The Body Magic

BM getty images1

I mounted the scale and fought depression when I read the display. I had not eaten all day, how could I have gained a kilo instead of losing one? I looked at my body in the full-length mirror. I love me, I thought as I sucked in my stomach and lifted my chest. I love me not. I sighed as I exhaled and let everything hang loose. I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember; perhaps it is because I am judging my body by the unrealistic pictures in the magazines.

At university, I used to wear a pair of shorts underneath my clothes, to create the illusion of wider hips and a backside worth looking at. My roommates would often threaten to hide them as payback for something I had or had not done. The threat ensured compliance because I could not afford to be seen without my backside. How things have changed. I have not only been freed from the incessant torture of washing those shorts every night in preparation for the next day, but also from the square foam pads I slipped underneath my bra straps before I wore any top including my t-shirts.

Aha, now that I am close to the big four-zero, it is as if my metabolism has ground to a halt. Even a cup of water adds a half kilo to my weight! How did I get here?

Last Christmas, I decided to make up for all the Naija Christmases I missed while living abroad. I stuffed myself as if jollof rice was going out of style. I watched my weight rising on the scale but was confident that by the end of January, I would be back to my old self after a strict exercise and diet regime.

But nothing could shift the bulge I had acquired on my stomach, backside, and hips—I ran on the treadmill, I lifted weights, I speed walked, I started eating twice a day. The fat just raised one eyebrow, barely opened an eyelid, and then went back to sleep! I began a series of non-religious fasts. After the first few times, my body betrayed me. I ran into the kitchen and ate everything in sight, all this before 11 a.m. on an appointed fast day.

It was at this critical point that I heard about the Body Magic—lose two to three dress sizes in ten minutes. Hmmm, and Michelle Obama is my mother’s younger sister! But I was desperate; my clothes were shrinking, so I requested one from my friend. Let’s call her B.

She arrived at my house with her bag of magic. I could not wait to shrink like Alice in Wonderland. After measuring, she determined my size and selected a garment from her bag. It looked too small. B laughed and assured me that it would fit with some help.

I turned the garment upside down and put in my legs then the struggle commenced. We pulled and dragged and pulled and dragged. As the garment inched higher up on my body, my flesh trembled and wobbled as though experiencing a minor earthquake. Then it flapped like a small flag in a gentle breeze. B instructed me to do a curious dance—stand on one tiptoe and then the other in quick succession to redistribute the fat allowing the garment to slide further upwards. I warily complied.

By now, I was sweating as if I was a Christmas goat being led to the slaughter even though two 1.5 HP air conditioners were on full blast. My sweat glands went into overdrive because I was sure that despite the deodorant I used, I reeked of perspiration. Embarrassed, I mumbled a self-conscious apology to B. Sweat, what sweat? B claimed she smelt nothing. I suppose this was a small price to pay in her line of business.

It was over ten minutes and we had not been able to squeeze past my hips and backside. Accomplishing that feat would be akin to reaching the peak of Mt. Everest. I needed a break. From the corner of my eye, I saw B flop into an armchair and massage her wrists. Who said making money was easy.

We resumed a short while later. Pull, drag up, tuck in, dance, and pull again. B continued to help and encourage me.

“Come on, almost there! There you go, good! Now move your body to redistribute the fat. Yes, yes, yes, one, two, three, go…pullllllll!”

At last, we crossed the final frontier. The stubborn mass of fat that had defied every diet and exercise routine known to me bowed to the power of Body Magic.
The most difficult part was over. I pulled the top with ease and slipped my arms through the straps. To hook the clips, B had me lie down. She yanked the left side then the right while instructing me to suck in my stomach, “Suck in some more, alright, that’s better.”

Hook, hook, hook, deftly she clasped the hooks. Putting on the Body Magic involved more skills than I had first thought, a coach and trainee relationship was evolving.

