Thursday, 30 December 2010

Merry Xmas and a Wonderful New Year

December was a really busy month for me so I apologise a million times over for being MIA... none of that in 2011 :)

Of course being busy is good but I'm going to make sure I update at least once a week from the 1st week in January... :)

Toyin, thanks for the wishes :) Hope you're doing good.... :)

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Personal Training


I am a qualified Personal Trainer, offering a variety of personal training sessions. Sessions include strength, cardiovascular, endurance and flexibility with a variety of tools. I tailor your program to your needs and preferences and will help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals.

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding prices and availability.

Mobile Personal Training
Sessions will be held at client's home, outdoors or at client's place of work. This service also includes nutrition advise and workout plans.

I offer both One To One and Group Personal Training.

Group Personal Training

Training sessions tailored to your needs & you get the added bonus of working out with people you know.
Why Group PT?
- You work harder with your friends around you, you motivate each other and nothing beats friendly competition to push yourselves that little bit further.
- They are easier on your pockets as you get the benefits of Personal Training but you share the costs with your friend(s).
*2-6 people* per session.

Achieve your health and fitness goals at a fraction of the regular PT price.

Personal Training
A customised workout plan based on a detailed on-line assessment. Skype & Email consultations and progress checks included.

Your diet plays a key role in your health and fitness. A customised nutrition plan compiled taking into account your goals and preferences. End Result: Developing a healthier lifestyle.

  • I teach kettlebell classes for Fitter London and their classes are based in Covent Garden and Holborn. Your first class is FREE so see you soon ;-) --> Fitter London Timetable <--
  • I also teach spin classes in Oxford Circus and London Bridge, contact me if you're interested.
*North London based Female Personal Trainer - includes Muswell Hill, Highate, Archway, Crouch End, Finsbury Park and the North London area.*

Friday, 10 December 2010


I'm so sorry I haven't updated this week... I have been *very* busy. I promise to post something next week :)

Hope you're all doing well...enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Get Trimmer... Naija Style (Week Eight)

Hi Ladies... I know I know, I haven't given feedback to your food diaries as promised. I can't believe how busy I've been (not that I'm complaining as it's a good thing) but I'm going to make time for you today :)

Slim fast shake - 190 calories
A: Please post the nutrition info of your shake. Last I remembered, their sugar content's high and I read something about them not being very nutritious.

Lunch: 2.5 cups for fresh lettuce no dressing, 1 breast of baked bbq chicken with wing; no sauce and mushroom shrimp pasta - 611 calories
A: It's great you don't use salad dressing :) You usually don't eat pasta (good). Lettuce isn't very filling, try some heavier veggies e.g. corn, peas, cooked spinach etc Try steaming/cooking your veg in chicken stock, love it.


I try to workout everyday except sunday... today i worked out for 35-45 mins totaling a calorie loss of 463 ( makes up for the pasta I
A: Although it's encouraging to see the number of calories you're burning on the machine you're using, they're not very accurate. Unless you have a heart rate monitor (the strap round your chest) and a watch (which you enter more detail than usual), the values given aren't accurate. Make sure you include strength training :)
Fist size of eba with okro and a lot of meat.
A: Good! You're eating Nigerian food but not unhealthy portions :) My main feedback for this day is you need to eat more veg. Also try to snack often :)

Slimfast shake- 190 calories
A: See above for my response.

2.5 cups of romaine lettuce, no dressing-23 cals
2 tablespoons of bacon bits-50 cals
1 slice of plain cheese pizza-250cals
Total 323 cals
A: *ahem* ;) Pizza.... As long as you didn't make it from scratch at home - the cheese, flour, etc used to make it (bulk) are not ideal. Yes it's nice to treat yourself but try to eat fresher treats. 
What do the bacon bits look like? Do they contain preservatives?
Snack-1 cup of sweet potato baked fries-364
A: What brand's this? So I can have more info on the nutrition content.
Dinner-1 cup of rice-320 cals
.5 plantain fried-180 cals
.5 cup red soup-80
a whole lotta meat..- dont care about the cals
A: What's Red Soup? You could have had a whole plantain baked in the oven with olive oil.

Toyin: Really good :) Just tiny tweaks here and there.

Ok - I'm going to respond to the other food diaries later today :)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Get Trimmer... Naija Style (Week Seven)

Hi Ladies,

How are you doing? It's just over FOUR weeks to Christmas - this year went by super fast!

Set yourselves a target.... a realistic one for christmas parties. Work hard these next few weeks so you can relax and indulge on Christmas day.

My friend Keris of Fitter London says she will indulge on Christmas and Boxing Day and get back to healthy eating right after. I love that and I think I will be doing the same thing :)

What are your eating plans for the festive period? Do you plan to have a week off? Or a few days off? You need to think about all the hard work you've put in, you don't want to cancel most of it out in a week.

Please keep sharing your progress and experience here... people are inspired by your progress, including me :)

I understand you're busy... I'm part of a challenge on another blog and I forget to update regularly. Life gets in the way... I've promised to check in at least once a week.

So.., Ladies, please please check in once a week. Just to let us all know you're ok :)

We have a new addition to the group:

Bust - 44"
Hips - 45"
Thighs - 26"
Arms - 14"
Waist - 39"
Weight - 209lbs
Height - 5ft 7"
Welcome!!! :)

THIS WEEK: We're going to take a close look at food diaries for a whole day this week... so please enter your food diary for any day this week in the comment section and I will reply (within a day, I promise) with my feedback and suggestions (if needed). Log every single thing you ingest, even if it's a couple of sips of Coke.

I will update this post later... promise :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Get Trimmer... Naija Style (Week Six)

Hi Ladies!

How are you *all* doing? Haven't heard/read from some you in a while... Please share your news - be it good or just ok. If you had any setbacks, let's know what your weakness is and how you plan to avoid the same thing happening again.

You'd be surprised other ladies will be able to relate to what you're going through and you'll be able to support each other :) It's not going to be a walk in the park but will be worth all the hard work :) I promise!

This week will be focusing on Strength Training, which I blogged about a couple of months ago: HERE

Ladies - You will not get muscular, you will not get big (like a man). You have to work really hard to gain muscle mass like a man because we don't have anywhere as much testosterone as men.

Direct quote from my strength training post: "Studies have shown that regular strength training results in lean muscle gain and close to twice the fat loss in weight (exactly what you’d like to hear).

Health benefits of strength training include increasing bone density, reduces the risk of health issues including diabetes and heart disease, lowers blood pressure and more.

I usually have 2 heavy weights sessions a week and I'm reaping the benefits :) Come over to the weights side ;-)

Strength training tips:
  • If you have access to a fitness professional or a friend who is very experienced, ask for help (my vids are being worked on...)
  • Aim for at least 1 session a week, as a beginner and slowly increase to between 2 and 3.
  • 2-3 sets of 10-12 repitions (reps) each.
  • Choosing resistance/weights: You want a weight that you are barely able to do 10 reps... your last few reps (10-12) should be a struggle. Start light and gauge what workd for you.
  • Start with isolated movements (focusing on one muscle group each exercise eg bicep curls) to master technique and to condition your body before you try the more effective compound (more than one muscle group) exercises. Some compound exercises can be done if you're a beginner eg squats
  • Warming Up before the session, cooling down and stretching after are very important.
Please let me know if you have any questions or would like me to add anything else to this post.

Keep Up The Good Work!

Wanna Run? Pt II

Ms Zee asked me to post the next few weeks of the running program I followed when I started running, as a comp0lete beginner, in 2006.

