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Battling My Weight Again

This is me in 2011 looking young and determined. I have set a goal of regaining that youthful swagger by December 12 of this year, God willing.

To tell you the truth, I have never wished to grow fat and big. I remember during one choir get-together in 2008, a friend of mine asked me to eat as much meat as I wished but I mentioned to him of my fear of growing plump.

And guess what? When I went astray at the university in JKUAT several weeks later after that get-together, I gained the excess weight I had always dreaded.

What happened was, I just stopped attending classes and started hanging around at the university without communicating home. When I was apprehended, the professor who handled me thought I was mentally ill. So he referred me to a psychiatrist who had me admitted in hospital for several weeks where I gained weight because all I did was eat and sleep.

Several people commented on how big I had grown after I was discharged from hospital. And that lowered my self-esteem. For months afterwards, I tried to lose that excess weight without success. Like I once visited the offices of a company that sold weight-loss supplements but their high cost discouraged me from buying them. I also tried fasting but I didn't enjoy going without food for several days.

Then when I matriculated at the University of Nairobi (UoN) in late 2010, I found myself feeling full of life again - a part of me I had lost in touch with after I went astray at JKUAT in 2008. With such kind of high spirits, I ended up doing a lot of walking and writing which led me to lose weight (see photo above).

But then, the circumstances that befell on me at JKUAT in 2008 happened to me again when I was at UoN in 2011. I was forcefully admitted to the university's clinic after I sent messages to my family that I would never go back home. What a wretched young man I was!

After dropping out of UoN, my weight gradually ballooned again over a period of several years. I did try losing that weight but I found myself lacking the will-power to follow through with my resolutions.

Late last year, I couldn't stomach that excess weight any more. So I got into the habit of jogging every morning. And alas! After several weeks of jogging, I lost weight to my desired levels.

Somehow in the course of this year, I lost in touch with that habit of jogging every morning. For that reason, coupled with eating a lot, my weight has again ballooned. So I am now back to square one and I badly need to lose weight.

This time round, I want to lose weight the way I did when I matriculated at the University of Nairobi in 2010. That's by writing and walking a lot as well as by limiting my food intake. I will stop waking up in the middle of the night to eat - a bad habit I picked up when I was at JKUAT hospital ten years ago.

Why have I included writing as part of my weight loss program? Because I love it. Writing an interesting story elevates my spirits which makes me enjoy my walking. I love playing with words in an effort to weave a compelling tale.

Again, let me say I am now back to battling my weight. Hopefully by December 12th of this year, I will have regained my youthful swagger, this time once and for all. Watch this space!


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Gaining Wisdom in Pain

The black girl in the photo above is 15-year old Elizabeth Eckford in 1957 trying to ignore the abuse of a 1000-strong crowd when she attempted to enter the then whites-only Little Rock Central High School. Forty years later, the woman yelling at Eckford publicly apologized for her actions.

I can't exactly recall which match we were watching back in 2006 in Starehe Boys' Ngala House whose captain was Paul Byatta. It must have been the FA Cup final between Liverpool and West Ham in those days when Steven Gerrard was at the peak of his football career. But I do vividly recall getting angered by Byatta when he switched off the television as the match went on after we became wild and noisy.

Byatta pissed me off so much that I uttered some negative comments about him to my equally upset friends. And later on when I heard someone say that Byatta wanted to attend the prestigious Harvard College, I must have thought to myself, "No, that guy can't make it there. He is not a Harvard material."

But alas! Two years later, Byatta was accepted by Harvard - the same college that rejected me twice which depressed me given the effort I put in crafting my application and the way I regularly visualized myself walking through the streets of Harvard. God must have been using the pain to teach me a valuable lesson: to never mock, ridicule or laugh at anyone's dream.

It must have been the same sort of lesson learnt by the white woman who was captured on camera in 1957 yelling at a 15-year-old black girl named Elizabeth Eckford who was attempting to join the then whites-only Little Rock Central High School (see photo above). The white woman publicly apologized forty years later for yelling at the innocent and determined Eckford who was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton in 1999.

And so Aeschylus, the ancient Greek tragedian, was on point when he wrote of pain bringing us wisdom, against our will, through the awful grace of God. Let us therefore use every pain as a tool of gaining wisdom instead of shrinking to depression or resorting to drugs, alcoholism and prostitution.


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