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Wana Wana: Enjoying My Milestones



zermatt2I am very fortunate to be quite good at a few things and I am always determined to see through every challenge I embark on. But the one thing I have consistently failed at is keeping my weight down and my body in good physical shape.

Just last December, a friend had gushed about how hardworking and gifted he felt  I was but then added that if I didn’t take care of myself, I probably wouldn’t be alive to see through all the wonderful ideas I dreamed off and consistently talked about.

After moments of feeling insulted, embarrassed, and getting defensive, the penny dropped that I had been focusing on the wrong things as all I had ever been bombarded with were the aesthetic benefits of weight loss.

‘ You are beautiful but you will be even more beautiful when you slim down’

‘ I can imagine if you were slim, the way men will flock around you ehn!!!!’

‘My cousin was twice your size, now she is half your size, she just got married last year sef’

The comments usually sashay between the rise in desirability and beauty quotient.

This is not to say that aesthetics aren’t important but will never for me become a matter of urgency.

Like I have written so many times before, I had spent a large chunk of my childhood to early adult life on one strange fad diet or another until 2006 where I said to myself I have had enough, after losing a tonne of weight by substituting rice, pasta, and bread for all legumes known to man for six months only to layer the pounds back on faster than it took to take it off.

I don’t really have any major food vices (except for crunchy cookies back in the day) but I have  had very bad eating habits, like guzzling large portions, starving myself all day,  and never saying “NO” even when I’m completely stuffed; which I reckon has been put in check.

These days, I’m not for anything that requires one to cut out any food group completely, or taking weird shakes and I lack the discipline for calorie counting. I m all for old fashioned portion control, increased fruit and vegetables, reduced sugars, salts, processed foods and just a more conscious attitude to what goes into the body.

However, exercise on the other hand has not been my best friend. This isn’t to say that I haven’t exercised in the past but just like everything else; I would set these weight loss mile stones, workout exceptionally hard ending up thoroughly disappointed at the results and slowly give up.

The world is very results driven and like most other people I have gotten caught up in the need for the before and after images at the expense of my health, forgetting that in life everything has to follow due process. My perspective on my weight and my body is changing. It would be wonderful to fit seamlessly into clothes I like, and prance around with washboard abs in a bikini (yes the vanity in me does come out here). The need to look desirable to both men and women is a legitimate feeling and fear most times.

But I think it is of greater urgency that I am not at risk of diabetes, a heart condition, osteoporosis, stroke and chronic back pain. I want to do my stomach crunches without feeling like I need a crane to lift me up or looking like a podgy porcupine attempting to curl off the floor. I want to be able to control my body and feel good in it, look good too but more importantly feel good in it. Make it move in ways I would like it to and make it respond accordingly.

Earlier this year, I gave away all my clothes that didn’t fit, the ones that still had tags on them and those dresses that make you look like you swallowed a tyre, whilst  you are hoping that the bloated look will inspire you to loose two to three dress sizes in the New Year, yeah that one!  It felt like a ritual of letting go of my old thinking and starting new.

I decided to focus on just getting active, building my endurance and stamina. I  started power walking earlier on, till the morning rains ruined my mojo; then  I purchased an elliptical machine, got bored did other workouts in between. Later got a trainer to motivate me and on my trainer’s days of, I have started walking again. It may not be much or hard core enough by most peoples standards but for the first time in my life I stayed consistent through all the waxing and waning. Added to that, I’ve participated in a few outdoor physical challenges which I would have naturally found some excuse or another to skip.

I went skiing in Davos, hiking in Zermatt, participated in a marathon and a Zumbathon for cancer. I hope that next year I would be able to actually ‘Run for Cure’ as opposed to walking and maybe throw in some mountaineering.

I’m learning that getting healthy is not a pseudonym for wanting to be slim. I think the difference is that one is a much longer and most times an annoyingly drawn out process that requires consistency, discipline and patience to be sustainable. For the latter, I think is about doing what it is you can to get there, as long as it is quick and fast.

wow 3

I know that beyond the little part that genetics plays, I’ve spent most of my life eating my way to this state, and I really shouldn’t expect an easy pass but to eat and work my way out of it. So unfortunately, this is not a piece about physical transformation where I post photos of myself before and after loosing an average human being in weight.

