My 12-week body and mind transformation

Abha Malpani Naismith
5 min readOct 26, 2021

Some nuggets of wisdom that will last me a lifetime

One of my first posts on my Substack was the importance of investing in a coach to achieve the results you desire.

I was never sure it was something I needed, but when I realized that I was not getting the fitness results I wanted after having two babies, I invested in coach Jennifer Chalouhi; she is 47 years old, a mum of 3 teenage girls, and in incredible shape.

Accountability to someone who motivated and encouraged me to achieve my goals without putting me on a restrictive plan, was the key to my progress.

Not only did I drop the stubborn 5 kilos I was holding on to, but I learned how to eat in a way that not only nourishes my body but burns fat and is sustainable long term.

I was made accountable to a daily habits checklist and taught how to maximize my results with resistance training. I no longer fear getting older and being out of shape as she has given me the tools to help me stay in shape as I get older.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom that the 12-week coaching with Jennifer Chalouhi has engrained in me:

  • Food is the foundation: It was amazing for me to see that if you focus on eating unprocessed whole foods, how much food you can eat and how nourished you will always feel. Fruit, veggies, lean meats, egg, fish, fat-free yoghurt, nuts, seeds, spices. Cutting out anything in a packet or in a tin-can was easier than I thought and it made me feel so good as the wholesomeness of what I was consuming just multiplied with time. You can exercise for hours every day but if your food is not on point, you will not see results.
  • You can eat carbohydrates: Yes, potato, rice, pasta, quinoa; there are so many options. We do not need to eliminate any food group, just watch the quantity we consume. ½ a cup of any carb per day, preferably whole-grain, was my limit. A bit more on days I exercise.
  • You need to eat protein at every meal: Protein burns fat. Protein repairs and builds your muscles. 25–30 grams of protein at every meal is essential to see results. I wasn’t consuming even half of the protein my body needed, so this was key.
  • Veggies are free: Eat all you like! Some cooked some not, they are nourishing and fill you up without loading your body with unnecessary calories.
  • Portion control is key: Two avocados on multi-grain toast is super healthy, but way too high in fat for my body; ½ an avocado two times per week was my limit. A handful of almonds is a great snack, but my body really doesn’t need more than 10 almonds. Yes, only 10! No more than 2–3 portions of fruit per day; although fruit is great for you, it is high in sugar, so it doesn’t support my fat loss goals.
  • Eat a banana after your work out, not before: If you eat a banana before you exercise, you will burn the banana. You want to burn your fat, so eat the banana after your work out. And ½ a banana is enough. Water will get you through the workout.
  • Plan your snacks: Unhealthy snacking can overthrow any healthy eating you have done through the day. Regular healthy snacks can curb hunger and cravings. Apple with peanut butter; cucumber with hummus; nuts; a protein shake. Also, stay away from your kids snacks, they may be small bits here and there, but they all add up!
  • Drink at least 3 litres of water every day: Water is so important. Most often we mistaken thirst with hunger, so always drink water before you eat. Pure water, without anything in it. We do not need to drink our calories! Water also keeps you hydrated and energized for the day.
  • Be aware of the reasons for your cravings: When you are tired or stressed your body will crave sugar. Be aware of this. Processed sugar is not your friend; dare I say, it is poison!
  • Allow yourself treats and one cheat meal per week: Depending on your goals you can have more or less small treats, to keep your cravings at bay. Once per week, indulge your heart out but then get back on track.
  • Counterbalance your unhealthy food choices with a big salad or veggies: So you had that pizza for lunch; have a big leafy salad for dinner. It will help your body better process the pizza and the salad will compensate the calories.
  • You don’t have to count calories: Calorie counting is exhausting, and not sustainable in my opinion. Although Jennifer gave me an idea of my calorie intake, following the above advice meant I didn’t have to worry too much about counting my calories.
  • Write a food journal: This might seem cumbersome, but by writing down everything you eat, you become mega aware of what you are consuming. This makes it so much easier to make better food choices.
  • Take your supplements: Multivitamin, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, etc; speak to your doctor and make sure you are taking the right supplements for you to boost your immunity and compliment your food intake.
  • Sleep at least 7–8 hours a night: Your body regenerates when you sleep! Get it in as much as you can, it is amongst the best things you can do to stay healthy. Although being a mum is learning the art of surviving without sleep — prioritizing sleep can do wonders for your mind and body. I’m really trying to do this and on days I do, I feel like a million dollars the next day.
  • Move at any opportunity: I didn’t manage to get in 10,000 steps every day, but I did make small changes daily, like taking the stairs, parking a bit further away, going for a walk with the kids, I didn’t skip any opportunity to move.
  • Resistance training is key: I was tailor made 2–3 resistance training workouts every week for my body type that would accelerate achieving my goals. As we get older, lifting weights is fundamental to staying in shape and maintaining bone density.
  • Consistency is key: You may know a lot of the above information already; however, putting it all into practice 80–90% of the time is where the magic is.

The 12-weeks with Jennifer has permanently parked these points at the back of my head. I haven’t achieved all my goals yet; this is just the beginning. With these principles, if I am consistent and stay true to them, I am sure that I will eventually see the results I want to see.

Have you ever invested in a coach?

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If you are a working mum and like what you just read, visit me at to connect with a group of amazing women and talk about stuff that can help us achieve our maximum potential in our careers and as mums.



Abha Malpani Naismith

Communications professional. Digital strategist. Writer. Mum. AI enthusiast. Newsletter for working mums.