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As far back as I can remember, my weight issues have run a circle above head like a halo of insects underneath a florescent light. I was placed on my first diet at six and by seventeen I had been through a fair assortment of diets. I can comfortably say the experience assisted me in earning my stripes in the healthy cooking arena. From Quinoa to Spelt, from Mung beans to Chick peas, I think I have cooked it all (with an exception of chicory, still have no idea what to do with it). So when I was asked to join the cast and crew of a new breakfast show on television, there were no nerves lurking around because this role I believed was built for me.

I am barely two weeks into my new side gig hosting a fifteen minute cooking segment on the HiTV breakfast show, when all everyone seemed to ask was; “have you read any reviews of the show yet?” I tell them that I have great difficulty reading comments about myself, though a friend’s earlier comment had made me start to nurse the idea of becoming a possible Nigerian Rachel Raye, or a more buxom Ms Lawson which I must admit sounded exciting. So I summon the courage and I click on one of the blogs. I scroll down the avalanche of “Anonymousness” as my name seems engrained amongst the plethora of caustic commentary.

“I find it ridiculous that an overweight person like Wana Udobang will be anchoring the cooking section!!!” one says,

“ Please why would a fat unhealthy woman WANA tell me what to eat? That’s right Bong out of order”.

“The fat woman should not present the food segment, psychologically it is off putting and could scare people.”

It goes on and on and it’s as though I am starting to hear their words in my head, until I find myself in a daze that transports me to my twenty year old self hoping to become invisible again. A time when I once entertained the thought of laying on the train track behind my house, hoping to vanish into the night like the train did.

A few weeks later, my friend Glory calls me, devastated and mortified by a recent personal experience. Her regular waxing therapist had been away for a while and she had observed that every time she went to get a treatment, the staff would toss her around, wasting her time. Irritated by the newly developed bad customer service, she decided to speak with one of the women addressing her grievance. Glory was eventually told that the staff were unsure as to whether or not the psoriasis on her body was contagious so they would rather not touch her.

I could only imagine that if the public stares, the oily door knobs or the fact that she refused to wear short skirts wasn’t good enough a reminder that she carried around extra skin that refused to flake off, practically telling her that she needed to walk around in bubble wrap with a sign labelled “Quarantine” would be their proffered solution.

I share these stories, because at different points in our lives, our insecurities, family dysfunction, fragmented relationships, abusive pasts, cultural pressures and personal failures amongst many other things have led many of us at one time or another to far edges of despair. Unfortunately, being immersed in a culture that prioritises problems and considers anything other than war, poverty and hunger as first world issues makes it even more difficult to express what goes on beneath, not to even talk about admitting to it.  Many people have come to believe that we have no right or reason to feelings of isolation, depression or suicide. As some would say those are sicknesses of affluence. A friend of mine once admitted to swallowing a bottle of pain killers, and to her disappointment, woke up to her stomach being pumped. As an adult, she still finds it difficult to articulate what she was experiencing at the time.

Coincidentally, we have no form of  proper counselling culture here and  during a conversation with a friend Nneka Obiagwu, she explains that there is a big difference between religious counselling and non- religious counselling as they both serve two different purposes. So a lot of people need both and sometimes one more than the other. I work as a radio presenter, and  we receive numerous messages from people languishing in failing relationships, whilst others are dealing with the psychological ramifications of rape and incest detailing ways in which they wish to end their lives.

At a recent book event, Lola Shoneyin the acclaimed author of the novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives admitted that she created the character Bolanle because she wanted to shed more light on the issue of depression. For those who have read the novel, we are perplexed by Bolanle’s choices and it seemed as though she was living through a haze until we start to uncover her past. Shoneyin explained that she had come in contact with a lot of Nigerians living in isolation and depression for very long periods and it’s never as easy as just saying “Pray and everything would be better” or “Snap out of it”.We later discover in the novel that it takes a certain person’s death to shake Bolanle out of her haze.

We have read about two publicly recorded suicides this year and one can say that these are just the stories that managed an escape from underneath the rug.

As we begin this New Year, though many of us have transitioned with positive attitudes and expectant hearts, many more still find themselves immersed in emotional pain and psychological agony unable to “Snap out of it” as some of us would expect.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself in those dark places.

