Binge-eating Disorder - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Binge-eating Disorder

The youngest boy in a black pair of trousers is me at the magnificent residence of Prof. Charles Nyamiti (in a hat), my piano mentor, during one of our visits in the late '90s. More on those visits in the story below.

Perhaps for having been brought up with a poverty-stricken mind, I have struggled all my life with a binge-eating disorder that began early in my childhood at our rural home in Kiserian where I used to compete with my siblings on who would eat the most number of chapatis whenever we cooked that favourite meal of mine at least once every week. I still love chapatis especially when I eat them with lentils stew.

Then I carried that binge-eating disorder together with two of my brothers to our then neighbour called Mrs. Memia by begging chapatis from her when out there grazing cattle. She used to regularly sympathize with our pleas for food by handing us a few delicious chapatis over the fence until our Mum intervened one day by castigating us for spoiling our family reputation. Mrs. Memia has long since emigrated to Great Britain and I was happy to reconnect with her recently via Whatsapp.

And then I carried further my binge-eating disorder in our visits in the late '90s to Prof. Charles Nyamiti, my piano mentor, at his magnificent residence in the main campus of Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Nairobi where I would gormandize sumptuous dishes as if possessed by greedy-guts demons. Oh, how I miss those good old days!

As if that were not enough, I carried still further my binge-eating disorder to Starehe Boys' Centre where I used to "combine" food in many meals at the dining hall in my junior high school days. "Combining" was Starehians' code name for eating extra food on the table.

I would probably have persisted with my love for "combining" throughout my Starehe years had my poor eating habits not been brought to my attention by those who observed my manners in the dining hall. My house-mate Leon Osumba, who played a part in orienting me to the Starehe way of life, was the first to point it out this way, "This Thuita doesn't chew his food. He swallows it directly into his stomach."

Then the Starehe school magazine took my poor reputation as a binge-eater a notch higher when it named me something like "Combiner of the Year" in a 2004 magazine edition. 'Sir' Emmanuel Karanja, a bright house-mate who inspired me to learn computer-programming, intervened to save my reputation by advising me while eating one meal in the dining hall, "Thuita, refrain from eating too much. Wise and intelligent people don't do that. Look at a person like George Waithaka - do you ever see him eating a lot like you do?"

George Waithaka, if you wish to know, was another brilliant house-mate of mine who was among the four students selected in 2003 to represent Starehe at a conference in South Africa. He emerged as the fourth best candidate countrywide in the '04 KCSE exams. His exemplary character and brilliance must be the reasons he was awarded a scholarship to study a post-high school diploma at Aiglon College in Switzerland from where he was accepted at the highly-esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.

Those negative observations on my binge-eating disorder, as shameful as they were, helped me to change my eating habits so much that I stopped "combining" during my last years at Starehe. And that didn't affect my energy levels. In fact, I grew healthier because I never had regular coughs in my days as a senior high schooler like I used to do in my days as a junior high schooler - meaning the notion that "the more we eat the stronger we become" is a fallacy. So Abduba Dida, a presidential candidate in the '13 Kenya's General Elections who once took me to his office in downtown Nairobi, was on point when he advised Kenyans not to stuff their stomachs with solid food; they should spare some space for water and air.

But guess what again? My binge-eating disorder grew in me again when I was hospitalized at JKUAT and University of Nairobi for reasons I have narrated in some of my previous stories in this lovely website of mine. And that binge-eating disorder has this time reared its ugly head on my weight and self-esteem. As I write this story now, I am not at my desired body shape.

I am therefore back to square one of correcting my binge-eating disorder. My prayer is to soon reclaim myself from this jumbo body size of mine to a lean, youthful figure like that of David Beckham, the legendary player of the England national team as well as Manchester United and Real Madrid. So help me God.


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On Losing

It has in recent months dawned on me that life is not all about gaining and winning. Sometimes we lose - something professional footballers know very well. Like Ronaldinho was part of the legendary Brazilian team that won the '02 FIFA World Cup. Four years later, he was part of the same team that lost to France in the quarter-finals of the '06 FIFA World Cup which Brazil was widely predicted to win.

I have also had my own fair share of losses on which I found myself reflecting about yesterday evening. Allow me to list them here.

