I had just touched down with my six-month-old son at a private airstrip in Ikeja, Lagos. Exhausted from the trip, I left him with my friend and rushed to use the bathroom. That moment changed everything. I took a long hard look at the mirror and burst into tears. How did I go from 75kg to 106kg six months after I had my baby? The reality cut me deeply, and I knew I had to embark on a weight loss journey, not just because I had let go of my physical fitness, but also because, in the process, I had let go of my dreams, mental development and spiritual growth.
I envy people who can add weight and not have it affect other aspects of their lives. For me, the lack of self-control went beyond my diet and filtered into other aspects of my life. I went from being a strong, sprightly and driven woman to being weak and constantly tired. What had happened to the qualities that had earned me, amongst other things, a First class degree and Best Graduating Student award from my University of Ibadan? There and then—in that bathroom—I made two decisions:
I would begin a personal journey to fitness.
I would make sure the weight gain did not repeat itself in subsequent pregnancies.
These two resolves turned out to be harder than I expected. Anyone on a weight loss journey will tell you how challenging it is. Any pregnant woman dealing with cravings and emotional triggers will attest that discipline around food can be really hard. And if you are a breastfeeding mom reading this, you have probably already raised your hand to tell me how the crazy combination of baby screams, midnight hunger, fatigue and house chores can drive one to crave food, particularly carbs and sugar.
If you have struggled at any point with your fitness journey, I understand because I have been there. We may live in different parts of the world, have different hair and movie preferences, but the struggle for fitness is THE SAME and it is REAL!!!
Can we just group hug it out for 27 seconds?
And while in that embrace, can I whisper very sweetly to you that, somehow, I made it. I got stronger than the struggle. The good thing is, even though every weight loss journey is difficult and unique, it is possible. I can say this because I did it. I lost the weight. Guess what? During my second pregnancy, instead of gaining 40kg like I had before, I gained only 12kg. Also, my second baby weighed less than my first, and I lost the pregnancy weight much faster than the first time around.
The best part is, I found purpose on the journey. I now help pregnant women stay fit, disciplined and control unhealthy cravings during pregnancy. In the next few weeks, I will be sharing facts, tips, tricks and general advice to help you on your prenatal and postnatal food and fitness journey. My personal story alone is not the only thing that qualifies me to share these tips with you. In addition to several professional certifications, I also bring the experience of many other women (pregnant, breastfeeding and more) whom I have had the privilege of directly coaching. Their experience and mine will certainly make this column as rich, exciting, and educative as possible.
Where you have questions, I will be happy to provide answers too, without trying to take the place of your doctor. So, join me on a weekly journey that will shape and expand your perception of weight loss and fitness, especially in, but not limited to pregnancy.