Mrs. Uchenna Rachael Mofunanya is a Uk-certified nutrition, diet planning, fitness and weight management coach. Her passion to help families become healthier and to raise a healthy and happier generation made her start “Shapeup with Mrs. Murphy”: a business she started with zero financial capital but with intellectual capital. She tells us more. Why did you choose to go into this business?
Why did you choose to go into this business?
Shapeup with Mrs. Murphy was born out of a passion to help families become healthier and the need to raise a healthy and happy generation. I felt the need to help women regain their confidence, especially after having babies. I had seen a lot of women lose 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, neighbours, strangers and colleagues achieve their body fitness 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 now Shapeup with Mrs. Murphy.
What did you set out to achieve with Shapeup with Mrs. Murphy?
Everyone; no matter their size, can decide to be healthy by making daily conscious effort to stay fit, eat and drink healthy. Obesity and lack of exercise are silent killers. So I preach easy ways to lose weight the healthy way and in record time without teas, pills, starvation or sleeping in the gym. How did you get funds to start the business? Apart from money spent on trainings and acquiring certificates for what I do, I can say I started my business strictly with intellectual capital. All I needed was a laptop, a phone, steady supply of data and my knowledge. My business is mostly online, so I studied the social media platforms I needed to use as my channel and then did strategic pilot marketing with my followers and eventually extended it. My business is to get people to lose weight, especially mothers, and my unique selling point has been myself. I am a mother of three, but hardly look it. So, naturally everyone wanted to know my secret and I have been able to show them how easy it is to lose weight and remain fit and trim.
What are the challenges you face doing this business?
One of my biggest challenges stem from the depth of mediocrity in the industry; when people try to compare me to this or that coach whose procedure did not work and 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. Truth be told, there are a lot of charlatans in this business preying on people’s need to be in shape.
How many jobs have you created so far?
Being mainly an online business, the value chain related to what I do is enormous; creating different levels of empowerment and enablement. But directly speaking, I have two permanent staff, over five contract staff and other ad hoc staff mainly for outdoor activities. Ours is still a young organisation and everything we have achieved so far has been achieved through steady organic growth with an uncommon devotion to learning and innovation.
How has technology enhanced your business idea?
This business would be nothing without technology, being an online business, almost everything I do is online; consultation, coaching, sending plans, conferences, etc. So I would say it has done a lot for me and every day I try to find new ways to evolve both online and offline. Our website is www.shapeupwithmrsmurphy.com
What is the secret of a successful business?
Consistency, discipline and dedication to your brand. Needless to say that I put God first in everything I do. If you don’t believe in God, you better have good alternative because you will need it.
At what stage did you know you were going to become an entrepreneur?
I just decided one day to cash in on my passion. I had always seen myself in the corporate world, I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I thought I didn’t have what it took to be one. I felt I was too soft-hearted and that people would take advantage of that. I wasn’t wrong, but I learnt on the job and decided to enroll in a few business classes; those shaped me into the serial entrepreneur I am today.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
The number one thing I will tell you is to put God first in everything no matter how small. Secondly, be consistent and stay focused. Love what you do as that is what can keep a business running with ideas and innovations even when the cash flow is slow. Be passionate about what you are doing because unlike processes, passion cannot be copied. Also, attend a lot of free programmes, network strategically and most importantly, watch the company you keep.
What key things have you learned doing business?
To be disciplined, learn to control your emotions, keep on reinventing yourself, believe in your ideas, learn to delegate and never give up. Focus on growing a business for wealth and not for profit. Most people don’t understand the difference. Profit is for the short run while wealth is for the long run.
How can we support and improve innovation in Nigeria?
Simple; by borrowing the template of the countries we want to be like. We mess things up when we try to reinvent the wheel. A lot of people have done what we are trying to do. Take a cue from them and follow it through. Give grants and provide infrastructure to budding Fintech start-ups everywhere. Merge and collaborate and don’t aim to take over their businesses as this kills innovation. There’s a lot to be done in this regard, but I think providing power and ease of connectivity would be a good place to start.
What five things do start-ups need to know?
Put God first in every decision. You can start a business without capital. If your business requires certification, please get certified, do not underestimate the power of social media and have a plan and do not be scared to execute, start small and build on your ideas. What is your educational qualification? I am a graduate of the University of Lagos ((Unilag). I have B.Ed in Chemistry Education and a Masters in Education. Added to this is a Diploma in Pharmacy; also from Unilag. I am also a Uk-certified nutrition coach, diet planning coach, fitness and weight management coach.
