So last week Tuesday, I was watching That Zed Podcast on YouTube when I heard comedian Henry BJ Phiri, alias Uncle Limbani, promising his fans that he will lose 30kg.

“Whenever I post something on my Punka Story (Facebook page), I get people saying ‘ah, this is hilarious, this is good but please, lose some weight’. It has become so much pronounced to me that I am going to say that yes, I need to lose some weight and I am going to promise my fans out there, to my family, to God that I pledge to lose 30 kilos,” he said.

He said he had tried losing weight in the past but he ended up gaining double after going on holiday.

“Weight is like demons, if you are not careful, I did one with Sure Slim and Sure Slim I think have got a perfect way of doing it. You know what they do? Not ati ‘I am going to lose weight, I am going to stop eating carbs’ and then he does it, they will take your blood sample and tell you what works for you. For example, I was told I can’t eat mushrooms, and they’re my favourite, because they will make me gain. I was told you can’t eat bondwe, and imagine, bondwe. So, I lost weight, within two weeks I lost some good kilos, then we went out for holidays, came back, the weight had doubled, I had gained it back like demons. It goes away, comes back with a legion,” Phiri said.

“This is how much I have gained; my son says if I pass in front of the TV, he misses the whole episode.”

He said people were so insensitive as they always commented about his appearance.

“My weight is an issue. Some people are so insensitive, sometimes people will be like ‘wachiona ichi? Chaina (have you seen that huge guy? He has become so fat)’,” he said.

His story got me reflecting on my own journey. As someone who has struggled with weight issues my whole freaking life, I understand exactly what Phiri is going through and I commend him for taking this step to try again. I know he will achieve his goal because he seems determined and focussed. And I laughed so hard when he described how it seemed like he packed on the weight all of a sudden.

“The way I gained the weight, it is like I went away and found my body [like this]. I don’t know how I moved from weighing 127 to weighing 142 kg. Do you know I don’t even go to the normal weigh-ins…Now I go to a weigh bridge, I know my car is a one tonne, plus, that’s me,” said Phiri, in a previous That Zed Podcast episode.

“It’s inevitable, I will die anyway, so every time I go to a body building competition, it is not like I am there for [anything else], I am looking at the potential poll bearers.”

That’s what it is really like sometimes. Even for me, one day I will be looking all snatched but once I eat one too many slices of cake for a period of time, suddenly my clothes won’t fit! And when I look in the mirror, my face will look like a chitumbuwa! The most frustrating thing about weight is that gaining it is so easy and quite enjoyable sometimes, but losing it is a whole mountain to climb. And one thing I have learnt is that just because one thing worked for you in the past doesn’t mean it will work for you again in the future. You have to keep learning and adjusting.

Now, let me first put a disclaimer here that I am not a medical practitioner, nutritionist or anyone licenced to guide you on your health decisions. I am only a regular overweight woman with stories to tell from my own experiences and from what I have read or listened to from the professionals. So please, feel free to disregard my stories and definitely don’t try anything I say without consulting your doctor.

For me in the past, I have tried all kinds of weight loss strategies and have been quite successful at it albeit for a short time, but I have also tried some desperate remedies advertised by some wellness centres, at a huge cost, without getting any results at all! The most ridiculous thing I have ever done was getting my young sister to perform an enema on me because some company convinced me it was the best detox mechanism which could aid weight loss. Up to now, I can’t believe I paid those people, but at least they’ve given me something to laugh about forever!

First time I ever lost a substantial amount of weight was in 2013. I went for an exchange student programme to Finland and did not like the fact that I was the biggest in my class so I decided to pick up some healthy habits. I quit carbonated drinks, exercised in my room every day, ate less fried foods and take outs. One key thing I did which has stuck with me till today is drink about two litres of water each day, such a game changer. Within three months, I had lost above 10 kgs! By the time I landed back home, my bestie could barely recognise me. I tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle for a while but I kept compromising on little things till I had packed on the kilos again.

In 2019, I decided to join a gym, best decision ever because that’s where I met my husband, but that’s a story for another day. I was so geared to burn the fat but I really didn’t see much changes until covid hit in 2020 and I searched for ways to lose weight without going to the gym and I discovered the ketogenic diet. In simple terms, this is a high fat, moderate protein and almost no carb diet which literally forces your body to stop depending on glucose for energy but start relying on fats for fuel. Yep! Your own body starts to feast on that fat it stored in your belly and everywhere else. Within the first month, I had lost almost 7kg! Damn! I was over the moon! Most people were depressed because they couldn’t go anywhere but not me, I was enjoying seeing those fats disappear! I possibly lost about 10kg again when one day, I peed on a stick and discovered I was pregnant! Oh oh!

Now one thing about keto, when you dare quit, you gain it all back with a vengeance. Add pregnancy on top of that and you have problems. I had problems. I hit the triple digit weight reading for the first time ever, but also, I ate a lot during that pregnancy, a lot of the good bad stuff – brownies. I was also very inactive. After a scare at the 8-week mark of the pregnancy, the doctor advised me against any strenuous physical activities, and we were still remote working so all I did was sleep, eat, sit on a computer, eat and sleep some more. After giving birth, I lost 10kg quite quickly and then I struggled. Our wedding was coming up in December and I didn’t want to have a disorganised body on such a special day so I took the ‘easy’ way out eventually, I went back to the keto diet. I was able to fit into a gorgeous wedding dress and had one of the best days ever on December 11. But then for our honeymoon, we went to my husband’s home country, Kenya and obviously, keto went out the window! And by now, you know what that means. And as if that was not enough, I got pregnant again real quick! Damn! Now I had some serious problems, problems which I am still fighting today lol.

That story will be continued later, for now, I just want to encourage Phiri, once again, to make good on his promise of losing 30kg because it will do him so much good. I am on a similar journey right now because I want to avoid or lessen the risk of some conditions like hypertension and diabetes. I also want to wear more exciting clothes and actually look good in them. And I don’t want to have to pay for two seats on an airplane next time I travel abroad.

In fact, I will close this article with a hilarious story one of the That Zed Podcast hosts, DJ K-Plus, told during the episode where Phiri promised to lose weight:

“That happened to me, the flight from Qatar to Perth, across the Indian Ocean. I get on the plane and I am on one of those middle seats, the plane was the A380…So I am sitting on the middle and two pretty white girls sit here on my right and there’s one more sit on my left and then I see this chunky, huge a** white old man walking towards my seat and I am just thinking, ‘Lord please, don’t come here’. This flight is nine hours long and I am not going to be seated next to this man all this time. The Lord works in mysterious ways. This man sits and his wife sits across the aisle on the other side of the plane. The plane starts reversing onto the taxi and you know that two, three minutes before the plane shoots off? This man faints. The wife screams, paramedics come, they put him on a stretcher and take him off and I look outside the window and they put him on an ambulance and they rush him off! I have two seats to myself the whole flight.”

For any feedback, [email protected]