Your Biggest Vision Ep. 76- Nagina Abdullah, founder of Masala Body

Ever felt like you’ve tried endlessly to get in permanent shape? Beyond the diets, the guilt of overindulging, the deprivation that comes with restricting, and counting calories?

 

Nagina Abdullah was sick and tired of feeling unlike herself after her second baby. To boot, she was successful in her travel-heavy career, which meant she worked overtime often. Simply put, she was ready to lose weight but couldn’t find a diet, an exercise plan, or any other type of diet that worked sustainably.

 

Tune into this episode to hear:

 

  • How Nagina lost 40 pounds in 9 months while working full-time as a new mom of two
  • What simple edits you can make to your diet today to lose weight quickly
  • The mindset shift that can give you an entrepreneurial superpower
Tune in to hear Nagina Abdullah, founder of Masala Body, talk about the mindset shift that can give you an entrepreneurial superpower and her weight loss!
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Transcript of Episode

Leah Gervais: Hi Visionaries. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision Show. I am your host Leah. And today we have Nagina Abdullah here with us from Masala body. She is an amazing woman. We actually met here in New York, uh, last winter at an event and, um, I’m so excited that it’s come full circle for you to now share your story and what you do with your clients. So thank you so much for being here. 

 

Nagina Abdullah: I’m so excited to be here with you and to see you again. 

 

Leah Gervais: I know, I know. I wish it was in person, but this is better than nothing know. It’s so, so good to see you again. So you and I, we’re both new Yorkers and I’m, you know, first let me just read a little bit about what you do. So you founded your business, Masala body. I am. You are a weight loss coach for busy women specifically. And I know you’ve been featured on Fox news, my body, green woman’s world magazine, and you help your clients lose weight and little time per day because you live in New York city, you have a very demanding job. You know how difficult it can be to juggle a career and, and your health and not to mention like children, which I can’t even imagine, and your health and now you help your clients do the same. So what an amazing story you have. 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. And I could talk about my journey and how um, just just to, how it relates to busy women that want to accomplish so many things but also keep ourselves healthy and energized along the way. 

 

Leah Gervais: Oh, it’s such amazing work you do because I think it’s so hard for women to even juggle like one thing, let alone all the things that we have to do. So take us a little bit on your journey. So you live in New York, right? You’re from New York. 

 

Nagina Abdullah: No. Actually I’m from California. So I moved to New York to go to business school. I went to business school at NYU to get my MBA and um, and then I, and then shortly after I got married, had kids and then moved into New Jersey, so we had like some more place and things like that. But I love New York. I’m there as much as I can. 

 

Leah Gervais: Awesome. So you get your MBA at Stern and then life gets very busy very quickly for you it sounds like. 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Yes, absolutely. So I got my MBA and then I started working at a top four consulting firm, um, right away and I was traveling all over the country, jumping on trains, planes, um, just, uh, traveling everywhere, staying in hotels. I actually loved it. I thrived off of this lifestyle. Um, I love the kind of cosmopolitan, traveling, doing so many things, but at the same time, um, there was this other piece of it that I realized that I was not paying attention to as much anymore, which was my health and my energy and my clothes started not fitting as well. Um, I started feeling lethargic and I was really grabbing for food just like whenever I was hungry and whatever was available was almost always never, never good for me. It was just right. Um, and so as I was working that job, I was trying to go to the gym as much as I could, but it’s a lot of hours of work. 

 

Um, and so, and then I actually, I got pregnant, um, had my first child and um, I did do, uh, I quit after that. I quickly did P90X and I lost my baby weight because I hadn’t, I didn’t have that much. But then I had my second baby right after I lost the baby weight and then I had an extra 20 pounds that was not coming off of me. And I was getting ready to go back to work and I did not want to wear my maternity pants when I was back at work. And I just wanted to feel really good. So what started happening is I went to my closet and I would see that none of my clothes would fit me. It doesn’t feel good, you know, it just doesn’t feel good to be able to like not be able to button your pants and to be very uncomfortable. 

 

It just does not feel, um, it’s something that like you, you just are trying to figure out how to get out of this situation. And so, but then I also started feeling really lethargic and I started not having the energy I used to and I realize this extra 20 pounds was, I had to start there like, wow. First I had to get that off and then I could see if there was something else going on. But I didn’t feel that way before when I didn’t have the 20 pounds. And so up quick backstories that my entire life I had always struggled with eating with my weight and I had always tried to work out a lot, count my calories. But I was always on a, on a yo-yo diet for my entire life. And so after I had my second child, I needed to lose 20 pounds. 

