Damola Ladejobi is a well known weight loss, fitness expert and certified nutritionist who decided to expand the frontiers of her weight loss manageme
Damola Ladejobi is a well known weight loss, fitness expert and certified nutritionist who decided to expand the frontiers of her weight loss management outfit, AskDamz when she recently launched her brand of sneakers. The mother of two who began her journey to healthy living by losing 35kg in less than a year, talks to the editorial/lifestyle director, Nkarenyi Ukonu about the journey to birthing her passion
What is AskDamz all about?
AskDamz is a weight management, health and fitness consulting company which came about as a result of my personal experience. I used to be about a size 18/20 and lost about 35 kilos so now I wear a dress size 10. So basically, AskDamz came out of my passion for helping others to do the same thing that I did; embark on a weight loss, weight management or healthy lifestyle.
When you say healthy lifestyle, that would mean that you had health issues
Yes I actually do have something called Gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD), that is severe hyperacidity in the stomach which was as a result of over eating, most times late at night or eating the wrong things all the time and then after a while I had my stomach acid eating up on my esophagus causing me to go on medication. I am able to better manage it now because of what I do. So GERD made me embark on my weight lose journey to be healthy.
How old is AskDamz?
It is about 19 months old. It will be two months old in November
What is it about AskDamz that sets it apart from the rest?
It is a personal experience because what I do is to provide the kind of services most weight loss coaches don’t render which is that personal touch, that one on one service. I have three packages that clients have to choose from when they sign up with me. So whether it is the basic, medium or high range package, I make sure that I have a one-on-one personal interaction with all my clients. That is what sets us apart from the rest.
Before and after weight loss
How does having a sneaker line add to your weight loss and fitness outfit?
First I found out that in Nigeria, all we ever do wear is Nikes, Addidas and the rest. It dawned on me that we don’t have any local brand in Nigeria so I thought it best to grab that market. Then I also realized that there is a niche for people with big feet. So that is what I concentrate on as opposed to smaller sizes. So mine is the first, as I am not aware of any other Nigerian brand that is into sneakers.
What has the response to the sneakers been like?
It has been amazing. Two weeks before the sneakers even came out, I had people already buying, people who didn’t know me from anywhere were interested in it which goes to show how important branding is.
How can one find it?
It is going to be sold online and I will be collaborating with some online stores as well. I have a pick up centre in Lekki. I am also trying to speak to Amazon, Jumia, Konga etc just to get the brand out there and it is not going to stop with just the sneakers. We are going to do other things as well, like workout gears. Anything difficult to get in Nigeria, health, fitness-wise, we will bring it in. That is my aim.
Do you incorporate workouts in your weight loss routine or is it just about nutrition?
I do the both. I don’t necessarily say gym which is why my brand is called Active by AskDamz. Most people will say fitness but I wouldn’t because I don’t the gym. I like to dance, do random jogging and go for walks, but not necessarily the gym. As long as you are active, that is all that matters. The average human being needs about 180 minutes of some sort of activity every week and that activity could be house work, gardening etc. Whatever it is, just get active. So I get fit by being active and watching what I eat. Over the years I learnt general things about nutrition and when I became a coach, I went ahead to get a diploma in nutrition. So I am a certified nutritionist based on qualifications and experience as well.
How are you able to get fit if you don’t like the gym?
You can work out without a gym; you can have a skipping rope and skip in your house. You can do general house work such as gardening. You burn 250 calories from sweeping your house alone. As long as you are not living a sedentary lifestyle, do something; swim, dance, run, jog etc. You don’t need to pay for a gym subscription to lose weight, I never did.
What were you doing before embracing this?
I am actually a lawyer by training. I went to school at the University of Exeter, UK and I have my BL from Nigeria Law School, Bwari, Abuja. I worked at the ministry of justice for about a year, got bored and then I became a head of school because I like kids but I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself. I worked at the school for five years and it was while I was there that I began losing weight. Then I started helping other people loose weight as well, as many as 13 people. I wasn’t doing it for money. So these people didn’t only loose weight, some of them that had been looking for children for the longest time got pregnant after loosing weight. That is where the name Coach Damz came from as they started to call me that. And that AskDamz came into being. I was doing it for free but my passion for it promoted me to turn it into a business venture.
What would you say must have significantly shaped you to be who you are today?
My inquisitive nature to read up about anything health. I can tell you the different causes of various diseases, what kind of food to eat. I am a lawyer but I can give you information on most subject areas at the drop of a hat. And it is because of my inquisitive nature that I do what I do currently.
Do you still practice law?
No I don’t and I will never practice ever again. I only studied it because of my parents who felt I was really smart and should study law, medicine or accountancy. And because I like to read, I decided to do law.