How-to Lose Weight in Nigeria(A Simple No-Nonsense Guide)
Ever feel like...
it's almost impossible for you to lose weight in Nigeria because of the Naija foods you love to eat?
Imagine going for a proper Naija party with "all you can eat" Jollof, poundy, orishirishi and more....
And you can only have salad with water because you’re watching your weight
Difficult right? I concur.
What if I told you that your weight loss problem has nothing to do with the tasty Nigerian foods you love... but... all to do with one “simple thing” (hint: it's not exercise)... and .....
there's a simple way you can start losing weight from tomorrow while eating Nigerian foods you love . You just have to be a little sneaky (I'll show you how).
If that sounds interesting to you...then...this guide is for You.
In this 'Lose weight in Nigeria' Guide You”ll discover:
- The one and ONLY thing that causes weight loss.
- Why exercise alone is almost Useless for weight loss
- The "Dirty Little Secret" of how all weight-loss diets on the planet work
- The Only type of diet that guarantees fast and safe weight Loss
- What to eat, what not to (and why)
- And much more!
Ready? Okay Let's begin with:
What's the One and ONLY Thing that Causes Weight Loss?
Everything you eat and drink contains Calories. Repeat after me
C-A-L-O-R-I-E-S! (out loud please):
I’m stressing on calories because the answer to almighty question "how to lose weight" has all to do with Calories.
Btw, a calorie is just a fancy word used for the "unit measurement of the energy" obtained from food & drinks (just as the unit measurement of distance is meter ).
Everything that goes into your mouth contains calories BUT everything you do burns calories (from walking to brushing, to shiting, to driving... and so on)
Your body would still burn calories if you sat still all day doing nothing because of basic biological activities such as breathing, digesting etc. The rate your body burns calories (energy) for these activities is called a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Now, you might be wondering:
If everything you eat contains calories, and everything you do burns calories then why do you get fat?!!
The answer is simple…. You eat more calories than your body uses (needs).
You see, when it comes to eating and burning calories, 3 things can happen:
- You can consume the SAME amount of calories your body needs/uses each day; this is known as your calorie maintenance level.
What happens then?...
Simple... Your weight remains exactly the same because your body ends up using up all the calories.
- you can consume MORE calories than your body needs; This is known as a caloric surplus.
Easy...You’ll gain weight because of excess calories your body did (or could) not use.
- lastly, you can consume LESS calories than your body needs; This is known as a caloric deficit.
What happens in this case?...
Yes, you guessed right, you’ll lose weight because your body uses up stored body fat (or muscles) to compensate for the shortage of calories.
Now, note this: Caloric deficit is the one and only cause of weight loss.
Did you catch that? You didn’t? Ok, I’ll repeat (because it’s super important).
Caloric deficit is the “one and only” cause of weight loss.
Now, to make it clear as day, I'll give you a rough example:
If a person needs 2000 calories(I'm using this nice even number for sake of simplicity) to survive daily (i.e calorie maintenance level of 2000 calories),
If the person’s total daily calorie intake is:
- Above 2000 = weight gain
- Below 2000 = weight loss
- Exactly 2000 = no weight change
What does Caloric Deficit Mean to You as a Nigerian?
It means you don't have to eat only salad with water to lose weight.
You can lose weight eating pounded yam, jollof , eba…. And every other Nigerian food as far as you eat LESS than your daily calorie maintenance level. (i.e you create a calorie deficit)
Don’t believe me ?? then check out...
The "Dirty Little secret" Of How All Weight Loss Diets On The Planet Work.
The dirty secret of every weight loss diet on the planet is:
they are all based on calorie deficit every single time... How?
Here’s the dead simple explanation:
All weight loss diet trick you to do things that make you eat less calories...
- Low carb diet: required to eat less carbs.
- Low-fat diet: required to eat less fat.
- Green smoothie diets: drinking only green smoothie.
- Clean 9 diet: Take large pills and eat only 600 calories.
Notice any similarity?
