This photo combination created on February 20, 2022 shows Odeke before (L) and after she had embarked on a fitness journey. Odeke says after giving birth, do not start any exercise regime without consulting your doctor first. PHOTO/COURTESY


Odeke’s journey of losing 18kgs in eight months

What you need to know:

  • Before pregnancy, Odeke weighed 68kgs and was a size 12. After giving birth to her last child she developed complications that kept her from working out.
  • Six months after, she embarked on a fitness journey that has seen her lose 18kgs.

Leah Odeke, a mother of three is passionate about staying fit. Her biggest motivation thus far been her pre-pregnancy body.

‘‘Before becoming pregnant, I weighed 68kgs and after having my last baby, I weighed 93kgs. I am now on a mission to lose this extra weight and achieve my pre-pregnancy weight,’’ she shares.

For her previous pregnancies, Odeke gave birth normally and would, therefore, start working out almost immediately. However, for her last pregnancy, she went through vigorous medical procedures that sent her back to theatre several times.

“According to my doctor, I suffered a stitch sinus that progressed into caesarean sepsis,” she says.

However, despite this and the pain she would sometimes feel, Odeke knew that she had to work on gaining back her size 12 body.

Following her doctor’s advice, six months after giving birth,  she started engaging in simple and light exercises. She would walk around her compoundfor about 20 minutes every day and when she started feeling more energetic, she progressed to running short distances. Whenever she would feel any discomfort or strain, she would rest for a few minutes before continuing.

‘‘I always listen to my body and ensure I take it easy while also maintain consistency,’’ she says.

With time, her body adjusted to the workouts and she progressed from the light workouts to full body exercises.

‘‘My goal is to burn fat and not to build muscle which is why I concentrate on cardiovascular exercises,’’ she says.

Put in the work
Taylor Agaba, a fitness instructor, says the first step to starting a weight loss journey after giving birth is listening to your doctor’s advice.

‘‘We collect enough data which is inclusive of the doctor’s report, one’s height and age and this will help us to strategically design a weight loss programme for the client,’’ he explains
To begin, Agaba recommends a 30-minute walk.

‘‘After a reasonable period, one can upgrade to using cross machines, a spinning bike and battle ropes which are good for strengthening several body parts,’’ he tips.

Odeke started by taking short walks around her compound and slowly graduated to jogging. While at it, she would take breaks between each exercise.

“I often use breathing techniques to relax my body during breaks which enables me clear my chest giving me better oxygen intake,” she says.

After each break, which she suggests should not be lengthy, the body is rejuvenated and ready for the next challenge.

“A workout app, which I have installed on my phone, allows me to regulate my workout time and find breaks between each workout,” she explains. 

To make it work, Odeke compliments her workout regimen with a healthy diet. This she says is efficient in producing real-time results.

“My plate is usually half vegetables, a quarter protein and a quarter carbohydrates,” she says.

Agaba says a poor diet is the biggest obstacle to weight loss as individuals usually attend to tiresome workouts which stimulate appetite and end up eating unhealthy foods. Odeke also emphasises the need to take meals on time in order to avoid complications such as indigestion.


It is recommended that one takes at least eight glasses of water per day. Agaba recommends taking at least two litres of water per day.

“I stay hydrated with plenty of tea, juices and water. For example, I aim to take at least two litres of water per day,” Odeke says, adding that one should regulate their sugar intake since excess sugar may cause you to add extra weight because it is high in calories while offering few other nutrients.

According to, the human body is receptive of what one’s mindset is. Whatever is felt or thought from the inside is brought forth on the outside.

Odeke’s inspiration is to gain back her pre-pregnancy body weight and she has set her mind to achieving this goal. 
“I am human and sometimes get frustrated if I do not achieve the expected results in a certain time frame. However, I have learnt to take be kind to myself and appreciate the fact that pregnancy changes the body in different ways,” she says.

Taylor Agaba, a fitness instructor, says individuals facing workout challenges should seek professional help.

‘‘There are usually low concentration levels when one works out on their own. However, tangible results are seen when one works out with a partner or trainer since here, there is accountability and motivation,’’ he says.

Odeke encourages low-intense exercises as advised by a physician or gynaecologist.

“Talk to your doctor and design a workout plan that follows their advice. Always remember to take it easy and in case of any discomfort, please inform your doctor immediately,” she says.