Nutritionist and personal cross-body trainer Frankie Kiarie has been forced to explain a viral post he shared on social media a few days ago of him holding a placard that read, "Look at your stomach, are you happy?"
According to a section of online users, Frankie's sentiments were not only rude but promoted fatphobia. "Because fatphobia sells. Most working out programmes are pegged on aesthetics which are conflated with happiness and not health-focused," wrote one user by the name Mwende Ngao.
Responding to the backlash via his Instagram stories, Frankie explained that his post was meant to bring attention to the rampant lifestyle diseases developed by individuals out of negligence for their health. He said he never meant to offend anyone, adding that he did not particularly target women as assumed by many.
"I totally understand your sentiments; however, I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. I should have elaborated my statement. The rate at which we are having young people get lifestyle diseases is alarming. The message put across was not to women (not sure where that narrative stemmed from) - it was to everyone willing to do something about the state of their health. I have clients who run marathons and they do not have a six-pack. That was the point," he wrote.
He added: "It is a risk factor for diseases like metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The medical term for unhealthy fat in the belly is 'Visceral Fat', which refers to fat surrounding your abdomen's liver and other organs. Even normal-weight people with excess belly fat have an increased risk of health problems."
The trainer explained that his message was entirely meant for individuals who live reckless lives without caring for their health or physique.
"My whole point with that post was to bring about awareness to the youth trying to tell them, "see you are going out every night, drinking, eating nyama choma, you do not care for your physique and not taking care of your health," he said.
According to Frankie, his post caught the attention of Nadia Ahmed Abdalla, the Chief Administrative Secretary, who too questioned his message. After clarification, Nadia advised Frankie to make it a habit always to elaborate his posts to avoid misleading the public.
"I totally appreciate you for elaborating your posts because that is very important. You have a major following and it is important to be clear about it because in the world we live in today everything and anything gets misread and misinterpreted. Otherwise, I am glad your approach is a healthy lifestyle because we need that now, especially with what Covid-19 has done," said Nadia.
The father of three has been a physical fitness enthusiast for years and has created numerous platforms and programmes to help individuals get in shape.