Now no-one would have blamed Ayesha Curry, or indeed anyone else, for putting weight on during lockdown. It has obviously been a very stressful time, and plenty of folks have turned to comfort eating. But Ayesha has done something different. She’s looking amazing right now, and everybody wanted to know how she has done it.
Ayesha is the wife of Steph Curry, one of the megastars of the NBA. They’ve been married ever since 2011 and they seem to have an enviably happy union. They first met at church when both were teenagers. Steph was the son of another basketball icon, Dell Curry, and Ayesha found sports stars tiresome. But there was still an attraction between them.
The pair moved apart as they grew older. Ayesha went to Los Angeles in order to try and make it as an actress, and she had some success with TV and direct-to-DVD movies. Meanwhile Steph rose higher and higher in the ranks of basketball players. He too decided to move to Los Angeles, and look Ayesha up while he was there.
Despite some awkward moves on Steph’s part, the pair began dating. And in 2010 Steph decided to propose. In a laudably romantic gesture, he got down on one knee on the driveway at his parents’ house, the place where he and Ayesha had kissed for the first time. Ayesha said yes, and later she would compare it to a scene from movie The Notebook.
The marriage itself was a seriously romantic occasion as well. Steph outright cried at the sight of his bride. “Our pastor told me to look at him if I started tearing up, but he was already way past my tear level,” he told the Charlotte Observer newspaper in 2012. “That was the best part of the ceremony, though.”
After the marriage, the pair had children together. These were Ryan, Canon and Riley, born between the years of 2012 and 2018. By the time all three were born Steph was a star of the basketball world, but Ayesha refused to be put in a box. She was happy to be called a wife, but not “an NBA wife.”
Ayesha struck out on her own as a food and lifestyle personality. She had no formal culinary education, but what she did have was passion and people responded to it. In 2014 she started a blog, Little Lights of Mine, and soon YouTube videos she made with her family began to go viral.
The same year Ayesha also started selling items under her own name. She worked with the apron company Lundy Way in order to create cute matching parent-and-child aprons. Then she began putting out her own brand of olive oil, with some of the proceeds going to the charity No Kid Hungry. Philanthropy was also calling her name.
In 2016 Ayesha published her very first cookbook, The Seasoned Life, and went from there. That same year she got her own show on the Food Network, Ayesha’s Homemade. She started to win critical acclaim – The Seasoned Life made The New York Times Best Seller list – and she also began racking up Instagram followers.
In that same year Ayesha did an interview with the Grub Street website. “I’ve always wanted to pen a cookbook,” she said. “I’ve been jotting down ideas and recipes for years – pages everywhere. Scrap papers and chicken scratch. And I fell asleep every night as a little girl watching the Food Network on my little 12-inch TV.” Now she was appearing on it.
In the interview Ayesha did imply that she wanted to step out from her husband’s shadow. “I’ve never seen people come anywhere just for me,” she said. “This is me putting myself on the line with something that I did, so I feel like I’m accountable for whatever is going to happen with it. There’s been a lot of crying.”
Still, Ayesha also knew that being an NBA star’s wife made her products more appealing. “At the end of the day, I’m the one at home,” she told Grub Street. “We don’t have a chef or anything like that. I’m making sure we’re well nourished. Steph does need a certain diet, and it’s up to me to make sure he gets it, but I enjoy it.”
But being in the public eye also meant a constant stream of backlash. “The sports world is so gruesome that I think I’ve experienced the worst criticism, the best, and whatever is in between,” she said. “So I don’t feel any pressure to be anyone but myself. If people like it, great, but if they don’t, great.”
The year after that Ayesha expanded her growing empire even further. She started her own meal delivery service, Homemade. On its first day of pilot subscriptions, the service sold out. And as if that wasn’t enough on its own, the Food Network star also released her new line of cookware in partnership with Meyer Corporation.
In January 2018 Ayesha branched out into the beauty industry by becoming the face of CoverGirl. She did an interview with The Cut magazine about it and said, “I hope that it sets an example for young girls to know that they can achieve any dream that they set for themselves, to some capacity.”
Ayesha also mentioned the pressure on famous women to look a certain way. “There used to be this whole stigma about the women behind the men of basketball, and now, I’ll tell you, girls, we show up in sweatsuits sometimes,” she said. But she added, “There is a little bit of pressure because people are asking to take pictures and stuff like that.”
Come 2019 Ayesha gave an interview to website Buzzfeed about how her career was going. She said, “There’s always naysayers and people who are going to kind of turn their nose down on you and say that you’re not good enough, but it’s about learning how to tune them out, take the good, and let the good fuel you.”
Ayesha also talked about a new project she had taken on. She had teamed up with an Oakland firm called Back to the Roots in order to teach schoolchildren about food. “They don’t actually know where their produce and their ingredients are coming from, and so this is a great way to show how it gets on the table from a seed stage,” she said.
The young woman was determined to make cooking more accessible. “My goal is to make it that much easier for people and myself to get into the kitchen and prepare a meal,” Ayesha told Buzzfeed. “And being able to create these resources for people and help make their lives a little bit easier means the world to me.”
Ayesha went on, “And I feel like it all stems down to the kids and our future generations. If we instill a sense of happy, healthy eating in them, and they’ll feel like they have the options to pick and choose what they want to eat. If they want to grow things in their home, we give them those basic skills and they can. That’s the foundation for them to lead healthier lifestyles as they grow up.”
