FAST FOOD BINGEING
Janet Moraa was already weighing 70kg at the age of 10. Unlike her peers, her weight was high and she could not play for long.
“Playing became uncomfortable for me as I could not play for more than 20 minutes without sweating profusely or getting chest pains. My weight was so much,” she said.
Moraa was always bigger than her peers from as far as when she was five years old. She now attributes it to unhealthy food intake.
“My mother was also big in size and she became my mentor. I always saw her take large portions of food and I took after her. Coming from a rich family, we took more of fast foods than organic ones,” she said.
While in secondary school in Western Kenya, Moraa decided to cut down on junk and exercise more to boost her self-esteem.
“That was my turning point. Much as it was hectic at first, at the moment, I am no longer overweight. It is a matter of the past,” she said.
Diana Lynn, 30, realised her weight was going overboard when she delivered her daughter Annabelle, now aged five.
“I could not deliver normally as the baby was quite big, and I know it is because of the foods I was taking when expectant. That is when my weight became a concern,” Lynn says.
In her family, all the members are either overweight or obese, and she has attributed the state to lack of temperance and overeating.
“When I was young, we were very poor and we could not afford two meals a day. My mother later landed a big job and promised that we would eat to compensate for the days we could not afford the meals,” she said, tears swelling in her eyes.
The days that followed all turned into feasts as they devoured five-course meals filled with meat and soft drinks.
Life changed and the five family members started adding weight. Lynn says physical exercises were unheard of in the family, so it was all about eating and relaxing.
“My late mother had a lot of health complications prior to her death, and I have a strong belief that it was because of our unhealthy lifestyle then,” she said.
DEPRESSION KICKS IN
It is, however, different for Mary Mwangi, 105kg, who has linked her overweight status to stress eating and packaged food.
“I fell into depression and began eating recklessly, especially packaged food, something I regret at the moment. My husband passed away two years ago and his demise was eating me up,” she says.
Mwangi had not noticed the steady increase in her weight since she cared more about settling bills and thinking about the deceased.
At the beginning of the year, she was 120kg, and that is when she realised her weight had ballooned and her blood pressure was now high. Through active exercising and change of diet, she has managed to shed 15kg and counting.
“I realised where my mistake was and I am positive that by the end of this year, I will have shed more kilos. Patience and consistency is the key to my weight loss success,” she says.
In addition, her new routine has given her happiness and she is now more productive, as noted by her friends.
Nutritionist Dorcas Gichuhi says the so-called modern way of life for both the affluent and middle-class groups has become more sedentary.
“Weight gain is predominantly as a result of excess caloric intake — the amount of calories ingested does not balance with physical activities. However, long-term use of steroids and people with hypothyroidism may have hormonal imbalances, posing a risk of unintentional weight gain,” Gichuhi said.
Edited by Tom Jalio