“I am proud to advocate against body shaming – Uchenna Mofunanya
A WOMAN of diverse interests, Uchenna Mofunanya has also functioned as a model for various local and international brands. She was one of the finalists at the Silverbird organized Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) pageant, 2006.
The winner of multiple awards, her work as a lifestyle consultant is trailed with amazing body transformation testimonials that has helped restore confidence to a lot of women across the world.
Born and raised in the Northern part of Nigeria, Uchenna Mofunanya has always been a sports and fitness enthusiast and has maintained a healthy outdoors life. She was the captain of both the female Basket Ball and Volley Ball teams of FGGC, Jos during her time. She has continued to excel in different leisure and competitive sporting and fitness engagements. She is the winner of the Maiden edition of Three Crowns Fitness Challenge, 2016.
The mother of three continues to serve as a role model for women across the globe, and works as an advocate for body-shaming awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity and healthy eating. She shares her story in this interview.
I grew up as the last child of a family of four in a middle-class home. This position automatically made you everybody’s errand girl. I was always busy on my feet. Besides this, I was your “go-to” girl, the person everyone always brought their problems to, the one who always had a solution. I’d say that in a way these circumstances helped horn my knack for problem solving and helping people. On the fitness and nutrition aspect, my mum is a nurse and her love for healthy eating definitely rubbed off on us positively (even if we didn’t appreciate it then), so I grew up knowing the basics of nutrition.
Growing up, I was one of the tallest girls in school and therefore could not really hide from participation in sports. I never really liked track events so I was pushed into basket ball, volley and football. I performed brilliantly in these sports was made captain in each of them. And when you start winning laurels, it becomes more like an addiction for you. The need to maintain the winning streak made fitness a habit.
My childhood had its challenges, but I guess everything worked together for good. Looking back now, I can say my childhood played a major role in my career today, I didn’t stumble on it, I believe God prepared me from the start.
Inspiration behind Shapeup
Shapeup with Mrsmurphy was born out of a passion to help families become healthier and the need to raise a healthy and happier generation. I feel the need to help women regain their body confidence especially after having babies. I have seen families break up and a lot of women lose their self esteem due to poor lifestyle choices.
It all started as a hobby (passion) and then grew into a business. Over the years, I had helped a lot of friends, neighbors, strangers and colleagues achieve their body goals by eating healthy, drinking healthy and teaching them easy ways to stay fit. The results and testimonies from these encounters encouraged the international business consult that is Shape up with Mrs Murphy today.
Entreprenural spirit, passion and the need to stand out has driven me to get further learning, courses and certifications on family health nutrition, weight- loss and fitness from local and international schools. The growth of Shape Up with Mrs Murphy is hinged on the bedrock of continuous learning. I invest a lot in the acquisition of new material and information to help my clients.
In a way, the results I get from what I do has encouraged the need to do more and the growth of the company. I’m able to create awareness for good nutrition as an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, combined with physical activity to help people reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote overall total health one individual at a time .
Being a coach, nutritionist, Mom, wife and managing it all
This hasn’t been easy but with some effort I’ve been able to find a near perfect balance between my family and my job. Being an online business, I must say it wasn’t easy at first because enquiries come from different people in different places with different time zones. But I had to set working hours for myself, even though it’s a bit of a struggle to adhere strictly to this, it helps me to regulate.
That way, when I have to work, I work and when I shut down,I spend time with the family. My husband’s job keeps him away for the greater part of the day, so I work around the timelines. I also took up the responsibility of driving my kids to and from school, that way I get to spend a lot of time with them.
Some of my biggest challenges stems from the dept of mediocrity in the industry. When people try to compare me to this or that coach whose procedure did not work.
When I am put in this position where I have to validate myself or my work. It’s more like paying for other people’s crimes. But I’ve been able to deal with this, one client at a time. From one happy client to another, gradually the wheat is being separated from the chaff.
Other Projects & Activities
I’m actually working on a lot of projects at the moment. I’m excited about them and still trying to find my feet. I’m still trying to keep it under wraps, but rest assured it’s going to involve a lot of outdoors and collaborations with a lot of local and international brands. But once I’m done, you’d be one of the first people I’d mention it to.
I could mention this award or that recognition but really my greatest reward professionally actually happens every day. When I see the smile on my clients face and whenever they achieve their health and body goals, it’s a success for me. This feeling for me is very fulfilling
Women and weightloss
I’d like them to become more health conscious, the moment they do, they’d understand and appreciate the beauty of fitness and weight loss. So many people are overweight and very fit, some are underweight and not fit, many are also overweight or underweight and not healthy.
We have several body types, the ectomorphs, endomorphs and mesomorphs, so not everyone can be skinny, not everyone will be skinny, but everyone no matter their size can decide to be healthy by making daily conscious efforts to stay fit, eat and drink healthy.
Obesity and lack of exercise are silent killers. Take care of yourselves, the world still needs you because you’re here for a reason
Appreciation of women in the fitness sector
I believe we are in some ways, but maybe not as much as we should. Ours is a young and thriving industry. In the past decade a lot of achievements and milestones have been recorded. So slowly but surely the works of the genuine practitioners are being recognized.
I emphasize the word ‘real’ because in our business just as in any other potential laden business, there are a lot of charlatans and imposters. And in some cases, this category are in the majority and have the potential of clouding the real successes of the real practitioners.
You’d be amazed how many times I’ve had to battle fake practitioners stealing transformation pictures from my page. We do get accolades but it can only get better.
When it comes to being fit and healthy, I am mostly inspired by the vision of who know I can become. The realization that I’m still work in progress. And of course the tiny everyday changes and improvements that go unnoticed by the average eye. I love competing with the woman I was yesterday. My aim is to evolve into a better version of myself daily.
Being a Woman of Rubies
As a UK Certified life style consultant, i specialize in helping women achieve their body goals. I have helped restore many marriages, relationships and helped a lot of women restore or gain self worth, esteem and confidence. Based in Lagos Nigeria but with clients all over the world, I take it as my calling to help women be their best possible self.
I support women empowerment programs all over the world especially in Nigeria and l have been recognized by diverse female groups for my service in the elevation of women
Advice to Women
I’d love women to know they are beautiful irrespective of their height, weight, race, IQ and religion. We all need to love ourselves more and not always seek validation from anyone, we need to become more Health focused, we need to become more prudent and wise, we need to think of our daughters and sons before we act today, we need to start asking ourselves questions in the mirror “will my kids be proud of my behaviour”? We need to start genuinely supporting one another.
We need to love and respect each other, knowing that the beauty of a Garden is in the flowers blooming together.