 

I realized I need to do something that’s sustainable because now as a mom of two and working a very demanding job, I need to get the, I need to get my weight to a place where I can keep it there. I don’t have time to go up and down anymore. Right. So I made some changes in what I was eating. One of the main things I did was I took out sugar from my diet, but I started adding more protein and more delicious flavors and spices to make my food taste good. Um, and it seemed like it was magic. I lost 10 pounds in one month and I lost 40 pounds in nine months. Yeah. So I lost my 20 pounds, got to my pre pregnancy weight within three months of me starting this way of eating, which was very much, I’ve never lost weight like that. 

 

I have tried my whole life. It never happened until I took out sugar and until I started adding more protein to my diet and having a healthier diet, eating real food. And so I kept eating like that because it felt so good and I felt so much energy. I was getting more done in my day. I was just feeling really, really great. So I kept going. And then I lost the 20 more too. So I basically got to 20 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. And that’s really where I launched my business at that point. Because what happened was after I lost 40 pounds, everyone around me was asking me what I did, how I did it. They wanted my advice. Other ambitious women, other women starting their own businesses were asking me because it’s a struggle that we all face. And that’s where I started my website, MasalaBody.com and I started sharing my mindsets, motivations, recipes, and, and then I started creating a structure and a system for other busy women to lose weight as well. And I created a program.

 

Um, and so that’s really my journey, but it’s been almost eight years. I lost that weight. And since then I’ve been focusing on getting more toned. And I am at a place now that I never believed was possible, which is it’s mindless for me to be healthy now. I don’t struggle. I don’t think about every day using my willpower. Like not to eat a chocolate piece of chocolate cake. I actually just don’t even want that chocolate cake anymore. I do want it sometimes, like I want it sometimes at a birthday or um, on a Friday night. Sometimes I might want it, but I’m not struggling every day because I changed my relationship with food through this whole process. And um, and now it’s just mindless. And so that’s what I like to teach other women is once you start actually finding what works, it feels easy and then you create habits and a system in your life. So now I can focus on bigger things like growing my business and I’m reaching more women and impacting more people instead of always being focused on, Oh my gosh, what, what’s my weight? I don’t feel good when I can’t, I can’t button my pants. I don’t even think about those things anymore. And that’s where, that’s where, that’s where it’s very possible for women to get, if we start focusing on eating real foods, our mindset and creating habits in our life. 

 

Leah Gervais: Amazing what an amazing story you have and what amazing things you’re doing for women. Because I think women, you know, it’s hard enough working and getting pregnant and like having to go back into the workforce after you have kids and as a new mother and I know that that produces a lot of stress for women and, and sometimes even guilt for women. And so if you want to couple that are like put on top of that, that you don’t even like how you look, it’s just too much for people to handle. So if you can help women that are working, that want to keep their jobs, that also, you know, want to be mothers and want to feel good about it, that is I think such an empowering thing to do. And I, I totally love what you said about just not even the desire to eat and you know, eat sugar anymore. 

 

I don’t eat sugar that much because it makes me feel crappy. And I got married last week and so like four, four months before I really then made myself cut it out cause I wanted to look out on my wedding day. And during those four months I would always walk by like 16 handles or the, you know, frozen yogurt places. And I’d be like, Oh my God, I’m so excited to be able to eat that again. And now it’s like, wait a minute, I don’t, I never even ate that to begin with. Like it’s crappy for, it makes me feel awful. But it was like kind of like you just want what you can’t have kind of thing. Yeah, no, yeah, no, but it’s, it’s a, it’s amazing what, what you’re doing. And so I have so many things I want to hear from you, but first walk me through the, the transition of, okay, I have something that can help people. I have a problem I can solve. I’m going to start a business. You know, you have two young kids, you have a demanding job. How do you even make that decision? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Yes, absolutely. So, um, that really was, um, something that I had to dig into myself and um, and, and really, um, try like really realize what I did was something that could help other people because when I lost the weight, the first thing I thought was, okay, this worked for me onto the next thing. Okay, now what’s next? But then so many people, sometimes it’s obvious what you’re good at because people are telling you about it and asking you about it and telling you about it. Like, just spark your ears up because it’s not always as normal as you think it is. So for me, I thought, okay, after you have a baby or after you gained weight, you just try to lose it. And this time it happened to work for me. Like the, the method that I use, it worked for me. 