If you're completely new to running or haven't read the previous post, Read it HERE.

This plan is good for a complete beginner but be aware that there are other important components needed if you decide to take up running. These include strength training, interval training and a lot of stretching... I'll go into more detail on these topics in the next few weeks.

Week Two
  • Day 1 Rest
  • Day 2 Run 3 mins, walk 3 mins. Do 4 times
  • Day 3 Rest
  • Day 4 Run 3 mins, walk 3 mins.Do 4 times
  • Day 5 Rest
  • Day 6 Rest
  • Day 7 Run 5 mins, walk 3 mins. Do 3 times

Week Three
  • Day 1 Rest
  • Day 2 Run 7 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times
  • Day 3 Rest
  • Day 4 Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times
  • Day 5 Rest
  • Day 6 Rest
  • Day 7 Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times

Week Four
  • Day 1 Rest
  • Day 2 Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times
  • Day 3 Rest
  • Day 4 Run 12 mins, walk 2 mins. Do twice
  • Day 5 Rest
  • Day 6 Rest
  • Day 7 Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times

Week Five
  • Day 1 Rest
  • Day 2 Run 9 mins, walk 1 min. Do 3 times
  • Day 3 Rest
  • Day 4 Run 14 mins, walk 2 mins. Do twice
  • Day 5 Rest
  • Day 6 Rest
  • Day 7 Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times

Week Six
  • Day 1 Rest
  • Day 2 Run 15 mins, walk 1 min. Do twice
  • Day 3 Rest
  • Day 4 Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times
  • Day 5 Rest
  • Day 6 Rest
  • Day 7 From this point onwards, you should be able to jog for 20 - 30 minutes

Feel free to ask any questions... :)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Get Trimmer... Naija Style (Week Five)

Hi Ladies!

I've been so busy (good news though: I had an exam on Sunday which I passed, woohoo!!!).

Ok enough about me ;) How are you all doing? Yemisi and MsZee - Huge WELL DONE to you both:

Yemisi has lost 8.5 inches in total - bust (2 inches), waist (4 inches), thigh (2.5 inches) and she has lost 12 pounds!
Ms zee has been kind to share her youtube channel where she tracks her progress:

This week I'll answer any specific questions you have, ask in the comment section and I will answer by editing this post :)

MsZee: Adura please can you post the remaining learn to run schedules?
A: I'll do that this week :)

Toyin: Adura, what do you eat your efo times I put lotsa meat and eat it alone...what do you do? Also where's the line between a lot of mean and just plain overdoing it?
A: I do the same - I eat it on it's own :)
What kind of meat do you use? I remember Vickii asking about goat meat last week... ie "isn't it too fatty?" The solution to that is to trim the fat off the meat before cooking.
It's best to eat lean meat (it still contains fat but less than fatty meat). Chicken and Turkey are great examples of lean meat. The leanest part of chicken/turkey is the breast but that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat wings, drumsticks and thighs. It just means you can get away with eating more of the breast...
Last week I bought minced beef (not lean!), cooked it and put it in the fridge. The next day... there was an INCH of yellow congealed fat on top of the meat!!! I didn't use any oil! (That's proof that there's more fat in beef, goat meat, pork than in chicken and turkey.)I always buy lean minced beef and will stick to that.
Don't forget fish, it's very good for you and contains omega-3 :)

Ms Zee: What tips do you have for women who eat a whole lot more during their period (I tend to over do it even with the healthy fruit and veggie juices) so any tips please what classes of foods should one eat more or less thanks
A: You're just like me, my appetite is unbelievable at this time too! I'll admit - I struggle too. Try not do overdo it with the fruit (yes it is healthy but avoid having more than 3 pieces of fruit a day). Eat slightly bigger portions of the healthy parts of your meals - chicken, vegetables, fish. It's at times like this that you want to eat meals that satisfy you so make sure you season your food nicely (Ms Zee I know you've cut out salt/maggi but a teeny weeny bit of maggi can't hurt).

I remember you once said you don't look at the scale anymore because with weight training, you appear heavier on the scale even though you are fitter and smaller in person.... could you please explain more about this....
I am losing weight with counting calories, cardio and weight training but even though i am fitting my clothes better (I am wearing my "goal pants" as we speak! Hurrah!) and am having more muscle definition, the scale is just creeping is SOOO fustrating.
Since I am doing weight training, should I rely more on clothes and how I feel than the scale?
Thank you sooo much for your dedication
Hi Toyin, this was the blog post (for more information than I'll give in my answer here):
Muscle is denser than fat i.e. if you weigh equal volumes of fat and muscle, the muscle will weigh more than the fat. If you stayed exactly the same size as when you started but some of your fat was replaced by muscle, you'd definitely be heavier but you are seeing a difference on the scale in the right direction, however small... your measurements are decreasing both in dimensions and weight :)
Like you said, your clothes are fitting better and you're wearing your "goal pants" so that's the proof - your hard work IS paying off.
I'd suggest - keep measuring both, weight every 2 weeks and you can check your dimensions (tape measure) every week.
Keep up the good work Toyin :)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Haircare Tips for Relaxed Hair.

I'm sure you can tell, from my pictures - My hair's natural (i.e. relaxer free):

But before I made the decision to grow out my natural hair, I had healthy, relaxed hair :)

In this post, I'll share some tips on taking care of relaxed hair and some product recommendations.

**Please note: Reasoning behind my tips/suggestions will be explained later - really busy but wanted to put up this post as I promised to a while back :) **

  • Wash and deep condition your hair at least once a week
  • Moisturise your hair at least once a day
  • Stretch out the time between your relaxers to at least every three months
  • Avoid constant direct heat to your hair. If you need to blowdry once a week, please invest in a good heat protectant. Also invest in a ceramic flat iron, stove curling tongs/irons should be avoided.
  • Try rollersetting your hair, you don't have to blowdry and flat iron/tong your hair to achieve silky results. Tip: Make sure a heat protectant is applied to your damp hair before rolling. A dome hairdryer is direct heat just not as concentrated as drying with a blowdryer and a brush/comb. You can roll your hair with the largest rollers for your length of hair, when dry, wrap your hair, lay down with a scarf for a few hours and you'll have straight hair. There are other ways to achieve straight hair which I'll share at another time.
  • The best way to avoid direct heat often is to air dry (ie not using a blow/hair dryer) your hair... next week I'll go through the steps to achieve nice results from airdrying.
  • After a few days of getting your hair done, it usually doesn't look as cute as when you initialy got it styled. Buy loads of hair accessories and pin your hair up, pull back with a headband, etc on days like this.

  • Try hairstyles that don't require heat e.g braidouts and twistouts (Let me know if you're interested in how to achieve this style)
  •  Very important - Buy a satin/silk scarf and if you can also get a satin/silk pillowcase. Cotton literally sucks out the moisture from our naturally dry hair.
Product Suggestions

We all have different hair, what works for me won't neccessarily work for you. I'll share products I use and products others have used that I know worked for their hair.

