My beauty is natural - Quincy

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Quincy Herbal Slimmers, the brainchild of Dr. (Mrs.) Quincy Sumbo Ayodele, has continued to remain the place to be for Nigerians with fat-related health issues. The multi award winning outfit has also remained at the forefront of the industry as a result of the numerous convincing and overwhelming testimonies of the efficacy of their products. She it was who pioneered herbal slimming in the country, when the vogue was to travel overseas to deal with health problems arising from obesity. The banker-turned health practitioner learnt the trade from her late grandfather and has not looked back since setting up shop about a decade ago. Quincy Olasumbo Ayodele is a woman who has the milk of human kindness flowing in her large heart. This explains why she established an NGO called Self-Employed Women Association of Nigeria (SEWAN) to help women realize their dreams of self-employment. She is also the founder of Herbal Slimmers and Weight Loss Association of Nigeria, an umbrella organization for weight managers. She tells Adia Ukoyen in this interview about her vision and more.

Can you tell us a little about your background?
I come from a village called Olorunshogo which is near Abeokuta. I was born into the family of Chief Amos Oluwole Sodimu. As a child I was rather sickly and it was thought that I would not live through to adulthood. For this reason, when my family migrated to Europe, I was left in the care of my late maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mabel Osunmi Sodimu. My grandmother was very conversant with herbs and their efficacy. In fact, it was what she used to keep me alive. She continually administered herbs on me until I became strong enough to attend school.

I attended African Church Primary School , Yambi Village , Abeokuta, Comprehensive High School , Ayetoro and later, Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta where I studied Secretarial Administration. Just before the final year examination, I was admitted to Pitman's Central College, London, where I completed my Higher Diploma in Secretarial Administration. On my return to Nigeria, I was employed by Societe Generale Bank as a secretary. Through sheer determination and hard work, I rose to the position of Personal Assistant to the Managing Director of the bank.

After over 12 years of meritorious service in the bank, I resigned my appointment to go into private business. At that point in my life, I was not sure of what line of business to establish. I began by making doughnuts but soon got bored with it. By the time I set up the herbal slimming business, I had limited funds but I did not let that deter me from pursuing my dream. Beyond what I had learnt from my grandparents, I decided to equip myself formally for the task ahead. I enrolled at the Nigerian College of Natural Medicine, a subsidiary of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Victoria Island, for a diploma in Natural Medicine. I also studied Naturopathy in the United States. I have equally attended several congresses in China, Ghana and other parts of the world in order to sharpen my professional skill.

What inspired you to set up your herbal outfit?
The average Nigerian woman is on the big side and I know the adverse effects of being big. Then again, there was the craze to use chemicals to achieve a trim and firmer body which did not necessarily translate to one being healthy. My stay with my grandparents opened my eyes early to herbs, their uses and the gains of using them. All these added to my desire to open a herbal centre.

Through Quincy Herbal Slimmers, I have tried to show that a person need not go through rigorous physical exercises and surgery to lose weight. And many women today, especially those who are bent on remaining shapely but are scared of going through an exercise regime or under the knife, are opting for weight loss through a controlled but healthy diet.

You are a walking example of your trade. How have you been able to maintain such a svelte shape even after four children?
I jog every morning. I take my water therapy before I begin jogging. I cover about five miles while jogging. When I am through with jogging, I go onto my floor exercises before taking a cold shower. I use cold water which is very good for the skin because it invigorates the skin. Once through with a shower, I get dressed and I am ready for work.

Any special beauty routine?
Not necessarily. My beauty is natural. I begin my routine with prayers. For me, communication with God is and should be a very vital part of beauty routine. I watch what I eat. I eat a lot of vegetables, fruits and nuts, especially cashew nuts. I am particular about cashew nuts because it leaves you acne free while helping to relax your muscles and keeping you stress-free. It also helps to combat insomnia. I also drink a lot of water. I avoid over exposure to sunlight keeping in mind the need to get just the right quantity for my body. I have often told my patients that communication with God may indeed be the key to total well being. When one sincerely communicates with one's God, what happens is that there is an outpouring from the recesses of the mind. If you freely and truly unburden your heart to God, you invariable off load the burdens of your mind. This frees the body from stress and becomes evident on the face. A stressed body is obvious from line and wrinkles as well as the dull, gloomy look that the face wears. Praise worship with singing and dancing is both physical and spiritual exercise for me which I recommend to all my patients.

The slimming industry is no longer what it was when you begun. It is almost an all comers affair now. Is this good for the industry?
By all means, growth means development for the industry provided those getting in know their onions. We see a lot of mediocres around and this is not right especially since they know little or next to nothing about slimming, thereby endangering the health of unsuspecting patients. I cannot speak for others per se but I know that at Quincy, we know our onions and do business the way it ought to be done.

Can this be curbed?
Curbing the industry of infiltration by quacks requires government's assistance through regulating the sector. The products used need to be certified by regulating agencies. Being a player in the industry should not be all about making money; quick money. The patients must get value at the right price. It should not be perceived as an all comers business. After all, medicine is not. The same must be applicable here because we are talking about the health of human beings. Any wrong move and their lives could be at risk. Presently, we (the Association) are waiting to work with the relevant regulatory agency. We have heard of patients visiting quacks with no results but adverse side effects. They later run to us for a clean up and this we say must stop. I think it is high time government looked into the industry.

Are your products foolproof?
Not only are they foolproof, so are our services. You will get your money back if you do not get the desired result.

But what if a person does not adhere strictly to instructions?
I don't want to believe that a person would come here for help and would not want to help us to help him or her. That would be simply crazy of such a person.

What is it like seeing people actually slim down?
The feeling is awesome. I have seen people come to us in tears, very frustrated and desperate. I have seen them put in so much effort and trust us wholly. Then, of course, with our good products, I see results. The joy on the faces of these patients make me really happy and proud of them and very grateful to God.

Why did you add a kitchen to the business?
The addition of a restaurant where patrons can eat the best of local and international meals, and at the same time lose weight came about mainly to cater for business executives who undergo Quincy's herbal slimming programme but are too busy to prepare the recommended low calorie meals by themselves. From our research and interaction with clients, we found out that most of them find it hard to eat the kind of food that should go with our programme. When you are on our slimming programme, there are some meals you need to take and the preparation is different from normal meals. As so, we came up with the innovation whereby they can come in to eat or we take the food to them. The difference between the meals served at the restaurant and other restaurants is that ours have no fat. For every meal that adds fat to the body, we provide an alternative. If it is pounded yam that is making you to add weight, we provide you with alternative pounded yam that would make you to slim down.

Are the meals affordable?
Oh yes, they are.

What is your philosophy of life?
Every person owes it to humanity to make the world a better place for all to live in. And so, it is my ultimate goal in life is to help the less privileged women and children in our society to reconstruct their lives. That way, we can all live in peace and unity. A happy society is one free of crime and violence, or it is reduced to the barest minimum.

What makes you tick?
Aside from what I do, it has to be my family. I am happily married to Engr. John Oladipo Ayodele. He is the love of my life, my pillar of support at all times, after the Creator, God. We are blessed with four lovely and wonderful children. My daughters, Maria & Marita, the initiators of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) make me so proud.

What is style for you?
Feeling well inside which translates to looking good on the outside. Fashion wise, I like to keep the look simple yet elegant. Every fashion accessory must be worn and used in moderation. This makes for a pleasant view to the eyes.