 

But um, uh, only until started people really started asking me about it and I was almost overwhelmed with telling everyone different advice that everyone separately the same advice mainly. That’s when I, I knew I had something that I could share with others and that I wanted to help others with. Now, I also was at a place in my life. I want to be really practical about this because I was in a place where I was a new mom of two and I was working this very demanding job and I loved that job, but I was looking into the future and I was thinking, I want more flexibility for myself because I want to be able to be a mom and indulge and being a mom, but I also want to be extremely successful and how can I make this work? Like I could keep the consulting job going, but I knew I would be just, um, pulling teeth after a while that it would be really hard to do the two. 

 

And I never wanted to get to a place where I had to just not work at all and not bring in a, any income because I want that for myself. Um, and so that’s where I started realizing, okay, this online business model, um, and starting your own business, there’s really a lot of potential here because I could work from my home and I can spread so much of my own message and impact so many women with something that I personally am, am, am good at. I learned to be good at and I can impact so many people personally and I, so because of the schedule and the flexibility, I really knew that this was something I had to go for. But deeper than that was that I knew that I could never be as fulfilled for my corporate job as I would be from actually helping women with something that I’m telling them to do, a system I’ve created. 

 

And seeing them go through such, such life, lifestyle transformation, like to see women lose 20, 30 pounds sending me their pictures, telling me about how they feel so amazing every day, how they can fit into their clothes, how they are feeling so great when they look in the mirror and how they had energy to run a five K with their kids when they never had that before. That is truly satisfying to me. And so that’s what drives me all the time is seeing those results and why I really, really encourage, like if there’s something that you, that you’re good at, whether or not people are asking you about it yet, if there’s something that you know and that you can, you can potentially teach people, it’s very powerful. It’s really doable to do that online and to just to do that in our current, the current technologies we have, you can do that. And it’s not like you can just start, take it a little step at a time and reach so many people. 

 

Leah Gervais: Right, right. Oh, what an incredible, incredible way to realize that and to stick with yourself. And so it sounds like that fulfillment, you know, the feeling of when a, when women and your clients tell you how much you changed their lives has really been your why and kept you going. What are some of the things that were tough? You know, especially in the beginning. I know it’s so fun to get fired up and then you’re like, Holy moly, wait, this is crazy. So did you have any struggles? Do you, what are some of the things that really stood out as huge roadblocks? 

 

Oh, absolutely. One of the things I think is really important then this was something that really was holding me back. Um, it’s not, sometimes we think we have to do more work or we have to do more things, but sometimes it’s a mindset shift. And when you make that mindset shift, everything opens up. And so what happened for me, and this may happen for a lot of other entrepreneurs, is when we are putting, when I started having to put myself out there by myself and say, I created this website, come and join my website so you can get some, some free recipes or I, that in itself took so much courage because I was, the thing I thought of was what if nobody comes? Like what if I put myself out there on Facebook where my friends from childhood are and they see that nobody’s interested. 

 

And so if I’m set, I’m just thinking of the failure, right. Instead of thinking of the wins. And so, um, so that was one thing was putting myself out there. And then there’s an interesting twist about weight loss, um, that I, that I think is important. I’ll share it because it’s very visual. It’s really easy to grasp. Um, and so when I started my website, I made it about healthy food and I had like a picture of garbanzo beans that were really healthy and delicious and I put that on there. And then I had lots of conversations. I was taking some courses on how to start on how to start an online business. And the feedback I got was what are, what are women’s burning pains? Is it that they want to eat healthy food or is it that they want to lose weight? 

 

Like what is it that is the burning pain? And it’s important to understand what that burning pain is. And, and so the burning pain for my audience is, is weight loss. Like you want to eat healthy to lose weight. You’re not, you don’t want to eat healthy just to eat healthy. That’s where my audience, and so they want to see when people come to my website, they want to see the results. They want to see the weight loss results. They don’t want to see a beauty like a beautiful dishes. Nice. But the way that people are actually going to be motivated to follow you is that you know, you, they know that you can help them get the results. And so, um, so what I had to do was I, at that point I was just starting. So I had to move from putting a picture of garbanzo beans to putting a picture of myself and my transformation. 