  • Shampoo:
    Main thing you're looking for in shampoos is 'moisturising' in it's description. We need as much moisture as we can get. There are a couple of ingredients that most shampoos have that strip *all* moisture from the hair. Because of this, my main shampoo advice is to wash your hair once and not - wet, shampoo, rinse, shampoo and rinse again. The 1st time you shampoo, it might not lather as much but that doesn't mean your hair is not clean. - Keracare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo
    - Nexxus Therappe Luxorious Moisturising Shampoo
    Giovanni Smooth as Silk Shampoo
    I'll add more to this list later.
  • Moisturiser:
    The main thing to look out for in your moisturisers is paraffin (paraffinum liquidum) and mineral oil. the shouldn't be in the top 5 ingredients in your moisturiser. I prefer using buttery moisturisers because oil helps seal in moisture.
    - Elasta QP Mango Butter
    - Cantu Shea Butter
    - Neutrogena Triple Moisture
    - Raw shea butter ('ori') whipped with some oils (I use coconut and castor oil) and some aloe vera
  • Deep conditioner:
    This should be moisturising and also contain some protein. You can have 2 seperate conditioners, one moisture, one protein.
    Try mixing your deep conditioner with oils (olive, castor, jojoba, coconut, almond, etc)
    - Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner (protein + moisturising)
    - Lustrasilk Shea butter Cholesterol (protein + moisturising)
    - Keracare Humecto Creme Conditioner (as this is very moisturising, you need to deep condition with protein at least once a month. I'm not sure if Keracare still produce Keracare Super Reconstructor)
    - Nexxus Humectress (this can also be used as a leave in conditioner)
    - Honey, Eggs and Olive Oil mixture - moisturising *and* protein!
  • Leave-in Conditioner:
    This should always be applied to damp hair before styling
    - Giovanni Direct Leave In
    - Nexxus Humectress
    - Nexxus Headress
    - Carol's Daughter Flowers & Herbs Leave-In Conditioner
    - Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave In Cream
Please let me know me if you need any more info, I put this together in a bit of a hurry.

Photo credit: Me ;-) The reason I have sooo many pictures of my hair is I have an online hair album (yep, it's more than a hobby! I'm a hair geek :p )

Monday, 1 November 2010

Get Trimmer... Naija Style (Week Four)

How are you all doing? Didn't get much feedback from you ladies last week.  I was so busy last week - I didn't have the post up till mid week. So let's interact more this week.... deal? :)

I'm very proud to say, I wasn't as lazy as usual last week - I walked from the station home instead of taking the bus and I walked as much as I could instead of taking the bus in other situations :) Are you being a little less lazy?

This week we'll address home workouts, more snack ideas and a few recipes.

Recipes/Meal Ideas

Last week I cooked chicken with steamed baby carrots (explains what looks like an excessive amount of carrots as I just steamed the carrots in the chicken stock and added to the chicken in the tupperware), turkey chunks cooked with broccoli...

Nothing too long winded with these - Both the carrots and broccoli were steamed in the chicken and turkey stock respectively.

Speaking of carrots, Suzanne of Eight and Weights, recommended peeled carrots as a snack option - I love carrots :) Try them!

This week, I cooked three different things on Sunday night. Efo (with goat meat), Chicken with peas and Minced meat with carrots and broccoli. Yes there is a mix of Nigerian staple food and just... food :)

Ingredients: Spinach, goat meat, tomatoes (I used tinned chopped tomatoes but ideally you should use fresh tomatoes), peppers, onions

1. Chop one onion. Clean the goat meat, add to a pot with the onions, a couple of maggi cubes, curry, thyme (or whatever seasonings you like) and a cup of water
2. While the meat's cooking, rinse and seperate the spinach leaves from the stalks. Chop the leaves, make sure not too fine or too chunky. Blend the tomatoes, peppers and onions.
3. After 20/25 minutes, (the meat will be a little more than half cooked)
This is where it's different to how you'd normally cook Efo.
4. Add the blended tomatoes/peppers to the meat (you should have very little stock, if it's a lot, drain some out) and leave to cook for at least 10 minutes.
5. Add the spinach and leave to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

It tastes just as good :) If you have melon seeds (egusi), definitely include - I would have but I didn't have any at home.

Home Workout Ideas

I know, I know... I promised videos but as always, I have a valid excuse ;) I've been so busy (which I'm pleased about) that the only thing I did at home last week & weekend was sleep, relax and watch some TV. This is still on my to-do list - PROMISE!

Ayo asked me if jogging on the spot would be enough to replace running outside or on a treadmill, the answer's no (sorry, lol)

Here's an idea of a home workout:

To make your workout fun, play some up tempo music - works for me all the time.

  • Warm Up for at least 5 minutes - 1 minute of jogging on the spot, 1 minute of jumping jacks, 1 minute of jogging on the spot (picking up your pace), 30 seconds of squats, 30 seconds of lunges (alternating legs each time) and another minute of jumping jacks. When you're done, swing your arms, do some shoulder rolls back and forth and shake your legs and arms.
    If you own free weights e.g. dumbells, that's good. If not, you can replace with something heavy at home e.g. 2L *plastic* bottles of water
  • Perform 1 minute of bicep curls (keep your elbows stuck to your sides the whole time, starting with your arms straight, bend your elbows completely and return to your starting position - arms straight, that's one repitition. Do this continuously for 1 minute)
  • Next minute (to give your arms a break), let them hang straight by your sides with your weights still in your hands. Perform one minute of squats (your shoulders should not be slumped forward, keep them back... best way to do this is to almost stick your chest out but not too exagerrated. Always look straight ahead. Starting from standing position, push your bum back a little and mimick how you'd sit back on a chair, when you get to a point where you can't go any lower, slowly come back to standing position and contract (squeeze) your glutes (bum) as you get to standing position. Continue for a minute.
  • 1 minute of shoulder presses (See picture below for starting position. Straighten out your arms, your arms will be overhead. Slowly bring back to the start.). Continue for a minute.
  •  1 minute of lunges. (I'll get a picture to illustrate soon).
  • 1 minute of side (lateral) raises. (Start with arms by your sides, and slowly raise them till there's a 90 degree angle between your arm and your body. Think of the crucifix stance. Return your arms to your side.
  • 1 minute of tempo squats (drop your weights and squat as fast as you can)
Repeat the above. Total of 12 minutes.

Grab a chair (dining table one is perfect) for this next bit
  • 1 minute of tricep dips
  • 1 minute of step ups (hopefully your chair's not too high), if it is use a staircase - use 2 steps. Step up and stap back down, leading with your right foot for 30 seconds and switching to the left foot for the next 30s
  • 1 minute of step ups with your hands (starting on the floor in pressup/plank position in front of the stairs. Walk up one step with your hands *only* and walk back down.)
  • Another minute of step ups
Repeat the above. Total of 8 minutes.

I haven't included any ab exercises as I'd prefer to include videos for those... sorry :)
  • Stretch (yes I owe you vids)
I'll update this later in the week... promise!

Keep the updates coming ladies...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Get Trimmer... Naija Style (Week Three)

How're you doing Ladies?

Really loving the tips you're sharing with each other. I still get emails from silent participants and people who are inspired by you.

Ok, two weeks have gone by... any changes? Weight or Measurements? Please share with everyone by leaving comments :)

I recognise that your levels of fitness vary, some of you have been exercising for a while and have hit a plateau. While some have exercised in the past, then gained weight. And others have not really taken up an exercise regimen... ever.

