Sunday, 10 November 2013

Today's pain; tomorrow's gain

Ikeoluwa sat up on the examination table, legs swinging back and forth as she thought about all the scary things the doctor had just told her. “How did it come to this?” she wondered to herself, “This is not the life I envisaged”.

She had squeezed some time from her busy schedule to come see the doctor about the pains she was feeling. She hoped to just get a prescription and be on her way within minutes. But after listening to her complaints, the doctor closed the case file, placed his clasped hands on them and asked for her marital status. She wondered what the correlation was; but when she replied that she was single, she could not help noticing the shock on his face. This made her anxious especially as he went on to get a comprehensive medical history and order a barrage of lab tests.

While waiting for the results he made some more physical examinations and then pulled up a stool and sat opposite her. Blank-faced, he informed her that from the preliminary investigations, history and overweight it was clear that grave consequences awaited the lifestyle choices she made. He explained that when she gets married and becomes pregnant, she was predisposed to conditions like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia (high-blood pressure, swelling and excess protein in urine during pregnancy) because she was obese.

Ikeoluwa closed her eyes and began wondering how things got this bad. As though reading her thoughts the doctor returned, “You are at this point today because of the choices that you made in the past. And by the same token, you will be wherever you find yourself in future because of the choices you make today. People don’t get the future they wish; they only get the one they work towards.”
Ikeoluwa back in the days

He was briefly interrupted by a nurse and she harked back to her past. She recalled how from childhood she developed the habit of opening the fridge, climbing a stool and pushing away water bottles, the milk jug and fruit bowl to reach for the chocolate bars, cakes and canned juice. The endless days of sans cream soda, hobnobs and doughnuts flashed across her mind as well as the candies that lied the pockets of her handbags. She remembered how she often made fun of neighbours jogging every morning along her street and thinking to herself, “Over my dead body”. She had repeated these bad choices so much that they had turned into a habit, but it never bothered her.

She coped by maintaining a happy-go-lucky stance about her obesity; often making herself the butt of some fat joke before anyone around even thought about doing same. At the peak she measured 110 kg and the trouble of leaving stores without finding clothes that fitted or the inconvenience of having to exit and re-enter bank circlelock doors were not enough to make the seriousness of obesity dawn on her; instead she developed an attitude twice her body size. But as she sat there, for the first time ever, her heart felt heavy under the weight of her condition. The nurse left the room and the doctor continued by asking if she was willing to change course. She quietly sniffed and nodded as he began to tell her what to do.

On her way home that evening, she thought long and hard about the situation, pondering how to best handle it. After a period of deep reflection she decided to take the plunge by calling a Cambridge Weight Plan Consultant. She set up an appointment, went for consultation, bought the food, a weighting scale and the journey to weight-loss started. When she got home she emptied her fridge, put away her wide plates and big saucepans, then she picked her calendar and cancelled all the parties lined up for the coming months. She put her weighing scale at the foot of her dresser and pulled out pen and paper to write her goals like the doctor advised. She had four goals which included: Leading a healthy lifestyle, reducing her exposure to health risks, having a new life and a new Me and maintaining a weight that her husband would be able to carry across the threshold on her wedding day (without enlisting the help of his groomsmen).

The first few days of eating right and exercising mildly filled her with the satisfaction of feeling fit. As fat melted away to be replaced with firm muscles, she began to fancy the reflection in her mirror. Then came the tough days! They say old habits die hard and hers were rabidly kicking and screaming as she put them to sleep.
Feeling her reflection 
To make it worse, many friends she hoped would cheer her on, turned out to be naysayers that made her journey so lonely. She decided to cling to God, her weighing scale and the written goals she took with her everywhere she went. Today, she weighs 78kg (and still dropping) but her resolve to treat her body as a sacred temple, which has firmed her discipline in other areas of her life, has remained strong. In Ikeoluwa’s words “I didn’t know I was fat until I lost weight”. Though she’s off the strict diet now, she’s learnt to eat properly, feeding on raw vegetables and fruits, lean protein and complex carbs. She also loves to exercise now; it’s a part of her daily routine because she understands that if she does not change direction, she may end up where she is heading.

My friend graciously accepted to share her story because she hopes every reader would pause for a minute and ask this simple question, for every area of their lives: “If I continue along this path, without changing direction, will I end up at the destination I desire?” I am sharing it so that you can ask yourself, “If I continue with this career path, not changing direction, will it lead me to the future I desire? Will I be able to afford this current living standard, with no debts, in the future?

If your answer is NO, you will need to change direction. It is not as easy as it reads, just as it wasn’t for Ikeoluwa to make the sacrifices needed to lose weight. As with every good thing in life, the gulf between where you are and where you want to be is spanned by a narrow bridge called Sacrifice. And Bravery and Discipline are the tolls you pay for passage through to the other side. I close with an admonition from a senior colleague who often says that most of the time when things happen too easily or too fast for us, they tend to be insignificant. Obesity happened easily and effortlessly for Ikeoluwa but the healthy weight-loss was not. Being an employee is easier and less demanding but becoming a noteworthy entrepreneur is not. I know you won’t choose the easy and insignificant life.

N.B: as @ December 2013, Ikeoluwa weighed 75kg.
as @ April 2, 2014, Ikeoluwa weighed 71kg.


  1. I enjoyed reading this, friend. It applies to every area of life. Well done.

  2. There is no how speed a new car is...if driver is going into a wrong direction it will never reach his or her destination. For example ' if i have an old car that is really moving slowly, and my friend has new brand car... we are going to Lagos from Ibadan, for instant. I moved towards ibadan-Lagos express way and friend face Ibadan-Ife express road. No matter how my friend car is speeding he never reach our said destination...I may moving to slow i know i day i will Lagos