I come from a family whose people are genetically large. That to an extent made my weight loss desires a bit challenging. But you see, I was not always big, I was pretty much petite with wide hips like most of the females in my family. But as I grew up, giving birth to my children, being exposed to contraceptives and all of that, I started gaining weight uncontrollably. I remember when I conceived my first baby, I moved from a mere 75kgs to a whopping 98kgs!! My doctor told me that it was normal for a woman to gain between 10 to 15 kgs during a pregnancy and obviously I had broken this standard protocol by almost doubling the same!!!
My challenge was that I was deeply ingrained in this myth that a pregnant woman ought to eat, and eat a lot of food as she was eating for two. So at work I would carry with me a basket full of food, fruits and juices meant for my 10 am snack, my lunch and a 4pm snack in that order. If the 1 litre juice finished midday, then my husband, whose office was a stone throw away from mine at that time would have the unfortunate job of supplying me with more, after all, I would reason, it was his baby I was carrying in my body, while he walked free and so he may as well make himself useful by getting us more juice! Poetic justice huh? Well, sort of. The Specifications were that the juice had to be 100% fruit juice, the white grape one of the “ceres” brand and preferably chilled.
At home, after work, I would put my feet up, order for a basin full of mangoes (between 10 to 15), and ate them all while I watched my favourite TV show. This would normally happen before I had dinner! And so the routine went on for nine months. I would devour fruits in season like a caged beast! It was awful. It was unsurprising therefore when I went for my antenatal visit and the nurses announced that my weight gain was “amazing” but good. This would make me happy at the time as this meant that I was carrying a healthy baby and it would be of a good size! Oo! I wish I knew! At this time I had been robbed of anything that could be described as “good” looks for a woman as anything that can swell on a person’s body was swollen for me. This included, eyes, lips, ears, feet, hands and of course the already large nose. I also had these varicose veins on my feet, calfs and thighs. There was a dark layer of skin that came on my neck that made me look like I had dirt on me even when I was coming from a shower, I simply looked terrible, a shadow of my true self. But this did not bother me, the journey ahead, of being a mother, was exciting for me, so much so that no temporary distortion of my looks would derail me from it.
Nine months later, on 5th April 2010, the baby came, now due to its size I was forced to deliver via a caesarean section. That was the beginning of more weight trouble for me. Due to the wound, I could not manage my tummy the way most women in my country do to get it back in shape after a delivery. Normally this is achieved by tying a cloth round the belly. And so, upon advice from all the women around me, a breastfeeding mother also needed to eat; as that was the only way to produce quality milk! And so I obliged, and dug into food of any kind as much as I could.

The weight gain continued until i hit a whopping 102kgs!!! I was alarmed!! But I did not think that I needed to do anything at the time. I was still breastfeeding after all. At this time clothes could no longer fit, I had to buy new ones. I even started wearing a shoe size bigger. The protruding stomach would bother me when I wore some type of clothes. With time, the back pain started. I needed to support my back each time i sat on a sofa to breastfeed my baby. And i noted that there was a mild pain from my lower back each time i tried to bend or rise up abruptly from a bed or chair. I dismissed the pain as one of those things, after all, I had just taken out over 4kgs of a human out of my tummy and this was expected! Little did i know, it was an issue not without significance. Eighteen months later, I conceived again! And this was an extremely difficult pregnancy on many fronts. I shall talk about this in my subsequent publications. For now I will address this issue as it relates to my weight loss journey. Surprisingly for this pregnancy, there were months I would register a decrease in weight to my doctor’s dismay; I was mostly stressed I suppose so I was failing to eat as much as I did during the first one. However, after the baby was born on 4th August 2012, I gained so much weight I may have surpassed the 102kgs mark!!! The familiar routine started again, this time with not so good comments from family and friends on how my body looked. Shoes which were normally my size wouldn’t fit anymore, those that would fit would not last that long because of the pressure of my body to my feet. Over and above all of this jazz, the back pain persisted, and this time with more force than ever before. The only remedy I employed was some back rubs from anyone who who was near me, pain killers and the use of pillows whenever I sat down either in my office or at home and sometimes even when driving.