  • Recovery is a process- It may sound like psycho- analytical mumbo jumbo but it is the truth. Whatever it is you are experiencing, coming out of it is a process and at times a long journey. It takes time. Time to heal, time to learn and time to redefine yourself again and a determination to complete the journey. Don’t forget that relapse is a part of recovery, there are times when you may sink back into places of sadness, despair and fear but the more hurdles you climb, the easier the process gets.
  • Edit– I copied this from the poet and writer Bassey Ikpi. She says in her birthday letter to herself, “Edit the poem, the writing, the conversation, the choice, the decision, the life. Nothing is final. Edit.”
  • Count your blessings- On a televised dinner with Larry King, musician Quincy Jones was asked what he was thankful for. After talking about his family and work, he said, “Always let the light outshine the darkness”. Sometimes, you may need to make a very conscious effort to remember the things that you have, however difficult it may seem. I will add that you should remember to celebrate your milestones; Just a little pat on your back is good enough.
  • Discover yourself- I often argue with my friends that we exist in a herd culture so many of us live our lives not knowing who we are, why we are the way we are, and why we do the things that we do. Unhappiness and sadness can sometimes trap one into a space of reflection and introspection. A space that forces us to reflect on who we are, the experiences that have shaped us and consequently being faced with the decision of who we want to become.
  • Become the teacher- We hear that experience is the best teacher. You have the choice to turn your anger into a positive or negative force. A lot of people going through bad times respond better to people they know have been through similar experiences. You sharing or lending a listening ear can diminish someone else’s pain and to a great degree, the gift to transform someone else, transforms you.
  • Talk, you are not alone- My mother comments that Nigerian women would rather die in silence whilst keeping a plastic grin on their faces. It’s important to talk to someone about what you are going through or else you implode which is a bigger disaster. Everyone has a varying threshold for pain. Again as my mother would add “We aren’t all shock absorbers”. Just because you have been told you are strong or you think you are, doesn’t mean that you should push past your limit.
  • You are human- In the pursuit of perfection; we forget that we are flawed, impulsive, insecure, reactive and just plain human. We place so much blame on ourselves for a failing business, a failing marriage or not living up to standard of a certain family and even community. You are human. There are ups, downs, mistakes and successes. As bland as it sounds, it is crucial part of this journey that is life. Start to accept a lot of who you are, and work through them one at a time. You may later realise that some of what you consider flaws, may well become what adds character and colour to your personality.
  • Love thyself- Self loathing always seems much easier than self loving but as they say, you can’t give what you do not have and if you have no love for yourself you may not be able to reciprocate that love in the capacity that you would like.
  • You are worthy-Though I am not Oprah’s biggest follower, I found myself taking notes during her final show and she made a few interesting points. She said that the common thread that runs through our pain is unworthiness and we sometimes block out our own blessings because we don’t feel good enough. She added that nobody could complete us or fix us but most importantly, it is vital to remember that we are worthy because we are born, and because we are here. So according to Ms Winfrey, worthiness is our birthright. A good friend always tells me that no experience and no one have the right to make you feel less than you are.

After all this being said,  one is at times reminded by these stories that the ability to perform daily tasks with ease, or handle personal challenges and even nursing the thought of a Rachel Raye ambition amidst the corrosive comments and insecurities are privileges. And privileges that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Perhaps I still have a chance at my own brand of cookware or pre-marinated chicken or bottled sauce. What do you say?

 Happy New Year

Follow me on Twitter @MissWanaWana or check out www.guerillabasement.com for other writings

75 Comments

  1. Tobs

    January 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    God Bless you for this. I think a lot of us need to hear this especially with all the new year’s resolutions floating around and the likelihood that we wont succeed at most of them.

    There is a lot to be thankful for. There is a lot of positive in every single one of us if we just sit down and take time to love ourselves completely.

    Wishing everyone a fulfilled 2012.

  2. Daisy

    January 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for bringing to light the importance of counselling. I love the tip about editing, how very poetic 🙂

    I say: keep doing what you are doing because those that mind don’t matter and does that matter don’t mind. More grease to your elbows, I’m supporting you a 100%!

  3. Daisy

    January 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    those* lol

  4. imohazel

    January 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    This is so timely!I read d article on the guy from Warri who committed facebook suicide and when I read the comments beneath,I was in shock!Nigerians are yet to realize depression is an actual disease.The disdain people expressed for the guy was dead cold. Thousands of people suffer from depression in this country and maybe I am more in contact with them and can better recognise the signs because I’m a doctor but so much awaresness needs to be created on mental health! Wana dream big,Rachel Ray or Barefoot Contessa,whoever you decide you want to be like or surpass even,YOU have the right to because you still have breath in you and that makes you oh so worthy! People would always hate.They desperately seek to be superior to someone.Anytime I see/ hear such hateful comments,I just think to myself how sad those people must be because Happy people only spread positivity.Sad people seek to cover the world with gloom.As they say,misery love company.This is a long rant.hope it gets posted.Lol.KEEP YOUR DREAMS ALIVE!!!