First, I recently lost my friend Clement Langat who was killed in a road accident. He was a house-mate at Starehe Boys' Centre, five years my junior, who had in recent years forged himself into a good friend of mine with his positive comments about me and his inquiry last December on how I was fairing in life. He once commented on a Facebook post of mine, "This is Thuita J. Maina - a straight A student I used to admire at Starehe." It was a bit saddening to lose Clement this early in life.

Secondly, I lost most of my stories that I used to write in my old website I used to call Polly after they got deleted by my web-hosting company after the website became inactive for several months. So I ended up losing more than 300 stories which I would have loved to re-read just to realize the kind of moron I was at the time I wrote them. Too bad to lose them.

Thirdly, I lost an album of mine I made from an exercise book during my first year at Starehe Boys'. It had such valuable photos as of me playing a piano duet with my friend Wilson Chira back in '02 when we were in Form 1, of me crawling on ropes during Starehe Boys' Survival Club camps back in the days, and of me giving public speeches at Starehe while still a first former. I really wanted to reconnect with those photos just to brighten up my life with beautiful memories but my efforts to trace the album were futile.

Fourthly, I have lost a number of books, magazines and newspapers that I would have loved to re-read. Some I lost in my carelessness. Others in theft. And others in mysterious circumstances. Like I lost a copy of the 2001 Daily Nation December newspaper that listed the top candidates in that year's KCPE exams which I would have loved to leaf through just for fun of realizing the kind of bright minds I was studying with at Starehe Boys'.

As I reflected on some of those losses yesterday evening, I felt my spirit grow weary with distress. But then I remembered a story I read in Jack Canfield's remarkable book, The Success Principles™, about a man who appeared serene even after he had his entire library and research files razed down by fire. On being asked why he appeared serene despite the heavy loss, the man replied, "What I have become is more valuable than what I have lost. The skills and self-confidence I gained in that library and research files are still inside me and can never be burned up in a fire."

To borrow a leaf from that wise man, I would also like to comfort myself that what I have become is more valuable than what I have lost in my life so far. I am now a wiser, braver and more grateful young man than I would have been without writing those stories I lost or interacting with such friends as the late Clement Langat. Alleluia!


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Benefits of Working in a Team

Shortly after I left Starehe Institute in April 2007, I landed a music teaching job at a piano school in downtown Nairobi owned by one Shemaiah Mwakodi, or Shem in short, who became a good friend of mine. He still remains a friend though he hasn't been replying to my Whatsapp texts of late.

I loved visiting Shem's music school back then just to be amidst quality pianos that he imported from Japan for sale here in Kenya. It was in one of those visits to the music school that I came across a Success Magazine which I pilfered by taking it home without Shem's permission. (Oh! I hope he will forgive me if he happens to read this story.)

While going through that wonderful magazine, I read an article that listed the benefits of working in a team. I was so captivated by the article that I cut out a section of the magazine page that listed those benefits and glued it to a page on an exercise book I christened "Dream Book".

Unfortunately, the Dream Book was later on chewed by a cow at home sometimes in 2010 after I left it on the compound where the cows were grazing. I mentioned that loss to my younger brother Symo who remarked wryly, "Maybe God wants you to change your dreams."

Me thinks that the cows chewed my Dream Book as God's way of punishing me for pilfering the Success Magazine from Shem and going ahead to cut out pages from it. I therefore nowadays no longer take somebody else's property without their permission. Neither do I cut out images and text sections from books and magazines. Oh! I almost forgot to mention that I also don't leave books outside there in the compound and fields after I am done reading them. So shouldn't you.

Anyway, since the cows chewed my Dream Book, I have no record of retrieving those benefits of working in a team as the magazine so magnificently outlined. I have therefore decided to jog my memory a little bit and see which benefits I can remember. Here's what I have come up with:
  • Working in a team helps us develop good sportsmanship skills
  • It hones our communication skills
  • It diminishes our fears
  • It improves our confidence
  • It helps us achieve our dreams faster
  • It improves our mental clarity
  • It helps us develop strong interpersonal skills
  • It improves our imagination
To be honest, I have never had an opportunity to work in a team all my life - something my friend Michael Njeru mentioned to me when I forwarded him my job-hunting CV a couple of years ago. But I still haven't given up on that dream of working in a team which I plan to achieve through music. You see, I have a talent in singing and piano-playing. And I have always desired to produce inspirational songs.

Those two dreams of working in a team and producing inspirational songs blend very well because producing hit songs involves working in a team of talented music producers. My prayer is that God connects me to such talented music producers as I continue honing my music skills.


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