I am still spotting the bloated look and at times I wear a dress and think I look like I’ve swallowed a tyre, nontheless, it may just be very little progress, but I will enjoy this milestone so far.

Wana Udobang is a broadcaster and writer. You can check out her other work on or follow her on twitter @MissWanaWana


  1. Retrochic

    January 2, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Wow, very inspired, i have met her a couple of times, and she always exumes happiness and warmth, am nt exactly fat, buh i currently weigh 70, and for some people that wont be considered as fat, but for me i would still want to loose the love handles, get rid of the folds and fat sticking out of my chin, but loosing weight is not an easy process, i have lost wieght and gained it back again, but my advice to wana, is just to remind yourself that loosing weight will bring so many benefits to you, and you should make a conscious effort to sacrifice your sweet taste, for health, fitness and a whole lot of other things.

  2. heeba

    January 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Nice…..currently in her shoes tryin to lose the last 10kg(recently lost 11kg).
    ITS NOT EASY! if you are genetically modified to be over weight,you are getting older(metabolism has slowed down a lot) and you have no motivation around you. its hard.I had been trying to lose weight all my life but a year ago i decided that by the time i was 50 i wanted to be healthy ,no visits to hospitals,and feel good about myself. I started exercising with an outside aerobics group every other morning for the past one year, reduced my portion size,stopped eating after 7pm ,tried to cut out carbs as much as i could.I have never denied myself what i craved to eat all i do is taste it (i call it tasting cos i will not do more that 3 /4 spoons) then i am done for things like cake ,dessert,rice,bread,pounded yam etc etc.
    It was difficult at the begining but you find that as one goes along your stomach starts to be full on your little portions and does not want anymore. exercise has become a lifestyle to me i have talked to myself that i will be doing this for the rest of my life at least every other day.

    • x factor

      January 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      @ Heeba…..You are sooo on point……………@ Wana…this is a fantastic, honest write up, wish u the best as you attain the milestones…..

  3. Amazeballs!

    January 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Just keep at it, develop a workout routine that suits you and dedicate time to it! Determination is key when it comes to feeling and looking healthy and trust me, when your clothes start fitting right, you’ll feel like a million bucks!!! Good luck.

  4. annie

    January 2, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I can totally relate to this, I’m actually not fat at all (for most of my adult life I’ve been the butt of lepa shandy jokes even) BUT I know I’m extremely unhealthy cos I have gotten used to NO exercise whatsoever. I resolved to change this…my goal is the same as yours, building stamina & endurance. I also had to get myself into the mindset that it took a while to getthis lazy so I shouldn’t expect immediate results. Keep it up! we’ll gte there. 🙂

    • annie

      January 2, 2013 at 10:31 am

      *get (sigh, it’s too early in the year for silly mistakes mehn. lol)

    • joey

      January 3, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Is this really what you actually got to say? Wow I can really see what your new year resolution is. *smh*

    • annie

      January 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      Erm, Joey, what exactly is your problem with what I said? Perhaps YOUR resolution should be to do away with random negativity just for negativity’s sake. Mscheeew.

  5. shallie's purple Beehive

    January 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Lovely Piece..

  6. abimboladare

    January 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Met Wana last year @ freedom hall, and more than the weight, I was struck by how talented she is- and also very naturally pretty. I love how she embraces the challenges she has and faces it with a smiling face. It takes a brave person to do that. keep at it babe!!

  7. doll

    January 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    She is so so so pretty. Good luck on your journey

  8. Phantom

    January 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    God bless you Wana!! you had me in stitches with such phrases like ‘pudgy porcupne’ and ‘swallowed a tire’! I can totally relate to this: a very good buddy of mine had a heart attack recently at 24 and just yesterday, my pal and i checked our BMI and discovered we’re one point shy of the obese reading. This really opened my eyes to reality as my favourite phrase is ‘i’m not fat, just big boned’! More than the chic factor, i’m more determined than ever to drop my excess weight. My friends heart attack made a definite alteration to his life- thankfully it was for good: he lost 13kg in two months by eating mainly fruits, veggies, proteins and carbs three times in a week and throws in some exercise. According to him, he eats well and actually doesnt feel like he’s missing much as his energy level is higher than ever.

    I’m really inspired by his story and yours Wana and i’ll be sure to monitor your progress and encourage you as i proceed on my own weight loss journey. Hopefully, the tires will soon become planks!

