Esther Hahanyu: Helping Kenyan women achieve their weight goals through Social Media

Most modern women, if not all, at one point or another, have struggled with the notion and practice of keeping fit. For some, it is a recommendation from their doctor to avert a looming health danger. However, for a few others, it’s for the purposes of remaining healthy and good looking.

Whichever the case, the goal is the same, to lose weight.

Esther Hahanyu found herself in the latter category, looking for means to keep fit and look good. When the idea came to her, she had just completed her degree program and was enjoying her career.  At that moment, life couldn’t have been any better, save for occasional hip joint and ankle pains, especially after a walk.

The pains were not regular, hence, she did not seek any medical opinion. Instead, Ms. Hahanyu tried to avoid activities that caused the discomfort including taking a flight of a few stairs which in the latest months was making her pant heavily.

When she started the routines four years ago, she weighed 88 kilograms. In eleven (11) months she had cut down to 68 Kgs.

Today, she still observes the routines and structured diets religiously; however, her sole priority now is toning and maintaining the weight which is right for her height and age. All these she has been able to achieve working out at home alone or with her niece.

It was not until Hahanyu visited a friend that she realized that the joint pains and panting were as a result of the weight. With this in mind, she wanted to regain her health.

She embarked on a plan that has not only helped her to lose the weight but also keep fit while encouraging others to do the same. Hahanyu has chosen to adopt a healthy lifestyle and has taken upon herself to inspire others through the social media.


Keeping tabs with social media


Upon gathering information that she could regain her health through healthy eating and exercising, Hahanyu invested time and resources to embark on the long journey which she began after a round of research and consultations. 

On the first day, she took a photo of herself working out and posted on Facebook. A friend came across the post and added her to a ‘closed’ Facebook group whose mission is to support women seeking to lose weight through exercise and structured diet plans.

“I am a Facebook fanatic,” says Hahanyu adding that since day one, she felt she needed to share with the world her weight loss journey.

“I find it exciting to post my workout routines and meal plans on the social media platforms.”

Hahanyu notes that she started by doing simple routines like rope skipping and dancing. “I like working out in front of the mirror too,” she adds.

From the reflection, she can see her muscles crunch, and when she breaks a sweat, it excites and motivates her to go the extra mile.

Motivating others


According to Hahanyu posting the images online is a way to remain accountable to self and to motivate others to keep working harder towards attaining their weight loss goals.

Moreover, each and every member of the group is encouraged to post their routines or meal plans as an accountability check and a way to encourage others to do the same.

“When I come across a new routine or exercise, I share it with my social media friends,” observes Hahanyu. She posts in three groups on a daily basis.

She admits that this is her way of giving back to the online community that welcomed and still supports her in the journey. Of particular interest is a friendship she formed with London based Grace Kasongo.

According to Hahanyu she is indebted to Kasongo. While the two have never met in person, (at least not by the time of writing this piece) their friendship has grown from just sending encouraging messages on the social media to exchanging physical gifts across thousands of miles.

A few months after making acquaintances, Grace sent Hahanyu a dress from London as an extrinsic motivation for her hard work.

“I got to know ‘Favored’ (Hahanyu’s Social Media Pseudonym) through the Facebook weight group,” says Grace in an email. “She was very inspirational and motivating not only to me but to other group members.”

Following her active role on the platform, Hahanyu has since been appointed an administrator of two of the online groups.

“She has continued to be an inspiration,” Grace says of Hahanyu. “She leads by example by posting challenges, what she eats and her daily routines.”

In her words, Grace likes giving gifts to her friends journeying to lose weight as a way to encourage them. Moreover, “it is a way of giving back to the community in efforts to fight obesity and other related diseases,” she adds noting that Hahanyu is “just like my baby sister now.”

Through the online support group, Hahanyu has come to learn many things about meal planning and exercising. She currently posts in three online groups each with approximately 18,850; 33,640 and 30, 225 members. She hopes to inspire members to choose healthier lives by eating right and exercising.

For Hahanyu, a structured diet plan works perfectly for her. Studies show that structured diet plans yield better results than those that are less planned. Hahanyu observes that dieting and exercising are not for everyone.

People must seek professional advice especially if one has pre-existing medical conditions or any other health concerns.

What are you doing to help yourself and other people in your community to better themselves? Click here to share your story with us.