That was two years ago. I stood in front of the mirror and told myself, “This can’t continue. The way I’m growing big. I have to do something about it before it gets off my hands.” I was size twelve. I blinked one day and I was size fourteen. “Ok, that isn’t so bad. I will do everything to keep it at fourteen.”
I told myself. One day, I saw food and smelled it. The following day I was size eighteen. None of my clothes fit. My favorite blue dress didn’t fit. A gown I bought not too long ago also didn’t fit. A friend bought me a beautiful dress for a mutual friend’s wedding and that too didn’t fit. We were yet to attend that wedding. It looked like all my dresses were dejecting me. Every new occasion called for a new dress. I couldn’t keep up. I wasn’t ready to throw all my beautiful dresses away so I decided to hit the street.
Run until my weight runs away from me. Or hit the gym. Lift until the extra weight I’ve gained lift their bags and leave me alone. I joined a keep fit club that runs and exercises on Sundays. I liked the way the whole thing was structured. It was fun. The fun was so much it took your mind off the pain. Aerobics became my favorite thing. I did it with them on Sundays and did it in my room. I skipped rope and skipped breakfast. Everything to bring my weight down. I was that determined. So determined I spoke to Charles about it. Charles was one of the leading trainers at the Keep Fit club. I said, “Dear, I need help.”
He responded, “I know.” I asked him, “So what do I do?” He answered, “I trained every evening after work. If you want to join, the doors are opened.” I asked, “So how much am I supposed to pay?” He answered, “Just GHC180 a month. It’s not about the money. If you’re really determined to shed off the weight, that amount won’t scare you. You’ll take it on as your cross and carry it until salvation is gained.” GHC180 is a lot of money when I assess my finances but as he said, It was about determination so I said yes and joined his personal routing.
Every day came with a new routine. It was rigorous. It was intensive. Some days I broke down. Some days I wanted to give up. I would go to my wardrobe, looked at all the beautiful dresses I couldn’t wear, and tell myself, “Guys, I won’t disappoint you. I would go ahead with it until you guys could fit my skin once again.” I would pick my broken self up and go again. Charles became my accountability partner. Days I wanted to give up, he would encourage me not to. He would call and ask if I was following the diet. He would intentionally call around 10pm and see if I would pick. According to our schedule, I was supposed to sleep at 9pm and wake up at 5am, workout for thirty minutes before I go to work.
One day he called at 10pm and I picked. I said, “Charles, I’ve done this for two months already. I still don’t see any improvement. I’m giving up. At least, my weight should go a little down to encourage me to continue but things are just the way they are. How do I know if it’s working?” He said, “You don’t want to wear those clothes again? I answered, “I would buy new ones. When I stop, I would use the gym fees to get new ones. I’m tired.” He became my motivator. He pushed me not to give up. He became my friend. He spoke to me every day and we laughed. He became my boyfriend. He planted love in my heart and it blossomed.
Instead of talking about losing weight, we were talking about the last kiss we had and how it made us feel. We were talking about our next date and planning where to go. I thought dating a trainer would make me train better. Not knowing, the ability to train isn’t sexually transmitted. He couldn’t motivate me again. I was no longer paying for the training but that was the time I gave up totally. If my trainer could fall in love with me, then it means I wasn’t looking so bad after all. I put the tools down and picked my confidence up. I looked in the mirror and talked about how beautiful I looked with the extra weight. I even apologized to the extra weight for trying to make it go away.
I was content. Happy. And blossoming in love.
Two months later, Charles started complaining; “What happened to your desire to shed off the weight? What happened to the dreams. You started so well so what changed?” I said calmly, “I fell in love, Charles. I fell in love with my teacher and he took the whole vim away. Is it my fault? Were you not supposed to train me? What happened to the trainer-trainee relationship? Where you called me in the evening and checked my progress. What happened? Now you call in the evening and we chop love. Love doesn’t make us fat so I’m ok.”
One Saturday morning, he came with a Yoga mat. He said, “Get into your training gears.” He nearly broke me into pieces that day; “Up. Down. Hands up. Hands down. Crunch forward. Extend your legs forward as you are working on your oblique.”