  5. emi

    January 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    hi Wana, great piece indeed. Kindly let me share a personal experience with you. I just spent christmas with one of my best and most loyal friends. If there ever was a friend who would stand by you through thick or thin, understand how you’re feeling , support you no matter what, encourage you, and most importantly stay loyal.. it is my friend.Yet over the years, i watched her slowly become bigger , retreat more and more into her personal shell, increase the height and width of the wall around her. In uni i saw this girl try one diet or the other, one drug or the other all in a bid to loose weight, Gnld, forever living name it and she has tried it. These drugs and supplements did things to her that it was difficult to watch. With one she was suicidal , with her emotions all over the place until she tried one and she started having palpitations in her heart. That was her wake up call. After that, she stopped and just decided to be happy. After uni it was extremely difficult for her to get a job because of her size ( in Nigeria o ) so she started her own supermarket and now she’s doing so well. He business has expanded and she just bought a six million Naira shop. But still i see people judge her just by looking at her and i just wonder how she’s able to deal with it . Even in school she didn’t have many friends and it took a lot of effort for her to walk down walkways knowing that all eyes are on her. Even now i wonder how she does it. To the best of my knowledge, i’m not sure she’s ever had a boyfriend talk less of dating or getting married ‘cos she only goes out if she has to and even though she has fab clothes, (she like mini skirts) she’s always wearing a boubou.
    Sincerly i do not blame her if people could say that about you, then what would people say about my friend. I learnt early from University that nigerians especially the young people have this culture of intolerance and a self righteous loathing of anything or anyone they term “different” . The vitrol that these people spew out is so venomous that you want to ask them “did this person offend you” or “You sabi her before” This vitrol is more common to ladies than to men. I’m also on curvy ( UK 16) and i’ve resolved to loose weight this year so i can be a steady UK 14. But i may not be able to suceed if people around me insist on pouring vitrol my way instead of encouraging me. My friend has been through a lot and when we talk, i hurt for her. My advice to people especially ladies is to show love and acceptance to those who seem “different” ‘cos you never know who you might save from suicide or depression. Give the gift of a smile to that Fat girl, the albino, the person suffering from vitiligo, psoraisis e.t.c you might just be saving a life and the process saving yours as well. Thats what Jesus would have done.
    BTW Wana I love you die…. keep being you. You’re an inspiration to many. Love you girl

    • Gbeborun

      January 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Its really sad what your friend is going through, but she can try gastric-by-pass if she is really desperate and also for the sake of her health too

    • Monalisa

      January 4, 2012 at 7:18 am

      WHAT? How can you suggest such? you could as well ask her to try sitting out in the sun more if she is so desperate,,,,,maybe the fat will just melt away :-/ . She should be grateful to still be alive if really she is that big, the biggest and best advice anyone can give now is for her to try (i know its difficult, believe me)and eat right and i mean more veggies and fibre to speed up her metabolism, clear her system of toxins/excessive cholesterol and keep her hormones under check, i would also suggest she should have her Thyroid checked*. She should also try exercises that will help her breath more freely and take longer walks with out feeling like passing out. I feel her pain, over the years, i watched myself grow, tried everything including *everything* with a huge dose of criticism to go with it, can’t wear skirts or shorts without tights in them, can’t walk into just any store to shop for cloths, can’t wear jeans without it fading out fast in between the thighs like it was bleached, every desperate dieting marketer thinks you are his or her best target, worse of all- have to embarrasingly and carefully scan a chair before i sit on it just in case my behind won’t fit into it. It’s really depressing and GASTRIC BY-PASS is risky, as in VERY RISKY. Please don’t ever suggest that to someone else, makes you look callous. Like Wana Angel said, nothing is final, work out, eat right and be happy, leave the rest, abi, if na your mama she be, you go make am go thru Gastric by pass just so she can fit into a swinsuit?

    • naijacopa

      January 5, 2012 at 11:39 am

      I’m also in shock that you felt that this was an appropriate suggestion to the above comment. It is awesome that you sympathize with her friend, but the point is to try to love one’s self as they are. It is important to be healthy but healthy does not necessarily mean a size 6.

  6. Esther

    January 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Nice one!

  7. annie

    January 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Personally I find it very hard to trust a skinny person on a cooking show, maybe it’s just me but my thought process tells me u have to enjoy cooking (& eating) to do it well & therefore I expect said person to be more on the large side than anything else.

    • Tobechidaniel

      January 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      How do you process that?

    • annie

      January 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

      when i become a brain surgeon i’ll do research & let u knw.

    • otherone

      January 4, 2012 at 7:24 am

      It’s good to correct this ignorance. I am a skinny person who loves to cook, and does it very well. Skinny doesn’t come from not eating, it comes from your body processing food differently. Same way bigger sized people get stigmatized, I think it’s not necessary to stigmatize ‘skinny’ people. Just remember that when you are trying to treat people in a more balanced manner!

    • annie

      January 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

      I wasn’t ‘stigmatizing’ skinny people. I’m a size 10 – a LOT of people call me skinny. My sister is skinnier than me & loves 2 cook & does it well so that clearly wasn’t the point. My point was – just as there are people who look at ‘fat’ wana & say she’s 2 fat to be talking about food/ healthy eating choices there are also people who would actully look at her & find her 2 be the more credible person to be talking about that.

  8. maryam

    January 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I absolutely love Wana Udobang, she can write. Never ever stop, please. Never stop, even when you think nobody is reading. Na lie, we are reading o!

    I was the person who commented on a blog that you are one fine talented lady and you can write. I no be lezzie o lol , just appreciating.Keep writing, presenting, cooking etc Do your thang!

    Anonymous haters i’m sorry for you because hiding behind a computer saying nasty things about ANYONE is a reflection on your own state of mind. There is NOT a fine line between constuctive criticism and cyber-bullying. It is what it is. It’s not cool.

  9. Redcarpetgoat

    January 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    So who are we actually blaming here? Ladies/women are guilty of these crimes.
    The media’s idea of ‘beautiful’ is a totally lepa/skinny woman not necessarily healthy.
    Africans are not skinny. it is in our nature to be fleshy yet classy and beautiful. However, a little caution/discipline can help maintain what we’ve. this actually reminds me of a fleshy woman in our former street. neigbours and pple alike almost stared life out of her that she bought a nutty puppy and named it ‘them go tire’. whenever she calls her puppy, pple learn to keep quite until they actually got tired.