From 2012 to 2018 I tried all kinds of things to lose weight and I failed dismally at each attempt. My routines would be spontaneous, ill advised, unplanned and without a solid backing. To be fair on my body, I was also never really emotionally invested. And so I would jealously look at my skinny friends who made progress on weight loss with zero effort on their part and those who had also given birth before and almost naturally lost the baby fat without much difficulties while I struggled painfully. My esteem would be affected most times especially when I got naughty comments from those I trusted like acquaintances, colleagues or even family members. The thing about me is that, comments from strangers would not normally bother me; i made it a point that whatever was said about me on the streets should remain there. However, I inwardly decided that one day, i will change what those closest to me thought about me, without me necessarily saying those words to them at the time. What I did not know was that there were issues building inside of me that would manifest in some ways later. People around me, whether jokingly or otherwise revealed unpleasant and unlikeable personalities to me inhibitively. Surprisingly, when I started losing weight, they were the very same people who also had the most to say….yea, that’s life for you!
In 2018, I joined a group of friends on this German 13 day weight loss programme. I lost 5kgs because on the 5th if not the 6th day, I developed a bad flu which forced me to take medication which had an alcohol content. I was frustrated as this diet only allows those food items prescribed on the diet, nothing more and nothing less! The diet can only be done again after two years. And so I abandoned it and tried banting. A no carb and high fat diet. It worked for me for a while until I started developing pimples on my smooth face and became highly irritable; my body was screaming for carbs! I then decided to hit the gym. At first I was going there to support my husband who had to go to a gym for his health issue he was dealing with at the time, and to ensure that he went, I would go with him. It was extremely frustrating being in the gym and failing to finish very simple routines from the instructor. The one hour aerobics exercise would seem like a lifetime of torture for me. I would flounce out of the gym class panting like a thirsty dog with my hands up in surrender. Friends, whose names I am not at liberty to mention as I did not seek their permission to do so in this article, would encourage me and give me a wake up call for me to show up at the gym in the morning before work. Thank God for such Angels, every woman needs them! Their words and actions aroused a lot of respect from me to them!