 

And that was very scary for me. Um, because I didn’t want people to think that I was bragging or I thought I was so great and I, I, it’s not that I thought that at all. I had to do that because people, I had to inspire people. You inspire people. They want, they will, they will follow you. And so I had to get out of my comfort zone and actually put myself out there. Now I have hundreds of pictures of my clients that I can also share, but I do share my pictures because people want to see the results of why they’re following you. And so that could be for business, it could be for anything. It’s, it’s kind of what’s the why of what you’re doing. You know, what, what is the result that you’re working on getting people and really showing that inspires people. And that is almost, um, I mean that really brings a lot of people to follow you and follow you very loyally. 

 

Leah Gervais: It’s, it’s, I totally agree. I had the same tension with sharing my income. It felt very uncomfortable, but I knew that like, I knew from personal experience that I could sit and talk about email marketing and entrepreneurship until I’m blue in the face. But until people can actually see that, like I can put my money where my mouth is that I actually did this and that they can too. Nothing is going to inspire more action than people feeling inspired and feeling like they can have the same results that you do. So I completely understand, but that’s such good advice and it’s so true that it’s, it’s, um, it’s not about us and that’s something we have to keep remembering. I’m sure we both had to keep reminding ourselves as it’s about our clients and about the audience and about what is going to inspire them to take action and to, and to make a change. Um, so how long ago was it when you started at eight years you said? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Yes. So I started it. Um, well no, I, no, I started at five years ago, so five. 

 

Leah Gervais: Okay. And are you full your full time in it? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Yes. 

 

Leah Gervais: Okay. So tell me a little bit about leaving your consulting job. 

 

Nagina Abdullah: So, um, for me, I took it really kind of a slow, a slow way where I knew that, um, that, so for me as being a mom of two, um, I could not risk my income, not, not coming in regularly. As for me, I started my business on the side. Um, I had a very, very busy schedule and so I was traveling on planes and I would use that plane, time to write blog posts. I would use it to reach out to people for guest posting. Um, I would use it for lots of different things. And so, um, so what I would do is, um, is I really maximized all of my extra hours and being a mom and busy, having a very demanding job. 

 

I had to be very efficient with my time. And what I did, what I found was that there was a lot of times where, um, there was lots of things where I was wasting time. So for example, I would watch more TV than I really needed to watch. And changing that habit is actually pretty hard. It’s like you want to watch your show, you know, you want that might be the way you relax at night. And so I started realizing that I was just wasting my time and um, and, and also I was staying up really late, not doing anything. And so I started making some shifts and I started going to sleep at 10 o’clock and waking up really early because in the morning my mind is very fresh. And so before my kids wake up and before, um, my, my work started, I would already have two or three hours of really solid work in the day and then it was so easy for me to move forward. 

 

And so, um, so after that, um, so that’s kind of, I did that for, for several years. Um, and I enjoyed it because a lot of times it was like my outlet for my regular job and it was like something else to do. Like it was a break and I was, I loved it. It was not like work. I loved working on it every single moment. And then I kept building my business to a point where I was getting consistent income regularly. So I had consistent income for three months and I had a path of how I was going to continue that for it, for it. And my consistent income was more than what I was making in my regular job. And so that was like my, what I needed to, what I needed to do for my life. Um, and so once I hit that, that’s when I was able to leave. And, um, and so, so I mean, and now it’s just really continuing it and growing it. 

 

Leah Gervais: So even though you know, you, you did this in a really, very smart way, very calculated way, you had your income up to what it needed to be, or are you still afraid when you quit? Was there still fear? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: So I that was, yeah, that was, um, I, there was, there was, um, there were so, so because I had taken so long, I had a clear plan and, um, and I was just excited, but I was also, I knew where my income was coming from and, um, and so because of that, I didn’t have as much anxiety as if I didn’t, but, um, but I, um, I did have idea, it was like a feeling of satisfaction that I finally got to that and that, and, and then it was like the first three months and then I just had to keep it going. So for me, um, I didn’t feel like I didn’t do it to myself or I w I felt really scared. I was, I had a system and I did plan it and I knew that was what I wanted. Um, and so, so yeah, I mean there was some excitement in it. 