- Low carb diet: Eating less carbs - is a tricky way to make you eat less calories
- Low-fat diet: Eating less fat - is another tricky way to make you eat less calories
- Green smoothie diets: drinking only green smoothie - is yet another tricky way to make you eat less calories
- Clean 9 diet: Take large pills and eat only 600 calories-is also another tricky way of making you eat less calories
Yes, in every single diet plan, less calories end up being consumed i.e. a caloric deficit (if you didn’t notice – you’re welcome.)
Still with me? Cool.
Wait! What About exercising?
Exercising is also a way to create a caloric deficit because when you work out, your physical activity for the day increases and you burn more calories than usual.
For example, if your maintenance level was 2000 calories, you could burn 500 extra calories through exercise!
But the problem is:
Exercise alone is almost useless for weight loss. why? I'll explain myself.
Why is Exercise Alone Useless For Weight Loss?
Exercise requires more work, willpower and time to burn off 500 calories daily compared to just eating 500 calories less daily.
To illustrate this point, see this picture I posted on facebook below!
From the picture above, you can see that it's best not to eat than to do the exercise required to burn the exact same amount of calories.
Now, don't get it twisted. I’m not saying you should not exercise. The reason I’m telling you this is because most people feel a sense of false security when they exercise. They do a little exercise and then feel its okay to eat food they shouldn’t.
So the ideal weight loss scenario will be a proper eating plan (first!) combined with a proper workout plan.
Moving on, let's quickly look at...
How many calories do you need to eat daily to lose weight?
To know the number of calories you need to consume to lose weight, first...
You must know the exact calories your body needs daily (i.e calorie maintenance level ) THEN eat Less than maintenance level... full stop.
So the real question you should be asking is …
How to get your daily calorie maintenance level?
Your calorie maintenance level depends on different factors like your weight, height, activity level, metabolic rate, age etc...
That’s why two people of same weight, height and age can have totally different calorie maintenance levels
To make your life easier and not waste your time doing boring maths, I have provided a daily calorie requirement calculator.
It works based on Mifflin-St Jeor equation- it uses your weight, age, gender and activity level to calculate your calorie maintenance level.
All you need to do is fill your details and press "Calculate" and voila! You get your estimated calorie maintenance number.
Okay, you know your calorie maintenance level, the next and most important step is to eat 20% Less than your calorie maintenance number.
let’s say you found your calorie maintenance level to be around 3000 calories, then you'll calculate 20% of 3000 which is equal to 600. Which means that to lose weight (ideally), you will consume 2400 calories daily (i.e. 3000 – 600 = 2400)
Understand?? ….. Good!
Now, why 20% less than your calorie maintenance level? The answer is simple. It puts you in the “sweet spot” of the ideal weight loss rate.
So what is this “ideal weight loss rate” and why is it important?
What’s The Ideal Weight Loss rate?
Ideal weight loss rate is simply the rate at which you lose weight that helps you “maximise” fat loss and “minimise” water and muscle (protein) loss.
Now, your ideal weight loss rate depends on how much fat you have to lose (See the table below)
Amount Of Fat To Lose
Ideal Rate Of Weight Loss
1kg(or more) weekly.
0.5kg or less weekly.
Most doctors and nutrition experts say that the ideal, healthy, safe, smart and right amount of weight to lose for most people fall between the 0.5 to 1kg weekly.
I know! You might be thinking “ah! that’s too slow for me, I need to lose weight faster”
Your body system does not support fast weight loss, if you’re losing weight too fast, your body thinks you’re starving to death
So what does your body do?
It tries to survive by holding to the fat and burns your muscles for energy and remove water instead (which leads to cravings, anger, tiredness, irritability.. etc.). That's a topic for another day.
Besides the many health implications of fast weight loss, studies upon studies upon studies have shown that people who lose weight too fast end up gainig more weight at the end of the day.
In summary…You should lose weight at an ideal rate because...
- It is easier to do (sustainable over a long-term).