    • mamama

      January 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      lol @ “themgotire” nice name for a puppy!, Wana i feel you die , i get the same treatment even from my close relatives they even feel my plus size is a demon hindering my husband from coming and btw am a UK size 14..
      nice piece keep it up

    • lila

      January 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      i tend to disagree on your observation that the media’s idea of of beautiful is atotally lepa/skinny woman.i have been lepa all my life and trust me i never felt beautiful.im constantly harangued by people to EAT(like i have an eating diorder).my family members always had opinions on what weight i should be.just as overweight people have diets to lose weight,i have been on diets to GAIN weight.all the rules of losing weight, i turned them to try and add a few pounds(eating by 12 am,eating 4-6 times a day,drinking raw eggs-yuck!!!!!)name them, ive done them.ive been depressed and even thot of committing suicide.i didnt believe boys would like me so i drove those who tried to be close to me cos i didnt feel worthy of their affections.
      i even had a coping mechanism:a rapier sharp tongue
      however as the years have rolled by, i realised that ive been letting people win.my life and my weight is nobody’s business.as long as my doctor says im neither bulimic nor anorexic,no one can chose my weight for me.its a gradual process but i realised that i am the master of my fate and since i didnt create myself but GOD did,i should enjoy the perks of looking like a teenager.

    • Tallgyal

      January 4, 2012 at 7:12 am

      I agree!…life is not and wasn’t all smooth for skinny girls! All i know is if you’re healthy then more grease to your elbow. And speaking of media is beyonce lepa? or tyra? or oprah? queen latifah? or jlo?…those women are sizes 8-18! so lets not blame it all on the media! if you’re happy with your ideal weight then what ppl think about you shouldn’t matter. All the above women have had their own share with weight but now their confident in their skin and HEALTHY! follow that example.

    • Redcarpetgoat

      January 4, 2012 at 8:44 am

      how many fat ladies have you seen on the runway or on a fashion show? by the way, i feel you. cool off with your guts to get fat or depression from what people think of u will take charge! good speed.

    • Tobechidaniel

      January 3, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Africans are not skinny?Did you just put a whole plethora of countries and possibly many cultures under the unmbrella that, “Africans are not skinny”. That is simply a consolation to you- portion control is key.

    • Alero

      January 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      I am sure u did social studies in secondary school, J.S.S.3 precisely. if not please go to a good library and read up: Caucasians, Negroes, etc. perharps u would understand better. till then, Tobe, keep using Google 🙂

    • Monalisa

      January 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

      🙂 ,,,,,Still smilling,,,*them go tire*.

  10. kiki

    January 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    i realized early on in life that people who maltreat others just bcos they are diffrent are just masking their own insecurities. And i take it upon myself to find out what exactly that person is hiding. and believe me, they hide ugly things behind that their hate.

  11. Onyi

    January 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Nyc 1

  12. vicky

    January 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    This piece is more than inspiring.whatever you do or whatever u are.people will always talk. Just be yourself,love yourself and do to others as you’Tue, Jan 3, 2012 have dem do to u.

  13. cathy

    January 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    interesting piece

  14. A skinny person

    January 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I honestly don’t see the difference between a fat person or a skinny person hosting a cooking show. If you have the talent and can carry along an audience in a charismatic and engaging manner then anyone should be able to host a show irrespective of their looks or size. Saying you can’t trust a skinny person on a cooking show is an ignorant way of thinking in my opinion. Some people naturally have a slim stature however much they eat due to their fast metabolism. Its quite sad that people are quick to ‘judge’ skinny people and ‘sympathise’ with fat people nowadays. Having said that, this is an amazing piece by Wana and I only wish there were more people writing articles like this.

  15. TheDesperateNaijaWoman

    January 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Wana Wana! I LOVE this piece. You wrote but my PapaGod ‘spoke’. Indeed, we were all born ‘worthy’….regardless.

  16. aBEg

    January 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    “Discover yourself- I often argue with my friends that we exist in a herd culture so many of us live our lives not knowing who we are, why we are the way we are, and why we do the things that we do. Unhappiness and sadness can sometimes trap one into a space of reflection and introspection. A space that forces us to reflect on who we are, the experiences that have shaped us and consequently being faced with the decision of who we want to become.”…………Gbam!! My sister you no talk am ooo. am soo going to discover myself!!

  17. In search of my ideal weight

    January 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you , so much.

  18. timi

    January 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I love the article.Wana you are beautiful.I have followed your career from your bbc days to back in nigeria.You are very talented and a great presenter.Everyone’s got to be making something;let them make the noise you make the money!

  19. calabar slim girl

    January 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    To all the plus size ladies who do not feel loved; pls relocate to calabar! Thank u.

  20. Soldier on!!

    January 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Wana, I admire your courage and your strength. As for those reviews, please remember those who make those disparaging remarks are only reflecting their inner dislike for themselves. At the end of the day, surely a cooking show should be about the food! Clearly you are doing something right if people are reacting this way. Soldier on!!