  9. Nelo

    January 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    You go girl!!! You have already taken the hardest steps…1) acknowledging that there is a need for change because of great reasons like health, and 2) making great efforts…controlling portion sizes and being more active. As you said, consistency and motivation are very important. I have been overweight all my life and got exactly the same comments that you listed above. However, for exactly the same reasons (risk of diabetes and hypertension….which run in my extended family), I decided to make a change. I am in my 4th year of weight loss now and have gone from 100kg to 70kg at a height of 5ft 4in. The majority of the weight loss came in the 2nd year and I have stalled at 70kg for the past 2 years. But recently, I decided to get the last 15kg off. It is not an easy task but I guess it feels easier if you take it as a lifestyle livelong change and not a short-term goal. There is no magic bullet or solution to this as you already know. Keep doing what you are doing and remember to spice it up from time to time to make it more fun and decrease the frequency of the plateau phases. Great work girl!

  10. konnie

    January 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Ok, Wana, Wana, eyeneka, I am happy that you have decided to finally confront this issue. I am proud of you. It is not easy to share you vulnerabilities but strangers knowing that some of us will still come at you, demanding whatever.
    You have taken the first step which is the most difficult step, the rest is easy from here on. I am quite familiar with this battle (I am fighting the bulge) too and it is one step at a time. Consistency is the key and now you have overcome your allergy to physical excercise, include weight training and you’ll be surprised what happens to the body. I use biggest loser as my source of inspiration and there has been tremendous progress. I can finally see your face and you are quite pretty. Give us updates and stay blessed

  11. Teeeeee

    January 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Exactly the kinda motivation i need to start the new year.Welldone [email protected],m plus 1kg of what u weigh,but m exactly in the same shoes as u r….love handles n all,n 4 sumone dat was 55kg b4,dtz a whole lot.O ga!It’s not an easy task esp for me that ve got a sweet tooth. At Wana,i rily admire ur courage and judging from ur write-up,you sound like a very playful and happy person.It’s a good fin u also don’t take urself too seriously….Nice!At the end of the day,i fink all that matters is you doin it for urself and not because of what evryone is saying.Good luck to all of us….lolll. And bdw,just a quick que….du i rily nid to add exercising to my weight loss prog…ve cut down a lot on all the sweet fins n all d oda what-nots,but is it still necessary,cos i can b rily lazy wen it comes to exercising.

    • RWinc

      January 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      How inspiring. I recently lost 10kg too. The benefits of shedding excess weight can never be overemphasized. I have a weight-loss secret the ladies would love. Email [email protected] for the juicy details. 😉 Happy new year!

  12. Blackknight

    January 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    You don’t always get what you wish . You get what you work for

    Simple ways I stick to my resolution goals .

    1) Visualize : “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” However, It’s not enough to visualize the end result. You have to also picture the HOW you are going to get there. This entails visualizing the problems that may arise and how you are going to solve them

    2) Specificity: Just saying “I want to lose weight” as a resolution, is good start but far from sufficient. The “devil is in the details” as the saying goes so you need to include details on how exactly you are going to lose weight or gain muscle. Simple examples are
    a) How many days a week are you going to exercise
    b) How many calories are you going to take in?
    c) What are the best supplements for your goal?
    d)what exercise routine are you going to use?
    3)Establish a beach head: A beach head is a temporary foothold or line created when a military unit enters a hostile often foreign territory in order to make defending it easier. In the same vein, you create an environment that makes it easier for you to adopt a habit. Some simple examples are
    a)Throwing out all that junk food from the fridge &
    replacing it with foods that will move you towards ur goal
    b)Surround yourself with people who have the same
    d)Prepare your meals ahead of time, this way you are
    don’t grab the first convenient food (often junk) in sight
    d) Have your goal in front of you i.e. phone , bathroom
    mirror as a daily reminder until its in grained on your
    4)Replace bad habits. Mark Twain once quipped “Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time” Simply put its close to impossible to eliminate a bad habit . Its often easier to replace them .

