By Josfyn Uba
Adedamola Ladejobi is a nutritionist and weight management expert. She is the founder / CEO of AskDamz, a weight management company. She built her platform on her passion for helping people achieve their desired weight loss / gain and nutritional goals. The Daily Sun recently spoke to her in her Lagos office.
What was your background before moving into weight management and wellness?
I’m a lawyer by training and I’ve worked in the Justice Department, but I felt empty, like I was more than a lawyer.
Before I came to university, I wanted to be a pharmacist or a doctor, but then I studied law. After graduating, I got bored of becoming a lawyer. I’ve played with a lot of ideas. I even accepted an apprenticeship. But later I found out that I didn’t really want to teach children. It didn’t make sense so I was in a swamp.
I literally became one of what people call NFA (No Future Ambition). I tried to get back into the legal field, but by that point I was already doing AskDamz on my own and making a lot of money.
What was your opinion on weight loss before you became an expert and what is the big change between then and now as an expert?
Before I became a weight loss expert, I was one of those people who wanted to do anything to lose weight. Even in college, the moment I heard about slimming tea or a new diet, I would literally be spending the last of my pocket money on it. I didn’t know that there was actually no drink to melt fat, otherwise nobody would be overweight, you would just drink the tea; But I realized that, like everything in life, to be successful, you have to stay on your own track. So it is also very important to go your own way when losing weight. It’s not about diet, you need to find out what works for you as an individual. If you don’t find what works for you, keep walking from pillar to pillar.
What were the things that you tried to lose weight?
I used to have a diet mentality and thought that if you eat bread you won’t lose weight. If you eat rice, you won’t lose weight; So I was on fruit for three or four days, but I got sick and tired. At this point I decided to do something for myself, my health and also with a pinch of vanity because I really love the finer things in life, but I noticed that clothes no longer fit me.
I decided to make a change at my own pace. Nobody told me to lose weight. My husband married me big. So when I hear things like, ‘I need to lose weight so I can get married or have a husband,’ I wonder because that shouldn’t be the reason. It should be for your health.
What do you think people should do to lose weight?
The moment you start to see food as a mediation, there is something it does to your body. When your body is optimally nourished and the quality of the food you eat is good enough, it will have positive effects on you and affect everything about you, your mind, and your mood.
You are no longer moody because your body is getting all the vitamins it needs, all the macro and micronutrients it needs, and in the process you find that your mood, your appetite, your sleep are regulated and you become more stable on yours Journey to Weight Loss.
What made you want to build an organization out of it because you could have continued after losing weight?
I went to birthday parties where people would talk to me about weight loss. People kept asking how I did it. In fact, sometimes I didn’t feel like going to parties because I felt uncomfortable when people asked me about weight loss. My husband then suggested making some money with it, but again I wondered who would pay me to lose weight. I’ll just let the proposal slide. Then a group of people, my sisters-in-law and a few other people, 13 of them, came up and asked me to coach them.
I was so passionate about it. After that, sometimes in the middle of the day, I would drop weight loss tips for other people.
Did you feel ashamed that you failed as a lawyer just to become a nutritionist compared to a great lawyer?
I really am the definition of when God uses the foolish things of this world to confuse the wisdom of the wise. At first I was ashamed to say that I am a weight loss coach. That was in the first few months when people questioned my decision.
My mother was confused and wondered why I should quit the legal profession to do this. “After all the money I spent training you in England,” she couldn’t understand what weight loss meant in the context of law.
But a year ago my mother changed her tune. She became my biggest fan and advertiser. My mom was surprised and proud of me at the same time.
What do you think of the distrust of weight loss, dieting and all that some say the field is full of charlatans?
This is why I always say that figuring out what works for you is very important because the weight loss and fitness industry is a multi-trillion dollar industry; and it’s unfortunate because we’re marketing to a lot of people who are extremely desperate.
What are your big entrepreneurship lessons?
If you want to go far as an entrepreneur, focus on the quality of your goods or services. If you focus on quality and presentation, money will come. But many of us in the business world are so focused on achieving monetary goals and objectives and end up delivering poor services and products.
I still have a long way to go in terms of honesty, integrity, customer service and value for money. If you are good value for money, people will come.
What advice do you give young women to avoid weight-related health problems as they grow up?
First of all, you need to love yourself enough to lead a healthy lifestyle. People like to think of exercise as a means of weight loss, but it really isn’t. I realized that the theory that when you exercise you release happiness hormones, dopamine, serotonin, endorphins in general, happiness hormones, is still true. Every time I do, I get a touch of happiness. I always say that exercise needs to be renamed as a tool for wellness rather than weight loss.
Young ladies, eat healthily as best you can, and that doesn’t mean you should only consume fruits and vegetables. There has to be balance and love of yourself enough to lead a healthier lifestyle.
What do you think society can do to further raise awareness of the importance of weight management to overall wellbeing?
I think the government has a big role to play. The truth is that much needs to be done for the health system in Nigeria. Before the whole Reformation, we need to make the common man aware of what he and what not to eat. The government should make people aware of health issues such as high blood pressure. What does the government need to put together a team to regularly test for eye exams, blood pressure problems, and diabetes? We need to start making people aware of the importance of healthy eating. Let’s start with the basics. All hands must be on deck to save the situation.