Remi Owadokun is a Life Coach and 4 time Amazon bestselling author for the books- ‘How I lost 40kg – The Journey That Changed My Life’, ‘Why You Are Still Fat’, ‘Total Makeover – You Deserve To Live Your Best Life’, ‘Mentorless? Attract, Retain and Make The Best Out of Mentoring Relationships’.
Motivated by her win over fat, she wrote her first book ‘How I lost 40kg’ which became an international best seller 8hours after she uploaded it on Amazon. She coaches women on weight loss through the ‘Total Makeover Program’, an online lifestyle platform. She is also the creator of a mobile game ‘Phat Girl’ which helps women lose weight and educates them on how to make proper food choices and by extension, lead on healthy lifestyle.
In this week’s #LLAInterview, Remi shares on life defining experiences, mentoring and her weight loss journey.
How in your own words, would you introduce Remi Owadokun to the world?
I am a girl who is addicted to self-improvement. I believe that by constantly working towards bettering myself, challenging myself, I am better positioned to accomplish more, aspire for more and be motivated to do and be more thereby granting those around me the psychological permission to live their best lives.
I strongly believe that the best gift I can give the world is my gift of self, the privilege of being me, authentic and if people can see that then they are also inspired to live their own authentic lives however it is expressed. Professionally speaking, I am a Certified Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition; I am also a Certified Life Coach and Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I am the Founder of Total Makeover Program and a couple of other small businesses that are still at their hatchling stages.
Wonderful! What was growing up like and how did your childhood experiences, impact on the woman you have become today?
I loved my childhood to no end. My parents put in a lot of effort to give me and my brothers the most fun and memorable childhood we could ask for. Growing up, we were exposed to different people and different cultures. We grew up in 2 distinct neighbourhoods and I had my education in private and government owned secondary schools. In my government school, education was not great but my private school experience was amazing. Some of the best opportunities I have had today, personally and professionally came out of my experiences and relationships from that era.
I grew up multilingual as my mother is not Nigerian. Which contributed greatly to me translating my book to Portuguese and launching the book in Brazil last year.
I lost my father as a young teen. Which contributed to me becoming independent faster than I would have liked. I also did not get the chance to go to the University. This contributed to me working 10x as hard just so I could level up and bring as much value as someone who did, especially if I wanted to make a living for myself at the standard that I desired.
Can you share some experiences that you consider really life defining for you?
Losing my father was one of them. When my father was alive, we had a maid, a nanny per child, a wash man, 2 drivers, 2 cars, a holiday every year. As you can tell, I was officially a spoilt brat. When he passed, we moved from living on two salaries to living on 1, one salary that had to well, manage to accommodate the future of 3 kids. Emotionally, I was very close to my dad, he was very present and we have a lot of fond memories. He left a huge vacuum in my heart.
Accepting that I was overweight was also another life defining moment. You know I was my biggest and I somehow did not think I was as fat as I was. I just thought I was chubby, big boned but not obese. When confronted with that truth it tore me to pieces, I lost weight and never looked back. And it is that experience that has led me to this moment; author, coach, founder etc
You struggled with your weight for a long time, what would you say was the breaking point for you? That point you decided you had to lose weight and lead on a healthy lifestyle.
Like I mentioned above, I was confronted with the truth. I could no longer hide or pretend. For the first time in my life, someone told me I was fat in the most descriptive form ever and I went home crying and looked in the mirror and saw myself. I know it sounds ridiculous, I am sure you wonder “didn’t she have a mirror at home?” believe me when I say that denial can distort reality. Before, I would look in the mirror and focus on what I liked most about my body at the time, for me it was my face. I would look in the mirror and only see my face, I would only look at my body when I was fully dressed.
So when I was shown how I looked in comparison to others, it was as though the scales fell from my eyes and I could finally see. I did not know that I looked like the same people I would secretly mock. So I was filled with guilt, shame, disappointment, shock and it forced me to take matters in my hands even though at the time I had no idea what steps to take. I lost 40kg in 10 months. That taught me that when a person is willing, he or she will find a way through a rock just to find water.
Your book ‘How I lost 40 kg-The Journey That Changed My Life’, chronicled your weight loss journey. Did you ever think it would make International best seller? Can you share some of the fears you had to overcome during the writing process?
Well, I was indecisive about publishing, I was not sure anyone really wanted to read my story. I felt it was too ordinary and way too familiar but I had gotten a few requests from people who were interested in reading my book if I wrote it and so I started writing and stopped on chapter 3 or 4. I had never written a book and wasn’t sure what I was I doing.
My mentor found out about my book and he served as an accountability partner until it was completed. I was not thinking of the bestseller status at all at the time, just writing the book and holding it in my hand was such a big deal that I did not realise that they were much bigger things to aspire to. So once I published my hard copy, I put up a new goal. I wanted it to be a bestseller.
