When Aisha Smiley suddenly found herself in the hospital three years ago, the doctors concluded she was in perfect health, that her heart problems were a nonstarter. “I was grateful for that,” Smiley said.
But she wasn’t satisfied with their assessment, nor with their relaxed answer to her query about changing her sedentary lifestyle. So she started her own weight loss journey.
Smiley works full-time for Indiana University at the IU School of Social Work. She combines her love for social work and helping people, with her side gig of meal prepping, first tested and proved positive with herself.
Her business can be reached on her Facebook page: Fit From Within With Coach Smiley.
Fort Wayne Ink Spot Newspaper (FWIS): How did you decide on meal prepping to help people?
Aisha Smiley: I’ve always loved to cook. As I was going through my own journey and modifying the foods I love to eat, I started to really enjoy that and wanted to share that with people with a similar journey that were struggling to find the right foods to eat, how to prepare them, or didn’t have time to prepare them.
And meal prepping is just preparing your meals in advance. I prep two or three days worth of food at a time. On Sunday, I prep for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Wednesday, I prep for the rest of the week. For my services, I would prep on the weekend, I would prepare ten meals with about three or four different choices
My services are people who are looking to lose weight, wanting to eat better, or people who just don’t have time to cook for themselves.
FWIS: What all can you provide for a client?
Aisha: I can create meal plans, shop with a client in a grocery store, including a [tutorial] on how to read food labels, help a client cook in their home, cook for a client (if they’re too busy), and [provide advice] about herbal life supplements like protein shakes to work in conjunction with healthy eating.
When a client first comes to me, I will talk with them and establish what a client’s goals are, and ask if they want the food or if they want the food for a purpose. Do you want to food to help kick start you or do you want the learn how to cook?
If you came to me and told me that you [skip a meal] throughout the day, the goal for you would be eat throughout the day. In that case, I would help you figure out what foods you like to eat and help you create a meal plan for yourself.
If you want me to just cook the meals for you, I would create a menu of about three to five meals for you to select [from]. Typically, it’s ten meals a week, about two meals a day.
Those options would include a selection of protein either a seafood or a chicken, maybe like a ground turkey, the occasional steak or a lean pork, would include a grain like a potato, quinoa, brown rice then some sort of vegetable. I do breakfast meals as well.
FWIS: And there are parallels between meal prepping and social work?
Aisha: “It’s all in your mind. At some point, we all hit a block. When your exercising and your sweating, some people say that it’s fat screaming. (Laughs.) I like to think the sweat is a lot of experiences building up, all of those things that people have said to you over the years. And we stop moving forward because we are afraid. And it’s hard because I had to do that myself.
Aisha’s Facebook page: Fit From Within With Coach Smiley