Sadia Bakarr is a Barrister and Solicitor in private law practice at Tanner Legal Advisory. In her free time, she is a fitness and gym freak who managed to lose 20kgs in the space of a year.
Sadia Bakarr stands at 6’1ft so by any standard, she is above average in build and stature. Because she had always towered over most of her friends, she always felt bigger. Sadia’s father loves to exercise and keep fit so she was exposed to exercising from a young age though she wasn’t really into it. She’s the only girl in a household of four kids so she is no stranger to physical activities. She is also a fantastic cook and loves food.
When she was in university at Fourah Bay College, Sadia developed a love for running. She would wake up and go for morning runs to Kortright. Anyone who attended Fourah Bay College or has been up to Mount Aureol knows that this is no mean feat as the hill is quite steep. Between 2013-2015, Sadia put on a lot of weight. At her heaviest, she weighed 100kg and wore size 16-18UK (12-14US). ‘I was over and above my recommended weight for my height and I just woke up one morning feeling very depressed and unhappy’ said Sadia. So, she knew it was time to do something about it.
If you ask me to describe Sadia in a sentence I would say ‘she has a presence.’ When Sadia walks into a room, people notice due to her height but also the way she carries herself. So fortunately for her unlike some people who suffer with weight issues, she did not suffer from any feeling of low self esteem or low confidence. She says that ‘except for a few comments, here and there, people did not really notice my weight gain. Hell, even I did not notice until that afternoon when I tried on my famous pink shorts.’
A pair of pink shorts!!
Sadia has a favourite pair of pink shorts that she has had for years. She said ‘They were my outing shorts. I was getting ready to go to an outing and when I tried them on, they did not fit. I called my best friend Stefanie and she said to me, if you are not happy; do something about it.’ Shock and horror overtook her and she decided to take drastic action. She knew it was going to be hard but she was determined to lose weight and feel good about herself. She said ‘I did end up going to the outing but my depression had begun and that was the first day of the rest of my life.’
Sadia’s first step on her weight loss journey was a hard and drastic one; she did a ‘juicing diet’ for 10 days to kickstart the process. ‘It was the modified cleanse by JJ Smith which my other friend Yakama introduced me to and on the 7th day of April 2015, I decided to start the 1st day of the rest of my life. I was desperate and was not listening to anyone who said I needed to do a sustainable diet at that time’ she says. So, this meant she consumed nothing but fresh fruits juices, smoothies, infused water and foods rich in protein. She said ‘I could eat eggs and I used to sneak in some oleleh at night. Eating at night is my weakness’. Sadia is what the millennials would describe as a ‘foodie’; she was constantly thinking about or eating food and dreaming up new recipes. So, doing the juicing to ‘shock her system’ as she put it was very hard but she was determined. ‘I would never forget the fourth day of juicing, I almost passed out because I was backing up my diet with insanity exercises that had been introduced to me by a good friend of mine’. If you have ever been on a weight loss journey, then you know that nothing spurs you on more than seeing results so when Sadia started seeing results just a few days in, she knew she was on the right track. However, she also knew that keeping the weight off would be the struggle.
SUSTAINING THE WEIGHT-LOSS
Sadia lost so much weight that everyone thought that she was sick. ‘People hardly complimented my effort; they would say to me it doesn’t matter how hard you try; the weight will come back. I still get that till this day’. When I asked her how she has managed to keep the weight off, she said ‘It was a complete lifestyle change; I cut out my favourite things such as mayonnaise and chips and only ate fruits, vegetables and protein. I will go several weeks without rice or bread and substituted with bulgur’. I used to love sugar in my coffee but now I almost go without. I also took on a healthier cooking style so instead of frying, I bake.
A consistent healthy diet is the trick; exercise is the icing on the cake. It is very important to note that eating unhealthily and trying to burn it during exercise does not work. No matter how long you take on the treadmill, you may never burn 1,000 calories which is equivalent to a single cupcake.’ (Ahem, fellow sweet-tooth’s did you hear that? I did not.)
Sadia also joined Bodytech Fitness Club and took their exercise classes of cardio, strength and pilates 3 days a week and on the weekends, she went for morning runs on the beach. ‘This lifestyle required commitment. One thing I learnt from my father and that has stayed with me is that the biggest challenge with exercise is time; finding the time to do it. It will completely change your schedule and some days you will have to miss certain events because you make a decision to prioritize your fitness’.
We all know that the support of our family and friends in everything that we do is absolutely important and can often make the difference between success and failure. ‘I received a lot of support from my friends in varying forms, they will suggest diets or exercises, bring me fruits, compliment me on every weight loss and my boyfriend constantly told me that he was proud of me. My brother Jesse James would run with me on the weekends no matter where he or I had been the night before. One morning when he could not get me on the phone, he called my younger brother at 6am to wake me up. She also formed a Whatsapp group with women whom I know were struggling with their weight and we kept each other motivated and accountable.
‘Weight loss is a struggle; it will always be a struggle. But what you lack in natural ability, you make up for in discipline. I fall off the horse sometime but I always get back up’. This issue for Sadia is not short term, she has achieved her desired results but she is determined to live a healthier lifestyle. She hits the gym at least 4 days a week and uses the treadmill at home on other days and sometimes she does both.
Did I hear you say Strong Woman? You got that right. To keep herself accountable; she has started an Instagram page to document and share her journey with others. You can follow her here on Instagram.
If you are struggling with your weight, we hope that Sadia’s story will serve as a motivation to you that it can be done. You can lose the weight and look as fabulous as you want and feel even more fantastic.