Poor & Lazy? Here’s How to Lose Weight & Keep the Weight Off

IMG_3226I’ve never really thought about writing a piece on losing weight. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I have a morbid fear that I’d revert to the way I was before weight loss – thus depriving me of the locus standi to address the issue. However, I was having a conversation with a friend who is struggling with her weight issues, and I realized that I’d somehow managed to keep the weight offish for two years.

Hello Locus Standi!

In February 2014, I inadvertently found myself on the FitFam train. It was completely unplanned and I managed to drop from a UK size 16 to size 8. {Talked about it in my 2014 Epilogues} But here’s the thing that came from that journey; a lot of people asked me what I did, how I did it, and like a new convert at the altar of healthy living, I was fired up. I spread the gospel of FitFam – and how I did it on a budget.

Two things that people complain about when they’re talking about how difficult it is for them to lose weight, and keep the weight off is the cost and the fact that they can’t find motivation. Well, if that’s your challenge, I’d like to share some practical tips on how to lose weight and keep the weight off – when you’re poor and lazy… like me.

There Are So Many Free Resources That You Don’t Need to Spend a Dime
The first step in my weight loss journey was downloading the app – MyFitnessPal. It is free and it kept me accountable. Dedicatedly inputing my meals (everything that went into my mouth – even a baby carrot) helped me see how much I was eating, and how much I needed to burn. Weight loss is “Pure Mass” – as Frank Donga says. Input and Output. I utilised the resources on the Internet to learn about food, calories, energy and all ancillary information. I was on Instagram following Fitness related accounts to see what they were doing, and how they were making their meals work for them.
I adapted everything I learned and made it work for me. The Internet has so many free things that if you’re as broke as I was, you can get away without spending money. I lost 16kg in 10 months and I only joined a gym (A budget gym called The Gym with a £10 subscription fee for students) towards the end of the year. And that’s because I couldn’t get rid of my flabby arms. They’re STILL flabby.

Those arms... See how Banky was struggling

Those arms… See how Banky was struggling – February 2013

Go Big Or Go Home… Well, Not Quite
Recently, a friend asked us on a WhatsApp group, what the best kind of equipment to get for home work out. She wanted to know if to get an Elliptical, or a Treadmill. We told her that the first step was to get into a work out routine. Discover what works for you, and then decide what equipment to buy – if at all.

The only things I spent money on for the Cause

The only things I spent money on for the Cause – Outfits from Sports Direct – Budget Friendly Baby. Weights from Amazon

A lot of people rush and splurge on expensive equipment and gym subscription, thinking it will kick them off on the path of weight loss. This is not quite accurate. As cliched as it might sound, weight loss starts with you – and your determination. Once you can find a way to get off the couch, build a routine, then you can start thinking of spending money. I was in Swansea in 2014 and being a broke student, all I did was walk from place to place. I realised, with the help of my app, that if I walked faster, I’d burn more calories. In 6 months, I was running at 12 minutes per mile. The only thing I spent money on was a good pair of Addidas shoes – and this was after 8 weeks of destroying my toes with my trusty old Sketchers.

You don’t have to spend money on a 50,000Naira gym. Start with what you have. My friend, Biola, started by walking around the compound of Gbagada General Hospital on Saturdays. Then she took an interest in cycling, and hasn’t returned to walking. She now cycles from Gbagada to Ojota and does some super amazing stuff that makes me jealous. Bicycle riding isn’t for me. I’ll stick to my running. (Or walking as I’m now so lazy)

Same Dress, Different Girl - 2013 | 2014

Same Dress, Different Girl – 2013 | 2014


The first time I wore a size 8 skirt *tears of joy*

Find what works for you, before you write that heavy cheque. Remember, it’s you who will determine to lose weight. Your gym subscription or heavy home equipment won’t do it.

How Will I Live Without Rice?
Every time someone asked me how to lose weight, and I talked to them about proteins, greens, complex and simple carbs, they usually walked away sad. The reaction is always akin to what I imagine it was like in the Bible story – the one where the rich man asked Jesus what it would take to get into the kingdom of heaven and Jesus said, “Go sell all your belongings”. People want to lose weight but they can’t imagine life without rice, Eba, Semovita, Amala?

Good old faithful Tesco £1 Salad with Grilled Salmon

Good old faithful Tesco £1 Salad with Grilled Salmon

Some concoction...with broccoli and peppers

Some concoction…with broccoli and peppers

Akara - pancake style

Akara – pancake style

“Ah what will my life be without rice? And all these fruits and vegetables are too expensive, Atoke”
I strongly believe that a lot of what we say we cannot NOT eat is psychological.
“Can you imagine beans without palm oil? How will it now taste? It won’t be red now” (Use Bell Peppers – Tatase and Habaneros – Ata Rodo if you can’t live without colour)
‘So, I won’t put stew in the Couscous? Just eat it like that? Nyama!” (Spice and garnish that stuff!)

Quinoa and sea food mix

Quinoa and sea food mix

When I joined the FitFam train, I experimented a LOT and I stalked so many Fitness and Food accounts on Instagram. It helped that I LOVE cooking and trying new things, so that wasn’t an issue for me. Once I realised how many calories were in one cup of white rice, and I juxtaposed it against how many minutes of running I had to do to burn it, nobody told me when I found CousCous. I then learned how to design any thing I wanted with greens. I became a GREEN FREAK! Remember, I was coming to this FitFam Faith with all the enthusiasm of a new convert. Always armed with my Cameroon pepper, I made every meal exciting for me. It was no longer important that I wasn’t eating rice, or Ogbono,or Egusi.

"Can you find a way to crop that belly?"

“Can you find a way to crop that belly?” – October 2015

Find replacements, adapt them to work for your taste buds, and remember portion control. Cabbage, Spinach, Okra, brown rice… in measured quantities. Remember: input…output.

As long as I was satisfied, and had enough energy to go about my day, I stopped fixating on food. I learned that food was meant to serve me and not the other way round.

You Cannot Afford To Be Lazy
I know I said this article was about how to lose weight for poor and lazy people, but I lied. You cannot lose weight and keep it off if you’re lazy.

You have to be dogged, and determined and dedicated. You have to work hard for the lifestyle you want to maintain. Having reached a desirable size and weight, I got comfortable. I stopped running everyday, and cut it back to 5 days a week. Then, when winter came last year, I stopped running completely. “It’s cold na!” I would say to my sister. I was still very good with my food, because, you can’t give me palm oil soup and I’ll take it from you. (Nasty visions of that Maltex bottle keeps rising to the fore)

I gained a good 8 pounds. Okay, I lie, I gained like 10 pounds in 2015. I still smiled when people called me “Small Shanko” and I still embraced that vain feeling when people who haven’t seen me in a while gasp and say “Oh, My God! what did you do?” But, I knew in my heart that I had fallen off the wagon. My jacket was having slight difficulty coming off. But it wasn’t until I saw my cheeks in a photograph that I told myself, “You have to keep the weight off, Girl!”

Christmas Day

I’m never throwing this dress away! Christmas day, 2015

I have dropped 8 pounds since November and trust me when I say it is not easy. But it is not impossible.

Live Strong.
Live Healthy.
Live Beautifully.

By |2016-06-20T21:11:33+00:00June 20th, 2016|Creative Non-Fiction|0 Comments

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Atoke can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing via the contact page.

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