!
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]