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.