When she finished, I stood and felt as tight as a wound up doll. However, my posture was immediately improved because I was forced to stand straight. I had an hourglass figure with a lifted derriere. I quickly donned on my tight Ankara skirt. It glided past my hips. The most noticeable improvement was my stomach. However, I had not dropped two to three dress sizes.

What was I expecting? Magic? Yes! Wasn’t that why they called it the Body Magic? B read the disappointment on my face and started explaining, but all I could think about was an elephant trying to squeeze into a corset meant for a hippo. I lay down like a zombie and sucked in my stomach while B unhooked me. The rest was easy. As I pulled off the Body Magic, my fatty portions popped free with pops of relief.

These days I am back to the good old-fashioned way—a consistent exercise programme, a healthy diet with lots of water, and no yo-yo dieting. I climbed the scales today—I love me, I love me not. Scenes from the Body Magic ordeal crawled across my mind and I laughed. What won’t I attempt to acquire the perfect figure? On second thoughts, I love me— bulging stomach, fatty hips, rounded buttocks, and all! I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

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86 thoughts on “The Body Magic

  1. Haha “an elephant trying to squeeze into a corset meant for a hippo” This line is too funny; Glad u made the right choice i.e consistent work out n eating right but I would say one shouldn’t make a habit of always weighing themselves. It doesn’t motivate but frequently depresses people.

    As long as you eat healthy and work out; what the scale says doesn’t matter. Go get ur body!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like how this story ended..” On second thoughts, I love me— bulging stomach, fatty hips, rounded buttocks, and all! I am fearfully and wonderfully made”
    “Loving oneself isn’t hard, when you understand who and what ‘yourself’ is. It has nothing to do with the shape of your face, the size of your eyes, the length of your hair or the quality of your clothes. It’s so beyond all of those things and it’s what gives life to everything about you. Your own self is such a treasure”
    -Those are the words of Phylicia Rashad. She smartly omitted the size of your belly, hips and backside.
    On a second thought, Timi, you know how we (naija men) like it…Not to sound sexist but, we take some of the stress off the women.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wise woman, Rashad. 🙂

      Lol @ Naija men. One man’s meat is another man’s bone! Over the years, I’ve come to believe that confidence borne from self love or acceptance has a more lasting attractive quality than physical attributes.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. For health reasons, this would be the reason I had to lose 40 lbs in my 40’s. Boy! Struggling into that body magic just would be not worth it. I ended up like you, choosing healthy diet and exercise being my choice. Still fall for those “bad” carbs! Wish I didn’t think of them as yummy. 🙂
    Thanks for the honest picture of this which caused me to chuckle. Take care, Timi.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My sister, I dey feel, truly it ain’t easy losin weight & it ain’t easy goin on empty stomach either, but trust me, some of us lurv yhur species, yhu knw wht I mean, #PhatPrettyDolls…

    Like

  5. Reading all your posts at once but had to comment here. A friend of mine developed a hernia from such a contraption. After hubby had to knee her in d lower back just to close it. Hmmm. That is why i never tried it.
    Love love love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dear. I’ve heard many hilarious accounts of pain and discomfort but nothing this serious. I hope she’s alright now. Have they trashed the Body Magic now? 🙂
      Yes, there are healthier ways to lose weight.

      Like

  6. This is a great post. I actually posted a little while back something very similar. I based it off of this quest for the ‘perfect’ body and how that looks in different cultures. It was inspired by the movie, “My life in ruins” and the line where the Greek guy says to the American girl, “Your butt is too small”. I couldn’t resist.
    I also am a victim to western cultures’s need for the perfect body. I can so relate to how you go through ‘body love me, love me not’.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At first this post was difficult to share because I didn’t want to expose my insecurities, but I’m glad I did. Many women can relate, and while laughing, they make mental notes to adjust expectations. I’m glad it led me to you. I would love to read your post of a similar nature. Perhaps you can share the link?