 

Leah Gervais: Yeah. Good. I love it. I was, it was a very exciting day for me too. So tell me a little bit more about the actual work you do with your clients. Now, I think I heard you mentioned three things you focus on. Um, we are eating habits, your mindset and just habits in general or what, what specifically do you do? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Yes, I do. So what I do is I help women lose weight by eating, without feeling deprived. And so eating is 80% of losing weight. So a lot of times women will start going to the gym and really like feeling like because you’re sweating and cause you’re working hard. That equals weight loss. But that’s actually really temporary. So if you go to the gym and you run for 25 minutes you burn a certain amount of calories. Actually if you look at the calories you burn, it’s usually around two to 300, which is not actually that much because that’s like one slice of bread or one snack, like a few cookies. So when you’re really focusing on your eating, that’s where you get the powerful weight loss and the energy from. And then you use exercise to really, um, continue to maintain it over time by building muscle on your body. 

 

Building tone so that your weight stays off. So what I do is I help women, um, change their eating habits so that they become healthy, um, and that they become, um, they become, uh, they have healthy habits in their life without thinking about it. And a big way of doing this is we start off slowly. Like it’s not about revamping and going on some diet. It’s like, where are you right now and what can we improve? So I always focus with my clients on having a healthy breakfast first of all, because if you wake up, you a lot, a lot of times our breakfast, we’re not necessarily craving certain things or we’re not, um, looking at it as enjoyment, which a lot of times we do that at dinner time or it’s snack time. We just need to have breakfast so we can move on with our day. 

 

So if you have a healthy high protein breakfast, um, then that’s a really great way to get started. And so that’s an example of one small step I take to make sure you have a healthy breakfast. And then after that we focus on like meal planning, like maybe meal planning, your dinners, um, making something ahead of time that you can take to lunch the next day as well. And so what I do is I will transform the way women eat and transform their relationship with food because a lot of times we’re going to food because we are stressed or we are bored or we need comfort. Depending on the time of the day, it could be a different need. But once you release that relationship, um, you are only using food to nourish you. And so after you are, and once you know what to eat to keep you full, you have a whole new relationship with food and your weight just comes off and it stays off. 

 

But because of the world that we live in, this is definitely, it sounds easier than it is because, you know, it’s like we start off with our childhood, like we’re giving, we’re, we were given, many of us were given rewards of ice cream and pizza. I mean, and those are things I also do with my kids. And I, and I think about it, I try not to do that all the time. But you’re creating reward, a relationship of reward with, with sugary food and with not so good for you. And so as an adult that still stays with you. You think, Oh my God, I want to relax, I want to celebrate that, let me have cake. And then meanwhile, a lot of our social outings are around food. It’s around, let’s go to dinner, let’s have appetizers, drinks, dessert. Like that is what we enjoying ourselves means, you know, and um, and so really breaking through that, um, is very possible, but it takes some mindset shifts to think about why we’re going to food and other ways to reward ourselves rather than food. 

 

So that’s kind of the mindset. But then, um, there is a lot of just nutrition information and because there’s so many options that women have, like so many diets, we should you go on Kito should you go on paleo? Should you do South beach? Like it’s very hard to know where to start. And what to do. And so my approach is I start with the fundamentals, which is eating real food and taking sugar out of your diet or taking it down. Um, sugar doesn’t only mean sweets, it also means, um, it also a lot of foods that we eat, they break down to sugars really quickly. So, um, so certain kinds of breads, certain kinds of rices, certain kinds of pastas, they’ll break down really quickly. It’s almost like eating sugar even though it’s not sweet. And so it’s revamping over time, the way that you eat and the things that you’re eating in your diet. 

 

Because once you can start eating foods that are, um, more fibrous and more complex than you are full all the time, you’re satisfied all the time. You’re not hungry two hours after eating breakfast, you’re sustained until lunch. And, and so, really the way that, uh, my, the way that I work is I actually give my clients a meal plan. I give them a grocery list and I give them recipes. And I also give them a framework of what to eat when they’re not cooking because what, what do you eat when you’re out or what do you eat that you don’t want to cook? Um, and so they have a clear guide of exactly what to eat. Um, and the meals that I, that I have, they’re really, really delicious cause I use lots of um, flavorful and fat burning spices that are not spicy but just flavorful, like cumin, garlic, coriander, things like that. Um, and so it tastes really good and that’s how you actually get a lifestyle shift is that you learn how to make food ahead of time. You learn the food that’s good for you and it tastes good. All those things are together. You can actually love what you’re eating, but you’re eating to nourish yourself and, and your weight is coming off. 

