If you read the previous interview, I’m sure you were eager to know who the next health/ fitness expert will be. Dr. Chinasa is a Medical Doctor, certified online Weight Loss Expert, Meal Plan/ Nutrition Specialist, entrepreneur, and mum.

She is a true inspiration, has a very good heart, and was fun to chat with. I’m so happy that she accepted to be featured and made time for me despite her busy schedule.

I’ve included a podcast of this interview and our entire discussion, so you can listen if you prefer. 

I have so much respect for those in the health industry, aside from the amount of studying they have to go through on an ongoing basis, these folks help keep our lives in check and each visit to the hospital is a reminder for me to respect workers in this field.

While the previous interview, dealt a great deal on weight-gain, this chat I had with Dr. Chinasa focuses on weigh-loss. She shared a whole lot of information and every word that came out of her mouth had a high level of inspiration.

She is the brain behind Ariella Health and Fitness Ltd., a weight-loss/ healthy living platform aimed at helping people adopt sustainable lifestyle modification. She also has a line of healthy food products.

I can’t express my feelings in words, so I’ll just keep going and you’ll see for yourself.

So I asked her about how she came to discover she wanted a career in medicine because so many of us discover our paths in several ways. She had an interesting story.

“My mum was a doctor so I literally grew up in the hospital. I always wanted to be a doctor. Asides from parental influence, I always wanted to be a doctor right from time. My medical journey/ career has been a long one because I was in medical school for a little over 11 years because of one school crisis or the other and I eventually finished medical school in 2013 June.

Currently, I’m a General Practitioner but I hope to specialize. I’m preparing to take some professional exams and I’m working towards that.”

Her routine day, especially the time she closes work feels like what I should consider haha.

“Different times bring different experiences. My day starts at 5:00 AM on normal school days when the kids are not on holiday. We do family prayers, 5:00 AM to 5:30 AM, and then I get ready to leave for work and the day starts. I close work at 4:00 PM to avoid getting stuck in traffic and I’m back home around 5:00 – 5:30 depending on if I need to go to the market or just play with my kids.

Once they go to bed around 8:30, I start to study till about 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM”.

The aspect of Dr. Chinasa’s job that interests her the most was actually heartwarming when she told me.

“The best part of being a doctor is being able to attend to people’s ailment and to help people. I’ve had several experiences, I once had a woman come by and she was literally crying. She blessed me so much about a particular thing she came in for which we talked about and I reviewed with a colleague and were able to come up with something for her. Two or three weeks later she came back and she was so excited and she kept praying.

That blessing alone is so much. The fact that I’m able to help people and they can notice it, this feeling gives me so much joy. No matter what I want to do in this life, I still want to be in clinical practice. I just love to be able to use my knowledge to alleviate the pains of people and help them. It’s priceless”.

It’s no news that the healthcare industry in Nigeria can be so frustrating for many but despite this, Dr. Chinasa has made it a duty to find joy and put smiles on the faces of her patients. In her words:

“There are a lot of stressful times. It’s always stressful but it’s the satisfaction I get pretty much that’s it for me. I didn’t do the whole of medical school here in Nigeria. Coming back to Nigeria, it was difficult to accept the standard of the self-care system.

But then, being able to work with what we have … the fact that sometimes you want to give a patient something because you know he needs it, but you can’t because you don’t have it, or you can’t do a test because you don’t have an X-ray, or you have to tell the patient to go somewhere to do the X-ray and come back with the result. Thinking about the time lapse in all this can be frustrating.

For example, a patient has an accident and maybe a head trauma and you know that this patient needs quick medical attention. And you are now like, where do we send this patient to Ikeja to do this …. before the patient comes back… You can’t do these things because they are not readily available. Even if they are, maybe there wouldn’t be a technician to run it. Even if there is, there’ll be no light/ electricity.

The healthcare industry is so frustrating, but you still have to find joy somewhere. You just have to find a happy place and stay there.”

If you’re wondering how she’s come to be so passionate about health and fitness, well, she’s got you covered. It’s always interesting to learn about the hurdles people have gone through and how it’s inspired them to live a healthier lifestyle.

