By Wana Udobang
Is ‘Healthy’ the New Pseudonym?
It has been two years since my intervention. A lot has changed and I admit rehab never felt so good. I call it an intervention because as far as I’m concerned, that was what it was.
Ok so maybe it wasn’t as drastic as my whole family getting on the next available flight, my best friend from Abuja and a few ex’s perched in my living room telling me how much they love me and if I don’t check into a facility they fear that they will find me somewhere under the bridge laying lifeless with a needle stuck in my arm or my hands cradling a crack bong.
Mine was nothing of that sort. It was just a dear friend tell me that I am too awesome and I have way too much to offer the world to feel both constrained and restricted by my own body. So he said I needed to get healthy so I could live long enough to bring all my dreams to life. He might as well have told me I was going to die if I didn’t sort myself out.
Truth is I am quite the dreamer and a life of unrealized dreams for me is as good as a dead woman walking.
Also I have to add, it is annoying always being the one that everyone has to wait for when hiking or doing any out door activities because you are out of breath. Oh and don’t get me started on the hip blisters from the seats on the airplane.
I suppose this is why I call it an intervention. It was the first time that health was presented to me differently. It was really not about trying to look like a different person but rather becoming a better person instead by taking control of your life. So yes I did go through the rehabilitation process. Getting my butt off the bed and walking in the morning and more importantly learning to say NO. No to eating till I can barely breathe, NO to more food when I’m stuffed and NO even when it is offered for free. It’s quite a challenge turning down really good free food sometimes i tell you.
I just had to learn to break some of my general bad habits.
I also chose not to have scales but only weigh myself at the doctor’s office or at my dance class sometimes. I chose this method because I saw health as a continuum, not a goal weight or dress size target with a time line.
But I am getting a bit worried because as part of my journey, I have also chosen to stay informed, so of course I follow a few health enthusiasts on social media and the over emphasis on weight loss and looking a certain way is becoming worrying. Worrying because it seems ‘Healthy’ is a pseudonym for fad diets and body loathing. With hash-tags like #saynotofat or #journeytolepa right next to #cleaneating and #teamfitfam , I wonder if its become retrogressive. This isn’t antagonizing fad diets or hash tags if it works for you and neither is it prescribing one body type over another but I reckon that for people that have both serious weight and confidence issues, being healthy goes beyond a ‘Surulere’ before and after photo collage.
Coming to terms with the fact that you are battling both genetics and certain bad habits is one thing, then realizing that the process does not stop at avoiding carbohydrates for three months or licking limes, now that’s even more sobering.
I have been invited to join weight loss support groups via my blackberry a few times where you login your weight or measurements and food diary weekly. I have declined because my theory is if I can’t continue for the rest of my life, I’m not starting it now plus I refuse for it to become an obsession.
I think being healthy is about making certain sustainable decisions for the rest of your life about the rest of your life. So my biggest fear about all of this is that it takes people back to a place of short term goal setting, unrealistic expectations and just unnecessary obsessions. It can also get a little frustrating when you just can’t enjoy eating a mango without being told about the fat melting qualities of a mango.
They say that your body is one of the greatest tools you will ever own. I say since you use it daily, just take care of it and it will serve you well.