If you are a complete beginner, the 1st steps you should take are -
  • walking up the stairs instead of using lifts/escalators, 
  • taking breaks from your desk once every hour (and use the stairs ;) ), 
  • getting off the bus a couple of stops before your actual stop and walking home. I'll admit - sometimes I take the bus only 2 stop from the station (and I'm so ashamed of this but I do it, shame on me!). There's no excuse for such behaviour except injury or illness. From today, I will not have lazy days (I've said it out loud so I'm not going back on my word). E.g. I'm teaching my 2nd spin class of the day, I'm going to walk 300 yards from my house to the bus stop before getting the bus. Instead of taking a bus to get the other bus to my destination (I told you, I can be lazy!).
**Let's Get Active Together**

MsZee asked for more healthy snack options, it's funny cos I was just speaking to a friend of mine who went on a very interesting (and expensive!) nutrition course. She said everyone should try to eat more greens e.g. spinach (which we have in abundance in Nigeria), broccoli (I like it but it can be yucky sometimes).

Try to make a very healthy version of efo/egusi (incl. fish, meat, etc) - I do (haven't in a long while) and I love it! This a perfect 'snack' option, a snack doesn't have to be cold or a bar or fruit or nuts. As long as you snack on something of good nutritional value, you're on the right path.
I'll make a deal with you - I'll make it tomorrow or Friday. I still owe you recipes and pictures of meals :)

Keep Up The Good Work :)

PS Huge welcome to the new challenge members :) Funto (sorry I'm taking forever to get back to you) and talk2luvangel.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wanna Run?

My friend ran the London Marathon on Sunday April 23rd, 2006. I went to cheer him on and I was so inspired! I loved the crowds - the runners and supporters. I LOVED the atmosphere. At this point, I was not a fan of running... at all!

I used to run 100m and 200m in secondary school (remember I was slim when I lived in Lagos). One day I was asked to run 400m, I will never ever forget that day (I told you - I'm a drama queen). By the 250m mark, I was practically crawling and panting. After that day, I accepted that running longer than 200m was not for me.

So... back to the present (i.e. the past - 2006. Lol) - On Tuesday April 25 2006, on a high from my friend's marathon, I registered for a 5k charity race. the thought of running non stop for 5000m was so scary! That was 20 times the 250m that I almost collapsed running when I was almost 10 years younger!

I'm proud to say I ran that 5k all the way. I also ran a few more 5ks, 10ks and 2 half marathons. So trust me, if someone who couldn't run/jog more than 250m ended up running over 21,000m (a half marathon), YOU can take up running and stick to it.

This was my training plan for my 1st week as a complete beginner:

Day 1 Rest
Day 2 Run 1 min, walk 1 min. Do 10 times
Day 3 Rest
Day 4 Run 2 mins, walk 4 mins. Do 5 times
Day 5 Rest
Day 6 Rest
Day 7 Run 2 mins, walk 4 mins. Do 5 times

I remember my first run, 1min felt like forever and the 1 min walk seemed to fly by. I struggled this 1st day but I kept going week after week. What really helped me was I had a blog which I updated weekly and I got so much support from people. That's actually how I met my friend Vickii who, although she can be annoying sometimes, I think is an amazing person (I hope she doesn't see this!).

So if you're very new to running, try the above for your first week. Your jogging pace doesn't matter, just as long as you are not walking at a leisurely pace. If anyone is interested, every week I will post the 2nd, 3rd, etc weeks.

Good Luck!

1. Warm up before your run, aim for 5 minutes - power walk for a couple of minutes then slowly increase your pace.
2. Always stretch... always. I'm working on stretching videos and will upload asap.
3. Strength training is an important part of your exercise regime but it's best to approach new things with baby steps :)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Get Trimmer... Naija Style (Week Two)


You're all doing well (especially those of you who check in... **hint**)

Thanks so much for the feedback so far... ladies who haven't checked in yet, please do so. I've recieved a lot of amazing emails, some people are silently taking part or being motivated by the comments.

Others are happy to see there are ladies who are a similar size as they are - this really is very important because as you start to see positive changes, they'll be more encouraged to join.

So please keep it coming :)

A few questions for you:
  • Have you decided what your method of progress tracking will be...
  • Weight (scales)? Measurements? How an item of clothing fits? Whatever you decide, please try not to check for any changes this week, let's all wait till next week. 
  • Have you had any setbacks? If yes, what did you do to bounce back from it?
  • Have you tried preparing your meals using some of the healthy cooking tips shared? If you have, how did it turn out?

This week, if you haven't already, you can start to introduce some exercise. We'll focus on cardio this week.
If you're someone who is almost completely new to exercise, start very very gently:
  • If you have access to a treadmill - Warm up for 5 minutes at a gentle walking pace. Increase the speed to a pace where you have to take longer strides, find a steady but challenging pace (SIX on a scale of 1-10, 10 being very challenging). Stay here for 10 minutes. If you can, increase the incline to 2 (which simulates walking uphill) and continue walking for at least 10 minutes. Aim for a total of 30 minutes, minimum.
  • If you don't have access to a treadmill and you live in a safe enough area. Walk outside, almost similar to above - warm up for 5 minutes, increase your pace to a 6 out of 10. After 10 minutes, try to increase your pace even more.
  • Either of the above 2 can be done 3 times a week.
  • At least once a week, do something similar but a little more challenging. After your 5 minute warm up, pick up your pace to 8-9 out of 10 so you're almost jogging for 1 minute, slow down for 2 minutes and pick your pace back up for another minute. Repeat as many times as you can but again aim for a minimum of 30 minutes.
If you've been exercising for a while already (a couple of months), use an advancement of the above suggestions.
  • Treadmill: Warm up for 5 minutes (very light jog), increase your speed and maintain a steady pace (6 out of 10) for 10 minutes, increase speed a little more and continue jogging... aim for a total of 30 minutes.
  • Outdoors (safe area): Same as above...
  • At least once a week, do a basic version of interval training - Warm up for 5 minutes. Increase your pace to a 7 out of 10 for 30 seconds. Slow down to a walk for 1 - 1.5 minutes. Repeat at least 10 times.

- If you run outdoors, please make sure it's in a safe area. Do not run with your headphones plugged into both ears as you need to be aware of your surrounding at all times.
- You need to stretch after any kind of workout. Walking IS a workout so make sure you stretch. (I'll update this post later to include some stretches.)

I'm looking forward to updates from you. Have a wonderful week.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Get Trimmer... Naija Style (Week One)

GOAL: Leaner, Trimmer, Slimmer YOU



  • Ade
    Chest - 37" Waist - 35" Hips - 44" Weight - 80kg Height  - 5'4.5"
  • Amina
    Chest - 41" Waist - 38" Hips - 48" Arm - 14" Thigh " 30.5" Weight - 95kg/210pds Height - 5'6"
  • Ayo
    Chest - 51" Waist -42" Hips - 41" Arm - 15.5" Thigh - 25.5" Current weight - 235 pounds
  • Bolanle*
    Tummy 38" Waist 36" Hips 48" Neck 10"
  • Damie
    Chest - 38.5" waist - 32" hips - 44 arm L - 11" R - 10.5" Thigh L - 24.5" R - 24" Weight - 168lbs
  • Emem
  • Funmbi*
    Chest - 42" Waist 38" Hips 48" Arm 13" Thighs 28" Weight  90kg/198pds Height - 5' 7"
  • Kemi*
  • Ibitoru*
  • MakeItDeep
  • Ms Zee
    chest -39.5" waist-37" hips - 42" Arm (L & RA) -13" Thigh (L &RT)-25" Current weight - 82.9kg
  • Ngozi
    Weight - 80kg, Height - 1.65m
  • Omolara
  • Omobolanle*
  • Preye
  • Tomi A
    Chest: 34 Waist: 29 Hips: 40 Thighs: 23 Arm: 11 Current weight: 62kg Height: 5"4
  • Toyin*
  • Vickii
    I'm 10 Stone 7 or 147 pounds
  • Yemisi
    chest - 48in waist - 47in hips - 52in thighs - 32in current weight - 270lbs
  • Yvonne
    Bust 39, waist 39, hips 40, weight 67kg
  • 1511th*
    73.4kg ( 11st 7lb)
*new additions


1. You MUST eat Breakfast
No exceptions. I know most of you have to get to work really early so the solution to this is to have a box of your cereal at your desk and have breakfast when you have 10 minutes to spare. Easiest thing to have for breakfast is cereal e.g. Weetabix, Quaker Oats, Bran Flakes (I'll add more to this list this week)

2. Stew (Chicken, Fish, Meat, etc) - Try what my friends named my "Weight Watcher's Stew"
Chicken stock definitely contains oil so you don't have to use vegetable, sunflower, etc oil.
Like I've said before, oil doesn't make food taste better. If you season your chicken nicely = yummy chicken stock and you season your stew properly.