      Different cultures, different expectations, so true! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Timi
        Oh my goodness, it’s so true. So many women, if not all, relate to this. I find it so tough to shut out the media and society’s expectations. I’m certified in fitness and nutrition and taught in the past. I was at the lowest end of my ‘healthy’ weight. I am still at a healthy weight, exercise daily, am toned and eat healthy, yet there is still something that needs to be ‘fixed’. I would love to just say and mean, “shut up media and society. I’m beautiful and unique and I love the way I look.”
        Anyhow,the post I mentioned is here: https://stacilys.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/your-butt-is-too-small-what/
        Thanks Timi.
        🙂

        Like

        1. I read your post. Humour makes it easier to digest things we need to hear. The problem with external validation is that it keeps changing! Like you, I’m chanting the mantra: I’m beautiful and unique and I love the way I look!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. This is an excellent post! I used to think I’d have a waistline forever – and I still do, two grown daughters and two younger sons later… It’s just a little higher than it used to be! This post reminds me of how I grew up with my mom fixing her face and hair every morning. We lived out in the boonies and no one ever came to visit; nonetheless, she would fix up every day. In her footsteps, I grew to do the same – getting up and fixing face and hair to the T. It wasn’t until I had sons that one day it hit me – they think I’m the most beautiful woman in the world and couldn’t care less about my having on make up or well-coiffed hair! I was set free by their love – just clip the hair back in bobby-pins and take my bare-faced self out into the backyard for tossing a ball around or venturing around the block on bikes. It feels so good to be free in that area – my only regret is that it didn’t come sooner!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lol@waistline forever 🙂 The Body Magic can help 😉

      Ah, the freedom to be yourself and enjoy life versus the pressure to look ‘beautiful’ all the time. No regrets, now you’ve found what works for you, I wish you all the best as you move on with strength.

      The best thing about this post in my view? Our ability to laugh our insecurities away. Thanks Tina.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I know what you mean about the fat but mine is concentrated just round my middle! I never endured the torture of body magic but I giggled out loud at the story!

    Like

  9. I look at my face in the mirror and agonize for the millionth time maybe how my cheeks are gone, hopefully not for good. I’m so thin. Add that to my unimpressive height and I look like a kid with an old face. And I wonder again when I started caring how I looked.

    I walk past a guy of about the same height as me. I stare as unobstrusively as possible at his bulging arms and wonder when I’ll get my arms back. The “backroom” voice is lower this time, but the question is the same: “when did you start caring how you look?”

    On my way home, I walk past some laborers having at it with their shirts off. Rippling back muscles and impressive chests, occasionally a real well-fed six-pack, make me groan with envy. This time I don’t even.hear the “backroom” voice.

    I wasn’t always like this – physically or mentally. I had not been aware of it but in high school I attracted a lot of eyes and perhaps sighs too because of my figure. I was short, yeah, but I was well-built. Neither too big nor too small. I actually LOOKED strong, like a man. And I think the sexier thing was that I was truly unaware of it. I truly did not care how I looked. I looked like I did because I acquired a love for body-weight exercises when I was a tiny thing in primary school. I did push-ups like they were some kind of drug. I loved pushing myself to the limit and enjoyed breaking it as often as possible.

    Then I grew up. Life had some pretty tough questions. I bought terrifying dreams – not the fantasies of childhood, real, work-driven dreams. I fell in love. And somehow, my body almost completely vanished.

    I still have the sculpted look. But I’ve lost a lot of weight. I think even my bones shrank, lol. I am not expecting to regain my teenage beauty (still a scary word) for a while. At least, not until I answer one of life’s immediate big questions. Perhaps, then my cheeks will come back and I’ll stop looking like a death’s head with bright intelligent eyes (don’t ask me, it’s what they say). I sure hope it does. For now, I don’t even want to think about what people see when they look at me. I don’t try to look at me much (I never did look much anyway, now though I have a whole new reason for.not taking photos 😀 ).