In 2019, I had an experience that made weight loss for me a necessity as opposed to it being optional. I went to a beauty shop to get my nails done. As I sat down, I noted that the chair could not support my back as well as I wanted and so I changed a number of chairs till I found one that suited me. There was a lady in that shop, she was selling makeup. She looked at me and said, “if you say you have back problems, you better see a physiotherapist”. I was like, “what? Why?” And she went on to explain that the back would not just give me problems unless if there was indeed a problem. She went on to inform me that she knew this because her husband was a physiotherapist! She gave me his contact and personally set up an appointment for me for the following Monday. I went to see him reluctantly knowing that I did not have any challenges, why would I? I was young and full of life after all!! The doctor sent me for an Xray and a scan.
When the results came, he studied them a bit and called in his friend. When his friend came in, he spoke diffidently, and without remorse, and the first words that came out of his mouth were, “madam, are you sure these are your results?” To which I said, “i think they are”. He went on to explain that my back looked like it belonged to an old woman! And he showed me where the problem was and there and then, I saw my crooked back, right in front of me and I could not believe it! They recommended physiotherapy and asked me to buy a lumbar belt to support my back and a lot of other things I did not comprehend. It took me a very long time to process their verdicts. This was a moment of great sadness for me.
It was like a tonne of bricks had descended on me. How could this be? Me? Physiotherapy? A bent back? I have a back of an 80 year old woman? How? What had happened to me? I had questions without answers. I slowly walked to my car, called my husband and broke the news to him. I went back to my office, made arrangements with my medical insurance for me to get approval to see a physiotherapist as soon as possible. I was in her office the very next day. Without looking at my x-ray photos, she simply asked me to take off my top as she took photos of my back. She studied the photos briefly and said, “yes, you are tilted on one side”! More bad news! So not only did I have an old woman’s back, i was tilted too! This explained why I always looked at vehicles and thought they were tilted towards one side or that maybe one tyre is flat, I just did not know that i was the one who was tilted! Good Lord! How much bad news can a woman take? She went on and explained that my front/core was weak due to the size of my pregnancies that put pressure on my back. So the weakness in the front meant that the back was working overtime to support both front and back to keep me on my feet hence the back pains!!! I wanted to close my ears. The good news is, she said, she could try and get me levelled up so I was not tilted no more, before she could work on my back. Now imagine, trying to mend very mature bones, the journey was long, hard and with excruciatingly painful. However, within four weeks of failing constantly, rising, failing again, pain, giving up and and lots of tears, I finished my physiotherapy triumphantly. There is something good after all from pain and shock that literally stamps a mark on us in the journey of life. So not all pain is bad. The physiotherapist also recommended weightless as I signed out.However, no matter how hard I tried, the weight never went. In March 2020, two years after I had attempted the 13 day diet I took a go at it yet again. This time I was faithful and followed all instructions and i lost 8kgs!! The decisive factor this time around was that the desire for me to lose weight was bigger than anything I had ever wanted! I was hungry and somewhat desperate. The fat needed to go!! I got better results too, my metabolism was increased so much that my body started processing food much faster.
People started noticing the changes. At this time we had the COVID-19 in the world and gyms were closed so I would do long walks with neighbours, or alone, use a skipping rope at home and do body or core strengthening exercises. One time, I was talking to a friend via whatsapp as she had noted that I was working on losing my weight. She recommended that I should see her doctor. It took me two months to make an appointment. Then I met another friend who also mentioned the same doctor. This time I decided to see him. The guy ordered an analysis of my blood and announced to me that I actually had some vitamin deficiencies among other challenges. He put me on supplements and on a special diet called “19 hour intermittent fasting ” which basically meant that I only had a 5 hour window within which I could eat. He allowed for most of the food that I like anyway so I didnt think of it as a big deal. I however needed to weigh my carbs (150 grams only).
This time, the need to lose weight had grown even bigger and more so now because of the so called deficiencies I had that would pose as a challenge if the status quo was maintained. I was geared to make changes. Two months later, the results were visible. If you see the picture that I have used for this article, that was how I looked 6 or 7 months ago versus how am looking now. I have basically lost about 20kgs (which is like a whole human being really) within a collective period of 6 months! My brain power has never been more active. I feel lighter both within and without.
Now I had to give you this background before I give you the 10 lessons I have learnt throughout this process:

  1. Lose weight for the right reasons, and most importantly, do it for YOU
  2. Know that the size of your body does not determine the quality of your well being, the two are
    NOT mutually exclusive
  3. You have one body, and therefore you have a divine mandate to take care of it. Thus if you must lose weight, you must really make up your mind to do so, the journey will demand mental
    maturity on your part and your ability to manage the weight loss when you have attained your
    target weight
  4. Shut your ears to nay sayers; if they had an issue with you being big, they will also have an
    issue for when the trajectory changes for you. Read point one above again
  5. The words from those closest to us can and will hurt the most, but remember, the totality of
    your being depends not on your external validation, always aim at getting inspiration from within,
    it never fades nor disappoints
  6. Decide on how badly you need to lose weight and be prepared to commit and stay in line.
    When you keep trying and stopping, you develop a spirit of failure within you and no amount of
    coaching will ever work for a person like that
  7. Be patient. We have different bodies, what works for one within a specified time wont work
    for you in the same way, be OK with that
  8. Be inspired by other people, even me if you want, but do not copy others, remember, you are
    uniquely designed and equipped to only DO and BE YOU
  9. When you take a course of action in your journey, stick to it and see the results, do not
    change mid way or combine routines
  10. It is advisable to always seek medical advice from experts before you start any weight loss

I do hope that this was helpful. For feedback, check the email on my website and I will be more
than happy to support you. Good luck and always remember that you are God’s master piece
designed to do exploits on earth! Now get up and act like it.