3. Bulk Up Your Meals with Vegetables
E.g. Fried rice. Usually the ratio of rice to mixed veg is 2:1, and at the very best, 1:1.
Increase the portion of mixed veg to result in a ratio of  1:3(or 4) for rice to vegetables. Trust me, there's enough rice in there, it actually makes fried rice look more appetizing (all those beautiful colours - red, green, yellow, orange...) and honestly, it tasted good, and it's was more nutritious. (I know most of us do this already but for those who don't know, cooking rice in chicken stock just makes it taste soooo good).
Do the same for noodles - instead of 2 packs of noodles (nothing unusual there, everyone does it). Cook noodles with mixed vegetables and chicken, you'll end  with a plateful of a lot of food <-- I usually was unable to finish a whole pack of noodles.

4. Eat even More Protein
Chicken, Meat, Fish aren't bad in very generous portions.  Aside from bulking meals with vegetables, you can increase your portion of protein -  reduce your portion of rice, replace with vegetables and a lot of chicken, meat, fish, shrimp, etc.

5. For other Nigerian staples e.g. yam and plantain. Reduce your portions. We rarely cut thin slices of yam, if you're having 3 slices of regular sliced yam, reduce to 2 or 1.5. Remember the other tips on vegetables and protein. Boil Yam, Boil, Roast or Bake Plantain.

6. Healthy Monday To Friday (#healthymondaytofriday) - Make sure you treat yourself at least one day a week but try not to go overboard. On your treat day you can have e.g. pounded yam (smaller portion than usual) and efo, egusi, okra... maybe even a meatpie. I'd advise you to have different treats every week.
Please do not deprive yourselves completely. If you eat very healthy for weeks without treating yourself, you will most likely have a setback which will involve you bingeing... we don't want that.

7. Eat Often During The Day
Try not to wait until you're almost starving to eat something. I've found that the hungrier I am, the more I eat and I eat really quickly and don't realise I'm full until I'm far gone.
An example day is:
Cereal for Breakfast, An apple and a handful of nuts as a snack, Lunch - Chicken cooked with chopped tomatoes and mixed vegetables with 1.5 serving spoon portion of rice, some more fruit and/or nuts as another snack, Dinner - A whole fish and a generous portion of efo - spinach (little to no oil) cooked with tomatoes, pepper, well seasoned (egusi/melon seeds can be added).

8. Don't forget Water
We are made up of between 60-75% of water so it is important to stay hydrated. Also, we sometimes feel hungry when we might be thirsty. If you feel hungry shortly after eating a meal or snack, drink a glass of water and your hunger pangs will most likely have been thirst <== works for me!

Other Requirements

  1. Starting Picture - in a pair of jeans (or another item of clothing) that you want to be able to fit in by the end of the challenge. If you send in a picture, I will blur your face (promise!).
    and/or Stats
    - your measurements incl. waist, hips, chest, thighs, etc
    - weight.
  2. Check in often, at least once a week. Share how you modified preparations of your meals, how you deal with everyday obstacles. Please share when you have setbacks because those are the most important times when you'll need encouragement from everyone else.
  3. Share your progress, there will be an official check in day every 2 weeks.

All participants: Please comment now with your starting stats. Those who want to send pictures, please email me: email @
There'll probably be some silent participants, please comment or email me with your progress or questions.

Meal Suggestions
It's best to work with things that are easily accessible. Some of you are in the UK or US so you have access to heathier versions of food e.g. brown rice. But we want to make this work for everyone wherever you are.

Breakfast - 1. Cereal (Quaker Oats, Bran Flakes, All Bran, Weetabix) with milk - Avoid using condensed milk, it's full of sugar. If you have access to semi skimmed milk, that's great. If not, have the equivalent of a glass of milk - if you have to dilute the milk to be of a thinner consistency than milkshake (lol), ok seriously you will know when your milk is too thick (and rich).
Example of Cereals to avoid: Frosties, Coco Pops, Rice Krispies, Golden Morn
2. 1 slice of Wholewheat bread with 2 boiled eggs and tomatoes (I love this!) (you can have ham instead of the eggs)

Lunch - Potatoes (including sweet potatoes)/Rice (basmati or brown if you can)/Noodles, of course with chicken, meat, fish or any other source of protein and bulk up with vegetables.
Potatoes would be a great choice over white rice (do you have a microwave at work?) Are you at a job where you can use a microwave and eat in a designated area? Or do you have to go to a cafetaria? White Rice is ok (not great) but ok. Jollof/Fried Rice, - if you cook it yourself, use oil sparingly or not at all. Broth/Stock usually has enough oil. If you're buying it from the cafetaria at work, it's bound to be very oily. Your portions of rice, potatoes should be the equivalent of a 1.5 serving spoon size.
E.g. Rice, Chicken and vegetables (mixed vegetables - peas, carrots, corn, peppers; spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc). You can be very generous with your serving of vegetables e.g. up to 3 serving spoons.
Noodles (half a pack of Indomie, trust me this is not too little) cooked with mixed vegetables and chicken (cook chicken, season nicely. Cut into small pieces and add to your half cooked noodles. steam veggies in chicken stock and add to the noodles and chicken. Stir and leave to simmer for a few minutes. <-- This is yummy.
TIP: Cook your rice, noodles, pasta, potatoes, etc in stock, adds a lot of flavour to your meals.

Dinner - You should have your smallest portion of carbohydrates at this time of the day. Dinner can be similar to what you eat for lunch but a smaller portion of potatoes, rice, etc or just cut them out completely. Examples of dinner include: Efo (healthy style i.e. little to no palm oil) with more meat or fish than usual. Also what I'm cooking right now - turkey with mixed vegetables and chopped tomatoes (I'll share the recipe and take pictures soon, I promise.. The secret to this is the seasoning, as always. I season and cook the turkey. Later, add the mixed vegetables and the tomatoes). You can eat this with a small portion of sweet potato (half of a medium one).

Snacks - Fruit - in Nigeria, you have  lot of access to organic fruit, use that to your advantage. Yes there are some fruits that are higher in sugar and starch than others BUT their sugar/starch content is nothing in comparison to having e.g. a meatpie as a snack. So please do not worry yourself about this... for now. I'll come back to this when you're weeks into the challenge.
An apple, an orange, tangerine, banana, grapes (up to 15), 2 pineapple slices, paw paw (I miss this), watermelon and more.
Nuts - I am aware some people breakout when they eat nuts so you don't have to eat them. They're a good source of protein so eat them if you have no negative reaction to them.
A handful of boiled or roasted groundnut (called monkey nuts in the UK) - avoid the salted packaged ones (too much salt), handful of cashew nuts, etc
Tomi mentioned that she has Ryvita as a snack. I don't really like Ryvita, mainly because it tastes like sand (lol) but if you must have it, please don't force it down your throat and wash it down with water for snacking sake. *Try to make sure you enjoy everything you eat*. You can have Ryvita with ham, chicken (yes, chicken!) *Protein makes you feel full quickly and it's not bad for you as long as you don't overdo it and have 2 whole chickens in a day ;)* ). While we're here, you can have a piece of chicken as a snack (not fried, of course), meat, fish, etc.

