“Why are you getting big like this?” by Amie O. Kouamé
Most women at a certain age are confronted with the problem of weight gain! "To put on weight, not to put on weight, to be or not to be" ... Yes! It looks superficial but our weight (our body) influences how we perceive ourselves and how we want others to see us. And like most women, my body’s been there or should I say, is going through it!
That's it, I have gained weight! I’ve really put on weight. The kind of weight you gain without really realising it and then one morning, you discover that you are 2 sizes bigger. Scientists have attributed weight gain to growing older, with our metabolism also contributing to the new body in which we find ourselves in.
But I must admit that in my case, I let myself go. Eating lemon pies here, coffee éclairs there, not to mention the lunches, dinners and dessert as snacks in between meals — all this coupled with almost zero sports activity.
My lifestyle has changed. Moving from employee to full-time entrepreneur often involves working late, not eating at specific times, participating in social events, I did not realize that my eating habits had also changed (they weren’t already very good).
The worst thing was that every time I wanted to eat a dessert or a unhealthy dish, I kept telling myself that my life was hard enough for me to deprive myself of the (not so expensive) things, that make me happy.
As time went by, I began to hear remarks about my weight gain. There were nice ones like: "You’ve put on weight but it suits you!"; "Stay like that, you are beautiful." And of course, the most misplaced:
"But where are you going like that?" This remark often comes from people who have also gained weight.
"You will end up not going through the door" An uncle, whom at a family event had not found anything better to say to start a conversation.
"Are you at your 3rd, 4th? (child)?” I'm sure he was trying to be nice, but it did not work. No friends, pregnancy can be a factor in weight gain but the number of children does not determine the mother’s overall weight.
"But why are you getting big like this?" The most common remark of all, to which I’ve even ended up answering to with: "well, because I'm eating".
Most people do not know what you're going through when you put on weight. Learning to eat better, disciplining yourself is a permanent job that should become a habit. Nevertheless, it requires emotional and mental strength, something that we do not all have. Most people also do not realise that little remarks blurted out as such, can hurt or even lower your self-esteem. So unless you're a loved one, it's neither courteous or polite to comment on a person's weight, especially when it's a woman.
As for me, I’ve very lucky. A few years ago, I learned to love my body — or at least to accept it with its fluctuations. I am also fortunate to have caring relatives, who reminded me that losing weight is a personal decision that should only concern me. I finally decided to pay attention, to eat better, without all the pressure.
So, if you find that you have gained weight and it really bothers you, motivate yourself, but do it for you. If, on the contrary, you are good as you are, do not hesitate to remind those who point out your weight gain to you, that you are indeed good, just the way you are.
This article has been translated and republished from Ayana Webzine, with the permission of the author and publisher. Ayana is an Ivorian digital publication and community for African women.