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.


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Remi Owadokun: I started with N10 and now have customers in 7 countries

Remi Owadokun

Remi Owadokun used a major life change to kickstart her online business as a weight loss coach and nutritionist. She also used that motivation to start an online video series that spreads health consciousness in a fun and interactive way.

Remi shares with us her thoughts on what’s keeping young women healthy, how she started her business with only N10 in her wallet and how she’s planning to take her business global. 


Why did you start the Total Makeover Program?

I started the Total Makeover Program when I made the decision to change my life and lost 40kg. During this process my life was transformed emotionally, financially, spiritually and mentally and I wanted other women to experience this power as well.

The first thing that came to mind was simply to blog about my experience because many people who knew me wanted to know how I did it. How many people do I want to tell? So one weekend I sat down and started compiling my experiences.

Once my blog was up I started sharing it via email to friends and family. When I went out and people asked me about my health transformation I always referred them to my blog. It was meant to start and end there but I started getting a lot of feedback from people who wanted me to keep writing.

There were people who had started their weight loss journeys simply by reading my story and I started getting emails from people who wanted me to coach them. I initially said no because I was not comfortable with people coming to me or me going anywhere.

But one day, a lady emailed me and said; “Please coach me, we never have to meet, just email me meal plans and exercise plans.” That was when it occurred to me that I could turn this into an online business. I imagined that if one person was interested, I could get more people interested too.

Why do you think most young professional women struggle with living a healthy lifestyle?

Many young women are misinformed about what good health means and how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle in today’s environment. Most people assume that someone who is healthy is slim. This is not always the case, there are several “fit looking” people who are unhealthy.

They eat junk, don’t sleep well and are constantly stressed. Most people assume that by just eating right and exercising, you will automatically be healthy. There are many factors that contribute to being healthy and whole.

You can eat all the greens in the world and exercise 2 hours a day, if you are a bitter, angry person, you are upsetting your biological make up. You can actually find rare cases where an individual eats all sorts of crap but because she is happy and fun loving may end up being in a healthier state than most.

Being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle requires a more holistic approach that most ignore. The tendency is to focus on just one area of life and ignore the rest.

What makes Total Makeover Program different from other health startups?

Most health start ups focus solely on exercise and diet. At TMP we focus on two things: primary and secondary foods. Primary foods are things that feed us but don’t come on a plate like love, relationships, career, spirituality, education, etc.

Secondary foods are the items we actually eat on our plates every day.  We know that there is no point trying to control your diet if you don’t focus on the things that trigger you to eat. If we can fix the triggers then we worry less about your understanding of food.

Most people are emotional eaters but most start ups never focus on the emotions. People eat when they are happy, sad, angry, stressed, etc. For some people a fight with the significant other that displaces them and sends them into over eating. For others it is boredom, being stuck in traffic, or a fight with their boss.

I don’t see the point in telling people if they are ill equipped to deal with their emotions when stressful situations arise. I want to avoid the situation where someone I’m working with faces the same triggers and they revert back to their old habits and get so disappointed that they don’t want to try again.

Life can be unpredictable and it is unhealthy and unwise to build our lives based on the happenings around us that are outside our control. At TMP we empower you to take full control of the only thing you truly have control over, YOU.

For your business to get to the next level, would you prefer funding or a mentor? Which one would you choose and why?

I started this business with N10 in my wallet and built it to where it is without needing to look for funding. I would pick mentoring any day as I have always had mentors and I understand the role they play in my life and how they have created opportunities for me.

Proper mentoring provides value that will eventually translate to money. As a thought leader and as a mentor, I find that people who have worked with me are more impacted by the time spent together than anything else. Money will finish, then what next?

What can we expect to see from Total Makeover Program over the next 6 months?

I have coached a little over 80 men and women 1-on-1 in 7 countries in the last 20 months. There is a limit to the amount of people I can coach 1-on-1 , so I am currently creating an online course where people all over the world can download, partake and achieve results without having me there full time.

I recently became an international best selling author for my book “How I lost 40kg” when I hit the number 2 spot only 8 hours after it’s release on Amazon. My next book is due in December and I hope to hit number 1.

I am also starting the 2nd season of the Phat Gal Series. The Phat Gal Series is an online based animation series aimed at spreading health consciousness. It is based on my stories as a fat girl and the lies I chose to believe.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned on your journey towards health and wellness?

Along this journey towards my personal health and wellness as well as building my business, I’ve been reminded that every single person is different and there is no one size fits all approach. What works for one person may not work for the other. We are all in different stages of our lives and all in different environments.

I’ve also witnessed the ripple effect that changing one person’s life can have beyond just themselves. When you work with one person, you are impacting the entire family and possibly a generation.

Women on my programs have also been able to influence their families towards healthier lives. This for me has been an important lesson and has also reminded me of the weight of responsibility I have towards my clients.

Finally, I am constantly reminded of the old adage, you are what you eat. What you eat, whether primary or secondary plays an important role in how you ultimately turn out.

Everything matters, your friends, the type of music, the words you hear and say, what you watch and of course what and how you eat.


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