Important Notes/Tips

We will focus on healthy eating during this first week. In my opinion, it's more important than exercise (which ofcourse is very important). All the weight I lost in 2002 was 100% from eating healthy so believe me if you had to give up one, I'd say exercise. Not saying you should, lol... next week's post will be full of exercise tips.

- Basmati/Brown Rice, Potatoes, wholewheat pasta, whole wheat bread, porrige oats (eg Quaker Oats) are Unrefined Carbohydrates and they keep you full for longer as they're higher in fibre.
- A lot of vegetables contain carbohydrates so please discard the misconception that the only source of carbs are rice, bread, pasta, etc. Veggies contain much less carbohdrates than "carbs".
- A tip on controlling your portions (thanks for the reminder Tomi): Use a smaller plate or tupperware (container) for your meals. If you use a large plate, your food will look so small in comparison but when you use a smaller plate, your meal takes up more space on it and it doesn't look like you're eating "rabbit" food ;-) This worked for me when I was on WW years ago, my Aunt still reminds me about it (they were her plates that I took to Uni) 

PS - This post will be much longer - I will share a couple of meal ideas (how to prepare them) plus more meal suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. If there's anything else you'd like me to include, email me and I'll work on it tomorrow.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


Hi Ladies,

Please email me: adura.odesanya @ if you would like to take part in a challenge inspired by my previous post (WW Naija Style) and the feedback I've gotten so far.

If I get enough responses, I believe this challenge will be a very good resource for everyone interested.

Look forward to your responses.

UPDATE: There are Fifteen participants - that's great! All info and details about this challenge will be posted on Monday evening.
  • Amina
  • Ayo
  • Damie
  • Doyin
  • Emem
  • Ibitoru
  • MakeItDeep
  • Ms Zee
  • Ngozi
  • Omolara
  • Preye
  • Tomi A (Twitter)*
  • Vickii
  • Yemisi
  • Yvonne
*There's another Tomi A who I've exchanged a couple of emails with and I'm not 100% sure if she's in the challenge yet. Is she is we'll have Tomi A and Twitter Tomi ;-)
    This Challenge has very few, but important, requirements:
    1. Follow the tips provided in the initial challenge post (it'll be up on Monday evening)
    2. Assess exactly where you are at the beginning of the challenge e.g.
      - how a pair of jeans (or another item of clothing) fit,
      - your measurements incl. waist, hips, thighs, etc
      - weight.
      Before pictures would be amazing but I understand if you're not comfortable with those.
    3. Check in at least once a week with how you're doing, challenges you're facing and how you overcome them. The more often you check in - the more encouraging it will be for you and others who are silently participating
    4. Share your progress, there will be an official check in day every 2 weeks.
    I'm thinking of a different name for the challenge, I'm sure I'll come up with one by Monday evening.

      Tuesday, 5 October 2010

      Repost: The least favourite part of my training...

      ... is very important but painfully (really!) boring!

      I know I *have* to stretch after my training sessions and this is not because Katt recommend it or because I've been taught and told it's necessary. BUT because I learned the hard way....

      I ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon last year - I'm very proud of that achievement - and the last thing on my mind after struggling past the finish line was cooling down or stretching. All I wanted to do was get my medal and my goody (rubbish) bag, find my way home, eat a whole chicken from Nandos (ok, I was only able to eat half because I was exhausted), shower and go to sleep... and that's exactly what I did.

      I woke up with aching, heavy legs the next morning and barely made it to work. I was proud of my aches and pains because it was proof I ran a HALF MARATHON (woohoo!)! I was not pleased when my knee suddenly hurt like hell (stick with me and you'll get used to Adura the Drama Queen) when I landed heavily while taking part in one of our classes. I thought I had damaged my knee permanently and stopped high impact exercises... including my favourite: running :/

      After a week of the pain not subsiding, I followed much needed advice and went to see a Physiotherapist and surprise surprise - my knee wasn't the problem! My ITB (Illio Tibial Band) was very tight and my Gluteus Medius was weak (I was surprised by this and if you know me, you'll understand why). This meant I was overcompensating with the wrong muscle groups while doing many exercises. I was given boring homework - I had to stretch and foam roll everyday (to ease out the knots and tightness in my ITB & calves most especially) and do certain exercises to strengthen/awaken my gluteus medius.

      Those were the most boring weeks of my life but after only 2-3 weeks, my knee wasn't hurting even a tiny bit and my Gluteus Med & Max (the sleeping giants) were finally awoken ;-)

      So the moral of the story is:

      • Always include stretching, SMR (Self Myofascial Release) or what I still don't feel comfortable doing (mainly because I am always the least flexible one) - Yoga or Pilates in your training regimen. Sports massages are very effective too and I try to make sure I get 1 at least once every 4-6 weeks.
      • If you have an injury, don't assume it's just that, there's most likely a less obvious cause than you think - consult a professional.

      Tuesday, 28 September 2010

      Weight Watchers Naija Style ;-)

      Someone recently asked me if I followed Weight Watchers religiously and my answer is yes.... BUT WW meal plans are not based on Nigerian meals.
      None of the sample weekly plans had roasted or boiled plantain with grilled chicken and veg. Or any usual foods in the Nigerian diet so I had to make it work for me:

      1. What my friends named my "Weight Watcher's Stew" - why? only because I used much less oil than the generous amount that we're all used to. I figured, the chicken stock definitely contained oil so why did I have to use vegetable, sunflower, etc oil? I tried it the 1st time and was pleasantly surprised! Like I've said before, oil doesn't make food taste better. If you season your chicken nicely = yummy chicken stock and you season your stew properly, you don't need to see oil floating on your stew for your stew to taste nice.

      2. Fried Rice, Adura style - Simple thing which I'm sure a lot of people already do. One thing I learned during this time was to bulk my meals with vegetables. Usually the ratio of rice to mixed veg was 2:1, and at the very best, 1:1. All I did was greatly increase the portion of mixed veg to result in a ratio of  1:3(or 4) for rice to vegetables for my fried rice. Trust me, there's enough rice in there, it actually made my fried rice look more appetizing (all those beautiful colours - red, green, yellow, orange...) and honestly, it tasted good, if not better than my usual fried rice and it was more nutritious. (I know most of us do this already but for those who don't know, cooking rice in chicken stock just makes it taste soooo good).
      I did this same thing for noodles, I used to have 2 packs of noodles (nothing unusual there, everyone does it). I cooked my noodles with mixed vegetables and chicken, usually ended up with a plateful of a lot of food <-- I usually was unable to finish a whole pack of noodles.