 

Leah Gervais: Yeah. Amazing. Something that I just have a funny kind of question that came to mind because as you know, we both live in New York and New York. It kind of fascinates me because it kind of has the California, like we’re adapting that we need to be healthier and we have lots of juice generations and like kale is really big and we eat a lot of salads and everything, but it’s still New York. So like caffeine and alcohol are just like off the charts. And so I’ve always wondered like how do, how do they jug with that? Do you have any advice for your clients? Like do you have them stop drinking coffee? Do you have them stop drinking alcohol or do you feel like anything in moderation can still be a way that you, you can still be okay if you don’t have moderation or so yes. 

 

Nagina Abdullah: I love this question because this is such an important question for busy women. It really is. 

 

Leah Gervais: Yeah. I mean I’m just thinking of your clients like they have probably, you know, happy hours at work all the time and they have to stay up late. And so how do you adapt these, these, these very normal things? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Yes. Oh my gosh. So true. And yes, there’s networking events and then Friday morning you need to get up and get going like right away and you need your caffeine. So I actually am a very big proponent of how to go ahead and have your coffee. If you want to have tea you can. But I personally have coffee. It’s, it’s proven to be healthy to have two to three cups of coffee a day. The other thing about coffee is that it doesn’t have any calories in it, right? 

 

Leah Gervais: So don’t put crap in it. 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Exactly. So you don’t want to make the sugary sunday. Like if you go to the coffee shop and you’re adding, you know, lots of like lots of creamer and lots of syrup’s and then lots of sugar, then it’s not good. But if you’re having black coffee, I always like to have cinnamon in it because it adds sweetness without spiking your insulin. So you sprinkle some cinnamon in it. It’s a great hack to add that sweetness. Um, but you can also have almond milk in it or you can have a little bit of regular milk. I don’t advocate dairy because dairy causes inflammation. And it causes bloating in our belly because of the sugar in milk. Um, and in dairy. But um, but if you want to have a little bit you can. So really having coffee is a great alternative to a lot of other drinks. Like for example, a lot of times you might want to have a juice or you might want to have like a tea that’s sweetened. Well having coffee is a no calorie option and it’s often, sometimes you can just have coffee instead of having like chocolate or something that you don’t really need. 

You need something though. Sometimes we need something so that really, um, it really is important to have that. Um, and then in terms of drinks, the whole time I lost 40 pounds. I drank three times a week and I drank cocktails. I drank wine, but I was eating healthy. And the way that my, the way that my program and my system works is that you eat healthy six days a week and you have one cheat day. And it’s very good for balancing and for reducing the need for willpower. Because you know, you know that one day a week you’re going to get to eat those things so you’re not forcing yourself every day to not eat it and then end up binging on it because you have an outlet. So, um, so the way that it works is, um, you can like, you can, because you’re eating so great five, six days a week, sometimes it’s like five and a half, six days a week. 

 

Then if you have drinks in the once, like a few times, it’s okay. If you’re eating unhealthy and you’re drinking and you’re having dessert, like that’s a lot to do so they can choose what’s important to you. For me, having my networking drinks, having my social drinks was a very important to me. And so I did do that. Um, but I do have a lot of hacks around low sugar cocktails. Um, and like I have a four part framework on my website that talks about, um, how you can actually have a low sugar cocktail. Um, how you can go out to how you’d go on vacation and drink cocktails, but just order the right, the right, um, the right drinks and so you can kind of, you can always make what you’re doing healthier. Um, but I sometimes for me, like if, if, if it was, if I didn’t, if I wasn’t able to drink, I don’t think I could have lost weight because I would have felt like it was too stringent of rules. 

 

Leah Gervais: Right, right. It is so refreshing to hear you say this because I think a lot of people’s, um, not fears but resistance maybe against like talking to a health coach or actually going online and reading a blog or taking advice from a nutritionist is because they think it’s going to be so restrictive and they’re just not ready to change their life. And you know, sometimes though I know they mean well, it can even make you feel guilty because you feel like, well, I’m just not ready to give all that up. That’s just the end of the story. I want to, I want to improve my life, but there are parts of my lifestyle that I can’t just, I can’t just change overnight. So I love how you meet women where they’re at. And I think it’s especially important with your clientele, um, you know, busy women. 

