In Health & Wellness, Travel

Lagos Life And My Valuable Quest For A Flat Tummy

My quest for a flat tummy started after I gave birth to my son 26yrs ago. 26yrs later, that region of my anatomy is the one I pay most attention to. Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased to return from Lagos in January looking like I was in my 2nd trimester of pregnancy. Below is an account of how, and the reasons why I lost my flat tummy in Lagos. 

Due to the circumstances surrounding my visit (the burial of my mother), I was aware before boarding the plane at Heathrow airport, that I would likely return to London with significant weight gain. While I could attribute it to burial planning and other factors, the truth is, I simply let myself go. I hardly exercised and frequently disregarded portion control when eating and drinking.

By the time I boarded the plane back to the UK at the end of my four-week stay, I was feeling unwell in my gut. I experienced significant discomfort, felt bloated, sluggish, heavy, and plagued by body aches all over. My gut was in severe distress.

I’ve identified below six factors that contributed to my decline. I liken these six things to destroyers of my flat tummy success, akin to aliens invading my body.


Take a look at the image on the right and do the maths. How many tablespoons of oil would you say is in the Eforiro pictured? I would say a minimum of 4. That’s 480 calories of just oil. Then add the wraps of Iyan (I only ate one by the way) the spinach, meat etc. The simple fact is, Eforiro can be calorific if made with a lot of oil. 

Nigerian food is traditionally oily. Someone once said to me, “It’s the oil gan gan that makes the food tasty”. I beg to differ, the delicious Eforiro I cook doesn’t swim in oil. I must mention though, not all establishments serving Eforiro make it this oily.

Egg sauce or oily eggs

Back home in the UK, my cooking routine involves using minimal oil or butter when making eggs, typically just 1 or 2 tiny drops. This practice stems from the awareness that oils, even the healthier varieties, are calorie-dense. For instance, a tablespoon of oil equates to approximately 120 calories. By minimising oil usage, I aim to reduce unnecessary calorie intake while still enjoying delicious meals. As nice and delicious as egg sauces are, I shall consider them unhealthy unless oil free.


I blame David for this. Yes! I refuse to take responsibility for my drinking. Hahaha! I, a grown woman, in her right mind was led astray by her husband of 28 years.

Let’s start with Guinness stout and Fanta mix we shared regularly.  Stout is 384 cal for 600ml bottle and a 500ml Fanta bottle is 180 calories. That’s a combined total of 564 calories. When split in 2, it’s  close to 300 calories per person. Now add possible calories from oil in the meal, and then add the calories from the actual meal. It starts to add up doesn’t it?

I mainly stick to water as a rule for this reason. Beverages with liquid calories offer no nutritional value and can contribute to weight gain.

Big portions



There were occasions when my husband and I ordered the same meal while dining out. With his height of 6’3″ and over 80% muscle mass compared to my 5’4″ frame with 64% muscle mass, our calorie needs differ significantly. Unfortunately, on such occasions, I found myself overeating, exceeding my daily allowance. Nigerian restaurant portions tend to be generous, which can be challenging to process for someone with a smaller frame like mine. 

Little or no workouts 

This situation was unprecedented for me, and by the fourth week, I clearly felt the effects of not engaging in my usual structured workouts. I’ve never gone without exercising for four weeks straight. Regardless of my location, I always seek out opportunities to stay active and maintain my fitness routine. I prioritise regular exercise for numerous reasons, one being the positive impact it has on my overall well-being. If I neglect it for an extended period, my mood and energy levels plummet.

Incorporating exercises that engage my core muscles is essential to maintain strength and stability. As the saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” and by the fourth week of inconsistency, I could feel the absence of my defined abs. Moreover, the additional calories I typically burn through structured physical activity provide me with leeway for indulgence. However, without this buffer, any surplus calories I consumed were stored as fat.

Bowel evacuation. 

Everyone has different bowel movement habits. Missing my timing on some days and dietary changes, led to the unpleasant results listed below.

Abdominal Discomfort: By the fourth week, I was going to bed at night experiencing a sensation of fullness, bloating, and discomfort in my abdomen due to retained stool.

Flatulence: Some nights, my farts were so stinky, I almost passed out. Yes, incomplete evacuation can result in excessive gas production and increased flatulence.

Changes in Bowel Habits: I noticed changes in my stools. The consistency was altered to a softer  greasy consistency. 

Abdominal Pain: What happens when you have a pile of waste sitting in your intestine? Prolonged incomplete evacuation can lead to abdominal pain or discomfort.

In my Get Rid Of Stubborn Belly Fat Masterclasses, I explain how our diet can make our abdomens more pronounced. The foods you eat can keep you walking around with a permanently bloated abdomen. Yes, I have dropped a couple of kilos since I got back from Lagos, however, part of what is evident in the photo on the right is a reduction in size due to reduced bloating. The reason for this is, my diet is now back to “my” normal.

Here’s my conclusion, 

None of the reasons I mentioned earlier were beyond my control. Admittedly, maintaining a routine can be challenging when away from our usual environment. However, if it’s a country one has visited before, pre-planning based on past experiences isn’t difficult. In my case, I used the passing of my mother as an excuse not to plan.

On the last day of my recent four-week stay in Lagos, someone brought up an interesting point about how my extended trip could offer valuable insights into the challenges individuals face in Lagos when it comes to maintaining weight, fitness and health in Nigeria.

From what I’ve observed, one of the primary challenges faced by the middle and upper class in Lagos is the obstacle of affluence. Establishing and sticking to good habits can be difficult when you have the means to indulge.

More from the blog:

1 Comment.

  • Oluwatoyin Akinola
    February 15, 2024 8:09 am

    Indeed, this is an interesting read. “Old habits die hard “especially with food since our palate has adapted over decades. Also, healthier options generally cost more anywhere in the world. How much more a country operating at the whims of a skyrocketing exchange rate. We know the benefits of olive oil over vegetable oil, can I afford it? I am making excuses I guess but as always, I enjoyed your post.

Comments are closed.

Verified by ExactMetrics