    5) Start gradually: Voltaire once said “perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time”. Its useless to have multiple resolutions if at the end of the year, you don’t fulfill any of them. Start 1 or 2 at the most …the habit(s) that are the most important to you. Remember it takes 21 days to acquire a simple habit and on average 66 days to adopt a complex habit like exercising . An example would Start gradually 1-3 times per week for the first 21 days then build up to 5 times per week if you choose after 2 months.
    6) Accountability: “when you make speeches, you elicit expectations against which you are held accountable” said Bradley . One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable is to let your friends/family or a forum know your goal now you are on what Sun Tzu calls “death ground” in which you place yourself in a position where there’s no avenue of escape… no way of backing out . Keeping a log further reinforces accountability, you can see what your if you are making progress and what adjustments you need to make.

    So what are you waiting on? There will never be a perfect time to start so you might as well start . It doesn’t matter how fast you go so long as you are Consistent.

  13. Julius

    January 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I really don’t know you in person but one thing that attract me to reading your blog and post is your last name and personality. I have a uncle( Elderly friend) who happen to share the same last name. By just reading your write up and looking at the picture, one can see the gladness and warmth that resonate from it. It is a good thing that you want to tackle your weight issue but don’t let , the beauty that lay on the inside, fade away with the weight on the outside. Do whatever you have to do but always remember that there is more to you than your weight. I wish you and everyone who want to less a pound or more good luck !

    • tatafo!

      January 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Agreed! Wana, there is more to you than weight. You seem like a beautiful person inside and out. Don’t forget that.

  14. Idak

    January 2, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    One of my favourite ladies from afar. Wana and Redi Thlabi are awesome women that i want my daughters to have as role models. Intelligent, real with faults and very talented.
    Wonderful piece ,Wana.
    Happy new year to you and all the best with your weight loss milestones.

  15. Iyke

    January 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Your body is perishable like a gallon of milk in the fridge. If you let it sit there too long, it spoils and goes to waste but not before everyone in the general area begins to gag from the smell. Don’t be the guy looking back on life and wondering what happened….it’s your body, your life….if you don’t make something of it, it will expire before you know it. USE IT OR LOSE IT.

  16. pynk

    January 3, 2013 at 10:41 am

    My approach is simple.
    After God – My health comes next. If i am not around, then i cant even enjoy life or my family or work. So i take myself to the gym 4 days a week (4 to 5km run for 30 mins, cross trainer 20 mins & some weights and sit ups), and run 10km on the 5th day – saturdays – i take my precious one hr, enjoy the scenery on falomo bridge and etc while i run.

    Fitness is not a new year’s resolution, its a state of mind and a way of life. make fitness fun, i only wear pink sneakers or sneakers with a lot of pink, i buy nice gym clothes, i feel sexy when i put on my nike running tights etc. Everyone wonders why pink, it makes me feel girly and its a big part of my motivation.

    • A.W

      January 4, 2013 at 6:55 am

      Smart approach! i use same as a man…love it!

  17. lara

    January 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Speechless and yet greatful for this write up. My Grandma is on my case about loosing weigt. she is a size 12 @ 72 and am a size 18 @ 27. really want to give up my weight but malteasers… Wana wish you the best as I wish myself the best too.

  18. dieko

    January 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Brilliant being,i cant fault her and i remember telling her sometime ago “i see a pulitzer in your future”

  19. Idak

    January 3, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    How come all Wana attracts are loving, kind and considerate(even when critical) comments? Unlike some others(not calling any names) who try to ram their celebrity status down our throats. Is it a coincidence?

  20. Eny

    January 4, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Proud of you girl!

  21. salsera

    January 6, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Great personality dear, met you once and love u on the radio! Glad you never let the weight drown you self esteem. I think you are in a better place now to stay healthy than you were before.

  22. Teewhy

    January 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I opened your facebook page because I saw your full face and thought to myself, she must be one of those fat celebrities who still dress very va-va-voom, I really wanted to feel good about my fat self and also gets insights on how to dress better FAT then I clicked on the link to this page and I’m almost crying. I’m taking control from today. God help me!

  23. JADE

    January 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    wow, who knew there were soo many fat sistehs in the house?I have been fat all my life oh and in 2011 i got on this fad diet and lost over 20kg going from128kg to 106kg, but alas im currently a size 20 as we speak. ive decided to go the slowly but surely road, do aerobics every morning, eat only when im hungry and small portions at that.No carbs after 7 but fruits yes. Also plenty of water is key. I already feel better already seeing as i just started, and guys please dont check ur weight every day, make it weekly, if u check everyday u will slowly disappoint urself and may give up. May God help us on this lifelong struggle 🙂

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