 

 And so the last question I just wanna ask you, which is building off of this is, you know, entrepreneurs are busy women and men. We are busy like people that are in the corporate world. And that I’m sure you deal with a lot. Uh, and I think the caffeine and alcohol pertains to them as well. Entrepreneurs do a lot of events. They also stay up crazy hours. Um, but I also have heard, you know, my clients say that they, they gain weight when they first start their businesses some of the time. Um, they, they don’t work out as much because they’re working so much. And, it’s a tough tension because on the one hand, I do think that especially in the early days of your business, you do have to make some lifestyle changes. You have to sacrifice. But I would hope, and I don’t believe that it has to be sacrificing your health. So what tips do you have for people that are maybe in a complete new season of life where they’re, all their habits have changed because now they’re working for themselves versus at a nine to five and they feel like their good health is being put on the back burner? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Oh, such a great question. And it’s so true and so common that when, um, when you start a business, I mean, you really are busy. It’s very, very busy. It’s a, it’s, it’s, it’s taking over so many things and you don’t always exactly know what to expect every day. There’s a different schedule as you’re getting it going. Um, I can tell you that for extremely high performing it entrepreneurs, for CEO’s, um, and, and for other very successful people, there are two things that are non-negotiable for them when they’re in their busy times. And that is food and exercise. If it’s a priority to you, um, let me, let me say like when you, when it’s not a priority, you start feeling so, um, you see the results in your work, you start to feel it. If you don’t feel it right away, sometimes you have to go through the pain of not feeling good and of putting on weight to make it a priority. 

 

But once you get there, you realize you’re going to get to the same place until you make it a priority. And so whenever I’m going into any kind of launch or any kind of big thing, I always actually think I need to do a little more during this time to fuel myself, right. To be on point every single day, every moment. And the only way I’m going to do that is if my diet is right. And if I got some exercise in during the week at least some. And um, and so it’s a non-negotiable. So you actually have to think, um, and this is something I think is being talked about right now, but it’s gonna come out more and more, but there’s like Tony Robbins, um, uh, Brendon Burchard, like there’s so many people that focus and talk about how important it is to eat well and to treat yourself well, um, to get yourself to the next level. 

 

So if you skip that point, it’s going to catch up to you. And like I said, sometimes you need to get there to realize it, but one of the main ways to avoid going down this cycle is you doing a little planning ahead of time. It doesn’t have to be excessive, but the number one thing is having some groceries in your house, some healthy groceries, things that you can pull together easily. I love doing things like buying these chopped salads, um, that are already made. And then they have a little bit of dressing, a little bit of toppings on the side there from um, the brand fresh express. If you have those salads, then you can have the salads as your side. You can quickly pull together like a healthy protein, whether it’s fish, tofu, eggs or chicken or beef. 

 

You can quickly pull that together. Um, have the, the veggies on the side. And then maybe you do, you know, maybe you have something like a quinoa or, um, some kind of healthy carb on the side. And so, um, having just some basic groceries in your house can really help you, help you ease through this time. But when you don’t have basic groceries, you could often order out. You’re just going to go for the freezer, um, and get convenience foods which are not healthy and they’re not portions, they’re, the portions are not big enough. You’re gonna feel hungry. Um, and um, and so really just planning ahead, either following a meal plan or making it easy the way that I just told you, which I call more of a meal framework. And just like buying a few different things that you can group together. 

So, so that’s really, that’s really it. But making it a non negotiable will take your work to the next level. And anyone that is, anyone that’s working out or and that’s eating healthy knows that. Like you can tell, you can see how much you thrive on it. Um, and so there’s, there’s multiple just examples of how high level people focus on that. And so, um, if you’re at the point where you feel like, Oh my God, I’m not there like  this work has taken over, then it’s okay. What you can do is take a step back and start with one thing. Like I was suggesting earlier, start with a healthy breakfast. Have your healthy breakfast, have one healthy meal a day. If you have one healthy meal a day, you’re better than you were the day before. And that’s really what it’s about. 

 

It’s like taking healthier steps and you don’t have to be 100% like exactly healthy. You don’t have to do that. It’s sometimes it’s, you don’t feel it. It’s not possible. You’re working towards that place, right? Having one healthy meal will make such a big difference. And um, and then over time you’re going to want, you’re going to want it a little bit more over, over time. You can plan a little bit more and start integrating the other elements. Um, but it makes a big difference and it’s actually a competitive edge to be healthy in what you’re eating, to eat, to fuel your body and your brain and then to get some exercise in. It’s a competitive edge and many people are recognizing that. So integrating it in sooner versus later is going to help you get to the next level even faster. 