      3. Eating more protein that usual.... Before WW, I ate a big plate of rice with one or 2 pieces of chicken. After weightwatcher, and learning that chicken wasn't bad in very generous portions, I reduced my portion of rice, replaced with vegetables and a lot of chicken. So yep, I was one of those who had less than 2 serving spoons of rice (jollof or fried) and about 4 pieces of chicken... why not? ;-)

      4. For other Nigerian staples e.g. yam and plantain, I reduced the portions and boiled or roasted them.

      Good thing about weight watchers is they have an online resource that can calculate points for almost anything now. They also have a growing list of points for just about anything now, they're much better than when I was on it :)

      Be aware of the size/weights of their servings. E.g. the plantain they had down as 2 points was about half the size of plantain I usually bought.

      Photo Credit: Weight Watchers

      Tuesday, 14 September 2010

      The Scale + Adura != Friends!

      After I reached my goal with Weight Watchers in 2002, I'm glad to say I didn't get obsessed with my weight.

      But I'll admit I weighed myself at least once a week. I kept this routine for a few years, even after I took up running in 2005 - this was a very good way for me to maintain my weight.... until I totally changed my training routine.

      A little more on my running - I used to run at least 3 times a week for a little over 2 years. To improve on my running, and also to add a little variety to my main form of exercise, I did regular interval training sessions and hill runs. I did no strength training so I wasn't building any significant muscle mass.
      I mainted my weight with this routine for a long while until I hit a wall... There was no more improvement in my running, I slowly noticed a gradual increase in my weight almost every week (as proved by my scale). I joined Weight Watchers again to lose a little under a stone (14lbs) and with healthy eating, I was back down to my "healthy" weight.

      Due to a lot of things that happened in my personal life, I had many important things on my mind so weighing myself was on the back burner. After a while, I forgot about it and didn't for months.

      Later in 2008 I included strength training, at least once a week, to my routine. Then it went up to twice a week... I started attending classes which involved a lot of bodyweight training and the changes in my body were amazing. I finally got the muscle definition I'd seen other women achieve but had seemed unattainable for years. I was so happy until...

      I weighed myself - I was 8 pounds heavier!

      My clothes fit me better, I knew I looked slimmer but the scale said otherwise. My friends kept reminding me about muscle being heavier than fat, did I listen? Nope... I started eating a little healthier, I stepped on the scale every week but my weight didn't budge! Good thing was it stayed the same so I knew I was definitely doing something right.

      After doing a lot of reading, especially for my training course, I finally accepted the obvious fact - Muscle is denser than fat i.e. if you take one pound of fat and one pound of muscle, the muscle will occupy less space than the fat.
      In my case - I was gaining muscle from my weight training and I did lose some body fat (probably not enough as I was still at my phase of eating as hard as I trained) => I was slimmer but heavier.

      After the unneccessary stress I put myself through because of the d**n scale, I stopped weighing myself!

      How do I ensure I maintain my current size? As a fitness professional, I should say - I measure my body fat often, use a tape measure to keep track of my measurements or something along those lines but I don't (haha!)
      • I eat healthy from Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday I eat almost whatever I want and it all starts again on Monday morning :)
      • My "skinny" jeans. Every woman should have a pair of jeans that fit like a second skin, any little sin will mean you'd have a lot of difficulty putting them on ;-)
      • And working out often (ofcourse). I train 3-4 times a week, I would do more but I instruct a few classes which are physical enough for me... that's my excuse ;-)
      I'm not sending out a message here that you shouldn't weigh yourself, if you have a substantial amount to lose to be at a healthy size - weighing yourself is an easy and very encouraging way to track your progress.

      If you are at, or are very close to, a healthy size - try not to be obsessed with your weight. We have enough to worry about as women :)

      Photo Credit:

      Tuesday, 7 September 2010

      "I want to but I can't"

      Motivation is very important when you decide to live a healthier lifestyle, as in any decision you make in life.
      If you're not a regular exerciser or someone with healthy eating habits, a lot of effort has to be made to start making the right steps towards this and also keeping it up.

      A few people have told me that they want to lose weight but they just cannot find the motivation to do so. Someone said, "I know exactly what to do but I just can't find the motivation to do it." She knows what she needs to cut out of her diet, she knows she should start exercising but... she doesn't do it! I can totally relate to her because that's exactly where I was when I was overweight - I looked at myself in the mirror, saw pictures of myself and felt fat (which I was). I tried to eat healthy but after struggling for a couple of days, I would give up and return to my bad eating habits.

      When I was overweight, there were many occasions when people told me I was fat and needed to lose weight. I got really irritated with people constantly telling me the same thing and usually got defensive saying I loved the way I looked.. I did *not*

      In 2001, a pastor from our Church in Lagos came to visit my Mummy (in London) and the first thing he said to me was, "Ha Adura! You've bohgad up!". I honestly didn't understand what he meant so my response was an irritated, "What?". He proceeded to say, "You've eaten so many bohgas, you've bohgad up". That's when I realised what he meant... Burgers! Burgered (WTH!) up! That was his way off telling me I was bigger than I was before I left Lagos in 1998. I was sad that day but as always... I got over it.

      I made the decision to lose weight when I made the decision. Yes people telling me I was fat was a factor but that wasn't enough to make do anything about it until I was ready.

      If you think you lack the motivation to start living a healthier lifestyle, don't beat yourself up about it, don't feel you'll never lose weight... you will do it :) You're thinking about it already so you're going in the right direction :)

      Things that helped me get and stay motivated include:
      1. Setting a Goal
        After I joined Weight Watchers, I was set an initial weight loss goal - 10% of my weight. I had more than that to lose but having a short term goal made it an attainable one.
        Set yourself realistic short term goals... Maybe a pair of jeans that can almost button up if you suck in your stomach ;-) Your goal - to be able to slide them on like a glove, button them up and be really comfortable. Then on to a size below :)
        Or you could try out what Weight Watchers did with me - 10% of your weight. e.g. if you weigh 90kg, your inital goal will be to lose 9kg. When you achieve your 1st goal, you set another short term goal.

      2. Success Stories
        I read a lot of articles about people who started out much bigger than I did, lost so much weight and were happy and healthy. Their before and after pictures were so inspiring. It helped that some of them were members of Weight Watchers so I believed I could do the same... and I did!
        I'm an example of a Success Story, and I'm sure you know people who have successfully lost weight. If you don't know anyone personally, you will find loads online. Keep reminding yourself, "If they did it, I can"... you will :)

      3. Focusing on the Benefits of Being Healthier
        I wasn't obese but I was big enough to suffer some side effects of being overweight. I had very irregular periods (my Dr diagnosed me with PCOS because of this, it was a false alarm), backache (I wasn't aware of this but I was self conscious about my size and the size of my breasts that I was hunching my shoulders forward to hide myself), my breathing was shallow and rapid (this I had no idea about until my Mummy pointed it out).
        Being healthy increases your life expectancy, reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer (in some cases), relieves stress, makes you happier and more comfortable in your own skin. There are a lot more benefits to exercise and healthy eating.

      4. Progress Tracking
        This really helped me - Weekly weigh ins at Weight Watchers were really motivating. Losing 3-5lbs per week was proof that my hard work was paying off!
        Keep a log of your progress - a blog is a great idea. I've read weight loss blogs and seen encouraging comments from readers, this gives the blogger even more motivation to keep going. Also start a food diary - this is more useful than you can imagine.

      5. Friends and Family
        I'll admit, at one point my Mummy complained that I was too skinny. This made me roll my eyes and laugh because my Mummy was the same person who told my sister to talk to me when I was overweight!! She was a beautiful and funny woman :) When my Mummy initially saw how much weight I'd lost since the last time she saw me at University, she was happy for me :) When friends saw me during my weight loss, I loved their reaction - they had nothing but good and encouraging things to say.
        If you have a friend who has similar goals to you, you can start your healthy journey together. If you don't, just keep working hard and enjoy the praise you'll get once you start to see results. This will spur you on, will make you keep working harder and you WILL reach your goal.
      You can do it!

