Environment & Health

This Thing About Super-Size Me

See what my love for food and beer has done to me, plus my penchant to laze around rather than run around. The reality is gradually dawning on me. Originally I wanted to blame my dear mum for passing on her frame to me, but then I thought about my younger brother Peter, who used to be as big but has now whipped his body into shape.

And me? What have I been doing? Oh yes, you guessed right, I’ve been planning to start, yes planning. When I finally found the time, I joined my local gym, invested in some new gear, went for a few weeks and stopped going. Being already locked into a 12-month contract by the shylock gym operators, I watched my over £30 monthly subscription go by with nothing to show for it, six – pack remained an illusion and the bulge sure protruded some inches wider.

Next, I heard it was jogging that would rescue my body, and redeem my soul. I went once, or probably twice with Uche. We strutted round Charlton Park panting like escaped puppies for some minutes and went back home. We never went again and blamed it all on the London cold.


I now know that I have reached my breaking point, not only because my clothes don’t fit anymore but it is increasingly becoming difficult and expensive to find clothes that fit. Not with a busting 40-42 inches waistline and a 44 to 45 inches chest size.

I now find myself shopping in special sections in retail outlets. Just the other day, I was passing by Moorgate tube station when I saw a big banner advertising suit sale. I joined other city workers and went inside. Sure the suits were on sale for £100 a pair, but that’s if you are size 54-56 and below. For the rest of us, the sizes 58 and above, ours cost from £150 and above.


“So what happened to the sale price?” I asked the owner of the shop? “Not for your size mate”, was his reply. Do I blame him? A few metres away, I decided to try New Look, on the recommendation of Charles, my youngest brother. In I sauntered and still it was the same story. Well cut suits, good prices (some were on sale for under £50) but like expected, “Sorry sir, we don’t do your size”. The shop attendant offered kindly me a way out, “We can alter the seating of the trousers and the length, and also drop down an inch or so from the suit sleeves for you sir”. I thanked him and declined politely. If it doesn’t taste like Panadol, then it can never be the same thing as Panadol. I always believed that once you start tampering with a suit maker’s artwork by altering the suit, the fitting is never ever the same again.

My real moment of truth started recently in Lagos. It was at a clinic in Lagos where I had been sent to do a medical by a prospective employer. And so there I was feeling like a G, or rather the last African hero, excited at the opportunity to pull my shirt to impress the beautiful attending nurse.

Now guys, you know the way it goes during such occasions. You first hold your breadth as if about to take a military salute. And then, you do the magic belly roll-over only F men can do. You tweak the muscles of your stomach a bit, a warning sign to all the inhabitants in the groin area to cease all action in readiness for the crunch, and then you take a quick deep breadth sucking in every fat in your stomach in the process. As if being commanded by a magician with a wand, all the fat suddenly hide further under the skin, the muscles in the chest area contract a little to contort a fleeting T shape, the shoulders hunch themselves up a bit to reveal what in your imagination is Adonis, or rather the hunk of the moment.

This time, I was about to learn a shocking lesson. “Oga, please take off your shirt”. The buttons on my shirt were already coming off in rapid succession long before the nurse finished her instructions. I threw the shirt casually by the seat waiting to hear how I have toned and trimmed my body very well. There is no way I would believe that my 1-minute morning press-ups weren’t working (yes call me one minute man).

Nothing happened, I didn’t hear anything. Maybe she will still say it later, I consoled myself.


“Oga, please come and stand here, by this machine. Put your hands over here and hold your breadth”. I hauled my frame over to the X-Ray machine where she had pointed and obeyed.


Eternity later, she emerged from a small room. Her face did not give anything away. “Oga, please we will do it again”

“Why?” I asked her.

“Oga, it is the fat sir, it got in the way and blocked the view”.

I felt like cursing her but quickly realised that she had nothing to do with it. I had myself to blame. All these years, as a life-long member of the honourable society of armchair football pundits, I played my own footy from the couch, usually with the remote in the right hand, and a bottle of Star beer in the other. Nearby, you would find already demolished bowls of pepper-soup or whatever Uche would have arranged for the occasion, and there were many occasions. As a full package Sky subscriber, I made sure I enjoyed my money’s worth, from the Barclays Premiership to the Champions league etc.

Finally, the nurse saw whatever it was she was looking for and passed me on to the next section. It was time to go off to measure my weight and height. She did all that and took notes along the line.

Confidentiality required that the clinic only divulged their findings to the organisation that had sent me there. But I felt that this was an awakening, a rude one at that, especially after the nurse had combined my height and my weight to read out my Body Max Index (BMI), she declared me clinically obese. How nice to hear I told her sarcastically.

“Oga, make you try lose weight small”, she casually advised me. As if I needed her prompting anymore. When I finally sat down with the Doctor, an amiable fellow he was who showed some understanding of the challenges of living in today’s world – 24 hours TV Channels, Burger bars at every corner, fizzy drinks in different colours, shapes and sizes, work pressures etc. He gave me a few tips but which I interpreted to be subtle warning. I hear you Doc!

First, I’m starting with the food. Beer is out and in comes water, loads of it. I will miss my semo and okro soup but I have a life to save, and a body to take care of. I recently bought one of these cycling machines for £50 from ASDA, so far I hit it for 30 minutes every morning before leaving for work. It does feel good. I have also recently acquired a £3 pound skipping rope from the open market at Elephant & Castle, the weight bars I bought from Argos years ago but which have been lying unused in the balcony have all come out of their wrapping papers. I’m hoping by the time I finish to downsize super-size me.

Like they say, we only have one life to live; I sure do plan to look after mine starting from now.

4 Comments

  1. LOL!!! We all go through this as we age. There was nothing more depressing than trying to fit into my skinny jeans. So I just burned the sucker!

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  2. Good reading.

    It’s a good thing your own awakening came while you still have the chance to do something about it.You don’t have to give up your semo and okro,just reduce the portions.You did a good thing by ditching the beer and while you are at it,chuck refined sugars too.Doing a 30 minute walk everyday or at least 4 times a week also helps with burning the fat.

    Welcome to the world of weight-watchers,I’m a lifer there.

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