You run Total Makeover Program, a health and wellness consultancy; you also have a book on weight loss and a mobile game to help people lose weight. Do you consider fitness a passion?
No I don’t consider fitness a passion; I have a passion for wholesome, holistic healthy lifestyle. I am passionate about equipping people to make healthier, happier and better decisions. I am passionate about emotional, mental, physical, financial, environmental and relational well-being. At Total Makeover Program we like to look at all the areas of your life and not just your body. Everyone no matter the level of exposure or education has some idea on what they need to do to lose weight but even with this basic knowledge we still have people who can’t get themselves to do it.
So it is ignorant in my opinion to focus on what people eat and how they exercise alone, what is the point when they can’t get themselves to work out? Or control their eating? What is the point of losing weight when after 2 weeks, they are back where they started? So we need to explore the other areas of their lives, like what triggers them to over eat? What demoralises them from working out? When we ask better questions, we get better answers. So fitness is too small to cover what I am passionate about. It is just one of the expressions.
You run the ‘Too Late To Be Nobody’ Movement. Can you share the inspiration behind it?
The movement is my personal mantra that caught on in my community. I believe that everyone has at least one legitimate reason to give up, give in, throw in the towel, stop trying and just live below average. We all sincerely do but just by virtue that we are still alive, that we are still breathing, then we have been automatically disqualified from giving up or resulting to mediocrity. It would be dishonouring life itself.
It is too late to live below average. It is too late to not try again, to not try harder, to not try one more time, to not want more, to not push more, hope more, pray more, achieve more, read more, it is too late and if we can come to that realisation then we will reach a resolve, we will find that strength we did not think we had to push for what we have finally accepted that we deserve.
You are really keen on mentoring and your book ‘Mentorless’ focuses on how to find and keep a mentor. Can you share three things you look out for before mentoring women?
Does she know exactly what she wants? If she doesn’t then my presence in her life is useless. You don’t get in a taxi and not know where you are headed. If you are confused about where you need to go, I recommend getting a coach for clarity and then take your clarity to a mentor.
Does she know what she wants from me being present in her life? If you are asking me to give up my time, energy, resources to maintain a relationship with you, do both of us a favour and let me know what exactly you want me to do for you. That way we can set up a plan, a structure, and work towards it. That way we can record milestones and know that we are working towards something. Or maybe we will both save time and energy if it is something I can’t help you with then I can recommend someone who is more capable.
What have they been able to achieve on their own? Resourcefulness in my estimation is one of the sexiest qualities a human can have. If with everything available to you, you have not been able to do anything for yourself, all you produce are excuses then I can’t make time for you.
How has mentoring shaped the woman you are? Can you mention some women you consider mentor figures?
I am where I am today because I have had the most amazing mentors.
I don’t have female mentors, but only because I believe that if I call someone my mentor then I know the person personally and she has taken me under her wings. Anything outside these specifics would be my role model. Michelle Obama, Oprah & Ibukun Awosika are my top 3 women.
Do you believe a mentee can outgrow a mentor? Can you share some exit strategies?
I believe that we all have different goals and aspirations, none of my mentors are Amazon bestselling authors but none of them are interested in that. Does that mean I have outgrown them?
Our goal should be to outgrow our former selves and be better and not to compete with anyone who is on a different path. If for instance, you happen to be in the same industry and chasing the same things as the person who mentors you, it is possible to move at a faster pace than your mentor. I believe the whole point of being a teacher is so your student can be better than you and that is one of the perks of mentorship.
When under mentorship, you are saving time by avoiding the mistakes your mentor made, you have access to your mentors network and resources, which he or she may not have had.
If your mentor is from a different generation then you might have access and better understand of the tools of this age like the internet and social media that your mentor did not have. Which will obviously give you an edge and make you more appealing to today’s audience. My mentors are still my mentors, I may not be as dependent on them as I once was(they taught me well) I may not reach out to them as much as I use to when I was starting out but I still have the same respect, if not more respect for them now than I did many years ago.
When I reflect on how much they had to sacrifice of themselves to show up for me and how I struggle with mentoring others myself, I understand their sacrifice. When I think of how tough the journey can be, I honour them for how they have been able to stay relevant. For me there is no exit strategy, there will always be something I don’t know, the relationship has evolved and we have developed different ways to still add value to each other’s lives.
What does success and fulfilment mean to you?
Mention three things you would say to your 24 year old younger self?
You are doing just fine, celebrate your wins, think more of me (your older self)
What has influenced your thinking the most?
The love of God
What is your greatest pet peeve?
Poor personal hygiene
What do you have to say to that young woman who has dreams but is crippled with doubts and self-limiting beliefs?
Stop the pity party, it is too late to be nobody.
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series which focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes women empowerment and gender inclusion for women of African descent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.