    Some people wanna lose weight. Others wanna gain it. “What a world…what a world.” SMDH.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I admire your honesty. Isn’t it normal to care about how others see us and how we see ourselves? At least a little? I ask because you started wondering about when you started caring how you looked.

      The grass looks greener on the other side. I’ll take some of your thin, you can have some of my bulge! 🙂 Thanks Tyrion for giving us another perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure it is. I didn’t mean that it isn’t. It’s just a quirk in my personality. I didn’t use to be “normal” like that. I was a very unusual adolescent and an even more unusual kid so something changed to have me care at all.

        However, there is such a thing as caring too much. Not everyone’s opinion counts. There are people we shouldn’t bother about pleasing. My standard for physical appearance is health and fitness. If you’re healthy and fit, the only thing that matterst after that is being pleased with your own appearance and that will take a bit of contentment and a drop of imagination.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wise words. I’ve met very very few women who were pleased or should I say satisfied with their appearance 🙂

          As for me, I started jogging “again”. I tell myself I need to be fit, but I look at the summer dresses in my wardrobe and think, just a few more months and you’ll be soooo gorgeous! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. LOL! Them summer dresses are fine motivation then. It’s worth it to have something in view. Absence of reward or consequence makes a lot of what we would do rather meaningless, so keep going for the few months.

            @women not satisfied, what a world…what a world. LOL. My mom says that her mom told her that she wasn’t beautiful when she was a child. So she grew up learning not to care about how she looked (minus her small build, she hated that, lol). She may be my mother but I’ve never thought she wasn’t beautiful and I’m pretty brutal with my thoughts. I think that my grandma did that to erase the preoccupation women have with their appearance.

            I don’t know how I’ll deal with that in my daughter but I sure hope I figure it out before she gets here. I’d hate to have her needing all the men she can find to validate her or getting so pompous about her beauty that she ends up a shrew everyone wants to avoid.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Beauty is usually defined by external sources. When a girl looks in the mirror and what she finds isn’t what her ‘society’ says is beautiful, it can be tough to not feel inadequate. But if she is affirmed enough, she will be comfortable with her own version of beauty. I guess you can give the gift of affirmation to your daughter from the very beginning before she comprehends what society defines as beautiful.

              @your mom, I guess grandma gave her other things to focus on . . . 🙂

              Like

              1. Oh she’ll get that alright. But I worry for her, if she’s like me and her mother, she’ll probably be one foot away from shrew. 😦 Nobody’ll be able to tell her what she should think about herself.

                Oh she did. I think she did what she did on purpose to make her a brutally honest, very hardworking, disciplined woman. And she became all that. When she married my dad, she had a horde of men that she had to fend off with clubs. What did they see, I wonder? Maybe I’ll blog about that some time too. Hmmm…

                Like

  10. Dear Lively Twist,

    You’ve got a lovely smile and certainly don’t look your age. All those promises of losing so much weight in so little time … I dunno. I was trying to picture the two of you trying to get you into that … thing … I would have given up after two minutes and shown that lady the door. Then again, if you had done that, we would have missed this great story.
    I’d like to finish with a quote,’ You’re beautiful, it’s true.’

    Kindest of regards,

    Arthur

    Like

  11. Hey Timi, can’t stop laughing here. I thought it was just me who was obessesed with getting a perfect body. Now I realise that this has plagued every woman at one point in time. Thankfully, I have gotten better. I am still on a diet but I don’t do extreme dieting. I am learning to love me. cheers.

    Like

    1. Not just only women, men too. I have a buddy who skips meals because his gut looks like it houses a baby hippo and yet the gut don’t shrink, I’ve another who can eat food meant for 3 and not gain a single kg, ironically he looks malnourished.
      A bud (lol, yes another one) once made a sarcastic comment about me having man boobs and I spent 1week depressed and 2weeks attempting to get rid of it (true story). Point however is love yourself and if you think your body sucks, gently nudge it towards a size you love. Measuring ones weight daily just ramps up the pressure and negates the effort.

