Nkem_weight_loss_on_a_nigerian_dietIn today’s weight loss feature, Medical student Nkem shares her journey to dropping 4 dress sizes and keeping it off. She credits her weight loss success to change of diet, consistent workouts, portion control, and learning to trust the process. For this future doctor, gym has become her “happy place”

I am currently a single final year medical student. My main focus and hobbies all include my medical education and my fitness journey which is perfect because they overlap enormously.

I spent most of my teenage years being overweight and feeling self-conscious. I was a UK clothing size 18 at some point and that was when I decided that enough is enough.

A UK size 18 may not seem huge but considering that I am 185cm tall, it made me feel extra conscious of my size.

I initially lost 30kg within 3 months by just watching my diet and doing zero exercise.

My Diet

To begin, my diet is the most important factor in my weight loss and lifestyle change.  In the past, my diet consisted of mostly fast foods, junk foods, sweets, you name it. I have a huge sweet tooth.
What really helped me was finding a way to channel my love for sweet things into a new love for healthy things.
The first thing I did was to find a way to make healthy foods enjoyable so that it didn’t feel like a punishment.
Oatmeal and eggs changed my life. The eggs are a rich source of protein and oatmeal is so versatile that I can eat it everyday without fail.

I mix different flavours of protein powder with my oats, I sometimes make over night oats which are a game changer, I make pancakes with ground oats as a flour substitute and let us not forget that oatmeal goes great with a huge variety of fruits and nuts!
Till this day, I eat oatmeal and eggs every other day.

I’m Nigerian and Nigerian cuisine is my favourite. It was impossible for me to eliminate it from my diet so I found a way to make it fit. This is why I encourage people to lift weights. The more you lift, the faster your metabolism and therefore, the more you get to enjoy your favourite foods.

Currently, a typical day of feeding for me involves : 
– Oat meal and eggs for breakfast or wholewheat toast and eggs.
– A protein shake/bar as my first snack of the day.
– Lunch varies hugely, from jollof rice and chicken to a chicken breast stir fry with protein pasta
– A post workout shake for my 2nd snack
– Dinner for me varies in the same way my lunch does.

I don’t typically eat salads or just foods that are considered healthy. I eat whatever I’m craving and make sure it fits into my macros.

It felt good to lose the weight, however, I was dissatisfied with my muscle tone and the way I looked in general because I had zero muscle definition and a flabby body.

This all happened at the beginning of 2012. By the summer of that year, I had fully joined a gym and I’ve never looked back. Lifting weights is a part of who I am now. I have been lifting for about 7 years and honestly, it’s one of the best things to ever happen to me. I am filled with so much confidence and self assurance. The gym is my happy place.

My journey has been one of many trials and failures because I am a strong believer that when it  comes to health and fitness, your mindset plays a huge role in what your body will achieve.

Gym is my happy place

Although I was an active member of the gym, I still had this overweight mentality. I constantly felt like I didn’t look good enough and was terrified of putting on any extra weight which lead to excessive cardio and little calories .So basically, I went from one extreme to the other.


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Over the course of the next couple of years, I completely changed my mindset. I realised that you can actually eat what you like and still be fit. All I had to do was practice the art of moderation and self control.

Currently, I’m a perfect UK size 10, I eat what I want in moderation, I make sure I get in my protein and I lift weights approximately 5 times a week.

I can honestly say that I have never felt this good about myself and never truly accepted myself for who I am until now.

Documenting my journey has been a great help because I receive  amazing  feedback from the people motivated or inspired by me which then motivates me to do more and push myself  further.

However, I don’t just workout and study. I enjoy the occasional Netflix and chill, I read for pleasure sometimes and I’m outdoorsy when it’s not freezing.

A word for you

My advice to anyone at the beginning of their fitness journey is to give yourself more credit. Your body is capable of incredible things and wants you to succeed. You can have that occasional cookie and still look amazing. It’s all about the mindset.

Do you find yourself shying away from the weight room? follow Nkem for weight training inspo