  21. Gbeborun

    January 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I get where Wana is coming from and I fully understand that people struggle with various issues daily. However, being obese is in no way healthy or appealing a size 14/16 is still ok but anything beyond that and I think you should do something about it, I am on the big side myself and I was just saying to myself this afternoon that if I lost 6lbs monthly before the end of the year I would have lost 60lbs which would put me in my ideal weight range. Now lets not deceive ourselves no one likes to look frumpy and out of shape or not fit into nice clothes, imagine someone that loves mini-skirt but can’t pull it off so she has to stick with boubou cos that’s the only thing she looks good in…that alone can depress me, cos God knows I love my clothes and I love to wear and look good in them too,anybody and anyone can lose weight if they are determined to, it takes a LOT of hard-work and determination.
    As for the cooking show, I couldn’t careless but I can imagine when people see an overweight person presenting a cooking show some part of their brain goes -GLUTTON( which IMO is harsh-but that’s the world we live in).

  22. itk

    January 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    cool article. being overweight is unhealthy – efforts should be made to cut down via eating right and exercise. Wana like you i’ve been on both sides – the most important thing is you – and if you’re important you will do what is needed for you – you’ll do so by exercising and eating right and ultimately if a healthy you is a size 14 or 16 so be it – –

  23. thank you

    January 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I really needed to hear/ read this now, thank you Wana, fat or slim you’re a wonderful individual.

  24. Proud Fatso

    January 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Do overweight people have it rough?

    In the 2009 movie The Watchmen, one of the “superheroes” a character named Rorschach refused to answer a question, saying to the interrogator – “I dont like you…because you’re fat.” O ga o.

    Weight is also an issue in Nigeria, but perhaps many people still mis-read how serious of an issue it may be. There were traditional fattening rooms in ancient Calabar for adolescent teenage girls in preparation for marriage and adult life – but the ladies were not only fed and plumped up, they were thought very useful life skills; Ibo men are known to have huge girths due to having fufu, carbohydrate in a lump form, as their traditional staple diet. When people see a strange dark woman in her late 40s and above with a large bosom and a massive bum enter a room, they are likely to greet her by half-kneeling and saying “E ka aro ma” as quite many older Yoruba women are built like that. I won’t say it is because of the ewedu.Jo o, my Yoruba friends; I am just illustrating a point.

    At a wedding, whether you are a guest or the groom – bros, see as your belle dey shoot comot from inside your coat.

    In a danfo or molue bus – Madam, e be like say you go pay double o. See as you fat reach. Make you dress inside well well, or make you come down make my 2 passenger enter motor. E san wo iseyin.

    Tyra despite her brief “annus horribilis” during she added ‘weight’ and received criticism has no idea. She should come to Naija, a place where overweight people are likely to be called more than that.

    Forget terms like BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) or “curvy”. Even “fatso” sounds tame. Try words like fatty bum bum, fuji ropo ropo, spare tyre, 50 litre jerry-can, fatilizer…

    The word “Orobo” does not count because when you hear that word used to describe a person, you imagine a curvy girl with cute weight or baby fat in just a few places. Think Jasmine Sullivan or Ini Edo. By the way, much props to Wande Coal for bringing Nigerian bootylicious sexy back.

    While we are on the subject, why do people generally use the term “morbidly obese” but never “perilously lekpashandous” or “fatally thini-beku”?

    There used to be some parts of Lagos where overweight people are taunted on

    the streets. Someone once told me that the story of her life could be summed up in this bit of poetry:

    People used to see me and say “Here comes the Michellin (tyre) / Later I became immune to their insults like penicillin /

    http://woahnigeria.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/fatty-bum-bum/

    At a Tejuosho market shop buying clothes – Aunty, if you like make you divide yoursef into 3; this cloth no go size you. See as you don stretch the material go. Abeg free am, I no get ya size. Make I call my brother for shop B23 see if im get your size.

    • Purpleicious Babe

      January 5, 2012 at 12:39 am

      lol…. it can only be U ESCO…

      Well written though….

  25. Sope

    January 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I just love this piece!!! Well done Wana

  26. adeyinka

    January 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    i love this piece. personally i’ve been battling with my weight ever since i was 16. i’m a size 18us and i’ve tried every diet in the book. i don’t eat much, no sugar and i follow all sorts of rules yet the weight never came down. i’ve had my own fair share of dates which never worked tho, but right now…..i made up my mind to live happily whether there’s a guy in the picture or not cuz i deserve to be happy. wana just spoke on the behalf of all plus sizes ladies. thumbs up

  27. koko

    January 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    nice piece.

  28. Myne Whitman

    January 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Great post Wana, please keep being you.

  29. nephetiti

    January 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    God bless you for this.

  30. missy

    January 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Thank you fo this article, im a uk size 8 and that is the highest i have been but i was prolly a size 6 the last time i went to nigeria and people said i was fat, like seriously? anyways im of the opinion that not everyone has to be skinny or slim, there has to be variation and i even wish i could grow bigger but i guess its just myu genes. Be proud of your body, big or small, fat or skinny. if you can change it why not? if you can’t then learn to love it.