      In conclusion to my rather lengthy ramble, I exercise for the 6packs (I’ve 2 visible ones), the biceps and the stud form, my health is secondary because I -The Zibah am awesomely vain like that.

      Excellent article

      Like

      1. Lol, awesomely vain The Zibah! If we’re honest, some part of each one of us is exercising for 6 packs or something like that 🙂 I’ve worked hard this year and I like the health benefits as well as the ‘wow’ benefits!
        @excellent article, thank you.

        Like

  12. Hi you again! Okay, whew! What to say, what to say!?? Well first of all, your prose shimmer like diamonds! Second of all, you should have seen me about midway through this post, nervously shifting in my seat, thinking I just stumbled into a very well written sales pitch for Body Magic! lol.

    Anyhow, my dear friend and fellow member in the “Body Love me, Love me Not” club – – I have decided the only winning way is to work on not losing pounds, but losing our “Mean Girl” voice. That’s what I call her (I should do a blog on her!) she lives in my head and speaks to me like the leader of the bitchiest clique in high school! And as much as I tell her to just go and F off, she’s a brazen one and won’t leave. But Listen to me – – You are sooooo gorgeous, Timi!

    I am battling exactly what you describe (why do you think I named myself Miss Menopause!) and the scale used to rule my world. “All hail to the scale!” It’s gone now. That one was easy, I could just toss it. ‘Mean Girl’ however, is going to take some doing. She seems to have taken up residence because it’s too comfy.

    Anyhow, just wanted to pipe up in here and tell you I love your writing, and can’t wait to click follow! Oh! Here’s the post where I made myself vulnerable too. http://thequotegal.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/the-quests-for-smaller-breasts/
    Unfortunately, I had to try and keep it funny because I think my readers expect to laugh when reading a humor blog (imagine that! What nerve!!) but I know that you (with your eye for detail) will be able to read between the lines and see my pain. And all over this body image stuff, eh? I try to teach my 16 year old daughter that our bodies are just a shell that carries the important stuff (our souls) around so we can do good deeds for others but sadly, she goes to school and learns about fitting into size zero jeans and vomiting up her lunch. 😦 As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “What a world…what a world.”

    Thank you for finding me so i could find you.
    Stephanie

    Like

    1. The quest for “perfection”. You’re right, we need to lose our mean girl voice and start talking ourselves up! We are beautiful!

      Yes, Stephanie, we expect to laugh when reading a humour blog and you don’t disappoint! I’ve read your post, hilarious & tender, I see you the teenager, I carried the weight of your pain (oops no pun intended). Using humour to tell your story in my view was an excellent choice.

      Glad I found you too 🙂

      Like

  13. Oh my God this is the best blog ever….my new addiction! On body magic, I never tried it but I have loads of friends that did and I shared in their pain from a distance. I mean when you look like your next breath will involve straps, hooks and thread flying in the air….Even if there is no physical discomfort, the mental torture of not knowing what the next second will bring…phew
    I have had my fair share of diets and I can be termed a gym rat and I know doing it natural is the best way but I do with a little help from my detox friend Clean 9 cos I’m not hungry or starving , I’m not battered by the work out…its a win win for me.

    Like

    1. Lol@ you shared in their pain from a distance! Believe me, there is both physical discomfort & mental torture 🙂 But beauty is pain right? No, you’ve discovered Clean 9! I should try it and blog about my experience 🙂
      I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. Welcome!

      Like

  14. First time here. What a way with words. You had me laughing and crying and feeling your pain. Turning 40 really does seem to do something to our bodies. Keep up with the water and exercise and doing it the healthy way. Sounds so much safer than body magic… Although body magic sounds like it’s an exercise session in and of itself. Keep laughing and blogging and remember its who you are inside that is really important. I have health problems and I have to remind myself my body does not define me, my mind and how I treat myself and others defines me.