“I got obese for a long period of time in my life and I decided that I needed to do something about it. I’ll usually say: “They say I’m asthmatic.” I realized that when I went to school I was having a lot of episodes.

The doctor then recommended that I try to lose weight, it’ll reduce my episodes asides from the weather and allergies. I had issues with high blood pressure at a very young age and my mum will tell me that I’m so obese and I’d keep consoling myself saying that it’s in my family, I have big bones and there’s no way I can go down.

But then after the doctor said that, I decided to try to lose weight. I did a lot of diets – warrior diet, Sheppard diet, different types of diet! Then I realized that I was gaining the weight back and with further research, I realized that healthy eating and exercise was the best way to go. I started exercising and became obsessed.

I started losing weight and was so excited. I had an ‘aha‘ moment and I was seeing results.

I became more passionate about exercising. Initially, I’ll run with my inhaler always in my bag but at some point, I started running long kilometers and didn’t need to use my inhaler. With the fact that I was building my endurance and exercise, at some point I told people in school to join me and I started training them.

I’ve always had leadership skills and it became easy for me to control the group of ladies that I picked to work with me and they were like: “Chinasa, you’re so hard with us.” And I’ll reply: “Yeah because you can’t be smiling, you can’t romance with fat. It doesn’t work.”

She is so much fun to chat with, so she continued.

“After some time, I decided to start making money out of it. I decided to harness my calling and realized that with my fixed price people were still paying because I was giving them good stuff.

I realized that I also needed expertise so I started doing a lot of courses, diplomas, and reading more. I got certified and I keep trying to update my certification. So far, so good. That was where it all started and it was called Nasa Fitness at the time. Then over time, I came back to Nigeria, I got pregnant, I ate for two, and went back to square one and had to start all over again.

It was a tough delivery and I knew that I had to pull through for my daughter, be healthy for her to see me as a role model, and not just in my way of life, but physically.

The passion was there and in less than 7 months, I was able to snap back even better than I was before the baby and that was how Ariella fitness came about.”

Ariella is the name of her first daughter.  Nasa Fitness metamorphosed into Ariella Fitness and to reach a louder audience and touch more lives, she went ahead to start up the online platform in order to give much more people the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle irrespective of their location.

Wondering how she’s able to handle all this and still maintain a healthy routine? She gives her tips.

“If you are passionate about something, you’ll always make time for it. I also suffer from time management but my health means a lot to me so I try to make time for it. At work, if I don’t have a patient, I’ll do some squatting, stretching…

As I’m working on the laptop, I’ll be throwing down squats. Right here in my bedroom, I have my dumbbells, resistant band. I think you have to learn to multi-task things that can balance out like working my biceps while trying to read.

Today I intentionally didn’t drive to work because I hadn’t covered enough steps so I trekked with my bag pack and walked some distances. I took a look at my watch and noticed I have been able to cover 13400 steps and my goal was initially 8,000 steps.”

Quick Exercises for Busy Workers?

“Jumping jacks, squats, or total body exercises are things you can do quickly right in your bedroom. I subscribe for gym memberships when I’m super bored but I’ve always been a home workout person because I don’t have the luxury of utilizing your gym membership. You have to move, just move!”

Cheat Days?

“I don’t have cheat days. I don’t declare cheat days. At most, just have a cheat meal because if not, you can eat so many calories in a day.”

Dr. Chinasa offers several weight-loss programs at extremely affordable rates and fitness has become her way of life. She also offers a range of food products (healthy granola, flour, etc.), which you can purchase at an affordable price. Please visit her website ariellafitness.com and follow her on Instagram: @ariellafitness for some daily dose of inspiration.

Another big thank you, for answering my questions and sharing so much information with us.

Have you read the previous interview on the blog? If weight-gain is your goal read this. Check the magazine category for other interviews.

Did this interview with Dr. Chinasa inspire you? How do you try to keep fit and stay healthy? Share with us in the comment section below. I love hearing back from you.

*Ikeja is a place in Lagos, Nigeria