    • IyawoBankyWNumeroUno

      January 4, 2012 at 6:00 am

      hia. UK 8 fat ke. errrmmm i dont know what kind of coolaid Nigerians be drinking nowadays. may God help us. its all these oyinbo television shows.

  31. Qutey

    January 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    this kind of conversation will take years to dissect properly…wen i was growing up d word ‘fat’ was just an adjective used wit no pun intended, now e don be insult simply cos d entertainment/media n fashion industries (which r run by some of the most insecure twats on d planet) have sooo tuned many brains upside down, shoving dese ideas down our throats; and thanks to d equal erosion of individual minds in our societies, we’re all on d bandwagon leading nowhere… I kno for a fact that fashion designers cant b bothered bout ur health, they care bout making money, and they make more money if they use less of a very expensive fabric (hence d need for thinness), and charge as high as they want, its why many brands have size limits. I work in dat industry, n half d people who make dese clothes are hardly models, so it baffles me wen dey insist on my sketches/designs, etc being stick thin, one guy actually said to me about a sketch i was doing “…make her look skinny, bones n all, deathly if possible, d Italians love it like dat…” …but i refuse to let such people cloud my judgment, I know who I am n why I am here and focus on my goals, rather than trying to press my insecurities about myself onto other people….. Bottom line is YOU owe it to urself to do what’s good for u in everything, give the best of yourself in all u do n to the people u meet, lastly n most importantly CHOOSE d kind of things/news/people/etc u expose urself to…if u cant handle dem, its time to walk off! Best Wishes dear, xoxo!

  32. Dijilaw

    January 3, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Wana dear, so many people can relate with this piece. Folks like us grew up insecure and dangerously isolated just because others thought the Creator did not do a good job on us, it took the intervention of famous TV star to awaken the real me, today, those that jeered are the ones cheering at the wonders of God upon my life….I can never give anybody power to influence my feelings ….its too much power for a mortal to possess over another. U are loved always.

  33. Umo

    January 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I would say “u go gurl!”….u av d chance n u will soooooo make it!…..
    *still meditating on*. “nufin is final, edit!”…it aptly defines (or is it describes?) wat av been tryna explain 2my luvly sis4d past …weeks…thnx4sharin…

  34. Monblaze

    January 3, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    #DEEEPPP…. lol, im sure you’ll enjoy reading the above comment better…
    stay true 🙂

  35. JEGEDE

    January 4, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Interesting read!!! Great writing too, definately on point, real and simply nothing but the truth. We as a people should learn to be sensitive, less judgemental and accomodating of others. Food for thought: Many see one’s glory and don’t know one’s story, they presume your strength but don’t know the plasters that holds you together, they see your laughter but can’t trace the tracks of your tears.

  36. IyawoBankyWNumeroUno

    January 4, 2012 at 5:58 am

    over the years i have gone up the scale, i am currently 320 pounds, 5’10 and i have found the importance of finding inner happiness because, there will be people that would judge me based on my size, and even go on to persecute me for something that has nothing to do with them.. i appreciate the people in my life, because i know no matter what size i am, they will always be there. if i am losing weight i will be losing weight for me, no one else. i have been giving all kinds of incentives to lose weight but abeg, im perfectly happy the way i am and in recent checkups, i am in tip top shape.

    • trickalist

      January 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      hhahhaha inner happiness? inner happiness cannot make your less susceptible to health issues can it? sorry if i sound mean, but pls try and get healtyhy. today’s world of PC has made it impossible to speak the truth. i say if everyone is deceiving you, why deceive yourself? the worst deception is not the lies others tell you, its the one you tell yourself.

  37. Tallgyal

    January 4, 2012 at 6:48 am

    You mean Rachael ray?..not Raye..I mean i understand ur point but its important for Nigerians to get healthy oh! its different if you’re fat n healthy rather than fat and unhealthy. Lets stop encouraging obesity and saying to ppl be happy n comfortable in your skin when you’re obese!…Its a sickness …if you’re fat n healthy good for you! if not! don’t get encouraged! change it. And we do live in a superficial society and not just Nigeria! western countries as well! ppl talking about other ppls weight is not going to change at lease not in a 100 years, so either you ignore it and love your healthy phat self or change it if u cant take the criticism!…I’m so sick of the “phat girls” phenomenon !..Real obese ppl trying to jump on the “phat girls” train! you know you need to be jumping on the damn treadmill.#justsaying

  38. Monalisa

    January 4, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Wana, everytime i see you on TV, you inspire me to live more and be happy. I have always held myself back for so many years cos i was scared people would criticise me about my weight which they still did anyway. I just need to remenber my streches, walks, fruits and veggies and a mighty dose of self esteem; am happy, am proud and my blood sugar is at its best healthy minimal. God bless you, keep doing what you are good at, someday, i will join you on TV too.

  39. Monalisa

    January 4, 2012 at 7:32 am

    By the way, am a size 22(UK) and 20(US), HATERS EAT YOUR HEART OUT
    .

  40. Monalisa

    January 4, 2012 at 7:47 am

    My goodness, girl you are funny! Orobokiborobo,,,,dts the nicest i’v heard flung at me but ”Madam no enter my motor oh, u go chop all my space” was really rude, made me want to buy my own car instantly.

