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Having the right information is more important than just doing it

Background

When word went out that we – The Spark team – needed contributors to our August edition, focused on fitness and wellness, the certified weight loss coach, nutritionist and lifestyle medicine practitioner’s name was all over the comment section on Instagram – it seemed like an automatic fit, especially since you might not be too quick to call a medical doctor a fitness coach. 

Asides being a Russia-trained medical doctor, Dr Chinasa has authored a book, nicknamed Nigeria’s number one weight loss book and titled: Eat To Lose Weight

The public speaker and founder of Ariella Health and Fitness Ltd – a healthy lifestyle company that offers health consultancy services, also runs an NGO, Trinitta Rose Charity Organisation, geared towards providing basic medical care to indigent members of the community, youth empowerment, helping widows, skills acquisition and training children from poor homes. She also owns a hospital in Port Harcourt. 

Awareness

It takes one peek inside gym centres, one 2-hour sit out on highways and streets in the morning, and a stroll into spas to know that Nigerians mean business with their health. 

The conscious attempt to understand this will show you a throbbing landscape of activity: the blaring music of an aerobics class, fat reducing machinery, well-kitted old and young people working it out, and personal trainers doing what they know how to do best. 

Dr Chinasa agrees with this and says, “Nigerians are aware of wellness and fitness, but most people don’t have correct information.” What more could baffle you even when you’re trying your best? 

She adds, “currently, there is information overload.  Everybody wants everything in an instant and when they go to Google, they agree with whatever information comes up – even from WhatsApp broadcasts. So, they have the information but sometimes work with wrong information. Nigerians need to consciously look for evidence based information. It is then that we will start seeing lasting results.”

Inclinations towards Natural methods

Given today’s monotonous and fast paced life, if one is not thinking about wellness and fitness, then there is something fundamentally wrong. 

Daily, there should be consistent focus on fitness and wellness for today’s life. Some prefer to use orthodox medicine that’s tested, trusted, packaged and marketed, while there is an increase in herbal medicine that might not necessarily go through clinical laboratories. 

It is for this that we sometimes get confused as to which path to follow. On this, Dr Chinasa says, “I will speak from the lifestyle medicine perspective. What is practiced in lifestyle medicine is geared towards preventing and reversing chronic diseases and improving health. The conventional medical practice focuses more on treating complications, treating symptoms. Yes, there will always be competition with herbal medicine but one thing we should not forget is what Hippocrates said: let food be thy medicine. And that is where lifestyle medicine is going back to. Eating your way to a healthier you. So, the focus should now be on the quality of food we eat. Are we eating right? Are these natural methods actually natural? Are they healthy?” 

It goes back to getting the right information. 

Reluctance to routines

For reasons which includes ‘busy work schedule’, ‘accumulated fatigue’, ‘psychological disconnection’, among others, people may tend to become reluctant to fitness routines. 

Way forward? 

Dr Chinasa says she’ll advocate that people make wellness a lifestyle. “So, I won’t push people to start a routine that they become resistant to or reluctant about.”

We say change is constant, but sometimes we fail to add that the process requires sacrifice. The lifestyle medicine practitioner says “the idea is to look at the bigger picture and then determine if it’s something that will turn out to be good.” 

She adds, “To deal with reluctance or resistance, I try entering the person’s shoes to understand why. And when you deal with wellness on an individual level, you’ll be able to create routines that is personal and sustainable to that person.”

The Industry

You might have to look twice to see that there’s actually a fitness and wellness industry in Nigeria. You will definitely see the rise of fitness centres in different parts of the country but is there an actual industry? 

“The wellness and fitness space has always been there. It may have been rearing its head in different ways,” Dr Chinasa says.  

She reiterates that “it sounds great when you know that people are becoming more intentional with their health. And with the growth (and the entry of young entrepreneurs) of the wellness space, everyone is trying to do it right.”

Ariella’s Future

“Ariella’s Fitness got big plans but I won’t want to say them yet. But I tell you this for free: it’s going to be for the greater good. The goal is ensure all Nigerians stay healthy and continue to take charge of their health. Also, to make sure everyone is intentional with making sure they’re healthier. A healthy generation is a happy, productive generation. 

“As our plans unfold, you’ll definitely see what we have got in stuck for you.”

The Cure In Your Hands

Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? 

The benefits of fitness and wellness routines are hard to ignore. Old or young, black or white, everyone benefits from being intentional with fitness and wellness. 

To buttress this, the fitness coach says, “Chronic diseases. You can call this lifestyle related diseases like diabetes, cancer, metabolic syndrome, hypertension. Wellness and fitness prevents stress induced disorders, improves sleep and mood and sexual activity.” 

Measuring Progress and Weight Loss

“It’s not always about the looks, I always say: let your health be the goal. Weight loss and every other thing is a plus. When you’ve that in mind, you’ll look at it from a bigger picture. There are so many ways to gauge progress. If previously you could not use the stairs without going out of breath after one flight, and now you can take five flights effortlessly, that is progress. If you used to have palpitations and now you don’t, that is progress. 

It’s more than just the looks. It’s the total you.

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