“I Evelyn Madubuko, do solemnly affirm that the evidence I shall give, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.
We burst into laughter but yes, I made her do it!
Evelyn was a little chubby back in the day but no bigger than a small size 16. She however grew to a whopping size 24 after Law school. When I saw her photos recently, I did a double take! She had lost all that weight! All I could blurt out when we were opportuned to speak was “Evelyn! Did you undergo a gastric bypass??!!”
Weight issues are not uncommon with many professionals especially lawyers, who mostly live a sedentary lifestyle, owing to many hours spent on research; but Evelyn says she decided to take control of her health and change her life.
Called to the Nigerian bar in 2004, Evelyn Madubuko practiced briefly as an editor for Sarauniya Law Reports and Sharia Law Reports, before leaving Nigeria for the UK in 2008.
Evelyn currently runs her own management company called Beautiful Women Ventures Limited. She helps budding businesses prepare business, marketing and strategic plans. She is also studying to become a solicitor in England.
Evelyn who is exactly 6 feet tall weighed 125kg at her heaviest and wore a UK size 24. Now at 83kg and a UK 14, she says she is yet to reach her goal of 73kg and UK size 12 which is ideal for her Body Mass Index (BMI).
In this interview with The Metro Lawyer (TML), Evelyn shares every intricate detail on how she did it, and how she plans to maintain her new body. Enjoy the read.
TML: First I’m sure our readers will want to know if you have undergone any kind of weight loss surgery or if you have had some help in terms of slimming teas etc
Evelyn: I swore an oath (hearty laughter). Seriously I have never. No. Just Gym and a strict diet
TML: How did you become that big and what motivated you to do something about it?
Evelyn: I was going through a lot at some point. I lost my dad and I was generally unhappy. So I took solace in comfort food. I was eating so much chocolate and taking too many fizzy drinks. My weight gain was self-inflicted to be honest.
Over time, I was no longer comfortable with my size. I couldn’t do all the things I wanted to do due to my weight. I had difficulty walking and climbing up stairs. I was always breathless and could only sleep on my back. I woke up one day and said “enough”.
TML: What is the single most important thing for someone who wants to lose weight?
Evelyn: Determination. My determination was important to me. I wanted to lose the weight and not “yoyo” anymore. I started keeping video diaries and recording my journey because I felt by doing that, it would keep me on track.
TML: What was your first move
Evelyn: I started reducing my food portions and I introduced more vegetables. I also cut down on my intake of carbohydrates.
Discipline is also important. My goals drove me to become very disciplined. I must confess it was difficult curbing the sweet tooth, but I did. After the first two weeks, I saw the scale moving and my weight was dropping. I was a whooping 125kg, I was almost hitting 20 stones. That was how my journey began and here I am today.
TML: How important is water to your diet?
Evelyn: Water is very important. I drink a minimum of 2.5 liters of water a day. That is excluding my green tea. I swapped sugary drinks for plain or sparkling water.
TML: Did you train by yourself?
Evelyn: No. I registered at a gym and enlisted the help of a personal trainer for 3 months. When I got the hang of the routine, I started working out by my self. Once I lost the first few kgs, I increased my gym visits to twice a day, mornings and evenings. I was undergoing High Intensity Interval Trainings (HIIT).
TML: What kind of meals are on your diet?
Evelyn: Cauliflower, brocolli and tuna. I eat a lot of vegetables. I cut off swallow and rice. I eat rice occasionally. I am also very into portion control. No more large helpings for me. I also had to reduce my salt intake as I found out salt makes my body retain water.
TML: Have you ever relapsed or given up on your struggle?
Evelyn: Sometimes I feel like giving up when the scale doesn’t move. It’s kind of frustrating when you’ve worked so hard and you’ve had a good week and you haven’t lost a kg. I do feel like that sometimes, but when I look at how far I’ve come, I wouldn’t want to go back.
TML: How excited about fashion are you now
Evelyn: I am excited about fashion now. I don’t have to shop at the plus size shops anymore. I just go into a shop and get spoiled for choice. I can actually look and feel good in my clothes now. I like looking good now and wear clothes that flaunt my body.
TML: How did your weight gain affect your relationships?
Evelyn: In terms of relationships with the opposite sex, it was horrible. I was always called fat and told that I needed to lose weight. Well, those guys were shallow. My friends generally love and appreciate me fat or not, that didn’t determine who I was. They saw beyond my size. I was single when I was at my heaviest. When I lost the weight, I think the scales fell from their eyes.
TML: How has weight loss changed your life?
Evelyn: I love and appreciate myself better. I can now do things I couldn’t do before. I had severe joint pains, I found it very difficult to move around, I couldn’t lay on my stomach as it made me breathless, I was always panting. Since losing the weight, all these symptoms have gone. I have better self esteem. It got to a stage when I couldn’t even fit into a chair. I am very however now very active.
TML: Do you advice people to use slimming teas? Do you know if they work?
Evelyn: I take a brand of green tea. It serves as a laxative for me personally. It can only work as part of a healthy diet. I don’t personally advice people to take slimming aids as some have severe side effects. Always read the packaging. It works for some people but didn’t work for me. Our metabolisms are different.
TML: What is your advice to people who would like to slim down and live a healthier life style like you?
Evelyn: My advice is that you can do it. All it takes is that first step. If I could do it, then anybody can. Swap all the unhealthy food for the healthy food and you will be glad you did. You have so much within you. It’s not all so rosy and easy, you get discouraged a lot, but stick to it, you will get there. It doesn’t matter how long, just be steadfast. Do away with the fizzy drinks and drink loads of water.
TML: You have lost a lot of weight. Did any part of your body sag?
Evelyn: Yes, I’ve lost over 40 kg. Well to be honest, I’m trying to tone my abs. I had a personal trainer and we worked on my arms, legs and shoulders. I don’t have lose skin on my arms as I lift and pull a lot of weight. I do loads of squats and HIIT exercises. It’s just my abs that needs to be toned. I am lucky that I have fab arms.
TML: What do you think of waist cinchers?
Evelyn: It all depends on individual preference. I may have to get one now and see how I look and feel in it.
TML: You know our Naija diet. What should we drop fast? What do we keep?
Evelyn: Our Naija diet is filled with so much carbs and fat. Pounded yam and rice are high in carbs. If you can cut down or avoid them, that would make a huge difference on your weight loss. Eat more vegetables, fish, fiber and proteins and avoid salt and sugar.
****Do you have a question for Evelyn? Ask in the comment section and she will respond there too.