Nagina Abdullah knew something needed to change when she went back to work after having her two children: The mom struggled to find clothes in her closet that fit, her energy levels were low, and thanks to her demanding career and role as a mom, she never had time to go to the gym.
That's when Abdullah realized she needed to give her diet a serious overhaul.
"I started eating healthier food and I started eating real foods, not processed foods," she says. "I lost 10 pounds in one month and I didn't even go to the gym. In nine months I lost 40 pounds. After struggling with my weight my entire life, I not only went to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I went 20 pounds below it. I was the slimmest and trimmest I had ever been."
Abdullah did this by whipping up homemade dishes. One thing they all had in common? They all contained plenty of spices, which was a must for Abdullah, who grew up in an Indian household and wanted to eat foods reminiscent of the ones she grew up enjoying.
The mom's friends all noticed how amazing she looked and requested that she share recipes with them—and that's how she decided to start her blog, Masala Body, where she shared some of the recipes she loves. Eventually, the mom started helping other women—including tons of new moms—drop weight by sharing full meal plans full of spice-filled, natural recipes with them.
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Abdullah knows that cooking doesn't always rank high on a mom's priority list, and she advises new parents to stick with simple recipes to maximize their time. That's the focus of her program, Spice Yourself Skinny, an eight-week program that helps new moms drop the weight.
A few of her favorite recipes? A spiced-up version of the smoothie Kate Middleton uses to ward off sugar cravings, an apple-cinnamon dessert and a mint-blueberry salad.
"You want to think about how you can do something that's sustainable, that you can keep up. You don't want to go through this yo-yo dieting your whole life, and you don't have to. You can find a way of eating that you like and that becomes your way of life," Abdullah said. "I work with lots of new moms...the biggest mistakes [they make] is that moms think they have to lose themselves when they have kids. A lot of times we have stereotypes that after you become a mom, you go up two sizes, you don't go out with your friends, you're at home with your kids—I think that image of a mom is false. We can redefine what a mom is."
Instructions: Blend using a blender or hand-blender.