  • Emily Namakhwa
    Posted on September 23, 2020 at 6:35 am

    This is so educative, Ingormati and timely. Thank you for the advises freely given, I got one would consider them seriously.

    Be blessed

  • Emily Namakhwa
    Posted on September 23, 2020 at 6:36 am

    This is so educative, Informative and timely. Thank you for the advises freely given, I for one would consider them seriously.

    Be blessed

  • Sibu
    Posted on September 23, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Thank God am free today the lessons were tailor made for me …. this was insightful .. i love your story telling you have a gift … keep feeding us with your writing♥️♥️♥️

  • Sekanie
    Posted on September 23, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    Oh this is great Vera! You look absolutely amazing. I needed this motivation. Thanks very much. ❤️

  • Brenda Mwale
    Posted on September 23, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Thank you so much for this and I have been inspired and helped

  • Beatrice Chirwa
    Posted on September 23, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Wow! Amazing tips. Will surely do it.

  • Jane
    Posted on September 24, 2020 at 9:18 am

    This is very educative, Thank you very much.

  • Jane
    Posted on September 24, 2020 at 9:18 am

    This is very educative, Thank you very much.

  • Milandu M
    Posted on September 24, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    I know this story too well. Thank you for putting it out there, for those of us still trying to win this fight for our healthy lives. For many, this seemingly eternal battle has taken us from weighing ourselves while naked to try to register a loss in Kilos to abusing prescription drugs. I know of friends who have abused prescription drugs in quest to lose weight. The pressure and cynical comments from friends and relatives don’t help at all – they only serve to push you deeper into what I call “Eating disorder”. so Thank you, for telling us to own our lane. Every weight loss story is different, find what works with you and stick with it while doing it for the right reason. When they WHY is known, nothing else matter

    Posted on September 24, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    “When you keep trying and stopping, you develop a spirit of failure within you and no amount of
    coaching will ever work for a person like that”
    Yes! Inspiring article, it indeed covers alot beyond losing weight but also determination,focus and persistence to what we want to achieve.

  • Ben
    Posted on September 25, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    This is a powerful and inspirational story Vera…May you sustain yourself on this path…be blessed!

  • Wangiwe Joanna Kambuzi
    Posted on September 26, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Great read. Inspiring!

  • Liz
    Posted on September 28, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Very inspirational.
    Thanks for sharing the story!

  • Liviness Mmela
    Posted on September 29, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Thank you for sharing your journey 👏👏

  • Mwawi Chisi
    Posted on October 1, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    This is a very helpful post. Quite encouraging. Do it for you indeed not others, people will always oppose what you do, which make you lose focus.

  • Catherine Chisuse
    Posted on October 2, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Lesson learnt! Many thanks for ⁷.

  • Dayrica
    Posted on October 4, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    It’s very refreshing to read a weightloss story from someone relatable, as well as addressing the myths instilled on our culture when it comes to eating for 2 when pregnant. Most importantly how ones health is affected by carrying extra weight. Our own warrior on our local obesity problem in Malawi.

  • Susan
    Posted on October 6, 2020 at 5:07 am

    Wow, so much to take away from your experience. Thanks for sharing your heart out! Am inspired and will keep going on my weight loss journey. Be forever blessed.

  • Susan
    Posted on October 6, 2020 at 5:07 am

    Wow, so much to take away from your experience. Thanks for sharing your heart out! Am inspired and will keep going on my weight loss journey. Be forever blessed.

  • Kettie
    Posted on November 15, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Loved going through every bit of this piece, so inspirational and motivating, so many lessons grabbed, God bless you for sharing this

  • Georgina Kauye Dakalira
    Posted on November 15, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Wooow this is so Motivating

  • Jessie chiuye
    Posted on November 16, 2020 at 4:23 am

    Thanks for the insight. Am doing IF since sept 22 this year. Am doing a 18:6 /20:4 alternatively. Its working for me.
    Thanks vera, am encouraged

  • Maureen
    Posted on February 5, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this honourable. Lessons learnt.

  • Grace Nhlema
    Posted on February 5, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    Amazing tips and you look great


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