- Maximises fat loss
- Minimises muscle loss
- You’ll be able to cut your portions without feeling too hungry
- And it safe and healthy
You know how many calories to eat, the Next most important thing to know is Where these calories should come from.
I have only mentioned calories. What about protein, carbs and fat? Don't they matter?".
Does protein, Carbs and Fat matter?
A simple answer is Yes, BUT not in the way you might think…
As you know already, you can lose weight on any type of diet in the world! (including our Nigerian diet) as long as you eat less than your body’s daily calorie needs.
That's a big part of the story BUT that's not the whole story…
You see, different foods affect hunger and hormones in different ways.
The foods that make up your diet can either make losing weight easy or extremely difficult because all calories (foods) are NOT created equal.
Now, to show you what I mean here is...
A quick and dirty example:
- Case 1: You eat a “300 calories” cornflakes and milk breakfast
- Case 2: You eat a “300 calories” Yam and Beans breakfast
In both cases you eat the Same amount of calorie, they both contain protein and carbs BUT the Only difference is…
- In case 1 you would be hungry again in no time (generally forcing to want to eat more calories or be miserable throughout the day)
- BUT in case 2 you’re rock solid. It will take a longer time for you to get hungry (generally helping you eat fewer calories throughout the day)
So the main point is:
How many calories you eat and Where these calories come from is "key".
For an easier Weight Loss and better health, there are certain carbs, protein and fat that should make up your diet
Which brings us to the next topic…
What’s the Only Diet that Guarantees Fast and Safe Weight Loss?
This diet is the best, its safe…
Everyone including doctors, nutritionist, lawyers and even kids knows it's the best diet in the world
What's this diet?
The diet is called a "Balanced Diet".
BUT Nowadays you hear all kinds of stupid diets from Low carb diet all they way to indomie diet (LOL! I didn’t make that up)...
Which limits/bans you from eating certain types of food or which tells you to eat only a certain type of food.
The truth is doctors and nutrition expert advice you should eat a balanced diet and not limit some certain type of food.
That said, your weight loss diet should contain all the classes of food in a significant amount!
In case you’ve forgotten….. the classes of foods are…Carbohydrate (carbs for short), protein, fat & oil and don’t forget water (very important!)
The sources and how much of these foods to eat is very important,
Let's start with ...
Protein (and How Does Protein Help You Lose Weight?)
Protein is absolutely important because your body cannot function properly without protein.
If you didn’t know, your skin, nails, hair, muscles, bones and some hormones are made up of protein.
Now you know why protein is super important for your health,
so how does protein help you lose weight? (which I obviously know you’re more concerned about)
- Keeps you full longer (therefore you eat less food overall)
- Helps preserve your muscles (you should be losing fat, not muscles)
- Helps you burn more calories (by a complicated process I don’t have time to explain today)
So which foods should you be eating that contains protein?
Let’s answer that…
Here is a quick list of some foods high in quality protein
- Beef (leaner the better)
- Pork (leaner the better)
- Protein Supplements
- Beans (all types)
- Nuts (all types)
Finally, before we go to the next class of food, It worth knowing that 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories. So for every gram of protein you eat, you’re taking in 4 calories.
Fat (What Type of Fats Help You Lose Weight?)
When you hear fat, the first question in your mind is...
“does eating fat not make you fat ?”
The answer is YES! and NO! Let me explain….
If you overeat fatty foods (even protein and carbs), YES you will get fat because as we already know more calories than your body needs equals weight gain
BUT if you eat the right amount of fat on it’s own, then NO you won’t get fat (in fact some fat are really good for your health.)
I know that dietary fat has a bad reputation due to bad information that has been spreading over the years BUT not all fats are bad.
That said, some fats are horrible for your health and weight (artificial Trans fat), some are not as bad (polyunsaturated fat) and others are amazing for your health and weight (monounsaturated and saturated )
The foods that contain the bad fats are listed in the “what not to eat” section of this post.
