Weight loss is a pretty wide topic and challenging task. Anyone who has undertaken this journey knows that. From the onset of the journey after we have made our decision, we begin to look for ways of achieving this goal that can fit into our lifestyle. Like in Nigeria, the advice given by most blogs where the readers’ demography and lifestyle is oriented more towards the west, it is not really applicable or practical to a Nigerian in Nigeria or Africans on the continent.
Where can you get the good gym membership, the time and money for the planning of meals, fitness expert or trainer, counting calories etc. It is just too much for us. To some, it might look like we don’t have the motivation or whatever but they simply will not understand. I know if I were to write a post on home workouts for weight loss and another on an effective weight loss tea with good results, I know (we both know) which one will be more popular. Another reason is because working out only is not a permanent solution to weight loss. Once you stop with the workout, your body goes back to its previous form which is why workout must be combined with a diet modification.
This is why weight loss pills, meal plans and slimming teas are popular here because we prefer more passive and easier methods of weight loss. I have heard of too many tips and tricks for weight loss which are mostly not really effective or safe. I used to believe in the magic of slimming pills and teas but I am afraid not anymore (for many reason).
But there is one universal truth that cannot be changed no matter the culture or country you are from. To have a successful weight loss journey with permanent or long-term results, we must modify our eating habits and lifestyle.
Now, I am more confident on permanently modifying eating habits and foods coupled with some natural or safe remedies for weight loss. Gone are the days for taking pills and teas that I don’t even know any of their ingredients and many of them, I cannot not even pronounce.
Motivation is key in in a successful weight loss journey. We have many different reasons for our interest in losing weight but I believe the best reasons are losing weight is to be healthier and to lose weight for own self. Common reasons for weight loss such as for the sake of another person or peer pressure is most of the time not enough motivation because half way through, you might lose motivation and undo all the work that you have done by resuming your old lifestyle.
Reasons for being overweight/weight gain
So how can we lose weight in a safe manner by modifying our diet and with safe remedies? This is a very wide topic and I will just discuss it in brief. There are many factors that contribute to a person being overweight and each cause or factor determines the approach to weight loss. These factors include:
- Those with big appetites
- Emotional eaters
- Over eating or eating too many times a day
- Eating fatty or weight gaining foods
- Lack of movement or enough exercise for the body
- Health problems
- Some drugs and medications
- Ageing etc.
Foods for weight loss
The general rule is to eat more fruits, green vegetables, whole grains and healthy fat. In short, eat more of these:
- Fruits – all fruits are safe
- Vegetables – all vegetables, eating them raw or in vegetable soups etc.
- Whole grains, tubers and legumes – such as Fonio, beans, maize, yam, sweet potatoes etc.
- Healthy proteins – eggs, tofu, fish and chicken etc.
These foods are not ideal not just for weight loss but also for our health. In short, avoid these:
- Oily, fatty foods such as chips, fried yam, butter
- Alternatively,avoid frying them but boil or bake them.
- Junk foods and highly processed foods including packed foods
- Sugary foods and drinks including sodas and other packed drinks
- Buy alternatives to sugar such as molasses, date sugar etc. and avoid the artificial drinks.
- Dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt etc.
- Oily foods such as ground nuts, etc.
For those that struggle with big appetites, here is some advice:
- Eat appetite reducing foods – such as pineapple
- Eat fiber rich foods – fiber rich foods keep us feeling full for longer periods e.g fonio,
- Drink some water before eating – so that you will eat less
- Eat smaller meals throughout a day – instead of two big meals
- Eat slowly etc.
Weight loss lifestyle to adapt
- Being active
It is important not just for weight loss but for our general health that we try and move and stay active throughout the day. Living a sedentary life comes with many health problems and weight gain obviously. One doesn’t have to workout at home (which will be great if you can) but just taking a 30 minutes walk outside in the evening in your area every day or every other day can make a difference in your health and help you lose weight. You can also walk to the main road instead of taking the motor or the keke-napep when going to work or school. Little things like with that help us become more active are really important in losing weight
- Plan your meals and Pack your lunch
Planning our meal for the week allows us to select the right foods that complement our weight loss journey. I am sure we don’t always get to eat all of our meals at home because we have our 9-5 work life and school wil not wait so, we should plan our meals (maybe during the weekend) and pack them from home before we leave. This will prevent us from unhealthy food choices and lifestyle while away from home because we will just focus on what we went out to do instead of looking for a place to eat.
- Don’t skip breakfast
Did you know breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day? I would think that this title goes to lunch or dinner. But no, breakfast is very important because:
- Eating a healthy breakfast kick-starts our metabolism and gives us the energy we need in the morning to focus on other things instead of snacking on less healthy options when we randomly feel hungry
- It prevents fluctuations in blood sugar levels helping us to have better control on our appetites
It is advised that we eat a more protein-rich breakfast because it decreases the hunger hormone “ghrelin” which on normal levels can make us feel hungry faster.
Other lifestyle changes include getting enough sleep (lack of sleep makes you more hungry), eat high fiber foods as much as you can (they keep you full for longer periods), don’t skip meals (it slows down our metabolism, increase hunger making our body to go into fast-storage survival mode), use smaller plates when serving yourself, keep a food journal so that you can know which foods work best for you, etc.
Herbs and remedies for weight loss
Some years back, apple vinegar was everywhere just like coconut oil. It was touted to be the remedy for so many things including burning fat, curbing appetite, toning the skin, cleaning the stomach, constipation, hair growth, lice, nail fungus etc.
I know of its use for weight loss though I have not confirmed its effectiveness. It is worth a try to use apple vinegar in case it works for you:
How to use: Dilute a teaspoon of apple vinegar in half a cup of water and take twice a day making it a tablespoon a day and not more than that because remember it is an acid.
This remedy is not to be used by those with ulcer, gastritis etc. because the acidity as we know can be very harmful to the ulcer in the stomach. also, don’t take it for more than 3 weeks because the acid can actually harm the body over time..
Where to get it: It is available in health stores, supermarkets and shops that sell condiments like ketchup and imported goods in the market.
Hausa local name: Gozaki herb
Named after a town in katsina state, gozaki is a herb commonly found in northern Nigeria. I will first have to caution you on the use of this Nigerian herb because while it is effective for weight loss, it is very powerful and should be used only a little at a time and not for a long time.
How to use: boil a pinch of this plant powder in a liter of water and drink throughout the day.
Where to find it: it is available in local herbal markets.
I hope this article has shined some light on some of the important aspects of weight loss and how to achieve it in a healthy way. Try to remember that dieting even with just walking exercises can really make you lose weight. So be conscious of your diet and eat good healthy foods.
Do try the Gozaki herb (remember sparingly) too and let me know if it helped you. I will be adding more to this list of herbs for weight loss as I continue my research and I discover more.
Be careful of herbal teas and pills that make you lose weight by purging. In the beginning, you might think you are losing weight but you are actually losing water and you will gain it back very soon. It is also not healthy at all for the body.
I hope you have enjoyed your time here with us. If you didn’t, please tell us why so that we can improve. Feel free to let us know in the comments section if you have any secret tip that has helped you in your weight loss journey.
Have a nice day.