The Confessions of an Emotional Eater! Over 45kg to lose!
As a favour for my dear friend Nicole, I agreed to share my weight loss diary with you…my quest to lose 45kg of comfort eating weight!
So…where do I start. I’m Ihunna. I’m a busy mum of three beautiful kids…a 15 year old, a 14 year old, and a 7 year old. I am also married to the love of my life and childhood sweetheart. He has known me a size 12 and a size 24, and says I’m more beautiful today than ever! I am so blessed to have him!
I come from a family of comfort eaters. My Mother, Grandmother, Aunties, Sister, and Cousins have/were all (been) overweight at some point in time.. But alas, I ended up becoming the most overweight of the lot. At the time I hit rock bottom, I tipped the scales at 113kg! And for my 5 feet 5 inch frame, that wasn’t good at all!!!!
I gained weight over the years, and things really got out of control after my miscarriages. Oh, I forgot to tell you about those. In between my 2nd and 3rd children, I had a number of miscarriages. The 7 year gap between them wasn’t planned. I was desperately trying for a girl, and with every miscarriage, I got more and more beaten and depressed. I was not only comfort eating but on antidepressants which, unfortunately, stimulated my appetite so I was constantly hungry. I was eating to try to fix how I was feeling. That euphoric feeling straight after a binge would quickly switch to immense feelings of guilt. I would then eat more to ‘fix’ that guilty feeling and so the cycle continued. I was on a fast path of self destruction.
When I finally got pregnant with my daughter, I ironically couldn’t over eat, I went completely off sweet things and got full after eating small meals. I finally felt like a ‘normal’ person with ‘normal’ eating habits!!! I prayed I’d always stay that way!! As if!
Two weeks after delivering her, I was almost 10kg lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight. Four months later, I’d almost gained that all back!!!! I was now overeating for an entirely different reason. It was no longer because I was devastated about losing my angels, but now because I was celebrating the fact that I was breastfeeding my child, and it was like a pat on the back when I’d fed her and got her to sleep for the night. Plus breastfeeding really is hungry work! But that’s no excuse for devouring buttery loaves in one sitting, or eating my weight (well, not quite…lol) in chocolates and other sweet treats.
I ate for so many reasons. When I was overwhelmed, happy and celebrating, bored, frustrated, sad…you name it! The only time I couldn’t eat was when I was extremely…devastatingly…upset. Like when my husband and I had a near break-up incident (I might tell you all about that later…might), or immediately after my miscarriages. But all you had to do was give me a few hours…or days tops…and I would be right back at it!
The breaking point for me came when I went dress shopping, while on holiday. My youngest child would turn 1 shortly after our return to Nigeria, and I wanted a nice outfit to wear for her party. I had left the kids at home, and proceeded to go the West End by myself…to enjoy some “me time”, if you will. As soon as I stepped out of Bond Street Station, I bumped into one of my old classmates from Uni.
Let me pause to bring you up to speed on one thing…I HATED seeing people from my past…especially those who hadn’t seen me in a while! You see, even with my overweight genes, I was quite slim in high school, and in University, even though I had started filling out, I was curvaceous in the right places, and had the nickname “Ihu Luscious!” I was a comfortable size 12 then, and always had a long line of toasters and admirers, despite the fact that everyone knew I was in a serious relationship. So, you can imagine the shock people from my past had when they saw me in my robust roundness. Even the most polite of them were not able to mask their surprise. That was why I avoided occasions where I was likely to run into them. But some occasions were unavoidable…like today!
“My God! I almost didn’t recognize you!!!” this woman, whose name I couldn’t even recall, shrieked! Yes, she wasn’t one of the polite ones. “What happened to you??!”
“My dear, na so oh!” I laughed lamely “Na those children wey I born!”
“Please, don’t tell me that! Don’t tell me that, Ihunna! No be only you don born pikin, biko! I just had my 4th child a few months ago, and I am nowhere as big as you! What are you, a size 20???” she carried on. A part of me wanted to be mad at her (‘Don’t be annoyed oh, Miss Size 10!’ I found myself saying to myself), but another part of me could see that she wasn’t trying to be malicious, but was genuinely upset I had let myself go. “Kai! Babe, you used to be hot! Why did you let this happen?” Ah, this woman was almost in tears oh. Oh yes, Ijeoma!! That was her name.
Regardless of the awkward start, we managed to make small talk, exchanged our Nigerian phone numbers, and proceeded to go our separate ways. As was always the case with every such meeting, my spirit was low, but I quickly managed to shake it off….
Well, that was until I stepped into the changing room, and the massive size 24 dress I had picked, clung to my body like a second skin…and as I made a move to adjust it, I heard a long rip down the back. It had actually given way. I sat in that changing room, staring at myself from all the mirrors’ many angles, and saw myself for the fat woman I had become, folds, lumps, flabs and all…and I cried, and cried, and cried….
After what seemed like hours (but was actually about 20 minutes), I paid for the torn dress, in what I felt was my penance for my sin of slobbery. One part of me wanted to look for a dress in a larger size, but another part of me forbade paying a kobo for such a size. No, if it meant suffering in my old baffs, I would…because I would never accept this new size. I knew then and there that it was time to change!
And so began my weight loss journey….