  41. eli

    January 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I know you are a wonderful individual but If you are trying to lose weight, I would advice you to look into your thyroid, it was the cause of my weight gain back in college, its called hypothyroidism. I’d also say cut all the carbs. Be confident.

  42. angel eyes

    January 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

    absoultely great piece, i am proud orobo anyday anytime,i wear uk size 12 for tops n shirts and 14 for dresses cos of my hips and butts which i nam soo proud of, my friends totally envy my sexy figure, n i get heads turned whenever i go irrespective of wat im putting on, a colleague of mine once gave me the nickname “full option” ……i am absolutely in love with my self and i tink everybody should…n i tink any body who criticizes my weight is just envious of my figure cos dats one thing you cant help but notice about me.

  43. Eny

    January 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Hi Wana,
    Nice write-up.
    Take it easy on yourself and don’t let anyone depress you.
    I’m not perfect in anyway yet I get people tell me ‘If perfects what you’re looking for, just say the same.’
    All because I’ve realized peoples perception of me would always be in direct relation to how I portray myself.
    I’m so young!!! And recently broke the barrier of being stereotyped into the role of the mother on all my stage dramas cos ‘im the only one who could pull it off’!!!
    Life is so not fair.
    You’ve met me and my best friend of 12 years.
    On almost every outing, I get a chicken salad and a bottle of water. She gets a portion of chicken and chips, ice-cream and a bottle of fanta.
    Yet im a size 16 and she’s a size 8!!!
    What more can I say???

  44. genuine

    January 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I am size 10 US and I feel fat. I am constantly on some kind of diet to lose weight. Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I really appreciate this essay. My goal is to be happy whereever I am and stay true to myself.

  45. Purpleicious Babe

    January 5, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Ok… read all the comments and this is my take.

    Wana thank u for this write-up, I had to google u to get an idea of what the comments was about.

    I believe this write up was not aimed at a someone that thinks they are fat or not. It is aimed at educating people and society on the issues of what is considered superficial. Nigeria as well as many nations have these problems anything unusal is bound to receive some side looks and comments. However, what I have noticed is common amongst Nigerains is the need to hide and keep hidng and not discuss anything. This articles addresses those issues and the need to be yourself and for people to be less igonorant and more aware i.e. open-minded and ask questions. STOP ASSUMING.

    The wide ranges of examples in the articles are there to inform us of various issues we as humans have and how people can easily digest the wrong information and start activing funny. For instance, people think someone that has cancer is contagious.. just ridiculous stories. ASK FIRST BEFORE ACTING OUT.

    That me ranting and letting people know we need to be more accepting at anyform of body issues and try to be compassionate.. Note the word TRY??? MAKE AN EFFORT.

    Having said that, Wana spoke well by acknowledging that accepting your worthiness… That is all one can do. Note: people will talk and yes say horrible things but u need to understand their mental state/capacity is fickle hence they cannot comprehend or understand or even fanthom that things happen to people that they do not wish upon themselves.

    It does bother me that people think self-pity is what will work.. NO.. SELF ACCEPTANCE. accepting we cant all be perfect but we are beautiful inside eventhough physical appearance states otherwise. I watch a lot of documentaries and this has exposed my once limited understanding to various dimensions of issues that affects humanity. During that process, I have learnt about self awareness, self acceptance and ability to relate with people of any state. I had to train my mind that there are things that I will see and will not accept instantly because my mind is not used to it but I need to show maturity and LOVE. When our mind is programmed in a certain way, we exhibit certain traits. if we are used to seeing things, our mind automatically reacts in a different way, as suppose to people that do not see things at all. It is very psychological…

    My Point: Let us including myself learn to accept people even though we cannot understand or see beyound our fickle minds. LET US not be ignorant and know LOVE prevails all. Thus we should be understanding, tolerant, accepting and open.

    Its alot, I apologise.

    Wana u have come a very long way and u can only keep going up. Please understand it is all in the mind…

    http://lifeinstagesdoz.blogspot.com/

  46. chinny O

    January 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

    What a piece! Am actually inspired not just by the content but also by the creativity behind this writing. This article does not only reach out to people who r over weight or under weight but to people who there confidence have been affected in one way or the other.. i hope we’ll all learn from it. Nice one…

  47. Jiddah

    January 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    We have the likes of Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa, Paula, even Iyabo Lawani is chubby, so ignore the hurtful comments. You are rubber and they are glue, let it bounce off you and stick to them.

