How To Lose Weight When You Love Nigerian/African Food

lose weight
4 min reading time

Contrary to popular belief, you CAN lose weight and stay fit with traditional Nigerian or African foods. Shocked? Then you need to understand how great the typical African diet is and how you can use it in a way that will aid your weight goals. 

The typical Nigerian or African diet is usually only thought of as being heavy and weight gain inducing. This heaviness, however, is just one aspect of it and can be moderated to be just as wholesome while being weight loss friendly. 

The key to this is to first put a focus on fresh, whole foods rather than processed or unhealthy street food. Most traditional dishes include whole foods, rich leafy greens, legumes, and various stews and sauces. These dishes are mostly high in fibre which is great for weight loss as it regulates bodily sugars and helps keep hunger at bay. 

There’s no need to start eating meals that aren’t traditional or enjoyable to you. You can still enjoy the same foods and delicious flavours by prioritizing low carbs, high fat, and moderate protein.

There are three major keys to achieving your healthy weight goals: Meal planning, exercise, and having fun! 

Meal planning 

A meal plan is an organized list of some or all of the meals you will be eating within the week or the whole month. 

There are so many benefits to planning your meals, especially when you’re on an African diet! For one, it allows you to control your portions. Portion control is a highly effective way to be in charge of your weight and health.

By controlling your portions, you can enjoy all your favourite foods—whether it’s pounded yam or jollof rice—without overindulging and eating too much. 

Additionally, following meal plans crafted just for you by health experts such as Ilera or your doctor helps you pick a diet that suits not just your fitness goals, but your lifestyle as well. 

A good meal plan will also always include liquids that support a healthy, functioning body such as water and moderate amounts of fruit juice or beverages such as tea or green smoothies. 


Exercise is one of the greatest counterparts to meal planning and dieting. They work hand in hand to make sure your system is balanced and full of vitality. 

Before going into any exercise plan, make sure that you’ve consulted a physician, especially if you are pregnant or have minor or major medical conditions. 

Some healthy exercises that are helpful for most people are cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging, dancing and aerobics or high-intensity workouts.

For this, you can choose to use an app to assist you (there are health apps for workouts, counting your steps, monitoring your heart rate etc), sign up at your local gym and train with an instructor, or just go along with free videos on Youtube. 

Another great route to go is weight training. Prior to weight training, it’s very important to warm up with some light cardio to avoid potential injuries. Lifting weights is a great way to shed fat and build lean muscle as well as increase the rate of your metabolism. 

If you’re new to weight training, make sure that you have a trained fitness instructor to help you on your journey. Injuries are common in weight training when you don’t know what you’re doing. Always stay safe! 

Have fun on your journey 

If you are seriously trying to lose weight or maintain your fitness, you have to enjoy the process! 

Without enjoying the foods you’re eating and enjoying the exercises you’re choosing to do, the process of losing weight will be burdensome and unsustainable. No one likes doing what they don’t want to do. So think about how you can make each step of the process more fun and easy.

This can look like exercising with a friend that will keep you accountable, playing music on your morning run, adding in your favourite foods to your meal plan or telling yourself positive affirmations. 

The African diet is rich and delicious, you shouldn’t miss out on great food because of the wrong assumption that it’s “bad” for your diet. Enjoy the tastiness that the African continent has to offer by planning your meals, exercising, and having fun while doing it all! 

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