 

Leah Gervais: Hmm. Such good advice. I love how you’re really saying that exercising and eating well is part of your launch plan. So when you’re planning your social media posting or planning your mailers and you’re planning your, your ads and everything, like plan your food and plan when you’re going to exercise. And I totally modeled the same page with you. I love what you said about how, uh, you know, the more you get to know your body and also just what fuels your mind and spirit. You know, I, I’m the same way. If during the launch I plan to work out more than I normally do, but I even heard people that are extroverts during a launch, they will make sure that they go out to dinner more than usual because all of this is about becoming your best self and you’re going to be a better entrepreneur if you can get in your zone. And for most, if not all of us, that’s going to mean taking care of yourself. So, yeah. Thank you so much. This is so inspirational. I have three lightning round questions for you. Are you ready? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Yes. 

 

Leah Gervais: What’s your go to when you’re having a bad business day? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Okay. My go to when I’m having a bad business day is, so I love, um, I love listening to really great podcasts like yours. Um, I love, um, so I love, I’ll just put on like a podcast that I really liked because I feel like it really stimulates my mind. Um, and it makes me feel like I’m still moving forward. Another one that I really love is Brechin Ruben’s “Happier” podcast. Um, she gives like lots of really great, um, great advice that’s really tactical on just ways to just make the years just more impactful and richer and so I love doing that. 

Leah Gervais: Oh, awesome. Well, my next question was gonna be, do you have a go to podcast or book? And you just answered that third question is what are you most proud of in your business so far? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Oh, okay. So I am most proud of in my business. I am most proud of all of the testimonials and before and after pictures that my clients have given me and my students have given me. Because when I look at them, I am just to this date, so thankful that I was able to help someone. Um, and that I feel such happiness because I personally went through a massive weight loss. And so, and, and it changed my life. Like that’s what triggered me starting my business and doing everything and having more confidence. And so when I see other women losing weight and just being so happy about it, I mean it fuels me so much and so I just love that. 

 

Leah Gervais: Amazing. Amazing. Great. Well you have been incredibly inspirational for all of them. I thank you so much for sharing your story and I know you are hosting a summit soon, so do you want to tell us a bit about that? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Oh, absolutely. Well, I am so excited to share that. I’m going to be, um, I am hosting an online training or an online summit. It’s like an online conference, um, and it’s called Thrive, the Busy Woman’s Food and Weight Loss Series. And I’m gonna be interviewing 21 health experts. These are doctors, nutritionists, health coaches, that’s selling authors of different diet books and talking about all the strategies and tactics for busy women to lose weight by eating healthier because we’re focusing on food. Food is 80% of weight loss. And so I have actually three entrepreneurs who themselves, two of them lost 30 pounds and launched their business after that. And it wasn’t a weight loss business that they launched. They launched a business, um, around like how to start around, how people can get, um, can, can get themselves going and start their own businesses. But they got the confidence after losing the 30 pounds. So I have real women’s stories. I have ’em to, I’m talking about gut health, inflammation about different diets, about thyroid, all those things. And so that’s kicks off on November 1st and so right now you can get your spot and the way to get your spot or free is masalabody.com/thrive and you can grab your spot. You get a ton of free gifts when you, when you join, including my, how to get off sugar masterclass. That’s totally free when you get, when you get your spot. So I’m so excited about that series that’s coming out. 

 

Leah Gervais: Oh fabulous. Amazing. That is going to be great. And that will be linked in the show notes. Everyone. So your website is Masala Body and is there anything else you can share? 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Well, I have a free gift for, um, for your listeners and that’s at my website, MasalaBody.com and this is seventh spicy dinner recipes to melt off your first seven pounds. And you, these are seven of the recipes that myself and my clients have used to lose 40 pounds and more and they’re really delicious. I have a grocery list, I have ’em it’s very simple to follow these recipes so you can go and grab it right from my website, MasalaBody.com and it’s an e-recipe book. 

 

Leah Gervais: Fabulous. Well thank you so, so much for being here and sharing this. This was hugely inspirational, very actionable and really helpful. Um, and you are helping so many women pursue their biggest visions, so we really appreciate it. 

 

Nagina Abdullah: Thank you for having me here. 

 

Leah Gervais: We’ll talk to you soon. Alright. Visionaries, I hope you enjoyed this. Go check out her summit and for recipes and we will see you next time.




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