So which fats are good for weight loss and your health?? ...Good question
Here are…Good Sources Of "Good Fat"
- Fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.)
- Nuts & Seeds
- Olive Oil
- Fish Oil & Flax Seed Oil Supplements
- Coconut Oil
lastly, 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.This means for each gram of fat you consume, you're taking in 9 calories.
Carbs (What Types of carbs are Best for Weight Loss)
With the “low carb” craze around, many people think eating carbs makes them fat!
However, we know that the only thing that makes people fat is eating too many calories (which can come from any source including carbs)
Agree? … Cool!
Just like fat there are good carbs and bad carbs
Simple carbs (AKA “bad” carbs) should usually be limited/avoided. Simple carbs are bad because of they are quickly digested by the body, which has a bad effect on our blood insulin levels. And they're addictive and don't keep you full for long.
The "bad" type of carbs would be found in the typical snack/junk and most processed foods (examples are listed in the “Food not eat” section).
On the other hand, Complex carbs (AKA “good” carbs) are slower to digest, should be where you get most of your daily carbs intake from.
Some sources of these good carbs are:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Irish potatoes
1 gram of carbs contains 4 calories.This means that each gram of carb you eat you’re taking in 4 calories.
Now, you know what to be eating, let's move on to the final part of this guide. But before we do I want to drop a quick warning...
Remember, If you overeat good carbs, protein or good fat you'll still get fat!
Okay, that's out of the way, let's move on to...
What Not to Eat (and why?)
A general rule of thumb is to avoid/reduce…
Foods high in sugar
Foods high in sugar messes with your hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin)
which causes Your brain not to respond to the 'STOP EATING' signal, turning you into a monster that can't control your food intake
Foods high in sugar also leads Insulin resistance, making it difficult for your body to access stored body fat causing the brain to think that you’re hungry. Then you eat more and more.
A few examples of foods high in sugar are biscuits, cake, chocolates.. etc
Besides being horrible for your health Processed foods are bad for weight loss because of various reasons
- They are low in nutrients and fibre which causes you to get hungry again in no time after eating them.
- Processed foods are addictive which makes you eat too much of them leading to more calories in.
- Processed foods are usually high in sugar which messes up your hunger hormones and causes insulin resistance (as you already know)
Examples of such foods are bread, cereal, noodles etc
Foods high in trans fat.
We know that gram for gram fats contains the highest number of calories compared to protein and carbs. Food high in trans fats are bad for weight loss and can be dangerous to your health.
Just to name a few… food high in trans fat are:
Fried foods, Butter, margarine, Cheese, Biscuit, cakes etc.
What Not to drink (and why?)
- soft drinks
- energy drinks....
are drinks you should stay away from because they add significantly to your calorie intake per day and make losing weight difficult. If you want to know why these drinks are dangerous, go here.
Stick to water and maybe green tea (of course without milk and sugar).
Das it! for this post.
In summary what I’ve been trying to explain since morning is:
- The one and ONLY requirement to lose weight is a calorie deficit ( i.e calorie Reduction) to put it in another way eat and drink a little less calorie than your body needs daily and you’ll lose weight.
- You can eat ANY Nigerian food like poundy, eba, joloff…. Etc and still lose weight as long as you create a calorie deficit (i.e you eat less calories than your body needs)
- You can lose weight on any diet in the world (including our Nigerian diet) but some are just more difficult to stick to than others.
- Exercising is about 30% of your weight loss battle ( and your diet is 70%).
- You have a better chance of surviving in the weight loss battlefield if you eat more of food sources from high-quality Protein (like eggs, chicken, meat etc), Good Carbs (whole foods like yam, fruits, vegetables etc) and Good Fat (like fish, fish oil, nuts etc..)
- Don't drink your calories, drinks like soft drink, juice, alcohol are full of calories but No nutrients.
Finally, don't forget to download "Calorie content of over 100 Nigerian Foods" So you know how many calories you're consuming. Just click on the picture below to download it.
Now It's Your Turn
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