“Eiii Charles. Mabrɛ. ɛdiɛn? Yesterday, Russian twist, today, Oblique. I can’t.”
I gave up but tried as much as possible to maintain my size. He didn’t like it. He shifted from pushing me to train to nag. He would see me struggling to wear my jeans and he would nag. He would see me sleeping and he would nag. He would see me eating and he would nag; “See what you are eating. Why won’t you grow fat?” My whole existence became his nagging canvas. “If you can’t push them. Nag them” became his motto but I wasn’t minding him.
Regardless of all the nagging about my weight, it didn’t affect the love he had for me. We were happy in love and were making plans on what we needed to do to grow the love we had.
He took me home one day and it was the first time I was meeting his parents. He’s a replica of his father. Tall, naturally muscular, and lanky. I told him, “That means your size and muscles you didn’t have to work so hard to get them. You inherited them from dada.” His mother is directly opposite to everything his father has. His mother is very big. I think old age is also part. Our mothers don’t care about weight gaining or weight management. They go about their businesses and talk proudly about their weight as if it’s their ticket to heaven. His mother was like that.
One morning he plunged into a nagging monologue, calling me lazy and accusing me of doing everything to destroy my body—my own body ooo. I said, “Charles, I visited your parents and I saw how big your mother is so you can’t complain about my weight. It’s getting irritating. Learn from your father. He lives with your mom peacefully. I don’t think they fight because of your mother’s weight. You too, learn. Learn to leave my weight alone.”
Dear reader, I want to ask if what I said was an insult. I didn’t say it angrily and didn’t push it aggressively. My tone wasn’t harsh and my demeanor wasn’t disrespecting. I spoke to him just the way a loving girlfriend would speak to her loving boyfriend but Charles broke loose; “How dare you speak about my mother this way? Do you know what she had been through? She has four children. How many do you have? She is fifty-nine. How old are you? Ohh ok, so you were there judging my mother, right? My mother is fat so I can’t talk about your weight, right? That’s ok. I’ve heard you.”
I realized I’d hurt his feelings and was about to apologize when he stormed out of the room and left me standing there like a toy soldier. I called him later in the evening to apologize. He didn’t pick up my several calls. I sent him a text; “Charles, I’m on my knees. I haven’t seen you this angry before and it shows how angry I made you. I’m sorry. I’m deeply sorry. I didn’t seek to judge your mom. I picked the wrong instance to drive home what I wanted to say. Please forgive me. It would never happen again. I love your mom and you know it. Please forgive me.”
I called hours later. He still didn’t pick. I went to his house in the evening. I didn’t want him to sleep in anger. I went and knock on the door and he asked, “Who is that?” I said, “It’s me, your sweetheart.” He didn’t say another word so I thought he was coming to open the door for me. I stood at the door and knocked. He never opened the door. I sent him a message; “I’m not leaving this door until you open. We need to talk.” He read the message and didn’t respond. I sat at the door until it was 12am. I sent him another message, “I know I hurt your feelings. I’m sorry. If you won’t open the door, I’m leaving. Please call me when you wake up tomorrow.”
He never called. I kept chasing him around until he sent me a message days ago telling me, “It’s over. I can’t date a woman who will disrespect my mother right in front of me. You can say bad things about anyone including myself and I would forgive you but not when it comes to my mother. It’s over. Find another man who has a slim mother since that’s what you want in a man.”
But you see, a woman can only try and I’ve tried. I’m a very private person but because of him, I’ve spoken to everyone who is a leader in the Keep Fit club to speak on my behalf. Most of them laughed when they heard the story. They said, “But this is not an issue? Are you sure there’s no more to it than you’re telling me?” They spoke to him. He called to threatened me, “If you don’t stop spreading our issues among those here, I would deal with you. You think anybody can change my mind? I’m not a kid to be controlled.”
It’s been over a month. I still want him. I’ve even started vigorous training just for him to see that I’ve changed. He’s not looking my way. Is there anything else I can do? Or I should just count my losses and move on? I want to exhaust all available options before I draw the curtains down on the relationship so if someday he comes back when I’ve moved on, I can also stand on my feet. Please advice.