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 have helped restore confidence to a lot of women across the world.
We look at disease prevention not only as immunizing children against infectious diseases, but also as reducing the risk for certain chronic diseases found almost exclusively in adults. A whole new era in the care of children is beginning, the era of focusing on what researchers call pediatric antecedents of adult disease – the link between childhood nutrition and chronic illness in later years.
We now know that many of the symptoms of disease associated with adulthood make their first appearance in childhood – and it is in childhood that steps need to be taken to effectively diagnose, treat, and possibly prevent these diseases.
Our new, groundbreaking research shows that many of the diseases we all associate with old age – heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes – actually begin during childhood, and that poor nutrition and the development of unhealthy eating habits take their toll later in life. We now know that early stages of many of these chronic diseases can be detected in children. Decades of painstaking research and testing have shown that the buildup of plaque deposits in arteries, just to cite an example, is apparent in young people who are consuming a typical American diet loaded with fat. Feeding children right in the years when their young bodies are growing and organs and tissues are developing is the best way to shield them from many of the diseases that won’t show up as symptoms until much later in life.
How does nutrition in children play a role in preventing some of the most serious chronic diseases seen in adults?
We now recognize that because of the diets our children consume, some of these diseases may begin in early childhood or infancy – even in the womb. More importantly, we now know that our intervention can affect the progress of those diseases and perhaps change the course of our children’s lives.
Family Nutrition has been my major interest for all of my professional life.
We now know that a child who is obese at age four has a greater than 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult if nothing is done to prevent it. Childhood obesity is a very special kind of obesity. Studies have found that it’s much more difficult to treat obese adults who were obese as children than obesity that develops after childhood. It stands to reason then that if we wish to prevent the complications of obesity in many adults, we must prevent it from occurring during childhood. And if it hasn’t been treated in early childhood, we must take action and begin to treat it immediately.
Not only is obesity striking at an earlier age, but we’re also seeing the beginnings of heart disease earlier in children.
Important changes in our children’s diets and eating patterns can also lessen their risk for cancer. We know that certain types of diets offer protection against various cancers and that the longer these diets are consumed the greater the protection. Rather than consuming more or less of a simple nutrient, protection from cancer requires altering our children’s dietary patterns.
I hope by now you understand that we have it within our power to protect our children from some of the most devastating diseases of old age. And I hope you understand that by feeding our children the right foods and helping them to develop healthy eating patterns, we offer them the most precious of gifts – the best chance for a long life, free of disease. It does take resolve, but by taking control of our children’s future health now, it’s not hard to imagine them enjoying life for six, seven, or even eight decades down the road. I call this new resolve, love.
And that is what my passionate plea to parents is all about. I’m asking all of you to take this information seriously. The link between childhood nutrition and adult disease is real, and the findings here are critically important to your entire family.
Finally, of all the writing projects with which I’ve been involved that deal with nutrition in general and nutrition in children specifically.
The human body was designed to live in a completely different environment than the one in which we live today. Our prehistoric ancestors were hunters – gatherers who alternated between times of feast and times of famine. During the warm months, when food was abundant, our ancestors would gorge on fresh meat, seeds, roots, nuts, fruits, and berries. (Take note: When they wanted to put on body fat, they ate carbs along with protein and fat.) In the winter, when food was scarce, they lived primarily on dried meat and whatever else they could forage. And sometimes they went without food for days at a time and survived due to stored body fat. Fortunately, when food was in short supply, their bodies adapted by requiring less energy.
Modern men and women may be light years ahead of our prehistoric ancestors intellectually, but the fact is, we still have the same bodies and the same metabolism. And when you go on a diet and cut back on your intake of calories, you trigger the same biochemical response. In fact, about 72 hours after starting a typical weight – loss program, your body begins to produce hormones – so – called “starvation hormones” – that resist burning fat. Over time, your body becomes more efficient and requires fewer calories to do the same amount of work. Inevitably, your metabolism slows down so that you, like your prehistoric ancestors, can run on less energy. This may have been great for them, but it has created untold misery for millions of modern dieters. When you’re off the weight – loss program, you are stuck with a slower metabolism than when you started, so you will begin to rapidly gain weight when you start eating more food.
So in other to maintain the lost weight and keep off excess fat, you have to look at your food pattern as not a diet but a lifestyle change.
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