  48. SMD

    January 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Hmm Wana,dats a great piece there. Normally i just read da posts and comments and keep opinions to myself. But this one moved me to comment. I have been stigmatised 4 as long i can remember. I suffered a fire accident when i was abt 5yrs old and 20 yrs on i have known no peace. I know i am beautiful and sometimes i feel it. I am grateful to God 4 sparing my life and i still have all my oragns intact,just scare on my face and arms. I dont do much outting,sometimes i become a lil brave n go for movies,shows,plays etc. Dont do parties,dont club cos anytime i step out i’m treated like i have leprosy and i always look good in my outfits. Peolpe shun my company n it hurts real bad. Sometimes u wont believe how cruel ppl can be,they call u names. I have a great voice,would love to MC, do sumtin TV or Radio but cos of my looks i’m not able to fulfill my desires. I have met a couple of people who were complete strangers who came up to me and said sorry to me!(especially on days i’m looking my best) can u believe dat? As if i need pity! At 25 i’m still single,never had a man to call my own. I cant help but be sad after i read this post. But hey,life must still go on. I try to make da best of every rough situation but its not easy when u have ppl being mean and so callous. People lets help,go out of your way to treat everyone in a normal way,it doesnt hurt to nice. A smile,a nod,a look of appraisal might be all one needs to stop him/her 4m being suicidal. Thank u.

    • AAsh

      April 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Thank you for sharing this info….henceforth i would try to show love (instead of pity) to people who dont seem ‘normal’ e.g weight,scars,disabilities etc….I hope you come back soon to testify about how your self-esteem has improved…Pls dont feel bad when people come up to you to say sorry…they are not being rude…they prob just emphatise and imagine the pain u wld av felt to get scars from a fire….Stay good and positive!

  49. mimi

    January 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Thank you.

  50. mimi

    January 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    This post wasnt about her weight issues, stop giving her “advice”. I have resolved to be happy in 2012. No one can give that to you, and if you are happy, no one can take it from you. A lot of us Nigerians are insensitive to depression and it is why the suicide rates are rising, and sadly will continue to. I pray that all our hearts and whatever might be ailing us be healed. Amen

  51. Gbemisola

    January 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Good that someone finally addressed the “anonymous haters”. i see a lot of comments and honestly, no one is obligated to comment on a blog. you should either say something sensible and uplifting or say nothing at all. people have committed suicide because of image. i remember as a kid i always wanted to gain weight. Over the last year, i did gain weight. I see jaws drop when i walk and i’m comfortable in my own skin. Never felt sexier in my entire life. BUT, some people keep bugging me about the weight. My aunt kept asking me to look in the mirror and tell her if i liked what i saw. Another aunt said i had a fat face. And then i finally realised that “just as long as it makes you happy, BE happy”. In the end its about YOU.

  52. akudo

    January 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Take it or leave it, a lot of issues are addressed in some countries but never in Naija.Depression is one of them not to mention obesity.here, even adults can mock kids jokingly about their size without knowing the humiliationon on the kid’s part…jokes like fatty bom bom etc.. even my own mum used to call me that and as I was growing up, all those size 12’s and 14’s was out of reach for me and my self esteem started dropping as the days went by buy y’all wanna know what I did? I woke up one morning, looked at ma curvy self in the mirror and there and then I admitted the truth….I could never be skinnier but I could work at being a healthy curvy babe with confidence that wins everybody over.I started eating more of whole grains,made exercise to be fun,learned how to cook ma own meals,wore clothes that fit better and perfectly and now I couldn’t be happier.The point here is….YOUR SIZE DOES NOT MATTER…EMBRACE THOSE CURVES AFTERALL THE ALMIGHTY KNOWS WHY HE GAVE ‘EM TO YA……JUST BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY…….LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE SPENT THINKING ABOUT HOW SKINNY YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN….AND WHEN YOU SEE A SMALL KID FEELING LEFT OUT…..GIVE OUT THAT WONDERFUL SMILE AND TEACH THEM A THING OR TWO.

  53. Tosin

    January 19, 2012 at 6:50 am

    There is a lot to be thankful for. I am thankful for my apartment … it is lovely to be back after 3 1/2 months that included being crazy ill. It has an inverter guys! Electricity. And now a bed and a teeny sofa. I spent all of yesterday cleaning.
    I should never forget to be thankful – there is so much to be thankful for.

  54. Free Zumba Online

    January 26, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Wammy, am I ever ecstatic I arrived to your website. Thorough stuff!

  55. Ije-Guy

    February 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    well written wana. i have been a victim, or would i say still a victim. i was always called d biggest in d house, terms like “room and palour” were used. i was constantly depressed, felt so low about myself. friends constantly wrote on my facebook page about how am blowing up even wen i was really and seriously working out and dieting. my sister was like, i shud not listen to pple, they will constantly wag their tongues. but she dint understand the kind of pressure, not d pain i felt. i tried all, from skipping meals to going hungry 4 a day. Lipton and lime, even some stuffs i dont feel too comfortable sharing *sorry*.
    then i had my pastor preach in church, (God bless his soul), that no matter how fat or thin or ugly or beautiful u are, someone somewhere appreciates u just d way u are.
    it was my wake up call. i stopped caring. pple can talk all they want. i gradually started d ‘lose weight’ journey, strictly on work out and diet. no more gimmicks.
    today, i feel better, happier, more confident with myself. pple who knew me back tell me i have done well 4 myself. i can wear my sister’s clothes now and feel very free in it. something i can never do before. from 107kg to 86kg. aint easy. still working though, God being my help.

  56. Gidi

    February 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Is this the place where i can declare my secret (now open) crush for Wana?

  57. Gidi

    February 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    meanwhile some of us are crazy over curvy women.

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