      Monday, 30 August 2010

      Important Steps Towards Healthier Eating

      You’ve made the decision to change up your diet and start eating healthily. As a child of the noughties, you’ve done your research online and absolutely everyone has a suggestion: Shakes for breakfast and lunch and a cooked dinner, The Maple Syrup Diet, The South Beach diet, The Atkins diet...aaargghh! What is the best way to navigate through the nutritional maze??

      Why not start with these small but very important changes?

      1. Always Eat Breakfast

      Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and I am speaking from experience. I recently made changes to my breakfast and was pleasantly surprised by the changes I noticed within 2-3 weeks.

      The simplest way to explain why you need breakfast is: Say you don’t feed your body all
      morning. Come lunchtime, you feel hungry, your mind and your body tell you that you need to eat a lot to make up for not eating breakfast. Of course you deserve a bigger than usual portion of food. Seconds? Why not? I’ve noticed that I eat much more than I need to when I’m very hungry, so I aim to never get to the point where I am “starving” (which I doubt I’ve ever really been).

      TIP: A bowl of wholegrain cereal (e.g. quaker oats, weetabix or shredded wheat) with milk. And a piece of fruit.

      2. Drastically Reduce Fried Food
      The first thing that comes to mind is ‘dodo’ – fried plantain. You will not find a bigger supporter of how good it tastes than me but (and it’s a big BUT) it is deep fried. When I do fry plantain, it goes straight from the frying pan to a bed of kitchen towels – to soak up the oil and even then, I am still amazed by how much oil it absorbs.

      Cast your mind back to the last time you ate dodo and jollof rice with fried meat at a party. How much oil was left on your plate when you were finished? If there is that much oil left on the plate, try and imagine how much oil you’ve just ingested? Oil is 100% fat. Do the maths.

      TIP: Instead of frying plantain, why not boil, even better grill or roast it – everybody loves ‘boli’.

      3. Surely not that much Oil!

      Yes - more on Oil. It does not make food taste better – when you have time, please taste warm oil (not that I have). Does it taste nice? Definitely not. So why are we so insistent on generously pouring oil into the pot when cooking stew?

      I recall my friends making fun of me and my “Weight Watchers Stew” while I was at Uni and faithful to Weight Watchers (I had 40 pounds to lose). And for no other reason other than it didn’t have the usual inch of oil floating on top. Did it taste good? Yes it did because I seasoned it properly and I can cook ;-)

      Remember - chicken and meat have animal fats/oils in them which I believe provides more than enough oil without the need to add unnecessary amounts of vegetable, sunflower, etc oil.

      TIP: Swap Fried Chicken for Baked/Roasted Chicken.

      4. Control your portions
      I love rice – jollof rice, fried rice, white rice, you name it. I love yam – fried yam (yummy!), asaro (love it but why all that palm oil? Yes I can’t stop thinking about oil, lol), pounded yam... Bottom line – I love food.

      I’m not saying cut out everything you’re used to. Just modify (less oil), eat these processed carbohydrates less often and eat them in less generous portions. No one wants to eat 4 mouthfuls of food and call it a meal. Bulk up your meals with vegetables and no I don’t mean efo and egusi (yes you guessed it – palm oil).

      TIP: Rice (fist sized serving), a couple of pieces of chicken (not fried) and steamed mixed vegetables (chopped carrots, peas, sweet corn, etc)

      5. Snack Often

      No I don’t mean a pack of plantain chips or chin-chin. Neither do I mean a meat pie or sausage roll. Sorry ;-)

      I remember when I joined Weight Watchers in 2002, I expected to be told to eat only 3 meals a day, I was surprised when we were advised to eat breakfast, snack an hour or two after, eat lunch, snack again, eat dinner and maybe snack if I’m up later than usual. By doing this, I noticed I hardly ever felt very hungry. I didn’t feel tired and it was easier than I expected to start eating healthier.

      TIP: Fruit or a handful of nuts.

      Try these and you’ll be amazed by the changes you see within a month. Of course exercise is important but I am a strong believer in taking things one step at a time… So why not start with your diet?

      Good Luck!

      Photo Credit: Google & 'So you think you can cook' on Facebook.

      Wednesday, 25 August 2010

      My Story

      While I will always encourage people to add exercise to their routine, I’m more of an advocate for forming healthy eating habits.

      A brief history about myself:
      I moved to the UK at the age of 17. McDonalds, KFC and Burger King were all a stone’s throw away. The result? I rapidly got bigger in size.

      By 2002, I was the heaviest I had ever been and wondered how all the weight had all piled on (I chose to ignore all the burgers, milkshakes, biscuits and chocolates that had become an everyday habit over the years). I had known I was overweight for a long while but never did anything about it. I might have had a day or two of feeling sorry for myself but I would quickly get over it and go back to eating whatever I liked.

      In May 2002, it all changed...

      I saw pictures from my friend’s birthday barbeque and one photograph stood out to me. I couldn’t believe I had gotten that big (same size I’d been for over a year but failed to do anything about).

      This was my turning point...

      A quick message to anyone who is not happy with a situation in their life and can’t seem to do anything to change it – You will wake up one day, and it will all make sense. You will see everything in a whole new light, the way you should always have seen it, you will realise you are in control and you can do whatever you set your mind to.

      The same day I saw this picture of myself, I made the decision to lose all the excess weight I had gotten so used to carrying around to the point that I’d accepted that it was how I was always meant to look. I joined Weight Watchers online and I successfully lost 40 pounds in less than 4 months - this was 100% from changing my diet. I didn’t exercise because I was at Uni studying for my exams and just didn’t have the time to go to the gym.

      I’m pointing this out because I lost weight without doing any exercise... if I’d done the opposite i.e. eaten everything I wanted and exercised every day, I would not have lost 40 pounds in the same amount of time or in a year!

      How am I certain about that? I found myself in this situation last year.

      Training to become a fitness instructor and personal trainer, very passionate about health and fitness – I was on the right path. I was a regular at the gym 5-6 sessions a week – doing the right combination of strength, endurance and cardio training. I felt good, I noticed I was looking trimmer and toned, did I love myself or what? ;-) With all this hard work at the gym, of course I deserved to eat whatever I wanted, right? WRONG! Again I didn’t notice I was getting bigger, granted it was nowhere near where I was 7 years before, but I definitely piled on a few pounds of fat.

      Lesson Learned: I was exercising BUT eating way more than I should have.

      I wasn’t eating burgers or drinking milkshakes but I sure was treating myself very often – an extra slice of cake, a bigger portion of porridge in the morning after a “hardcore” workout (which of course meant I needed to reward myself), biscuits when I could have snacked on something healthier

      The list goes on...

      Never will I be as cocky as I was last year – I forgot I was once overweight and if I fall back into my bad eating habits, I will be back where I was in 2002. I am constantly a work in progress, the more I learn, the more I want to share with and encourage people.

      I have come to realise that healthy eating habits take you a long way. Those extra pounds of fat you just can’t get rid of no matter how hard you work at the gym – check your diet. Not being able to lose enough inches each week/month even though you’re eating a little better and starting a workout regimen – check your diet.

      And if you just can’t seem to make the head or tail of it, that’s where I’d like to help.

      Please contact me for more information on my mobile and on-line personal training services.