This determination to help children led Ayesha and her NBA star husband to start their own foundation. In July 2019 they started Eat. Learn. Play. The press release stated that the charity’s mission was to “help end childhood hunger, ensure universal access to quality education and enable healthy, active lifestyles.”
Then 2020 brought lockdown and eating healthily was more important than ever. So the Currys and their foundation teamed up with two organizations, José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen and the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) in order to make sure vulnerable families got access to good meals.
Steph and Ayesha pledged to provide 300,000 meals every week. In June 2020 the pair visited the ACCFB and Ayesha said, “The stats are staggering: 18,000 kids rely on at least two meals a day from the school system. We want to ensure that these kids are not wondering where their next meal is coming from.”
But during lockdown Ayesha took the opportunity to eat more healthily herself, too. She ended up losing 35 pounds, no small feat. In August 2020 she told website Yahoo Lifestyle Canada how she did it, and how she’d juggled her regime with all her other responsibilities. The website labeled her “the ultimate quarantine fitness inspo.”
First Ayesha absolutely sung the praises of Fitbit. “Fitbit Premium has come in handy through quarantine. It was great while I was traveling and out of my routine – I was able to tap into the vast library workout content anytime, anywhere so I didn’t fall off track. It’s a great resource for at-home and on-the-go workouts,” she said.
And Ayesha mentioned another, oft-overlooked aspect of healthy living – sleep. “I’d never realized how much sleep impacts everything else, but what I’ve learned from my Fitbit sleep data is that I don’t get enough of it, so that’s the next thing I’ll be working on,” she said. “It’s connected to so much of our overall health and is so important.”
Ayesha had also invested in some workout machines, but not too many. Her advice in this area was, “Get yourself some simple equipment, such as two and three-pound weights; resistance bands; a good, cushy mat; and a bench or chair.” She added, “I’m very into bodyweight, so I don’t need much, equipment-wise.”
And she had got her husband and children involved, too. Ayesha told the website, “Stephen and I have been riding bikes outside together which has been really nice, or try and time our workouts together. Even the kids will get in on the workouts sometimes! It’s kind of like summer camp with Stephen and I both home, so we try and keep the kids active.”
But what about the diet? That same month Ayesha spoke to Women’s Health magazine about what she ate on an average day. She said, “These past two years, since I turned 30, I’ve started to consider how food can really make a difference in the way that I feel and look. My career is in food and I’m a firm believer in eating what you love.”
Ayesha went on, “I’m not a dieter. For me, it was really about learning how to exercise portion control and living that 80/20 life.” First thing every day, she said, she would drink some hot water with lemon. After that she’d have “a version of a bulletproof coffee with a little bit of ghee and a little bit of MCT oil.”
MCT oil is a naturally occurring fatty acid that some say can help with weight loss. You can find it in butter, coconut oil and more. In 2018 expert Jill Keene told Women’s Health it “may help regulate your appetite” but “it’s still a saturated fat, and you need to consider potential risks of excess intakes of sat fat, like cholesterol levels and heart health.”
For snacks, Ayesha would have half an avocado. And she would also work out in between meals. She told the magazine, “I have to keep my workouts exciting and fresh and different. Sometimes it’s biking or high-intensity interval training, others it’s a jump rope workout or a workout on the Fitbit app.”
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a very popular workout. To do one correctly, you have to exercise until your heart rate, according to the monitor you use, is at 80 percent of its capacity. Then, you switch to something less strenuous. The HIIT workout was one of the most popular of 2020, according to a survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine.
For lunch, Ayesha said, she would have salad containing protein. “I’ve been loving shaved Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale with salmon,” she told Women’s Health. She also made her own salad dressings. “I shake up a little bit of maple syrup, olive oil, lemon, and Dijon mustard in a mason jar,” she explained. “Other times, it’s just like a little squeeze of lime and some honey.”
For dinner, Ayesha said, she liked to “throw everything on the sheet pan and pop it in a high-temp oven.” This was dinner for the whole family, so it had to be good. Healthy rice and vegetables were usually part of it. Ayesha said, “We’re like a Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli family. We love green veggies.”
And Ayesha didn’t need to worry too much about dessert. “In my 20s, I was the girl that would go to a restaurant and want to see the dessert menu first,” she told Women’s Health. “Now, by the end of the meal, I’m not even craving dessert that much.” She did eat cereal with whipped cream and fruit, though.
Ayesha said she also treated herself every now and then. She sometimes drank wine – homemade of course – and occasionally she had “treat days.” She said, “I always have a day a week where I’m in the kitchen and just preparing something new and fun and indulgent. It really works for me; I always have that day to look forward to. It’s the best day ever every single week.”
Still, Ayesha made it clear in the interview that she hadn’t lost weight in order to look better, but to feel better. She told the magazine, “It’s about how I feel inside and pacing myself so that the things I’ve picked up over the past year can truly become part of my day-to-day routine.”
The following month Ayesha did a video for Harper’s Bazaar magazine about her daily intake and her new healthy life. “Fitness wasn’t really a part of my lifestyle and I’d say the past year-and-a-half post-having all of my kids, it’s really become a staple for me and it helps me have mental clarity,” she said.
Ayesha went on, “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel happier when I work out.” That said it all really. And judging by her Instagram account and the cute pictures she shares on there, she and her family have happy lives indeed. And even though it may not have been her goal, she looks fantastic, too.