    Like

    1. “…water and exercise and doing it the healthy way…” the slow way, the non-instant-result way *sigh*

      Tasha, I couldn’t agree more… @turning 40. I have finally realised I can never go back to my 25-year-old body, but I’ll settle for my 32-year-old body 🙂

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, who we are on the inside & how we treat others are the things that really count. I pray that you find strength to deal with your health challenges. I admire your positive outlook and your ability to have a good laugh.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement and for being here.

      Like

  15. Body magic!!!
    Hmmm make I just keep quiet!
    I used it all through the summer of 2011, I no go lie my belle flat but it was just cumbersome! Hian!!
    You had to develop mind training skills, you do not need to wee, to wee is to be weak!!
    Hahahaha I thoroughly enjoyed this 🙂

    Like

    1. Timiebix, I admire your candour, what won’t we try in our bid to acquire the perfect figure?

      Lol@ mind training skills. I can see it now, an army of body magic-wearing women chanting:

      You do not need to wee
      To wee is to be weak

      (Pause and then repeat)

      You do not need to wee
      To wee is to be weak

      🙂 Thank you so much for being here.

      Like

    2. Lol…’to wee is to be weak’.
      Self control while putting on body magic is to kill the crave for a drink of any kind. Once you want to wee, it’s time to go home.

      Like

  16. Hahaha…one word: Hilarity!
    If I wasn’t on the bed,I would have fallen…apologies…i’m sorry I can’t relate like many other readers.

    Never pre-empt or force nature…all in due time ..Lol. Those shorts and pads were your prophetic seed..no?
    *from my lips to God’s ears*…May God grant you the fortitude to soldier on in this weight loss mission.

    Go Go Go!!!

    Like

  17. LOL!!! omg….. special skills to put on the body magic – ‘stand on one tiptoe and then the other in quick succession to redistribute the fat allowing the garment to slide further upwards’ – Can’t stop laughing at the reality of taking it off……”As I pulled off the Body Magic, my fatty portions popped free with pops of relief.”…..and then the ‘real you’ emerges..lol…

    Like

  18. I feel you!!!!!!! I tried it once and that was the last! I kept asking is this what i hve to go thru anytime i need to wear this? Uhuh i dont think so! Thank u very much!

    Like

  19. Ah body magic! I tried it and failed miserably – I honestly thought I was going to have a heart attack!
    Thanks for sharing. xxx

    Like

    1. @Ruhuka, you’re welcome. I know the feeling, I failed too! But some try & succeed. I had this friend who I saw from time to time. We’d blow each other kisses & trade hugs whenever we met. On this day, she looked quite trim, causing my radar to pick up signals… I tried to hug her; artful dodger, she kept evading me. Finally I grabbed her waist & confirmed my suspicions- Body Magic lol! To each man… his own!

      Like

  20. Lol!!!!!!!! You are so funny Timi, you’ve totally captured my experience. I swear I dropped a size just putting it on! Oh and the laughter that came from my beloved as he gave me a hand trying to push in the flab….. Unforgettable!

    Like

    1. Anita lol @I swear I dropped a size just putting it on! New definition of love & patience- helping your partner put on the Body Magic! Ladies cherish your man. I salute all ‘loving’ husbands out there!

      Like

  21. This is hilarious!
    I tried the body magic a few years ago and it didn’t work for me either. Fortunately, I didn’t do the dance. Still have it tucked in a drawer somewhere unused. Exercise is the way for me…………………now to get my fat butt moving. Lol.

    Like

  22. Lol….me i love me i love my looks i am a well endorsed african woman i need my flesh for my grey days …..iit seems the more i try to loose the weight the more i gain so me and my body magic are no longer pals ….just like u its all about walking and drinking more water.

    Like

  23. lol…am not giving up yet. I still have one pair of pants “3 sizes” ago that I KNOW I’m going to put on again someday soon 😉

    Like

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